Change…beautiful or brutal

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“Just call me…because you are going to be a basket case who will not be able to stop crying!” was the advice I was given from a few ladies about my baby babies starting kindergarten AND pre-k the same year. See, Autumn was always a very independent and confident child so I was not fearful of the routine change for her in starting kindergarten. Scout, however, was THE momma’s sweet baby of ALL the momma’s babies ever alive…so I was CERTAIN that the change from being home with momma allllllllll day evvvvvvvvery day would just be the worst. And the two only being 18 months apart in age meant that Autumn would start school and Scout would be home. Alone. With momma. For a year. I mean, that would have just been over the top hard for that baby to recover from the following year. I could just imagine it…”Aw, here Scout let’s take sthisssther (he had the cutest lisp) to school every morning then we will snuggle and laugh and play all day every day. Until it’s your turn to go to school. Cause I’m SURE you will totally understand that!” He would’ve needed serious therapy. Like DHR would have been called the first day right?! SO our answer was this…we will enroll Scout into a pre-k program so he and “sthisssther” can prepare and do the first year of school thing together. It was brilliant. And BONUS…our local school (the one hubs and I both graduated from) started a pre-k program THAT VERY YEAR that Autumn would start “keeen-dee-gar-tun.” Score.

So here we had all this CHANGE coming upon us. Individually AND as a family unit. My world would be changing drastically because my last 6 years had been CONSUMED with pregnancy, newborns, diapers, feedings, no sleep, spit up, just plain vomit, cuddling, snuggling, laughing, hide-and-go seek, Dora, Charlie and Lola, town runs, play dates, ALL.THINGS.BABY/TODDLER/CHILD. And yet, with all of that…the biggest change would be NOT BEING WITH MY BABIES EVERY DAY! I mean, I had devoted my entire life to this. My “job” was being home with them every day. And then there would be the change that A and S would be making…the same as mine — NOT BEING WITH MOMMY EVERY DAY!
Please do not miss this though…there would be WONDERFULNESS in this change as well! I would be able to go to the dentist and get my teeth cleaned ALONE. I would be able to go to Wal-Mart and grocery shop ALONE. I would be able to clean my house DURING the day light instead of at 12 midnight because that’s when all is quiet and still. I answered one lady this way when she asked “aren’t you going to be so sad when they start school?!!” :
“UMMMM, NO. IT’S LIKE RETIREMENT FOR ME!” Who have you ever met that when their job is finished and complete isn’t ECSTATIC for retirement?!! I had been doing something else over the past 6 years…I had been preparing. I knew that if the world stood and time remained that in 5 very short years, my baby would be going to “keeen-dee-gar-tun.” I knew that was the natural progression of time. I knew that with maturity and growth would come change in her/our life. I knew that it was what was necessary for her to become who she was meant to be. I knew there would be sadness mixed with the excitement. I MAINLY knew this: THIS was part of the reason I would commit myself to her. THIS was why I would sacrifice a career, my pride, my need, my desire. THIS was why I forbade myself to miss these 5 years. THIS would be what I would NEVER be able to have again. A job was ALWAYS a possibility…my baby girl and baby boy’s first roll over, first word, first steps, the snuggles, the kisses, the TIME with them would not be ever again. And that TIME with them both would be over so quickly, I just didn’t wanna miss it. We made decisions to do without. We didn’t do vacations every year, we didn’t eat out, we didn’t buy new or expensive clothes, we didn’t have extravagant “things,” our home was small and simple, we didn’t have “stuff” … and ya know what? we made it just fine with what we did have — L*O*V*E and commitment. We had food every day…and we had clothes every day…we were provided for in every sense of the words “for our needs.”

