100th Post Celebration

Congratulations! You, my friend, are reading my 100th post. I began this blog two years ago just to share our story. Not a lot of people even knew we were going through anything with Abigail. We didn’t know much, but I thought it was time to share our small simple story. As more and more people gave me positive feedback I began to write more. Today, this blog is full of stories and updates and encouragement from my little girl. I went from writing maybe every other month to writing almost twice a week. I’ve learned a little. I’ve grown a lot. And I hope I encouraged someone out there.

I have great dreams for this blog. I hope to one day expand it into something bigger. Maybe my own company of sorts. I want to brand it, and help others who are going through the unknown. I want to share our story and let others know they are not alone. I hope to one day make this blog my job. I have a lot of work to do and even more learning, but I am excited where such a tiny idea will lead me.

I called this blog “Treasured Encounters” because so often the encounters I have with Abigail do feel like small tiny treasures I like to store in my ever-widening heart. I want to hide all these tiny, sweet moments and ponder them. I want to treasure every encounter! Of course, the name might change. The direction may lead to a wider audience. The appearance may enhance. But this tiny little blog has meant so much to me! In these short two years it has seen over 3,500 people! I have thirty followers who don’t even know me!! And I can’t wait to see where this blog goes next!

So in my 100th blog post I simply want to say thank you to my amazing followers, my friends and my family – you people! Without you this blog would have never happened. Without your kind words, your Facebook likes, your amazing feedback I would have never continued. I might not comment on every note, but I read everything and it all means so much to me. Now I am dreaming of more. I want bigger and better. So I am asking you tonight. What do you want to see more of? What do you love about this blog? What do you want to know? Any questions for me about Abigail? About having a special needs child? About starting a blog? How would you like to see this blog grow? Is there anything I need to change, improve, add? Please, drop your comments and suggestions or even questions below or message me or Facebook me. Let’s connect! I want to hear from the people who read these every week. And to say thank you for being so amazing I want to give away a very tiny prize. Trust me. I wish I could buy you all a car, but since I can’t do that I am giving away a cute T-shirt to a lucky winner.


I found this company on Etsy, and fell in love instantly. The shirt reads “Choose Joy”. It perfectly describes Abigail. She chooses joy every day, and helps me find joy in the small moments too. I love my joyful little girl, and I know so many of you do too. So one lucky winner will receive a free T-shirt to help spread our joy! For a chance to win all you have to do is leave me a comment here or on Facebook about how I can improve this blog. Again, read suggestions above if you’re drawing a blank. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into the random drawing. I’ll announce the winner June 18th! So please leave some love and some advice. Who knows you may be getting that awesome shirt in the mail soon!! I truly wish I could thank each of you personally, and send everyone a shirt. But stay tuned because this blog has big things in store (hopefully). Thank you so much again and good luck!

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Wonderfully Made

“I don’t know how much he understands about God. But I’ll never stop telling him that he is fearfully and wonderfully made. That his life brings glory to God. That yes, Jesus loves him.” I saw this caption on Facebook one day. A fellow special needs mom had posted it about her son. What simple truths to be instilling in our children. Truths I want Abigail to be reminded of daily!

First, that God made her perfectly. He might have spent a little more time on Abigail. No doctor may be able to tell us why she isn’t ‘normal’. But she was created perfectly – the way God planned. I wouldn’t change a thing about her. Her specialness and uniqueness only add to her vibrant little personality. Abigail is gorgeous. That perfect blonde hair and endless blue eyes. Her joyful spirit and contagious smile. It all adds to her wonderful-ness. I pray she always knows how beautiful she is and finds people who bring out her beauty. Not only on the outside, but I want her to grow beautiful on the inside too with a heart full of joy and an attitude of servant hood. For God did make her wonderfully!

