Hello friends, it has been far. too. long.
I’m in the final weeks of my pregnancy with our fourth baby, and SO looking forward to meeting this new little one. It has been a wonderful pregnancy that honestly, I’ve not taken for granted and enjoyed with all my heart. But, it was also my first “winter” pregnancy and let me tell you – there is something to spending 31 weeks of your pregnancy in the cold, dark days of a northeastern Ohio winter.
None the less, spring has finally sprung and as the world comes to life around me I’m feeling renewed and refreshed and so excited for all that is to come.
I’ve missed writing. This winter I went to bed so much earlier than my usual, which didn’t leave much time for late night writing and thinking and, let’s face it, Netflix ;-). In so many ways, this baby has nudged me into some different habits: an earlier bedtime, less coffee, and a much more gentle outlook on both myself and what my life “needs” to look like. We’ve been taking things slow, and it’s been nice.
Part of the slowness has given me space to think and learn and grow. I’ve been learning so much in the past few months. I mean…SO. MUCH.
I’ve craved books and podcasts and conversations that fuel the new direction my life has taken and helped me shape a corresponding outlook. I’m not sure that I can get it all down here for you today, but I’d like to try. I’d like to share with you a few of the ideas that have taken root in my heart and captured my attention. Be patient with me friends if this post isn’t overly polished or cohesive. You can blame it on a combination of pregnancy fog and the fact that I haven’t blogged in a few months, lol. 😉
I’ve been incredibly challenged these past few months to grow in new ways. I’ve been empowered to grow through hard situations, rather than become a victim who believes life happens “to” me. I’m learning about the stories I tell myself, and how I’ve held onto limiting beliefs about myself and my life that keep me from being the person I was created to be. I’m learning that my thoughts are powerful, and what I think becomes what I believe, and what I believe turns into actions. And those actions create my life. I’m learning about honesty, and how honesty is hard, but important. I’m learning about emotions, and how all emotions are valuable. I’m learning that my tendency to repress certain emotions causes me to believe that certain experiences are “bad” when in reality, they are simply just hard. I’m learning that I can face hard things. Hard emotions. Hard realties. I’m learning that when I stop labeling things as “bad” and “good,” then I’m freed from the unrealistic burden of constantly trying to figure out what is right and instead, empowered to choose.
I’m learning that what they say about children is true: they really are our greatest teachers. They show us all our ugliness, but love us anyways. I’m learning that I have a choice: cling to what I thought I knew and crush myself and everyone around me, or loosen up my grip and be willing to, once again, become a student and grow right alongside my children. I’m learning that I can throw myself into the the things I love – my family, my friends, living my life – without clinging to those things. Those things are not who I am and they do not define me. I’m learning that I can love so much bigger and go so much deeper when I release everyone around me from carrying the burden of being my identity. I’m learning that its a powerful and freeing and terrifying sign of growth to be able to walk away from all the markers that I once clung to as “who I am.” I’m learning that it’s not about identifying AS a particular person, but WITH a particular person. I’m learning that my job is less about a career and far more about becoming a co-creator. I’m learning that it’s really all so simple when you finally understand you are just here to reflect the original intent: grow good, bless all, create.
I’m learning that our brains like to live in the past, because the past is known. I’m learning that the scary thoughts our brains tell us when we are about to do something new is not because we are about to do the wrong thing, but because our brains don’t have a reference point for the new thing yet. I’m learning that this is the only way we break old patterns, write new stories, and walk in freedom.
I’m learning how much I have yet to learn about people. About how we hurt each other. About our fears and our insecurities. I’m learning that there are so many more reasons for empathy and compassion. I’m learning that my way of loving others is limited to my own understanding of love.
I’m learning that motherhood is just like life; it’s what we make it. I’m learning that I have no one to blame for my outlook on motherhood and my life. I’m learning that, while I may not be able to control circumstances or events, I can always choose how I respond to the people and experiences in my life. I’m learning that I’ve chosen poorly for far too long, and I’m ready to do better. I’m learning that I need to prune the old dead thoughts and allow the life giving ones to flourish in order to grow good things in my life. I’m learning how much of my outlook on life and motherhood has been shaped by dead ideas and dogmas. I’m learning that I get to choose. I’m learning that it’s not “either/or,” but ” but something so much easier. I’m learning that “either/or” thinking is scarcity thinking, and I wasn’t made in or for scarcity. I’m made for growth. I’m learning that I’ve been equipped to know and understand and be trusted. I’m learning that some things can’t be known, only felt. I’m learning that we all champion faith but struggle to let go of fear.
I’m learning that the we don’t take the analogy of vine and branches far enough. I’m learning that, if there is a season for pruning, which can be painful, then there will be a season for new growth. I’m learning that sometimes that growth comes in a flash – budding almost overnight. I’m learning that other growth takes more times and requires constant vigilance, nurturing, and care. I’m learning that as growth causes you to reach higher and higher for sunlight, it will inevitably cause you to leave the dead branches and leaves behind.
I’m learning who I am. I’m learning that I hold space on both ends of all spectrums and that sometimes that feels hard. Isolating. I’m learning that’s one of my greatest gifts. I’m learning that it’s time to unlearn some things. Some past ideas about myself. I’m learning that I am not who others have said I am. I’m learning that I truly believe life and motherhood is a fun adventure, and that’s important. I’m learning that the hard parts of my story don’t negate the fun, adventurous parts. I’m learning that the hard parts, are simply an opportunity to bring all of me into my story. I’m learning that loving people and living our lives out of the best of who we are is never a bad idea.
I’m learning that there will always be more for me to grow. More for me to nurture and tend. More for me to be nurtured and tended to.
I’m learning that this is as it should be.