I have stretch marks. My body is marked with stretch marks from what it endured while carrying both my baby girls. My body was changed, shifted, stretched, made uncomfortable, tested, made easily tired....all through carrying children. You can see on me marks left from carrying those two baby girls. And I wouldn't trade those marks for anything. Because the moment Maren was placed in my arms, I knew what I was made to do with my life. Being a Mom has been the best gift anyone could give me.
With this third "pregnancy", new stretch marks are forming. I am not sure my heart has ever been this stretched, changed, shifted, tested........bulging, then it is right now. There are days when I feel as though I am ready to bust at the seams and then I remember I am only in my first trimester!
I got to thinking yesterday morning about being a Mom. What a Mom is....who a Mom is. I have been influenced deeply by many Moms in my life. Of course, my Mother is one of the greatest people I know. I am so thankful that God chose her to be the one to raise me. But just as I pray for my own children, other women have come alongside my Mom to mold and shape me. So thankful for them.
And my heart....stretching again, began to think of the child that was missing in my life this Mother's Day. And breaking even harder.....for the Mom who will make the ultimate sacrifice because she places her child's well being way above her right to be a Mom. I prayed for her all day. Wondering how she was. Wondering if she had a meal. If she was safe. If she was lonely. If she was being loved. If she was pregnant......if she had just left her baby at an orphanage.........walking away with the greatest stretch marks ever to be left on her own heart. My heart stretched further yesterday.
As I was praying before church, I was reminded by the stretch marks left on my Savior Jesus that day on Calvary. He stretched His arms to death in order for me to have life.....eternal life with Him forever. This death....this stretch.....was so that I would not have to bear the mark of my sins....that I would be healed of my scars for eternity. Wiped clean. Made new. Then I was overcome with gratitude. Gratitude for the stretch marks He endured to adopt me into His family.....nothing compared to the stretch marks I have.
Part of living like Jesus.....for Jesus......is the stretch. Adoption has been the catalyst to teach me about this part of my walk with Christ. And now, I long for the stretch. Because it has been in this stretch that I have learned more about myself, more about this world, more about people, more about my marriage, more about parenting, and more about my Savior then any other journey.
Are you being stretched? Do you know that the marks of your sins are wiped clean? Do you know that you have a Savior that stretched His whole body in order for you to be righteous, holy, reborn, remade, accepted, worthy, beloved, made in the image of the Giver of life?!?! The stretch of following Jesus will change you, shift you, make you grow weary, it will be exhilarating, uncomfortable, and the greatest stretch of your life.
Here are some photos of what we have been up to lately: