Monday, 10 April 2017

In This Place

Over the last half hour I’ve watched the clouds go grey and the rain begin to fall outside my living room window. This morning was the first time Spring truly felt like it had arrived, and true to form, it ended up bringing rain after a brief stint of sunshine. 

I just closed up the windows and have settled into my couch. I’m praying that the booming thunder that is only getting louder won’t wake up my little girl who has just fallen asleep for her afternoon nap.

It is in this place that I’m reminded how quickly seasons and the weather can change. It can be a beautiful warm morning only to turn into a dark wet afternoon. There can be snow on the ground on a Friday and buds on the tree by Sunday. 

Kenzie has just entered her eleventh month of life. I can hardly believe that she is so close to being one year old. She’s already leaving the baby stage behind as she shows her big personality, knows what she wants, and is becoming more and more independent. 

Last year at this time I was massive. Like, HUGE. I am not a tall person and therefore a baby bump really has nowhere to go but out. I certainly was not the person who ‘doesn’t look pregnant from behind’. I looked pregnant from a mile away. And as I finished up papers and readings for my masters degree, I was highly anticipating the arrival of our little girl. 

Those first six weeks were hard. Her arrival brought a figurative change in the weather in my life. I was so full of joy while also navigating the extremely challenging parts of having a newborn. The nights were long and the visits from people wanting to help felt short. I was also packing up our tiny apartment as we had bought our first home the day after Kenzie was born. It seems that in our life, when it rains it pours (in a good way, of course). 

Somewhere between six and eight months postpartum I began to really feel like myself again. I had lost all of the baby weight and was rediscovering my wardrobe. I could set Kenzie down and let her play independently for a bit. We had begun to find a more structured routine and I had time to myself at the end of the day once Kenzie went to bed. 

At nine months Kenzie stopped nursing and finally started sleeping through the night simultaneously. And all the parents said ‘hallelujah’! This was the biggest game changer. My body was once again autonomously mine and I was able to get eight hours of sleep in a row. I began to work at our church a couple days a week and people who love Kenzie dearly were able to watch her for us during that time. I was feeling productive, responsible and motivated. I was beginning to dream again. 

And now, here we are. Almost a year has passed since we were sitting in that hospital room with our new baby girl in our arms. I had no idea what was in store and like most first time parents, felt completely under prepared. The weather has certainly changed swiftly, life looks as different now from a year ago as sun compared to rain. 

Somehow, in this place that I find myself in, I am thriving. No, life is not perfect. I continue to rock Kenzie to sleep for every nap as she refuses to fall asleep on her own. I sometimes don’t bathe her often enough and once in awhile I set her in front of the TV so I can do my own thing. She doesn’t always eat the veggies I set out and she loves to push the boundaries of the word ‘no’. I am still too often selfish as a wife, putting my desires ahead of my husband’s. I have begun to deal with insecurity and ‘mom guilt’, all new things to me. I sometimes doubt my own abilities as a leader or catch myself thinking that the grass is greener in someone else’s life. I make a lot of mistakes and I am learning to ask forgiveness and forgive myself. 

Perhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned over a year of shifts in the weather, so to speak, is that it is in the place I find myself now that I need to learn and grow. I cannot wait for the next thing, the next challenge or even the next opportunity. I need to remember that in this place I have purpose. Whether it is raining harshly or the sun is shining, the weather is sure to change. In the same way, I won’t be in this place forever. Kenzie will grow, we will have more children, our church will change, and new people will join us in the journey. 

And you know what? It will change for you too. Maybe this has been a year of thunderstorms in your life. God knows. He sees you in the midst of whatever you are going through. Take courage in the understanding that this season will change for you too but don’t forget to be strong, looking to learn and grow exactly in the place you are now. Maybe the sun has been shining brightly for you. Bask in it! Yes, the thunder storms will come but that doesn’t mean you should hide away. Grow in this season, and when the rain does come you will probably need a good soak anyway. It is in this place, the place you are in right now, that you can grow. 

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