The Mom Leggings

momleggings

I am wonderfully made.

That’s what we preach. We preach it to ourselves, our children and our friends. I understand it. I feel it. Wonderfully made. I see my children and recognize that my body has done something amazing, incredible, miraculous even – but yet, here I am, on our bedroom floor, staring at my full closet, crying.

You see, I love my body. I always have. Self-confidence has never been an issue that I’ve struggled with no matter what state my body was in. I’ve always had a little extra pudge pocket in front and worn it proudly. Only one short time in my life have I been without it – and let me be clear on this – although I was physically in the best shape of my life – I’d never been so self-conscious and aware of other people’s bodies around me. In the best shape of my life, I was the most judgemental I’d ever been. I could blame it on surroundings, friends at the time or a million other things, but in reality, it was solely because I sought out my value by the shape of abs instead of my value in Christ. I did away with that toxic mindset pretty quickly.

But yet here I am. Stuck in a place that is different yet the same. 2 babies in. 4 months postpartum, not yet okayed to be as physically active as I’d imagined I’d be by now, although not overweight. In fact, I was back down to my pre-baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum. But do you want to know how much weight actually matters? 0%. We can talk about pre-baby and post-baby weight all we want but it means nothing. Why you might ask? Because my clothes still don’t fit.

Pregnancy changes you. It can physically change your body for some, like myself, who’s hips will likely never go back to size they were when I thought they were huge before having babies.

My undergarments hug the wrong places, my pants – if they even go OVER my thighs, I can barely breathe in them, and my shirts – don’t even get me started on my shirts. My usual go-to summer clothing is sundresses, which also now don’t fit because of a larger bosom and have become way to short due to my wider hips. Plus, how on earth am I supposed to breastfeed without taking the whole thing off every time? What do I do now with a whole wardrobe that I can’t wear and very limited extra funds for replacing it? I wipe my tears and reach for my sidekick, leggings.

This morning I tried on SIX outfits before landing on my maternity underwear, my trusty leggings that got me through pregnancy and an oversized t-shirt. We often make fun of the “mom leggings”, the ones that are thrown on in haste and over-tiredness – but we need to talk about the REAL mom-leggings. The ones that are put on because nothing else fits right. Because you only own one pair of shorts that currently go over your hips and you put them in the washer the night before, forgetting to switch them into the dryer before you went to bed. The ones that make us feel like we can hide our imperfections but aren’t good enough to leave the house in – so you just don’t. What about those leggings?

I know. I know. First world problems. They really are.

But that’s where I am today – and most days to be honest. That’s what I promised on this blog, honesty.

Even when it feels like this.

 

 

The Messy Wives Club

messywivesclubimageWhere are all my “messy at heart” wives at?

The ones who “keeping house” doesn’t come naturally to, but you strive hard to do it anyways. The ones whose husbands feel infinitely more relaxed when they walk into a calm, clutter free environment as opposed to the chaos that would be without them. The ones who, as their house gets more chaotic, their anxiety takes over, leaving them feeling like the most simple task is overwhelming. The ones who keeping a tidy house doesn’t come naturally but instead takes work – a whole lot of work.

This is me, jumping up and down, raising my hand in the air, trying to get somebody else’s attention so that I don’t feel like so much of a failure when I let myself down.

Ever since marrying my husband 5 years ago, it’s been an endless journey of learning to keep house. Some days this is so simple – I complete 3 loads of laundry, washed and folded, sweep and mop floors, keep up with the dishes, all at what feels like an almost manageable pace. Other days, dishes load up as my child clings to my legs, yogurt and newborn spit up spills on the floor go unnoticed for hours, dishes just seem to appear out of nowhere and for some reason all of my laundry magically misses its basket.

With social media I spend my days discouraged as I see other wives and mothers seemingly doing it all. The ones who not only have the large houses with infinite space but the tidy house, Instagram ready at all times. Social media sucks doesn’t it? It’s fun in theory but it’s an augmented reality that constantly bogs us down and takes our eyes off of the prize.

Despite you most likely thinking that I’m suggesting the prize is a clean and tidy house, it’s not. It’s the mindset of serving, not in a slave to your house sense, but in a larger sense of love. It’s taking the time to do the tasks that come with difficulty to you, because you know that someone else will feel loved by that action; which can be more important as well as push you and your relationship further.

Does my husband require me to keep a clean house? No. Never in our wedding vows did I promise to “love, cherish and clean up after thee”. But I have an immense amount of respect for my husband and I know that he feels loved when he sees me caring for a house that he works so hard to financially provide for us. So, in turn I work hard to show him love in that specific way. In the opposite sense, he also greatly respects me and knows that each decision I make to clean is not one that comes naturally but one that I’ve physically had to make to show him love in that way. This means that often on days when my anxiety feels overwhelming and he comes home to an untidy house with a wife crying in the bathtub, he shows grace, upon grace, upon grace.

