COMMUNITY: Why It’s Important + 3 Ways to Thrive in Yours

Community.

Without it, life would be really boring and really hard.

I’m so grateful for mine. I live 3,500 miles away from my family, and let me tell you…that is H A R D. But God has given us the most amazing community. People who are just like family to us. People who love our babies like their own. People who go out of their way to take care of us. People who would do anything for us.

There are a handful of people in our community who I can legitimately say I could not survive without. My day-to-day life would not be possible without the help I receive from others — from people who owe me nothing but serve me and my family out of sincere love and generosity.

Sometimes that can be a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty. Or not good enough. Why can’t I manage my own life by myself? But the truth is, God didn’t design life to be done alone. He designed us for community.

To share our strengths.
To love each other.
To need each other. 

Imagine how selfish and prideful we might become if we could do everything ourselves. 

Community keeps us humble. It keeps us united. It keeps us in sync with who God created us to be.

If you’re trying to do life alone,
on your own little island,
me-myself-and-I style,
or maybe “us four and no more,”
and you’re frustrated because it’s not working…there’s a reason for that. 

Find your community and thrive there.

Not sure how to do that or what that looks like for you? Here are three simple ways you can thrive in your community:

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To the Woman Who is Waiting

This baby I’m growing inside of me still has 6+ weeks to go, and I feel like he’s running out of room. Every move he’s made today has been painful. And as we started closing in on my toddler’s bedtime, I wondered how many more times my tired body could bend over and pick her up tonight.

I picked her up one last time and carried her to her room where we began our bedtime routine. Every night, I stand next to her crib holding her on the front of my body, her head resting on my shoulder. I sway from side to side, sing Jesus Loves Me, and pray over her. But tonight…I didn’t have it in me. The weight of her ever-growing body was too much for my ever-growing belly to hold. I started to put her down in her crib, and she cried. She knew I was breaking routine. She wasn’t ready yet. What she didn’t know is how much her mama was hurting.

I pulled her back close to me and fought through the pain. To be honest, I didn’t want to hold her anymore. It was killing my stomach to hold her there. But she needed me. But me? I was uncomfortable and exhausted and just wanted to take off my Mama hat for the night.

And that’s when it hit me. Just like it does every single time. Like a ton of bricks being thrown at my gut, my mind is flooded with your faces, your words, and even your silence. There’s something I’ve been wanting to say to you for a long time, and I just haven’t known how to say it. But here is my best attempt at what my heart wants to say to your heart. You.

To the Woman who is waiting,

Every time I catch myself wanting to complain about motherhood, I think of you. I really do. Maybe it’s because you are my sister, and it hits close to home. Maybe it’s because ever since I got married and the idea of motherhood became more real to me, I started seeing you everywhere. Maybe it’s because ever since I had a baby of my own, I can’t imagine how you must feel waiting so eagerly to experience it for yourself. Or maybe it’s because you are some of my closest friends and I can practically hear your pain through your silence.

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A Birth Story: Nora Sue

 
I had a feeling something would happen that day. It was Wednesday, November 26th, just two days before my due date. I was wishing so badly that Nora would make her appearance soon. I had even spent the night before walking laps around my living room and dining room trying to get her out. I told Josh and my mom Wednesday morning, “I think today is the day.” 
 
We spent the day in North Pole, Alaska (yes, that’s a real place — just outside of Fairbanks) exploring the Santa Claus house and eating cheeseburgers at a teeny tiny diner. After stopping at another little gift shop, we went home. Josh took his dad back to his hotel and went to the grocery store to get a few things so my mom could make her famous chicken enchiladas. Mom sat at the table to get some work done (since they changed their flight plans and flew in early, she didn’t get it all finished in time), and I sat on the couch and watched Dr. Phil. 


It was about 3:30pm. I felt a strange sensation and said, “Aw man! I just peed my pants!” In my head, it seemed logical. I’m almost 40 weeks pregnant…I have a baby sitting on my bladder…things happen. Don’t judge. But my mom quickly asked, “Wait. Are you sure it wasn’t your water breaking? Do you normally pee your pants?”
 
I guess I was expecting my water breaking to be like the movies — a giant gush out of nowhere. But in my case, I just kept “peeing my pants” a little at a time. Josh walked in from the garage (perfect timing!) with his hands full of groceries, and my mom said, “We may or may not have good news. Lindsay’s water may have broken.” If you know Josh at all, you can guess his response. It was the same response I got when I told him I was pregnant…”Shutup.”
 
