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Be Careful.

Be Careful.

I love running errands. Usually I am able to have alone time to plan and think and be in the quiet. I let my music billow from my rolled down windows and welcome the warm breeze as I coast down back roads and take the […]

My Birth Story

My Birth Story

Whew chile, it was no walk in the park. I debated sharing this. I really did. I’m still not 100% sure that it’s not going to cause some to be uncomfortable. But hell, it’s 100% true and at this point in my life the rosy […]

Facing Brokenness in Motherhood: 7 Things New Moms Want You to Know

Facing Brokenness in Motherhood: 7 Things New Moms Want You to Know

I thought it would be fun to change it up and make this post a list about the transition to new motherhood!

We just brought our new addition home a few weeks ago and it’s been an interesting journey! I thought I would share some of the ways I have needed support and gotten support from the community around me during this transition! My friends and fam has been awesome. So many people have gone out of their way to call, text, and come visit.

If this resonates with you share it and add your own!

Don’t Take it Personal when She needs Space and Adjustment Time.

She may want to not have to put on a bra or go in the other room to breastfeed when you come over.  She may need to sprawl out on the couch and rest her body. When you deliver a baby so many hands and eyes are fixed on your most intimate areas that sometimes you need a break from being looked at altogether. A sense of normalcy has to return to her. Don’t smother the new mother. Let her breathe and figure out the areas she needs help in so she can embrace her new normal feeling supported. She may want and need to be home alone with the baby. I know after I birthed my first, all I wanted was peace and quiet after being in the loud brightly lit hospital. After this second one I was really fighting to stay encouraged. The pain felt like it was never going to end and I just wanted to listen to him breathe and coo and watch him stare into space. It was hard to not feel like I could do basic things myself. I was constantly texting my mom friends and my mama tribe group text for support. God also just had me sit in my discontentment cause he wanted to show me how desperately I need him physically and spiritually.

Sidenote: I also wanted whoever was around my newborn to be healthy or even to have had certain shots. If they weren’t comfortable with that, they just had to wait until baby was bigger with a better immune system.

Listen to her more than you advise her.

All new moms need advice. We know it and you know it. A lot of people I know will reach out when they need help or have questions about a particular thing. Generations past have ways they raised babies and it’s always changing. The main thing with advice is have a general respect for whatever she chooses to do, even if she disagrees with you. If you have something you are dying to share, ask if she minds a suggestion or if you share something that worked for you. Allow her to answer you honestly before your give your two cents. Believe it or not, you get a lot of the same advice and questions from everyone after you give birth and it can get exhausting hearing and responding to the same questions or comments.

Have positive and adult conversations with her.

She’s knee deep in baby stuff all day and may even be sleep deprived. When you see her, sure ask about the baby, but as temping as it is, don’t force the whole conversation to be about baby or kid stuff. She’s up to her brain in that already. A lot of people asked me over and over about if I was sleep deprived and miserable or asked specifics about the baby. It’s okay to talk positively about new babies too. Ask her how she’s taking care of herself, what book she’s reading or wants to read. Ask when y’all can go grab coffee or bring her a special treat. Tell her she looks amazing because she probably won’t feel like she does. Think about her as a woman and not just mom. This is an adjustment, but it’s not a prison sentence. The upbeat and positive way you talk to her can encourage and refresh her more than you think. It’s always good to be reminded that you’re still a person outside of being a mom especially when there is all the responsibility to mom all day and night.

Ask her husband how he’s doing and actually listen.

Dads transition too. Dads need people checking in on them and to have conversations that don’t include diapers, bottles and child things as well. Nudge your husband in his direction. Make sure the dad is being talked with as well. Men bear a completely different load mentally than women so they need to be cared for as well by other men who have been there. They need someone to serve them as well.

Don’t ask her to “just bring the baby.”

This one applies for the first year of the baby’s life. Seriously, don’t. One of the most frustrating things is when someone says “just bring the baby” or just straight up doesn’t invite you cause they assume you’re too busy or tired. Just give your invite and let her decide what to do with it. Some new moms will say no, and some will be dying to get out of the house. You never know where someone is mentally and you don’t want to contribute to any heaviness or mental exhaustion she already feels. Treat new moms like everyone else, just ask and let the answer fall where it may. 

Sidenote: Don’t be surprised if she gets tired or irritated of people asking where the baby is. (Cause like I said, everyone asks you the SAME things when you transition in life) Dads don’t get this question nearly as often as moms and it’s cause we assume babies are always supposed to be with mom. But y’all, Dads don’t babysit, they parent. So when my child isn’t with me, he’s probably with his other parent… Thank God for great fathers who let mom be free and alone in the quiet to recharge. Regardless of where the kids are, if she doesn’t have the a child attached to her boob or her leg, please let her enjoy her freedom.

