Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Being a Mom is Hard!




Lately I've been feeling pretty good. Alive. Ready.... Well, some days that's how I feel. Some days are much harder, less ready, and a little sleepy. But for the most part I'm doing awesome. I'm working on implementing some discipline and structure to our days besides just Zachary's nap schedule. It's amazing that coming up on his first birthday I'm just now starting to get back to my old self. Funny how long it really takes.

I'm reading a book called Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. I felt a little silly asking for it at the bookstore. I felt a little silly admitting I'm reading it. But silly is the farthest thing I feel after delving into it. It's such an honest and encouraging book. Even as I'm typing this, remembering how I felt the day I found it, I'm tearing up. I was so discouraged. I felt lost and hopeless, like "how could this be what I signed up for?!" Here's a little blurb of a blog post I was beginning at the time:

I have woken up to the realization that my life is not what I thought it would be. Not that it isn't what I want it to be, just not what I expected. You know how you have an idea of what you'll be like, look like, think like, etc when you "grow up"? Well, my life doesn't be, look, think like that at all. It is far from bad or even any kind of worse version of what I ever envisioned. It is in fact much better than I could have planned or even hoped for at some points of my adolescence.

As I look at the things I do and the way I live I am so abundantly grateful. I have an amazing hubby and two adorable boys. We lead worship at a church where we are appreciated and cared for. We live in a relatively safe town with not much to do but many people who love us.

But here's the thing: I always thought it would be...well, different. That seems to be the only word that's coming to me now.

As you can see I wasn't in the best place! I think I started that post with the intent to show how God had made my life better with my little family, but I got stuck about the end of that last paragraph and just stopped. I'm pretty sure that's when I started looking for some encouragement, anything to hold onto and found Desperate. This book has helped me realize that different is not bad. Even difficult isn't bad. Being a mom and learning to be a mom is hard. It's not something that we are necessarily prepared for. My mom was and is a great mom. She seems like a natural, but as I've talked with her about how I've been feeling she totally relates. She wasn't a natural, she just did the best she could, and I thought she was amazing! It gives me hope that my kids will one day think the same about me...HOPE. It seems to be the key.

Something I've learned is that without hope there is really no point. Not just in motherhood, but in life. Hope is what leads us. It's what draws us. I think really it's what gets us out of bed in the morning. Hope that today is going to be good, that something today is worth getting out of bed for, that my contribution to my family/job/church/community is going to matter. See, without hope days get dark, and getting out of bed just doesn't seem worth it. Hope is the opposite of, well hopelessness... Seems obvious, I know. But think about it. Hopelessness tells us that it's not worth it, that nobody cares or will be affected by our lives, that it's going to be bad, whatever it is. Hopelessness is a lie. It's a HUGE LIE that can devour you and keep you bound, desperate, and lost.

We have to find hope, true hope, The Hope, in order to go on. I don't think a person could live a long time without hope. We need it. It fuels us. As a wife and a mom my hope is that my husband and children will feel loved and cared for. I hope that they will see God in me and understand Him better for having known me. I hope to make an impact on the future generations of my family and the world. I hope that God will use me in any and every way possible, no matter how insignificant it may seem to me right now.

So what does that look like? I'm not sure! But I sure am excited to find out. I know that God will reveal things in His perfect timing. I trust that He has given me my hubby and my boys on purpose, because He knew exactly who I needed and who they needed. I hope that I will become the woman I am meant to be in the process of raising my boys to be who God intended them to be. I believe that in all things concerning me He will work them together for my good and for His glory.

Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mother of Two

Wow! Five months go by so fast! I cannot believe how difficult and wonderful they have been. Today Little Z is 5 months old. He is the sweetest, most adorable baby. I love him to pieces! Having two little ones has proven to be a challenge though, more than I was expecting to say the least!

People told me it would be harder, but I guess I just didn't believe them. Over these past months I've realized that moms are amazing. Not like, "I'm a mom and I'm amazing." But moms in general. I say if you've got more than one kid and you haven't killed anyone yet -- AMAZING! No, but seriously, I don't know how you can truly appreciate what moms do if you've never had to do it. Not just having and raising kids, but keeping your emotions under control, loving unconditionally, dealing with tempers and tantrums -- from kids and spouses and the ones you have in your head, listening to the same questions over and over, saying the same things over and over, cleaning, cooking, making all the boo boo's go away, and the list goes on! Just thinking about it makes me want my mommy! 

I know above all else I've needed my faith and family more than ever through having children. I've had to allow people to help and God to heal. I've had to take some long looks inside and decide who's more important, me or them. One of the scriptures that has helped me so much through this is Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." When I think about this in the context of family it rocks my world. It's easy to see this in a ministry setting, or even when thinking about work relations, or people less fortunate than you. But when you start thinking about your family this way it almost seems crazy! 

