What Kind Of Mother Am I?

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What kind of mother am I?

This question is a little easier to answer now with a 16-month-old in my arms, but not too
long ago, this question permeated my mind. It tormented me and drove me into depression, anxiety, and luckily deeper into my faith and the truth of God’s Word.


My name is Lexi and I am a mama to three little ones. One in my heart, one in my arms, and one currently growing in my tummy. My road to motherhood has been a bit different than most moms. I started my journey with death.

Three years ago, I was pregnant with my first child, a son, Grayson. As my stomach expanded I wondered what kind of mother I would be. Would I breastfeed, baby wear, let him cry it out, co-sleep, nurse on demand? Would I be easily frustrated if he was colicky, would I get post-partum depression, would I hate changing diapers, would I dread midnight feedings?

What kind of mother would I be?

I think a lot of new mother’s wrestle with these questions, we want to be the best mother we can be, but when it comes to it, some of our wants and desires just aren’t doable. I was preparing myself to fail, I never thought I would be much of a good mother. I never looked forward to having children, but 4 years ago, on Mother’s Day, God changed my heart. He created a strong desire in me to have children. When that change of heart happened, I was unsure if my actions as a mother would line up with my desire to be an amazing mother once Grayson was born.

Grayson’s birth was the dream every parent anticipates, full of joy, happiness, wonder,
and elation. That utter delight quickly turned into indescribable sorrow. When he was born the
doctors realized he had a heart condition that would require surgery. In one horror filled night
which included a helicopter ride and two heart procedures, Grayson died. The overjoyed heart
I had going into delivery was now in a million pieces not 24 hours later. My husband and I were
blindsided at the nightmare that became our reality.

As an empty armed mother, I didn’t know how to identify myself. In preparation to start
our family I had quit my job, but here I was sitting at home with nothing to do, no one to care for.
I felt purposeless, and I definitely didn’t felt like a mother. I felt as if I failed my child. Instead I
became the mother who watched her child die. The mother who didn’t nurse, who didn’t
patiently rock her baby to sleep, who didn’t baby wear, who didn’t, didn’t, didn’t. I wasn’t really a
mother at all. I eventually realized this was untrue, but it was a great struggle for me to see and
ask the right questions. The main one being, as a Christian Mother, what is my purpose?
I knew the answer to the question of my purpose, as I was pregnant with Grayson I
prepared myself for the mother I knew God commanded me to be. A mother that above all else,
pointed her child to Christ and prayed fervently that God would save that child. During my
pregnancy I prayed often that Grayson would be saved, that I would be a light of God to him. I
prayed that I would be the mother God wanted me to be, not a mother of this world. In my grief
I had forgotten this, I had forgotten my God given purpose. I forgot that my deepest and most
earnest prayer for Grayson had been answered. He was saved, God used me to give him life
and then he was saved into the safe and perfect arms of God.

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Now two and a half years later, with a 16-month-old daughter named Aurelia in my arms and a baby 13-weeks in my womb, I see how God has worked in my life. I see that even though Grayson is not seen, he is just as much a part of our family. And the part I play as his mother is ongoing. He is the boy that made me a mother. God does not make mistakes and He is not wasteful. Every moment of Grayson’s life held deep purpose. Our God is great, and He works great things through all things.

I want to look at everything God worked through Grayson to give me, the list is long, but let me share a few of my tops…

Patience – because no matter how difficult my children are acting, I am glad I have them
here with me.
Compassion – I know what deep and true hurt is, I would never want anything like that
for anyone else
Empathy – seeing Grayson endure great physical pain without being able to say
anything to comfort him makes me always ask, how is Aurelia hurting, how can I comfort
her
Understanding – I work hard to understand my children, because I want to know them
as best as possible, especially since I didn’t get to know who Grayson was
Gentleness – life is hard and painful, I want to ease that as much as possible

All of these characteristics were brought on by my first child and are now carried onto my other children. God did that, he worked that in me. He used Grayson to painfully transform me
to look more like Christ. And as mothers our duty is to be a reflection of Christ to our children.
I’m certain that I would not be the mother I am today had Grayson never existed, nor would I be
this mother if he had lived. I am the exact mother I am today, because he died. I am so certain
that had he lived I would have loved him fervently, though impatiently and without the
gentleness and purpose I have with Aurelia. I cherish her so much more because he died.
Aurelia and this baby inside me can credit their mother specifically to Grayson and God’s work
through him.

I am so glad God decided to continue to grow my family, and in that growth He has used
my living children to teach me new lessons on motherhood. I have new tasks before me,
speaking and living out the gospel to Aurelia and soon this baby in my tummy. I have learned
so much about who God is because of my daily trials with Aurelia. She was a normal baby and
is a normal toddler, which means it’s hard! Living sacrificially is something she has taught me.
My whole life revolves around her needs and desires. I really do live and work to serve her, that
can be so taxing and so rewarding. In my daily dedication to her, I am always reminded of the
great sacrifice and dedication from our Savior. Aurelia has made that so real for me and I am
so grateful. Having living children has shed new purpose on living out the gospel. Aurelia is
always watching me, she is soaking up everything I do and copying my every action. As she
continues to grow and learn I wonder how often she will hear me pray, how often will she see
my read my Bible, and how often will she hear me ask for forgiveness. Often I hope.

