Ash Wednesday: The Chance to Live in the Moment

Hello!  I have just started a blog; please read my About post to learn more about me. Even though my blog is barely set up, I just felt in my heart that I really wanted to be a part of an online Lenten community this year.  I stumbled across Elizabeth Esther and knew her idea was perfect! I’ve already been inspired by reading the comments to do as Annie did and write to 40 women during lent. I love that!
Today I thought I would share some of the reflections I’m having today. I am a mother to a sweet 4.5 month old daughter, and right now we are going through a rough time in terms of sleeping and napping. I find myself feeling impatient, thinking “when will she fall asleep?” Or “when should I lay her down in her crib?” Based on the research I do, I’m terrified that I’m ruining her for life by not getting her to sleep well. I am not living in the moment at all
Yet, when she was a newborn until about 2 months, before I read anything or was worried about what other people would do, I was very patient. I would pray some of the rosary before laying her down to sleep. She had mild reflux, so I would make sure to hold her upright after a feeding and I “timed” myself by praying the rosary. I just enjoyed my precious moments with her and never once worried that I was doing something wrong.
So why am I letting myself change, constantly worrying about what should happen next instead of enjoying what is happening now? I am lucky enough to be taking time off work and I have no other children. More than most people, I have so many chances to pray and reflect on God’s love. When I am breastfeeding or when I am rocking my daughter to sleep, I have the chance to enjoy the stillness. And I will not have these chances forever! I need to take the opportunities I have for prayer instead of trying to rush them. Yes, there are a million things to do. There are so many ideas I want to write about, but they can wait.
This Lenten season, I want to go back to how I was during the first 2 months. When I’m feeding her, I will just enjoy gazing at my baby instead of surfing the web on my phone. When I’m trying to get her to fall asleep, I will appreciate the chance I have to hold my daughter in my arms. And then I will pray, either the rosary or other prayers, before I lay her down.
I also plan in doing meditations I have in a book called Let Nothing Disturb You: A Journey to the Center of the Soul with Teresa of Avila. I really lived these meditations when I was trying to get pregnant and I think I will enjoy them now. There are only 30, so maybe the last ten days I’ll go back to my favorites.
Today, the main idea from the devotional book is: “A whole lifetime is short.  I cannot depend on anything that passes away.” This has a lot of meaning for me right now because I just handed in my resignation letter for my job so that I can stay home with my daughter. This is the best decision for my family, but I’m very scared about money and the future. Today’s message reminds me that money and job security don’t matter. They are worldly things that pass away. What matters is love. Love is eternal. A mother’s love certainly lasts forever. And God’s love is the meaning of everything. So I need to focus on the ways god has called me to love. He is guiding me and everything will be ok.

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Love in Motherhood, Even Before Motherhood Begins

Hi Everyone!  I’m a new blogger; please see my About page to learn more!

Even though my blog is barely started, I was inspired by the topic that A Mama Collective has going so I decided I needed to write my first post immediately!  Their idea is to write about some aspect of motherhood has been impacted by someone’s love.

I actually am inspired to talk about how love, specifically God’s love, impacted me before I was pregnant.  I talk more about what faith is to me in my About page, but I definitely went through a real deepening in faith on my journey to get pregnant.

I have to go back to the summer of 2012 to tell this story.  For quite a few years, I had always imagined that 2012 would be the year I tried to get pregnant.  I stopped birth control in February of 2012 and started researching getting pregnant like crazy.  This will sound weird, but because I have had normal periods and no real problems, I just has this feeling that I was very fertile and that things would work out for me.

However, the summer of 2012 started very differently than I had imagined.  For one thing, stopping birth control did weird things to my hormones.  I broke out like a teenager, and my periods were just kind of weird, different than they had been before birth control or during birth control.  Suddenly, I felt like my body was not the same and started to wonder how easy this would really be.  But much worse than this was a family tragedy.  I witnessed my aunt’s final battle with lupus.  I was there in her final moments of consciousness and while I don’t want to share the whole story, overall it was very traumatic for me.  In some ways I felt I should have done more for her in those final moments, and the whole summer I dealt with  depression and guilt over her death.

As the fall started and I still wasn’t pregnant, I started to get nervous.  I knew that getting pregnant could take a year or more, but for some silly reason I had imagined everything happening quicker.   And my weird hormones didn’t help the issue.  I hit a real low point in November where I just felt like since my aunt’s death everything had gone wrong, and the guilt I still felt just overwhelmed me.

Then, I started praying a lot.  I didn’t pray to get pregnant though.  In my book collection I found a devotional book of prayers based on St. Teresa of Avila called Let Nothing Disturb You.  These prayers were all about realizing that all that matters is putting God at the center of life.  Everything else is secondary.  We always think about what we want, and the more we do that, the further we  get from God.  Those ideas really hit home for me and the prayers in this book gave me comfort.  I also started praying the rosary every day.  I just meditated on the idea that God’s will would be done, and that was all that mattered.  God’s love started calming me more and more.  I started feeling so at peace and positive that whatever God wanted would happen, and whatever God wanted would be right.  I thought about how Mary had complete faith through her pregnancy and motherhood because God’s love was with her.  And I just believed that if God wanted me to be a mother, it would happen, but if he didn’t, I would find other ways to love.

By mid-December I felt so happy and so patient.  The whole Advent season was wonderful for me because Advent is all about waiting for a baby.  But instead of stressing out and thinking: “When will I get pregnant?” I tried to think about Jesus, the real baby at the center of Advent.  Also, I realized that whenever we are waiting for something, God is waiting with us.  I felt God’s love so much and just knew everything would be OK.

My husband actually had a hunch that he was the reason we weren’t getting pregnant, so he went to the doctor even though we had only been trying for 6 months.  They did tests and found out he had low testosterone and low sperm count.  This news made me realize that maybe pregnancy wasn’t going to happen.  I did have many moments of frustration.  But I just kept praying and feeling God’s love giving me patience and peace.

At the end of January, my husband was told that his chances of getting me pregnant were less than 10 percent.  On February 1st, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. This had been only our 7th month of trying.  We beat the odds.

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Well, actually, God’s love beat the odds.  I know without a doubt that God somehow made pregnancy happen for me.  My pregnancy and labor were so beautiful.  In October of 2013 I gave birth at the same hospital where my aunt passed away.  I know she was with me, taking care of me and watching over me.  The first words out of my mouth when my daughter was laid on my chest were “Thank you, God.”  I just kept saying it over and over.

God’s love sustained me on my journey to pregnancy; my journey to pregnancy sustained and increased my awareness of God’s love.  God’s love made pregnancy possible for me.  God’s love brought my beautiful daughter to me.  And God’s love will be at the center of my motherhood, keeping me patient and positive.