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fear not, mama

Tiffany NicoleComment
When I gave my life to Jesus, my fears vanished. There was nothing left to fear. If I were to die, I knew I was all set. I was concerned about those I knew who had not yet met Jesus but I knew his timing would be perfect and not to worry about it.

Then I found out we were expecting. Somewhere along the positive pregnancy test fear was conceived, too. I worried I would lose the baby. I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant until after the first trimester for fear of miscarriage. I had a hard time believing I was going to be a mama. Our home remained free of baby paraphernalia until a friend brought over a cute basket with bath soaps. The little basket seemed so out of place in our small apartment. I continued to stay clear of any baby purchases for fear our place would be scattered with the paraphernalia without a baby to go along with it all.

Days and weeks and months went by. I checked the What to Expect app practically daily, reading interesting stats and tips and stories shared by other mamas. Baby continued to grow. All the tests looked great. Doctors said everything was fabulous. But I had read somewhere that someone's baby had this and that and no one knew and things got overlooked. Random scenarios played themselves over in my head.

When I went to my 37 week appointment, my doctor told me everything still looked great and that baby could be making her debut any day. What?! had yet to do anything baby related. The room was littered with all the gifts from the baby shower the week before. The bumpers still needed sewing. Clothes and blankets needed washing. Decals were to be put up. But in the back of my mind, the horrible scenarios continued to play out.

On a Friday evening, our little baby girl entered the world. Perfect in every way. I was officially a mama. And what was this mama to do? Read up on everything baby related. Sleeping. Eating. Developmental skills. I drove myself crazy. I needed an intervention, really. Months of worrying over everything. Was she breathing? Did she poop yet? Is the jaundice finally gone? Was she getting enough to eat? How is eczema treated? Is that rash part of the eczema or something else entirely? Projectile vomiting?! Was she rolling over yet? Was I doing everything I need to make her successful? Because everyone knows an infant needs to succeed. I was in constant fear that something was not right. And the books were of no help. Each one tells you something different.

One day God finally intervened. Well, I am sure he tried before hand, I just was not listening. I closed the books. Stopped comparing her to every baby I met or read about. I let her just be. No more nap attempts. No more failed routines. No more expectations. No more worry. No more fear. Peace returned in full capacity. It is amazing what listening to God will do, isn't it?

I wish I would have truly given everything to God to begin with. Truly surrendered her to Him at her baby dedication. Trying to make sure nothing bad happens is a horrible spot to be in seeing it is clearly is impossible. And the fear and worry make everything else so much harder. It takes the joy out of life. Of being a mama. Knowing God was with me and had her in his hands is comforting and would have been great to actually be living it out and believing it. Thankfully, God gave me another go at the whole thing and let me know He was with me every step of the way and continues to remind me He is watching over them and me, covering me with more peace that I even thought possible. 

Pregnancy number two started with more bumps than the first. Our first ultrasound there was no heart beat to be heard. The due date was unsure, so the doctor proceeded to tell us it could be too soon or I could have miscarried. The response was not what I was expecting, yet I was at peace about it. I knew that God was in control this time. I did not let fear get its grip on me. We waited. Another week. This time we had already told our family and close friends the day we found out and now we asked for prayers for our little baby. For God to do His thing. We returned. Beating away, we saw the heartbeat on the monitor and listened closely to the sound. The sound of life. The sound of hope. The sound of answered prayers. The sound of peace.

At our twenty week appointment we had our in depth ultrasound to check for the usual things. They checked and looked and poked and wrote on a piece of paper the sex baby, so we could take it to a bakery and find out with our family together that night. That afternoon I got a call from the doctor's office telling me that I needed to come back in for more pictures. Nothing is wrong, they assured me. Just need more pictures. More waiting. More peace followed. More waiting. More prayers. Everything was perfect. 

Over a month before my due date, I was in the hospital with contractions every three to five minutes and dilated to a three. The nurse looked at me and told us nonchalantly, baby could be coming today. Today?! We asked for more prayers for baby. The contractions finally stopped and we returned home. Two trips later, we had a healthy boy born about three weeks early. Healthy and perfect and covered in prayer, which is why we concluded that Elijah was a perfect middle name. A man of prayer. 

I pray that if you are living with fear or worry, you would turn it over to Jesus. It is amazing what it can do and how God will show you how to trust him all the more. Perfect love casts out fear and when we trust God, we allow ourselves to bask in his unfailing love. I wish I would have been able to do that with my first pregnancy but God redeemed it with my second and for that I am thankful. 

Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorites about fear, so I thought I would leave you with an 8x10 printable, just in case you need a reminder. Click on picture to download. It is a great one to have memorized when fear creeps in.

Here's to more trusting and less fear. More smiles and less worry. 

becoming a mama

Tiffany Nicole3 Comments
When I thought about becoming a mom I never thought about what it REALLY entailed and entered it blindly with visions of ruffled dresses and head bands dancing in my head. I had such a hard time coming to grip with the fact I was going to have a baby that the reality of  what it meant to have a baby hardly came to play. The fear of having a healthy baby overtook my thoughts of what motherhood had for me. I have been around children since I was one myself. I babysat, helped in children's church and just about anything else you do with kiddos. I really enjoyed it and never thought anything of motherhood except that one day I would enter in to it. Dirty diapers and teeny cut vegetables were easy enough.

Motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be. For that I am extremely grateful but a little heartbroken at the same time. As your wedding vows state: for better or worse, the same goes with having children. For better or worse. Better when they sleep through the night. Better when they listen to your request. Better when they tell you they love you as you kiss them good night. For worse when they throw themselves on the ground in public. Worse when bad habits like nose picking reveals itself. Worse when they tell you they do not want to listen in a not so nice tone.

The journey thus far.

Being a mom is about giving up more of yourself than you ever thought possible or ever really wanted to give to begin with. It is about learning to be consistent, yet knowing when to give in and give that last minute cookie before bed. It is about doing things out of your comfort zone all in the name of fun. It is about getting back to your roots and relearning what fun really is. It is seeing Jesus being lived out in the little lives of those he has given you for a short while.

Motherhood breaks you forever. It takes you to places you don't want to go and teaches you lessons you don't want to learn and forces you to truly rely on God. For comfort during the tough times. For thankfulness during the good times. For him to watch over them as they head out in to the world to do what he ever so carefully placed them here to do for a time such as this. For grace when you mess up. And trust me, you will mess up but thankfully you have grace to cling to!

Motherhood is a journey. A real adventure filled with toothless smiles and shrieks and piles of laundry and messy hair and snuggles and first laughs. It is a beautiful mess. It is something that changes you before you have a chance to see where it happened. Somewhere between the positive pregnancy test and the first cry there is a shift in your soul and motherhood hits you and God shows up to guide you.

Part of me wishes there would have been some class that really prepares you for this stuff. Tells you really how hard it will be and just how tired it is humanly possible to be. Takes you through it all and then asks you in a monotone voice: do you wish to continue? I wish to continue? 

Really, there is nothing that I would enjoy doing more than being a mama. It is not for the faint of heart but somewhere along the line, another switch is flipped and God makes you strong enough and brave enough and allows you to do things you never thought possible. To feel things you never thought possible. It is truly a little miracle wrapped in God's love and mercy. These are the tiny people God has given to you to love and to mold you and change you in to the person he has made you to be.