Wash Day (And our favorite EVER products!)

Wash Day (And our favorite EVER products!)

If you've been around here for some time, you've probably been on the journey with me of learning how to care for Selah's hair and skin. It's definitely an area I am always growing in, but man, I've learned so much along the way! 

Last week, a childhood friend sent a desperate text, "Hair help please!" She had just gotten a new foster placement and this sweet girl was in desperate need of hair care. I'm so glad I'm finally in a place where I can help! I actually know how to help! So she came over and I washed and styled sweet girl's hair and it was my honor to love on her and her foster mama in that way. 

I realized that many of you who have babies born from your heart might need the same help, so I'm going to take you step by step throughout our wash day. I'll show you exactly what to do, and tell you all about these amazing products we've been using lately.

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When You Feel Forgotten On Mother's Day

It was one of our hottest summers here in South Carolina. The sun was shining. There wasn’t a cloud in sight and the sky was so blue I wanted to bottle it up and save some for later. But I was sitting at the red light in our little town, crying so hard I could barely see the light turn green. The air conditioner in my car was screaming at me just as loudly as the pain in my heart. I remember in the middle of infertility treatments calling my sister sobbing over another pregnancy announcement.

The announcements of close friends are the hardest.

You feel so many emotions. Truly, from the bottom of your heart, you are thrilled for your friend and her story, but broken for you and yours. My sister was always there on the other end of the line, speaking His truth into my heart when I was too hurt to see.

Most of her conversations with me were the same. “God is good. He hears you. He is faithful. Remember when He came through for you? He’ll do it again. It’s Who He is. He’s writing a story, but you are just in the middle. His plans are higher than ours. He is enough for you. He is near.” I would literally call her and ask her to preach truth to me. She’s one of those who can do it in the kindest way.

Because when you are aching to be a mother, and you feel like God isn’t hearing, you need a village around you, to point your weary eyes towards Him.

Mother’s Day is only a few days away. And I can’t help but think of you, Waiting Mama. Even though I am a mother now, I dread Mother’s Day for you because I remember the pain laced in that day. I remember wanting to stay home all day, in my bed, with the covers over my head. But I couldn’t. There were moms to celebrate.

And then there was that time I walked in the doors to church, and the sweet greeter gave me a rose. I guess I looked like a mother. A kind gesture to honor mothers drove those thorns deeper into an already open wound. I immediately passed it to my husband. And it confirmed for me what I was feeling.

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Forgotten.

I felt forgotten by everyone. I walked around on Mother’s Day feeling as if I was not seen. I didn’t “just decide” to have children, it was a calling. And the worst part was the God who had called me to be a mama, wasn’t giving me children to mother. I felt forgotten by even Him.

But I wasn’t.

I learned in that season of hiding from Mother’s Day, I could be found in Him.

He saw me. He was there. He was Emanuel, God with me, in that summer and the one that followed. He may have seemed quiet, but He became the only place I felt safe. And my sister was right, He WAS writing a story. It was just in the middle, and I couldn’t see the end…yet.

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“I’m praying for you as you budget your emotions,” my sister said. I knew of a budget with money, but budgeting emotions was an idea new to me. When we spend money, we allow more money in our budget for certain things. It’s the same with our emotions. When I’m expecting Mother’s Day to be hard, I can allow myself more grace in the days before.

When you have allowed a large emotional budget for this week, you can also be on high alert for the enemy’s lies. Now is the time, more than ever, to preach Truth to yourself. Find a village who will point your weary eyes towards Him.

Just say it over and over until your heart believes, “He is good. He is near. He is faithful. He sees me. I am His. He’s writing a story, I’m just in the middle.”

Friend, wake up on Mother’s Day morning knowing you are going to rock it! You have everything you need. Your belly might still be empty, but your heart isn’t.

You have Him.

And you are not forgotten.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV

Photos by Rachel Ackerman Photography

To the Mama of a Special Needs Child,

You never thought that would be your name, did you?

You used to look at other mamas with children who had special needs and think to yourself, "I could never do that. I'm not strong enough."

But now that's you, and you're proud. Because that little one that calls you mama, he is the strongest soul you know.

With everything he has experienced in his short little life, he is so happy. And it makes you want to be like him, full of joy, even in the hard.

He has more "labels" than you can sometimes remember. You have to count to make sure you include all of the specialist you see. All of the hours of therapy during the week leave your schedule full before the week even begins. And those therapist, they become friends.

You cringe when you're in public and someone sneezes or coughs. You whip your head around and move away as quickly as possible. Because a little cold for them, could be life threatening to your little one. Your knuckles are cracked and you can never keep polish on your nails, because you wash your hands all the time. I see you in the back of the church, walking and bouncing, so desperate to hear Truth because you NEED it. But putting him in nursery is not an option.

Most mamas, save their work sick days for when they are sick, or their kids are sick. You walk into work on those days either feeling guilty for leaving your sick children at home with the nanny, or walking into work so sick yourself.

Because sick days are not for being sick, they are for hospital stays, and you never have enough.

And then on the days that no one is sick in your house, you wonder if you can even make it to work, because the day to day of caring for that sweet baby with special needs is more work than anyone ever understands. The worry of leaving them. What if he falls? What if his tube gets caught on something? What if he stops breathing? What if he aspirates?

It's too much. It's too hard. So you do your job as best as you can. But you know the whole day, he needs you more.

Being a nurse was the last job you ever wanted. Bodily fluids, blood, and needles, they used to make you squirm. Now, you give yourself a high five, because girl, you are doing it! You get a ferrel bag, a connector, and sister, you are good to go! You can prime a tube with your eyes closed. J connectors, G connectors, bag tubes... there are all kinds of tubes in your life. For someone who wasn't that great at math, you can calculate rates and doses better than the nurses. The beeping of the trash truck down the street, or the microwave, or a sound on TV, will send you running to the pump. You hear every beep, all the time.

You can syringe meds in the dark, almost with your eyes closed. The day when the medical supply shipment comes in, is sort of like Christmas, in a weird way. Four whole boxes to sort and store, and a fresh batch of feeding bags laying neatly face up, it's satisfying. And there's nothing more exciting than new syringes.

Your two year old, puts medicine in her baby's tummy, because she watches mommy do that to brother. She is the first to tattle on him, "No, broder! No playing wifth your cords!" And thinking of her, sometimes you feel guilty. Because that baby with those special needs, gets a lot more of your attention. And it isn't fair. The hospital stays split your heart. Because he needs you so desperately, but you feel as if you're missing out on sweet days of her life. Those moments, when everyone is together in the hospital room, are the sweetest. You remember that's really home, where you're all together.

And right when you begin to hear good news, when things start to become your kind of normal, the bottom drops out again. And a test that was supposed to be nothing, turns into something, a big something, and you can't imagine how life will go on.

You hear someone complaining about how their kid has the flu, and you would give anything for the flu. The flu goes away.

But this, what your baby lives with everyday, this doesn't go away. And now, just as you start to learn to live with the first thing, now you're facing a whole new mountain. It's way bigger than the last. More complications, more risks, more "less normal." And you wake up every morning, still living in the dark, reminded again that this is real life, and you must choose to reach out and grab the Lord's hand.

Because, ultimately, He loves that baby with special needs more than you can ever dare. And those things that make him so special, are not mistakes. He was formed perfectly in the dark, in the uttermost parts of his birth mom's womb. The Father was there, intently watching him, purposely forming him to be special, creating him for great things. He was carefully planning out the days of his life, and choosing YOU to be his mama.

Because this child, was wanted more than he will ever know. You prayed, begged God even, for him. He is a miracle. And a gracious gift.

He's special alright. He has obstacles in his life that might make things a little harder, but nothing will hold that boy back from doing what he wants!

Mama, you teach him that.

And when you are so tired, when you feel so misunderstood, you start that comparison thing, and you begin peeking into the future, stop yourself. Because tomorrow will bring enough worry on it's own.

Be here, now. In this moment.

You study every sweet line in his face. Etch that grin in the back of your mind. And you enjoy him.

Because he is a gift. A very special gift.