Whether she’s breastfeeding, bottle feeding, co-sleeping, rocking to sleep, or whatever else, if wants you to have an update on how it’s going she’s gonna let you know.

I had so many people I had never had a real conversation with prior to having my baby tell me their DELIVERY HORROR STORY. Boundaries people! If you run out of stuff to say just change the topic. No need to get graphic with unassuming individuals. Spare them. Please for the love of everything good, spare them. And don’t ask prying questions if you aren’t actually close with someone. Some topics can be hard topics that are not usually appropriate in small talk settings depending on what the new parents are walking through. Just stick to talking about her and her well being, and dads well being and if she’s comfortable, she’ll tell you whatever details she wants you to know. Easy peasy.

Pray for her.

As often as you think to do it, do it. Bringing a child into the world is draining in every way and full of joy in every way. Anything worth having is worth fighting for and she will be tired from all the fighting she has been through. Send the encouraging text. Mail the cute little note you wrote her. Send a gift card to her house so they can get food delivered. Treat her to a manicure or pedicure. Know if she likes to be surprised at home or if she likes her space. If she’s introverted or extraverted and honor that. Let her know you’re there for her and keep checking in. If you know who her best friend is, or her mom is check in with them and ask what she needs. Pray that she doesn’t feel overwhelmed or obligated to have people over. That she feels freedom to rest in Jesus and confide in her close friends. Pray that her and her husband can connect and not just have to power through or survive. Pray that she leans into the grace of Jesus and that she can appreciate and cherish every fleeting moment. That when she plays with those tiny hands and feet or looks into those endlessly deep eyes she can see the mercy and power of the Father who cares and loves her more deeply and intimately than you or anyone ever could.

Love her well by praying and believing God for her and with her. 

Written by: Calah Jackson

Facing Brokenness in Motherhood: Worth

Facing Brokenness in Motherhood: Worth

I’m about to get REAL naked with y’all, but that’s appropriate for this blog to be authentic right? Right. Ok cool.

Facing Brokenness In Motherhood: Pain

Facing Brokenness In Motherhood: Pain

There’s a certain kind of pain that is welcomed. I wouldn’t go a far to say it’s enjoyed, but it’s the kind that doesn’t dredge up feelings of hopelessness or feeling helpless. It almost can make you feel powerful and confident.

Sprung Series: Being Complete

Sprung Series: Being Complete

Everyone was playing in our backyard and I was gathering a bunch of different weeds and flowers to make a pretend dinner. I found the biggest leaves I could to use as plates, and when everything was finished I called them all over to sit at the picnic table and we pretended to finish our meal as family. Afterwards, I sent them off to keep playing and I stayed behind to clean up. Which essentially was just throwing the dinner back where I found it…the yard. Not too hard of a day for a 10 year old who just wanted to play mama.

Although it’s one of my favorite memories, it also made the list of times I idolized being married and having a family. Singleness wasn’t a trend in my upbringing. It was actually something I watched women in my life fight tooth and nail to avoid. There was a lifestyle that I saw that said I could never fully love myself if someone didn’t first do it. It told me, even at 10 years old, that the only way to be happy was to never be alone. That moment made my list because it wasn’t just an innocent game of house, it was a young girl trying to live out a unspoken expectation.

Years went by trying to live up to what I had grasped as happiness. Before I knew it, I was moving in with a married couple from my church after the end of a tough breakup. I had never really been single and If I was, all my energy was spent in making sure it didn’t last long. I spent a lot of time wondering why it didn’t work out and if maybe I just wanted it a little more than I did already, things would be different. I cried over my bible wondering how it was possible to want something so badly but not be able to have it. I see it now like a parent who notices their child is playing with something that could potentially harm them. As a child, you’re reluctant to hand it over because you want this thing and you can’t see and understand why you can’t have it. As a parent, you just want them to trust that your intentions aren’t to take things from them, but protect them. Although I was still hurting, I was ready to hand it over to my good Father and trust that He was capable of bringing clarity and understanding.

A common factor in what I was learning was that my desire was selfish. I felt like I had something to prove. I just needed to be a wife so badly to show everyone that I was worthy of love and capable of growth. But, what it came down to was that I thought marriage was going to be the place I did the most growing. I knew that there were things I needed to be healed and free from, but I didn’t want to do the dirty work by myself. I wanted a husband because I needed someone to take my mess and live up to the expectations I had been placing on him since the start. To fix me.

