Peace, Love and New Mom Life

Hi There!

Yes, I know how long it’s been since I’ve written…I have been a little preoccupied though. Baby Erin entered the world on July 30th and life’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I’d love to tell you the past 8 weeks have been a fairy tale, and don’t get me wrong, I love my little one, and I love being her mother. It just seems as if the rest of the world had a vendetta against me for having a baby sometimes. Thankfully my husband is very supportive, and although I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, I seem to be returning back to normal relatively quickly, according to my doctor.

Just a side note: if you have a new mom friend that’s suffering from postpartum depression, just reach out. Even if you don’t know what to say, just listening and being there for her without saying a word speaks volumes. Unfortunately this wasn’t my experience across the board…I won’t go into detail, but it is very damaging when you feel like those around you lose any kind of faith in your abilities to function…Leave that stuff to the professionals.

Little Erin is pretty wonderful though. She entered the world at 8 pounds and 1 ounce and hasn’t stopped eating ever since…(She gets that from Micah.) Is motherhood easy? No. Is it wonderful? Yes. Erin is already holding her head up very well and loves tummy time…and yes, she is already a music snob. LOL.

Oh, but I still hold the record on napping…that is no contest…I confess to reaching for my coffee mug immediately after nursing…

My favorite part of having this Sweet One to take care of though, is the snuggles. Ahhh, the snuggles. When she falls asleep, it’s as if the rest of the world pauses for a moment. This little chunky angel loves going on walks in the stroller or baby carrier. She goes straight to sleep when I do slow squats with her strapped to me! (Yay for exercise!)

Erin has started smiling a lot in past week and a half, which is so neat! She makes faces like a cartoon character and loves to wiggle…my goodness, I know now why I felt her trying to kick her way out…she was…

transitioning-into-motherhood

Speaking of exercise, I’ve never been so happy to work out in my life! Doing stand-up squats and walking was about the limit of what I was allowed to do…I’m someone who likes to pick up heavy weights, and all that mess was messing with my head. While a lot of women start back to working out after 2 weeks, I had to take it slower than most because of receiving a blood transfusion at the hospital. It took me about a month before I started to feel like myself energy-wise.

Once I started walking about 3-5 times a week, the weight started falling off. Nursing causes me to have to keep my calorie intake at a pretty high level, but I try to put high quality calories in because it Erin’s and my nutritional needs more efficiently. Oh, and I’ve never wanted to just chug a bucket of ice water like I do now…In the mornings, I wake up and feel like I just walked through a desert.

There’s been a lot of changes in our household…saying “hello” to new friends and saying “goodbye” to old ones. As tough as that might seem right now, Micah and I believe some of the tough decisions we’ve faced as a family in the past few weeks are for the best, and that “In every element of rejection, there is divine protection.”  And God is never late or early, but you’ll never meet anyone more punctual. No one walks with him without facing trouble, but the trials we face can drive away or make us take refuge in Him – I choose the latter of the two.

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Micah and I definitely have sleep-deprived, new parent look going on in this picture….haha.

A dear friend of mine once told me that I would reach a place in my life where the question I needed to ask was not “Why?” but “Lord, what could you be to me in this situation that you couldn’t be in any other?” I believe that as we are in this whirlwind of change as a family, both good and not so good, that God wants to be our protector, refuge, provider and friend who sticks closer than a brother. Something that I have come to know so much more deeply in the past 2 months. He is also my joy…dealing with post partum depression has been a struggle, but I haven’t lost my purpose. Sometimes God brings us the biggest blessings, like Erin, to push us through dark days. “Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny himself.” God sends us the greatest joys in life when we are about to go through the toughest trials. Romans 8:28 says, “For we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

I would definitely say that having a baby has grown the relationship Micah and I have as a married couple. Having to work through so many decisions together has made us grow closer in so many ways. One thing that I’ve learned is that it is so important for us to always have each others’ backs. You can both be insistent on being right or, you can work together as an act of love towards your spouse. Good parenting is the definition of teamwork.

So to sum it up, motherhood is not easy, but it is easily the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I would do it all over again.

 


 

 

 

 

How I’m Learning to Be Still

I’m probably the last person that would typically write a post like this. While I’m good at reacting during a crisis, I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes day-to-day stressors just get to me, especially when it seems like so many of them keep piling, one on top of the other. Probably one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn spiritually is to just be still. Probably the toughest thing I’ve had to learn to do while pregnant is to wait on God.

