press in, let go

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Loving this song right now – please go and listen to it. It’s Oceans by Hillsong United. And it’s beautiful. And a little bit relevant to this post, so I’m sneaking in a few lyrics from it. The album, Zion, is awesome by the way. I can’t get enough of it!

Anyway, onto the post.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

****

Baby B suffers with trapped wind. Which sucks enough for an adult, but is much worse for a baby. She curls up, goes bright red, and shouts out in pain. It’s horrible to watch, but she gets some comfort out of being picked up and held, which is both exhausting (especially at two in the morning) and adorable. Recently, she has gotten into the habit of pushing herself up with her legs in order to smoosh up her face against mine. Which is totally heart melting. Even at two in the morning.

It melts my heart even more when I see her do this with Chris.



Looking at her like this, I understand how she must feel. In the midst of pain, she chooses to push herself forward, to move closer to him, to press in closer to her father. And what does she get as a reward for her efforts? She gets to feel his breath, the steady drum of his heartbeat. She gets to hear words of comfort and love, whispered just for her. And in that position – pressing in as close as she physically can – the pain seems to dim. I see that she feels it, by the way her body tenses up, but she lets out a little whimper or a sigh, and then relaxes. She is totally at rest in her Daddy’s arms. Completely secure. The pain doesn't go away. But it doesn't seem to matter as much anymore.

Recently I feel called to step out in faith. To do something that to the outside world probably doesn't make much sense. It requires me to let things go, things that give me comfort, that make me feel strong. But it’s false comfort, and false strength, that these things bring me. However … I still don’t feel great about letting go.

Feeling wobbly, I decided to go back and look at some of my old journals. I smiled as I read them. I realised how much I've changed. How far God has brought me. How much my confidence has improved. How much He has healed me. What an incredible journey it has been so far.

I went from a girl lonely and afraid, standing on a beach in the dark, screaming silently at the sea. Goosebumps on my arms and wind whipping through my hair. Heart pounding, partly in fear at being alone and vulnerable, partly through anger that had built up in me for months. I suffered a great hurt from someone I trusted far too much. I was very young, and very fragile. And I promise it’s not an empty saying – my heart felt broken. I felt ruined. I felt my innocence was lost.

****

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

****

I didn’t know Him then. But He knew me. Carefully and slowly, amidst the terrible choices I made and the inevitable consequences that came, He drew me closer. Undeserving, I cried out for help. He answered.

Though I didn't know where I was going, I learnt that what I held onto was bad. I felt that the unknown I was walking into might just be good. But I was afraid. And it took a long time – many determined decisions, made and then unmade and then made again. Many tears in the night and (later) many desperate prayers, because I couldn't understand how I’d ever not hurt, how I’d ever lift my head out of the tangled mess I’d stepped into.

But He was there. Slowly and patiently, through people, through words of comfort, through song, through verse, through circumstances, through quiet whispers that almost went ignored – He coaxed me out of myself. He promised me something better. If only I would let go of what I held onto before.

If only I would press in a little closer.

If only I would reach out. Push a bit harder.

I’d hear His heart beat for me. I’d hear wonderful words spoken over me. I’d find strength to deal with the pain. It wouldn't hurt so much – if I could just press in ever closer.

****

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

****

Nine years on, here I am. Blessed beyond my wildest imaginations. Heart healed fully, and then some. I see the bright and shining thread that He has woven through my life and the moments that He has stepped into my decisions, my relationships. I have seen what happens when I choose to follow myself instead of Him, and vice versa.

And yet I still find it hard to let go of things that I don’t really need?

All I need to do is press closer once again.

I'm sorry if this is a little vague. One day I will be able to put into words the beginning of my journey of faith without putting myself or anyone else into a vulnerable position. Words matter, and written words can’t really be unwritten, not once they’re on the internet anyway.

You can ask me though, if you know me in real life. I want to share what He’s done, because it amazes me even now. If I ever doubt, I look back on it, the long journey on which I have come, and those doubts fade away fast. His love for me is evident in those pages.

Watching my daughter basking innocently in her Daddy’s love for her is enough of a reminder today.



Press in to Him. Let go of the rest.

oh baby

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Here I am again, and I have something to write about that won't surprise anyone.

I don't want every post to be about motherhood now, and I definitely didn't want to write my birth story, because if I wanted everyone to know everything I would have gone on One Born Every Minute or something. I had the idea pre-baby that this blog would be a place to come and talk about Other Such Things. But there aren't really other things, at least, not at the moment. Everything about my life involves Baby B in some way, especially my relationship with God, which I guess is the way it should be.

