Motherhood

Our Security Blanket

 

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By:  Nicole Espino

So, the past eight months since my daughter was born have been full of joy, love, and all things pink! 💗🎀 I really have been cherishing every milestone and every precious moment with her! One of my favorite things is that she is totally a mama’s girl. Having two sons before her made me realize and accept that boys, after a certain age, connect better with their daddies. This is how it should be. So realizing that my baby girl favors her mama is almost the best thing ever! 😍

The funny thing I’ve noticed though, is that when I see her eyeing me and making it obvious she wants me to pick her up, when I do pick her up, she is more focused on everything else around me. What I realized is that there is this security that settles over her when she is in my arms. All is right in her world and she is free to be her curious, adventurous self. It used to confuse me but now I realize that my love is a security blanket for her. The Lord revealed to me that this is so true with us as humans. When we are in an environment where we are secure and loved, we tend to flourish and have the freedom to be ourselves. That’s what love does, it makes us feel secure and accepted.
As a parent, this made me realize that we must always give our children that same security. That no matter their personality, or their struggle, they are loved! I believe they will be less likely to run away from that circle of security.
I know I have struggled with always communicating to my boys that I love them especially when we are dealing with their struggles or misbehaviors. But in those times I do remind them of the steadfastness of my love, their little hearts break and soften with in the secure blanket of love, and as a result, their heart issues are more moldable!
Let’s not forget to remind our kids and wrap our kids in our love! And not just our kids but when we are open to love those around us, we create a very healthy environment for growth. Which is exactly the environment our Heavenly Father provides for each of us! We grow and flourish the most when we are abiding in His love! I truly believe that is how we become secure, teachable, and stable for the rest of our lives!

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Motherhood

When Are You Having Kids?

By:  Alison Rodriguez

That question. Oh, THAT question.

It used to make my blood boil when someone asked me that question.

So many times, my mind screamed:

None of your business!
I’m trying!
I wish I knew!

Instead, the polite person in me – well, really, the person who did not want to face the fact that something was wrong – would often reply:

Oh, I’d like to finish my master’s degree first.
Maybe in a couple more years.

Except one time. Someone at work caught me on a bad day. A lady from another department whom I don’t know very well asked the forbidden question. No made up excuse this time. She got Ally’s famous evil eyes, and, “I actually can’t have kids.” In that moment, I found great joy in the shocked look on her face and her fumbled attempt at a response. All I could think was that’s what you get for asking a personal question to someone with whom you don’t have a personal relationship.

For so long, I used school as an excuse. And then when I finished, I used my husband going to school as an excuse. Excuses are lies you tell others hoping you’ll begin to believe them yourself. Truth be told, I dreamt of holding my baby boy or girl on graduation day wearing my master’s cap, gown, and hood. Now, I dream of having our little one sit on my lap at my husband’s graduation as he receives his master’s hood.

I know that most people have only good intentions when asking this question, but it carries so many assumptions and connotations.

When are you having kids?

…assumes someone wants kids.
…assumes someone can physically have kids.
…assumes that conceiving is the only way to grow a family.

To those trying to conceive, this question strikes a painful chord deep within their soul. It is a reminder that they are not pregnant. It is a reminder that something is wrong with them. It is a reminder that this little person who has mommy’s eyes and daddy’s smile still isn’t here yet and may never be.

This blood-boiling question and my long-time response to it made me realize one very important thing. The condition of your heart determines the character of your response. My heart was bitter so my response was bitter. I created bogus excuses to comfort myself and so easily told them to others.

 

 

Now, when asked this question, I’m truthful. I no longer feel shame in sharing our journey, because I know God has me in this season for a reason. Instead of being a source of heartache, this question has become an opportunity to share what the Lord has done in our lives and hearts. No more bogus excuses. I now share that I have a little angel baby watching over me. I now say that we are halfway through the process of adopting a little one from the foster care system.

When are you having kids?

Does it still strike a painful chord? Yes.
Do I still want to yell, “none of your business!” Sometimes.

But I’m so thankful that those moments are now few and far between. I’m thankful that God did not leave my side for one moment while I worked on changing my heart.

One thing I ask of you: Can we change this question? Can we be mindful of who we ask it to? You never know who is struggling with infertility, and what this question represents in their life. 

Let’s change this from “having kids” to “growing families”. So many families are grown through fostering, adoption, and surrogacy. And some families remain as duos with pets. Let’s refrain from asking this question to people with whom we don’t share a personal relationship. Asking coworkers and acquaintances might not go over so well.

And one last request. Take a moment to evaluate the condition of your heart. Most times, the first thing that needs to change in your circumstance is your heart’s response to it.

