How to Be Joyful In Motherhood: A Believing Mother’s Perspective

So here I am. Sitting on my couch, exhausted, and anticipating another sleepless night. I really have two options: 1) dread the thought of waking up 2-3+ times, or 2) pray, and hope for the best. The latter is kinda hard, isn’t it? Well, you’re not alone.

Let me just start off by saying that I think motherhood is wonderful. It’s everchanging, beautiful, and exciting moments are priceless. I am nowhere near the Proverbs 31 wife or mother I would love to be, but I try to aim for it every day, humbly by God’s grace alone. Next, all my efforts and advice is based on the strength I have in the Lord, none of which I achieved on my own.  None of which I can brag about or say I’m some kind of superwoman because Lord knows, I’m not. I simply want to give a ray of hope in your moments of weakness or despair, because let’s face it, as mothers, we all have those moments. Lastly, this is a journal from my heart, this is what I feel, and am compelled by God’s work in my life—giving me passion—to share some good news with you! So here it goes.

Today my little Evalyn Mae turns 6 months. The thought of that just brings tears to my eyes. I can’t express the joy she has brought into our lives, I truly thank God for her each day. I knew motherhood would never be easy, but there have been moments so far that have been very very challenging. I feel fortunate enough to say we have never experienced any major life-threatening situations, but there have been other challenges that have made some days/moments very hard.

First off, we are 6 months in with minimal sleep at the night, waking up at least 2-3+ times a night. Teething, a boatload of soiled diapers…and stained clothes on the regular (ha)! The joys of motherhood, right? Well, most mornings I am awakened by my sweet baby’s cry and I don’t want to get out of bed. Physically I’m a wreck, mentally I’m a blur. But naturally, I take my little Ev into my bed and I try to entertain her with singing, oo-ing, and rattles. It works for a little, but then it’s time for this tired mama to get up! If it’s not those sleepless nights, it’s those moments of sudden crying, or screaming while driving home…etc…you name it! But, in those anxious moments, what do you do?

Well, personally I try to remind myself to pray and rely on the Lords strength – I say that humbly…I try but often fail. I definitely don’t pray as much I ought too. I don’t remind myself enough of the Lord’s sufficiency but I’m striving to. I’m striving to have joy in moments of exhaustion, I’m striving to have peace in moments of anxiety, and I’m striving to be more selfless in moments of selfishness. It takes time. But I do think it really comes down to these two things: choosing to be joyful and depending on God’s strength. Personally, the best way for me to maintain those two things is reading and meditating on God’s Word, and praying daily. Motherhood is such a sanctifying process. When you realize the faithfulness of God and the rich promises of power and strength we have in Christ, we can remain joyful and at peace even through tough times! Not that we rejoice in the emotional, spiritual, and physical struggle itself…we are human, and of course, pain does not feel good…but we rejoice knowing that God is working something great in us, maturing and perfecting our faith, and ultimately is being glorified through our remaining faithful in the midst of hardships! Not only that, but it’s our duty as obedient Christians to be joyful and thank God always, listen to Paul has to say about our duty to be joyful:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

-1 Thess 5:16–18

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.”

  • Gal 5:22–23

You no longer have reason to lack joyfulness. When you realize our strength in Christ by His Spirit (2 Tim 1:7; 2:1; 2 Cor 12:10; Eph 6:10), your perspective starts to change, and your focus turns from your trial (the difficulties of being a mother itself to the God who supplies all our needs richly in Christ (Phil 4:19).

In those moments I’m so thankful for His promises. They’re so fulfilling! I also then realize that this little child is fully dependent on me! And I ought to delight in providing her needs, just as our heavenly Father delights in providing ours. I sure don’t want to look back one day and regret not choosing joyfulness in this precious time. Time goes by so quickly, and we don’t have time to lack joy!

Below I have listed a few ways you can remain joyful throughout your day. They’re basic, but they go a long way. These are a few things that I have applied to my life recently that have really been life-changing.

How to Maintain Joyfulness:

  • Devotion: Wake up, get your coffee, find a cozy spot, read Gods word, meditate, and pray. Just try to do this every day, or every other. Even if it’s a matter of 10-15 minutes, it helps so so much. If you’re a working or on-the-go mom, try listening to sermons in your car!