This was such a hard thing to process because I had always felt like my want to be a wife and a mother came from a good place. I didn’t want to hear that my heart was wicked. Honestly, I praise God often I wasn’t married or had a family before He revealed these things to me because Lord only knows what kind of mess I would have created for my spouse and children if it went the way I had planned. Even years later Jesus is still showing me parts of my heart I can’t stand to look at for too long, but praise there is grace and room for continuous growth.

A sweet moment in that season was finding out there were also really beautiful things I was craving. I wanted companionship and partnership. I had a soul longing to just be in community. I often recharge from everyday life the best when I am around my favorite people. We sit around talking about our dreams, our fears, we pray and cry together, and simply just laugh. I saw that this void could be filled with genuine and intentional friendship. I could set aside the idea that only my husband would be capable of doing that.

Another beautiful thing was the way God restored my view of giving and receiving love. My mom’s favorite saying growing up when she wanted something done was “you’ll be my best friend”. Although it wasn’t her intention to make me think the only way to receive love was to constantly give, that’s what my little heart clung to. I had to unlearn a work based love and understand that there is actually a love that is alive and willing to see you through to the end with no strings attached.

All of the things I learned about myself, good and pretty disgusting, ultimately pointed me back to Jesus. Now as a single woman I can say confidently that I have a new desire to love, cherish, and steward myself well alongside Jesus himself and the community of people He has placed around me. I can set aside the idea only a man could ever love me at my worst and bring me joy. There was no man that would ever be able to carry my baggage, love me unconditionally, and see the depths of my heart and stay the way Jesus does. If I am ever going to be satisfied in my relationships, all relationships, I need to first be fully satisfied in knowing that who Jesus is, is substantial. I know now the danger of wanting something that isn’t under the protective covering of Jesus. My desires are safe as long as they remain where they belong…under the throne, not on it. If I never meet my husband, He is still good. If I never get to make that memory a reality, He is still good. Ultimately, the greatest joy I will ever experience in this life is being known and loved by Jesus. A scripture I cling to often is that God withholds no good thing from those that love Him. If the good things He promises for those that love Him is nothing more than a deeper knowledge of Himself, wife and mother aside, I am all in.

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Written By: Marilyn Migliaccio

Sprung Series: The Marriage Idol

Sprung Series: The Marriage Idol

One of my favorite pictures from my childhood is one taken on Halloween of my dad and I. I am in a stunning bridal dress with a beautiful black, curly wig covering my face with my arms are wrapped around my dad. I was about […]

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 2

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 2

Recently, I received news that a family member was diagnosed with cancer.   I was not too happy with this news given my past experience with losing my mother, as well as family history. My guy (I omit his name for privacy reasons) was with […]

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 1

Sprung Series: Lessons From A Dating Sabbatical Pt. 1

When I first got saved, I made a random decision to break up with my boyfriend at the time, and go on a dating sabbatical.

I received mixed reviews regarding my decision. People either thought I was crazy or brave. It’s unconventional to take a season of intentional singleness. I also know that these kinds of things aren’t explicit in the Bible, but I felt it was the best decision for me at the time. Being newly saved and knowing very little about what sanctification was, I didn’t know what being a Christian would look like for me, but I knew it couldn’t possibly resemble the life I formerly lived…so I got rid of everything cold turkey.

The lessons gained from this experience would take upwards of a hundred different blog posts to fully express. But there are a few takeaways I am able to condense. This is part one of those takeaways.

Expectations suck, there is no formula, and God will do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants to do it.

I didn’t go on a sabbatical to earn the grand prize of marriage.

In fact, I actually ended my sabbatical with no desire to ever marry.

The only common denominator I have seen in Biblical marriage is the fact that it is a God ordained covenant, purposed to reflect and glorify him. Given that marriage encompasses a myriad of traditions, cultures, beliefs and processes, I conclude that there is no definitive formula for who gets married, the process by which it happens, or why some individuals marry and others do not. I’ve seen eighteen year-olds marry. I’ve seen thirty-year olds marry for the first time. Age, race, and socioeconomic status do not have any bearings on who marries. Being “wifey material” doesn’t even guarantee marriage (or in my case: not being wifey material doesn’t even guarantee singleness…because let me tell y’all about how much I am not the “wifey” type). God honors marriage as he is glorified.

The reason people get married is because God willed it for them. That’s it.

