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Motherhood

A Gift and a Challenge

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And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 2:13)

As I ponder what my mama heart is thankful for today, I am thankful for the children He chose to give me. Think about it for a moment…God picked YOU specifically for the children you have. He knew YOU would be the one He could entrust to guide them, teach them, and love them. He knew YOU would lead them towards His light and His love.

Most of you reading this today are probably grateful for the children you gave birth to. You can probably still remember the moment each of them was born. I can remember those special details from the births of all four of my children. But I also very specifically can recall the moment I first laid eyes on the three that God brought me through adoption. The three children that God gave me as an extra special gift. He chose ME to be their mother. What a blessing that is!

I do not pretend to be close to knowing all there is to know about raising children. I do not try to trick anyone into believing that I have it “all going on” in the mothering department. But what I DO know is that I trust my God. I believe in Him. I want to be obedient to Him. I am very grateful for the gifts I have been given. I have been given so much. I have had the opportunity to learn many life lessons. I think one of the most important things I have learned is that family is not always defined by shared bloodlines. In our home, it is more defined by a deep sense of love and respect, tons of laughter, many tears, and a fierce sense of protection. Family is those who will hold you when you are scared, cry with you when your heart is broken, and laugh at the jokes that aren’t funny. Family is unending patience and much forgiveness. It is praying together and staying together. In this house, family is a blended bunch of craziness that comes together to create something awesome…something only God could assemble together and make it work.

Yes, I was chosen to be mama to this rowdy brood. It is my greatest gift and often my biggest challenge. My family may not, and probably doesn’t, look like yours. But that’s okay. God chose YOU to be mama to the special ones He knew would make your life complete. Take a moment…ponder the gift of motherhood…let gratitude and thankfulness sink into your soul. Then close your eyes and whisper a soft thank you to your Father in heaven, who knows you so well, and knows just who you need to make up your family.

Motherhood

You Can Do It: A Day in the Life of a Mommy Living Without her Baby

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I live for days like yesterday.

Early mornings spent packing ice chests and loading the trailer. Stopping halfway to gas up the quads. Feeling the biggest smile come to life as our Jeep crosses pavement to dirt. Jumping out of the car and taking a deep breath. Feeling the sun warm every inch of your body. Looking out to see miles of dirt, bushes, trees, and mountains.

The desert!

My husband and I share a love for the desert, and all things desert. We love camping, riding our quads, and taking out the Jeep. We love the desert silence that is only broken by the sound of dirt bikes and quads zipping around in the distance.

IMG_3452We were looking forward to yesterday. For the first time in a long time, both of our quads were working, and we were ready to ride together.

One of our favorite places to go…

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Motherhood

Pass It Down

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Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6)

I have discovered one of the most awesome things about having children…they grow up and give you grandchildren! I am finding my role as Grammie to be one of the sweetest, most precious things I have ever experienced.

You might still have youngsters and feel like this stage of your life is still a long way off. Let me assure you, the time goes so fast when we are raising our kids, and before you know it, they are grown and on their own. You are left standing there, befuddled and wondering where the time went. Did I teach them enough? Did I love them enough? Did I help them understand grace and compassion? Did I prepare them for this world? Did I guide them as close to the cross as I possibly could?

We do our best, then they are grown. And then we get the opportunity to share all our love, wisdom, and guidance with those darling little creatures called grandchildren. As our children move into adulthood, we have the opportunity to consider this… are my children proud of me? Not because of any accolades or wealth, not because of the ladder of success I might have climbed, but because of the human being I am. Do they take pride in my beliefs, my attitude, my ability to show grace and compassion, my unconditional love? Are they proud of the way I raised them and the home they came from? Most importantly, are they proud of how I represent my Savior?

Life is a multitude of opportunities…opportunities to make a difference in our homes with those who are most precious to us, opportunities to watch the generations of our family unfold and continue the traditions of love and honor that that our families can take pride in, and opportunities to continue to lead our family towards the light of Jesus. The greatest joy is to be able to take our love of the Lord and pass it down through the generations.

Father ~ thank you for the opportunity to experience the joy of being a mama, and thank you for the awesome privilege of being a grandmother. Help me to always make my children proud, and help me to always point them towards your loving arms, in Jesus’ name ~ Amen.

 

Motherhood

I Didn’t Lose You

allyrod

Not Lost

I’ve been so busy lately… busy with finalizing our adoption home study visits… busy with several 12+ hour days in the office… busy with several long weekends in the office… busy with special family guests at our house.

