The way He sees me

As I quietly crept down the stairs after putting our toddler in bed, I was feeling the weight of a long day of mothering. My makeup was long gone. My hair had made it up into a mom bun hours earlier that was now falling out. My shirt was covered in macaroni and cheese, bath water, and boogers. As I stepped into the bathroom to get some lotion for my dry hands and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I thought to myself, “I barely recognize her.”

I walked into the kitchen where my husband was standing at the sink doing dishes. I came up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist. He turned to me, burying his head in my neck. And do you want to know what he did next? He said that I was sexy. Sexy! When I felt frumpy, like a cartoon character of a frazzled mom at the end of the day, he told me that I was sexy. And the crazy part was, I could tell he really meant it. The smile on his face when he pulled away to look at me and the sparkle in his eye gave it away. He was telling the truth.

I spent the next few days thinking about how I wished I could see myself the way my husband sees me. How blessed I feel to have a man who still finds me sexy when I’m covered in our toddlers dinner and can’t remember the last time I washed my hair.

I came here today to write about that. About seeing ourselves the way our husbands see us. About what a blessing it is to have men that find us beautiful in all of our messy forms. About being able to say “thank you” to them when they tell us we’re sexy, instead of coming up with a million reasons why we think we aren’t.

But as I sat down to write that post, I realized that I actually need to write a different one. Because while it’s true (and wonderful) that our husbands can see past the hair pulled up in mom buns and the boogers on our shoulders, there is someone else who sees past that, too. And what I really want is to see myself the way He sees me. You know who I’m talking about, right? Our loving Heavenly Father.

Do you think He cares when you last washed your hair? No, but He cares how you made your daughter giggle and giggle during her bath time last night.

Do you think He cares that you haven’t painted your toenails since you were in a wedding last summer, and yet there are still pieces of red polish on your big toenail? No, but He cares how you danced and laughed with your husband all night long at that wedding, on your first night out without your baby.

Do you think he cares that your son used your shirt as a tissue and now it’s streaked with dried snot, hours later, because you haven’t had a spare moment to change? No, but He cares how you lovingly pour into your children when they are sick, tending to them so very well.

Do you think He cares that you haven’t worn earrings in months because the baby will just pull them out anyways? No, but He cares about that ring on your left hand, and how devoted you are to the man who put it there and the beautiful life that you have together.

He doesn’t care what you look like stumbling into the kitchen to wrap your arms around your husband at the end of a long day. He cares about the way you lovingly pour yourself into your family. About the way you faithfully pray for your husband and your children. About how you strive to serve them happily with a humble heart.

Would it be wonderful to see ourselves the way our husbands see us? Of course it would. But what would be even better is to see ourselves the way our God sees us. Because He knows it all. He sees past the macaroni on our shirt and the bath water on our sweatpants, just like our husbands do. And then He sees so much more. He sees way down into the very depths of our souls. And yet He loves us exactly as we are. He calls us His children. He wants to draw us closer to Him, and then even closer still.

So when you have one of those nights where you look into the mirror and can barely recognize the woman staring back at you, close your eyes and remember the way your loving God the Father sees you. Beautifully imperfect, and so very deeply loved.


Finding rest for the weary mama’s soul

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to

“Come to me, all you who are weary.” Are you feeling weary this morning, sweet mama? I know that I am. It can sometimes feel as though our work as mothers is never ending, can’t it?