With love,
Ally Rod

Motherhood

Childlike Faith

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By:  Betty Predmore

She is 8 years old and she just danced out of the house, excited for her new adventure at gymnastics camp. Her childlike exuberance and confident expectations are refreshing to my heart. Oh to be a child again!

Jesus put such great value and importance in children when He said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for such belongs to the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a small child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:13-15)

Children have this ability to look at things with hope and promise. They anticipate goodness and have trusting hearts. That is exactly how we are expected to look at our Lord…with hope and promise, anticipating all the goodness He has for us and trusting our entire lives to Him. We are to have childlike faith.

Do you have CHILDLIKE faith today? Are you looking towards the goodness of God and trusting that He has you in his mighty arms? Or are you being CHILDISH…expecting what you want, not what He wants, and having a little fit when you don’t get your way?

If we are honest, we will admit that most of us have a bit of both. We have those moments when we fully trust in our God and His purpose for our lives. Then we also have those times where we just want to scream, and kick, and get our own way. Praise God that He knows us so very well, and is so forgiving of our childishness.

Let’s approach this day with childlike faith. Let’s trust in the One who made us. Let’s bounce out the door this morning with the same attitude as my 8-year-old. Let’s make it a good, good day!

Motherhood

The Magic of My Kingdom

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By:  Betty Predmore

If you ask a lot of children where the happiest place on earth is, they are likely to say it is that great adventure park where a walking mouse holds court, along with his silly dog friend, and a duck decked out in blue. That is a place of magic and adventure, where memories are made and smiles are abundant.

If you ask that same question to my son, he will tell you the happiest place on earth is his mama’s house. There are no animals walking around as humans, there are no turbulent rides of excitement, and you can’t buy churros at a corner stand. But what you DO get is enough.

In my magic kingdom there is always excitement. One day you might be waiting on the tooth fairy, the next it might be an unannounced camping trip. There is always delicious fine dining in mama’s kitchen, thanks to dad’s culinary skills. We may not have a churro stand, but there are always treats like Sissy’s homemade cookies, Emmie’s brownies, or one of mama’s cakes.

Magic and adventure….there is plenty at mama’s house. There is the magic of unconditional love, forgiveness when necessary, compassion and tenderness, and acceptance. There is great adventure in our family “nerf wars” and pool races. There is the adventure of beginning each new day, knowing that God has something really awesome for us. There is adventure in the moments of expectation and the moments of surprise.

And just like that great theme park, my magic kingdom has plenty of smiles. There are the smiles that greet each other in the morning, ready to begin a new day. There are the smiles of welcome after a day away from home. There are the smiles and laughter that come from silly jokes, old stories, and selfie poses. There are smiles and shrieks of laughter through the tickles and hide-and-seek chases. There are smiles and embraces for those who come home to visit, and even smiles through our tears when we say goodbye.

And ALL of this….everything that happens in my magic kingdom, makes our beautiful memories. This life that God has given us, this family that He has joined together, has made some beautiful, unforgettable memories together, and I know God is just getting started! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” His plans for the future of this family are awesome. He wants to prosper us and bring us new things….new adventures, new opportunities to love, show grace & compassion, new chances to learn from each other and from Him. His desire is that we continue to follow Him, and grow in our knowledge of Him. He wants us to smile and laugh together, and make millions more new memories. I know a lot of that will happen in my house….my very own magic kingdom.

Motherhood

My Never-Empty Nest

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By: Betty Predmore

My daughter will be graduating from high school in about a week, and will be going off to college and starting her new adult life. This is the last of my biological children to leave home. The thought occurred to me the other day, “Wow, you could be on your way to having an empty nest.” It is true. I could be looking at a life with no children in the home. My husband and I could be free to travel and go out for romantic dinners. I could focus on some goals in life and put some real effort into them. Things could be a lot quieter around my house.

There is just one thing…actually, three things….that keep this from being the next phase of my life. Those three things are the three beautiful blessings the Lord brought to our family through adoption. And with the youngest being only in first grade, it will be a long time before I have to worry about an empty nest.

So what does that mean for me? It means I still get to travel because I have a wonderful network of support. My husband and I still get to have romantic dinners because the kids think it is too funny when mommy and daddy go out on dates. I can focus on my goals because there is always room for dreams in life, and if God wants something for you, He will help you find a way to make it happen. As for the “quieter around the house” aspect…well who really needs quiet anyways? I would much prefer the sound of children’s laughter, sweet conversations about life and Jesus, and even the moments when voices are elevated.