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My beauty

Secondly, that her life has purpose. God created us to glorify Him and to fellowship with Him. No matter her ability in life. No matter what she can or can’t say. No matter if she’s valedictorian or barely graduates high school. No matter if she lives with us her entire life or she marries and has an amazing career. No matter what she does, I want Abigail to know she matters and she was created with purpose. Right now I am telling her story, but soon she will write her own. She is already a small light in this dark world. She brings such joy to people. She brings hope. She brings life. She brings encouragement. She brings passion. Her story is amazing, and her purpose is being laid as you read this. This girl will move mountains!

Last, that she is loved. Not just by me and her family and friends, but she is loved unconditionally by a loving Father. Jordan is an amazing father. He loves his girl so much. At just a day old Abigail broke out with sores on her body. The neonatal doctors came to our room and took our hours old baby for blood work and tests. Jordan had to go with her since I could not. He came back, closed the door to our room and simply cried on my shoulder. It was the first (and almost only) time I have seen my husband cry. He said it was awful watching them draw blood from Abigail. He loved her when she was hours old and that love has only grown more since. But as much as he loves Abigail, she has a Heavenly Father that loves her more. It’s hard for me to fathom more love than the love I have for Abigail. But I want her to know no matter what happens to me and Daddy that Someone else out there loves her, and He has her in the shadow of His wings. That’s actually her life verse I picked for her while I was pregnant. Psalm 17:8, “Keep me the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Jesus loves her this I know!

 

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They were the best napping buddies. Twins from the beginning!

Abigail may not be able to understand anything about God. She may not comprehend salvation. But Abigail can understand that she is beautiful. That she has purpose. And that she is loved. Three foundational truths every single person deserves to know. Not just children, but all of us. These simple truths are hard some days. Even I need the reminder that I am beautiful, that I have a purpose and that I am loved. As humans we are so quick to see the worst in ourselves and others. But today I am here to remind us all that we are all made wonderfully. I pray you know these simple truths today and I pray my precious little girl grows up with these truths implanted in her heart. Abigail is made wonderfully. She has an amazing purpose. And she is so loved! And so are you!!

 

My Small Life

It’s funny how life works out isn’t it? I love planning. I plan everything months in advance and make two thousand lists of everything you can think of. Of course, I had my life planned out in 6th grade. I planned to graduate high school, go to Berry College, and get a degree in education. Then I was going to teach for a few years as I worked on my Masters of Library Sciences from UGA. I would eventually achieve my greatest dream of becoming an elementary school librarian – my dream since second grade. I can’t make this stuff up. As you see I had no aspirations of a husband or kids. Just a dream job so I thought.

Now I am married, have a kid and a degree in Christian Studies from Truett-McConnell. None of my plans came about. None. Zip. Zero. My senior year God steered me to Truett instead of Berry. Then my freshman year, He called me away from my dreams. He called me to fully trust Him. He directed me to the degree I received, and toward a blonde headed man I also married. You’ll be glad to know I have no idea what my future holds. At this point I simply have to hope God has a plan, because I weirdly don’t. I plan all the daily details, but I don’t know what five years down the road holds anymore.

Today, I lead a small life. Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail wrote this in an email, “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small.” I’ve always loved that quote. That’s me- a small, but valuable life. I don’t see a lot of people most days. I spend all my time with a three year old who doesn’t talk. I do a lot of talking to myself – well I’m talking to Abigail, but really to myself. I’ve gotten a lot of stares in the grocery store, but that’s okay. That’s how she will learn how to talk is by hearing words, right??

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I’m just a small town girl. A stay at home mom. A wife. A servant of God who tries to be faithful. A friend to a few. A daughter and granddaughter. Such a simple life. Some would probably say it is boring. Some would say it is pointless. Sometimes it seems useless. Sometimes I feel awful for not helping Jordan provide an income for our family. Yes, it is small. Yes, it is often not rewarding. Yes, it often goes unnoticed. Yes, it is lonely. Yes, it seems like I could be doing more. But I am thankful for my small life. The small little moments I get to have with my daughter every day. And I couldn’t even begin to express my thanks for my husband. He works hard to support us. He misses out on so much, and has made so many sacrifices just to keep working for us. He lets me pursue my dreams, and tells me to do whatever I want to do whether it’s blogging or writing a book or making crafts. He supports all my crazy dreams and he encourages me daily! He keeps me grounded when I get emotional, and helps me sort through all my millions of plans.