Let’s face it, waiting on anything is not my strong suit…I think growing up in America has taught me to be very self-reliant and impatient. After all, this is the land of drive-thru’s and self-checkout lines. This is an area that I have to submit to the Lord – oh, and didn’t I mention, I’m not so great at submission either. I’ve always worked a job…since before I’ve had a work permit…in college I worked 3 jobs to make ends meet, and try to pay school bills. Can anyone relate?

Be Still

It happened this week, as I was reading some Scriptures – have you ever been unable to get a really convicting verse out of your head until you read that passage? Well, I couldn’t turn my brain off until I began to read Psalm 46. Verse 10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The words “be still” struck me in a new way. I thought, “But I don’t know how to be still.”

Continue reading “How I’m Learning to Be Still”

Portrait of a Strong Woman – Part 1

So….I’m late with this post. You probably thought it was going to be on another topic, but I hope you keep reading anyway.

I originally intended this post for Mother’s Day.

Yeah…I know you’re sick of Proverbs 31…That perfect woman with glistening teeth, perfect hair and an IQ of 160 that just makes you want to gag….the picture in mind resembles a Pinterest board life, ok, you know that you know what I’m talking about.
She’s the perfect standard of the perfect female…the Betty Crocker housewife, that never burns dinner. Oh, wait that’s our misconception of who she is.

“But wait you mean she’s not all that?”

I think if we read the passage carefully, we’d see that it’s more about her character and love for God and people a little more so than just her abilities.

I think our view of this passage is often clouded by the constraints we/society have put on women….we sometimes want to be anything but women…(you know that at a certain time of month you’ve thought that.)

So, let’s peel away the fluff.

Verse 10 starts with the question, “Who can find a virtuous wife?” The Hebrew translation is “woman of valor.” The other meaning is that she is a versatile woman, which implies personal growth. Let’s look at another Scripture that tells a strong woman’s story – Deborah and Jael.
Both were married women. Let’s talk about what they did.

Deborah was a judge of Israel and a military strategist. She basically guided people when tough calls had to be made. Talk about level headed. Deborah had the guts to speak the truth, but not in a humiliating way. She stood up and knew that her God was greater than an enemy army. She was married to Lapidoth, so she understood work/life balance. Being a judge in that day wouldn’t have been easy, it wouldn’t have been easy for a woman, especially, but Deborah was called.

Jael – this chick had the gift of hospitality…and also had the courage to take out a man who was one of the most brutal military leaders of his day. Sisera – a man commanding an army with iron chariots, meaning he would show no mercy to his enemies. She knew that if she did not act, he would destroy her friends and possibly move on to her people. But Jael was, while in the process of saving an entire nation, protecting her husband, Heber. There was a peace treaty between him and a neighboring people, as well as being distant relatives of  the Israelites. If she didn’t do something, it would put her husband at risk as well. She acted on behalf of her family, friends, and nation.
Which, segways into the next verse, saying that “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; he will have no lack of gain, and she does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.”

Take a look at Esther, a woman in a tough position, yet, her actions, not only preserved the line of the Messiah, they also prevented the usurping of her husband, Xerxes. In reality, she prevented an empire that was allowing the Jews to return to their homeland, from crumbling, and she was protecting her husband from evil counsel. If he had not trusted Esther, and if she had not behaved in a trustworthy pattern, he would never have listened to her. She wasn’t Persian, and had to hide her identity initially, but she gained his trust, and was able to show him who his true enemies were.

Just some thoughts to ponder. This is merely my perspective, but just because we’re called to godliness doesn’t mean that we can just go about our everyday lives, God calls us to be out of our comfort zone as women, and to take a stand when it counts. If you’re single, my advice to you, as someone who didn’t date often, is that you should live your life do bless the Lord, and if/until he calls you to marriage, experience freedom knowing that you can be challenged to bless Him. He’ll give you the courage. but He wants to see you step out in faith.

Are you versatile? What area are you being grown in? In what areas do you need more courage? I know that for me. I am hesitant to trust…large gatherings…bug me. I’m an extrovert, but I like to see everyone given the chance to contribute. This is a challenge because I married into a large family. So many opinions are difficult to tune out, especially when there’s stress in other important areas of my life. But God is working on me in a slow and painful process which is causing me to be more reliant on him and to let him fight my battles for me. Which in the long run, is far less stressful.

Let’s be courageous!

Julie