Ten years a mother!

Ten years ago I became a mother for the first time.

Ten years ago life as I knew it turned upside down and inside out and then flipped a few more times when we welcomed our first daughter home from the hospital.  I was thrust into a new role.  Nothing was the same. Life took on a new shape. 

My identity changed.  I was a nurse on a surgical and obstetrical unit. I was finally settling into my career.  I had told myself that I would continue on in my education and career.  I would settle into my permanent position on my unit.  And I was happy and content with my decision.

Three days later, my period was late and with great shock, my pregnancy test showed a positive result.  I remember the moment.  I went white and all the colour drained out of me, then it all rose back up and I became flushed and hot.  My husband and I hadn’t quite been married for 4 months yet.  He was still finishing his university degree and we had grand plans to travel the world starting with the trip to Europe we were planning.

My husband saw my face, I was about to burst into tears, nothing about this was planned.  I was shocked.  I had not planned on becoming a mother.   Dreaming of children and motherhood had not ever crossed my mind.  I had recently recovered from a two year eating disorder and was finally enjoying a happy, normal life.  And I loved my life.  I loved my job and cooking for my husband and having a home to take care of.  I was so happy, this was not a part of the plan.  Matt took me in his arms and told me everything was going to be Ok.  He hugged and held me and I cried. 

I cried because I was shocked and caught off guard.  I cried because I did not know anything about children and I did not feel ready for this. I cried because this meant no Europe trip.  I cried because I was so happy with my life the way it was, and I did not want change.  I had not seen this coming.

By the next evening, my mind and heart started to change.  I was going to be a mother.  I remember my husband and I looking at each other and this new excitement bubbling up and we were smiling at each other. 

Matt was going to be a father.

I was going to be a mother.

From that moment on, life and plans took a whole new direction; and it was good.

We welcomed our daughter Summer home in October 2009.  Matt cried when he saw Summer for the first time, and my heart swelled with so much love and appreciation for my husband and our new little family.

That moment was almost ten years ago today.  Today my daughter nervously and excitedly took the bus to middle school, starting a new adventure both for her and for me and for her younger sisters.

I could never have foreseen how much motherhood would change me, and change me for the better.  Sitting here and reflecting on my past ten years is almost overwhelming and yet beautiful.  The largest theme is how I went from living for myself to living for my family.  Every day is about getting them up and dressed and fed; making sure they are clean and have clean clothes.  Making sure their needs are being met, physically, emotionally and spiritually; instilling love and morals and values into their hearts and lives.  From cleaning up after them, to teaching them to clean up after themselves, teaching them to cook and bake, teaching them to love others around them as Jesus calls us to love others.  The moment I found out I was pregnant I was called to the awe-inspiring yet relentless journey of motherhood.

I once read a quote from an unknown source, “Echoes of your voice will be heard through all eternity.”  This quote has always stayed with me.  The words I speak over my children, they will one day speak to their children and to their children and to those children.  Your words have power.  Today is my first time in ten years that I will not have children at home with me.  My oldest entered middle school, my middle daughter entered grade three and my baby entered grade one. 

Knowing my words have power in my daughters’ lives, I spoke prayers of blessing over each of them separately last night and this morning.  Before my Lord and Saviour, I surrendered each of my daughters into His capable hands for this school year.  I prayed blessings of courage and love, and acceptance and kindness and safety over them.  I affirmed each of my daughters that they are loved by God and loved by their father and me.  I affirmed that they are beautiful on the inside and on the outside, that they are strong and that no matter where they go, God goes with them.  I affirmed that no matter how much they are afraid, God will be beside them and they can pray to him for strength and courage.

As mothers, we can speak love and courage and kindness into our children.  As a believer, I will speak God’s blessing and promises over my children.

A Broken Mother’s Day

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A Broken Mother’s Day

To all the women who experience this day hurting and broken and alone.

To all the women who parent alone with an absent spouse and carry all the weight of raising your children by yourself.

To the single mothers who day in and day out get out of bed and serve your families because love drives you to show up.

To all the women who do not have a mother or mother figures in your life.

