So, 18 years ago… a little girl made me a mom. That day, everything changed. Every year she asks for a blog, and now more than ever it is important to feed into her life (while she wants to listen).
She has always had a mind of her own. She defeated the odds. She has always somewhat been the boss. Just a little history… she is a miracle. Some may be tired of the story, but it is important to me.. to remember what God can do… how strong she is… to remind her that God had great plans.. The doctors said we would never have children. But GOD had bigger plans to bless this world.
Hearing we were pregnant was indescribable. When I signed up for a research study, it was because God knew He had big plans for our baby. During a study at 13 weeks pregnant, we were told that I needed emergency surgery to have any chance at saving our baby’s life. I laid on flat bedrest from that point forward. I became diabetic requiring insulin. I did injections of steroid to prepare our baby’s lungs for an early delivery. Our goal was to get to 25 weeks, but God had other plans. At 36 weeks, our baby stopped moving and there was much concern, but God had great plans. We did not find out what we were having as we wanted to be surprised. When we heard it’s a girl… we knew there was something about Mary (named her after my beautiful mom).
Over the years, we have watched our Mary grow more beautiful from the inside out. And now that I reminded her and myself of what a miracle she is… what a special gift from God she is… Over the years, she has started to follow in some my steps that need to be reviewed and learned from in hopes she doesn’t repeat them without regard to the cost…
First, pouring yourself into other people is an admirable trait, but there can be a cost. Sometimes, I find myself scraping the bottom of all I have available to give. After all, scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). We have talked about this before. The problem is I often then do not have the reserve, the stamina, the energy for when I need it. I am empty for myself, and unfortunately at times for those I love most (like my daughter, my husband, my son, etc…).
In life, I have become quite a people pleaser. I make decisions based on what will make other’s happy and hate to disappoint people. It happens at work, with friends, with family, etc. I don’t want to make anyone unhappy so I say yes to everything. I choose different paths to make everyone happy. I do what is best for others, without regards often for what is best for me. I have aimed to please people, and have learned some only wanted to use me for a season in their life. I poured into them and forgot to pour back into myself.
If I were ever a circus performer it would be a juggler. I juggle jobs, family, friends, etc. Unfortunately, all this juggling practice has come at a cost. There is a limit to how many things you can juggle. How many things you can hold onto. How many things can be in the air. Sometimes, things fall when the juggling does not work. I read once about how important it is to know which things can be dropped in the juggling. I have sadly chosen the wrong things in life to juggle and drop.
I look back and think about what I could have done differently. I know we have talked about when you have felt I have dropped the family plate and the “Mary plate”. At times, it felt like it was broken into pieces. However, we are resilient. Anything can be put together with love and attention. We have had open (and some hard) discussions of why the juggling happened and how it failed. At the moment, the decision was what I needed to do. Though I would say I wish I could go back and change things that means that one I would be living in the past, especially past regrets. Also, if I changed my then decisions, it would mean who we are as a family would be different, and I believe we have grown as a family. More importantly, my good and bad decisions have helped shaped you into the amazing daughter you are.
There are so many things I have learned in this journey of being your mom. Lessons from my mistakes that it is not too late for you to learn.
Lessons for us both:
Replenish – Make time for things you love that replenish you. The body, soul, spirit, mind, etc. are like a car. They will stop running when you run out of gas. I admire the time you put into yourself, to look flawless because it makes you feel good on the outside (which still cannot compare to your inward beauty). I love how you know when you need some alone time to regroup. Make time for the people who pour into you with their friendships, their laughter, their honesty, and their love for you.
Serving other and pleasing others are two separate things, but are often blended. In our home, we believe in giving back to people and causes we believe in. We believe in doing what is right, even if it doesn’t fit in with what everyone else does. I love to watch you serve with your dad at the Fireman’s Fair. I love watching you serve families by your love for their children. Mostly I love how you serve and love your brother like no other can! Don’t serve because it is expected… or to please someone… serve because it is what you are called to do and do beautifully.
Stand out. For so much of my life, I worried how I didn’t look like others, how our home didn’t measure up, etc… that I missed out on living my life. I kept people at a safe distance and only let them see the “acceptable me”. This past year the pool changed everything. I became brave and let people into our life. Guess what? They didn’t judge our craziness! They felt loved, fed, and welcomed. If those you let in judge you… allow them to leave your life. Love them for the lessons you learned from their presence. By letting those go who want you to fit in, you make room for those who will not judge, but love unconditionally. You will make room for those who want to be in your craziness.
Juggling – Be careful which plates you choose to juggle. Juggling is inevitable. It is important to know that no matter even if you drop one, they can be glued back together often with talking, time, and love. Some plates are stronger as a result of the bond to repair them.
Face the world and your fears. – Don’t look back with regret. In life, we all make mistakes. I could give you a good long list. However, the good and bad decisions will help form who you are. It is equally important that you are BRAVE and take chances from big to small things. Overcome your fears, big and small, so you don’t have regrets that you didn’t try. Start small and then move bigger. Worrying how things will turn out are often worse than the actual thing you fear. The worst thing you will say is you won’t do it again.
Christ was the perfect example. He surrounded Himself with his chosen select friends. Although, even some of them turned on Him, but He loved them unconditionally. However, He let them go their own paths. He replenished His spirit, soul, etc. by spending time in quiet away from all distractions. He served unconditionally without expectation for return. He didn’t change who He was to “fit in”, but did things true to who He was, not the environment He was serving. He welcomed people in, and some still rejected Him. He likely looked back thinking how He may have done things differently, but that would have changed everything we know and believe. He was afraid I am sure of His destination, but He persevered knowing it was the plan for His life. His Heavenly Father was watching Him.
I know life seems uncertain. The people pleasing part of you is drawing you to different paths in life than maybe even your heart is telling you to go. I can’t wait to watch you and support you as you travel in YOUR OWN LANE! Be the person you want to be – the person God created YOU to be!
Mary, I created your inmost being, I knit you together in you mom’s womb – Psalms 139:13
At the end of the day you only must answer to Christ. Lay your head in peace knowing you followed YOUR path – not my path for you, your dad’s path, your friend’s path, you aunt/uncle’s path, your grandparent’s path, etc… That YOU followed YOUR path. It may cause some people to be unpleased and judgmental. However, they are responsible for THEIR path and not yours. There is only ONE’s approval that matters – Christ. He knows the plans for you. Go to Him for answers and not the world. Seek HIS word for the truth not the standards of society. When you follow His path, your path with be blessed. It does NOT mean it will not be hard However, when you are going in the RIGHT direction, you will reach the destination you were meant to be despite the detours and road blocks.
Always know that no matter your decision or your path… I am there to help you face your fears. I am there to help you glue back the plates you may drop when you juggle them. I am there for deep conversation or silence when you need it. I am there to support your decisions and free advice (opinions). I am there for a pizza at the Brewery or a bowl of homemade soup. Most importantly, I am there to pray for you!
You are nothing but amazing… in this life, I want nothing more to know what a miracle you are. You were never supposed to be here by medical opinion, but you defied all odds against you! God has you on this earth for a very special purpose. Do not let the opinions and words of others squelch God’s BIG plans for you!
My prayer for you is wisdom as you face life’s decisions and peace for the decisions you make.
Jeremiah 29:11 “ Mary, I know the plans I have for you! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!’
p.s. I would love to learn to improve these lessons with you – if we survived exercise class, we can surely do this together! Happy Birthday, our beautiful daughter!