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Confessions of a New Mom

I was one of those women who motherhood surprised. I had always wanted to have children – but considered it more of a far-out, “someday” thing. I was busy still settling into married life, learning to take care of a home, and working on my ministry. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we were shocked. I knew nothing about being a mom and only a little about watching other people’s babies. Not raising one.

I frantically bought every good book I could find about “what to expect”. Could any book even begin to prepare me? I put my writing and speaking aside temporarily to focus whole-heartedly on this new little creature rapidly growing inside of me. I wanted to be ready when they arrived. I wanted to be a good mom.

On May 10th, at 3:29am, my daughter, Scarlett Grace Omartian, made her debut! She was beautiful. She was perfect. I couldn’t believe I was seeing the intricately formed little creation that God had been knitting together inside of me. He did such a great job.

But what now? All I wanted was to go to sleep and recover from my exhausting middle-of-the-night labor so I could then happily coo over my new baby angel. However, hours later, even when the lights were out, I couldn’t take my eyes off the little human swaddled up next to my bed in her rolling cart. New feelings I had never experienced before swept over me.

Momma fear.

What if I closed my eyes for a second and she stopped breathing? What if she starts choking while I’m asleep? What if, what if, what if…

I laid there with my wide-eyes glued to her while panic, joy, peace and terror mingled in my soul as though they were familiar with each other. As though they had been meeting for centuries in the hearts of new moms all over the world.

The next few weeks were rough for me. I’d be lying if I tried to candy coat it any other way. Breastfeeding got off to a rough start and required all kinds of tricks and “processes” in order for Scarlett’s feedings to be consistently sufficient. My amazing husband, Chris, was there with me through it all. 

Numerous occasions I thought I might be going insane because of how sleep-deprived I was. ALL. I. WANTED. was a few consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep. That’s it! Was that even possible any more? Would I ever sleep again? How could I live on the brink of delirious insanity? My life flashed before my eyes as I feared it might officially be over.

My friends brought me meals, hugged me, and told me it would get better. But I didn’t believe them. I thought every mom that I had ever known just handled it more gracefully than me. One bewildered trip to Target I’ll never forget openly staring at every single mom I came across in the store. I remember thinking as I saw one mom with three (!!!!!!) kids, “YOU’RE ALIVE!!! And so are your kids!!! And you all look HAPPY! How did you do it?!”

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Those were the exact words that came screeching out of my brain.

But my friends and family were right. It did get better. Day by day, week by week. I began to get the hang of this new life a little more, and I began to enjoy it. Of course, Scarlett starting to sleep through the night definitely had something to do with that!

I began to make peace with parts of me that died. Parts of me, frankly, that needed to die. Like my selfishness. I didn’t have a clue how selfish I was until my little girl showed up. Even during the pregnancy, I began to realize that this whole journey was not about me. The sickness, the sacrifices I needed to make to keep her healthy, the carefulness, the pain I’d need to undergo. All of it was for a much greater purpose that I could feel a glimpse of inside, but couldn’t yet see.

What a greater purpose my Scarlett is. And how metaphorical is childbirth to our lives! We go through things that require us to stretch, painfully expand and endure… sometimes leaving scars. But if we surrender to the Lord’s plan for this painful growth, this process births something far more beautiful in our lives than we ever could have dreamed. It’s perfect! It’s sweet. And it grows and grows with a life of it’s own that is so much bigger than we are.

Today, my amazing daughter is one years old. And it also happens to be Mother’s Day! I woke up this morning with overwhelming joy and thrill at the miracle God has done in my life over the course of this year. I am so grateful. I am so grateful. I love being a mom. I love my daughter. I love this journey. And as I type this, I am even feeling the flutters of our second baby who is 18 1/2 weeks old kicking around in my stomach! What did I do to get to bear these precious miracles? Nothing. With my life story, they are here against all odds as it is.

Thank You for Your plan for mothers, God. I’m in awe of the role You’ve given us and the amazing journey that You have laid out for each one of us. Thank You for Your strength which has personally carried me through this year. You and I both know I wouldn’t be standing here without You.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you precious women. I am inspired by you and am cheering for you as we march out our lives together!!!

 

Meet the New Me… Paige Omartian.

Hey Everyone,

Some big changes have been going on in my life lately… namely… I got married! :)

November 11th (11.11.11) was our special day, and it truly was amazing. We said our vows in front of huge bay windows that displayed a gorgeous sunset and perfectly tinted fall trees. The celebration continued at the reception where we had dinner, fellowship, and dancing. Chris and I actually learned a special dance for our “first dance song” (which was “One and Only” by Michael O’Brien) full of turns, dips, and even a kiss! Every moment of our wedding was unforgettable. After waiting our whole lives for that day, it felt almost strange to actually be standing in the midst of it. Chris and I had to keep looking at our rings and telling each other after the ceremony… “Psst, we’re married!!” It seemed too incredible to believe!

We returned from an amazing honeymoon just in time for Thanksgiving (how awesome is that?!) and have been working on getting settled in our home and decorating for Christmas ever since.

As I sit in my new home and type this, I can’t help but think of what an amazing whirlwind this all has been. In those brief moments at the alter, Chris and I declared vows that have changed our lives more than any other words we have ever said. (Besides what we said when we first came to Christ, of course.) When Chris and I were going through our pre-marital counseling with our pastor and his wife, they tried to warn and prepare us for the on-setting changes marriage would bring. To be honest, they blew our minds with the depth of what it really means to join your life with someone… to lay down your life for them, commit no matter what to them, and so many other things. One of the things that I didn’t expect to hear from them was that I should seriously prepare myself for my changed name. They told me that taking on your husband’s name can result in a sort of identity crisis in some women. While I loved writing “Paige Omartian” all over my desk’s Post-it-Notes and notebooks, they were right. There was something scary about loosing the name that had “defined” me all my life. Who is Paige Omartian?? I didn’t know her! The name sounded so foreign… yet it was soon to be mine.