But I’m not here to preach to you. I’m here in solidarity and to help you show love to your spouse in this way. These are the tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the last 5 years that make this a little bit easier.

  • De-clutter. ALL of it. Those textbooks from college? Probably impractical to keep, especially if you’re like me and in an industry that has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Those movies that you picked up in the $5 movie bin 3 years ago and swear you’ll watch but yet still have the wrapping on them? You likely don’t need them. Finished that book and don’t plan on reading it again? Donate! We ended up downsizing our house last year which forced me to de-clutter, and trust me I still have more to do, but in the end, this has made keeping house so much easier.
  • Paper clutter – this is a big one for my husband, he HATES paper clutter. We’re working hard to become a relatively paperless household, which means that my childhood habit of keeping every single birthday card, is not something that I wish to hand down to my children. We scan birthday cards, notes, drawings, etc and keep them digitally backed up. This means that when we go to look at the kid’s birthday party photos, in that same folder, we will also find their thoughtfully written birthday cards from family and friends.
  • A “puttering” list. I always remember the term puttering being used as a kid but didn’t understand its full meaning until about a year ago. The idea of puttering (to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual manner) would be that you have some sort of little basket or bucket of cleaning supplies/small garbage bag and you slowly go from room to room doing little “tasks” that make up keeping house. It’s not one ginormous, overwhelming task of “clean the whole house”. It’s a bunch of little tasks that you complete while in that room. I went ahead and created my own little “puttering” list – since I do much better with a following a list – full of small tasks to complete throughout the day, each day including one large task (like mopping the floor), as well as a small section at the bottom for monthly tasks (like vacuuming the couches). As much as I try to do them every day, there are days when only half gets done and others that I can do a full puttering list plus the next day’s big task if I’m feeling adventurous. This has made a huge impact because it keeps me visually accountable and if I miss a day here or there, I know that smaller tasks like the toilet and sink, were just done the day before. It also helps my husband see what I would need help with if I am out for the day working or having a difficult day at home.
  • The most effective thing I’ve learned is that if a task is going to take you less than 5 minutes, just do it. Quickly washing a couple of dishes now to prevent a back log later will be worth it. Bringing the laundry all the way downstairs so that it’s already there when I have time later on to complete it, will be worth it. PUTTING AWAY THIS LAUNDRY WILL BE WORTH IT <– my biggest struggle. Giving the bathroom a quick run down while my daughter is taking a bath – genius.
  • Before your spouse gets home, pinpoint the areas that will have the biggest impact and tackle those. For my husband, its clutter on surfaces. Before he gets home, when I have the time, I try to tackle the most visually impacting areas and have them feeling less stressful. For me, that’s the couch inside our front door (a seemingly perfect diaper bag holder), the living room tables, dining room table, my computer desk and the kitchen counter. These are the main areas that are visual from our front door. Pinpoint these spots in your house and keep them clear!
  • Lastly, give yourself grace. Do you need a day to just relax? Take it. Is this one task too overwhelming for today? Shut the door and do it when your spouse is around to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, family or professionals if you need it.

I remind myself daily that my worth does not come from my success in my job as a homemaker, or in any career that you choose. Our worth comes from our Father above, who calls us each of us His daughters despite our brokenness and earthly shortcomings. Its knowing that He is present with us in our mundane moments, where we feel that perhaps keeping house may not be a Christ-like activity, but when we serve with a full heart, seeking after his Kingdom first, even our housekeeping is worship.

So when you’re done reading this, let’s put down our phones, tablets or computers, confess our sins of procrastination and jealously to our Father, put on our favourite worship album, and start cleaning as if the Lord was coming home today.

“23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people,24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

*Want a copy of my puttering list to help get you started? Send an email to letgofearlesstrustmore@gmail.com with what your biggest housekeeping struggle is as well as how I can be praying for you, and I’ll send you over a PDF printable copy!*

** I also feel the need to add in that serving your spouse in this way involves a beautiful and loving commitment to one another. If you feel like you are being controlled by your spouse or are fearful in any way, shape or form – then you need to consult a professional and seek help.**

 

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy.

joy

A few weeks ago I decided to try a trial version of the biblical meditation app Abide at the suggestion of a friend. I’ve always believed that meditating on the Word of God is such an important part of building our relationship with him, and part of our spiritual transformation. My husband and I talk about how meditating on specific passages from our devotions is often what encourages and challenges a change in behaviour, as opposed to just reading through the Word but I struggle SO much to actually do it.