While all that busyness doesn’t keep me from thinking of our sweet angel baby, it does minimize the time I have to truly feel our baby’s absence. After a series of long days, I’m usually asleep within the hour after we’ve had dinner, which means I haven’t cried myself to sleep in a while. With so much going on at work, my mind is usually far ahead into my day on the commute into the office, which means I haven’t cried myself to work either. My husband is a few months into teaching, and much of our dinner conversation is brainstorming ideas to help Kid A do better in reading and Kid…

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Motherhood

Second Chances

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Start children off on the way they should go, and even when. They are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

One of the things we can be so very thankful for as mothers is that we get the privilege and opportunity to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord. What a difference we can make in our families and communities! What a difference we can make for the Kingdom! God chooses each of us specifically for the children He brings into our lives.

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised. (Genesis 18:19)

God promised Abraham descendants more numerous than the stars. We are those descendants. And as we parent our children, we continue to pass down the precepts of our Father. What an absolute honor to be chosen for a purpose such as this. How grateful we should be that God sees us as worthy of this calling.

God chose me to not only guide and teach my four biological children, but also three through adoption. They are extra special gifts to me because they are “second chance” kids. What do I mean when I say “second chance”? Obviously, they are getting a second chance with parents who can love and provide for them, who can nurture them, who can teach them about Jesus and his great love and sacrifice. But, I too, get a second chance. Like all mamas, I have made a lot of mistakes in my parenting. I have learned many lessons the hard way. But God is so good! He gives me a second chance to parent children, to utilize what I have learned along the way, and to make a lasting difference in their lives. Oh, what a blessing that is to this mama’s heart!

Guiding our children towards Jesus isn’t always an easy task. This world is a little crazy sometimes, and it is often difficult to find the ribbons of love flowing through the fabric of hatred. But if we look hard enough, we will find it. Then we can point our children towards the light of Jesus Christ. We can offer them the hope and promise that walking with him brings. We can share salvation with them and direct their eternity.

If you feel you have been failing in this area, don’t despair. God is a merciful God and He will give you more opportunities to be that lamp post for your children. He is a God of second chances…and for that I am very grateful.

Motherhood

A Mama’s Grateful Heart Bible Study: The Best Gift

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The Best Gift

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Gifts…we all love to receive them, and many of us take great pleasure in giving them. I remember my childhood Christmases. We didn’t live a very frivolous life, but when it came to Christmas my parents went all out. We would open gifts from aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My Granny’s floor would be a sea of wrapping paper as we all tore into our bounty. Those were great gifts and we were thrilled to get them. But the best gifts, the ones we anticipated the most, were the ones my parents (also known as Santa) gave us. What awesome gifts they were….those best gifts!

God gives us children. He gives them to us biologically or through adoption. He creates them specifically for us, weaving together personalities and physical traits chosen for us to love and nurture. However we get them, they are the best gifts. What greater gift can we receive than that of being a mama? I have the joy of having four children biologically, but I also have had the blessing to be able to adopt three more. What joy they all bring into my life! What beautiful memories fill my heart! What hopes I have for their futures and all the experiences we have to look forward to!

For most of us, God gives us our children in our younger years. My sweet Granny always said God gave them to us when we were young because when we got older, we wouldn’t have the energy for them. I can relate to that in some ways. Having my four babies in my twenties and thirties, I had tons of energy for them. Adopting the last three a little later in life, I find it a little harder to keep up with them. But I do my best. I don’t want to miss a moment of the blessing God has given me.

Motherhood is a gift, but it is not like those gifts that were under my tree all those years ago. I would unwrap those, marvel at them, use them for whatever amount of time they held my interest, then go on to something else. Being a mama is a gift I get to unwrap every day. There is always something new to discover and experience. There is always another blessing around the corner. There are hard times too….times when my heart hurts, my temper flares, or I feel frustrated. There are times when I feel totally unequipped for this calling of motherhood. But my sweet Lord whispers into my heart and reminds me that He chose me, He hand picked me for these children. I believe God uses our children to draw us closer to Him. There are times when we are insecure in our abilities, terrified, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In those times, God is always there, reminding us that He never leaves or forsakes us. He gently reassures us that we can do this, and we are never alone in this journey. He travels our path of sorrow and pain, and He runs alongside us in our joys and triumphs. He places His guiding hand upon us, leading us as we lead the ones He gave us….our very best gifts.

As you think on your experience as a mama, what are some of the ways God has used the beautiful gift of motherhood to change you, to draw you closer to Him?

Do you see God’s hand on your mama heart?

Father, we thank you today for the gift of our children. We thank you that you are always with us as we navigate through the hills and valleys of motherhood. Thank you, Father, that you trust us enough to give us our precious children, and thank you loving us enough to give us the very best gift. In Jesus’ name ~ Amen.