Many moms will tell you they put themselves last on the list. They'll say things like "I never buy anything new because all the money's going to the kids," or "I wish I had a few minutes a day for myself," or "I don't even have time to take a shower!" But I don't think that's what this verse means. It's deeper than that. It means that at the core, in my heart, I believe that my husband, my children, my mom/dad/siblings are the most valuable people in my life. I take care of me so I can take care of them. I put on my prettiest face for my husband. I put on patience and love for my children. I put on understanding and help for my parents. I put on kindness and a listening ear for my siblings. You see it's not that I get to be "the real" me with them -- which, by the way, bothers me when we think that's the crazy person living inside of us, but that's a different story -- but it's about being the best me because that's how important they are.

I know this isn't easy or comfortable for the most part, but with practice and lots of prayer I know I have begun to feel like this is me. I am a kind and loving parent. I am beautiful and respectful wife. I honor and help my parents and love my siblings. Not always. Never perfectly. But intentionally and carefully. I am learning that if I can be unselfish and understanding at home, it becomes that much easier everywhere else.

*As a side note, while I'm writing this my almost-3-year-old is "juggling", which means he's basically throwing balls in the air and hitting everything breakable in the house, including me! Whose idea was it to buy him those juggling balls anyway!?!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Little Blessings

 First bath in the sink!
 Surprise face!!!
A little quality time with baby brother...so sweet.

Gratefulness

Sometimes life seems difficult, unfair, distressing, uncomfortable... I have found in those times the only way out is to take on an attitude of thanksgiving. It is really hard at first to count your blessings when all you can see is the "yuck" around you. 

Having our second baby has been pretty rough. All of my insecurities about being a good parent and basically not killing anyone in the process have risen to the surface. Add to that sleeplessness and dropping hormones and let's just say I've been better! But through it all I am reminded to just be grateful. Grateful that I have bottoms to clean and noses to wipe. Grateful for a toddler, let alone a time out spot. Grateful to have a newborn who wakes me up at night. Grateful for a husband without whom I would be totally lost and an even bigger mess. Grateful for a family who loves me and a support system of family members and friends who love and take care of me.

Philipians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I used to focus on verse 7. The peace of God is something we all want. But then I realized the command associated with the promise and I began to not only quote this passage but experience it. 

Anxiety is a big foe. It can be overwhelming and all-consuming. But God is bigger. When I start thanking Him for the wonderful blessings in my life and putting Him on the throne where He belongs, well, my problems don't seem so big. I still have to live here and deal with reality, but I do it knowing that my Papa will take care of me and see me through. Somehow it works every time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reflections

Watching Zachary the last few days has reminded me how amazing God is. It's hard to deny the intelligence and creativity it takes to create something so intricate and perfect. I think the first thing I noticed when my babies came out is that it seems literally impossible that this entire little person fit inside of me! And then to watch how they function so perfectly and begin even from the first day to express who they are...it's mind blowing! 

I see such striking differences in my boys and it's only been 6 days! Jeremiah was alert and curious from the moment he was born. The first time he was placed on my chest to nurse he went for it with gusto. To this day if his food is not ready when he is it's a very bad thing. Zachary was placed on my chest Tuesday morning after a quick rinse and he immediately fell asleep! for a whole hour! When he nurses he takes his time and I struggle to keep him awake throughout. He's the definition of a sleepy head. I can imagine he'll be one of those kids who falls asleep in his spaghetti! Basically anything that I could possibly have noticed about Zachy's personality and temperament in the last few days is pretty much exactly opposite of Jeremiah's. The funny thing is when Zachary came out Josh said, "He looks exactly like Jeremiah! He's beautiful!"

How fearfully and wonderfully they are each made. Such a mystery. God is so infinitely creative that to give me two boys, cut from the same cloth yet completely different, is like nothing to Him, but He takes care to do it so perfectly. I love that about Him. His tenderness, care, creativity, and delight are constantly expressed in His creation. What an amazing Father. What an awesome God!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Introducing....

He's here! Zachary Noah Greegor. 8.6 lbs, 19-1/4 in. Welcome our little miracle. We love you!

Baby #2

Today, once again, our lives will change forever. In just about three hours we will have a new addition to our family. A new little life to tend and train. A new little temperament to love and discipline. We knew when we had Jeremiah that life would never be the same, but how much different will it be now? How much more love and chaos?