This app (in which I am in no way affiliated by the way, just sharing my experience) has been a game changer for me specifically. I can do a short 2 mins meditation – although this is not my full devotional time for the day – it does give me a jumpstart. Not only that, but it also gives me a specific passage to meditate on before I even get into my devotional. The Lord has often used these passages in the past couple of weeks to lead into what I read in the Word during my time with him.

One morning, it was a particularly tough morning – LC and I had barely finished breakfast, accompanied by multiple meltdowns – both hers and mine. I thought, I should try to do the meditation to help center myself for our day before allowing the morning to dictate the outcome. So there at the breakfast table with my head leaning on my crossed arms, I turned it on. Although I cannot remember the specifics about this particular meditation, I DO remember being called to be in His presence – what a coincidence. We let the soft music take us down a couple of notches. LC was sitting beside me on the bench, as we breathed in and out to the soft rain sounds. I felt a reminder in my heart that I need to purposely remember to just sit in the HIS presence in the midst of my chaos – to feel his grace, love, peace, mercy and joy deeply.

In 1 Peter 1:8-9, it says;

“8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

An inexpressible and glorious joy. Joy that is a feeling of gladness and fulfillment not based on our current life circumstance.

There in the midst of our crazy morning, as we sat quietly side by side in the presence of the Lord, LC burst out into laughter – that contagious toddler laughter that comes from the bottom of their souls. It was there that the Lord met me, it was there that I felt his joy, inexpressible and glorious joy. I realized that LC is a vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through, as am I. It is through days like that we are continuously refined to best serve the Lord.

Although I wish every morning would be simple and straightforward, I will continue to invite the Lord into our days, hours and minutes despite the meltdowns.

 

 

 

I disappeared…

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I disappeared, it’s true.

I melted away from the everyday, retreated into the depths of my mind and disappeared. This blog is something that always kept me going in every other stage of life, then suddenly – we hit loss – and I just couldn’t muster up any words, let alone encouraging words, to fill this screen with.

After our miscarriage in the late spring, the world went dark. I cried everyday in the shower, when I took myself to bed at 7pm, when I prayed with my daughter before placing her in her crib. I cried. A lot.

I kept telling myself that I needed to write it out. I wrote our baby Hope a letter. It helped. I wrote the hospital a letter. It also helped. I spoke to patient relations at the hospital to make sure that mishaps that happened in our experience will not happen to another. It helped. I wrote a mock blog on my word processor, but I still couldn’t publish it.

I thought to myself, I’ll share it during miscarriage and pregnancy loss awareness month – that makes the most sense. But that month came and went – and as it turns out – was extremely difficult for me. I had to take a little break off social media because I just felt bombarded with reminders and stories that felt way too familiar when I had just emotionally been able to move on – it paralyzed me right where I was.

Then I thought to myself, I’ll share it at Christmas time – I know that’ll hurt this year – it’ll help me cope. So I wrote it a few days before Christmas. It hurt. I cried. My husband cried. But I didn’t share it. It wasn’t time.

So I thought to myself – ok, the baby’s due date – January 15th. That is when I will share Hope’s story. But the day came, and it just felt too personal to share. I didn’t want to grieve publicly with anyone other than with my husband and daughter. I went to the store and bought some cupcakes to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness in our journey on this road. We decided that every year on this day, it would be our family’s annual cupcake day to celebrate just that. As I sat in bed eating my Oreo cupcake, I still could not share the post.

I didn’t feel confident writing any other blogs without sharing Hope’s story first; how could I just pretend that nothing happened to my viewers, I felt like a fraud. Therefore, I disappeared, until I was ready to be real and share the story of our Hope.

You can read our story here.

It was important to me to be able to share Hope’s story before our next little blessing arrives. I wanted to be sure that Hope had her space – that people knew that she existed and was loved. I found it so hard when I became pregnant with this Tiny Turvey that as we slowly shared the news, people didn’t know about Hope. I found it almost impossible to “yes we are expecting” with adding in an “but we also lost a baby in the spring”. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops because I didn’t want her to be a secret, unknown and unrecognized.

So thank you for taking the time to read Hope’s story and for walking alongside of us as we prepare for this new adventure!

We’re missing you.

This past Christmas, we missed you.

It was different from any other Christmas before. Yes, we celebrated in a new house with our 1.5 year old and cradling another little blessing in my belly, but that is not why. This past Christmas was different because we were missing one little heart.

Our sweet little Hope Turvey.

