Being Me in a Really Big World and Really Small Spaces

There's something I don't talk about that much, but it's the truth: I've changed. I know we all change--well, I think we all do. I guess I can mostly only talk for myself. I think over the years some people change in small ways, some people change in big ways. I'm not sure which side I live on at this point, all I know is that I can see changes that have occurred for me. If I take a look at myself from childhood, to high school, to college, to early married years, to married with kids--I definitely see an evolution.

(FYI, it could be that I'm having all these thoughts as a result of the time-travel book I'm reading at the moment. Imagine going back to the 17-year-old you. I think I'd be so much better at it knowing what I know now. OK. Back to original story.)

I know people who seem to be the very same from the time I met them. I wonder if they think the same about me. Because I know I'm not. I've done the usual progression from young adult to older adult and parent--and all the experience and knowledge that just has to change you or you keep being someone who never grows up and never gets better and wiser. I know probably 90 percent of us go through that progression. But I can tell you one specific day that changed me in lots of ways: the day Ashtyn was born. You know, I think it was actually happening while I was pregnant, but I for sure changed the day I became a mother. I grew up in a Christian home and have been ultra-blessed with a great, stable, loving family. But for me, becoming a parent changed some of what I believe. It just did. Some of how I think changed. Some aspects of how I react to things, how I view things, how I view myself, how I view the world.

After Ash was born, someone said something to me about trusting God with her and how He'll protect her and I had this very clear moment where I thought, Can I trust God with her? My mind went to those parents I've known who've had children with cancer. I remember that funeral I went to when I was a teenager--the casket was tiny because inside was a gorgeous little girl who had drowned, and I've never felt so hollow as I did that day. I thought of the thousands of kids who die every day from something as basic as hunger and neglect. I thought of the horrific abuses I'd heard of and would try to forget and move on and concentrate on happy things. What about the thousands of kids trafficked and sold into prostitution? I've had people tell me, You can't dwell on that or you'll go crazy. You can't live with those thoughts in your head all the time or you'll always be distrusting. Concentrate on the good, the beauty all around you. For me, I'd trade a whole lot of beauty for a world where kids aren't forced into prostitution.

I looked at my perfect, beautiful, baby girl and asked these questions, Can I trust God with her? Haven't lots of parents trusted God and their kids died or were hurt or worse? Where is God when horrific things happen? Isn't the answer: 'He's right there'? And why doesn't that make me feel better? If He's right there, how can He not do something? God is the perfect parent . . . I think of the fact that my own father would die before letting another person hurt me. So how does an all-loving God watch and not help?

Maybe I shouldn't even tell you those questions. Maybe we're not supposed to talk about those questions. In fact, from my experience, I can tell you straight out that lots of people aren't comfortable with those questions and don't want you to voice them. There were moments when I reached out and tried to talk through some of these things with certain people, and they were angry that I'd even have these thoughts. But for me, my mind was bombarded with the problems in this world and how they might affect my baby and how that affected me.

And I changed. I didn't lose my faith. But it changed. It looks different today than it did when I was a college student or when I was a newlywed. I wrestled with those questions like "Can we really trust God?" and I reached a point where I had my answer (which maybe I'll share another time). I was talking with an author the other day and she told me that she didn't want to offer trite or pat responses to those really difficult areas of life. And I felt this surge of relief, because I feel like people need more than that. Or some people, at least. I'm one of those people.

I'm okay with change. I need it in a lot of ways. And when it comes to change within myself, I'm so much more comfortable with the 'me' I am today, thought I might be more uncomfortable when it comes to facing those tough questions head on. So here's what I'm wondering, Did parenthood change you? Has your faith been a progression? In what ways has it changed? How has motherhood changed you?

Hop over to There Are Things I Can't Say to link up.