I still wasn’t convinced it was my water, though. I picked up the phone and called my midwife. She told me to head to the hospital so they could check to see if my water had actually broken. We quickly loaded the car and made our way to the hospital around 4:00pm. And good news! My water broke!
 
 
 
Since I wasn’t having any contractions yet, I was sent to walk around the hospital, so my mom and I took off on a power walk. Still nothing. Ha! 
They got me set up on the monitors, and my midwife came in to chat with me about my options. We decided to go ahead and induce with pitocin to get the ball rolling. (It’s funny how things change so quickly. My whole pregnancy I said I wanted to avoid pitocin if I could, and the first time it was offered to me, I went with it! But I trusted my midwife’s opinion. That baby wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon without some help.) They started the pitocin around 8:45pm, and the waiting game began.
 
 
 
I’ve always known I would get an epidural. I have a very low pain tolerance and had no desire to do it naturally. After the pitocin was started, the nurse told me not to wait too long to call for the epidural because it could take a while for the anesthesiologist to show up. After several hours, I still wasn’t feeling any pain with the contractions, so I decided to go to sleep and get some rest before the big event.
 
Around 3:30am, I woke up from a dead sleep to a horribly painful contraction that practically paralyzed me. Since I had been fast asleep, I was delirious and had no clue what was going on. It took me a few seconds to realize it was a contraction, and boy, was it painful. I didn’t get any small, warning contractions or anything! So I immediately pushed the button and called for the epidural. And God is good, can I get an amen?! The nurse came in and said the anesthesiologist would be in within 3-5 minutes! And thank the Lord! Because those contractions were coming fast and hard! By the time the epidural had kicked in, it was only about a half hour that I had to endure the contractions, and I’m so thankful it wasn’t one minute longer. 
 
By 4:00am, the epidural was in full swing and I was dilated to 6cm. I rolled over and went back to sleep! By 4:50, I was already 10cm! We were all shocked! We decided to wait to push for a bit to allow the baby to make her way further down the birth canal on her own. I went back to sleep! Around 7:45, my midwife came in, and I started pushing. Well…not before she let made Josh feel Nora’s head! He was a little hesitant, but it was so funny to see his face when she said, “Do you feel that? That’s her head!”
 
So the pushing began. But the problem was that the anesthesiologist had done his job so well that I couldn’t feel a thing! I just pushed when they told me to push, but it got really frustrating really quickly because I didn’t feel like I was making any progress given all the hard work I was doing. Now, I had no concept of time at this point, but probably about an hour in to pushing, my midwife asked the nurse to turn my epidural off so I could feel the contractions a little better and have more successful pushing. She was thinking I would push that baby out quickly. Well…it wasn’t so quickly. And after that epidural was turned off, I felt every. little. thing. And it was so painful. (Again…low pain tolerance.) 
 
They gave me Italian ice because I was nauseated, but it also served as a cooling-off tool. 🙂
I ended up pushing for about another hour. I pushed so hard. My midwife kept telling me what a powerful pusher I was, yet I was hardly making any progress! I was losing hope. Finally, my midwife asked if I wanted her to use the vacuum. Again, one of those things I said all along that I wanted to avoid. I was hesitant because I was afraid of hurting the baby, but I literally had nothing left in me to give, and knew I needed the help to get the baby out. So I desperately said yes. She and the nurse started preparing to use the vacuum, and I suddenly felt the urge to push. I was determined, y’all. And my husband was there cheering me on. I gave it everything I had and pushed with all my strength. And guess what! Her head was out! No vacuum needed after all! Josh and my mom said when her head came out, she turned her head and looked around. Crazy! A few more pushes and at 9:45am, my precious baby girl was born and our lives were changed.
 
 
I can’t even describe in words what that moment felt like. If you’re a parent, you know. It was a beautiful combination of relief, excitement, so much love, tears of joy (and maybe a few tears of pain), and amazement. I just kept looking her over making sure she was okay and healthy. And I kept telling Josh, “Babe, she looks just like you!”
 
 
 
Despite the midwife’s guess of 8lbs…
She was just 7lbs 2oz. and 20 3/4 in.
 
She is perfect.
 
She sucked on Daddy’s pinky for nearly an hour. Just precious.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. | Psalm 126:3