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When I was three months old, the Christmas tree fell on me.

I was lying on a blanket underneath the fir, apparently fascinated by the twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. My mother only left the room for a moment. And it was then, for whatever reason, the tree toppled. With me underneath.

As my mom rushed back into the room, she saw the fallen tree, couldn’t hear me making any noise and immediately assumed the worst.

Fortunately, I was fine. Not a scratch, not a bruise. The branches of the tree had landed perfectly on either side of me. I was just chilling amidst the boughs, unaware of what had happened. My mom always credited an angel for that one. Read more

Remnants of breakfast muffins sprinkle the floor. Toys dance across kitchen counters as I appease hungry babes with slices of vegetables and bits of bread. I search for the holiness permeating the mundane. The transfer from ordinary into missional.

It’s here. The call to more.

Not to do more but to be more. To look closer. To scrape off my blinders and truly see.

A call to holiness.

A holy call.

The dishes and the diapers. Toilets in need of scrubbing and laundry still to be hung. Downy hair softly caressed as sobs make way to comforted sniffles. Sibling arguments broken up and consequences meted. Snacks diced into perfectly-sized bites. Midnight prayers offered as patience wanes and exhaustion sinks deep and grace abounds. Everyday moments with Kingdom potential.

Look up, sweet child, fix your eyes on Him and see all that which He is calling you to.

A call to more. A call to holiness.

A call to intentional living in the ordinary. Missional motherhood. A holy calling. A call to follow and serve and love. To see HIM in each of these otherwise unremarkable seeming snapshots of life.

A call that transforms the everyday into eternal promise. Never by our works but His. This redeeming, life-altering act of grace that touches everything.

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I want to walk in her shoes. I want to follow in her legacy.

Rooting around in the bottom of my closet, I dug out a pair of black boots. I don’t know if I ever saw her wear them, but they were hers. They’re not a pair of shoes that I would have purchased for myself, but when she passed, I took them home.

Today, as the wind blew and the fall leaves rustled, I threw on a thick pair of socks and slid the boots onto my feet. With feet planted in my mother’s shoes, I remembered the path she’d walked. I remembered the woman these shoes had once held.

As a child, she helped point our feet in the right direction. Walking in the footsteps of Christ, she held our hand as we toddled along — until the day came when we learned to walk on our own.

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I’m not the mom who loves to play.

I’m not the one who enjoys scuttling around on my hands and knees, driving cars around an invisible track or fighting off pretend pirates.

Imaginary play is NOT my strength.

And sometimes, I feel guilty about that.

I want to be the mom crawling around the park, pretending to be a crime-fighting dinosaur named Nora. The mom who spends hours acting out intricate storylines about robots and aliens, running around the house in costumes as we dodge lava pits and trolls. The mom who doesn’t get bored after a couple minutes of playing with Lego people.

I want to be that “uber fun mom” with endless energy and creative passion for free play. I want to give my kids that experience.

But that’s not me.

And that’s okay too.

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Church life with a baby is hard. I forgot how hard.

I haven’t heard a full sermon in over half a year now. The messages are fragmented: bits here and there, snatches of verses and sentences caught and quickly forgotten as I scurry out to quiet a hungry babe. I sit in the nursery, rocking and burping. Sometimes the sermon plays through the speaker, sometimes it doesn’t. Most often us moms are all too distracted by feeds and naps and foul-smelling diapers to hear the words anyway.

Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden.

The invitation presses against my soul. To come and lay down my aches and my insecurities, my doubts and my fears, and to simply sit in His presence. To stop striving and simply worship.

This is a season too.

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For decades, women have been told to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their pregnancies. After thirteen weeks, the chances of miscarriage decrease dramatically and you can avoid the awkwardness comes with having to inform everyone that you are “no longer pregnant” if you lose the baby.

This is one of the main rationals behind this advice.

And I hate it.

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I’m lopsided.

And not just “a little.”

This isn’t the first time it’s happened either. It seems to be that when the milk comes in my babies immediately turn up their tiny noses and deem one side to be of “sub-par quality.” The quintessential picky-eaters from birth.

When my daughter was born, she struggled to stay latched. Those first few days were anxiety-riddled as her weight decreased and her diapers dried up. It didn’t matter that I had a full and healthy milk-supply. It didn’t matter if I used a nipple shield. One side was simply boob-non-grata.

It was exhausting.

It was stressful.

I felt like a failure.

And it took me three times as long to feed.

And so I quit.

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These are the early days. The nights when the baby fusses and you awake every half-hour, bleary-eyed and exhausted. When you’re no longer able to string cognizant sentences together and your nightshirt smells like spit-up and baby lotion.

You’re tired. Oh-so-tired.

If you could wish these nights away, you would. They’re exhausting and mind-numbing: this endless cycle of sleeping, eating and changing.

And yet, you find yourself inexplicably passing up moments of sleep to stop and marvel at this new child in your arms. You kiss the top of their downy head and soak in the syrupy smell of milk and baby. You watch them sleep with wonder.

The little one’s breath comes soft and quick after months spent immersed within. The squeaks and gurgles, murmurs and bubbles from within the bassinet make for a noisy roommate. But when they quiet, you peek your face over the edge of her bed. Your hand hovers over her chest, feeling the gentle rise and fall of new life. For now, life slows.

Yes, these weeks and months are draining. But through these longest of nights, we hear the never-ending whispers of a mother’s love.

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We all have expectations for motherhood. Most of us, at some point or another, have carefully crafted plans for what our motherhood will look like, how it will come about, or who our family will be. And then, inevitably, we encounter situations that test and challenge those ideas. We’re forced to re-evaluate or else flounder under unrealistic goals.

I was super excited to receive an early copy of Jamie Sumner’s book, “Unbound” as she addresses the reality of motherhood and the struggle it can take to get there. Dealing with issues like infertility, miscarriage, difficult pregnancies, and special needs parenting, this book details some of Jamie’s own difficult journey while weaving in stories and highlights from women of the Bible. This book is beautiful and challenging, written with hope, honesty, and truth — and I was so encouraged by Jamie’s story.

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Dear Pregnant Mama, take the belly picture.

You just peed on a little white stick and watched two solid, pink lines appear from the nothingness. You’re barely five weeks along but there’s a child growing within your womb, a little bit of your DNA mashed into an ever-growing and dividing clump of cells.

You place your hand tenderly against your stomach and feel nothing but skin and a little bloat. There’s no evidence that this little one is here. Your stomach muscles have yet to stretch and give way to the life within. Everything is seemingly the same, and only you know it’s all begun to change.

And so, you feel silly asking your partner to take a belly picture. It seems strange to stand sideways against the wall and take a picture of “nothing.” You tell yourself that you have time.

But sadly, not all of us do.

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Cautiously prodding a crumpled tissue out of the way, I carefully reached my hand down into the garbage can and fished out the used pregnancy test. I’d tossed it in moments earlier but now I was second-guessing myself.

I held the test up close against my face and squinted, hoping against hope that somehow that would change the answer. Maybe I hadn’t waited long enough? Maybe there was a very faint line and I’d just missed it?

One lonely pink line stared back at me and my heart sank. The pregnancy test was definitely negative.

Again.

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“This is your son.”

The orderly rolled my bed into the hospital’s NICU and I groggily stared over at the tiny bird-like creature lying in an incubator. His three and a half pounds was composed solely of skin and bones. The ventilator was breathing for him, his tiny body dotted with tubes and wires–and I looked at him and wondered, “Are you really mine?”

I’d gone from pregnant to not pregnant in what felt like mere minutes, and I was struggling to wrap my head around the sudden change.

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