9 comments

  1. I don't believe I have ever had a "deep" relationship with God. I do know that I want to offer my girls the opportunity to experience religion the same way I did and then choose for themselves. It makes it harder when Sunday morning comes and we choose to stay in our pj's all day and have breakfast rather then rush to church (I need to get better about this). I want them to have a higher power to turn to if they need it. I feel being a parent is about giving your children the right tools and that is one of them. As far as being coming a parent changing me? Yes it did. O&G are my step-daughters. I love them as if they were my own, but we don't have our own (yet) so I can't say if my love will be different (I hope not). Parenting has changed me in everyway possible. I give when it feels like there is nothing left to give. When I think back to days pre children I laugh at my attitude about life. Oh what I didn't know then. I learn from them everyday and I have changed to be a better person for them. I try, but I fail a lot too. And don't get me wrong there are days I want to stay out late and sleep all day and have no one ask anything of me, but that is no longer my life and I am sure when the day comes and they are out of the house and no one is asking anything of me any longer I will long for these days. Thank you for this post. Thank you for your honesty, and I would love to hear your answer.

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    1. Lindsay, thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment! I smiled when you said that when you think about your pre-kids' attitudes about life you laugh. Me too!! Life definitely takes a 180 when kids enter the picture. I hope you'll stop by again.

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  2. It's good to change. We should all be progressing through life--not stuck in one idea of the world. I've changed too. Certainly the biggest changes came after I had kids... You are on a path....evolving is part of the journey

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jennie. It's nice to know that other people are on the journey too!

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  3. I don't think parenting changed me much in regards to faith but had my moments of identity crisis. I sometimes always have a little fear of 'they could be gone before me' moments....But sometimes i meet old friends and realize we don't have anything anymore in common and wonder how? we spend 4 yrs of high school/college hip to hip laughing what happened? So I know I have changed and people do change.

    even my addiction have changed.. from shoes to purse and now to tote bags or big bags

    nice post.

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    1. I think lots of moms go through identity changes when we have kids. And changes in friendships is something I've definitely experienced. That can be really sad, but it does happen, of course. Btw, friend, I miss you! Can't wait till you come back. :) Looking forward to seeing more pictures!

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  4. I tried commenting 3x the other day from my iPhone and lost all 3 responses, but I loved this post and I'm doing this during lunch at work now!

    I always thought I had a strong faith, but realized how weak it was about 6 years ago when my mom's cancer returned after 19 years in her bones (breast cancer). I wanted to fix it, control it (like everything else!), and I couldn't. My mom flipped out on me, reminding me that SHE was the one that was sick, and would decide what WE would do. It was at that moment I knew I had to finally Let Go and Let God. It was the best thing I could have done, because the pit in my stomach went away, and here we are 6 years later, mom still undergoing treatment, slowed down a bit, but faring pretty well overall.

    My faith has definitely been a progression, and I think it will always be a work in progress. I don't go out preaching to others or telling them to "have faith" because what that means to each of us is pretty personal. I've had some recent situations come up both personally and professionally that have been HUGE stresses on me, and I do see them as testing my faith. Right now I believe that everything happens for a reason, even bad things, and that some good has to come out of a situation. So while I've had my share of crys and bad days in recent months, I've done a much better job of dealing with them since adopting the "Let Go and Let God" approach. I'll be honest, I'm not good at letting go every day, but on the days I do, I feel so much better.

    Motherhood has definitely changed me, as well as strengthened my faith. I had Tommy at 39, my one and only child, so talk about a total upheavel for someone very set in her ways! As it relates to my faith, I thank God every day for this blessing of my son - like any mom, I can't imagine my life without him now, and it's opened my eyes to see the world in a whole new light. Perhaps as how I saw it as the 2 1/2 year old I once was. I pray that God protects him and every child, and as I've proclaimed myself as the world's biggest worrywart, of course I worry about him getting sick, injured, etc., but the strengthening in my faith has helped me to let go and ENJOY the moment I'm in. Yes, I'll still worry, and project into the future(I'm so good at it unfortunately), but I've made so much progress to be able to get myself grounded when that happens.

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    1. Suze, this was such a great comment. Thank you SO much for sharing this. It blessed me today.

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  5. I've definitely changed and so has my faith: a roller coaster a bit with my faith, to be honest.

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