I took a nap, on our big bed, with my sweet and precious and BEAUTIFUL babies one afternoon and woke up to be fixing pancakes and bacon for my 5 year old and 4 year old children’s FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. It LITERALLY happened that fast. With “Build A Bear” creations as support (Autumn’s voice recording was me saying “I love you baby…don’t cry.”…that bear still says that 8 years later) and backpacks full of goodies/supplies for their classroom and full stomachs…we head out. Scared. Unsure. Nervous. Excited. Giddy. Back to scared. Like a roller coaster that with every up there was a sign that read “good part” and with every dip “bad part” and every curve “good luck figuring out what you’re feeling now!” we head out to this CHANGE. THIS moment in our lives is EXACTLY what I thought of when I first read the above quote. THIS was such a beautiful and natural and exciting and new “era” of time for all of us…that was the BEAUTIFUL part. And yet it was so scary and different and challenging for us as well…that was the BRUTAL part. So how’d it turn out you ask?! Autumn (my very independent and confident child) cried EVERY SINGLE DAY for the first two weeks…like the embarrassing outpour crying that made me tell her on day 6 “I am NOT leaving you at the Hannah Home box for the love…it’s school. Your aunt is in the office and your momma lives 3 MINUTES from here…get it together!” Bless. And once she learned the routine and got comfortable with the “change” she fell in love with school and has never cried to go since. Scout (my very momma’s boy child) walked into that pre-k class, straight to his table, took off the supply filled backpack, waved at me and said “bye ma!” He cried WHEN I CAME BACK TO PICK HIM UP! The “change” wasn’t so hard for him afterall. Wow how our babies can totally fool us huh?!

Now. When I look at this quote I see a spiritual application and not JUST a physical one…read it again.

Based solely upon our children’s obedience to Jesus and His Gospel…our lives changed. And that “change” has been BEAUTIFUL. And brutal.
We, as 4 saved souls, have started at the point of the Cross. We no longer are just following after men, patters, traditions, ways, doctrines, etc. There is something very enlightening about simply and humbly seeking The Lord and His Word. The change that THIS brought has spiritually brought about a peace which doesn’t make sense in the world (isn’t it ironic..don’t ya think?). We accepted that we did not know a lot…and then begin to pray for the change that was necessary for us to know exactly what He wants/requires/demands. That change was from a commitment to trust. Trust Him to do what He says He will do…He is completely ok with being held accountable to His promises. That change was from a commitment to have faith. Faith that He is able to do just as He says…and to rest in that faith that He wants to. So, for us to have hearts which desire truth, seek truth, and ask understanding, trusting Him to lead us and having faith that He will…CHANGE has been beautiful because through His word we are brave enough to accept what is required of us. NO MATTER THE COST. It’s beautiful because it’s relying on Him…beautiful because He is ENOUGH. His Word is ENOUGH. And because we know that He is faithful and just, the change(s) we are making is/are not brutal in that we are fearfully resisting…change is brutal because becoming more obedient to God means being less obedient to self/people and self and people just DO NOT LIKE THIS!!! It doesn’t make sense. It’s weird. What I am obeying may not be what you’re obeying and therefore I can say you are wrong and you can say I am wrong…but say all we want right cause we know all there is to know and we are responsible for making sure that every soul is obeying the way we obey. Clearly, that’s the right thing right?! I have it all figured out…you need me to tell you what to do…and when you don’t, then you are wrong. Cause you will have to answer to me one day about how/what you obeyed. I am your judge. I have the answers. You must please me. You have to do what I am doing or you are wrong because I am right. This means this and if you don’t see/understand this this way…then clearly you are wrong. Now wait. Hold up. Surely when you read that and maybe even say it out loud when you reread it…it sounds REEEEEEEdiculous. It was intended to. See, change in what we do – what we understand – what we believe – what we know – what we practice – is almost 100% of the time looked at brutally. If we begin to do things differently…immediately those new ways are wrong. And yet, CHANGE is exactly what will happen when we accept His way for us. CHANGE will continue to happen our entire life after that moment as well…as we mature, we change. As we learn more, we change. As we understand more, we change. I use the #think a lot in quote posts to simply get people’s minds a’turning. So, just think about this with me for a moment:

