Something I struggle with most, especially in this season of my life, is the UNKNOWN. I’m pretty sure most of us don’t like being left in the dark or being told to wait. We like to know what’s ahead, to carefully plan and prepare, to cover all angles. It gives us a sense of comfort to know what’s coming up, but as we all know that is just not real life. And it’s certainly not God’s design for us.
When my husband joined the military I was terrified! We were engaged at the time and it was so much change so quickly. His first station out of Coast Guard boot camp was on the other side of the world! Well…OK, it was just the other side of the country but to me, it felt a million miles away. At first I thought God made a mistake. “Surely you are not asking me to move across the country away from everything I’ve known!”
My soon-to-be husband Sam was stationed on a ship in Virginia, while I was in California, planning our wedding, working full-time, and going to school. Every time I asked him a wedding detail question, he would respond with “I’m not sure yet” or “I hope so”…not something a stressed-out bride wants to hear! The day after I sent out invitations to over 200 guests he informed me that he “may or not be able to make the wedding” with his ship’s schedule. Greeeaat. Long story short, he did indeed make it to our wedding in the nick of time. It was beautiful and my favorite day ever.
Since our wedding day there have been countless unknown details. When and where are we moving next? When are you coming home? When will you get into school? Most questions seemed to be answered at the very last minute.
I refer back to that time of our wedding often because it was the start of God working on my heart and taking me on a journey of trusting Him like I had never known before. In the beginning I felt like the unknowns might kill me. I felt like worry and anxiety might just swallow me up…or at least turn me into a crazy person. The first couple years of marriage we were 2,700 miles from home. My husband would leave for two months and then be home for two months. The schedule was far from ideal and I cried and prayed a lot. I felt like a baby. I missed my family and friends on the West Coast, my comfort zone.
But as I saw those “comforts” get stripped away, I saw God in a new way. I was desperate for Him. So much growth can happen when you’re forced to do hard things. It reminds us of our deep need for Christ and his sufficiency – it can be easy to forget when things are easy-breezy. Every time I was tempted to freak out, the Holy Spirit would nudge me to be thankful. He would fill me with His peace when I asked and it really did pass my understanding, like His word says. Our problems always seem so huge to us in the moment, but they often aren’t. I’m glad God is patient with us and doesn’t laugh at us for being so silly sometimes!
A few key things I’ve learned (and will always be learning!) to help me on this journey so far:
His ways are higher, His thoughts are greater. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Even when we think we know everything and want to be in control, we have to remember who God is. He is sovereign over all things. Sometimes that means going straight to the Word and preaching to ourselves when we need it☺
Remember His faithfulness. Sometimes you just have to reflect and see how God came through for you in the past. I’m a list person, so I like to write it down or go through old journals. We quickly forget all the ways God answered prayers, got us through the seasons of waiting, held our hand through the unknowns. It helps us trust Him with our future.
Don’t put God in a box, or set up your own expectations. So many times, whether I realize it or not, I create a list of things I’m OK with., ways that God is “allowed” to answer my prayers…it’s absurd because He is GOD! But I still do it, and then I’m upset when things don’t go how I thought. Instead, I’m trying to have a heart of expectancy, without set expectations. Recently, I read Romans 8 in the Message Bible. It sums up what God has been showing me:
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is and we know who we are: Father and children.” Romans 8:15-16 (The Message translation)
I want to live like that – adventurously expectant! I want to live knowing God is good and worthy of our trust, even if it looks different than we thought.
Born and raised in sunny San Diego, where I reside with my amazing husband, two spunky kids and our two rambunctious dogs. I am a part time occupational therapist and a full time wife and mommy. I love anything and everything outdoors and love my coffee! I enjoy decorating my home through pinterest and am learning to sew.
Being a mother of two young children, I am realizing there are so many approaches and styles to parenting. I have an undergraduate degree in Child Development and work in the pediatric field. I, of course felt I had a good grasp on all the ins and outs of raising a child based on the books I had read and my experiences at my workplace. I have since realized, there is a lot more to parenting than I had previously thought!
One thing I was not ready for were the “Mommy Cliques.” By mommy cliques, I am referring to the various groups of mommies who I categorize based on their approach or style of parenting. There are the working moms, stay at home moms, homeschooling moms, moms who breastfeed, moms who formula feed, baby wearing mommies, mommies who use strollers, mommies who co-sleep and the list goes on and on.
With today’s resources and social media, there is a plethora of information and knowledge to be gathered by a new mom. I am going to compare this to the first time I registered for baby items before my daughter was born. I was given a list of “must haves” and a bar code scanner. Then, my husband and I were sent to create a list of what we needed for our unborn baby. I was incredibly pregnant, which meant hormones were raging, and neither myself, nor my husband knew what we would really need. To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement! It can be exhausting to try to decipher through these groups to figure out the “best” way to help my baby.
After subscribing to groups on social media, I saw so much discrimination, disrespect and judgment for varying views of parenting. Not only did I have to sort through all of the information friends, family and colleagues were providing, I also had to sift through Facebook groups, Instagram posts, internet questions, celebrity points of view, etc. It seemed as though everyone had a different opinion. The one thing that held true, was that when a mom didn’t agree with a choice of another mommy, no one held back on telling the other why she was wrong and how her own opinion was the RIGHT one.
I am definitely a proponent for encouraging safety, especially when a new baby is involved. If there is something a mommy is doing that may be unsafe for either her or the baby, by all means, politely and kindly offer suggestions to ensure the safety of everyone. However, if you notice a mommy pull out a bottle of formula rather than breast-feed her baby, please do not judge that mommy. The same goes for the mommy who chooses to breast feed rather than formula feed; please do not judge that mommy.
This is simply one of the “mommy cliques” I have noticed in my very short 3 years of being a mommy myself. Before I make any judgments, I need to first try to put myself in the other parent’s shoes. I do not know all of the facts. I am not aware of the background of the child or the parent. It is so complicated to navigate through life at times. It would be so much easier if we, as moms, could guarantee the support of one another.
New moms have so much going through their minds and should not have to worry about who is judging them for their personal choices on how to raise their most precious blessing. Most of the “mommy cliques” I listed are just that, personal choices the mommy (and daddy) get to make.
Rather than breaking one another down for not having your same views, let’s lift each other up and encourage one another, as Paul discusses in 1 Thessalonians 5. There are many times when a new mommy may need help. Try to show each other love and compassion. Maybe a new mommy has never heard of wearing her baby before, so she chooses to push her baby in a stroller instead. The way the mommy chooses to get her baby around does not change the unconditional love she feels for her child.
Many if not most nights, I wake up to both of my children in our bed. Lets face it, we purchased a king size bed because both my husband and I were falling off both sides of our bed as our children made themselves comfortable. I have heard both discouraging and encouraging remarks regarding how we choose to sleep. Both of our children have their own beds, but they end up in ours at some point during the night. It feels so much better to hear someone encourage me for my choice rather than provide me with negative insight to why it is the incorrect way to raise my children.
I am not saying that I need to constantly be reassured that I am doing something correctly; but sometimes it’s nice to hear a positive response rather than a negative one.
Raising my two babies is turning out to be the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life; but it is also the most rewarding as well. My hope is that everyone can feel comfortable with the choices they make as a parent. I will make mistakes. I make mistakes every day! The important thing is that I am trying to do the best I can to love my children and make the best choices for us. And I believe you are too!