Discriminating Mommies

Let's make motherhood a beautiful thing. Can we learn to support and encourage fellow mamas? rachelaz.com

dis·crim·i·na·tion          noun: discrimination;
1. the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.
2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.”discrimination between right and wrong.”

Prepping for motherhood can be absolutely terrifying. To co-sleep, or not to co-sleep. Wide-mouthed bottles, or traditional… oh wait, should I plan to use a bottle at all?

As a first-time momma, I felt absolutely overwhelmed through pregnancy. I was terrified. Petrified. I was bombarded with all kinds of statistics, opinions, articles, and research on the daily. Nursing, immunizing, birthing, professional care… all the options and arguments circled my thoughts and closed in on my emotions. It was an overwhelming, constant feeling of, “I should be doing more.” And if I’m perfectly honest, I still fight it today.

So, let me just start out by saying that I’m not arguing for or on behalf of a particular parenting topic. But instead, my heart is to hopefully broaden our perspectives and face the real issues.

We live in a society that lives and breathes to replace one idol with another. If it isn’t fame, it’s fortune, or success, or goal achievement, or superficiality, or a certain relationship, or self-improvement, or a particular job position. We’ve become convinced that we are sovereign over our own lives. And while we are indeed responsible for our actions, we’ve lost the freedom that comes with entrusting our Creator with our lives and worshiping Him alone.

We’re bombarded with and constantly reminded of what we don’t have, what we do have, or why we aren’t good enough. We obsess with what we believe in, or the choices we make; to the point that they themselves become a part of our identity.

With one year of motherhood under my belt, I can confidently say that the same struggles come with motherhood.

When we have a good mommy day; we’re great. And when we miss the mark or it’s challenging; we’re miserable. Just like everything else, motherhood can quickly become an idol. And our preferences, routines and parenting styles can easily become a part of our identity.

We allow them to define us and take it personally when people don’t agree with our styles or share similar perspectives. We get bent out of shape over feeding techniques, oils, health standards, professional advice, and physician care.

We allow the real enemy to come between us. And before we know it, it’s high school all over again, full of mean-girl cliques, “she said’s”, peer pressure, and “did you see what she did’s.” It’s silliness. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And yet, I fight it, and have found myself guilty of it many times.

How did we get here? Where did it start?

The older I get, the more I recognize my desperate need for Christ. Comparison, gossip, and judgement are not new tricks. The enemy’s just really good at disguising them. And now more than ever (even more than in high school.) I need Christ.

I need Christ to lead my husband and me as we seek out wisdom. I need Christ when it comes to bridling my tongue against gossip. I need Christ when it comes to guarding my heart against judgement. I need Christ when it comes to loving my family well. I need Christ to silence the voices of insecurity, pride, and selfishness. I need Christ when it comes to encouraging my sisters and fellow mommies.

I need Christ more than motherhood. More than my husband. More than my daughter. More than anything. I need Christ. He alone is worthy of my worship. He alone must be my source.

While I was pregnant, I fought so many feelings of insecurity and judgement when it came to our original plan. We chose a hospital, high risk doctor, and epidural, for Finnley Haven’s birth. I was told all about articles, horror-stories, and statistics which had underlying undertones of fear. Well-meaning people whom I love and adore lovingly tried to me that we weren’t choosing what was best for our daughter. I fought feelings of being judged, bullied, and almost discriminated against.

We didn’t get to our much prayed about “birth plan” due to severe pre-eclampsia at 29 weeks. But I am so very thankful for our doctor whom the Lord led us to. She stayed up all night while I was in critical condition, on her night off. She performed an emergency c-section the following day (on her other day off) and saved our lives– by no exaggeration. We’re also so very grateful for the hospital and incredible nurses who literally kept our little preemie girl alive for her first two months of life. God used our little “plan.” 

I say all this to say, that I understand this is the plan the Lord led us to. It was His sovereign hand on our lives. He led us, and He kept us. So, I mustn’t judge anyone if they’re being led in a different way than myself. Because who am I to know what the Lord has planned for their lives? 

There are risks to all kinds of births and parenting styles. Fear shouldn’t ever be the deciding factor. There is no perfect, fail-proof way to have a baby. Which is why we must put our trust in Christ alone as we seek out wisdom. If you seek the Lord He will lead you. Entrust the outcome to Christ. Trust His best for your family– through the boatloads of articles, opinions, statistics, and options. He has a plan, and He’s not up there freaking out. He is with us.

I love the wealth of information that’s out there, but at a certain point I think the best thing we can do to love our mama friends well is to pray for them, hold our tongues and wait for them to ask us for advice, and be okay if they don’t.

I want to trust that God knows my friends. He will lead my friends in the best path for their children. Just like there’s a reason He made Johnny and I Finnley’s parents; there’s a reason why He chose my friends to parent their littles.

Can we as mamas encourage and empower each other instead of sizing each other up and trying to convince each other of our own personal convictions when it comes to birthing/immunizing/parenting? Can we be a safe place, and extend grace to others when they struggle? Can we lean on Christ while fighting against pride and gossip amongst us? Can we point others to Christ, instead of some article?

Our mission as moms should be to make Christ our foundation, as we seek Him for wisdom and entrust our children to Him. He is good. He is for us. He is with us. 

There’s no easy or perfect way to parent, so let’s do everything in our power to support and encourage our fellow mamacitas. Let’s build each other up in Christ and stop discriminating mommies. Let’s love each other deeply, and make sharing the bond of motherhood a beautiful thing.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]



Fighting Fibromyalgia

"Didn't they just create that diagnosis a few years ago?"  "How did you find out you had Fibro?"  "Do you believe the theory that it may be related to trauma?"  "Do you believe that God still heals today, are you praying for your healing?"  "What do you do, what helps?"  I've gotten these questions a few times over the last couple years. There are so many questions regarding fibro, so I wanted to share a bit of my story: Fighting Fibromyalgia - RACHELAZ.COM

“Didn’t they just create that diagnosis a few years ago?”

“How did you find out you had Fibro?”

“Do you believe the theory that it may be related to trauma?”

“Do you believe that God still heals today, are you praying for your healing?”

“What do you do, what helps?”

I’ve gotten these questions a few times over the last couple years. There are so many questions regarding fibro, so I wanted to share a bit of my story:

I’ve seen a handful of specialists, gone to therapy, been misdiagnosed, been put on steroids (which made me feel craycray, gain weight, zapped my hair and made my eyelashes fall out), tried all kinds of medicines/remedies/vitamins, and out-of-pocketed thousands of dollars.

Fighting fibromyalgia has humbled me. It’s reminded me that I am not in control.  

It’s given me admiration for those with much greater health problems than I.

I’ve witnessed warriors fight disease, cancer, and tragedy– with incredible perspective, peace and trust in God. Some are healed, while others go home to be with the Lord for their healing– and it’s not for a lack of faith.

YES, I believe God can still heal on this side of eternity, I believe He IS GOOD. We live in a broken world. But whether I’m sick, or in perfect health– I know His heart and choose to trust Him. In my weakness He is strong. He is good. If dependence on Christ is the goal, then weakness is an advantage. So despite my hatred for fibro, I can be thankful and rejoice in it when I’m alongside Him.

I’m writing this because for a while I felt crazy and alone in this struggle. Inexplicable fatigue and chronic, widespread pain that made me so angry I thought I couldn’t function. I know it pails in comparison to other health struggles, so please hear me when I say that I’m not writing for sympathy or pity. But in hope that my story could maybe encourage someone.

I was diagnosed by three separate doctors: My regular physician, a rheumatology specialist, and my chiropractor. I would suggest against a self diagnosis. And trust me, you’ll feel a lot less crazy if you can get straight answers. I would also suggest against making any decisions on the same day you’re diagnosed. Do some research for yourself before taking prescriptions.

Tomorrow if The Lord willed it I could be healed and may never need this stuff again– but while I’m fighting, here’s what’s personally, practically helped me (and here’s a hint– it’s all available over the counter!):

1. First and foremost– Prayer. It sounds cliche, and religious, I know. So shoot me. 9 out of 10 times, I just need to refocus my eyes on Christ–an attitude adjustment usually follows. My go-to verse has been 2 Corinthians 4:16: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 

2. An Alkaline Diet. aka: boatloads of fruits/veggies. Cutting out carbs and sugars.

3. Young Living’s Essential Oils: Pan Away, Deep Relief, Peace & Calming, Joy, Stress Away, and Lavender. [Please consult with your YL Contact about how to use the oils or contact me if you don’t have one.] Yes, I became one of those crazy people who uses oils– but I’m sure when ibuprofen first came out nobody believed a little pill would actually help. and this stuff is natural! so boom! I’ll get off my soapbox now.

4. Extra sleep. by extra, I mean 8-10 full hours of real sleep. no tv, no radio, just sleep.

5. Wearing Wrist Braces at work whilst typing/working out/carrying anything heavy. Definitely not the cutest, but if you buy black ones and pair them with a black blazer they’re actually not too obvious.

6. Firing my “Specialist” and finding a good, holistic doctor. I found out the hard way that too many docs were just putting me on different medicines then adding even more medicines just to fight side affects. *Please consult your doctor before quitting any medication.

7. Acupuncture. just do it. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first, but it’s not some creepy self torture thing– it’s real and it works.

8. Regular Adjustments at a good Chiropractor. I say “good” because I’m finding that not all are. Ask around and get a few personal recommendations. My favourite is Dr. Jaillet (Carrollton Kinesiology & Chiropractic Health Center.) It will change your life!

If you have fibro– pray for yourself, don’t wallow in self pity. Trust His heart. Allow Christ to carry you on your rough days. Look to pillars in the faith with greater health challenges than you. Don’t let it define you. If you need rest–rest! But sometimes you need to pull back those curtains and let the sun shine in. Encourage someone. Stay in the Word. And don’t battle alone.

He is good, He is trustworthy, His grace is sufficient, He is enough. Refuse to lose the battle, there is hope.