Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dropping Perfectionism in Parenting


I’ve been at this parenting gig for about two years now. Rory and I were married in 2015, and we welcomed our first kiddos into our home in May 2018. What an adventure that was! We didn’t know what we didn’t know. It turns out that parenting is much more complicated and layered than we ever realized. Not only that, but when parenting children from hard places, there are so many other factors to consider and different methods that need to be employed in order to guard the hearts of the little ones that God has entrusted to you. 

Rory was my first and only boyfriend, and when we began to grow closer, I realized just how exposing our relationship was. I could no longer (attempt to) hide my flaws because there was someone there who could see everything, whether I liked it or not. So it goes with parenting. Like it or not, my kids see it all — the good, the bad, and the ugly. 


I so badly want them to see a mom who is akin to Mother Teresa, someone who is gentle and kind and always has all of the answers. The trouble is, I don’t even know much about Mother Teresa except what I’ve seen in pictures and oft quoted sayings. I remember a friend of mine sharing about how she read some of Mother Teresa’s now published journal entries. In these journal entries, the world renowned saint shared about her struggles with sin, pride, and selfishness. These confessions were from a woman who was known for her great selflessness and kindness to the least of these. If Mother Teresa struggled with selfishness, then you better believe I do, too. 


You see, in my mind, I have a perfect ideal of the mama I should be. And I want my kids and my husband to see that version of me. I don’t want to struggle. I don’t want to need the grace of God to be my sufficiency. I want Him to just show me what to do and then be able to do it all by myself so that He will be proud of me. But this is the exact opposite of the Gospel. 


The Gospel of Jesus Christ exposes our need and brings it to a Savior who delights in helping us. The Gospel says that I am poor in spirit and cannot do anything that is worth doing on my own. The Gospel says that I need the love of Christ in order to bring any kind of hope and healing to anyone else. The Gospel reminds me of my sin and gives me cause for rejoicing by showing me that I have a great Savior who paid my debt and now lives to intercede for me, allowing me to bring Him my weakness each day.


A few days ago, I was in a funk. I was frustrated because I was dealing with some emotions of annoyance within my parenting, which caused me to feel ashamed. In my head, I knew that I should not be upset with a child for needing help and guidance. That is what my job as a parent is — to provide that help and guidance and be a safe place where growth can happen. Nevertheless, I found myself annoyed because the execution of said job wasn’t coming naturally. I was complaining to Rory, and I said, “I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t act like this.” To which he said, “You know, you’re allowed to be human.” 


Immediately, tears sprang to my eyes. Human. I am a human being. I am not a human doing. God created me to be with Him. He created me to be with others. Those relationships — vertical and horizontal — are to bring glory to Him. In order to be with Him and with others, I have to allow Him to sift through me and show me how to walk with Him each and every day. He doesn’t expect me to get it right the first time, or the tenth time. He just wants my heart. He wants me to be honest with Him and walk in repentance, acknowledging when I sin against Him and asking Him for the strength to walk in the other direction. But He is not demanding or unkind. He is generous and loving. 


In order to be a present mama, I have to drop the act of perfectionism. My kids know that I don’t have it all together. And they are ok with that. I know that they don’t have it all together. And I can be ok with that, too. Because God never asked me (or my kids) to have it all together. He just asked me to follow Him and make disciples. And the work of making disciples in this home He’s given me just may be the most important work I ever do.


I cannot give away what I do not have. In order to love my kiddos well, I must first understand the love of the Father. Hard as it may be, I am learning that in order to be a good parent, I must fist sit at the feet of my perfect Heavenly Father. He is all that I need, and He won’t lead me astray. He is right beside me, giving me the strength for each day

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Currently: August




Hello friends! It has been a while since I have written on the blog. I have been evaluating how often to write and share here. Right now I have been sharing quite frequently on Instagram. If you’re not on Instagram, that’s ok, you can follow my writing page on Facebook. I will be sharing here once a month with currently posts and one other longer post about what God is teaching me. But if you’re looking for a more regular peek into my life, Instagram and my writing page are where you can find me. I also have a monthly email where I share even more about what is going on in our family’s life, so you can sign up for that as well. Basically, I want to keep in touch with you and am so happy when you want to keep in touch with me. :) 

That being said, last month, I took a break from Instagram, and it was much needed and so good for my soul. I have come back refreshed and ready with so much to share about all that God is teaching me and what He is doing in my heart.