So ... I guess I'll write about it a little bit. Snapshots. Because the last five weeks have been an incredible haze of emotion and change that I'm not sure where the time went, and I am definitely sure that they don't tell you a lot of this stuff when you're pregnant and anticipating the future.

I remember labour was incredible. The hardest thing I ever had to do, and yet the easiest, because my body knew everything it had to do and took over without me. I remember blood and sweat and tears and muscle and pain like fire. I remember the warmth of her when they put her on my chest and how she looked at me and Chris, totally cross-eyed and stunned, and there was blood rushing in my ears and adrenaline making me shake, and I remember gathering her up in a blanket and whispering 'Shh, Mummy's here, it's okay.' And saying that million times since then.

I remember the tiredness I felt when the shock wore off. The bone-numbing tiredness, I could feel it right to my core, and every muscle in my body hurt, even my toes, and my eyes couldn't stay open and when I tried to feed her it felt like glass splintering, it hurt so much, and I sobbed so much through the night feeds that I felt empty, and I remember the gut-wrenching guilt I felt when I couldn't do it anymore, and the twin feeling of relief and sorrow when she happily took her first bottle and didn't need me so much anymore.

I remember how much we wanted to show her off and how much I wanted to keep her to myself at the same time. How hard it was to hand her over and how happy I felt when she was handed back. I remember the niggling thought 'I'm overdoing it' being replaced later by 'why on earth did I do all that today.' I remember thinking all I wanted to do was get into bed with Baby B and feed her and cuddle her and sleep but feeling that it might be rude not to see people. I regret that a little bit now.

And if all this is sounding a bit depressing, I remember the joy. Oh my goodness, how much love can you feel for one person? It's like a force. I hold her in my arms and I feel like I might burst with it. I remember after the horrible second night in the hospital, when my milk came in and hormones came with it, and I cried so much it was ridiculous, I picked her up in the morning and held her to my chest and she snuggled up so her cheek was pressed up against mine and I felt so peaceful and wonderful. I remember the moment she first grabbed my necklace and held onto it for dear life when I dared to try and put her down, giving me this look out of one eye that clearly said 'Don't you even think about it.' I remember the first time she did her 'ooh' face, the first time she smiled when she caught sight of Chris, the first time I held her at church and worshipped God and thanked Him for her. I will remember how excited she gets when she sees me peeping over her moses basket in the morning, and how I say 'good morning sunshine!' and how she kicks her arms and legs in delight.

It's harder than I thought and better than I thought. My prayers are now like arrows shot into heaven. Sometimes I can't even think them, I just feel them instead. Starting from the midst of labour, when I couldn't lift myself out of the haze of pain even to form words in my head, just feeling 'help!'. And praying that since then, when she screams and I don't know why, when I start to doubt and criticise myself, when I feel like I can't physically get out of bed to feed her again. And despite the lack of eloquent prayers and beautifully written journal entries and time even to flip open my Bible, I feel His presence more than ever, solid and dependable and real.

The other morning, I couldn't get up again. I just couldn't, partly from exhaustion and partly from pain from labour. I'd only settled her an hour before, and here she was, six in the morning, desperately hungry again, starting to whimper. I lay there listening to her, hoping that she'd go back to sleep by herself, even though I know her hungry cry and I could hear it in her voice. I waited a bit longer. She started to cry. I wanted to cry. Wondering how I'd find the energy to get up, I prayed one of those prayers that aren't really coherent but more feelings - help, tired, can't.

A small and coherent voice reminded me.

'One of the joys of being a mother is that you get to be the one that goes to her when she cries.'

Me. I'm the one that gets the honour of being her mother. That is a blessing, always. It's a blessing when she plays happily, or when she's peacefully sleeping, or when she smiles. It's a blessing when she's screaming in pain and I can't relieve it, or when she's projectile sick all over me and I have to get up and change the bed sheets and change her clothes and change mine, it's a blessing when she shouts for food and my body is screaming for sleep.

Always a blessing. Always an honour. Always beautiful. No matter what.



I guess that's it for now. I'm going to go and stare at her and feel that strange mix of wanting to freeze this moment forever, and not being able to wait to see how she grows and changes next.

I don't know when I'll next blog - hopefully soon, but my laptop is currently playing an interesting game of Russian Roulette when I turn it on, and it only decides to go through with booting up once every five times or so, so we'll see.

God bless xx
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