My Slow and Imminent Death

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At the risk of this blog sounding extremely melodramatic, motherhood is hitting me like a truck.

A big, fat dump truck with unrelenting 4-wheel-drive.

Motherhood feels like contractions.

The one thing that I tell people the hardest part of labor was, was how relentless the contractions were. They just never seemed to end. I would power through one… try to catch my breath… and then BAM. Another one would come, just as painful, if not more so, than the last.

If you’re about to have a baby, don’t let that be discouraging. Labor is what it is. Women do it all the time and you can do it too.

 

But since Bradley has been born, I have felt this consistent pressure to hold our family together.

I’m putting it on myself, I know, but I feel myself sliding slowly under the weight of the title that is “Mom”.

How the heck do women have more than one child?

And more importantly, how in the heck will I ever feel like a thriving human again?

 

Recently, I have had legitimate anger towards my single or even childless couple friends. Jealousy and anger as they have told me about their upcoming travels (where they don’t have a lap child on their flight or have to worry about checking a stroller) or spontaneous date nights with their husbands where they didn’t have a babysitter to come home to, or how they’re really focusing on stillness and getting a good solid hour, maybe even an hour and a half, in with the Lord every day.

 

This is not what my life looks like.

And I’m mad about it.

Mad that at one time it did and when I was in it, all I was doing was begging to be in the next season – the one with a husband and baby.

 

And yet here I am… mourning my singleness in a way I never expected.

 

Please understand:

My husband and child are the single best things in my life. While I mourn a previous season, I do not wish I was anywhere else but where I currently am. I adore my family. They are my glue.

 

The past two weekends, I have had moments of breaking.

Moments where my husband found me in our daughter’s room, weeping over unfinished laundry and an untidy living room that “I just can’t keep up.”

Moments where I told him that I felt like a dead slave to our family.

Moments where I realized that my entire thought life lately is only consumed with “To-Do lists” and I have no clue how to make it stop or what to delegate.

 

And there’s a big ginormous part of me that thinks… is this just in the job description?

Has this always been the list of duties under “motherhood”? Have women been for centuries feeling the exact same thing I’m feeling and I’m just weak and complaining?

 

Motherhood is hard. Not in the ways you expect it. But in the ways that you have to choose if you want to clean your kitchen, shower, lesson plan, grade projects, pump your child a bottle, do laundry, sleep or spend time with the Lord.

And you can only choose one in the time you have.

And sleep often wins.

 

You have no idea what it is to die to yourself until you have a child.

You don’t.

Not really.

Every selfish inkling in you must disappear in order for that child to live and thrive.

 

You acknowledge your exhaustion and want to sleep in? It doesn’t matter.

Because your 5 month old loves to wake up at 6:00 am, ready for the day, even on Saturdays.

So your options are:

1) Ignore her, her voice becoming a shrill cry, as you try to get a few more minutes.

or

2) Die to every ounce of exhaustion in your body, lug yourself out of bed, and feel your heart burst into a million pieces as you say “GOOD MORNING!” to her and she grins so big you think her face might break.

 

Time after time, as parents, we have to choose option number 2. Yet many times… that option doesn’t always come with the heart-splosion moment.

Many times, the option to leave an outing with friends early because your child is tired beyond her limit and just wants her bed, means that you get to deal with the cries and screaming as you change her into her PJs to finally get her settled, all the while wishing you were still back hanging out with your friends.

 

There is no face-breaking grin.

 

There is no “thank you, mom. I love you so much.”

 

There is no flash forward showing you your eternal reward or how by choosing your daughter over your social life in that moment, she will learn her worth and value.

 

All of me feels even more dead than ever before. Making the constant decision to choose her again and again and again… watching my selfishness wither and die in often the most painful ways.

 

I wish I could say every choice was easy.

 

I wish I could say that dying to myself has been a walk in the park.

 

Maybe I’m way more selfish than I ever realized.

 

But also, maybe we all have to go through this at some point to look even more like the selfless, ever-compassionate Savior who is more patient than we deserve.

 

“No one has shown greater love than this; than when he laid down his life for his friend.” – John 15:13

What about than when He laid down His life for his children?

 

And maybe my flesh, fighting against its slow and imminent death, is making way for a greater more glorious version of me on the other side.

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Side note:
Hug your parents

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10 Things I Learned in Year 1 of Marriage

(And jeez, there’s probably a lot more than 10)

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I became motivated to write this post because of Savannah Locke  who is JUST the most precious human and amazing writer. I follow her on Instagram and she gave a little “here’s what I learned in year 1 of marriage” snip-bit.

 

Thus I became inspired.

 

Marriage is funny. Year one has been dramatically different and better than I thought it’d be.

 

#1. If you think you have inside jokes with your significant other now… just wait till you get married. 

OH MY HEAVENS.

The amount of inside jokes Noah and I have now is one of my favorite things. The amount of times we have gotten in extremely goofy moods and laughed until tears have streamed down our faces is way more than I can count.

I love that we have learned how to communicate with just one word or one weird look. There are moments where I can figure out exactly what he’s thinking by his facial expressions in a situation.