 

 

 

Motherhood

To My Husband

Alison shares about the one closest yo her, that is traveling this journey with her…

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You know, I didn’t dream much about my future husband as a little girl. All I knew is that I wanted and needed to share my life with someone who I could laugh with daily. And I certainly didn’t think that I would find him so early in life.

But my husband is the perfect example of how God knows exactly what you need before you do. God knew that infertility and miscarriage was to be part of our life journey, and he knew just who I would need to survive this season of life. And when I think back to how we met, I can’t help but smile at God’s plan and timing… Steven and I met, because my best friend attended UC Riverside – a university she did not even apply to, but was accepted! – and I happened to visit her the same week Steven moved into…

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Motherhood

A Handful of Quietness

By:  Betty Predmoreimage.png

I read somewhere today…”taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of your children.” Boy, does that make sense! How often do we neglect our own needs for the sake of our families? I don’t know about you, but I am always quick to put my own well-being on the back burner for the sake of my kiddos. That’s what a good mom does, right?

We all….yes, even us mamas, need to find time to rest, renew , and refresh our bodies and our souls. Ecclesiastes 4:6 tells us, Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. That tells me that even a little bit of rest is good. All the toil that goes into our days, all the striving to be a good mama, can zap us, but just a hand full of sitting in His presence can renew our souls.

I don’t know about you, but when I get tired and weary, I get discouraged. The devil wants nothing more than to rob me of the joys of motherhood through discouragement and doubt. Psalm37:4 reminds me, Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. When I take time to rest in Him, to take joy in His presence, He fulfills the desires of my heart. And Mamas, isn’t our greatest desire to be a good mother, a good example of Christ, to our children?

Some days are too long. Other days are too short. Whatever day you are in today, I pray that you take a moment for yourself. Grab that hand full of quietness that you need and deserve. Let the Lord restore your soul and refresh your mind. Allow Him to work in you so that you can be the mama that your heart desires to be. He is here to walk this walk with us so we never have to feel alone, to guide us when we are lost and strengthen us when we feel weak. Oh, what a wonderful Savior we have! And because of Him and his love for us, what wonderful mothers we can be!

Motherhood

Memory Walk

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By:  Betty Predmore

I experienced something new today….something that touched my heart is a special way. I participated in a memory walk for babies who died in pregnancy or infancy. I was there with my niece and nephew, who lost their baby in May at an early stage in their pregnancy. Oh, how happy we were when we heard the pregnancy news! I literally jumped up and down and screamed, then held my niece tight as we cried together. I knew how long and hard she had tried and waited for this baby.

But the birth of this baby was not to be. God had other plans. The sorrow has been tremendous, but we are all comforted in knowing that little angel is in heaven, with some other special members of our family we have lost this year.

So today was in memory of that precious little one that we didn’t get to meet, that tiny hand we didn’t get to hold, that soft face we didn’t get to kiss. I was amazed at the amount of people in attendance today. I was shocked at how many were there walking not just for one baby….but two, three, four, even five. To see those babies names on the wall of memory and to hear each one called out loud was a sobering experience that brought me to tears. As I looked around, I saw many of those families with new little ones or toddlers, and I am sure these new children have brought hope back into their hearts. But what about the ones who have yet to have a child? Are they feeling hopeless in these moments?

I am so grateful that my niece and nephew, and all our family, can put our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so glad we can find strength for tomorrow and the promises each new day brings, knowing God has something awesome planned for our family. Thank you, Jesus, that you hold us in the palm of your hand.

So as this day winds down, I pray for my beautiful niece and nephew. I pray the Lord continues to give them strength, hope, faith, and perseverance. I pray they continue to remember this precious life gone too soon, yet are able to enjoy the glorious days of parenthood with other special children meant just for them. I pray that as the days, months, and years pass, that we never forget this special little one who brought our family so much joy, even if it was for such a short time.

 

Motherhood

The Diagnosis

Alison shares the emotions of being diagnosed with PCOS.

allyrod

September 12, 2014. 

The day I felt like my world ended.

After far too many ultrasounds, urine samples, and blood tests, I received the call that stole a year and a half of my life. My doctor finally had an answer to my irregular and abnormal bleeding. She finally had an answer to why my husband and I had not been able to conceive our first child after nearly 10 months of trying.

Diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

I remember the call so vividly. I stood in my bedroom as my doctor explained that my ovaries were surrounded by numerous small cysts, which resulted in a significant hormonal imbalance in my body to the point where my body was producing more androgens (“male hormones”) than it should.

meme 2“Okay,” I thought, “I can manage some non-cancerous cysts and some hormonal issues.” She continued to explain the medication I would…

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