We make physical changes ALL the time and they go without question right?! I may go from having dark hair through several steps to become blonde and only an occasional “ah, well, you look different” will occur. We change jobs, houses, cars, shoes, hair styles, friends, hobbies, ALL the time and hardly ever do we question those changes. There may be physical changes we make that never even get noticed. We change the type of music we listen to…we change the liquids we drink…we start painting our finger nails light colors instead of dark ones. These “types” of changes do not bother us or anyone else normally. They are vastly overlooked. BUT…let a family of 4 souls who submit to Jesus start making changes based on spiritual understanding AND THE WHOLE WORLD CEASES TO TURN. THIS is not accepted, or overlooked, or unnoticed. Let a woman and her husband and their daughter accept simple instruction of silence during gatherings of The Lord’s church and THIS has GOT TO BE WRONG…and ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY. There can be a family of 4 who’s child is slowly making subtle changes that are proving his/her choices to serve self instead of God but since they are physical choices like dress/dating/friends/habits/behavior/etc we don’t get all ruffled about that. We call that “normal” and “hormones” and “teenagers” and “sowing wild oats” and “figuring things out”…BUT if a woman and her daughter are choosing to submit to God in the instructions He has given them in being silent, it will not be tolerated. “They don’t understand those instructions clearly.” “That’s not what that means!!!” Do you see that?!
Why can’t we accept spiritual change? Why do we fear it? Why do we judge it? Why do we condemn it? Why do we not allow it? NOW…let me interject here and say this: we are commanded not to change what God has said right?! What He says is what He means. Clearly. And that is NOT the changing I am referring to in this post…it’s the change that comes from a true submission to His Word. The change that happens in our hearts…our thinking…our understanding…our choices…our actions…our worship…our devotion…our commitments…ONCE we humbly submit to Jesus, His example, His commands, His ways. Once we humbly submit to God, His Word, His will. Once we humbly submit to the Holy Spirit, His teachings, His commands, His instructions. THIS WILL CAUSE CHANGE. Change that will be BEAUTIFUL or BRUTAL…and that depends on us. Sisters, submitting to my Lord’s will for me is the best thing ever. It’s weird. It’s laughed at. It’s doubted. It’s questioned. It’s abnormal. it’s BRUTAL…To the world only. To my Lord — it’s the most BEAUTIFUL THING EVER!!! And I pray for Him to allow me time to change in whatever ways necessary to be pleasing to Him, to honor my husband, to love my children, to be the complete servant He desires. WHATEVER changes THAT requires…may I see them as beautiful and not brutal. May I understand the brutality would be in resisting those changes…resisting humility, resisting selflessness, resisting instructions from Him.
Change with intent to obey Him = beauty
Change resisted because of fear/pride = brutal.

#think ~~~~~ Just think.

What mothers aren’t saying.

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Said “QUIT” like 27 times.
Whipped him/her 392 times.
4 hours sleep in 19 weeks.
4,674 dishes washed.
Even more clothes.
No shave November…pffft, no shave ever.
Sex – want it/don’t/can’t/too tired/fat/blah.
17 bills paid TODAY.
$837.72 in groceries. This month.

Done it. Said it all. Right?
THIS can produce THIS:

“I want to just leave. Go away. Drive until I run out of gas.”
“Good luck doing this alone buddy. I’m out!”
“This place would collapse without me.”
“I just cannot do this anymore.”

Admit it. You’ve thought it.
And IT’S OK. No need to beat yourself up. Or be embarrassed. Or ashamed. You are in the 100 percentile of mothers.

