Monday, January 12, 2015

Scars, Stretch Marks and Muffin Tops

Those 3 words so accurately describe the majority of our post baby bodies. I have struggled with each of my children accepting the wear and tear on my body that naturally comes with pregnancy, nursing and motherhood.  While my closet may appear otherwise, if I were to bump into you at target there is about a 99% chance that I will be wearing yoga pants and a tshirt.  No, I have never done yoga, but I can't leave the house in pajamas and skinny jeans and a cute top are not practical for wrangling 3 small children in and out of the van, shopping cart and attempting to get my to do list accomplished before the melt downs begin.

A dear friend gave me the book Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic after having my second child and it powerfully transformed my thinking.  I have to go back and re-read one specific chapter often when I find myself focused on the things I hate about my body. Hopefully this will encourage you as it has refreshed my perspective this week.

"Motherhood uses your body in a way that God designed it to be used...motherhood is what your stomach was made for- and any wear and tear that it shows is simply the sign of a well used tool...So use it cheerfully and maintain it cheerfully. When you are working hard to lose the baby weight (as you may need to), think of it as tool maintenance. You want to fix up your body in order to be able to use it more. It might be used for more children, or it might be used to take care of the children you have.  ...Scars, stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work. One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today, is the testimony of joyfully giving your body to another....So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of Gods design. Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them. Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body, just like a guitar mellows and sounds better with age and scratches, so your body can more fully praise God having been used for his purposes."  Rachel Jankovic in "Loving The Little Years"

Wow.

This seriously rocks my world every time I read it. Carry the extra weight joyfully, until you can lose it joyfully. That sentence I have repeated in my head several hundred times in the last few months.
As I begin the journey of tool maintenance and joyfully lose the extra weight, I am thankful for the constant reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am also thankful that for me losing weight is not super easy. Discipline is so important, and to be honest if it were easy, I would not have to be disciplined. I also would not have discovered how important healthy foods and proper nutrition really are. Before having babies I could eat whatever I wanted and pretty much maintain my weight. The older I get and the more children I have, my body and metabolism require healthy foods to achieve and maintain a healthy body.  I love that I can trust AdvoCare products to be safe and also be a catalyst to achieving my goals.  It is so hard to get to the gym, and start making lifestyle changes and so often we give it 30 days but see no results and quickly give up or give in.  I love knowing that I WILL get results.  The 24 day challenge for me is more than just a few health products I take, its a lifestyle. Its a decision to commit to the process of getting healthy. Its a decision to make healthy food a priority in our home. I struggle with consistency, so anything that helps be focus and be disciplined is a win win!

My deepest desire is that as mothers we can lessen the expectations we have for ourselves to be so perfect not only physically, but emotionally as well. Motherhood demands everything from us. Loving our children well. Learning how to discipline and shape their sensitive yet strong wills. It is a challenge, but I pray that we will receive the calling with Joy.




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fast Forward


What will life to look like in 5 years??
I will have a 9 yr old, 8 year old and 5 year old. CRAZY. Maybe even MORE kids! EEK
And that is going to be here faster than I can even imagine. How do I know, because this year I will have a 5 year old. It seems like yesterday I got to hold her tiny 5lb self after being delivered 6 weeks earlier than planned. TIME FLIES. I don't know how the saying goes, but the days are LOOOOONNNGGGG but the years FLY by.

I would not have ever classified myself as a dreamer, or goal setter to be honest. Im the type that is trying to figure out how the heck I'm gonna make it through today and this week much less the next year. Who has time to think about next year. But two years ago something happened.

My sweet Allie was 3, it was April and landscaping season had begun. Daddy worked HARD for our family, long hours so that I could be home to raise our children, however that came at a cost. He worked long days for corporate job, and nights and weekends to build another business to provide the income we needed to support our quickly expanding family. Michael left out the garage door and Allie ran, fast and hard, and crying, banging on the door begging to go with daddy. I felt like I was watching my heart as thats how I really felt too. Desperately wishing he didn't have to go out again and work long, physically exhausting hours.
Now the truth is my heart had been struggling because I didn't understand WHY he HAD to work all the time. What I didn't see was how HARD my sweet man was fighting for our better future. He knew he was created for more than excel spreadsheets and managing a budget. He didn't know WHAT but he knew WHY. He wanted a different future than what that would bring. He wanted financial freedom, to be able to give freely to our church, support ministries and people we love. He wanted to enjoy life to the fullest and pursue his passions without the pressure and burden of time and money. 
If I'm honest we fought often because his fighting wore me out. I did not understand WHY. Until that day. The banging on the back door, crying for her daddy to come play.
For the first time I wanted HIS future to look different too. I realized all his hard work and long hours was fighting for our family, and for a better future, but at the expense of less time with us, more hours working to take care of our family. I wanted him to have more time with our kiddos to be the amazing Daddy that is his and wanted to be.

Thats when I asked myself the question I first asked you...

What is life gonna look like in 5 years if nothing changes? 
Or even just 2 years. What will our crazy life look like in 2 years? 

Then I started taking small baby steps every day. I began investing in myself, reading, challenging myself to become more. Realized if I could change and better my future, could I help others change and better theirs? 
<FAST FORWARD>
"2 years from now" has arrived. 
He is here.
He ate breakfast and lunch with us.
He picked them up from preschool and randomly took them to a park today in freezing cold weather when they saw a FUN NEW PARK.
He rocked Noah to sleep at nap time and even lingered to "snuggle please" at a precious request. Last week I walked in to an elaborate tea party he had set up for Allie.

The most powerful thing I realize now that happened that day in April 2 years ago is that I realized I didn't have to stay where I was. I could be more, become more and in turn maybe I could impact our families future for the better. I realized I was made for something more. I wanted more out of life. I was not ok with Michael working 80 hours a week to provide for us causing him to miss out on so many of the memories and precious gifts that come with raising children. Because of that day, he is now here. He has TIME with our children. He is a gift to them, they are the sweetest gifts to his soul.