Here is what is going on currently in our neck of the woods:

Choosing: Joy. I am choosing to be joyful even when I don’t feel like it. I am choosing to be kind when I would rather snap. This simple choice changes my heart, one stony bit at a time. 
Consuming: Right now I am consuming copious amounts of chips and salsa. I make a big batch just about every week, and it is the perfect snack or side item for a lunch at home. :)
Enjoying: Our kids are all in such different seasons. It is overwhelming at times, but it is also really sweet and fun. I am enjoying (most of the time) each season we are in — teenager, preteen, and pre-toddler. ;)
Ordering: All the things online. I mean, it is so much easier to get something on Prime than to go out to this store, am I right?
Remembering: Right now, I am attempting to remember that God is for me and not against me. That, along with the first few verses of Romans 8, is what is encouraging my heart during this uncertain and crazy time we found ourselves in. 

What are you up to, friend?

Linking up with Anne today! 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

on racism




In light of all the news about the racial tension in our county that is being shared -- tension that has always existed and sadly will always exist in some level -- I wanted to share some thoughts. My heart has been saddened and burdened by all of the recent deaths that were senseless and unimaginable. As a woman of color who is married to a white man and is the mother of a two brown children, my perspective has many lenses.


In praying through how to respond to these news stories and how to honor the lives of those who have been murdered, these "four Fs" are the things that can keep us all deceived.

FEELINGS


"I'm so tired of this nonsense. Why won't THEY do something about it?"

"I am so done with these selfish people whose eyes are so blinded."

"I cannot even process this injustice because I feel numb inside."

FACTS

"____% of Blacks are killed by other Blacks."

"Only ____% of police brutality harms people of color."

"____% of crime in America is committed by Black people."

FEAR

"My husband/son/brother/friend is a Black male and I am afraid for his life."

"My best friend is Black and I don't know how to talk to him/her about these issues."

"I can't speak out against these injustices because I'm white and I don't want to offend anyone."

FALSE HOPES

"When Democrat leadership is in charge, they will get something done about this."

"When Republican leadership is in charge, they will get something done about this."

"If we just don't talk about race and are color-blind, we can all get along and it will all be fine."



All four of these Fs can only be processed with the TRUTH of God's word, which says:

"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them." - Genesis 1:27

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold...Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” - Ephesians 4:25-27, 31-32

We need facts AND feelings to help us process our fears and false hopes.

White brothers and sisters: Take the time to ask questions and enter into conversations about race with your Black brothers and sisters. If you don’t have friends who look different than you, put yourself in spaces where you can learn. Don’t believe the lie that just because you’re white, you have nothing to offer and nothing to say. Also, don't feel guilty about your privilege, but do what you can to address generational sins and unhealthy attitudes.

Black brothers and sisters: Know and believe that the God of the universe is who decides your inherent worth. Don’t believe the mainstream media that wants you to live in fear as a victim of the oppressor. Walk hand in hand with your Black brothers and sisters to enact change in our community and address generational sins of our race. Don’t believe that you’re the expert and you aren’t racist just because you’re Black.

To all of my brothers and sisters in Christ - Black, white, and brown - let us know that there are awful acts of violence occurring everywhere. There are people’s names we do not know because they didn’t make the headlines. This issue is not political and it’s not even just racial. It’s spiritual. It is evil.

Perhaps the greatest advice I've ever been given was by my wise and gentle mama: Do your part. You are accountable to God for your actions and no one else's. So use your voice as an agent of change and peace. Advocate for others. Serve your community with humility and kindness. And pray for unity and the swift return of our King Jesus.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Currently: May

May is the most wonderful time of the year in our home, because we have not one or two birthdays in this month, but a whopping five. That's right, every person in our home, in addition to my dad, was born in May! While our celebrations look different from years past, we are still enjoying the sweetness of being together.