We were shocked when we saw the 2 pink lines. We kept going back to the box to make sure that it was real. We read the instruction manual of the test over and over again to be sure we did it right. I mean, it was only our 5th test that day, but we just couldn’t believe it. “2 under 2” is what we were in for. I thought for sure we’d missed this month, but I was more than a week late so figured we should probably check. I did 4 tests on my own before calling my husband to pick up a 5th on his way home. I completed my 6th one the next morning when I woke up thinking I was dreaming FOR SURE. I couldn’t process the emotions fast enough.

I should have known when I unexpectedly gagged in the meat section of our grocery store or suddenly needed to eat all-beef hot dogs as soon as possible one warm Saturday in late April. All of the signs were there – I just didn’t connect the dots.

It took me a couple of days to process. A second baby. Were we ready? Would we ever really be ready? I slowly moved from shock to excitement. A second baby! What a blessing, a sibling for LC, another little life to fill our home.

A couple of weeks later I wasn’t feeling too well and started having sharp pains in my lower back. I had read that with additional pregnancies that back pain can increase – I weathered on and continued through my day. The next day the spotting started – I knew something was wrong. I told myself it was nothing, spotting was completely normal in pregnancy. But that was the thing, I woke up that morning not feeling pregnant. I was on edge all day as the spotting continued and the cramping started. I called the midwife’s office, who told me to head into the emergency department. My husband and I dropped LC off with family and headed to the hospital.

After a few hours in the ER waiting room – we had come to the understanding that we were losing the baby. As the wait was still hours to see a doctor, we decided to come home to continue the process in private. As I waited in the car for my husband to collect LC from my sister’s house, I was completely numb. The song “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith played on the radio. The lyrics rang true in that moment and even more true today.

“The Word says,
“For the spirit of heaviness
Put on the garment of praise”
That’s how we fight our battles

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
This is how I fight my battles”

As I sat in the car alone and listened to this song, I knew that even though I’d never felt heartbreak like this before, that this process was a beautiful moment in God’s sovereign plan. We drove home, holding hands with tears streaming down our faces, not knowing what tomorrow, next the day or the next month was going to bring. We put LC to bed, suddenly loving her exponentially more than when we woke that morning.

The night didn’t bring rest, it brought pain and sorrow, physically and spiritually. The next morning, we were up early sitting on the couch in a strong silence; the kind you could cut through – reading, praying, processing – when I felt a whisper in my heart that the baby’s name was Hope. I looked over at my husband and told him – he nodded his head in agreement.  The Lord tells us that there is hope in our suffering (Romans 5:1-5) and now we have the reminder that there was literally Hope in the midst of ours.

The next few weeks were rough, like a tug of war between my heart and my mind. My heart reminding me that God is sovereign and that even though I didn’t carry Hope anymore, that He carried her instead – and my mind telling me that it was all my fault. My body failed me. I drank too much coffee, not enough water, walked too far a distance, lifted too heavy of items up and down the stairs – all lies but exhausting to weed through. The weeks were spent by taking long showers to cry and pray through, tidal waves of grief that would hit while driving around the corner, doing the dishes or anytime someone touched me.

But, in the midst of the rawness, they were also filled with love – for my husband, for our daughter, and for this child who I got to carry for 2 whole months! God chose me to hold Hope close for the precious time that she spent here with us, how comforting. The next weeks brought an overwhelming sense of closeness to our Heavenly Father, knowing that the only way we would get through this would be to rely on Him for our strength. Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 3:3, Psalm 46 and many, many more verses were my constant reminder that we were not alone in this.

Almost 2 months later, I had a dream. We had just given birth to a precious baby girl, but she did not have any hands (the symbol of helplessness). I hugged her so close and kissed her head. I told her how much she was loved and through my tears I handed her over into the hands that were outstretched waiting to hold her. I knew that they were her father’s hands, I assumed they were that of my husband. This dream sat heavy with me. I spent time and time again in prayer, asking God to relieve me from the weight that this dream carried. Then, He did. The Lord revealed that I did hand Hope over into her father’s hands, but those were not my husband’s – they were His – Hope’s Heavenly Father’s hands.

A couple short weeks later we were sitting in my daughter’s room, I was listening to my husband read her one of her books and I couldn’t help but cry. The sweetness, the softness and the tenderness in that moment of watching them together. My husband took one look at me, let out a little laughter and said “you’re pregnant.” I denied it, “there’s no way” I said. After he went downstairs, I decided to take a test. Sure enough, up came a little “plus sign” before I even had time to leave the room.