  • Join a women’s Bible study group: this really helps you connect with other moms or fellow believers who may be going through the same struggles. You are always united with other believers! Honestly, I never really joined a “formal” Bible study before until recently (mainly because I was a student/working crazy hours before that never seemed to work). But now, after joining, it motivated me to study God’s word, to come prepared, and to engage in discussion. It’s extremely helpful!

  • Pray for your child: you prayed for your child in the womb, now continue to do so! Before bed, I like to walk over to Ev’s crib look down on her sweet angel face and pray for a restful night, and in the morning, I pray for protection. When you pray for your child you realize you have every reason to rejoice, all this effort, pain, dedication is all for this precious gift the Lord gave us! What a privilege!

  • Remind yourself of the privilege of motherhood! When you realize the privilege and high calling of motherhood, your perspective really changes–at least it did for me. God specifically chose us to mother your child(ren). And as every privilege, it is a gift.

  • Listening/sing songs of praise (aka worship music): create a playlist (I like modern hymns), or turn on some background worship music to keep your thoughts centered on Christ and his promises all day!

  • Try to memorize a bible verse each day/week: Try to pick one that’s personal to what you’re struggling with that week/season. I started doing this recently and I love it. After my morning devotion, I write down a verse that I felt was personal to my current circumstances, and I try to memorize it throughout the day, and by doing that it’s a great way to meditate and pray based on that verse! It also helps with mommy’s brain haha.

I by no means fulfill all the above, but like I said, I try. And that’s the best I or you can do. We are all a work-in-progress until the Lord returns!

Here is my closing prayer. Pray it too if you are unable to find the right words.

Heavenly Father,

I humbly come before you.

I look to you for all my needs. You are sovereign, perfect, majestic, holy, righteous, all-powerful, love, faithful, and full of mercy and loving-kindness! I ask that you would create in me a joyful heart because I know that is what pleases you.

I confess that I am nothing without you…nothing without the grace of forgiveness you’ve given me…in Christ…and the grace of power and strength to live the kind of life that pleases you. I thank you for it, knowing how short I fall of your glory each day.

Please your perfect work in my life. Help me to see motherhood as a privilege and an honor that you have granted me! Help me to rejoice when it’s hard to…when I’m exhausted, irritable, angry, bitter…not rejoicing in the trial itself, but in knowing you’re working something wonderful in me that will ultimately bring you glory!

I thank you that you are the Sovereign God who created me and sustains me. You are my strength, refuge, and wisdom…the one I look to for all things. Help me to keep my eyes on you, and on Christ, and on what I can do each moment today to respond to my circumstances with joy and humility because I know that is your will for your children, and that is what pleases you.

I ask these things in the name of your Son, my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ,

AMEN

FYI- I  have a journaling Bible, you can find it here.

 

XO I.P.

Baby Essentials + Where I Shop for Baby

Our sweet little Evalyn Mae turned 5 months last week. Life is sweet, ever-changing, and a handful (clearly because of my delayed 5-month update). Being a first-time mom, I remember thinking I had no idea what to expect the first time around. I mean how could anyone? There are no books, no advice, or experience that can fully prepare you for having a baby. You just need to take it one day at a time, with a coffee in one hand, baby in the other, and the Lords grace daily. Seriously.

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Anniversary Bliss + How We Found Out I Was Pregnant

Today marks a very special day for us. Today is our second wedding anniversary and our little Evalyn Mae turns 4 months! Whoever said 13 wasn’t a lucky number?

As I reflected on the Lords’ goodness for carrying us through to another wonderful year of marriage I can’t thank Him enough for all he has done for me and my family. Although life hasn’t been perfect, it’s been filled with so many beautiful moments.

 

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24 Things You May Have Not Known About Me

Last week I turned 24! I still get super excited about birthdays because I’m under the 30 mark! YAY! I really don’t mean to offend anyone who is over 30, but really, being in your 20’s is so fun. Although I am looking forward to my 30’s and 40s… and that’s pretty much it, ha!

