Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 in Love, Marriage, Parenting, Spiritual Life | 1 comment

GOOD

GOOD

Back in 2008, a couple came to my church and talked to the staff about what they felt God saying to each one of them.  I was suspicious, to say the least.  I trusted my pastor to keep the weirdos away though, so I tried to remain open to their words.

Our sound engineer recorded the couple’s words to me and I looked back at them today.  Among other things, they noted that I was a giver, but had a very difficult time receiving from others.  They said God was changing my heart and would teach me to be open to receiving, to enjoy the richness of His goodness.  At the time, I felt like receiving from others was weakness.  They told me I would come to see it as openness to God.

As I prepare myself and my family for Christmas this year, I’ve been struck by how much I’ve received over the past several years.  I don’t know what to put on my Christmas list.  I’ve been given a home to call my own, children, a husband who loves me and takes pleasure in taking care of his family, clothing, food, and many non-necessities.  What do I ask for beyond that?

The words of the couple came back to me this morning.  The truth of their words struck me.  After a season where nothing seemed to work out for me, where every road I tried turned into a dead-end, today I feel like I’m on an open, easy road.  Sure, I have a hard time with pregnancy and it really stinks to be sick so much.  It’s hard to make friends and I long for the deep friendships I left behind in Nashville.  My mother and her three sisters have all been through terrible struggles with breast cancer in the last few years.  But even with the difficulties, my life is so full and rich that I regularly find myself raising my hands in praise and thanks to God.

He has been good to me.

Last week my daughter had a restless night where she couldn’t quite seem to settle down, so we put her between us in bed.  She was so happy to be right there, quietly wiggling and flopping around from one of us to the other.  In the dark, half-asleep, I felt slobbery wetness on my chin.   Weird.  Then again on my cheek.  Huh?  It occurred to me that she was trying to kiss me.  It was too dark for her to see.  Overcome with love, I reached for her tiny face and kissed her sweet little lips.  Satisfied, she cuddled up next to me and fell fast asleep.

Is there anything better than when your child seeks you out for a spontaneous kiss?

I have learned to receive with gratitude and graciousness.  I don’t live in a mansion, drive a luxury vehicle, or wear designer clothes.  I’ve not yet achieved my desire to become a regularly published author.  But I’ve been given the most priceless, beautiful gifts imaginable.  I open my arms to receive them, recognizing the incredible value they bring.

He has been GOOD to me.

Read More

Posted on Oct 3, 2013 in Devotional, Love, Marriage | 6 comments

How I Feel Right Now

How I Feel Right Now

I know some of you read my blog posts and Facebook updates and think,

“Oh just SHUT UP with your peace and love and babies and husband-who-cleans-the-house!”

I know.

I was just listening to my iPod on shuffle and a song I used to really enjoy came on. It’s by Kelly Clarkson, called “How I Feel.” Check it out. I used to sing this verse at the top of my lungs:

It seems every time I find a good man
He’s got a good little wife
I’m not jealous but I won’t lie
I don’t want to hear about your wonderful life
And babies! Everywhere I look…
Trophy wives with their little black books
At this rate I’m gonna end up alone

How many great guys did I meet and wonder about, only to find out they were already married?  And seriously, was EVERYONE having babies but me?  Sometimes I struggle with what I write. I think about how it makes you feel. Will this post be hurtful? Cause someone to feel annoyed by how peachy everything is for me? If you’ve spent any time with me, you know I’m no Pollyanna. I’m a realist.

When I was screaming that bitter song at the top of my lungs, giving myself a few minutes of unguarded self-pity and anger toward those who had the things I wanted so much, I still held out hope for myself. For a few minutes I might’ve forgotten, but soon I was back to the version of myself I like better.

I needed to know there was hope for me. I needed to know SOMEONE who had made it through the desert and was living in The Promised Land. On earth. Alive. Was there really anyone out there who had waited for the Lord beyond what seemed reasonable and natural and actually received the promises?  And not a movie character???

