until 4 years ago...

I am not the same person I was 4 years ago.

I have matured and grown in ways I didn't think I could.
Refinement in my heart has been forced on me in a loving, yet challenging way.
In a way that some days, I don't think I can handle the molding anymore....
but other days I can reflect on the day, and know that my heart and my soul are better for it.

I didn't know my heart was capable of feeling so much love, before 4 years ago.
I also didn't know my heart could break so much at the loss of love.
He has shown me His comfort in ways I didn't think I would ever even need to feel,
and it has been so hard, but so sweet.

I have learned to be okay with silly things I didn't think I could ever be okay with.
Like spit up, wiping snot with my shirt when there's no kleenex, breastfeeding with open wounds because of teething, and killing bugs myself so my little girls feel "safe".
Tantrums and strong willed personalities have pushed my limits in every way,
and I know I am the better for it.
It is rooting things out in my soul that don't need to be there...
and He is replacing those things with better stuff, like patience and grace.

Depending on God for energy has been a huge lesson.
Not just through the newborn stages and colicky babies, but through the days I am literally having circles run around me by two energetic kiddos.
And for the energy to rise before my family to pray over them and prepare for the day, which I am coming to realize makes such a difference.

I have a new respect for my mom and dad.
For the sacrifices they made, things I may never even know about.
I am thankful to be on the other end now and have a real understanding of what it takes to be a parent.

Friends have changed in this stage of life, and that's okay.
And I have learned the value of having close friends who really get me.
I never really realized just how vital it is to have my people,
the ones I can talk to about anything and everything as I navigate motherhood.
Until four years ago, I kind of just assumed good friends might never come.
And then God showed up and gave me just what I needed.

Marriage has always been used as a tool to make me a better person, as it should.
We have seen a lot in our 11 years, and been through a lot of hard, but also a lot of blessing.
When you have children, the efforts in marriage become more challenging, and much more needed.
Creativity in spending time together, and even sacrificing sleep to stay up late and catch up become a necessity sometimes.
Communication and team work are now much more important as we have a little audience.
It takes more work...but our marriage has become closer and fuller since having little ones.

And most importantly, until 4 years ago, I didn't understand God's love for me as much as I do now.
I am His child, His daughter.
I am loved and cherished and protected and taken care of and sacrifices have been make for my life.
I have an identity as a daughter that I didn't fully get until I had daughters of my own.
It is a heart-bursting realization to know He loves me even more than I love my own girls.

Until 4 years ago...life was just not as good as it is now.
Until I became a Mother, I had no idea how full my life could be.

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Happy Mother's Day!

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Here are a few blog posts that have been blessing me on this Mother's Day week, I know yall will love them too.
Dear Mom who feels like a failure by Ruth at Gracelaced
Dear Mom struggling with jealousy by Andrea at Wisdom for Her Heart
For the Mamas by Casey at The Wiegands
Dear New Mommy Self (by me)