Here is what is going on currently around these parts:

Making: I am making dinner most nights, and I have to say that it is fun to get into the kitchen and figure out what to do with what we have. So I've been making my own "recipes," and I am enjoying it.
Missing: It has been hard to not see people in the flesh during this time, so I am missing big hugs and in person hang-outs with friends.
Learning: This has been a huge time of learning for me, as I am sure it has for most of us. I am learning what it means to invite God into the everyday moments and be met by Him in the mundane, the hard, the ordinary, the unprecedented, and the joyful.
Loving: I am loving the time that I have to spend with my family. It is a gift to be at home with my kids when I would normally go to work or my daughter would be at school. I am especially grateful for extra time with them, because they are growing up way too fast.
Reading: This time has been great for reading - I have read a few books and am enjoying making time for reading! Right now I am reading Chasing Vines by Beth Moore.

Linking up with Anne today!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Currently: April




Well, I missed writing here in March because it was such a blur. At the beginning of the month, I found myself eagerly anticipating (but inwardly dreading) a busy few weeks ahead. I was trying to be positive and excited about things, but to be completely honest, I was feeling quite overwhelmed. I was trying to take things one day at a time, but our schedule seemed very, very full. At the time, I didn't know how to cut anything. It all seemed necessary. Fast forward a few weeks, and it has become clear that we didn't actually need to be doing all of those things. It is crazy to think about how quickly things can change.

Here is what I know now - we don't need  all of the things I thought we needed on our schedule. We don't  have to attend all the events. This time of slowing down can be a huge gift to us, if only we allow it to teach us what we have needed for quite some time now.

I'm taking things day by day, and I pray you are doing the same and leaning hard into the grace of God to sustain and strengthen you with each step you take.

Here's what is going on currently in this neck of the woods:

Sharing: Right now I am sharing my space with my entire family all the time. I kid, I kid. I am trying to share books with others as we all have lots of time on our hands!
Writing: I am writing a newsletter every couple weeks (let me know if you want to be a part of it!) and have made it a goal to work on my next book more throughout this month.
Wishing: Here's to wishing away COVID -19. I want people to be well and not live in fear.
Investigating: We are spending more time on our back patio, and I am investigating and pinning all the things on Pinterest to make it more cozy and inviting!
Buying: We just got a new area rug for our den area, and we moved the old one outside to the patio because it is technically an indoor/outdoor rug. Now I'm waiting on these fun outdoor lights to arrive, and our back patio will be closer to my "dream" space!

What are you up to these days?

Linking up with Anne today!



Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Currently: February

I missed the first month of Currently posts this year, but I'm hopping back on to share a little bit about what's going on around here. It's crazy to think that this year I will celebrate 10 years of blogging! Can you even believe that? Some of you have been with me since the beginning, and some of you are new to this space. Either way, thank you for being here and for being a part of this little space that has become so special to me.



Here's what has been going on lately:

Loving: I have absolutely been loving my time with Judah and K these days. Being a mom is such a wonderful privilege, joy, and honor. I am loving all of the giggles, real talks, walks, milestones, and sweet everyday moments.
Embracing: This year, I have been embracing my weakness. It has come with a lot of moments where I have been humbled. I don't prefer to be humbled. I actually would rather be quite capable. But God is helping me to embrace my weakness, which in turn brings me closer to Him. I'm so grateful that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
Tasting: People told me that they didn't drink coffee until they had kids, and in the midst of this summer when Judah still wasn't sleeping through the night, I tried it one morning. It just didn't do it for me, friends. I can never get it to taste quite right, and it upsets my tummy. So I'm a tea girl, through and through. I'm tasting the goodness of a homemade chai tea latte just about every morning these days, and sometimes I have one in the afternoon, too. :)
Wearing: The Christmas that I was pregnant with Judah, Rory got me these amazing pants from Loft. They are affectionately and appropriately named the "butter pants" by a college acquaintance of mine who is now a fashion blogger, and with good reason. They are SO comfortable. I wear them most days when I need to be cozy around the house and am so sad when I have to wash them. Another pair is on my wishlist. :)
Preparing: This new year has marked the start of a women's group at Downtown Academy that has been in the works for 2.5 years, and I have been so encouraged by all that God is doing in the hearts of the women there. I am preparing for the next four weeks of meetings and am so excited about all that we are going to be doing together.

What are you up to lately? What have you been enjoying?