To the mothers out there, who struggle with what kind of mother you are. Ask yourself
the one question that matters… Are you the example of Christ to your child? You are your
child’s first and biggest example of the gospel, of God’s word. How are you doing with that? It’s
great if you make your own baby food and nurse for a year, but do you work with the motivation
of the gospel? When you slave over the best nourishment for your child is it BECAUSE God is
your nourishment. Do you love your children unconditionally BECAUSE God loves you in that way? Do you patiently respond BECAUSE you know the depths of your own failure and the forgiveness God has shown? Our purpose and identity as mothers is and must be God.

Whatever kind of mother you are, first ask yourself why?

With Grayce,
Lexi


“Had he lived a hundred years it is hard to think how his life could have made more difference; all
without living one full day.” – Grayson’s Grandfather


Lexi founded the non profit GRAYCE & KINDNESS after the loss of Grayson. Grayson’s impact on this world has stretched wide and far because his mama has made it her mission to make a difference. GRAYCE & KINDNESS reaches out to families to help support them in their worst nightmares—the loss of a child. We have seen first hand the difference that Lexi has made in the lives of women walking through the most difficult times. All in honor of her sweet Grayson. To find out more, please go to grayceandkindness.com or follow along on Instagram: @grayceandkindness.

My Body

It's hard to write about hard things.

But I've spent too long putting this one off. When I sat down to write it, I scrolled through Instagram for about 20 minutes before shifting my focus to my laptop to finally put words to my thoughts and feelings. So here it is. Here I go. I'm diving in. Thanks for coming along, friend.
So, I have this body. It's got 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers, and 10 toes. It gets me from point A to point B. I can hear pretty well and see okay too. This body, it does what it's supposed to do. But I've come to realize that I've been doing something pretty terrible to this body. To my body. For the past 15 years or so, I've spent countless hours, dare I say days, nitpicking and being disappointed. Punishing my body for what she doesn't do for me. Telling her to look like someone else. Scolding her when the fabric I try to cover her with doesn't fit right. Cringing when her imperfections show. Dying a little inside because her thighs squish right up next to each other. Highlighting her defeat when the hike is too steep or the pants are too tight. I've grown to hate her, this body of mine. My body. I read an excerpt from a blog written by Sarah Bessey a few months ago. It felt like a punch to my gut. To my not-skinny-enough, not-strong-enough, not-tight-enough gut. 

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"Because I know that a lot of us have intentions and goals for our bodies. Good for you. But perhaps you could look at what is underneath those resolutions about your body.
And perhaps, just perhaps, you could make it your intention to - this year - rest from your battle against your body and simply embrace her with peace and love and joy and gratitude. 
Maybe you don't need to shrink and shrink and shrink. Maybe you don't need to look like you're forty when you're sixty or twenty when you're forty.
Maybe you need to make peace with your body - this age, this stage, this ability, this capacity. Maybe it's time to love your body.
Imagine that."
Sarah Bessey - Maybe this is your New Year's Resolution

I screenshotted this excerpt on my phone on March 6th. I texted my friend the screenshot that day with the message "Pray for me, I think I'm going to write about this next." It's now May 24th and Sarah Bessey's words have been echoing in my mind since. They're echoing loud and often because I've come to realize that I've been fighting a battle against myself.

Let me go back to one of Sarah's comments..."Maybe it's time to love your body." LOVE MY BODY?!? Love? My? Body? There's no way. Not now.
In 40 pounds, I'll love my body.
After a half marathon, I'll love my body.
Once she proves herself worthy, then I'll love her.
Once I'm able to take a selfie and not feel like I have to hold my phone a foot and a half above my head...surely, then I'll love this body. My body.

But to be honest, I'm not even sure I'd love my body if all the above things were true. So I started to try to imagine what it would be like if I didn't hate this body, my body. For the past several weeks, I've tried to name aloud the things this body has done for me. I've tried to say Thank You. I've tried to point at the marks and scars and see them as a way to read the story of my life. It's really hard. But I've been trying.

I started to get marks on both sides of my lip a bit ago. You know what those are? The early signs of wrinkles. I've heard about those. My mom and grandma have told me about them. But you know why I've started to get those marks? Because I smile a lot. Several times a day, I smile. Thank you, body, for reminding me of all those smiles. Keep doing that.

My right knee pops when I bend it a certain way. "I'm way too young for this" I usually say. But you know why it pops like that? I hurt myself dancing in High School one time. Doing what I love to do. Giving it my all. I wouldn't have had it any other way. So keep popping girl, remind me of those times.

I have a pretty gnarly scar that extends down from the bottom of my belly button about 5 inches. It isn't a neat scar. It wasn't a scar made with concern as to what this body would look like in a bathing suit after it healed. This scar is from April 30, 2017 at 8:35 am. When the baby girl growing inside me experienced a dangerously low heart rate during labor and my doctor had to get her out immediately. I love this one. I'll never speak unkind words towards this mark on my body. 

I have stretch marks and cellulite and a double chin in most photos. I have short fingers and peeling nails. I get dandruff easily and I always run warm which leads me to be bright red or sweaty a lot of the time. But oh, my body...may I grow to love you. May I love you for what we've been through together. I hope that I grow to see your beauty and appreciate every mark and every scar. Every night as you rest, may you feel restored and renewed for the next day to come. For when we wake, we have work to do, a husband to love, and a baby to kiss. I'm putting my weapon down. I will not fight you. I will not make you the punch line of every joke. I will love you. I will nourish you. I will work with you and not use you. I will not try to shrink you. I will love you. I promise to love you, my body.