The Lord is always good and His plan is good always; even when it doesn’t feel good. Life after miscarriage is not easy, and pregnancy after loss isn’t something that I ever thought I’d experience. It has not been without heartache but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I sit here, cradling this baby in my belly, I can’t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know Lord is faithful, now more than ever.

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I remember the day that my husband took this photo – I wasn’t feeling great, it was Mother’s day – just 2 short days before we lost Hope. I remember thinking how terrible I looked in this photo, that I’d likely never look at it again. I joked with him that this was our first photo of me holding both of our babies – it is now one of my most prized possessions. It really is the first and the last photo of me holding LC and Hope at the same time.

Gifts from my Mother

I see my Mother in me. My husband sees my Mother in me. Some people might have dreaded this day – but I did not.

I hear my Mother in my voice when I walk into my daughter’s room in the early hours, wishing her a good morning in song.

I see my Mother in me as I dance around the kitchen using cooking utensils as a microphone to bring a smile to my daughters face.

I see my Mother in me as I get down on the floor with my daughter to read her books.

I hear my Mother in my voice as I dramatically turn the pages.

I see my Mother in me as I sway my daughter from side to side, humming softly,  cheek to cheek.

I see my Mother in me as I scramble to make sure that there is a least one vegetable side in every dinner.

I see my Mother in me as I make coffee for my husband every morning out of love.

I hear my Mother in my voice as I pray for my daughter every night before bed.

I see my Mother in me as I glimpse in the mirror at the bottom of our stairs as I walk past.

I see my Mother in me as I tuck my freezing cold feet under my husband every chance I get.

I feel my Mother when I love on those around me.

I never realized while growing up, all of the little gifts that she was giving me, the ones that would last a lifetime. I am not sure if she even knew about them.

Thank you Mom, for all of your gifts, through all of these years.

Happy Mother’s Day.

MomandElsie

Honour, Love and Cherish.

Washing Feet

Photo by Amanda Arch Photography

Honour – regard with great respect.

Love – an intense feeling of deep affection.

Cherish – protect and care for (someone) lovingly.

Early one Saturday morning, my husband rolled over and quietly whispered,

“Bren, LC is awake.”

Although, I already knew that she was awake – because she had been awake for a half hour, as had I. Honestly, I just really, really did not want to get out of bed. There, in my exhausted, foggy state of mind, I snapped.

“Why don’t you get up with her then?”

I snared back at him, just wanting the world to disappear under my covers, with me in them. I took a deep breath – knowing full well that even if he did get up with her, I’d need to get up to feed her anyway. I crawled out of bed, only half aware of what just happened.

As I tip-toed into LC’s room, a calmness came over me, with her sweet blue eyes staring at me through the crib bars, and a smile so big that I could see it behind her soother.

“Hello sweet one.”

I whispered as I reached down to pick her up. I settled in the rocking chair and my thoughts starting coming through the fog.

“Oh no,” I thought as I heard my husband moving around in the bedroom.

I snapped at him, I used a mean and gnarly tone, this was OUR Saturday morning – the one that we’d been looking forward to all week. This was our morning to take things slow and relaxed, to enjoy each other’s company – and I ruined it before we’d even gotten out of bed. Regret sat like a bowling ball in the pit of my stomach. He told me about LC so sweetly, so lovingly. And I didn’t even SEE him this morning, I just saw yet another thing that only I could take care of.

He popped his head into the nursery, I looked up at him with tears in my eyes, ashamed of how I reacted.

“Please to go back to bed, I didn’t actually mean what I said when I woke up, I want you to have a relaxing quiet morning, just like we’d planned.”

He responded, “You can’t expect me to stay in bed after you say something like that. Obviously I feel terrible that I can’t be the one getting up with her every morning, and I appreciate the fact that you do.”

Then he did the most amazing thing…

He walked downstairs and made ME coffee. He asked me what I wanted for breakfast, he asked me what I wanted to do that day. He pulled me into his arms and told me that he sees that I am overwhelmed and wants to know what he can do to help. He loved on me. In my darkest, meanest and most snarly of moments – he honoured and cherished me in a way that I’ve never felt before. He reached into my tired, lonely and exhuasted heart and loved me with a Christ-like love (Ephesians 5:25) – even though I am flawed, broken and undeserving.

I thought that we were going to have a terrible Saturday but because my husband chose to see through the cracks of my tone and understand where I was hurting, we had the best Saturday ever. We had coffee and breakfast, we took our daughter to the park, we aimlessly wandered through Wal-Mart, we read the Bible together and then he made ME dinner. What could have been a day where we tore each other to shreds using passive aggressive jabs and comments, as we have done on days before this, he chose differently – he chose to love on me instead.

And what a beautiful day it was.