To all the mothers who do not have men who celebrate them, to all the mothers who do not get to feel appreciated or valued or told how good of a job you are doing, today I celebrate you.

You women are the everyday heroes because no matter how tired and exhausted and hurt and unappreciated you feel, you keep showing up, keep serving your family even though you cry from the loneliness and tiredness when no one watches.  I see you and today I celebrate you.

To all the women who grew up with or have absent mothers who are alcoholics and drug addicted, and you choose to break the cycle and not repeat history, I celebrate you.

To the women who kept their babies even when the voices around you told you not to and now you are a mother, I celebrate you.

To my own mother who has overcome so much brokenness and adversary and has become the strong woman she is today—she broke the cycle and she showed up every day—today I celebrate you.

Motherhood-the hardest journey you will ever venture on. It breaks you and reshapes you. There are tears of frustration and exhaustion, tears of joy and celebration. It is the hardest, yet the most beautiful and worthy journey. To all the mothers that choose daily to show up and keep going, today is your day, and I celebrate you.

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Crushing goals

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2 years ago I wrote “Dare to Dream.”

Today I write about Crushing goals!

Two years ago I was unhappy.  Not like “having a bad day” unhappy.   I was deeply, emotionally unhappy.  I was missing joy in my life.  I was missing creativity.  I wasn’t sure who I was anymore or how exactly I had ended up at that point in my life where I just felt unmotivated, unhappy and uninspired.

I was a Christian, couldn’t I just pray this away? 

No. It wasn’t that simple.

Yes I was a Christian.  Yes my faith was real.  But I was still in a rut.  And no matter how much I prayed I still had to find a way to climb out of that rut.

I had recently quit my job as an agency nurse.  I had a crazy immune reaction that put me in the ER for days and the medication I had to be on for the following weeks caused me to gain 20lbs!  And to top that all off, my back locked up causing me to need intense chiropractic treatment and muscle relaxers just to cope with the pain.  I was a hot mess, and an emotional train wreck.

I remember praying one day, “God, help me lose 5 lbs.”

I wasn’t expecting an answer so quickly, but I very quickly heard that still, small voice say, “No Sarah, I am not going to do that for you. That’s not how I work.”

I was a bit offended and caught off guard. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how self-centered that prayer was.  God is not a genie granting me my wishes.  If I wanted to change, I was going to have to take a hard, deep look at my life and make a plan.

God didn’t want me to lose 5 pounds! He wanted me to stop looking for a quick fix and to start taking care of my body.  He wanted me to stop making bad decisions and to start caring for myself. I knew something had to change, I didn’t know how just yet, but I was determined that I was going to change no matter what.

This is the part where my goals first were created.  You see, deep down we all have goals, ideas of what we think our lives should look like, might one day hopefully look like.  But what we lack is a plan.  I got out a pen and a journal (I have about 5 at any given time that I write in) and I did something that scared me.  I dared to dream and I dared to write my dreams down.

What if I failed?

What if my goals didn’t work out?

Well, I figured at the very worst, I would still be in the same miserable spot I was in.  At the very best I would succeed. Either way, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So I wrote out goals and made them real. I dated my pages so that I could not forget. I was scared to dream big.

I wanted career fulfillment.

I wanted to lose the weight I gained and to have a healthy lifestyle day in and day out.

I wanted to be fun again.

I wanted to have fun again.

I wanted to write.

As a working mother of 3 girls, it is very easy to lose yourself and your identity in the daily chaos of real life and raising a family. The chores and to-do lists really never end.  You need to take time re-evaluate and set a course for your life that you want to travel on.

Today, 2 years later I had that moment of realization. That moment where I realized that the very goals I have been working on for the last two years are my daily life now.  The dreams that I wrote down on paper two years ago and was scared to even say out loud for fear of failure have come true.

As I take time to reflect, it is clear to see that it was not an easy journey.  There were tears and growing pains.  When I fell down, I refused to stay down; for I knew that if I didn’t get up and keep pushing forward, I would remain miserable and nothing would change.

