day thirteen ~ stretch marks...

You can begin here...
Jerry was deployed for most of my pregnancy with Courtney but he made it home in time for her birth. It was a quick one, less than five hours and no meds. None! My memories of that day are as clear as crystal. It's funny how motherhood reminds me a lot of motherhood. We labor in pain, we pray for a safe journey and good health and praise God the baby comes and we rest. 

Don't we do the same thing at pretty much every stage of our children's lives? We labor when they learn a new life skill and we breathe deep and often to make sure we stay in that moment with our child. We pray, begging for guidance and endurance, finally praising the Lord when we have survived. 

God knew what was coming for us five weeks after Courtney was born. He knew that this Mama needed a happy memory to cling to while spending hours on my knees in the hospital chapel or pacing back and forth at 2 a.m. while my Courtney seized and cried. He knew I needed the beginning of her story to be filled with peace so that I could look at my daughter and remember joy.

I called upon Our Lady constantly in those days. It was a begging and a pleading kind of prayer, a desperate crying out for things to change and go back to being "normal". I look back on my journals and in almost every entry I told God that I couldn't "do this" even though it would take some time to figure out what "this" was. 

I couldn't be a mother to a handicapped child. I couldn't be that mother whose baby died. I couldn't be the wife my husband needed and the mother Jonathan needed all while taking constant care of a medically fragile child. I kept telling God that I could not do it. Then I would beg him not to make me go through it.

God kept granting me grace after grace after grace to do ALL the things and survive ALL the things required of me and then some. 

God never makes us do anything but he does provide the grace for us to make our way through things. Our Lady walks that same path. She reaches down and scoops us up like a good mother and holds us close while we weep for what we cannot have. 

It was not a part of God's plan for my Courtney to be a typical kid. It was not a part of his plan for Jonathan's only sibling to be able to walk and talk. It was a part of his plan that Jerry and I would be parents to two extraordinary human beings that would stretch us in ways that he is still revealing to us today. 

It's what happens in parenthood. Our children change us leaving stretch marks on our hearts as we learn to love unconditionally as God loves us. 

Pray with me won't you:

Dearest Mother Mary,

Thank you for always being close enough to scoop us up in our distress, holding us close to your heart as you did your son. Thank you for listening to all of our heart felt pleas, our inpatient demands and wiping away our heart tears as we work our way through our flawed thinking wanting what we want and not listening to your Son's prompting to do better and be better. Mother Mary help us to embrace what God wants for our lives, for our families, for our world. Help us to say "God, I want what you want."

We ask this in the name of your son Jesus, 


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