I never planned for my life to be like this. I honestly don’t know what the future holds. But I like my small life. I have dreams and plans, and I pray they are fulfilled. But these plans aren’t about what my future job is or making lots of money (well I never dreamed about that anyways). My dreams are more realistic now. Little seeds of hope God is planting in my hungry heart. My plans include family, and helping others. That’s my prayer now – that this small, simple life I lead will impact those around me. That I can be a servant to everyone I meet, and that our story will help someone else’s. Yes, my life is small, but it is a very blessed life that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

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I love this small life and my family!

Bittersweet Parenting

I was sitting in church Sunday singing a good ol’ gospel hymn about heaven. One of those talking about getting up and walking around heaven. I love good old-fashioned hymns, but this one brought tears to my eyes. All I could think about was my little girl not being able to walk. I know it is silly to cry about something that may or may not happen, but in that moment I just felt an overwhelming sadness that she was missing out on so much.

Abigail just turned three. She has never sat up by herself to play with her toys. She has never felt grass beneath her bare feet as she runs through a sprinkler. She has never tripped and fallen over her toys spread throughout the house. She is forced to go wherever people take her. She is at the mercy of whomever she is with. She has no control over when she stands or when she sits. It is all dictated by others.

Of course she knows no difference. She has no idea she is missing out on a whole world of independent living. She is happy as a clam being able to army crawl around the house and letting us do everything else. She has no idea how small her world is. How limited she is, and how dependent she is on others. In her world she can do anything and everything, and she tries her hardest to make that a reality.

Abigail will get her wheelchair tomorrow. It is hot pink, and we are hoping she will be able to one day (a long time down the road) be able to crawl into it herself and push her own chair. Again, we are a long way from that, but that’s our end goal. I have been excited about this chair for a while now. I am excited she will have a way to get around, and I pray she can push herself in it easily. This chair will bring us some freedom. But it is a little bittersweet. Who wants their child to be confined to a chair? Of course, Abigail is an odd situation where she won’t be in the chair a lot. She does have the potential to walk and crawl, so that’s our end goal and all her teachers and therapists will be working to get her out of the chair and walking on her own. But the chair means she isn’t quite there yet. The chair will bring stares from strangers. The chair will bring pity. The chair will define her as different. Right now strangers don’t have any idea how far behind Abigail is. To them she is just a cute toddler in pink glasses in the grocery store shopping cart. She can get by with her cuteness. But put that same cutie in a hot pink wheel chair and you then invite questions of ‘what is wrong with her?’ ‘She looks normal, but why is she in that chair?’ So we are about to open a can of worms when we take her out and about now. I don’t know if I am ready for all the stares and questions. How do I explain Abigail? I don’t even know what’s going on with her.

All these thoughts have been running in my head these last few days. I know we will make it through. Soon the stares and the questions won’t even phase me. I know I’ll be able to answer people the right way when (and if) the time comes. My prayer is that I always honor my Lord and give my child encouragement in all my responses. I want people to see children who are a little different and know the right things to say. Maybe I can be the educational instrument to guide people’s questions in the right direction when it comes to special needs children. So many people don’t know how to talk to a special needs family. They don’t know how to ask their questions simply because they have never walked in their shoes.

If you ever wonder how it feels to have a special needs child I would tell you it is one of the most rewarding but hardest things you will ever go through. It is draining. It is hard work. It is frustrating. It is lonely. It is disappointing. It is demanding. But it is also rewarding. It teaches you so much about yourself and about that sweet child you are raising. It bonds you and your child like nothing ever could. It teaches you about sacrifice and selflessness. It opens a door to a community you never knew existed. I once read a book that gave a good picture of what I’m taking about. This is an excerpt from Andrew and Rachel Wilson’s book, The Life We Never Expected.