Growing up birthdays was always a big deal for us. My mom made sure to make each of our birthdays special and memorable. I’m sure glad I can pass down that birthday enthusiasm for my little family. Although my husband doesn’t think birthdays are much of a big deal (and let’s face it…not many men do) he always makes sure to make it special for me in a very sweet and personal way.

This year was especially special for me. After living in So Cal for already a year, we’ve had the opportunity to visit and discover so many neat places, my husband finished his first year of his Master’s Seminary program (more info below), my blog turned 1, and most importantly I delivered the sweetest little girl into this world. It’s safe to say this was my best year yet. So many changes, and precious memories all bottled up for one year. God has been good- like always and his faithful is seen through all the stages of my life.

So in honor of my (belated) 24th birthday, I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to share 24 things about me! Some of you may be reading my blog for the first time, or have known me forever, but I thought I’d love to engage you with some things you may not have known about me.

You’ll come to realize I’m a little more exciting than you thought…I hope. 😉

24 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ME

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10 Things You Should Know Before Having a Baby

Hello, Friends!

I can’t believe my little Evalyn Mae is 3 months already. I remember the moment we brought her home from the hospital and thinking we had no idea what to expect. But thankfully many things came naturally to us and we just took one day at a time. It’s wonderful how the Lord designed women to be maternal.

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Pregnancy Update & Shower Details

So here I am, onto week 24 in my pregnancy, 15 weeks to go. This little babe is the size of a papaya and is really starting to make a grand appearance. A couple months ago I used to get the awkward stare and hesitating question, “Oh, are you pregnant?” With a look of uneasiness on their face not knowing if they blurted out the question before it was too late. Now there isn’t any hesitation. People just know. Now I get the question, “Aw, how far along are you?” or, “When are you due?” and many times I get a shocked reaction when I answer, “I’m only ___(24) weeks.”Some people think I’m well into my third trimester, but to their surprise I’m only a little over half way there! It has definitely been an interesting experience so far. So many exciting moments of anticipation of the unknown. After getting back from being home (Canada) for the holidays, this little babe started kicking like crazy! I was actually a little worried that I didn’t feel her kick by 20 weeks, but by the 21st week she started and hasn’t stopped since. Kicking and bouncing is very normal. But apparently, my doctors says that she has a lot of fluid movement in the belly, which may lead to sleepless nights and discomfort. This is all normal and very good signs of a healthy babe, so it’s moments like this that I have to remember to be grateful and praise God for a baby that appears healthy so far. 🙂

It’s true when people would tell me that I would feel better during my second trimester! I truly feel great! I can eat everything- and a lot of it, I also started eating foods that I would dare look at before pregnancy (like McDonalds being one of them-uh!). I really want to commit to a healthy diet but sometimes, the temptation is sooo real, I can’t deprive this babe. haha. My husband is definitely shocked by my eating habits, seeing that I was never like this before, it has been a shock to me too. But I am definitely trying to maintain a healthy diet even though I have some minor slips along the way. 🙂

I wanted to do this sooner, but time just flies! Below, I have listed my favourite pregnancy items up to date, which have significantly helped me! I will be posting and talking about where I find all my pretty pregnancy clothing. ‘Cause fashion does not stop at pregnancy! 😉

My Favourite Pregnancy Items: 

Simply click on the picture and it’ll show you were I found them!

Morning (all day) Sickness Candy 

  • Developed by healthcare professionals to provide relief from morning sickness
  • This is a special formulation of essential oils, aromatherapy and a unique delivery method, now with vitamin B6 (which helps with nausea)
  • I would bring these candies with me everywhere, they were so helpful when I felt the onset of symptoms

Belly Balm– to prevent stretch marks 

  • A unique, safe, and effective blend of butter, essential oils, and botanicals to help prevent stretch marks, improve skins elasticity, and hydrate your skin
  • Made with all natural ingredients including Chamomile and Comfrey, this effective and safe balm will deeply hydrate and improve your skins elasticity and help skin naturally stretch while providing relief of dry and itchy skin (this was me a couple weeks ago, it works like a charm!)
  • 100% natural ingredients, no harsh chemicals, free of preservatives and artificial fragrances
  • I like to use this product along with coconut oil on a daily basis

Pregnancy Bras- a must!

