Crib for Sale

I leaned against the used crib.  We had just picked it up a week ago; it was a great deal I found on Craigslist only a few days after seeing those two little pink lines. We had loaded it into the back of my in-laws mini-van and now here it stood in the living room, a painful reminder.  Mark had offered to take it apart and tuck it away in the storage room, but the thought of that was worse than the sharp pain I felt each time I walked past it.  I was never going to hold that child in my arms, but I clung to the crib and the hope that I would lay a child in it.

My pregnancy was so new, fresh, just over eight weeks along.  It had been our little secret, only shared with our parents and some dear friends. So quickly it was gone–he, she, it was gone–and became a different kind of secret.  A secret that stabbed with each stroller I passed on the sidewalk and each chubby-cheeked-baby-Facebook post.  We felt lost and loss, and yet strange for grieving so deeply over one we had never named or touched.  I wanted to tell everyone and no one. I hated that the world kept trudging along despite our grief; shouldn’t it stop, or at least pause for this kind of pain?  So, we held onto each other and I held on to that crib.  Keeping it, touching it was the physical expression of my hope.  Hope that I would hold a child, our child.

It has been nearly eight years since we rushed to the hospital on a late March evening and returned home with hospital footies, discharge papers, and an unnecessary crib.  I have not forgotten the deep aching pain that took up residence in me for the months following.  But, now the pain is fainter and is not a regular visitor.  It is more like the gentle wafting of my mom’s perfume after she has left the room.  It is not gone, it cannot be ignored, but it does not take over my senses.  I have had the joy of bringing home three swaddled babies and laying them in that Craigslist crib, and when they are old enough, I will tell them about their sibling waiting on the other side of eternity.  If you are currently walking through the pain of miscarriage, I am sorry; I am truly, deeply sorry.  It is a pain that words cannot capture, but take heart, it will not always be so.

For now, here are some steps that helped me walk through the healing season.

  • Share your story. The enemy likes to deceive us into believing we are the only ones feeling what we feel.  Find a way to reach out, you’ll be surprised at the stories you’ll hear in return, and the comfort and hope those stories will bring you.
  • Grieve. Yes, this looks different for each person and each loss.  Nevertheless, allow yourself time to grieve—it was a life.  Give yourself grace to have bad days in the midst of better days.
  • Hope. Even though you’re frightened, hope. Be sure, though, your hope isn’t in a doctor, a fertility medication, a new diet, etc.  God can use those things, but put your hope in your Abba God (Psalm 42:11).  For me, the first step to hope was choosing to praise and declare who my God is; when you recognize who He is, you can believe He is reason to hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Stop Calling Me, Momma

On this Monday morning, though I normally address you as mommas, today, I call you daughters.  Not my daughters of course, there is plenty of girl drama at my house already. No, I address you as daughters of the King.  1 Corinthians 6:18 reads, “And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”

It is so easy to call myself momma first & daughter of the king second.  Or, wife first, and then daughter of the King. Or, if I am really being authentic, there are days when the way I identify myself looks something like this:

  1. Momma (because that’s often the role taking the most time & energy)
  2. Wife
  3. Daughter
  4. Daughter-in-law
  5. Friend
  6. Writer
  7. Professor
  8. Employee
  9. Mentor

…daughter of the King

Sometimes I put wife first and momma second (which, is the proper order of those two items, but not always how I truly behave). Order can change depending on the day’s demands. Making momma my main identity is great on the warm spring day when I get up early, have breakfast ready for the kids, wash, fold, and put way my daily load of laundry, rake leaves in the yard while the littlest ones happily play, and end the day with snuggling and reading books to all three little people.

But, here is the problem, on the days that I blow it as a momma–either minorly or monumentally– I go to bed as a failure. If my identity is wife and I am impatient or lacking compassion with Mark, I go to bed as a failure.  When my students struggle to apply my teaching in their work,  and my identity is professor, I go to bed a failure. You have felt it haven’t you?  Your head knows that the day’s shortcomings don’t define you, but your weighted heart doesn’t agree as your head hits the pillow.