“Discovering your children have special needs is like being given an orange.

You’re sitting with a group of friends in a restaurant. You’ve just finished a decent main course, and are about to consider the dessert menu when one of your friends gets up, taps their glass with a spoon, and announces that they have bought desserts for everyone as a gift. They disappear around the corner, and return a minute later with an armful of spherical objects about the size of tennis balls, beautifully wrapped, with a bow on each one.

As they begin distributing the mysterious desserts, everyone starts to open them in excitement, and one by one the group discovers that they have each been given a Chocolate Orange. Twenty segments of rich, smooth, lightly flavoured milk chocolate: a perfect conclusion to a fine meal, and a very sociable way of topping off an enjoyable evening. You begin to unwrap the object in front of you.

But you’ve been given an orange. Not a chocolate orange; an actual orange. Eleven erratically sized, pith-covered segments with surprisingly large pips in annoying places; requiring a degree in engineering in order to be peeled properly. You stare at it with a mixture of surprise, disappointment and confusion. The rest of the table hasn’t noticed. They’re too busy enjoying their chocolate.

You pause to reflect. There’s nothing wrong with oranges, you say to yourself. They are sharp, sweet, refreshing and zesty. Looked at from a number of perspectives – medical, dietary, environmental – you have been given a better dessert than everyone else. And you didn’t have a right to be given anything anyway.

But your heart sinks, all the same. An orange was not what you expected; as soon as you saw everyone else opening their chocolate, you simply assumed that is what you would get, too. Not only that, but this wasn’t what you wanted. And because you’re surrounded by other people, you have to come to terms with the   sheer unfairness of being given your orange, while your friends share, laugh about and celebrate theirs. A nice meal has taken an unexpected turn, and you suddenly feel isolated, disappointed and frustrated.  

Discovering that your kids have special needs is like that.”

Yes, that’s my Abigail. She is no chocolate orange, but I love her all the same. She is juicy and messy and very good for me. Honestly, I would choose to have another orange at this point. Oranges are my normal now and I wouldn’t even know what to do with a special treat like a chocolate orange. So even though it’s a little more work and a little more messy I am thankful for my real orange. She brings such joy and flavor to our life! I am excited to start a new adventure in a pretty pink wheelchair. And I invite any questions from you or from onlookers. Please, never be afraid to encourage a special needs parent you see out and about. The very fact that they came out with their child is a big deal. Just let them know they are amazing parents. Every parent needs encouragement and we are parents too. I mean this life is bittersweet, so I encourage you to add some sweetness to a life today!

Carry Me

I carried her inside of me for nine months. I loved being pregnant. Well, after I got past the wanting to die because I was so sick part of it then I loved it. I loved feeling her inside me and watching her wiggle around in there. I really had no problems except for being sick the first trimester. I just remember wondering what Abigail would look like the whole pregnancy. I don’t think either of us expected her to have blonde hair and blue eyes, but I’m so glad she got her daddy’s traits!!

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The day before I was induced. May 7, 2015 – last day pregnant

The first time I had to carry Abigail was hours after she was born. The hospital we had Abigail in transferred you upstairs to a mother/baby room after you finished in the labor and delivery room. They put me in a wheelchair and Jordan handled all our bags. (Our 15 bags we brought because we were so overly prepared – oops!) Then they placed that seven pound little baby in my arms – all swaddled so perfectly as any nurse in that ward can do! I honestly could think nothing else but ‘don’t drop her, don’t drop her’. I was so exhausted from giving birth I didn’t think my arms could hold her much longer. The trip upstairs lasted an eternity with me thinking my ‘hold on to this baby’ mantra the whole way. But we made it. My arms kept her safe the whole way. And now I laugh thinking about how I thought 7 pounds was heavy.
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The awful wheelchair trip. I was so tired!!

