Growing a Life While Growing a Family

I’ve invited fellow The M.O.M. Initiative Mentor Mom, Julie Sanders, back to share more about her new e-book Expectant. Her writing has been published in Declare His Name, in magazines such as The Message, P31 Woman, and in adult and children’s Bible curriculum. Julie is committed to teaching God’s word in a personal and relevant way that gives women confidence to walk out faith in life.

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As the weeks progressed, my skin stretched to capacity and I grew bigger. My heart was full with expectation about our child and motherhood. When the time came for the class session about C-sections and surgery, our instructor prepared to show a video to the parents-to-be. Never one to enjoy the inside story of the human body, I told my husband it was time for me to excuse myself from the final class. I ran out. Taken by surprise, he ultimately joined me in the hall, and we went home. After all, I insisted, a C-section wasn’t something we needed to know about.

One emergency C-section later, I wondered if that final class might have prepared me for a finale and a beginning I did not expect. As gradually as my stretch marks had appeared, my expectations expanded with each new outcome, challenge, and dilemma of being a mother. “How could anyone prepare for this?” I wondered from my hospital bed. Would the Birthing Class video have shown me what it looks like to meet your baby through the window of an incubator?  First time mothers, and even experienced mothers, often find their journey into parenting thrusts them into a world they didn’t anticipate and  aren’t ready for.

It doesn’t take long for a mom to realize motherhood is as much about growing her own life as it is about growing her family. While a woman may want to make plans, anticipate changes, and avoid the unpredictable, each day will be sprinkled with the unexpected like toys on a living room floor. Her body, her adult relationships, her new child, and her normal life will take on a new life.

Magazine images of well-groomed women with cherub-like babes fool us into expecting a baby-book ready experience we can post on Facebook. Each woman’s story is unique, but every woman’s heart is expectant.

What can a woman know for sure as she steps gingerly through the passageway of motherhood through pregnancy, foster care, adoption, or another open door?  She can know that while her own expectations are stretched, God is fully aware of every contraction, emergency, failed adoption, heart ache, longing, weakness, joy, victory:  all of it.  He knows.  Every mother and child can say to the heavenly Father, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16) He knows, He is involved, and He works for our good.

Every mother’s expectant heart stretches with all she hopes and dreams for her child and herself.  She will not be alone. The One who saw her child before she did and wrote the days of their life in His own story book, will be with her as she discovers that mothering was everything and more than she expected.

About Julie Sanders

Julie’s first baby has grown up and gone off to college and the second is close behind. Having a baby looked different than she expected, but the motherhood journey has exceeded all she imagined. The hard won truths she discovered in becoming a mom have stayed with her while living and serving around the world, finding that moms everywhere share the same expectations in growing a family. As a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader, Julie enjoys walking the path of motherhood with moms in all seasons. When her small group of six young wives began adding children to their homes, she was inspired to write a collection of devotions that would speak to their expectant hearts.

Connect with Julie at Come Have a Peace if you would like to have Julie partner with you in your next retreat, MOPS meeting, special event, or leadership training event. Julie also writes for The MOM Initiative, Do Not Depart, and Exemplify Online.

Stop by EXPECTANT to purchase EXPECTANT for $4.99 on Kindle, iPad, or for use with the Kindle App.

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