Happy Momma's Day, from a Childless Newlywed

Mommas To my Momma, Karen

To my Momma, Carolyn

To my Grand-Mommas Donna, Terry, Nancy

To my Great Grand Mommas Vernis and Anne

To my sister-Mommas, Emily, Kayla, Lindsey

To my closest-friend-Canadian-Momma, Haley

To my New-Momma friends

To my Experienced-Momma friends

To my Empty-nester-Momma friends

To my Momma friends who miscarried

To my Momma friends who mother their neighbor kids

To my Momma friends who don't want to be a mom, but have sacrificed in order to be so

To my Pregnant-Momma friends...

To everyone in between:

You amaze me. You have carried or are carrying precious gifts, image-bearers of God himself. You are raising a human being, a life that will make a difference in this world, one way or another. You are doing heroic work, the "ultimate career" as C.S Lewis puts it.

Mommas. I cannot imagine the depth of love you must understand. I hope to one day. But for now, I'll watch you and observe you and be filled with God's love as I see you bless your kids, as I watch you grow and be stretched and do the heroic sacrificial work it demands. Mommas, you raised this generation, you are raising the next generation, you get to pass down beautiful generational habits and stories and real things like LOVE and Jesus. It is important work, wiping off crumbs, changing diapers at 2 am, and wearing puke on your body. They see you sacrifice so much from the time they are formed in your body...they may not even recognize it as a sacrifice. Momma, I now see it - at least a little more than I ever had, but I know not completely. Not only are your kiddos learning from you, but we, a Childless Newlywed couple, we are learning from you. You are changing this world, whether you know it or not. Really, you already have changed it.

Pastor Mike said today, "Moms, let your kids see how much Jesus loves you and how that makes you feel and what that makes you do."

So beautiful. Pass on the Truth of His love, leave a legacy of His love, reveal why you Mother your kids and wear their spit and poop and throw up, or why you take them to get manicures and shop for new clothes. Tell them why you make them clean the house. Tell them why you sacrifice so much.

You are my hero, Mommas.

Today I salute you. I say to you, "Well done, Mommas. Keep going. I am learning so much from you. Your time and energy and love poured out, sacrificed, it is not in vain."

Proverbs 31:28 "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband, he also praises her."

With joy, with fear, with love, A Childless Newlywed

Heroes: Emily Newbold

This is Emily:

Heroes: Emily Newbold

One of my dearest friends, closest sisters in Christ, and actually my sister-by-law; she has shown me time and time again the deep love of Jesus. She has reminded me of my value in Christ, my importance because of Christ, and His unending love for me. She has spent so much time encouraging me and building me up.

Emily boldly encourages those around her, inspiring them to a deeper love and understanding of Jesus. I am proud and honored to call her my sister-friend, and it is my utmost privilege to share one small story from her & Anthony's beautiful life. Here is one small and yet ginormous decision to selflessly follow Jesus.

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Getting to know them: March 26, 2012 Anthony {my brother} married one of my best friends, Emily. June 14, 2013 they became parents. Counting that up, it has been approximately 10.5 months with this bundle of beauty and joy:

What a family, right? Beautiful. Their faces don't even begin to shine the beauty of their hearts and souls.

I cannot understand the depth of exhaustion and selflessness it must take to lovingly parent a human that is solely dependent on you. But in talking with many new parents, I have learned that it can be is full of sleepiness. It can make the couch and bed beckon your soul more than ever in your life, and yet you must deny it's call.

I asked Emily if I could interview her as one of my heroes. Of course she stated that she doesn't see herself as any sort of hero. And also that her life is lived for Jesus. I started the interview off with questions that will help you get to know her heart & current life a little, if you have never had the privilege of meeting her. Here is how our honest and vulnerable "interview" went:

1. What has been one of the hardest parts of being a brand new Momma? "After some thought, the hardest part is finding your identity. As a mom, your life changes. No longer do you come first. Your baby does. All of your needs are second: sleeping, eating, showering, exercising. Since I'm a stay at home mom, my job doesn't include an income and it is tempting to feel like I don't do enough. But the truth is that my identity isn't in my "job." It is in Christ. And as a new Momma, once I was able to give Him my everything, it freed me to enjoy being a Momma to the fullest. I am enough, because He is enough."

2. What has been one of the best parts of being a Momma? "The best part, by far, is getting to understand at a new level the love God has for His children. Just seeing my baby with a smile on her face brings me so much joy. There is nothing she could do that would make me stop loving her and I think that is barely a glimpse of the kind of love our Father has for us. I am tearing up now just thinking about it."

3. How has parenting knitted your hearts closer as husb/wife? Has it been harder to intentionally cultivate a healthy and growing relationship? "Our little girl has brought us closer together since day one of pregnancy. Pregnancy was really tough for me {Emily got hit hard with nausea, and was even hospitalized because of dehydration} and Anthony stepped up to the plate ready for whatever was next. He is so committed to "his girls," as he says so often. Having a baby has made us appreciate each other even deeper and switched how we think about our future as a family. In a lot of ways it has been easier to intentionally grow our relationship because with a kid there is a lot more planning involved! You don't get to run out the door anymore :( But- as new parents- we are tired. It is easy for us to just lay on the couch after a long day/week. So yes to easier, and yes to harder. Having a baby just makes it different."

4. Have you learned anything new about the Father Jesus from being a mama? "Yes! I kind of answered this one in the question above. But His love for us is amazing. I have spent countless nights up with my crying baby and I will just hold her and let her know it's going to be okay. I would do anything for her and to be with her is the best feeling. I know that Jesus has this same love for us and in our times of trouble he is there to carry us and let us know everything is going to be okay. His sacrifice is selfless and he doesn't ask anything in return. He enjoys the time we spend sitting with him in silence, in love. As a parent, what more could you want than your child sitting with you?"

5. About how many hours a night do you sleep on average? "Not enough! :) My daughter has been ahead of the game since she was born and this girl doesn't stop. She doesn't have time to sleep because she's so busy. 10 months and still waking up 2-3x a night. I get about 6-7 interrupted hours of sleep a night. Daddy is the best and lets me sleep in on the weekends :)"

6. What does your ideal day look like? Without anything beckoning you, what would you love to do every single day with your time and money and resources? "My ideal day... probably would be sleeping until 9. Then spending the entire day with Anthony and our baby girl. Going on a walk. Eating great food."

7. You have shared a little bit with me about a new neighbor in your community. She is a single mom with 4 kids under the age of 10. And you offered your time, days, and energy to babysit her children.  For free. Whoa. How long have you known this new neighbor? "She moved in almost 2 weeks ago."

8. What moved you to step out and offer to babysit her kids while at work? Also, will this "effect" your availability to make money from your home business, Little Miss Elsy? Can you tell me a little about that? "It would mean that my home business would be over. It takes time away from my husband and baby- so yeah... I would pause that! Both Anthony and I have felt called to step out of our comfort zones and get to know our neighbors over the last couple of months. When this new neighbor moved in we took the opportunity to help! She was very open and honest. Single mom with 4 kids ages 9,8,4, and 1. She was going back to school and starting a job the following week. My heart broke for her. When was she going to see her kids?! As a mom, I wanted this woman to enjoy her kids and not miss out on their lives. I felt the Lord's heart, "Emily, watch her kids. You can do this." After talking it over with Anthony, he was in full support. The next day I spent the morning in prayer, asking God if this was really what he wanted for me. I got a solid "Yes, absolutely," from Him. So I prayed up some courage and knocked on her door. I only need to watch her youngest in order for her to not have to work! What an answer to prayer."

9. First of all, whoa. What a beautiful heart of submission! How can others support you? "Through prayer. I believe in the power of prayer- it really works! Sometimes one baby is already hard and adding another is going to be a real challenge. Prayer for patience and an easy transition would be much appreciated."

10. What is your encouragement to others, inviting them to do something as heroic as this? Have you already been blessed in return? Even though you didn't expect it?

"First off, I'm no hero! By stepping out of my comfort zone, I have received so much in return. Knowing who lives next to me is very comforting. And- I really like this new neighbor! She has already joined our Wednesday night small group. The best lesson I am learning is that God's plan for my life is better than my plan is. It is no coincidence this woman moved in next door to ME. God's plan for my life right now is to watch this little boy and love him. My daughter is going to benefit so much by spending time with another baby her age every day. God's plan for this world is restoration, and oh how good it feels to be a part of His plan. Get to know your neighbors. You might find out you need them more than they need you! Proverbs 27:10 "Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.""

 

Thank you for being so willing and honest, Emily! Your heart is ready for whatever Jesus wants to give you: difficult or not. That in itself is heroic - you aren't living for yourself, but for something greater than yourself. You are leading us into a bolder and more courageous way of living.

Can you imagine how blessed that mother is, she no longer has to take a job on top of school. She gets to spend a little time with her babies. She doesn't have the financial burden of a sitter.

If I end with much else, I won't give your heart & story justice.

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To the Momma Parked Next to Me:

To the Momma Parked Next to Me: I was already sitting in my car, resting my brain for a few minutes, when I heard you slam your trunk closed.

To this, I barely took notice. I continued to sit in my parked car outside of Trader Joes, wondering if I could start the car to head home. That was when I heard you screaming at your son {I presume he was your son} that he was an idiot. I couldn't help but slightly glance over with a heart so broken. I couldn't help but feel your defeat, your desperate attempt to shut him down because he had previously hurt you with his own words. Your boy was maybe 10, possibly even 11, but surely no older. My heart sank and I found difficulty in swallowing as I prayed grace into that vehicle.

With your windows rolled down, I heard the screaming continue. Words flying out of your mouth I dare not repeat. This was my cue to back out of the parking spot and drive home. As I backed out I couldn't help but see you pointing your finger straight into his face, your own face distorted with rage, attempting to shame him. I know this face.

Usually at this time, I would fight the stance of a "naive childless lady", and fight the urge to be 100% angry with you. I would ask Jesus to give me understanding; no parent is perfect. I would tell myself not to think poorly of you, because I have never parented -- even if I am 100% certain that calling your child names usually doesn't turn out well. Usually I would struggle in asking Jesus to have compassion and hope the best: that this probably doesn't happen on a regular basis, that this is probably only due to some crazy day you've had...and so on and so forth. I usually feel the child's pain first, knowing how it feels to be yelled and screamed at for small reasons -- wishing you would not respond to a child like a child. But today was different. Today, I did not spend too much time aching for your son. Instead, I cried for you. I felt your complete brokenness. I wanted to hug you and tell you that you need not fear, you need not yell, you need not see your value in a young child's words. You need not rip apart anyone in your path because you have been so hurt. Don't harden your heart and self-protect, I am certain that nothing good will come of it. Momma, see the {very young} human before you and lead him into a place of grace and love, transparent safety. You, Momma, can be a hero.

To the Momma parked next to me:I would never recognize your face, I won't see you again. I don't know the weight your day has held. I don't know the pains {and joys} of mothering. I don't know the brokenness and hurt you have endured. But what I do know is this: You are value. You are pursued. You are Beloved. And when you know this truth deep down, you have no reason to yell name-calling words at your own children {or anyone}. When you know this deep down, you can walk in the assurance of grace.

Momma, you are more. You are loved, just as you are.