Now I still carry Abigail everywhere. I carry her to breakfast and then back upstairs to get dressed. I carry her to and from the car. I carry her so often that I don’t even think about it being odd to have to carry a three year old everywhere you go. It’s amazing how your body adapts to what you need. I am a weakling. I am not scared to admit it because it’s the truth. I have never really worked out a day in my life and I am truly okay if I never do until I die. I love to walk and swim, but the thought of working out sounds awful to me. But I have carried Abigail A LOT in the past three years (and I haven’t even dropped her once – knock on wood.) I have gotten some arm cramps, but my body has slowly adapted to carrying her around. Thankfully she gains weight slowly so my arms have time to adjust to her weight. And I am thankful my little girl is only on the 9th percentile for weight. Could you imagine if she was in the 90th? Maybe God made her small on purpose! That’s what I like to believe at least. Abigail’s weight is different than a normal toddler’s because she doesn’t support herself much at all. She is getting better, but most days she is like carrying around a sack of flour – literally. There’s no help. No give and take. It’s all of me carrying all of her. If you ask her to hold on she will kind of hug your neck for a few seconds before simply just letting go. She is just too trusting. She knows that you won’t drop her. Abigail fully relies on you to do all the work and get her where she needs to go.
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Carrying her in for a doctor’s appointment.

A lot of people say how I’m a good mom or how I always seem to be happy. I guess a lot of people wonder how I can have such a great attitude about having a child with special needs. Maybe people wonder how I can be so confident when we know so little as to why Abigail is the way she is. It’s because, like Abigail, I am also being carried. Full reliance on God has been my motto since college, and it hasn’t failed me yet. But I struggle with it daily! Oh I wish I had a childlike faith. I wish I could be as free and innocent as Abigail. But one thing I do know is that no matter what this life may throw at me, I am being carried. God won’t ever forsake me or make me doubt His goodness. He is Lord and His ways are better than my ways.
I am reminded of that famous poem that used to be so popular, “Footprints in the Sand.” I will post it below for those who need a reminder. But it is very true that in your lowest moments, God is always there. He never promises our lives will be without sorrow, heartbreak and pain. But God promises over and over in the Bible that He would never leave us or forsake us. God taught me a little object lesson once and it has always stuck with me. God always shines brighter when it is darker just as the stars always seem to increase when you get away from the lights. The darkness is often scary and very lonely, but God can show off in the darkness. When you can’t see to guide yourself then it’s time to let God guide you. When you don’t know what step to take, let God lead you. And when you don’t know how you can make it, let God carry you. When you can rely fully on Someone else then all those fears, doubts and worries seem to handle themselves. God won’t ever drop you. He won’t ever let go. Cling to Him, cry to Him, and find comfort in Him as He carries you.
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So glad I get to carry this sweet thing! We love each other so much!!!

Yes, my arms are often full! Between carrying Abigail and her bag and whatever else we may need that day it becomes a juggling act. But I love that my arms are full with a little girl who I can call mine. And God loves when we come to Him too. I know I can carry Abigail better because He has shown me how to be carried. I can love better because He has shown me how to love. And I can be the mother He has called me to be because I find my strength in Him. I am not perfect by any means, and I struggle with these truths daily, but I am learning that dependency on God is good and I am thankful for His never ending presence and His arms of love that carry me onward even when I don’t know what is ahead. At least I am being carried by Someone who will always take me where I need to go.
Footprints in the Sand

“One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

She Makes Me Laugh

If you have ever watched The Sound of Music then you’ve heard the song at the beginning the nuns sing about Maria. It’s not as popular, but it reminds me so much of Abigail. She is a little different, a little mischievous, and a little like a cloud you can’t pin down. But the one line I love best is, “Maria makes me laugh!” And no matter what kind of day we have had. Whether it’s been a clingy day or a everything is ‘no’ kind of day or even a day full of celebrations Abigail always finds a way to make me laugh. She may act exactly like me, but I truly believe she’s going to have her daddy’s humor. It’s something I can’t describe. You’d just have to be around them. But they are both funny people (of course I’m a little biased). But here are ten little quirks Abigail does that we find funny.

1) My mom pointed this one out, and it’s so accurate. Abigail is very similar to the sloths on Zootopia. Especially when it comes to eating. You can give Abigail a fork full of food and she opens her mouth even as the food is inches away. And watching her put the fork in her mouth is painful sometimes. Will she ever make it? It is a suspense as she slowly, slothed-like brings the food to her opened mouth. But she’s feeding herself, so we let her do it, and laugh at her a little too.

2) Abigail is literally the most uncoordinated person you’ll meet. She has zero reflexes and moves slow. It’s a bad, yet funny combo. The best is when she is crawling around and just runs into things. She will turn too early or too late and bump her head into the wall or couch. It never seems to phase her and we figure one day she will figure it all out. Right now we stay clear of her big noggin and laugh at her little blunders.

3) This one is from Jordan’s granddaddy. I never really noticed before because I see her every day, but Granddaddy pointed out how purposeful Abigail’s arms are when she crawls, and now it’s so funny to watch her do it. Every time she pulls herself forward to crawl she reaches as far as she can and pulls herself forward. It’s so calculated and focused. It’s pretty impressive how strong she must be, but it also bad because it leads to the next thing.

4) Horrible distance perception! Because she takes such purposeful pulls with her whole arm length she will just head bump anything in her way including you. Jordan says it’s like in the beginning of Aladdin when the narrator is telling the camera to come closer and then he is like ‘too close, too close.’ You can’t tell her to come a little bit. It’s all or nothing with her, so watch your head. She hits hard and has taken me and Jordan down with her big noggin, laughing the whole way. And since I’ve mentioned the big noggin a couple times I’ll go ahead and explain that it really is big! Abigail is only in the 10th percentile for weight, but her poor head is close to the 85th percentile. Her head has always measured big! So again watch out. When it strikes, it strikes hard!

5) In The Music Class that we attend weekly, they do this things called ‘bums bums.’ I’m sure there’s a technical name, but the toddlers all call it bum bum time so we do too. Basically the teacher comes around to each student and does a little tonal pattern and then the child is supposed to repeat it back. Abigail loves bum bum time! Since the ‘b’ sound is like the one sound she has mastered she is an expert bum bum participant. But the best is when we are listening to the music in the car and the bum bum patterns come on. Abigail will start screaming ‘b’ ‘b’ ‘b’ as loud as she can. It’s so much fun and cracks me up every time.

6) Abigail now has a clear yes and no. So we ask her a lot of yes and no questions to keep her talking. Sometimes she gets stuck in an all yes mood and sometimes (a lot of times) it’s an all no mood. She doesn’t always use them correctly, but we are working on that. Like sometimes you will ask her if she wants grapes for a snack and she will say no and then you offer her a grape just in case and she eats 10 grapes. So you never quite know if her yes is yes or her no is no, but she at least talking. Well the other night I was watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (my latest tv obsession), and it was an episode about a patient with Alzheimer’s. Anyways I asked Jordan if he would take care of me even when I had no idea who he was and before he even answered, Abigail very clearly said, “no.”  I wasn’t even asking her. We didn’t even know she was listening, but she heard that yes or no question and responded no. We both bursted our laughing. Thanks kid! Love you too! It’s just little moments like that when her answers are too clear and too perfect for the situation that make it so funny.

7) All her lovely new sounds are great! However, Abigail’s best one is her screaming “ah”. It’s her favorite (and loudest). She normally does it in the morning while I’m getting ready. It’s a constant, “ah, ah, ah” – getting louder and louder in volume as she goes. She’s also normally in the bathroom with me so it echos! But she also loves to say it into containers and bowls. No matter what size bowl, if she finds a container she will pick it up and scream into it.

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8) Whenever you compliment Abigail’s shirt she always lifts it up to show her belly. I don’t think she means to show her belly. She is just pulling up her shirt so you can see it better. But it’s super cute!