When Autumn was 2 weeks old, I took her to her 2 week checkup. Alone. And no it was not because TJ had no interest or care for me, her, or the situation…he HAD to work. We lived on his income only and he never took advantage of taking time off. He worked or we didn’t eat. Lol. Upon arriving at the doctor’s office, I got the typical “aww, she’s so pretty” and “you look so good” and the ever famous “your life has forever changed!” I smile and say “thank you” to everyone and head back to an exam room. When the doctor makes his way around his packed facility, he looks at her info -weight, length, etc.- and says “YOU ARE STARVING HER!” Wait. What?! She has been sucking the nipple PLUM off my breast for the last 2 weeks, and I mean that literally -like rips in these bad babies- and I’M STARVING HER?! What crazy meds you on old man?! Gimme my baby and shut your mouth cause you clearly know nothing about breast feeding or birth or bonding of a mother and baby. All things that ran through my head. When the evidence was PLAINLY in front of him. Autumn weighed 9.5 at birth, lost down to 8.12, and 2 weeks later….she is still 8.12. She was getting nothing. Nada. ALLLLLLLLLL that sucking, bleeding, cracking, ripping for NOTHING?! All those 2 hour feedings for nothing. Really? That nursery nurses advice about “let her cry” was ringing in my head. Well, I had been “letting her cry” for the last 2 weeks in order to not “spoil” her…NOBODY TOLD ME I COULD BE STARVING HER!”
So, a walk of shame back through the hallway–feeling the eyes of judgmental women who perfectly raised their perfect babies and never ever starved them–I drive home. I cry. I feel so ashamed. So guilty. I cannot even look at my angel perfect baby because I have failed her — TWO WEEKS IN!! I make it to the bedroom in our itty bitty 2 room home, get her out of her carseat, lay her down in her bassinet at the end of our bed…and I cry. I remember having this overwhelming feeling of “I KNEW I was not meant to be a mother!” I inched over to the edge of her bassinet and looked at her and realized that I had done her so wrongly…she was crying out for me in a state of hunger and I -wanting to be THAT mother of THAT baby who would NOT be spoiled to being picked up every time she cried- let her cry herself exhausted. And starving. Worthless doesn’t really even justify how low I felt.
TJ arrives home to find me crying face down on our bed…still in that uncontrollable state. When he asked me “baby…what is wrong??!!” I will NEVER forget my reply…and neither will he.

“I don’t want to be a mother anymore.”

“AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH….HOW COULD YOU???!!” No mother is supposed to EVER feel this…let alone SPEAK IT!!! Right?! Look, I was exhausted. Emotionally drained. Going on almost no sleep. The nipples…OH DEAR LOVE. And I’ve JUST been told I am so incompetent and horrible and selfish and the worst mother to ever mother. (that was clearly all in my head…but come on, we feel this way right?!!)

See there is something about God’s design for the human body to NEED to lie in a state of rest for a certain amount of time daily. Wisdom. And over the course of the two weeks, I have had ZERO. She ate every 2 hours. So figure this:
12-15 minutes on left breast
Burp for at least 5
12-15 minutes on right breast
Burp for at least 5
3 minutes to change diaper
lay her down…she cries.
15-20 of that (ohmygah I was starving that baby!) she falls asleep
That leaves…57 minutes until she is ready again right?!
Now, I have to pee. Clean and medicate the nipples. Write in her book some feeling I had cause clearly I am SUPPOSED TO RECORD every little thing. eye roll. I may get to close my eyes for 30 minutes…maybe none. It’s time to incorrectly latch her back on again. Oh.the.pain. I mean, if you have NEVER had a knife -a very sharp one- slit around the outside of your areola..well by nad IT FREAKING HURTS!!! I would hold my breathe, grit my teeth, and pray to God above that THIS time it wouldn’t hurt so badly. Well, it would. Just as badly, if not worse, than the last time. BUT, I knew she needed what my body produced for her MORE than I needed to be relieved. I had a sense of her need(s) more than my own. And THAT freaked some Tressa out let me tell you.