I'm so grateful for a God who walks with us through the overwhelming things of life...for family and friends who never cease to support and pour out unconditional love...for a husband who is most definitely the best thing to ever happen to me, not to mention the most amazing man I know...for pastors who care enough to call and pray us through our fears. 

I can't begin to describe the mix of emotions and thought processes that have overtaken me in the last 24 hours. Excitement swings to anxiety and back to elation again. Then FEAR! Then get-this-kid-out-of-me! And on and on...

I know it will be great. I know he'll be a wonderful blessing. I know God has greater things in store than I could ever comprehend, and more love than I thought I could know. So... I'll put on my brave face and ball my eyes out later safe in the presence of my big, strong Papa God, whose loving embrace knows no end. 

And maybe I'll post a picture or two!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Abandonment

So, I'm in the middle of a Bible study called Falling in Love with Jesus. The 3rd week in our study is all about surrender and abandoning everything for the Love of our lives. I also started reading a book called Radical by David Platt, which is basically about this exact thing. It just so happens I started reading the book the same week I managed week 3 in my Bible study... hmmm... coincidence?

My heart has always been for God's will in my life, no matter what. At the beginning of this week's study I was challenged to pray Ruth 1:16-17 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” I must say I had a little trouble getting the words out. I've come to realize that it's not just something to say or "believe", but it's something to live.

Now I'm not saying that before this past week I didn't really mean that I wanted to live out God's will, but it's just hit me like a ton of bricks, that if He asked my life -- not just my physical life, but everything I hold dear, and He could! -- then I would have to give it. Not have to like someone's making me, but have to like because I love Him with everything. Nothing I have has come because of anything I've done, only because He's given it. But as I started to pray those words, "Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay..." I broke, because I realized that my stuff really did have a hold on me. That's not who I want to be!

I want to live my life in a way that I can fulfill every call of God on my life. Yes, I want to enjoy His blessings and walk with joy and hope, but do I really need "stuff" to believe that He's a good God? Do I need "things" to believe that He wants to bless me? I have an amazing family and more love than I can possibly deserve, but what if He asked me for them? Would I question that He's worth it? I've decided that He is -- He's so worth it: everything, all of me, all my comforts and desires, hopes and dreams, loves and lovees. He's the only One I want to live my life for.

I've started reading through the Bible, and I'm shooting to read through it in the coming year. I've attempted this before and have never quite made it, but here I go again. I'm praying that through His Word, my life will be transformed and my mind renewed. I've already had some "aha" moments. I can't wait for more to come. I'm so blessed to be loved by such an amazing Papa. I hope you know that love too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Revelation(s)

I'm taking part in a new Bible study this fall: Revelation, There and Then, Here and Now by Beth Moore. It's obviously deep, but also surprisingly refreshing. Beth has asked us to ask God for fresh revelation from Him about Him in our daily lives, and then journal it. I thought I'd just share a little of what He's been showing me.

Having a new baby in the house, I get to see and learn new things about God and His big giant love all the time! Yesterday we were laying on my bed and Jeremiah was babbling on and on, grabbing at his feet and studying his hands. He was so precious, and I thoroughly enjoyed just listening to him "talk" even though I had no idea what he was saying. Then it hit me: that's how God feels about me. The only difference is He always knows what I'm saying -- maybe even better than I do. But he enjoys me that much. He just wants to spend time with me, listening to me, watching me discover new things and sharing them with Him. So beautiful!

As I was driving today I had another small revelation about how He wants me to serve Him. I think in my head I have this built-up, crazy notion of who I'm "supposed to be". But I felt Him say, "Just be you. Just be who I created you to be and that's enough for me. I'll do the rest." It's so refreshing to think that I don't have to put on airs or try to make myself better. I can just be me. And that in itself is an act of worship.

It's amazing how learning more about Him always sheds light on my silly thoughts and insecurities. But I love knowing that to Him, nothing I feel or think or am is silly. It's all exactly right. Just how He made me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Blow Me Away!

Oh Lord! My heart cries out in gratitude, in humility, in praise!
Who am I that you would even notice me?
Yet You extend your hand of salvation, in desire for relationship with me!
How have I even caught your eye?
Why do you look on me as lovely and beloved?

Oh precious blood of Jesus Christ!
Only by your mercy have I been redeemed.
Only because of your sacrifice do I even have a place at the Father's table...
Yet not just any place, but the place of honor:
The bride of my beloved.

And so I come in all humility, in all my unworthiness,
Only to be clothed with your strength and to be made clean and worthy
Of your love, of your life...object of your desire.
Holy, righteous, acceptable, desired, loved, beautiful,
Without spot or blemish -- because of your blood.

Oh how I love You!

Look it up!