I try to convey through what I write that my life is real, not a fairy tale. I look in the mirror and wonder what my husband sees in me. Sometimes it’s hard to live with someone who’s obsessively clean. There are challenges that come along with marrying later in life, set in our ways and trying to merge into a family. Sometimes I hear the baby cry and I get frustrated because I need to get a few more things done. Why won’t she settle into a schedule? The bed isn’t made, the tax records need to be updated, and I fear my body can’t handle another pregnancy.

But there are tons of women out there who write about that stuff. You can find young mothers griping about their children on any number of blogs. You can easily find wives tearing down their husbands and dragging all their dirty laundry out on the internet.

I could probably make it pretty funny too. But why?

My story is unique and I don’t write merely for your entertainment. (Although it makes me happy when you’re entertained.)  I waited a long time for this precious husband, for the daughter who brightens up my days. I had a glimmer of hope for more than one child. I begged God for a home of my own. I didn’t ask for a mansion; just a home to call my own. I wanted stacks of dishes, dirty floors, and laundry piled up – because the mess indicated life and love and full arms. So will I now complain about it all?

Go ahead and feel frustrated and angry because you’re still waiting for God’s promises to you. At times, stop reading my blog and find one of those gripy blogs. I understand. But come back when you’re feeling better, read again, and let the words encourage you.

God is faithful.

His timing is perfect.

Even when it’s painful and hard to understand and you think your suffering will never end – there is hope.

Read More

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in Marriage, Parenting | 4 comments

Naked and Not Ashamed

Naked and Not Ashamed

Today I find myself wondering how anyone can ever stand before another, even a trusted spouse, naked and not ashamed.  In our over-sexualized culture, images of perfection (not even real, but air-brushed) are everywhere.  They mock those who save sex for marriage and consider self-control impossible.

Lingerie commercials use models who have bodies covered with little more than glittering makeup to brazenly strut across our television screens.  They appear unashamed of their bodies, but stories of cutting and self-abuse filter out of their closely guarded world.  New shows glamorize adultery and betrayal.  Reality TV draws the viewer in with claims of competition and then baits them with underwear-clad, pencil-thin cast members who compete in physical challenges that often demand censors to blur body parts because they can’t keep their tiny cloth pieces held together by string in place.

Turn off the television and the billboards remind us.  Move to the country and magazines in the doctor’s office remind us.  Stop picking up the magazines and the catalog shows up in our mailbox.  Throw the catalog away unopened and see your neighbor’s teenage daughter imitating what she’s seen on the latest awards show.  Images of both desirable and undesirable bodies show up on the sides of our social media pages, our email screens, and even in newsletters from Christian celebrities.  They tell us what is acceptable and unacceptable, training us to believe that beauty can only look one way.

How am I, a 37-year old pregnant mother, to manage my emotions as the condemnation comes at me from every angle – telling me  I’m not thin enough, my hair isn’t long/curly/straight enough, my complexion isn’t creamy enough, my lips are full enough, my teeth aren’t white enough, and my legs aren’t smooth enough?  God-forbid I have any cellulite, varicose veins, or body hair!  It’s a full-time job to try to meet all these requirements.

In order to look like a supermodel, I need to spend hours each day in the gym; more hours planning and preparing perfectly balanced and healthy meals; even more hours removing body hair, smoothing and curling the hair on my head (adding hair pieces or extensions to make it thick and long enough); and even more hours getting facials, manicures,  pedicures, and body scrubs.  Let’s add to that time in the cosmetic surgeons office for Botox, lip fillers, a nose job, liposuction, a boob job, and a chin implant; then put makeup on my perfect complexion.  Fake eyelashes make my dark lashes thicker and longer, contouring deceives the eye so I appear to have more distinct features, and expensive powders remove any hint of shine.  After spending 16 hours a day on beauty treatments, where do we find time for a vocation, a family, or a social life?

tears_modelI’m convinced that’s why the models on the runway look miserable.  They’re furious about all the stuff they have to go through to have the privilege of representing the American woman to the world!  But if you take the time to do all these things and try to be the perfect woman, then people question if you have an eating disorder or need to find a job to occupy your time better.

No wonder so many like me find it nearly impossible to stand before our spouse – naked and not ashamed.

