I don’t suppose I have to fill anyone in on what happened this past week. Roe v. Wade was overturned. For some this is a reason to celebrate after decades of prayer. Others see this as a dark day for women everywhere. I know if you know me, you know where I stand. I have always been unapologetically pro-life. But I fully believe that the majority of those mourning the decision really do believe that this is about oppressing women. I have a full blog on abortion that can be read here. But for now rather than addressing anything controversial- I simply want to introduce you to my four kids and fill you in on a couple of lessons I have learned from having these four sweet babies.
Lesson 1: Every Life is Worth Fighting For
I was raised pro-life. If you asked me I probably would have shrugged and said I was against abortion, but I was never going to be the one standing with a sign outside of Planned Parenthood. I was never going to be outspoken about it. It was a conviction of my heart and nothing more. Until two lines changed everything. For the first time in my life unplanned pregnancy wasn’t a hypothetical situation, it was my reality.
I thought that I could never fathom having an abortion, but almost instantly I was met with the temptation of being able to erase a mistake. Because abortion is marketed that way- if they sold it as murdering a child, no one would buy. But when they market it as a do-over, a second chance- it suddenly seems appealing.
It was only for a moment. A passing thought. But I have always held it in my heart because now I understand. Facing the faces of those you love most- seeing the disappointment of the ones you wanted to make proud. Never hearing “Congratulations” or “You’re going to be a great mom.” The sideways glances, the hateful stares, the whispers when you walk past. They hurt.
But I learned some of my most valuable life lessons from that experience- there was no amount of discomfort. No embarrassment. No struggle worth more than him. He was never a mistake. God had taken a mistake that I had made and used it produce joy and life. His life was now in my hands. He wasn’t a choice- He was the only thing I had that was worth dying for. He was worth fighting for. Isaiah made me a mom. He was my first arrow, and in him I saw the beauty of the battle.
From Isaiah: I Learned Grace.
Isaiah means “God saves” or “God is Salvation.” Isaiah was a very prophetic name and I had hoped even at the time that it would be. I had spent years of my life running from God, but here in this situation- I had to face Him. I had to face everyone. My unplanned pregnancy was the fight of my life. It made me who I am today. This was the moment where I became outspoken about being pro-life. My first thought when I saw him was I didn’t make him, God did.
The day Isaiah was born I found a strength in me I didn’t know I had. Perhaps it simply comes with being a mom. But as I sat alone in a room face to face with someone who needed me to live, I realized that nothing in my life had prepared me for this moment.
I felt inadequate. Insufficient. And ignorant. Over the next few months, I would run to God time and time and time again. But on a cold November night, I finally surrendered everything. It was then that I could see it. How all of these broken pieces and shattered glass were painting a picture. A picture only God Himself could paint. And as His light began to pour through all the cracks and creases of the life I thought I had destroyed- I finally saw it. God’s goodness and His grace poured out on me, a purpose in Isaiah’s life before he ever even took his first breath..
Isaiah is the most gentle, loving, and forgiving little boy I have ever met. He cares for the earthworm and finds wonder and joy in the oddest places. When I look at Isaiah, I see grace.
Lesson 2: Pregnancy is a gift, not a Punishment
Our culture has botched this fact to no end. Why are people so upset that Roe was overturned? Because it punishes women, of course. I read over and over again how men should have to bear the brunt of some of this and not just women. I agree with that if we are talking child support, presence, responsibility, etc. But what they really mean is men should have to bear the brunt of this physically. If I have to go through the trauma of pregnancy, he should too! But he can’t… And that is no longer a beautiful thing that makes being a woman special. Now it is an unjust punishment.
When carrying a life is viewed as a sickness, death becomes the cure.
Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
God- the Creator of all life- calls children a reward. A heritage of the Lord. These sweet, big-eyed, squishy cheeked babies are a gift from God. We do not deserve our children. They are not owed to us or created by us. Each of them is a beautiful and priceless gift of God.
Pregnancy is not a punishment! And until mamas see it that way, the world never will.
From Iris: I Learned Healing.
Iris was a surprise. I was surprised to find out I was pregnant, surprised when I had her three weeks early, surprised when I found out what a handful she could be, and constantly surprised by her beauty, her love, and her gentle heart. Iris is fire and ice. She taught me to love the unexpected. She taught me to sing loud regardless of who is listening. And she taught me how to pray.
Iris was born with a relaxed sphincter muscle that caused severe acid reflux, low weight gain, and hours and hours of crying. It was a difficult journey of hoops, doctors, scopes, medicines, and above all else: prayer. Those late night feedings and time spent alone watching her struggle- I cried out to God again and again. I knew He had made her and I knew He didn’t make mistakes.
But how could this be His plan?
Every step along the way God was healing more than just Iris- He was healing my heart towards Him. He was drawing Rafael and I closer to each other and closer to Him..
They discussed surgeries, procedures, and plans. But I felt God say He would heal her either way. So I stopped. I canceled every appointment. I called off every procedure. She wasn’t healed instantly, but little by little she started to change.