Recently, I was catching up with a Zimbabwean girlfriend who currently lives in London (the perks of traveling and living internationally is having cultured friends who have nothing in common with you). During this conversation she revealed to me that she is recently married. Obviously shocked, I inquired more of her situation. As it turns out, her now husband had to go through a whole entire process to even secure the marriage. His representatives had to approach her family to ask for her hand. Her and her family had to both agree, as well as negotiate the terms and he had to pay a bridal price in addition to other payments. Then, when both families finally agreed on the arrangements, they all blessed the two of them and joined them together in a ceremony. After this particular ceremony, they were finally allowed to live together as husband and wife. But that’s not the end of it. After this particular ceremony, in order to be welcomed into her husbands family, and vice versa, there had to be another ceremony.

This particular friend does not believe in getting the government involved in their process. There were no legal documents involved, and no government issued marriage license. Culturally, they are considered married, as she put it: “in the eyes of God and in the eyes of my family.” Understand also, that everyone involved are bible believing devout Christians.

Meanwhile in the west, Christian women in particular continuously devour Esther and Proverbs 31 formulas on marriage, and are held under a microscope by impossible standards of many westernized men and church culture (can we please finally end the the cycle of expecting eighteen to twenty-something year old women to have already arrived at this exhaustive list of requirements?). I admit to formerly subscribing to the same ideologies of “if only I did ‘this’ and ‘that,’ then I would attract the man God has for me (as if my behavior could win me a grand prize of male attention).

I asked my friend how she felt towards her marriage. In a nutshell, she is happy and excited. She is also a little nervous about the arrangement and adjusting to it. Overall, she is content.

This kind of process is foreign to our westernized minds (I would have given up during the negotiations) but I bring this up to make an important point: outside of the biblical non-negotiables, we cannot impose universal rules when it comes to dating, relationships and marriage. She didn’t do much to earn her marriage. Although she is content, her marriage was a business transaction. In fact, arranged marriages still remain the number one way marriages are carried out today.

Biblically speaking, dating did not exist and is a relatively new concept within the time we live in. This does not mean dating is sinful. It simply means we have to be careful of our standards and expectations. With that being said, it allows me to bring up an important point I may get some pushback on:

While Jesus Christ alone makes us whole, we need to carefully examine what we truly mean when we promote the “wait until you are whole to get married” mantra that is so heavily popular today.

Before the comments section of this post gets too crazy, allow me to explain.  Without a doubt, our wholeness is found in Christ alone. We also have to understand, however, that for some individuals wholeness in Christ is not fully realized until it is lived out within the context of marriage, and that may be God’s will for them in a particular season of their life.

I’m trying to be very careful with my words. I understand it is a very dangerous thing to give an impression that a person should marry before they’ve discovered wholeness in Christ. This is not what I am saying. I simply understand that while wisdom errs on the side of wholeness in Christ, this is not the case for everyone. I also recognize that God does use singleness to demonstrate his wholeness as he did with me. But we cannot expect every single person to find wholeness in Christ as a secret formula towards marriage. Christian marriages are, in fact, made up of two individuals made whole in Christ. On the same token, it is also made up of two depraved sinners, who are in desperate need of the gospel every single day. On the eternal scheme of things, Christ has made us whole, completely healed of our transgression, and made new without spot or blemish. On an earthly level, however, we are far from it. We still have to walk out this reality through the painful process of sanctification, where our indwelling sin is being exposed and dealt with on an ongoing basis.

I can honestly say that a solid Christian walk in wholeness has saved me a great deal of heartache and hard lessons I’ve successfully been able to avoid in recognizing the pre-eminence of Christ in my life. What I cannot ignore, however, is that sometimes God uses alternative means to bring his children to him as well, including that is within the context of marriage. During my own conversion process, I have seen him use two married unbelievers to reconcile one spouse to Him, and then later use this person to bring the other spouse to Himself. There are even times where God will allow two broken people to enter a marriage covenant and sanctify them into wholeness in areas that were blind spots in singleness. This is most definitely not an endorsement of broken or immature marriages, but rather a recognition that we simply cannot put the sanctification tool of marriage into a rigidly defined box.

God does what he wants according to his will. Let’s also remember that God also allows all things, especially us depraved sinners, our shortcomings and our brokenness in singleness and in marriage, to work together for good, to those of us who are called according to his purpose. 

 

 

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Written By Siobhan Blot

 

Sprung Series: Understanding and Appreciating Singleness

Sprung Series: Understanding and Appreciating Singleness

The first time I ever laid my eyes on Chichen Itza I cried.   It was unfathomable to consider I would actually one day stand in front of it. I also remember a time when I couldn’t imagine getting married. I didn’t think I would […]