I remember when I worked at the hospital as a nurse. I had a little name tag with my picture on it and a tiny pair of baby feet that showed I worked in the Labor & Delivery unit. I would swipe in at the beginning of my shift, and then swipe out when my shift had ended. And that was it! I was finished with my work. I could go home and spend time with my husband, rest my tired body, read my bible, eat, sleep. Sleep in as late as I wanted on my days off. My work had a defined beginning and a defined end.
We know that motherhood isn’t like that, though. And while I do my very best not to think of motherhood and housekeeping as “work”, it can certainly feel that way at times. We can become weary and burdened. The long nights up with a baby. The long days with toddlers who test our patience. The endless running around from activities to errands and all over town. Making sure the needs of all of the precious little people in our homes are met. It can feel so hard at times.
In those moments when you feel like you can’t possibly lift your tired body out of bed to go to the a child calling out for you in the middle of the night one more time. When your patience wears thin or you feel overwhelmed with all of the tasks in front of you for the day. God calls us to come to Him during those moments. He wants to ease your burden, tired mama. He is gentle and humble. He wants to give you rest for your SOUL. Rest for your soul. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? It is, and it is available to you right now.
So I urge you. In the hustle and bustle of your morning, as little people with big needs start to wake up and call out for you. As the busy day gets started. Go first to your loving Father. Ask him to ease your burden and give you rest. Gather strength from Him for the day ahead. And when weariness again creeps in, go back to Him in prayer.
Even when our days are busy and the needs of others around us are many and we don’t get to simply clock out at the end of our shift, we can always, always find rest in Him.

When your hardest time is also your happiest

Over the past few days, as I’ve been walking through one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, I’ve been noticing something.

A couple weeks ago I was working on my bible study that I’m doing with a wonderful group of ladies. One of the prompts asked us to write down our hardest year and our happiest year. It was really hard for me to do that, because I feel like my hardest and happiest years are the same. I can remember a simpler time, before children and before marriage. It was easier, more care free, and less work. But was it happier? Absolutely not. As I’ve added the roles of wife and mom, my life has gotten busier, messier, and more exhausting. The first year of motherhood was one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. But it was also absolutely, hands-down the most joyful. I couldn’t pick a happiest year and a hardest year, because as things have gotten harder, they have also gotten immeasurably happier.

I’m noticing something similar as we experience this loss of our sweet baby. I’ve never felt such pain. I’ve never felt such grief. I’ve never mourned a loss so deeply. But at the same time, I’ve never been more thankful for my healthy, thriving, incredible toddler. I’ve never felt more love for my husband. I’ve never felt closer to God. With our deep loss has come a deep sense of gratitude for all of these blessings that have been right in front of me all along.

I’ve wondered many times over the past few days “What are you doing, God? What are you trying to teach me through this?”

I think I’m starting to see a glimpse of His answer. With this gut wrenching pain, comes deeper love. More genuine gratitude. An even more thankful heart. A closer relationship with Him.

I miss my baby who is in heaven so, so much. And I love the sweet girl who is in front of me making a big mess at the dinner table and the man who is away at the fire station working hard to provide for us even more than I ever have. I trust in my God who is faithful and good more than ever before.

I’m so sad. And I’m so thankful. And it’s okay to be both.

A quick fall from joy into grief

Earlier this month, my husband and I joyfully discovered that I was pregnant with our second child. We were so excited (and a little nervous!) and quickly fell in love with our new family member. I carved a special pumpkin that we used to announce my pregnancy to our parents and siblings. We happily shared our news with some of our friends. We told our daughter about her new sibling and she started to kiss my belly and proudly say “kiss baby!” with a big smile on her face. It was wonderful to celebrate the blessing of new life with those closest to us.

Then last Friday, we found out that there were some signs that pointed towards a coming miscarriage. The past few days have been some of the hardest we’ve ever experienced as we desperately hoped to keep this baby here on earth with us, at the same time trusting in God’s faithfulness and knowing that His plan is good, even when we don’t quite understand it.

We learned this morning that our tiny baby has gone to be with Jesus. Our hearts feel broken as we mourn the loss of this child and grieve that we won’t get to parent them here on this earth. I’m full of curiosity about who they are and who they would’ve become. I long to hold them in my arms, to nurse them, to watch them grow. Although this baby was so small and not yet fully formed, they are very much our child, treasured and loved. And though we are deeply feeling the loss of not having this baby here with us right now, oh how we cannot wait to meet them someday in heaven!