Linking up with Anne today!



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Look Back



It didn't hit me until a couple weeks ago that we are headed into a new decade. It seems like we were just celebrating the new millennium! I saw an Instagram post that said, "2000 was 20 years ago which is really weird because 1980 was also 20 years ago." That's exactly how I feel about the fact that we are entering the twenties, friends.

Here’s a look back at the last ten years:

2010: In May, I celebrated my 22nd birthday and graduated from UGA with an Early Childhood Education degree and moved to Chihuahua, Mexico, where I taught school for two years. 

2011: I became fluent in Spanish, led worship at my bilingual church, and realized I would only be in Mexico for two years and needed to move back to Athens

2012: In the spring, I said goodbye to Chihuahua. That summer, I moved back to Athens and went through a bit of an identity crisis. :) 

2013: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride - I was in a few weddings and wondered if it would ever be my turn. 

2014: My maternal grandmother passed away, and a few short weeks later, I traveled to Uganda. It was here that the Lord sparked something in my heart for women’s ministry. One month after my trip to Uganda, I traveled to Kenya. In the fall, I began a new teaching job at Downtown Academy, and a couple months later I met my future husband. 

2015: Rory and I got engaged in April, married in July, and celebrated the anniversary of our first date in October. 

2016: We went to Disney, bought our first house, and I left teaching and began working at our church, Watkinsville First Baptist as the Administrative Assistant. I decided to take my writing more seriously and published my first book, Proverbs 31: A Life of Truth and Grace. I found out that I had uterine fibroids, which explained a lot of women’s health problems.

2017: My devotional book, Proverbs 31: A Life of Truth and Grace released as a paperback in January. I began working on my second book, Already Chosen, which tells the story of my journey in singleness and finding my worth in Christ. We began classes to become licensed foster parents in November and reached a year mark of trying to conceive in December. 

2018: In January, I went through a procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which greatly changed my women’s health. In May, I released my first full-length book, Already Chosen. I also began seeing a naturopathic doctor, taking supplements, getting acupuncture, and drastically changed my diet. Lost a ton of weight. We became licensed foster parents and welcomed three kids into our home for the summer. Right after they left I found out I was pregnant with our miracle boy. We sold our first house, bought a new one, and moved. 

2019: We welcomed our daughter into our home in February.  I released my third book, Choosing Contentment, in April. We welcomed our sweet boy in May, and I spent the summer learning how to be a mama to a teenager and a newborn. In August, I stepped into a new role as Development Director at Athens Pregnancy Center. 

2020: In a few short weeks, we will begin our first semester of Restoration Women. To say I’m excited would be an understatement, as it has been a long time in the making. I’m very slowly but surely working on another book, a prayer guide for foster parents, and trusting the Lord with the timing of its release into the world. We’re praying and asking God to continue to lead us as a family and show us His heart and His thoughts for us. 

It is incredible to look back and see all that God has done in the last ten years, and it makes me expectant for an even greater ten years ahead. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Judah's Birth Story


 


It is crazy to think that our sweet Judah has been with us for a little over two weeks now. Pregnancy lasts for 9 months, which is the better part of a year. And then in a matter of hours, you are no longer carrying your child but caring for him. If you're new around here, you may not know about our journey to pregnancy. It was a long one, filled with sorrow and unmet expectations. But last fall, we were delighted to find out that our wait was over and God had granted us the greatest desire of our hearts by allowing me to conceive our son, Judah Edward Mathisen.

In the years leading up to our miracle pregnancy, God gave me resources at just the right time that helped to prepare my heart and mind. Prior to learning about the beauty of pregnancy and birth, I had assumed it had to be just like it was in the movies - 9 months of misery followed by an arduous labor, which was only to be followed with sleepless nights and hormonal imbalances that wreaked havoc on everyone in my presence. But the Lord helped me to see that pregnancy is a gift, not a medical condition to be treated. It is a beautiful time of blossoming and growth. It is a miraculous time to be celebrated and enjoyed, not endured. And so I began to pray. I prayed for conception, for an enjoyable pregnancy, for balanced hormones, and whatever else the Lord showed me through various books and through time in His word.

