Sunday, September 16, 2018

A fresh start and an open heart...

By Taryn Ramsammy

Ever since this Florida girl has moved up north, Fall has been my favorite season. Since becoming a mom, September in particular has always brought this wonderful feeling of renewing and refreshing. September was the month we became parents and accepted our first placement of foster sons, and since then every year that day feels like our family birthday, where we reflect on the past year and dream about the next. Now that our oldest kiddos are school aged we have an even more literal new year starting every year at this time and I think I look forward to it more than actual New Year's. 😝 It's such a blessing to feel like I have a clean slate and a fresh start at whatever I'm striving for, and my hope for this new year of MOPS is that all of you feel that too!

My first year in MOPS, I was a mess! I had three babies, and zero local momma friends. Our family is 1000 miles away. My husband is in exam cycles twice a year. So on top of being tired and stretched thin, what I remember most about that first year of motherhood was the loneliness. Back then I was a newborn photographer, and one of my clients came for a session. I know she had to have seen a little bit of crazy in my eyes because after chatting for a bit she looked at me and said, "It's time you join MOPS." Y’all. She was so right. I set my alarm and was probably the first person registered that year. I was desperate. But it turns out I was also real proud.

Either the crazy was still in my eyes (very likely) or maybe I had HELP ME written on my forehead (also entirely plausible) because from the first meeting I was surrounded with so many offers of support—from women I had just met. It was so foreign to me! I’ve always been a talker, so sharing at my table came natural. But I think that’s where I expected it to stop, because that’s how I had been going for so long—vent on the phone to my sister about whatever aspect of mom life I was particularly struggling with that week, then hang up and make it work on my own. So wasn’t the meeting just going to be another vent session? NOPE. These women didn’t want to just hear my struggles. They wanted to help me through them. But again I was too proud.

That whole year outside of meetings or play dates, I stuck to myself. In my head accepting that offer of help was admitting that I was failing the mom game hard. If I was taking their help, then clearly they were doing way better than me because I definitely wasn’t put together enough at that point to be offering anyone help. (Turns out the real reason I wasn’t offering was because I had NO FRIENDS to offer help to. #humbling 😂🤦🏻‍♀️) But honestly, I had prayed and longed for motherhood for years. God had finally fulfilled this deepest desire of mine so shouldn’t I be eternally grateful and just put my big girl britches on and figure it out like all of them seemed to have done? That's the headspace I was in. That's how I thought it was supposed to be. But y’all. God does not intend us to walk this road alone.
And let us consider how to stir up 
one another to love and good works, 
not neglecting to meet together, 
as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, 
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

-Hebrews 10:24-25 

Motherhood is hard y'all. Really dang hard. Especially in these little years where we're losing more sleep than we did in college, where we're usually covered in at least one other person's puke (there's another college connection there--but honestly I'm just too tired to come up with it), where our privacy has evaporated and we go hours and hours some days without any adult conversation. We may be out of control of most of that. But that last part is up to us. We might not be in charge of how many diapers we are going to change that day or how many questions we will have to answer about the inner toddler workings of the world or how many LEGO’s are going to get crushed into our feet. But we are entirely in control of how we are going to fill our soul, of who we are going to surround ourselves with, of how we are going to strive to focus on the blessings before us. For me that comes in large part through fellowship. 

I so regret sticking to myself that first year, for in the few that have followed when I have allowed myself to let my guard down I have gained so much. I have built such amazing friendships. I have experienced the grace and love that comes from not only receiving support but also giving it. I have learned from women who have broadened my faith and made me a better mother, wife, and over all human being. So my prayer for you all this year is that you don’t waste the time I did second guessing yourself or feeling less than or unworthy of support, for we know those anxieties are of the enemy’s making. Instead I pray that you would come into this year with an open heart. Allow yourself to open up to your table, or to the mom you meet at a play date or in line for breakfast. Share your heart and take advantage of the support God has put before you. Surrender daringly, and breathe freely here for you are fearfully and wonderfully made and we are so grateful to have you. 💛

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