A lovely young bride confides in me that her husband has never seen her without her shirt on because she can’t see the beauty other see in her and feels mortified by her figure.  A mother of three cringes when her husband touches her in the dark, horrified that the skin on her stomach is loose and he will reject her.  A handsome young man starves himself while lifting weights, gets his entire upper body waxed and goes to the tanning bed – in an effort to look chiseled and desirable.  While he’s able to get dates, he cannot allow anyone to get close enough to see beneath his thin veneer of carefully cultivated masculinity and wonders why he’s always alone.  A beautiful woman causes her body to shut down and stop functioning properly so she feels thin enough to find a husband.  These are real people I know.

Imagine what it was like back in the days when those words were written.  God made Adam and Eve naked and not ashamed.  They lived in a garden.  They were totally innocent and unaware of comparison.  They didn’t know they were too hairy, their skin was too dark, or that they would be more appealing to Americans with blonde hair and blue eyes.  They stood before one another as perfect beings, loved and accepted.

I struggle with these thoughts every day.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s every waking hour of every single day.  Sometimes I just give up because who could ever be perfect enough?  And then at times I fight, walk the tightrope of perfectionism, and feel happy when I find myself somewhat closer to the elusive ideal.  When I was a young teenager, 5’10” tall and weighing all of 135 pounds, I felt mortified by how overweight I was.  If only I could reach the golden number of 125…  But no matter how much I exercised and starved myself, my body simply refused me.  If I wanted to weigh 125 pounds, I was going to have to stop eating all together, and somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to get to that extreme.  I was a size 5 or 7, but my significantly shorter friends wore size 1 or 3.

Fifteen years later I hired a Christian personal trainer/nutritionist to help me meet my goals.  The goal he set for me was to weigh 125 pounds.  When I laughed and told him that was next to impossible, he confidently told me I could do it if I’d just follow his plan.  Forget the fact that 125 is considered underweight for someone my height, but okay….  A month later I was injured due to over-exercise and cancelled my contract with him.

Lately I’ve been questioning myself.  Why can’t I just find a healthy balance, cherish it, and be a good example to my children?  Why must I either walk a tightrope of extreme measures or give up all control whatsoever?  What is the healthy middle ground?  And how can I find it?  Am I too far gone to ever have a healthy body-image?

I never remember a day in my life when I wasn’t on some kind of a diet, someone scrutinizing my food choices and judging me for it.  I don’t know many women who grew up differently than me.  The way I looked was always a reflection on someone else.  And it was important to meet or exceed the American standard of beauty.  Whatever the cost.  I tried hard to measure up.  I even went so far as to take laxatives, throw up, and stop eating all together, but I couldn’t maintain the discipline.  I hated the way I felt, even felt like I was sinning, and decided it wasn’t worth it.  I would take responsibility for the food I put in my mouth, for the calories I consumed, and find a way to deal with the consequences.

When I look at my precious Eliana and her perfect little form, my heart cries out in agony at the thought that I will pass this self-hatred and comparison on to her.  I want it to stop with me.  I want to find a way to cut through the lies that our culture is already throwing at her every day and somehow teach her to love and cherish her body.  I want her to feel grateful that she’s healthy, that she has a body that functions properly and is strong.  I want her to look in the mirror and see that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

And in her security with how she looks, I want her to know that she is so much more than the way she looks.  Please God, let her know that she is valuable for who she is, for her gifts and talents, for her wit and kindness.  I want her to be full of the gifts of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  I pray that she’ll be empty of comparison, self-loathing, and insecurity.

How do we teach our daughters to cherish and value themselves in a culture that demands perfection?  

How do we teach ourselves to accept and love our imperfections and scars?  How do we find a way to balance the instant gratification that’s available to us through processed foods and cosmetic surgery with the self-control that’s from the Holy Spirit?

I’ve searched my heart for answers and I’m still searching.  I’ve begged God for clarity, divine wisdom, and grace.  I’ve prayed for help to make wise and healthy choices, to use words that build up and do not tear down, and to show her through my example what a healthy and whole life looks like.