I fulfilled my 10 year dream of becoming an ER nurse.  I am almost at my 1 year mark in the ER.  I am also working 12hr day and night shifts.  Something I simply thought I wasn’t strong enough to do.  And to take it one step farther, I have lost the 20 lbs and working out 4 times a week is a normal and natural part of my life; one that my family has come to embrace and join me.  We eat so much healthier than we used to. 

I am so proud of all the changes that have taken place.  All the small, daily decisions towards my goals have added up to an awesome outcome. 

If you look at your life and are uninspired, don’t give up! I have been there, its a hard place to be in. I challenge you, take a deep look. Ask yourself what you want your life to look life. What do you want your life story to say? And don’t stop there. Get a pen and paper, and give life to the dreams and goals that are deep down. Big or small, just start somewhere.

Pray for God to give you wisdom and direction on how to start making positive changes in your life. And pray for the audacious courage and determination to follow through on your goals and dreams.

Crushing my fitness goals one workout at a time.

If you do nothing, you will be sitting in the exact same spot one year from now. Don’t waste a year.

Dare to dream again

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Dare to dream again

Once upon a time we were all dreamers. 

From childhood we have been created to dream.  We dream of being astronauts, firefighters, scientists and ballet dancers.  We dream of being superheroes, world changers and race car drivers.

Our dreams were big, larger than life but vivid and to our childhood selves, attainable.

Dreams are beautiful, our soul is inspired, imagination and creativity are ignited.  Passion to achieve our dreams drives us onward.

As I walk around my messy house, stepping over abandoned toys, books and papers left by my children, a large part of me feels that dreams and creativity died a long time ago.  My days seem filled with tasks, chores and quite honestly, there isn’t a lot of energy left to spend on the pursuit of dreams. 

I was recently reading a book directed to mothers, and it asked “What are your dreams?”  And it challenged the reader to write down 3 or 4 dreams on paper.

I must have dreams, this should be fun.

So I thought about it.

And I thought about it.

And I thought about it and blank!

Nothing. 

I could not even think of one.  Not one.

Does watching Netflix and eating a peaceful snack at the end of an exhausting day count as a dream?!…because then maybe I had one.

Or maybe have my children clean up after themselves, then I would have two dreams.

But in all seriousness, this really shook me.

When did my dreams die?  Did my creativity die too?

I used to be such a carefree soul.  I wholeheartedly believed any dream was achievable.

Did the craziness and business of motherhood do this?

Maybe the very act of becoming a mother, of learning to ‘day in and day out’  selflessly serve your family and the very constant needs of little ones,  causes our dreams to fade away.

Maybe it’s the fact that motherhood, or adulthood changes us so much that we put the notion of perusing dreams away, dismiss it as ridiculous and no longer practical.

In a lot of ways I hardly recognize my 22-year old self and can almost laugh at her dreams. Ten years later, I dare say I am much wiser and stable.  Jetting off to a new country on a whim in pursuit of adventure is not as important to me as it once seemed.  Maybe maintaining a stable, thriving environment for my family is my dream?  I just do not always recognize the beauty in the mundane.

My God and my family are hands-down my absolute priority and I never want that to change.

But, I want to carve out space to dream again.

In my own life, in my day to day, I want to incorporate creativity, aspirations and dreaming.

I want to bring creative energy into friendships and relationships.  I want to be surrounded by people who encourage and inspire and support dreams, alongside with accountability to speak up when maybe a dream is misguided.

So, I took a journal and a pen (old fashioned here, I love putting ink on paper), and over the course of 2 weeks, I thought, pondered, searched, scribbled out and re-wrote down some dreams of mine.

So I will pass on the same question to you, what are your dreams?

I encourage you to write on paper, your top 3 dreams.

We come alive when we are creative.

I challenge you to find some creativity in yourself.

We are capable of so much more then we think we are.  Sometimes we need to be reminded, encouraged or perhaps given permission to dream big.

I bought myself a coffee mug with the words “dream big” on it. It is to be my reminder in my day to day to incorporate life, colour, creativity and dreams into my beloved chaos.

I wrote this two years ago on my previous blog.