Motherhood

Running Injuries and Sanctification (More Similar Than You Think)

Running Injuries and Sanctification (More Similar Than You Think)

About a year ago I went for a run for the first time after hospital bed rest. After weeks of recovery from a c-section, I craved running. So I grabbed my running shoes and headed out the door. This might seem like a minor event, and it is in the grand scheme of things. People get back to running all the time after childbirth. I have before too. 

Except this time, I haven’t. 

Our Bodies and Birth Trauma This Side of Eden

Our Bodies and Birth Trauma This Side of Eden

Eight years ago this month innocence was lost.

Like millions of parents who have gone before us, we rejoiced at the faint pink line that showed up on our positive pregnancy test in the early morning hours. We went to work as different people that day. We went hopeful. We went excited. We went with a smile on our faces, knowing we had a secret that no one else knew yet. I remember making my first OB appointment in my car while I was on my lunch break, lest anyone hear my conversation and know that I was pregnant. I wanted to tell people on my terms, in my way. 

I never got that chance.

When Your Babies Go to Kindergarten

When Your Babies Go to Kindergarten

If you had told me five years ago that the twins starting school was going to come upon me before I knew it, I would have laughed at you. I was in the thick of twin infants and had no category for a world where they wouldn’t be with me all day (and all night at that stage in the game). “The days are long, but the years are short,” they say. To a new mom that sounds like empty platitudes, designed to make her count her blessings. To a mom about to send her first kids to kindergarten, it sounds like the truest words ever spoken.

Life is a Gift: Reflections on My Son's Difficult Birth

Life is a Gift: Reflections on My Son's Difficult Birth

oday is Ben’s birthday. This time last year we were anticipating his arrival. Today we are enjoying his happy presence. What a gift! Birthdays are such interesting days for moms (at least me). It’s the day of his birth, but so much of that day had to do with me and the effort it took to bring him into the world. While a birthday is the celebration of the person born, it also is intimately connected to the woman who bore the child.

The night before Ben’s birth, contractions had started up again. We were accustomed to the roller coaster ride that comes with being a high-risk patient. Every few days, Ben’s heart rate would do something (or my body would do something) that put everyone on high alert. I was used to contractions. I was 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant, so Braxton Hicks contractions are pretty standard at that gestation (especially with a fourth child). And in my mind, even painful Braxton Hicks felt like a slight pinch compared to the abruption pain from three weeks prior. So I didn’t think anything of them. My friends came to visit. They stayed through my routine evening monitoring, until my nurse came in and asked me if I was feeling the contractions.

On Nursing, Weaning, and Not Being God

On Nursing, Weaning, and Not Being God

Ben turns one in a little over a week, which means that nursing is coming to an end. Since he’s my last baby, I’ve been reflective and emotional about the idea of being done. But I’ve also been hopeful and excited. It’s a new stage in our parenting. Our kids are getting older. As with every stage, there are challenges, but there are so many fun things as well. So it’s very bittersweet.

When I weaned Seth I was very sentimental about it all. I cried. I talked about it all the time. I even wrote about it! It was a hard process for me emotionally and for him. We had such a sweet time together that first year. I loved nursing him so much that I couldn’t wait to nurse another baby.

This time around I am less sentimental.

Jesus, Joy, and Discipline (A Guest Post by Sara Wallace)

Jesus, Joy, and Discipline (A Guest Post by Sara Wallace)

Last year I was an Awana Cubby leader. I had some skin in the game (two Cubbies of my own), so I decided it was only right for me to help out. One night I sat in the back and looked over the sea of little blue preschool vests, the kids wiggling excitedly as they listened to the Bible story from their leader. The leader stopped in the middle of the story to address a couple of distracting Cubbies. “No, Cubbies. We don’t spit on each other. Listen to the story and have self-control.”

I smiled to myself. Good job, teacher, I thought. Don’t let those little troublemakers get away with it. They need to learn self-control now while they’re young. They need to be thoughtful of those around them, respectful of their teacher, and—oh, shoot. Those are my kids.

One Year Later: Reflections on Life in the Face of Death

One Year Later: Reflections on Life in the Face of Death

Last year, on May 19, we celebrated Seth’s second birthday with a wonderful family day. I made cookies for his birthday dessert (because cookies are his favorite), ate pizza for dinner as a family (another one of his favorites), then packed my bags and headed out to teach at a local women’s retreat—my last speaking engagement before Ben’s birth.

It was a great weekend of rest, fellowship with other like-minded women, and studying God’s word together. I also had a nagging side ache that only intensified as I spoke throughout the day on Saturday. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle or just general third trimester achiness, traveled home that afternoon, and spent the evening resting.

The pain only intensified.

This Mother's Day, Honor The Image Bearer

This Mother's Day, Honor The Image Bearer

When I was weaning my third son two years ago I was suddenly aware of the passages in scripture that talk about a nursing mother (Ps. 22:9, Is. 49:15). It’s not a ton, but the ones that are there are beautiful, compelling, and even jarring to someone who is on the more conservative end of the theological spectrum. We don’t talk much about God being seen in a mom nursing her baby (or even God being seen in motherhood in general).

In the final days of nursing him I was overcome with emotion. I was sad. I was grieving. I was torn between what my heart wanted, but what everything else around me said: “it’s time.”

I was imaging God.

My Kids Teach Me That Worship Isn't About Me

My Kids Teach Me That Worship Isn't About Me

For as long as I’ve been a believer, I have prided myself in the fact that I don’t view the corporate gathering of God’s people as an entertainment service. In college, when many made the distinction between preaching and “worship” (the singing), I stood firm that it was God’s word preached that was the focal point of the worship gathering. We worship through singing. We worship through prayer. We worship through liturgy. We worship through the preached word. I simply didn’t think I had a problem with thinking church was about my preferences—about me.

Until a couple of months ago.

Psalm 23 and The Valley of The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23 and The Valley of The Shadow of Death

I’ve said before that the only thing I could read during our hard days in the hospital this past summer were the psalms (and a few other things). I read them every single day, journaling, thinking, praying. In the psalms I had a language for what I was feeling. I had a language for my fears. But in the psalms, I more importantly had a language for who God is in spite of those fears and feelings. The psalms showed me God, even when everything was uncertain. My hope in spending my days in the psalms was not only that I would be sustained in the moment of waiting for Ben's birth, but that I would also be sustained if (or when) the dark moment came to deliver Ben unexpectedly.

That moment did come, but my mind went blank.