One day I hope to know what it means to be naked and not ashamed.  One day I hope my daughter will know the freedom of standing before her husband naked and not ashamed.  And I pray God will send her a husband who gives her no reason to feel shame but totally accepts and loves her the way she is.  I hope she will confidently walk away from anyone who even suggests that she doesn’t measure up.

As I consider a solution to the problem, the one that comes to mind kind of shocks me.  

What if I make a choice to embrace life to the fullest? To have so much life and love and joy that there’s no room for concern with self-image.

What if I fill my life up with so many good things – friends, love, laughter, children, fulfilling work, helping others, giving of myself – that I don’t have the energy to care about ridiculous things like cellulite (something even the thinnest, most athletic person can have)?

There are times when cultural norms will invade my joy-filled bubble and I’ll take some time to fancy things up a bit.  I may even hire a personal trainer to get back in shape after the ravages of pregnancy are over.  And if a facial is relaxing and I don’t have to go into debt to get one, I’ll enjoy it.  It won’t be to meet some standard of perfection, but be a way to relax and be good to myself.  Those things all have their place and we’re free to enjoy them, but when they become a measuring stick to guide our feelings of self-worth, they are tools to enslave us.

I’d love to know what are you doing to teach your daughters and sons to have a healthy self-image.  What are you doing to have a healthier self-image and stay off the tightrope of perfectionism?

Read More

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Devotional, Marriage | 0 comments

Why Did God Make Me Wait?

Why Did God Make Me Wait?

A few days ago I snuck in a guilty pleasure, a 90-minute phone conversation with one of my good friends from our single days in Nashville.  We often discuss the meaning of life when we talk, trying to figure out our own crazy lives and what to make of it all.  We have wildly different ideas about theology, but it never seems to bother either one of us.  I thoroughly enjoy our conversations, both of us realizing we never answer the questions but enjoying our conversation anyway.

telephone_1950sShe began this talk with the provocative questions, “Why do you think God had you wait so long to marry Rick?  Couldn’t you two have married fifteen years earlier?  You knew one another.  You were both single adults, who wanted marriage and family life, so why did you have to wait so long?  And how does Rick feel about it?  Does he wish you’d found one another sooner?”  Rick couldn’t care less about these questions.  He just enjoys life where he is and doesn’t try to analyze it too much.  I’ve gone over and over those questions in my mind, trying to get to the bottom of the puzzle.

I gave her the practical answer:  Fifteen years ago, Rick worked too many hours to have time for a family.  I wanted to get my education, have a career, and enjoy city life.  I wouldn’t have even considered becoming a farmer’s wife in the rural Midwest.  It wasn’t until he “retired” from the business he and his father had together that he was ready to marry.  As badly as I wanted a husband, it wasn’t until I had worn myself out with trying to make my way in the world that I was willing to allow someone else to help me.  I didn’t add this part in our conversation, but the truth is that it wasn’t until I discovered how much I could trust my loving God that I could trust my life to a man.

My friend wanted to know if it was it God’s plan for me not to marry until I was 36 years old, not to have the longed-for child until I was 37.  And am I ticked about being placed at the end of a very long line, being forced to wait until the last few years of fertility?  (At least I was in the line…)  Was it God’s plan for me to wrestle with purity, to wrestle with my sexuality, for twenty years?  Ugh!  Why would God make me reach puberty in my early teens, command me to reserve sex for marriage, and then make me wait until my late 30s to marry?  Is He really that mean?

I have to believe that God is not mean, and He did not intend to deprive me.  Humans have convoluted His system, made life into something different than the ideal, and as a result we suffer needlessly at times.  As I look back on my life, I cannot help but remember a guy who adored me while I was in my teen years.  He was an active member of our church and committed to Christ, handsome, kind, and had a good job.  He and I came from a similar background and our families understood one another well.  He was too old for me, so we never had more than one ‘accidental’ date.  I knew of his feelings through things others said and the fact that he hung around a lot, not because he ever acted on them.  But I believe he might’ve waited for me if I’d responded differently than I did.  I was over-the-moon that he’d pay attention to me (he was so cute!).  But that’s where it stopped.  I thought I needed to go to college, work, live on my own for a while, and if I could get him interested in me I wondered who else I might be able to attract.  So I made a choice and he married someone else.

