Another Home Study...

They say it's different with the second baby.

You know those diaper commercials where the first-time mom has the sanitary wipes and instantly attacks the fallen, dirty paci? Then, the second baby comes, and she sticks the germy paci in her mouth to "clean" it.

Although I don't have two quite yet, I do know it has been different so far. With Selah, I had tons of time in my

waiting for her

, to dream of the perfect nursery. I had everything picked out ahead of time, so as soon as we were matched with our birth mom, and knew boy or girl, we could be ready. Just last weekend, only a few weeks out, are we now prepared to bring a baby home. And this just means the car seat is ready, and his clothes and bottles are washed. His room...it's coming along...slowly.

This time, I have a one year old that takes up all of my time. And how I do love her! As I am typing this, I hear the familiar voice of Mickey echoing throughout this room. Along with that blasted hot dog song. I have given up on my clean floors. She is currently smashing carrots between her little fingers and throwing the remnants in the floor. Our dog, Bella, is overjoyed.

And we had our home study today.

As I breathe a sigh of relief that it's over, I can't help but compare.

This was our floor today as our worker

grilled

chatted with us. Messy. With toys everywhere. She wasn't aware, but she was sitting on mounds of puffs and/or cheerios that were stuffed under her couch cushion. Brandon made the bed, because he was the last one out of it this morning. And let's just say...he doesn't make the bed often. But hey, he did it! When she walked in my sewing/craft room I begged her not to write in the report about how messy the table appeared. The dog decided to take a crap upstairs right before she came, and we realized it as she opened the door to the room. Brandon gave me the "you're kidding me" look, and we quickly escorted her out of that room to another. Thankfully, as if on cue, Selah did something cute (which she does often) and it distracted her.

Let's just say, compared to the "

you can eat off my floors

" home study for Selah's adoption, this one was much different. If it wasn't for my mom, my house wouldn't have been clean at all! For that, I am super thankful. Thanks, Mom!

Although this one wasn't as technical as the home study we had last summer before

our failed adoption

, those feelings are just the same.

Intrusive. Invaded. Vulnerable.

She talked with us about all of our bank accounts, jobs, marriage, life insurance policies, our will, childcare, our childhoods, family history, our family's feeling on our adoptions, and our parenting. While I understand completely the seriousness of making sure we are fit parents, when you are on this side (the parent side) of the equation, it just isn't bunnies and roses. We had to prove, once again, that we would be good parents. We had to prove, we ARE good parents.

I grew up with a very legalistic understanding of the gospel. For years, I tried to prove my worthiness. If I controlled my thoughts, I would be pure enough. If I had my "quiet time" every day, I would be holy enough. If I was involved in EVERY single activity the church had to offer, I would be considered a servant enough. If I did all of these, along with an additional exhausting list, I would prove myself worthy of Him.

The God, the One who romances me into a covenant relationship, rescued me from my list of laws. The Beautiful One, who

dances with me in fields

, exploded out of the box I put Him in. When I locked eyes with this tender, grace upon grace, God, my whole world changed.

But...

There are still days, when I need Him to so gently remind me that I am enough.

Not because of me, but because of Jesus.

This week, this Holy Week, leaves me at the end of this second-baby home study, feeling free.

I may have needed to prove to our sweet worker that we are good parents, our home is a safe place to grow, and our family is ready for another little soul.

But I am free, this Wednesday before Resurrection Sunday, proving nothing to the Father. Jesus proved He was enough for me. And because of Him, I am now enough.

I don't HAVE to have my "quiet time" everyday. I don't HAVE to say "yes" to every serving opportunity. I don't HAVE to do anything to prove that I am enough, because Jesus already said I am.

I can't wait for the time of day when I GET to spend time with My Favorite on

the white couch

. I GET the opportunity to serve others out of the overflow of what God has done for me. I GET to rest in what Jesus has done for me at the Cross.

Sweet sister, stop striving.

Quit proving yourself.

If you are in Christ, you are enough.

Because He looks at the Father on your behalf, and says you are.

Our Story (The Short Version)

In case you're new here, I thought it might be helpful to tell you our story. This will be the first post of a three part series, and I promise you will not want to miss these!

But first of all, welcome! 

I wish I could invite you over to my house, pour you some coffee, and talk. Like really talk. Heart talk, with you! So cuddle on up. Pretend the fire is crackling, the Christmas tree is sparkling, and let me tell you our little story. And I'd really love to hear yours too!

My hubby and I have been married for six years. He is my dream man. I'm so in love with him and think he hung the moon! Our marriage definitely isn't perfect by any means, but we still dance in the kitchen after the baby is asleep. He is the man I have faithfully prayed for since I was 12. We actually didn't share our first kiss until we got married. Crazy, I know! He has a sweet heart for Jesus and I love the way he humbly leads our family. It was around year three of marriage when we started "trying" to have a baby.

At first, I counted days and eagerly expected every month, those two pink lines. Six months had pasted and I really started to worry. After almost a year and a half, we went to an infertility clinic, and to make a long story short, realized that we would have extremely low chances of ever conceiving naturally. You can read more of my infertility journey

here

After yet another year of infertility treatments and no swollen belly, our hearts and my body were done. We were deciding whether or not to pursue a more aggressive infertility treatment and were in a time crunch to make a decision. (If you have walked this journey, you know everything revolves around "Day One.") A friend invited us to an orphan care meeting at our church. And by the time we walked out to our car to go home, God had already funded half of the adoption that he confirmed in both our hearts during that meeting. You can read more details of that miracle,

here.

We immediately started the adoption process through a local agency. We were scared, broken, and very raw. But God used those short months of waiting for our daughter to balm our hearts and began a work of healing. He taught us so much about ourselves and

our adoption

as His son and daughter.

On November 4th, 2013 we got our two pink lines, a

positive pregnancy

test, if you will. We got the call that we were matched with our

birthmom

. Every time we prayed for our baby, we prayed for our birthmom. We had no idea the sweet relationship the Lord would cultivate because of this child. We consider her family and she will always be a hero in our home.

On December 21, 2013,

God's faithfulness

was wrapped up in a 6 pound 5 ounce beautiful baby girl.

Selah Grace Satterfield.

God has written a beautiful story of grace over her little life already. She has taught this mommy heart more in the past year about the love of the Father, than I have learned in my whole life. She pushes me to a place of needing Him. And I have found Him in the dark,

barren

parts of my heart too.

So... as we finish up our coffee together, I hope you have seen past our messy, beautiful story to an absolutely breath-taking, very faithful God. He is so beautiful, isn't He?

Thanks for meeting with me today! I really loved our time together!

-Jessica

PS You DO NOT want to miss the next post in this series! Stay tuned to hear about our open adoption. Our birthmom is even going to make a special appearance! You're going to love her!

*Photos 1, 4, and 5 are by the amazing

Rachel Ackerman

. I'm kind of obsessed with her work!

These Mommy Eyes

On a cold, late December day, something happened to my eyes. I quickly jumped out of the bed, rushed in a panic to get dressed, threw some clothes in a bag, and called Brandon (who was at work) on the way. Right before I left our first little home, I took a good look around and thought about all the memories we made there together.

For some reason, I thought Dunkin Donuts could make my coffee faster than my Keurig at home. I pulled through the drive through to pay for my very large cup of coffee and proudly told the lady, “I’m going to become a mommy today!” I was so excited, I left her with the change and sped off to the hospital.

Brandon met me there. We prayed and relished in our last moment of just “us.” Then we made our way upstairs. Selah’s birthmom was in active labor and we got there just in time for the epidural.

I have never seen anyone so brave. She didn’t even flinch for the epidural, and made labor look like a piece of cake! Seriously! I watched a few birthing videos in preparation because I don’t do so well with medical things, and she made those ladies look silly. She literally slept through the whole labor. We had to wake her when the nurse wanted to check her.

Before the birth, we created somewhat of a plan of how she wanted the experience to be. I love plans and especially in such a sensitive situation, a plan was good regarding expectations for both her and us. The plan was that I would be in the delivery room and Brandon would wait outside. This could all change at any moment and she was in control of those changes. We made it very clear to her that the hospital was all about her. We would be there to support her, but it would be on her terms.

I was so humbled that she allowed me to be with her throughout the whole labor. When she was around 8 centimeters, she asked me to get Brandon because she had to talk with him about something. I walked into a waiting room full of our family and close friends grabbed Brandon and headed back.

She told Brandon that she knew he was nervous about being in the delivery room, but that this was his daughter. And he needed to see his daughter come into this world. With no hesitation, and a few tears he agreed grabbing the camera.

It seemed very soon after that, the nurse came back into the room and told us it was, “baby time!” My heart started racing, and my eyes bounced from our birthmom to Brandon. She was so calm, so brave. Her loving heart for this child shone so bright her face looked radiant. Here she is, the one having the baby, and she was worrying about us, making sure we were okay! I cannot tell you our love for this woman! Brandon was holding down his position near her head with the camera around his neck, glistening eyes, and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

It was all a blur. But I consciously took everything in. Nurses and doctors came from doors we didn’t even know where in the room. There was blue sterile paper laying everywhere. Machines were going off from every direction and they were all hustling around anticipating this new little life. I gave Brandon a look of, “This is it. Our lives are about to change.” I grabbed her foot and within literally seconds my eyes saw a beautiful, miracle baby come into this world.

All I could do was cry and I kept saying, “She’s so beautiful! Oh my word, she is so beautiful!” The doctor held her up and for us all to see. Then he told me three times to cut the cord. I suddenly forgot those kindergarten skills. But I relished in that moment. I was honored for the opportunity and didn’t take the gravity of what it symbolized for granted.

Brandon rushed over to our sweet girl, to listen to the assessments. He was snapping pictures and assuring all the medical talk I was hearing was good. They wrapped up a 6 pound 5 ounce bundle of God’s faithfulness and handed her to me.

There is something precious about the first time you hold your child. But part of me knew she wasn’t ours just yet. And as if our nurse could read my thoughts, I could hear her ask our birthmom if she wanted the “mommy bracelet.” You know the one that has the security codes that match the baby. The one that says “mother.” And without skipping a beat, she said, “That’s Jessica. She’s her mommy.”

That’s when it happened. When something happened to my eyes. It was like a veil or blanket was lifted from my eyes and at that very moment I saw the whole world differently.

I literally melted from the weight of the gift she had given me. Although it was only a little over six pounds, her giving me permission to be mommy was the most beautiful and heaviest gift I have been given. The very emotional nurse secured that treasured bracelet around my wrist. And my eyes only saw the goodness of the Lord.

We spent the rest of the night and most of the next day spending time with Selah’s birthmom and being very new parents to our little blessing. After all paperwork was signed, we said our, “See you laters,” and headed to our little home as a party of three.

So many things have changed since that day! For one, Selah Grace is six months old! She is the happiest baby ever, has the squishiest cheeks, and more rolls than you can count. She is a great sleeper, even better eater, and when she babbles and blows bubbles our whole world stops! We moved out of our first little home. We love our new house and it is slowly become home.

But these eyes. Theses mommy eyes have seen so much beauty in the last six months! I have seen a different view of the world. I have seen more laundry and dirty dishes than ever before. Who knew a little human could make such a mess? I have seen every hour of the night, more days in yoga pants, and the isles of Target an oasis when I am alone.

I have seen family members embrace when they didn’t think they could. I have seen my beautiful husband become the most amazing daddy. And I have seen my heart love like I never knew I could. It has been beautiful.

But being a mommy has also allowed me to see other things. Mostly things in me. Like how incredibly selfish I am with “my” time, or how quickly I can snap at Brandon when I am tired. The list is so long! I had no idea how ugly parts of my heart were. Mommy eyes bring those things to light so quickly.

I want so badly to be a great mom to Selah. I want her to see the gospel on display in our home. I want our marriage to be an example of Jesus and the Church. I want to never hurt her or cause her pain.

No, I haven’t had time to make her baby food from the vegetables I get from the farmer’s market every Saturday. Although I have made her some clothes, I haven’t made as many as I thought I should. My house is messy more days than it is clean. I will never finish laundry. And at the end of most days, I feel as if in some way I have failed her, Brandon, or them both.

What I’m learning to see is that it is okay. I am definitely not mom of the year. And I DEFINITELY do not have it together like some moms seem. The more I try to become a “better” mom, the more I realize what a mess I am. A total mess.

But isn’t that what I want her to see the most? The gospel on display? The very reason for the gospel is a big mess. We all were enemies, worthless, insignificant, and stuck in our mess with no way out. But the Father’s relentless love sent Jesus, with whom He was well pleased, to rescue us out of our mess. Now that I am in Christ, I have all He has. I have access to everything I could possibly need in Him. So now I have the freedom to live and rest in love.

Selah has allowed me to see so much beauty and good in the past six months. But more than anything these mommy eyes have seen the unwavering pursuit of a beautiful Savior to a heart that is prone to wander. And there is absolutely nothing more beautiful.