  • As a result of a changing body in pregnany…and I mean life changing, I really needed something comfortable and supportive. I am so happy I came across this bra set. Most days I don’t even feel like I am wearing ta bra- which is awesome! ha
  • Supportive, yet super comfortable
  • Great price for 3!

Pre-Natal- highly rated

  • It was really important for me to find the top of the line pre-natals, after much research I thought these to be the best fit for me based on what I was looking for
  • RAW means no high heat, synthetic binders, fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or additives commonly used in tablets. Whole food means RAW Food-Created Nutrients are blended in a base of 23 fruits and vegetables together with food cofactors
  • This pre-natal vitamin was rated top 5 on multiple websites for leading vitamins during pregnancy
  • Not harsh on the body, and I often take them on an empty stomach

Iron Supplement- highly rated

  • After getting blood work done, I was Iron deficient (like 99% of women it seems) so I wanted to find the best and most effective supplement on the market and on my wallet 😉
  • Floradix contains an easily absorbed form of organic iron with extracts of carefully selected herbs, delicious fruit juices, and vitamins C and B complex- iron is best absorbs with Vitamin C, which it contains
  • My doctor told me to purchase any iron that was labeled “slow release”. Which simply means it’s slowly released and absorbed in the body and will not cause constipation. This brand is actually rated on the top 5 iron supplements for pregnant women based on my findings.

I hope this helps you, I did a lot of research to ensure the best safety for my baby and myself during pregnancy. Make sure to do the same!

Baby Shower Details 

I know I’m a little overdue, but I really wanted to share some of my special moments, and details from my baby shower when I was back at home for the holidays. I felt so blessed to have been showered with the amount of gifts and love from all the friends and family that attended! I seriously have enough clothing items for my baby’s first year- and I’m not just talking about clothes, I got so much more. <3

I got this beautiful illustration done by my talented fellow blogger, Joanna who does such a great job to customized the illustration to your expectations. I absolutely loved doing this for my gender reveal, “It’s a girl!” and I also used this illustration to make electronic baby shower invitations. It was perfect, and exactly what I wanted.

Be sure to check out more of Joanna’s work here!

You can easily make free electronic invitations by downloading an app, any would do. If you don’t want to pay for it- simply screen shot it and customize it yourself! (that white blotch is the white out for the contact info 😉

Of course, I ended up making/designing my own dress. I will be talking about that soon. SO stay tuned.

Here are the pretty details of the party decorations. I think the desserts were my favourite. hehe!

Many people asked where I got these adorable realistic rose gold cutlery from- well you can find it here!

 

Everything turned out so pretty, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my friends and family. <3

Make sure you let me know what you think! I love hearing from you.

xo I.P.

 

A Perfect Plum-sized Surprise

I can hardly believe this moment has finally come. God willing, (approximately) end of May 2017 we are going to be parents!! We feel so blessed and thankful to carry a wonderful gift of a child. I can’t simply put my thoughts into words to express my gratitude and excitement, then to say the Lord has answered our prayers.

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed and prayed of the day to start a family with the man I love and raise children of my own–and this is all happening…now. 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite shots of an early maternity photo session. I just hit 3 months a couple days ago, and according to the experts our little baby is the size of a plum. Stay tuned on the blog if you’d like more updates. 🙂

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“Twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are…”

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We don’t know the gender yet, but we are eager to find out soon. Although I have a strong inclination that this child may be a girl, but Seb is leaning towards a boy… hmmm. 🙂
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In this shot, I am wearing one of my handcrafted, self designed dresses (project 2). I will be sharing another post soon for details.

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I saved the best for last. This one is my favourite. <3

Thank you Abigail, for your talented work. 🙂 Make sure to check out her other great work here!

Also here is a sneak peak of my maternity dress. I’ll be sharing more pictures soon.

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Be blessed!

xo I.P.