Years later when I finally did marry, I married a man a lot like him.  I have to shake my head in wonder at the whole thing.  I suppose I might have had a similar life to the one I’m living now, but without the years of struggle as I waited and tried to keep my desires in check.  (Who knows, there may have been a bunch of different problems though…)  So is it right to blame God for “making me wait”?  We can never really know how our lives might have been different if we had made different choices.  I can’t say that I wish I’d chosen differently back then.  I’m not even sure I was capable of making another choice.  I made an immature decision because I was immature.  I needed time to figure out my way in the world.  God knew the entire time what I needed and He sheltered me as I bumbled around, trying to figure it all out.

So the battle between free-will and predestination rages on for me.  God gives us free will, but He knows everything, so He knows what choices we will make.  Nothing surprises Him.  Knowing what choices we’ll make, He’s able to lay out a plan for us.  So He has a plan, but it’s based on what He knows of us, yet He created us as we are.  To me, it’s the unanswerable question.

IMG_20130331_153246_716I’m thankful I finally married Rick and that we have such a sweet little girl.  I’m thankful that at this time in our lives, he’s at home a lot and we are raising her as a team.  I’m incredibly thankful that Rick is the kind of dad who is available and involved in his daughter’s daily life.  He’ll be that awesome dad who can chaperone field trips and help with homework.  Both of our dads were young when they had us, faithful and responsible, and they worked around the clock to provide for us.  Both of our mothers sometimes felt like they were raising their children alone, but appreciated the husbands who made it possible for them to have homes and children.  Given the time he had to prepare, Rick is a good provider and a present parent.  I’m thankful to know who I am, not trying to raise a child while I strive and strain to become whole.  I’m grateful that within a few years of discovering that I want to be a writer, I was able to stay at home and focus more on it.

Whether it was free-will or God’s perfect plan for my life, it has worked out.  God has taken my mess and made something beautiful out of it.  God has allowed me my mistakes, seen my heart, and worked it all out for my good – giving me joy unspeakable.  He’s healed me from my struggle with anxiety and depression and set me free to enjoy the other parts of life that I wanted so badly.  He’s given me a loving and kind husband who is absolutely committed to Christ, a true man of peace.  In spite of all the options I passed by and questionable choices I made, hopefully the person I am becoming is one who brings honor and glory to Christ’s name.

Our phone conversation wasn’t all about me.  My friend has her own questions, wondering how life might’ve been different if she and her husband had known one another earlier, had different experiences.  Could they have avoided some of the problems they’ve encountered?  Might new problems have taken their place?  Interrupted in the middle of our conversation by the needs of our children, my friend and I laughed as we hung up, undisturbed by our inability to conclude our discussion.  We didn’t need to wrap it all up.  We just enjoyed trying to figure it out together.  We’re both in love with our children, in love with our husbands, thankful for the ability to devote ourselves to them full-time, and to sneak in ridiculously long phone calls every once in a while.

Read More

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 in Marriage | 3 comments

Day 366

Day 366

One year ago today was my first full day as Mrs. Kimberly Wyse.

DSC_0588One year ago today I stopped being a girl without a home of her own, who lived in fear that her car would break down because she had no money to get it fixed, barren and wanting children badly, who had no health insurance, who had no family close by, and who was tired of being alone in a sea of friends and acquaintances.  I opened my eyes on a new day and found myself with a partner in life, married to a man who is related to nearly everyone in his (now our) community, provided for, with the hope that a child might already have been created or would be soon, and with a beautiful home to call my own.  We left on a three-week honeymoon, driving to Gatlinburg for a week in a tiny mountain cabin.  I remember that week for it’s warm fires in the fireplace, cozy meals as I cooked for my husband, visits to the hot tub in the freezing cold, and struggling through high emotions and anxiety.  I felt like I’d jumped off a cliff without a parachute, but soon realized that my jump had landed me in the safest, most comforting arms I could imagine.

One year ago today, I began a new journey.  I had to learn to adjust to a community I hadn’t been in for 24 years.  I had to release my fears and relax into the loving embrace of Rick’s family and friends who are all around us.  (He is related to or friends with half the nursing staff in the OB unit where I had Eliana!)  We had to learn to adjust to one another, dealing with the questions of why each of us does things the way we do them and then decide if we’ll adopt a new way or stick with one of the old ways.  Oh, and not take it personally as we work through that process…  I had to learn to trust someone else to take care of certain aspects of life for me, a very hard adjustment when one has been as independent as I have.  While I think that our maturity has helped us through these transitions with more ease than some couples may experience, it hasn’t all been calm and reasonable conversations over homemade meals.  There have been tears, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and even yelling and slamming doors.

Costa Rica 022We have found a pretty good balance in this last year though.  I discovered after a few months that yelling got us nowhere.  Most of our challenges can be boiled down to different styles of doing things.  If we can find the words to explain ourselves to one another and try to understand each other’s perspective, we can make it through anything.  We often discuss our different opinions, walk away for a while to think about it, then come back together to find a compromise that works for both of us.  We are quick to apologize.  We are quick to forgive and forget.  Once a matter has been decided, we try not to bring it back up again but just move on.  We try to be compassionate with one another, understanding that we’re both sensitive to certain things because of experiences we’ve had, and then try to work around those issues.

9 months pregnantOne of our biggest challenges this year was the unexpected and horrible sickness I had through pregnancy.  Thankfully we had several months together to establish some sort of routine and standard before God gave us a child.  Rick might have otherwise feared that he married the laziest, saddest woman he could find.  Although it was really hard on both of us, I learned a new respect for my husband through all the misery.  He has a beautiful servant’s heart and he graciously took over household duties, even after working long days on the farm.  The difficulty of pregnancy made the relief of delivery and motherhood that much more joyful.  Labor and delivery were not fun, but they were really nothing compared with months on end of terrible sickness.  The relief of being able to breathe and eat normally, to be able to touch my toes, to be able to walk around without seeing spots, to no longer take my blood pressure and blood sugar constantly, has increased my joy at having a sweet baby to love that much more.  I’ve heard of women who cry on the way home from the hospital because they aren’t pregnant any more.  That isn’t me!  In spite of some soreness and the need to take it easy for a few weeks, I feel great and am joyful and overwhelemed with happiness.

We have had some difficulties this year – like the cancer diagnosis and treatment my mother has gone through.  There have been challenges that have taken my breath away.  But there has also been such joy.

366 days ago, I stepped into a new life.  After waiting and waiting for so long, believing for God to intervene in my life and provide the blessings He had promised, I finally stepped into the time of blessing.  Like a butterfly that’s been in it’s cocoon and finally made it out, I began to fly.  I had heard a quote that resounded with me that goes, “Nothing happens and nothing happens and nothing happens; and then EVERYTHING happens.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARick is the husband I prayed for.  There is no such thing as perfection here on earth, but he is a special blessing that comes very close.  He has given me everything I prayed for – a husband, children, and a home of my own.  More than that, he has shown me love, devotion, tenderness, and so much more.  He is my best friend, the kind of father any child would love to have, trustworthy, kind, affectionate, and fun.  I am so glad I married this man.  And the icing on the cake is our sweet little daughter, Eliana Rose.  She melts my heart and fills me with joy.

Thank You, God, for the blessings You’ve given me.  I am full to overflowing.

Read More

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 in Fertility, Marriage | 3 comments

Mine

Mine

I have a little confession to make.  I’ve allowed myself to indulge in a bit of fantasy over the years, dreaming of the day when I’d have a family of my own.  Becoming dependent on a man for everything never appealed to me so I wanted a career I could rely on if I ever needed to take care of myself, but I also wanted to get married and be a dedicated full-time mom to a house full of children.  (Talk about conflicting ideas in one head!)  I guess the only way I could get both things was to do what I did – focus on education and career, then get married and have babies later.