ALLLLLL that typed to make this point: ALL of us have felt that overwhelming “ohmystars I just can’t.” Like “DONE!” “I’m out!” “This isn’t what I signed up for!” “She’s so little HOW can she need SO MUCH?!” “I am a epic failure.” But you know what…I -in 2001- had no idea this “feeling” was normal. Women just didn’t seem to openly talk about failure…or exhaustion…or overload…or the “too much”…I was prepared for all the 9 month crap and the labor mess and yet NOBODY told me about L.I.F.E with this human. I was supposed to be in amazement and awe and so happy and so “normal” right?! And I just wasn’t. I wanted out. I changed my mind. I didn’t think this through. And then top that with the OVER the top pile of guilt that surfaced for feeling this way. “WHO FEELS THIS WAY?!” “Who doesn’t want to be a mother anymore after being a mother?!” “I am the worst human being to ever live!” And yet, I wasn’t. I was completely and utterly JUST like every other mother who experiences this pregnant/labor/delivery/newborn/sleep deprived/hormone roller coaster. But I never KNEW that until I began openly talking about how this whole thing siphoned (which is my word for the other word that TJ won’t let me use in my posts lol) and then other mommies were all like “yeah, tell me about it” and then would commence to releasing all this negative “untalked” about stuff that I SO NEEDED to hear. The “fairytale” stuff was draining the life outta me. I was desperate to hear “IT’S OK. No need to beat yourself up. Or be embarrassed. Or ashamed. You are in the 100 percentile of mothers.”

So. Here I am. Telling you all. Whether you be 14 and clearly single, or 19 thinking of that life of being married and having sweet little creatures, or 6 months pregnant, or waiting in the doctor’s office right now about to have a BOMB dropped on you like “hey, you’re starving little Suzy,” or like me currently…13 years removed from the sleepless, exhausting, nipple tearing phase of motherhood and residing in crazy teenage land, I’m here. Just trying to help. Reassuring you that you are NOT the first woman/wife/mother to feel what you feel. I promise. There is somewhere a woman/wife/mother who has experienced EXACTLY what you are right at this very moment. AND WE NEED TO KNOW THIS!!! We need to help each other. Teach each other. Learn from experiences of others who gained wisdom and foresight about this whole encompassing LIFE of being a woman/wife/mother. Right?! You get me?!

Now…what will you do with the lessons learned in your life? Talk. Reach out. Help. Offer. Ask. Seek for her. PRAY FOR HER. And take what you have –whether little or MUCH– and share it. Give it away. Bless a woman with it. And in doing this we will prevent others from feeling that “I just want to leave” feeling. We can empower each other to experience the feelings of “I have been told about this…and I know I can make it!” And open avenues of communication. I am telling you sisters…THIS is what we are in DESPERATE NEED of. It isn’t being brave, or being bold, or going out and being BIGGER and BETTER than last year, or being known, or heard, or any of that! We’ve been aiming at this for what…50-75 years?! How’s that working out for us ladies?! We need each other. We need advice. We need ears. We need connections. We need love and support. We need correction. And crazy thing is…THE LORD knew we would. May be the very reason He commanded us to do this for each other. Hmmmm…that wise God. He’s so spot on. Or “on fleek” as I’m understanding teenage dialogue?! lol

Let someone you know know “It’s ok. I’ve been where you are and let me offer you how I survived it!”
It seriously could make ALL the difference in her life :)

There’s this song…so good. Listen and share today.

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It was a normal Sunday morning, our souls were together at the throne of God worshipping His Awesomeness, remembering our Savior’s sacrifice of His sinless Body and His pure blood, and afterwards I began to cry. This happens very often when in clear and uninterrupted thought about THAT. I was thinking of “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” When He vowed to be that Friend for me, He has YET to “withdraw” that promise. He knows the true and deep and real meaning of being a friend. So I began to think of what “kind” of friend I am…

I immediately realized my flaws. My wrongs. My downfalls and mistakes and let downs that I have disappointed so many with in my lifetime dominated my mind…for just a few seconds. Then I hear my phone ding the sound of a text message and having sick parents, I instantly think “if I don’t check it, it could be them.” So I walk into the bedroom, pick up my phone, it wasn’t my parents. It was a sister. A sister who has continually edified me. Not always in agreement, not always in a patting on the shoulder, never in a judgmental way, but always with a spirit of love and friendship…ever willing to learn and seek and pray together with me. And there is this link to Youtube in the text. No words, just the link. Before I can click on the link, the next message comes in…”my Tressa song.”