My Favourite Moments of Our Wedding Day

Here we are, after one year of marriage spent together, we can proudly say it’s our first wedding anniversary! Time sure does fly by. As we were both reflecting on this memorable day, we shared our favourite moments through out our journey together, our thoughts, and our future goals. We are so grateful for God bringing us together. He has given us the desire to serve the Lord, to love each other, and to start a family together. Love is truly a beautiful thing.

As I reflected back on our wedding day, it really does seem like a dream. I sooo badly want to relive it, to take in every detail, and every moment to its fullest. But, without a wink of sleep it’s kind of hard to remember each little detail. I remember desperately trying to fall asleep the night before our wedding. So many thoughts were racing through my mind! The dress, the decor, the flowers, the weather, my hair and makeup, making sure I packed everything I needed for the honeymoon, and seeing my hubby face-to-face… oh the endless thoughts. And I don’t think I am the only one who experienced this. So after looking at the clock over a million times, I gave up, I accepted the fact that I would not sleep. Then, rinnnng goes my alarm, the day has begun! As I jumped out of bed, I tried to remind myself that I wasn’t going to allow myself to be tired. Suddenly, I heard my phone ring, I smiled as I looked over to see that it was my fiancé (husband). As we shared our excitement before seeing each other he added, “babe, I didn’t sleep a wink”. Ha! I knew I wasn’t the only one. 🙂

So, in honour of this symbolic day, I wanted to share a few of my favourite photos, that display my favourite moments of this special day.

I started off my morning with a hot bath in my parents jacuzzi. Hot baths always make me feel relaxed and refreshed, so this is exactly what I needed. I think I was enjoying myself a little too much when the hair dresser rang the door bell and I was still in the bath! lol.

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After the makeup and hair styling was done, my flowers came in. Oh they were so lovely. I love white flowers… actually I love white everything. It’s so elegant, pure and peaceful.

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Next, I couldn’t leave the house without perfume. Perfume is essential. And I wouldn’t go on with my special day without the perfect smelling scent of the classic, Coco Chanel Mademoiselle. This perfume is my all time favourite. I save this one for special occasions or the weekends. 🙂

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It was finally time to get the dress on. I felt so many feelings of excitement, this was it, my hair, my makeup was done, and now I’m putting on the dress. It’s every girl dream coming together all in this moment. Also, this photo is significant to me because of my mama and sister that always stood by my side to make this day as special as it was.

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With only a month and a half to plan our wedding, I was happy to be able to custom design my dress. Because of the limited time I had with options, I was happy to have done what I could. It was perfect to me.

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And now, the wedding shoes. The perfect touch, the perfect detail, and the perfect fit… Badgley Mischka.

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Oh! How vividly I remember this moment. After everything was done and complete, now it was time to see my future hubby. It was time for a face-to-face. Every step was filled with excitement, as my heart was racing, this moment was finally here!

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We took most of our wedding photos the morning of the wedding ceremony. It was a dark, gloomy and rainy day. My curls were falling out, my dress was getting a little wet, and my makeup was fading, but I (we) couldn’t be happier. Nothing else mattered in these moments.

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I wanted to share this one because it shows the details of my dress. If you want to read more about how I custom designed my Vera Wang dress, check out my post here.

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I love this photo, it’s just so fun.

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Now, we were running a little late. The clock was ticking, and it was time to get to the ceremony. On the drive there, we drove by some cute areas that were soon instagram-able that we just had to stop. I promised that this was the last stop we were going to make, hence my eagerness to get to the picture perfect area.

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WE DO! And just like that, we are husband and wife! This was the beginning of it all. Our hearts were full of joy. We were so thankful for every person, every clap and every smile that were part of this day.

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It’s all about the details. I love the beauty of flowers (especially white flowers).

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This photo sums up our excitement of this day and our future. We did it, we came this far, by the grace of God we are in this forever.

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I find peace in the comfort of his love.

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This is one of my favourite photos of this day. The veil blowing in the wind, our eyes locked, and the smiles on our faces.

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I’m sure by now, you can tell that I love black and white photos. 🙂

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And the day finally came to an end. It definitely didn’t go as well as I planed or expected, but I was able to see past all of this because it was so much more than having the best hair, makeup, details, decor, weather, and/or dress… this day was all about the start of our future. And that was enough for me.

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