My church and family and friends joined in. Today you would never know from being around Iris that she ever had a rough start. She taught me to hope. She taught me BIG faith. When I look at Iris I’m reminded that God heals.
Lesson 3: Life Begins at Conception
Baby number three is when my perspective on kids first began to really change. Everyone is okay with someone having two babies, but three is just out of the question! Who wants the third? Well, I did. I didn’t initially but over time I started to daydream about a little sister for my older two. I knew we would name her Ivy. Ivy was conceived in my heart long before she was ever conceived in my belly.
Let’s be real here- my first two had happened without me even having to think about it so I assumed the same thing would happen with her… But it didn’t. Month after month I would be so convinced that I had to be pregnant, but month after month I wasn’t. I felt that I couldn’t cry about it or be upset because I had two other children. I was blessed and happy. But God had given me a desire for her and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself I didn’t- I still wanted her. I shed silent tears and tucked my emotions inside believing they were not worthy to be felt.
BUT GOD (my two favorite words) carried me and all my emotions and desires. Standing in front of a court house at a church worship night God reminded me that He was a good, good Father and He gives good gifts. I knew immediately I was pregnant. Three days later a test confirmed it. As I write this Ivy is leaning against my leg. With number three, I learned that life begins at conception.
From Ivy: I Learned Redemption.
Ivy’s long awaited existence came exactly five years after Isaiah’s unexpected existence. I can happily say a surprise baby and a prayed for baby are equally as precious. And equally as special.
The things I had broken. God fixed.
What I had destroyed. God rebuilt.
Every mistake I had made. God had used it for His good and for His glory.
Ivy was a reminder that God is always good. He wastes nothing. Isaiah was the on of the sweetest parts of my story- he took me from a mess to a mama. But I took the wrong way in getting there. Ivy was one day and one ounce different than Isaiah. Even the concerts I was at when I realized I was pregnant were paralleled. This time around I was where I needed to be. This time around was planned. And most importantly, this time around I was a different person. Isaiah was a call to grace, and Ivy was a parallel of a life now redeemed. When I look at Ivy, I see a good, good gift. When I look at Ivy, I see redemption.
(**Note to reader: I was less at the time of Isaiah’s birth, not him. A planned baby and a surprise baby are equal in blessings. Ivy was a picture of how God had redeemed me, not him. He was always a gift of grace!)
Lesson 4: Mamas are Vessels: Filled up and Poured Out for God
Baby number four is when I finally learned to let go. Mamas, we have one of the most incredible jobs in the world. We get to be the vessel that God uses to add to His creation. We are literally filled up and poured out, just as a vessel should be. There is so much pain and joy in both of those. From morning sickness to first kicks. From labor pains or C-section scars to that first cry that seems to stop Heaven and earth in its tracks. There is glory and wonder. Stress and swollen joints. There is pain you never knew you could endure and a joy you simply cannot contain. There are hormones and hunger. Laughter and love.
Becoming a Mama changes you from the inside, out. It is a dance of life. A movement between mama and baby. A chapter in creation. A calling- a high and honorable calling.
Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the splendor of pregnancy and the wonder of children.
We took the miracle of life and called it a burden.
We took the beauty of creation and called it choice.
Then, we took the innocence of children and called them as nuisance.
And we wonder why no one values life anymore…
With my fourth baby, I learned that my life is not my own. I was bought with a price. It is a glorious thing to be invited into the miracle of creation. I am a vessel- and I pray God fills me and pours me out as many times as He sees fit.
From Indie: I Learned Praise
Indie Jude. Independent praise. Praise in spite of the circumstances surrounding it. Indie was a hard pregnancy. My best delivery- but a hard pregnancy. But nevertheless, through sickness, a complete previa, pressure, bad placement, and pelvic girdle pain- I learned to praise. Because He is worthy of our praise.
When we are lost and alone- He is the North Star guiding us home.
When we are anxious- He is the peace.
And when we are broken or sick, He is the healing.
So we lift holy hands and praise the God who is worthy. We humble ourselves and exalt our God.
When I look at Indie- my heart sings. He loves nothing more than bouncing to a good worship song. And I remember the dance we did- our first dance- when he came into the world- and my heart rejoices.
In Indie, I learned to praise- even when I don’t feel like it. Because God is good- ALL THE TIME.
More Blessings than Burdens
Mamas, if you have ever went out in public, you know the comments. With one baby, you get told how fast it passes and how they need a sibling. With two, your hands are full, but your family is perfect. By three, don’t you know what causes that? And with four.. dirty looks, whispers, side comments about how people feel sorry for you.. And heaven forbid anything over that people may just explode!
Psalm 127: 4. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
What if we saw children the way God did? What if we called mamas blessed and children blessings? Of one thing I am entirely certain- children will never be more burden than blessing.
Whether your quiver is overflowing, stocked with one precious arrow, patiently awaiting an arrow, or grieving the loss of one- you are a skilled archer. Your love for motherhood and for children can change the world. Mamas, a Goliath fell this week. But changing laws is easier than changing hearts and minds, but we can do it. The battle isn’t over, keep aiming.
For more info on the pro-life position visit live action!