I KNEW I would be embarrassingly boo-hooing within moments…

I curiously opened the link and began to listen…it was the video type with the lyrics on the screen…and by the end of the first verse…I’m in tears. Like, uncontrollable sobbing. The kind that you always hope NOBODY is seeing you like this because you look like a complete idiot…yeah, that kind. This sister was simply wanting me to know that she loves me and that she is so thankful for our friendship, in her very “unsappy” way cause we just don’t do sappy together well. We had rather send each other a “you’re weird…I like it.” type text. She had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that moments before while worshipping our God, I was dwelling on His friendship and self reflecting at my own friend ability…the good and the bad in me. She had no way of knowing that I had been questioning if I were the person that someone could say “I have a friend in her.” NO WAY for her to know how alone (physically) I had been feeling. It was impossible for her to be aware that I was in doubt and analyzing every single aspect of me and my love for my friends…and what that even really means. I mean, Jesus is my friend and He proved that by living His life to teach about my role of being submissive, and obedient, and good, and selfless, and trusting, and forgiving, and in service to others. He loved me enough to tell me exactly how to please our Father. He died for me. He. died. for. me. He rose for me. He. rose. for. me. See reason for the massive tear parade?!
When comparing THAT to what I bring to the table for my friends…I’m an epic failure. And I realized that in order to truly be a friend for my friends, I would have to be more willing to empty myself of my own ideas and wants and desires for my character in my friendships. I would have to be selfless. I would have to do more for them than I would myself. I would have to be willing to do what He says…not just for my own soul, but more importantly for the impact on others. I would need to be willing to live the life He commands and die in faithfulness.
I want to be THAT friend. I want to live for others. I want to love the way He loves. I want my present friends, friends I have previously had who may not still be a presence in my life, and future friends out there to know – to believe – to be confident in – that I am a friend to them.

So, was the text a coincidence? I do NOT believe in such…I am a believer in perfect timing. I am confident that God is a giver of perfect gifts and answers and confirmations…in HIS time. I am confident that text, with that song, and with that following caption, was for a purpose. Not for the “oh yeah, I’ve got this thing down and I don’t need to make any corrections because I clearly, according to sister X, have this whole friend thing down pat” purpose…but the absolute reassurance that there is a soul -a sister soul -a friend- I have made an impression on. She is thankful for my heart, for my honesty, for my willingness to refine, for my desire to seek the Lord, for my want to to teach her about loving her husband…her children…and how being a woman is a beautiful and precious and special thing in His kingdom. She is willing to be challenged to think. She can receive correction in a mature and respectful way KNOWING it is coming from a mature and respectful place. She does not judge. She listens. She is factual and never allows the influence of another’s thinking to sway her own. She’s steadfast. She’s confident in God’s love for her. She is willing and eager to teach me about things too. She is a poster woman for forgiveness and patience and understands that THIS is how God deals with her and her sins/imperfections. So…for her to think of me in this way…and to let me know this at THIS moment in time…without knowing how badly I was feeling…was moving. Heart swelling. Humbling. Warming. Reassuring. It made my eyes cry tears of JOY and my emotions be overwhelmed with thankfulness. It was perfect.

I shared it that day. I forwarded it to bless others with the blessing I had received. I am posting this for that same purpose. Listen and text the Youtube link to your friend. Your best friend. Your mother. Your daughter. Your sister. A woman who may need to be uplifted. A friend who recently rescued you. A friend you haven’t spoken to in a while…for whatever reason. A friend who may not know how much you appreciate her. Just share it. Be a blessing.
Might wanna put those little warning light emojis before sending the link…just to give her a head’s up. You know, like in case she is about to go in the grocery store. Shew, please don’t catch her off guard with this cause if she has a heart…it’s gonna make her hit her knees. And if she’s wearing mascara…in public…oh dear love. Be a blessing who warns and prepares. Lol

“I don’t doubt
God is with me in the valley
But I believe
He gave me you
To remind me
The face of love
An answered prayer
The hands of God
With me right here” … be this blessing.