What is so beautiful about praying specific prayers is the joy we can have when He answers them! I was able to have a pregnancy devoid of any complications. I was able to honestly say that I felt better pregnant than before I was pregnant, which is a huge blessing. I know this isn't true for everyone, but it was seriously the best 9 months of my life. After all of the women's health issues I had endured, pregnancy was a dream come true.



As I thought about preparing for labor and delivery, I just kept thinking to myself, "If God has been faithful to answer these specific prayers for my pregnancy, why wouldn't He do the same for my labor?" After learning about the various medical interventions women use during labor for comfort measures, I was bound and determined to have a natural birth. I wanted to see what my body could do and also wanted to watch God work.

I prayed for adequate time to get to the hospital, a clear distinction between Braxton-Hicks contractions and true labor, one midwife to attend me during the birth, no need for medical intervention, and so much more. On Tuesday, April 30, I went to work as usual. The day before, I went to my 39 week appointment, and my midwife said that I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. That day I went to work as usual, but I was super crampy and had a lot of random contractions throughout the day. But since I hadn't yet experienced labor, I still wasn't sure how much longer I had until the big day.

That evening, I got home from work and continued to feel not so great. We were all watching The Voice, and I bounced on the birth ball for a bit before sitting down next to Ror on the couch. I was still experiencing contractions, and they seemed to be a little more regular. I said to Ror, "Babe, I think these may be the real thing." He started timing them, but they were still somewhat irregular. About an hour later, they had picked up and were starting to take on more of a pattern. I decided to tie up loose ends by finishing packing my hospital bag. We called his parents, and they came and picked up our dog and our daughter. I also took a shower, and then we called the midwife. She said to take a warm bath, and that if the contractions continued, they were indicative of real labor, but if they stopped, I probably wasn't in labor just yet.

After taking a warm bath, the contractions continued, and we knew it was "go time." We called the midwife (again) and she said that I could continue to labor at home as long as I could since I wanted to have an unmedicated birth. We stayed at home, and then when the contractions were four minutes apart for a while, we got in the car and headed to St. Mary's hospital. It was strange to be in the car, on our way to the hospital to have our baby. It still didn't feel like it could really be happening.

Once we got to the hospital and were taken back to triage, I got checked again and was said to be at 5-6 cm and 90% effaced.  So I really was in labor after all! It was super encouraging to know that this was actually happening and that it wasn't just a false alarm. It was about midnight at this point, and I was super happy that we would have a May baby after all. I had prayed that our baby would come in May, because we have several family birthdays in this month (mine, my dad's, Rory's, and our daughter's).

We were admitted to a labor and delivery room, and we figured that with how fast things had been moving, we would have a baby by morning! I labored in the tub for a while because it was comfortable and easier to manage the pain. After a few hours, I was checked again and was at 6-7 cm. This was a little discouraging considering the fact that I had been laboring for a few hours at that point. Around 5 am, I was checked again and was in the same place. That's when I started to get a little frustrated. But all through labor, I kept crying out to God and asking Him to help me. Rory read Scripture over me, and we prayed and prayed and prayed.



After laboring for a while longer in the tub, my midwife suggested I get out so that things could pick up a bit. I admit I was scared for it to get harder; I was using all the breathing techniques I knew, visualizing, and praying as best I could (at this point we had been up for 24 hours), but the pain was just so intense. A few hours later, I was checked again, and I had only progressed to a 7-8. The nurse had said to me earlier, "This could be a long day; first babies tend to take a while." I just looked at her and said, "Please don't say that." But goodness, was she right. This boy wasn't going anywhere.

At this point, I had been in labor for about 10 hours, awake for way too many hours, and hadn't eaten anything. The contractions were so strong and intense, I would groan and just say the name of Jesus. My midwife suggested that they break my water, and when they did, the contractions got even stronger. And yet this little one would not budge. We also discovered that he was "sunny side up," meaning his back was toward my back, making it extremely difficult for him to progress into the birth canal. We then had a choice: 1) I could get an epidural, and they would reposition me and hope that he would turn, and if he didn't, my midwife could turn him, or 2) she could turn him without an epidural. Rory and I looked at each other, took a moment to pray, and went with choice #1. I was determined to not feel like a failure for needing medical intervention. After all, I had just labored for over 10 hours sans medicine! The nurse and midwife were constantly encouraging, stating that if I chose to have another child, I would easily deliver them and they would slip right out. But we had to focus on sweet Judah at this point.

