A Tender Place for Motherhood

I'm 3 weeks postpartum and itching to write down some thoughts on what I've been processing since Everett's birth. I feel very tender in these days of transition. Every snuggle, every cry, points me back to how good God is. If you know our story, this completely makes sense. I do plan to write Everett's birth story soon, once I get all these emotions straight!

I struggled with enjoying motherhood almost my entire first year with Reaghan. I was angry and resentful, and was going from working outside the home to being home all the time. I felt isolated and could see my dreams slipping away.  All the hard newborn things felt like they would never end. I also struggled with postpartum anxiety and depression, but never sought help for it because I thought it was just my own issues of not adjusting to motherhood well. I know now that a big part of it was my hormones, and keeping silent about it only made it worse.

 photo by  Casandra Hawkins

These past 3 weeks have left me feeling really tender towards my babies. I'm not completely sure why yet, but Everett's life has ushered in redemption and healing in ways I never could have imagined. His life is bringing people together in my family and community. His life joined a group of people from all over the world in prayer. And his life is softening my heart and allowing gratitude to rest in me much more than the previous anger and resentment.

One way I remind myself of this deep gratitude every day is through my jewelry. Since having children I haven't worn a whole lot of jewelry. In fact, I'm not sure what would have caused this, but since not wearing earrings for such a long time, my ears now hurt when I do wear them! Crazy. I do, however, have two necklaces that I wear every day that serve as a reminder to be grateful for my children, in the midst of a world that sees such little value in children. These necklaces remind me that being a mama to a growing family puts me on the front lines of spiritual battle, standing for life and the joy that can be found in motherhood when there seems to be so much confusion and negativity in our culture about family and children. 

The first is my arrow necklace - which represents Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

I didn't just struggle after Reaghan was born, but for about the first half of my pregnancy as well. I didn't want to be pregnant and thought this baby was ruining my plans. One day I stumbled upon this verse in my time with God and it stopped me in my tracks. The Lord was blessing me with a child, something I knew I didn't deserve, but was a sign to me that He thought I was capable and worthy of stewarding this new life. He reminded me of the value found in raising children, as they are literally arrows in the hands of warriors. In growing little ones up, we are able to send men and women of integrity, hope, kindness and conviction out into our world. What an incredible privilege.

These verses were a warm blanket to my soul in a time when I was very uncertain of what a child would mean for my future, and when I felt my purpose in life had just died with that positive pregnancy test. These words point out that God gives good gracious gifts to his kids regardless of their hardness of heart. He used Rae to soften me to Himself and open up my life to a whole new purpose. Some dreams did die, and other, better ones, took root. I keep this necklace on always to remind myself of what a GIFT my children are to me, the ones I currently have in my arms and the ones who have yet to join our family. They are not only gifts to me, but gifts to the world, as Jordan and I "shoot out" our little arrows.

My Dear Mushka necklace is brand new and incredibly special to me as well. One amazing thing about this shop is that she pairs all her jewelry with scripture. This necklace is titled "Called" and pairs with Isaiah 43:1

Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.

This is my prayer for my children. I want them to be called by God in their lives, above all else. I consistently pray against fear for both of them, (we even named Everett his name because it means "brave") and that they would not give way to the world, but always trust in Jesus as provider, protector and authority. I want my kiddos to be HIS, more than they are mine. I have two tags, each with the initial of my baby's first name.

I encourage you, whatever season you might be in, to put up little markers around your life to remind you of what matters most. It could be a card or a sticky note on your mirror, the background of your computer, or a piece of jewelry. I want to always remember this tender time where my heart was deeply grateful, wholly aware of the abundant gift that children are to our world. These necklaces serve that purpose for me, when I doubt or lose focus - they stand as pillars that bring me back to a place of worship.