9) A lot of times Abigail and I wake up before Jordan does. After we finish breakfast and get dressed, I will take Abigail into the bedroom and let her in the bed with Jordan. She purposefully crawls over to Daddy and gives him love pats (what we call them – Abigail literally just pats you) as she babbles. I think Jordan likes being woken up to her, and it’s so sweet. It makes me laugh though how intentional she is as she makes her way to him, and pats him. She will also pat you if you are crying – it helps dry up your tears pretty quickly to be patted and comforted by such a cutie!

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10) This one is one of Jordan’s favorites. A lot of times he will lie on the ground and read a magazine or be looking at his phone. Abigail will crawl over, (way too close, as already mentioned) flip herself on her back and lie with him appearing to read whatever he is reading. Of course she runs into him and kicks him and flips over on top of him in this process too, but it is great how she just makes herself at home! She just wants to be a part of whatever is going on.

The Gift of Motherhood

As Mother’s Day has come and gone this past weekend this quote has been on my mind, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” I have heard this quote more times than I could count! But it applies so well to my motherhood. I was not equipped to be a mother. I am selfish, independent, stubborn, quiet and clueless about children. I did not really want children. I knew we weren’t ready (who is?). But everyday God equips me and gives me the strength the face another day.

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Motherhood is about seeing the joy of your child as they explore this world!

When Abigail was a newborn, I literally just turned into a robot. Feed the baby. Change the baby. Get baby asleep. Eat something myself. I don’t remember a lot about those first few months. On top of all the stress a newborn brings, we were also discovering that our baby wasn’t quite normal. Abigail’s first year of life was quite a blur with all we had going on. I never felt like her mom. I was simply a glorified babysitter. I didn’t feel like a mother. But one thing I did know was that I loved my little girl, and that was enough.

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It’s about letting them explore new things!

It has taken me quite awhile to learn that motherhood itself is a gift. A precious, wonderful gift. I would not trade being a mother for anything. Since we have moved to this area I have become a full-time mom. Abigail is my job. She is my buddy. She is my coworker. She is often the only human I see some days. I love my little girl my than I ever thought possible. She lights up my life. Honestly, she is my life. I don’t do a lot apart from her. If people talk to me, it’s about Abigail. Sometimes I need a little me time here and there. But I treasure my gift of motherhood. I am thankful God have me Abigail. She is perfect in every way. I truly wouldn’t change a thing about her. She teaches me so much, and makes me a better person. My gift may come in a different box than everyone else’s, but she is perfectly and wonderfully made. And I am so thankful to be able to celebrate the gift of motherhood because of her!

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Comforting them in their time of need (and surgeries).

But I still have so much to learn about motherhood. I strive to be the best, but God has been speaking to me and calling me to more. Sunday morning I surrendered fully to His calling of motherhood on my life. Our pastor brought a wonderful word that morning about Hannah. He said something that just spoke volumes to me. “God’s grace is absent at certain times of our lives to bring us to a place of dedication.” My own version would read something like, “Maybe God gives us difficulties (a special needs child) to bring us to a place of full surrender.” But then he made the point that God doesn’t only call us to fully surrender, God also calls us to fully exalt. Even in the hard times – the times it feels like God’s grace is absent. We are called to worship and exalt the King of kings and Lord of lords. So that’s what I want to do. I want to dedicate my motherhood to God. I want to surrender it fully to God. Full reliance has always been my motto since college. And lately I have forgotten it. I have taken on loads of things that aren’t mine. I have forgotten to rely on God. I have forgotten how big of a God we serve. I have forgotten to exalt Him. But on this past Mother’s Day 2018 I pray I can be the mother God has called me to be because I have first surrendered my all to Him. I have first sought His face. I have fully relied on His strength. I have dedicated my life to Him. I love being a mom to this precious little girl, and I just want to be the best mom I could possible be. I can’t do it alone, and I am thankful I do not have to. I am thankful that God has given me this precious life to raise, and I am blessed to be her mama!

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Always watching and copying me – even when I am attempting to do crunches.