One time, we were watching a movie with friends, and Bill Murray showed up on screen. Simultaneously, we both looked at each other and said in unison “BILL FREAKING MURRAY” and then died laughing.

The best.

 

#2. You will never stop learning about each other. 

On the flip side of communicating with one word or one look, there are also things that still completely catch me off guard about Noah.

We still have to overly communicate things at times. I can’t always figure out what’s going on in his head.

I’ve had to learn how to ask really good questions and which questions he NEEDS to be asked.

For the most part, I understand broad overviews of how he thinks. But there are also times where I have to have him explain it to me so I can understand his interactions and reactions in certain situations.

Lately, he’s been really into the idea of going bow-fishing. I have no clue where this came from. But I’m still learning about him!

 

#3. Saving sex for marriage was SO worth it. 

I will never be able to talk about that enough.

Having boundaries and guarding purity and honoring it for marriage has made everything so much more worth it.

Honestly, we could both preach on this for hours.

If you want a more in-depth discussion or if you’re in a relationship where you’re having trouble being envisioned for that, I would love to spill my guts about how worth it is on this side of marriage.

 

#4. Yes, you are going to have fights. 

And yes, many times they’re going to be either about 1) really stupid things or 2) really intimate, vulnerable things that you’ve never had a conversation with anyone else about.

These fights are SOOO good. I’ve never left one of these fights NOT feeling closer to Noah.

Here’s the key to fighting well:

  1. Get it all out. Don’t do the whole “I’m just going to pout and not tell you what’s really going on with me” thing. That’s dumb. Stop it.
  2. Admit when you’re being a butt head. If about halfway through the argument, you realize you were completely in the wrong and that guilty feeling starts to creep in? Yea.. don’t ignore it. Get to apologizing. And admit you’re being a butt head. Then your spouse can agree with you and say “Yes, you are being a butt head” and you can laugh about it.
  3. NEVER reject a hug when they want to hug it out. Always at least end things with a big ginormous hug. You won’t regret it.

 

#5. Married life is amazing. But single life had its perks too. 

For so long in my single years, I had moments where I was really convinced that married life had to be better and that single life was the worst.

If only I was married… I would think.

I’m confident that Paul knew exactly what he was writing at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 7.

Neither one is better than the other. I think there is a season for EVERYTHING. I think God writes stories in a million different ways.

Getting married to Noah and being his wife was and IS the best thing for me. Of that, I am convinced.

But between singleness and marriage… they can’t even be compared.

As a married woman, I get to sleep in a bed with a really hot guy (heyooo) every night. I get to always come home to someone. I have someone to process things with and someone who loves me REALLY well and shows me/tells me often.

As a single woman though, I had a lot of freedom in making decisions that I don’t necessarily have now. My choices and my actions didn’t affect a ton of people. In fact… it mainly just affected me. Move wherever and whenever I want? Sure! Go on a really long trip just for fun? Go for it! Completely change career paths? WHY NOT!?

They both have their benefits.

If you’re single and have the desire to get married, I would encourage and exhort you to savor your single years. They will be much shorter than your married years. Don’t get so caught up in the longing for a different season that you miss the current one. 

 

#6. If you were one of those people who joked to your friends who were getting married that they were going to get pregnant in their first year of marriage, God will laugh and make you that person instead. 

Lololololol

We got pregnant almost exactly 6 months into marriage. And I regret every time I joked with anyone about how I hoped they would get pregnant quickly.

3 more months till Bradley Grace Bowman makes her appearance.

 

#7. It’s okay to learn to be dependent.

Hear me out on this one.

I prided myself on my independence in singleness, dating and even engagement.

I was always told that being dependent is a bad thing.

And yes, in a way, it is.

But in marriage, learning how to become one with your spouse and learning to let them affect you is a HUGE process.

It’s also safe. SO incredibly safe.

For the first 3 months of marriage, I was so confused and angry about how easily Noah could affect me on the other side of marriage. Becoming his wife allowed him to have access to deep places in my heart that no one else on Earth had. And it felt so uncomfortable and vulnerable.

And I felt like I had to guard and protect and hold myself together… to keep myself unaffected by him.

But that’s not what a healthy marriage is.

I’m SUPPOSED to be one with him. I’m supposed to be affected by him.

Just let go. Learn how to depend on each other and let the other person affect you.

 

 

#8. Spending time with God is just as important as it’s always been. 

It never stops being important. It’s just as necessary to hear from God and have intimacy with Him on the other side of marriage.

I need Him now just like I’ve always needed Him.

 

#9. You have to be more intentional to get quality time with friends. 

I’m still learning this one.

But really, if you stop being intentional with your community and your friends who are both single and married, then friendships will dwindle and fade.

It is SO easy to get caught up in your little “marriage bubble”.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Make it a priority for both you and your spouse to schedule consistent time with groups of people and intentional times with members of the same sex.

Friendships are still important! Don’t let them fall through cracks.

 

#10. Marriage does not always have to be hard. 

It really doesn’t.

It can be the most fun, life-giving, wonderful thing. And if it’s not, get prayer! Talk to people! Get quality time with other couples and have them help you with your conflicts.

I have loved realizing that Noah is my #1 fan and the best teammate I will ever have. Doing things TOGETHER is far better than trying to operate in our individual strengths independently.

 

LET’S GO, YEAR 2!

We Showed Up

My first year of college was transformational, weird, and wonderful.

I had moved 12 hours away from my family to attend a college where I knew 2 people, in a state I had been to twice. It was terrifying yet thrilling.

But one of the most frightening things was walking into a dining hall as a freshman.

I asked a few college freshmen earlier this week if they knew what I was talking about… they didn’t. So this very-well could just be me.

 

I would walk into a dining hall for lunch or dinner those first few months of college and become absolutely terrified. After surveying all the options, circling the dining hall a few times, then deciding exactly what I wanted, I would more often than not get my food to-go and eat it back in my dorm while watching America’s Next Top Model. Dining halls were scary. They were filled with lines, and so many choices, and more intimidatingly, people I didn’t know… who didn’t know me, but seemed to know each other very, very well.

My first couple of months of college were filled with lonely meals. Not because I didn’t have friends yet or because I was anti-social, but because I didn’t know where my family was.

 

You see, I had spent the first 18 years of my life coming home from school and having dinner with my family. That’s just how things worked in my house. Meals were connect times with people who loved me and wanted to hear about my life. And college was seeming to be a place where I’d have to go without them.

 

But there’s a shift that happens that no one tells you about towards the middle of your freshmen year. You realize that you can still have your family. It’s just going to look a little different now.

You have to allow your friends to become your family.

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This wasn’t an overnight thing for my friend group. It was a gradual thing that came after we had all subconsciously made some choices. And even now, as a young adult, I’m finding we still have to make these choices in order to keep having family. But as a young adult, these decisions must be way more intentional.

 

Looking back, I realize there were a few key decisions we all had made, un-voiced in our hearts.

  1. We decided to eat together. It sounds simple, but there is something about having a meal together that bonds people. Shauna Niequist says it best: “When we stop everything else to gather around the table and eat a meal…, we honor our bodies and the God who created them… And in that moment we acknowledge that even though life is fast and frantic, we’re not machines and we do require nourishment, physically and otherwise.” You must make an effort to eat meals with your friends. Cook for them. Let them cook for you. Sit at a table with them and enjoy every bit of the meal and company that is placed in front of you.
  2. We decided to be honest with each other. Enough with the word “fine.” When someone asks you how your day is, believe that they actually want to know. They don’t want to hear that your day was “fine.” “Fine” is the most generic and superficial answer we can give. But when we choose to believe someone cares about our day, walls are brought down and family is formed. It allows bonds to be made that proclaim “I know the season you’re in. I get it. I’m with you in it.”
  3. We decided to run errands together. My friend, Jeff, is a prime example of this. We became friends our first week of college, but he quickly became family. I’m pretty sure I ran more errands with him than any of my other friends… possibly even my real family; trips to WalMart, HEB, the mall, Jimmy John’s, wherever. He became my brother because we were together and doing the boring, mundane stuff of life together. You get to know people really well after you take a trip to Target with them. And then I started thinking how different college would’ve been if I had run those errands alone. Don’t run errands alone, friends. Drag someone along. Chances are, they need toilet paper too.
  4. We decided to become texters. If you aren’t a texter now, start becoming one. Some people are anti-group-text but I am ALL about them. It’s an amazing thing to have a piece of communication where plans can be organized and everyone can be in on it. Yes, your group-texts will sometimes go off into rabbit-trails about the latest Iron Man movie or why creamy peanut butter is way better than crunchy. Just let it happen. While we’re talking about this, let me add – you should respond to texts! Send people “How’s your day going?” texts. Be intentional. And yes, you have time for this. It takes about 15 seconds to send a text.
  5. We decided to show up. It didn’t matter who was initiating the hang out… it didn’t matter if I knew 2 or 20 people there… it didn’t matter if I had no interest in the movie we were watching or the restaurant we were going to…  if I was available, I showed up. As a “family”, we became committed to celebration – the big and little things. We chose to mourn with each other when things were hard. We came to performances, dinners with parents, birthday parties, prayer times. We decided to be there… when it was most difficult, when life was crazy, when we were tired. We chose to be there.
  6. We decided not to run away when things got hard. And things DID get hard. Disagreements were had. Breakups happened. Awkward conversations were braved. But we chose to press in when things got uncomfortable. We didn’t stop showing up because things were awkward. We didn’t stop showing up because we were offended. We had the hard, necessary, clarifying conversations. We tried our hardest to accept correction with humility and not pride. We stayed vulnerable. We forgave. We extended grace to each other in our messiness and mistakes. We learned how to do life together, not alone.





The key was pressing in.. being present.. acknowledging the now moments and living fully awake in them. It was being free from comparison by celebrating the accomplishments of another “family” member. It was realizing that each person, despite their own weaknesses, had something entirely unique that the “family” needed. It was loving the imperfections, walking through the mess, and allowing your friends to become one of closest families you’ve know.