Getting the epidural was not painful because of the needle, but rather because I had to sit up, sit still, and bear down during the most painful contractions yet. Not to mention that it took a while for the epidural to really set in. But when it did, I was so grateful to get some relief. I was also able to get a little sleep, which was so needed at this point. Exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. I then laid on one side for a while and then the other in hopes that baby would move, but he didn't. The midwife then said it was time for her to try to turn him, and again, we stopped to pray. Baby turned without any complication!

It was time to push to see if we could move baby further into the birth canal and get me to that magical 10 cm. I was still having contractions, but they were too far apart for me to make any progress. Enter our friend, Mr. Pitocin. Once I got the Pitocin, the contractions happened fast and furious, and I could barely catch my breath. But even with all of my hard work, baby still wasn't making much progress. I was so frustrated and oh so tired. My sweet nurse gave me some juice and a popsicle (even though you aren't supposed to eat after getting an epidural), but I just didn't have much strength left.

My midwife had called the doctor to let her know that there would be a possible C-section, and that was my biggest fear. I didn't want to have to recover from a C-section, and I wanted a vaginal birth for a multitude of reasons. All through the day, Rory was texting our friends and family with updates, and they were praying. We called out to God together, asking Him to bring this baby into the world without any further medical intervention. After about 15 minutes, my midwife said that she was beginning to see progress, and things were turning around! God was making a way for my baby to make his arrival! My midwife called off the C-section, and I pushed with everything I had in me, even though I could barely feel what was going on since my legs were numb and heavy.



All of a sudden, the atmosphere in the room shifted. People seemed to be moving into different positions, and it looked like they were getting ready for a baby to come! I kept pushing, and with a big mirror in place, I was able to see that his head was there, and I was so close. That gave me motivation to just keep going, no matter what. I was going to get this baby out one way or another! In a matter of minutes, he finally came, and they handed him to me. I just started weeping and saying, "Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!"

I couldn't believe he was finally here and that I was able to lay eyes on the little one who I had been getting to know over the last nine months. He was here. And everything was worth it. Judah Edward Mathisen came into the world at 5:54 pm on May 1. May 1 is a special day to my family; it is the day my parents met and also the day my maternal grandmother Nanny died five years ago. To have him come into our lives on this day was sweeter than I can say.

All through my pregnancy, women told me to "expect the unexpected" for labor. I confess I didn't really want to hear that advice. I had prayed for certain things, and God was going to come through on them, right? Not only had I prayed, but I had done everything else "the right way." I didn't gain too much weight, had stayed active by walking and lifting weights, took a quality prenatal and other supplements, and did acupuncture! But this labor and delivery was nothing like what I thought it would be. However, the end result is exactly what I prayed for: a healthy and happy baby.

There were so many ways we saw God work: I had the same nurse and midwife the whole time (for their whole shifts!). I was able to labor for a long time naturally, giving me the confidence I may need for future births. The Lord gave us the opportunity to be a light to the hospital staff who were in and out of our room as we listened to worship music and prayed. The hospital staff was praying for us. My midwife said she had never had someone come so close to a C-section and then have everything change. Both she and my nurse said that they had given up, but I never did, so they kept doing everything they could for me to deliver without a C-section. Everything was completely fine with Judah, and while I did suffer a 2nd degree tear, I had no further complications upon delivery.

It's easy to think that we have God figured out or that we can pray a certain way to get a certain result. And it is wonderful and beautiful when He answers specific prayers just the way we asked Him to. But it's also beautiful when He gently reminds us of our need for Him and humbles us. It's beautiful when we are able to look and see His sovereignty over every detail, even when we don't understand. My heart's desire was for a happy and healthy baby. And while the journey to bring him into this world was nothing like what I thought it would be, I would do it all again, because through it, God helped me to know that I truly am never alone, and His plans for me are always good, no matter how different they are than my own. God alone is God, and I am so grateful for His kind generosity to me and for the gentle ways He reminds me of His faithfulness in every season.

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