No, my nest may never be empty, but it is always filled with love. My nest may be chaotic at times, but it is mine. It my be frustrating on occasion, but it is built with the foundation of Christ, and He is using it for His good and pleasing purpose. My nest may be much different than yours, but it is the nest that God gave me, and my God doesn’t make mistakes!

So while many my age are basking in the nests of freedom and solace, I will be basking in the sticky kisses, bear hugs, and chaotic bliss of my sweet nest, and praising God all the while.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ~ James 1:17

Motherhood

Broken Sandals

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By:  Betty Predmore

I bought my daughter a new pair of sandals last week. Her feet are growing so fast, I can’t keep up with her. She was pretty glad to have those cute new sandals and has been wearing them almost every day.

My husband got a call from school yesterday that she needed a pair of shoes. Apparently, she has broken one of her new sandals while playing tether ball on the playground. Just like that…in an instant….her pretty new sandals were broken.

Isn’t that the way life is? We can be walking along our journey, enjoying life for the most part, when suddenly our strap breaks. Something happens and in an instant, we are broken. We question why. We mourn. We wonder if we could have done something different. Sometimes, what is broken can be mended. Other times, what is broken can never be repaired.

The key is to not lose hope in the times of brokenness. That sandal may get tossed into the garbage, but our lives, our hopes and dreams, do not have to be. We have a God, a marvelous and glorious God, who walks alongside us in our times of despair. He takes our broken pieces and puts them back together. He calms the storms in our hearts, and parts the clouds in our minds.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

My husband delivered new shoes to my daughter. He fixed her problem like a good father does. God will be there to see you through, like a good Father does. When those moments come, in that instant of brokenness, cling to God. He will never leave you.

Motherhood

The Promise of His Word

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By:  Nicole Espino

I remember it so clearly as if it wasn’t almost nine years ago. I had just experienced the quickest and easiest delivery, my doctor was even surprised by how effortless it was. I was so thankful because I had just endured a very painful and long pregnancy due to pelvic issues. But there I was holding my sweet baby boy, the joy that filled my heart was almost too much to contain. There is nothing like that moment they lay that sweet baby on your chest and you breath in their precious baby scent for the very first time. New life, new breath, new beginnings filled my heart. There is so much hope and so many dreams we have for our children. What did God have in store for this precious new life.

I don’t think we are ever fully prepared for the hurdles though that come our way, especially in the joyful moments. This hurdle for my family in particular came in the form of a failed hearing scan. When we learned of my sons hearing loss, so many questions and fears filled my heart and mind. What did I do during my pregnancy to cause this, how severe is his hearing loss, will he be able to talk, will he live a normal life? The questions swirled inside for months as we went down the long road of tests and doctor’s appointments. It was not what I had envisioned for our little family. All those previous hopes and dreams turn into questions and fears. It’s only natural when you are faced with an unexpected turn of events. Included with the hearing loss were all sorts of developmental delays and at 2 years old we discovered that our precious boy had Autism as well. I was in denial at first, I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew that if my son was going to have any chance that we had to get him the services he needed.

But even though our journey with my second son has had its ups and downs, he has brought so much joy and change into my life, I am a better mother because of him. God’s promise found in Romans 8:28 says:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This has proven true over and over again. The one thing these hurdles have done in my life is caused me to run to Him for strength, wisdom, and grace in times of personal weakness.

So here I sit, almost 9 years later, pregnant with my 3rd child. And the funny thing is about painful memories from the past is that they have a way a resurfacing. To be honest, as excited as we are to have our first baby girl, my heart has been wrestling with fear, doubt, and anxiety. What should be a joyous time has become a time of fearing the future all over again. Will she be healthy, will I be healthy, how am I going to handle three kids??

I’m sure you are all too familiar with the mind games the enemy plays with us women. But then I remember all the ways God held me and took care of me and my children, and I choose to trust God. It’s not easy sometimes, but He reaches out to me in my pit and gently whispers His fatherly words, “I love you! I’ve got this in the palm of my hand!”

I’m so thankful for those times of breakthrough, I wish I allowed Him to comfort me sooner, I wish I wouldn’t spend weeks agonizing, but God is so long suffering. No matter the outcome, God is big enough, strong enough, and fully capable of holding my world together. If He can hold our universe together, then He can certainly handle anything that comes my way.

My prayer for us Moms this new year is that we would cling to Him in the good times and the bad. That we would run to Him for everything, and that we would see how He is working all things out for our good, to change us, to mold us and to make us better wives and moms. God’s word is full of His promises, comfort, and encouragement. I want to commit to allowing His word to wash me from all my fears, no matter what happens, God is in control! And He is a good good Father!