That feeling is an indication that our identity is misplaced.  You see, daughters, when we change our lists, when we first call ourselves, daughters of the King & let all the other roles we play be just roles that revolve around our secure identity as daughters of the king, we go to bed accepted, loved, chosen, set apart, redeemed, righteous, & forgiven. 

This morning, take some time to read who you are and let what you do today flow out of that secure identity, so when you fall short, you’ll still sleep peacefully with your shortcomings hidden in the King.

I am holy & without fault 

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” (Ephesians 1:4)

I walk in peace that passes understanding.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philipians 4:7)

I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works.

For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. (Ephesians 2:10, AMP)

I am His elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering.

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. (Romans 8:33)

 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

*This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but rather a select few that ministered to my heart; Joyce Meyer has a fabulous list that I’d encourage you to print & post around your home. Knowing Who I am in Christ Printable from Joyce Meyer Ministries

For the Mom of Children with Special Needs

{Mom Unity} Episode 2: Children with Special Needs

I hope you were challenged to lend a lot of grace to moms around you after reading Episode 1 of this {Mom Unity} series, in which I shared the heart of an adoptive mom. Read it here, if you haven’t yet–it explains the heart of this series & gives insight into the struggles an adoptive mom faces.

This morning, we will hear from a couple of moms who have precious little ones with special needs due to health conditions.  In my book, these mommas are heroes, and it is my joy to better understand how to love them well.

Remember, in this series, I have asked all of the moms these three questions:

1. What is your greatest need?

2. What do you want my kids to know about yours?

3. What do you desire most from other moms?


Episode 2: Moms of Children with Special  Needs

What is her greatest need?

I fully expected that the answer to this question would be something like, help with the kiddos or running errands.  So, I was startled to hear from both of these mommas the same thing.  Her greatest need is to be included and invited. She understands that because she has to decline more times than accept, the invitations become fewer and further between.  But, she desires this community of women and moms, and she needs us to keep inviting her.

In the same vein, she wants us to understand that when she has to decline an invitation, especially one involving bringing her medically fragile child to a germ-filled environment, she doesn’t need your judgement.  She works hard to give her child fun opportunities (probably harder than you or I have to work at it), and doesn’t need any help with mom-guilt.

What does she want our kids to know about hers & what should we do when we see her in public?

You ready for this mind-blowing tip? Say, ‘hi.’ She sees us pulling our child in the other direction, she hears us shushing their questions about her child who looks different. She desires that rather than pulling our kids away, we would let them ask their questions. The more we pull our children away from those who are different, the more room we make for fear of what is different. Instead, this momma, encourages us to let our children notice and celebrate that each child of God is unique and different in his or her own way.

She also reminded me that when I act uncomfortable and resist asking my own questions, my children will follow suit.  So, let’s be the example here, mommas.

And, let’s help our kiddos know about these sweet children with special needs that they love to do activities, read books, and have treats too (hmm….sounds oddly like this section in Episode 1). They are kids, longing for friendships just as our kids do.

What does she desire most from other moms?

Oh, ladies, this answer makes my heart ache, because I think as a community of moms we might be missing it here–I know I have.  The momma of a special needs child deeply desires to be included. It may require extra patience on our part as her schedule isn’t as flexible due to treatments, feedings, appointments, etc. She desires to have community, relationships, authenticity. She’s grown accustomed to women stopping mid-sentence with phrases like, “Oh, never mind, this is nothing compared to what you go through.” She is fully aware that each of us fights different battles and she wants to be included in your victories and your trials.  She wants your encouragement and wants to encourage you.

Let us stop isolating moms whose trials look different than ours; let’s learn from their tenacity and tenderness, encourage them when they’re weak, and allow them the joy of being included in our trials as they turn into victories.  Next time, my daughter tugs on my arm to ask a question about someone who looks different, I’m going to lean in and help introduce her to that little someone.

Let’s keep lending lots of graces to other mommas, and strive to include those who are sometimes easier to exclude.