I couldn’t just want my family without having an idea of what I was getting into and how exactly I could be THE BEST mother and wife possible when the time came.  Strange as it may seem, I began reading books on parenting and marriage while I was still in high school.  I listened to radio programs that centered on healthy family dynamics.  I watched other people – how they handled their marriages and children – and made mental notes:  do this, do NOT do that, research that option further…  I went to counseling and learned what family systems I had grown up with that were healthy and unhealthy.  I worked hard to become someone who could have thriving relationships with others, free from insecurities and false notions of what normal family life is.  By the time I was in my late-20s, I felt like I’d gathered enough information to do a pretty decent job and had come to the conclusion that every parent and spouse messes up in some way so I could pretty much count on that too.

I spent a lot of time taking care of other people’s children.  I worked part-time as a nanny for an agency, meeting many different families.  I babysat for the children of my friends, deciding to love the children God had put into my life and enjoy the love I received in return.  And for about 18 months before Rick and I got married, I helped a dear friend take care of her six children and run her large household.  I filled my empty heart with the love of these dear friends and it made the loneliness much more bearable.

Part of my indulgence in fantasy included pretending like the kids were mine when I was out with them in public – driving, shopping, playing at parks.  For a little while, I’d allow myself to pretend like I was the mom, allow the strangers around me to believe what they wanted, and think about what my life would be like if it were true.  Car seats, French fries ground into the carpet, toys everywhere, germy little fingers – all of it!  I imagined they were my responsibility, not children I had borrowed for a few hours but ones I had nurtured from the beginning.  And most of the time I was happy to give them back at the end of the day or the outing, allowing their parents to deal with the long nights without sleep and the difficult discipline issues.

Much of the joy and wonder of this pregnancy has been eclipsed by the way my body has rebelled against it’s intruder.  All the love I have for this unborn child has somehow not been picked up by my digestive system, which has fought us every step of the way.  Surviving the next day has become a bigger concern than dreaming about what’s to come and there have been very few fantasies about my life after the baby arrives.  Instead, I’ve faced a lot of fears.  Why was I so confident that I’d be good at bringing children into the world?  I’m not nearly as tough as I thought I was.  What if this baby is as difficult to manage as this pregnancy has been?  Can I ever handle another pregnancy again?  What if I lose this baby after everything I’ve gone through?

As the end of the pregnancy has neared, my fears have calmed significantly.  It’s easier not to be afraid when constant vomiting and nausea aren’t your daily companions.  Much of my energy has returned and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Even if the baby were to come at this point, the pregnancy is viable and the baby appears to be thriving in my womb.  We have nearly everything done to our home in preparation, and the joy of this long-awaited Christmas season is starting to sink in.

120312131207Yesterday I was able to drive myself into the nearby town to drop something at the Post Office – a pretty exciting outing for this bed rest mommy.  As I got out of the car, I noticed the infant car seat strapped securely into the back, just waiting for it’s occupant, and I had to stop to catch my breath.  Tears sprung to my eyes as I realized that anyone passing by would assume – and rightfully so – that the baby seat is for MY baby.  It isn’t pretend any more.  I don’t have to give this child, this car seat, back to the woman whose been blessed to call this child her own.  I am the one who has been blessed!  Never again will I face that awkward moment when the child calls out to me by a name other than “Mommy” and those around us realize that I’m the aunt or the babysitter.

I remember once when my nephew was just a tiny baby, someone confused him as my child in front of my sister.  She was thoroughly annoyed and quick to correct the offender.  I was a little taken aback by her reaction until she explained.  She said after everything she went through to bring him into the world, all the pregnancy discomforts, plus the sleepless nights and countless dirty diapers, she wanted all the credit for him.  She did not want to share it with anyone else.  I get it now.

I’m grateful to God and to Rick for giving me the opportunity to be a mother.  I’m also grateful for all the research I did in a time when I had the energy and focus to do it.  The day that Rick and I actually put our new baby into his or her car seat for the first time and drive home will probably be one of the best days of my life.  I’m so excited about this new little person who I will have the privilege of calling my own.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: