How a Deployment Taught me to Love my Child Deeper

I’d heard it before, other army spouses telling me that they were almost grateful for said deployment because it brought them closer to their children. I definitely thought they were a little nuts… at the time.

Now that my battle buddy, my son, and I are nearly done with 9 months of challenge after challenge; I can strongly attest to the fact that this deployment has not only brought me closer to my son but it has taught me to love him deeper.

Like most families left behind, deployments pose countless expected challenges but then there’s Murphy’s Law - inviting more challenge into your already challenging season of life. We experienced just that. You’ve already read about a lot of them so I won’t bore you with my “my life is horrible” rant, again.

The How:

  1. I’ve taken on more roles than a non-military mom would need to. Being mom and “dad” has pushed me to be more for my son than I naturally would be. This means everything from letting him be a risk-taking, dirty, mischievous boy to wrestling him till he’s laughed every laugh in his little body. Taking on this extra role has pushed me to be (mostly) a better mom. I’ll never forget one day sitting in my son’s room trying to figure out how to use a drill to hang some shelves. He grabbed his kid tools and we worked side-by-side figuring it out.

  2. We needed each other more. He needed me to be more and I needed him to give me extra hugs (and cuddles). Because we needed each other more, we nuzzled our way deeper into each other's hearts.

  3. We haven’t always liked each other. I like to tell people that my son and I live and breathe each other because Dad isn’t around to step in and create (healthy) space between us. Because we haven’t always liked each other, we’ve had to lean into the deep love we have for one another and find a way through the hard days.

  4. The hardships of life has pushed us to more intentionally find the joy in our day-to-day lives together. Sometimes this means spontaneous ice cream and park dates and other times it means making popcorn and watching it fly out of the air popper together.

  5. There wasn’t much space. Because there was less space than normal between us, my son saw more of my broken, sinful side. He saw me cry more than I’d like. He saw me break down more than I’d like. And although I wish my son could say I was always happy and “perfect”, showing him my broken side allowed for him to see me humbled before God. Numerous situations have come up where I’ve apologized to my son for being impatient or have had to explain to him my feelings. I pray that my example in hardships grows my son to be a man to seek God in all things, days, and seasons.

So, if the only good I walk away from this wretched deployment with turns out to be is a deeper love and bond between me and my son, yea, it was worth it.

Bloom where you are planted my friends and allow God to use everything for His glory.

Finding Joy in Our Children

Finding Joy in Our Children

Loving our children is almost always an instinctual, easy thing to do. I’d argue that loving your children is life’s most natural form of love. Yet, through countless screaming hours and fussy seasons of my son’s life I’ve learned that while loving him was easy, finding joy in him all the time is not.

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A Faithful Step Partnership: Corinne's Introduction

A Faithful Step Partnership: Corinne's Introduction

Back to my “why” - why am I writing for A Faithful Step? My honest, raw thoughts about God needed a home. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ, our one true Lord and Savior, ever since I can remember. But that faith has been tested, reevaluated, and challenged all throughout my adult life.

I always tell people that my story is a little anticlimactic because there are no “wow” or life changing moments. Yet, I believe there's beauty in every story that involves our Father, so regardless of the lack of action, there is beauty in the constant, steady love.

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Six Must-Haves for Nursing Moms

Six Must-Haves for Nursing Moms

This is Part 3 of a 3 Part Breastfeeding Series in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Closing off the series, I wanted to share must-haves for every nursing mom, as well as ways to support a nursing mom.

Remember, breastfeeding is not the best option for everyone. Whether you chose to breastfeed, bottle-feed or both remember that this is only a small choice in raising up a child.  

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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: 4 Tips to Help You Decide - Part 2

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: 4 Tips to Help You Decide - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part Breastfeeding Series in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. 

From the onset of pregnancy, women find themselves bombarded with expectations of being the perfect mother.

How do you decide what’s best?

How do you wade through all the conflicting research and opinions from your family and friends to pick the absolute best? 

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New Moms Journey Through Breastfeeding – Part 1 Why?

New Moms Journey Through Breastfeeding – Part 1 Why?

This is part 1 of a 3 Part Breastfeeding Series in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

When I was pregnant with Natalie, I started doing what any new mother in America would do; I started reading all the pregnancy and motherhood books I could find.

It was through that reading/research I decided that I would breastfeed our children. For me, there were too many benefits to justify not breastfeeding.

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Coping with Societal Expectations in the Postpartum Season

Coping with Societal Expectations in the Postpartum Season

This piece is Part 8 of a 9 Part Series called I Am Not Defined By My Weight, inspired by Rachel Hollis' book "Girl, wash your face". 

I’ve been trying to write this post for about two months now, and I don’t know why it’s been so hard.

It might be that I still consider myself in the postpartum season even though I think the medical field refers to postpartum as the 6 weeks after delivery.

Yet, as any woman who has given birth will tell you, the after-effects of labor do not disappear after 6 weeks.

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Loving My Body in Pregnancy

Loving My Body in Pregnancy

I Am Not Defined By My Weight - Part VII Pregnancy

This piece is Part 7 of a 9 Part Series called I Am Not Defined By My Weight, inspired by Rachel Hollis' book "Girl, wash your face". 

My pregnancy did not meet all of my expectations. I had to stop running mid-way through my pregnancy due to pelvic pain, and I gained way more weight than I wanted (maybe 35-50 lbs.). Even still, I loved the journey I was on.

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Grace In The Postpartum Season

It’s almost been a year and a half since I had my first child and I have yet to achieve and maintain my pre-pregnancy weight. I hit that pre-pregnancy weight once and then, life got in the way and I gained a few pounds back.

I didn’t really think about it while I was pregnant because I loved being pregnant. For one, I no longer had to suck in my stomach for pictures. Instead, I highlighted the big belly. My boobs were bigger and I just felt amazing, beautiful and powerful. Yes, I was at my biggest, but there is something special, something different about carrying life inside of you.

I also didn’t focus too much on the scale. The only time I really thought about it was right before a doctor’s appointment.

Then, after Natalie was born, everything was different.

My postpartum body was different.

My feelings towards that same body that carried life were now different.

First, I could no longer hold my pee for very long. Once I had to go, I HAD TO GO. And try doing jumping jacks…. yea, not happening.

I could no longer suck in my stomach either... You know, when you stand in front of the mirror sucking it in to see how skinny you can get?

And that dag on lower belly pouch!

What once brought awe and admiration now brought disgust and shame.

I started to believe that in order to have a joyful and happy life, I needed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight… my pre-pregnancy body.

But that was all a lie.

We Need Grace

In truth, I don’t need to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight to find joy. Instead, I need to give myself grace.

God designed every aspect of our body. He designed the hair on our head, the color of our eyes, even the size of our boobs! Trust me – as a child, I prayed for bigger boobs and that obviously was not in Gods plan.

Just as He designed our individual gifts, He knew what our specific trials would be. Instead of allowing the suffering to be in vain, He used it for His glory and His purpose. There is hope in those trials. There is hope in our suffering. There is hope when we look at our bodies and see how imperfect they are.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
— Romans 5:3-5

He knows our struggles, even the struggles we have yet to encounter. He knows how we will react and despite everything, He promises to be there with us.

He is not the one who put the stipulation to only gain 15 lbs in pregnancy. He is not the one who said anything greater than a size 12 is too big. He is not the one who said my body is not enough.

I am.

God has just asked us to glorify him through the caring of our body.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
— 1 Corinthians 10:31

Our Humanity

Have you ever thought about some of the reasons why we hate ourselves?

Is it the evidence of humanity? The evidence that we are not God? That’s exactly why we hate our bodies because we see how imperfect they are. And it kills us.

But He gives us grace. He loves us no matter what. He’s called us to love him, and in doing so, to love his creation - which includes us.

So when you look down and see that lower belly that won’t go away. Know that God still loves you. He’s still there in the midst of your self-loath. He wants you to run to him so he can comfort you. He knows that it’s hard here on earth and he has a present for us when we join him.

When we step on the scale and see that atrocious number. Know that it’s just a number. It does not define who we are.

God defines us.

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God Strong

He knew you would struggle to lose weight. He knew that you were going to hate that scale. But he hasn’t left. He calls us to him every time. We alone are not enough, but He is. He is in the midst of this trial. He is using this time to mold you like a lump of clay that has yet to be formed. Every opportunity is another opportunity for him to create the beautiful masterpiece he has envisioned.

Even Paul struggled with some of his physical imperfections.

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians: 7-10

He was given a thorn in his flesh, a tool Satan used to torment him. God could have healed that ailment, but instead, he offered grace. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

Momma, don’t lose heart. Don’t focus on how imperfect or ungodly you are. Don’t allow Satan to use your postpartum body as a tool to pull you away from your heavenly father. Instead, run to Him.

Yes, God could have prevented you from gaining 50+ lbs. Yes, He could have ensured your skin was elastic enough to not be permanently scarred. Yes, he could have created your baby to have a smaller head to prevent 2nd or 3rd degree tears. But He didn’t. Instead, He is calling you to return back to Him during this season, to comfort you and show you that you are made perfect through Him.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
— James 1:2-4

God is here to love us despite our humanity.