Motherhood and marriage, both give me continuous gratitude that brings me to my knees. I never spent my childhood dreaming of being a wife or even a mother, though I always knew it would be a great honor to do both. I was also blessed with incredible examples of both in my life that set the standard pretty high. Now that I’m both wife and mother, I’ve found that with each new season comes cautious anticipation. I’m pretty sure it’s the ‘planner’ in me that needs to think through all the pros/cons and best/worst case scenarios with the need to live each one out in my head before anything ever happens. (Can I get an amen?! Anyone?!) Things never go as planned, but what is a plan other than a mere outline to build your own design?
Though it was never a factor in choosing my wedding date, I find getting to celebrate my anniversary and mothers day at the same time each year a true delight. I get to pause and marvel the two greatest realities of my life, and the glimpse of eternity they bring me– such a beautiful design!
6 years of marriage, 5 babies, 4 years of chronic pain, 3 years with Warner, 2 babies to meet one day in heaven, 1 year with Jake, and anticipation of our baby coming in September. (hint: you’ll want to actually scroll to the bottom of this for a fun surprise).
I’ve never been the most eloquent, but I have always found that someone starting the conversation always breaths life into others or gives the simple opportunity to say, ‘whew, ok me too..’. So, here’s what I’ve learned and will celebrate on my anniversary:
- Marry the guy who doesn’t take life so seriously. He’ll make you laugh and even if you want to punch him in the moment, (looking at you Ian Batt for always telling me ‘it’s all mental’ while I’m pregnant and hormonal). You’ll look back and be so thankful for the growth in your own heart to
- Vulnerability and transparency make room for the most beautiful fruit to bloom. Six years with Ian has taught me to hunger for patience and gratitude. The space of time between sewing and reaping can feel long and arduous, but getting to celebrate progress vs. focusing solely on reaping the final result is actually a beautiful thing to witness. Note to self: stop focusing on checking things off the list and enjoy the process.
- Fighting for rest for yourself and your spouse is a good thing. If you’ve married an introvert like me, find someone to go visit for a weekend every quarter and give that man some space.
- Love is a choice. Getting to choose my man, Ian Batt, each day, is hard work AND an honor. It’s much easier because he chooses me too, and knows me well enough to play horrible things like CREED to get me out of bed in the morning when I don’t want to get up.
- Finding the things that God designed to make your marriage work (we are opposites, so this one has been interesting) really does help you appreciate your strengths and weaknesses as well as your spouses. Wouldn’t life be boring if we didn’t have people different than us who challenge our ‘why’ for all that we do?
- Marry the man who, even in his own mourning, will build you a garden over your buried memory boxes with your favorite flowers so you can sit and mourn and celebrate.
And here is where I should probably create a part 2 to this post, but I’ll keep going, because both are this weekend and that’s a lot to take in! My mom told me one time when I was pregnant that your children are like your heart outside of your body. While I was SO SCARED to have a baby and thought that was a weird thing to say, I’m unashamedly confident in the ways that motherhood has changed me. That’s grace, ya’ll. Even though it would be awesome if my tiny humans could say thank you for all of the diapers I’ve cleaned or tantrums and boo boos I’ve soothed, I’ll relish these years because I’m the one grateful for the ways I get to honor them as their mother this weekend:
In pregnancy and early baby days, I’ve learned both the weakness and incredible strength of my mind and body and how God’s molded my heart in new and beautiful ways. Here’s my favorite way’s my babies have changed me:
- A hunger for presence. We have Warner James to thank for this. From the moment he was born, his ability to engage and make people excited about life has really pushed me to want to spend my days present in time with him. My planner nature can get so focused on to do’s that I can forget to stop, to roll with changes in the plan, and to put down the laptop and play a silly game when he sneaks into my office after ‘breaking free’ from the nanny. Having boundaries in work and home time allows for better presence in each realm. Thanks, WJ.
- A hunger for joy. There is no questioning that the early years of being a mom is hard work. You never sleep, you never feel clean because someone is always touching you with some form of disgustingness, and there is always something to get done. This might even be what it will always be like, and for me, these boys have reaffirmed biblical truths that feel more real and less like a concept. Happiness is a feeling and joy is a state of being. Preparing for each day to love, serve, and give is hard work and you have to fight for joy to do it with a full cup.
- A yearning for community. I learned pretty quickly that I can’t do this alone. And, even though I’ve tried, the chronic pain that I’ve experienced has really pushed me to trust the mothers, friends, and family God’s given me. They’re helping me to walk through keeping humans alive, going to doctors all the time, continuing to do all the things for my children while my body is healing from miscarriages, and mentally encouraging me to be the best mom I can be for some handsome little men who have lots and lots of energy. Let’s be real, we weren’t created to live alone and laughing about being thrown up on with someone else who’s been there or is there is much better than doing that alone. And, on a more serious note, being terrified to go to the doctor for an ultrasound because you’re scared you’re going to hear that that baby won’t make it is definitely a time where you need people to push you to go and to celebrate and mourn with you. Find those people, they make you stronger.
- These babies really are love walking around outside my body. Nothing will challenge the concept of unconditional love more than a baby with colic, tons of allergies, who can’t take a bottle, and won’t sleep train. Especially when he has a brother who has just learned to exercise his verbal skills and always wants to engage and learn. Thanks boys. And nothing will make your heart swell more than watching your kid eat their first bite of food, walk, say their first word, be brave when you know they’re scared, and choose to love their sibling when you know they really want to keep lighting mcqueen to themselves. 🙂 Mom, per usual, you were right. I can’t even describe this love, I just feel it.
This weekend, I’ll also think of you -mama, wife, friend. I’ll think of you in marriage (or upcoming!!) , motherhood, friendships, personal health. Whether it be celebrations or heartaches, or a little bit of both, know that I’ll be praying that as you walk into this weekend you’ll find glimmers of peace and hope that usher joy.
In all these things, I can’t fathom how God could love me, my man, or my children anymore than I do, and yet He does. We’ve also learned something super crazy….
I’M OFFICIALLY A BOY MOM, YA’LL. BABY #3 IS A BOY. BE STILL MY HEART– SEND PRAYERS AND LOTS OF CLOROX WIPES.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas. I love you.