Since I am a nerdy list person, I grabbed my journal one night and began to dissect who this “Paige Omartian” really was. What does she look like? What is she like? How does she carry herself? What does she find important? Questions like these flooded my mind until I spilled out all the things I felt Paige Omartian “should be”. My pen stopped after one description in particular. This was the one my heart had been longing to see. I had written, “Paige Omartian is who Paige Armstrong is destined to be.”

That was it.

That was the answer I had been searching for to give me assurance of this “new person” I was about to become. I already knew that Chris was God’s plan for me, but when I grasped the fact that Paige Omartian was as well… every drop of fear over my new name evaporated and was replaced with the deepest excitement and thrill. This is the name God has given me!

Now, it’s official. I am Paige Omartian. I realize that many of you who have followed my music, speaking, and ministry have gotten to know me by my former name. This is why I wanted to share some of the process with you – to introduce you to the same, but very new me.

There are a lot of things on the horizon right now, and my first book is on the forefront. Currently, it’s in the editing process with my publisher, and is projected to release in the fall of 2012. I will certainly keep you posted during this process and will let you know the official release date as soon as possible.

Oh, and one more thing! Just to make sure we are all starting off on the same foot, let me give you the correct pronunciation of my new last name. (Many people seem to think it rhymes with the little green martians from space!)
It’s pronounced: OH-MAR-TEE-AN.

Ahh. There we go. Much better now. :)

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey as we each seek to live the mission He has called us to. I’m excited about His promised plans for each of us!

Living His Mission,

Paige Omartian

 

My Sleepless Night: Are Our Blessings Traveling In Disguise?

Last night, I told the Lord that I missed Him. I hadn’t gotten to spend as much time with Him the past few days as I would have liked, and I wanted that time to draw near to Him again. I asked Him to bring me back into close communion and to give me special quiet time with Him.

It was late in the evening and I was trying to get some work done, but my brain was shutting down and my eyes were drooping, so I decided to call it a night and head to  bed. Fortunately, I usually don’t have trouble falling asleep or even staying asleep for that matter, so I drifted off to dreamland rather quickly.

At 4:20am, I was woken up by terrible pain in my stomach and a feeling of sickness that made my whole body miserable. I laid


there for a while in hopes that it would just go away, but it only got worse as the minutes went on. I decided to pull myself out of bed and see if I had any medicine or vitamins that would relieve my pain and help me feel better. I took what I found and hoped it would work quickly.

Minutes slowly turned into hours. I was too uncomfortable to read, or even distract myself on the computer, so all I could do was lay there. I began to pray… what started as praying for God to take away my pain turned into prayers about everything. There has been much going on in my life lately that I’ve needed to pray about – prayers for people close to me who are in need, prayers for my own wisdom and guidance, prayers of thanksgiving and reflection. For the first time in a while, I had time to really be alone with my thoughts and the Lord. It wasn’t rushed trying to wrap up my morning devotion to start my day, and it wasn’t cut short by my tiredness at the end of the night when I’m about to fall asleep. It was unhindered time.. it was exactly what I asked for… but certainly not in the way I intended.

Sometimes blessings are the same way. We ask for something good – and then, much to our confusion, something uncomfortable, even terrible happens. What happened to the blessing that we asked for? Doesn’t God want to bless us?
He does… and He did. His ways are not our ways, and He desires to open our eyes to be able to see the answer to our prayers that He has often already given us.

How ironic that when I told God I missed Him and wanted more time with Him – He gave it to me by waking me up in the night with a stomach ache. Perhaps that sounds a little less than desirable… and well, it certainly wasn’t how I had envisioned it. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed.

 

In fact, I still haven’t even gone back to sleep yet… I’m writing this and the sun has already risen. But this time was really precious to me, and my day, my week will be different because of it. My stomach ache was my blessing.

Is there a blessing in your life God is trying to give you that you may be missing? Look closely… it just may be in a clever disguise.

20, I’m ready.

Well hello there 20… it’s funny how you have arrived. In so many ways, I can’t believe you’re here. I always imagined you to come along when I had things together… when I was that older,  mature “woman”. Yet at the same time, I haven’t felt like a teen for so long that it’s nice to finally be an age that better represents how I feel.

Today started a new year in my life. I’m a year older. A year more confident in who You’ve created me to be. It’s a new year for me to step out of my shell and unveil who You’ve created me to be. To further uncover that virtuous, integrity minded and tastefully wild woman that I desire to be…

Father, in this next year, I know there will be victories. And I know there will be losses. But isn’t it when we’re on the ground when we draw the closest to You? I know You’ll be there with me.

Lord Jesus, today is a gift. Not just because I’ve reached this new age, but because You’ve given me life and breath. That alone tells me that You have me on this earth for a reason… You’re not done with me yet. Each breath we take is no accident, but only proves that we still have something amazing to do and live out.

As I step into this new decade, I come before you Lord, and surrender it all. I wouldn’t dare to do this without You. I dedicate this 20th year to You. You’re the only reason I’m here to live it!

Thank you for EVERYTHING You’ve done, and will do. My heart is forever Yours<3

20, I’m ready! Let’s make this count!

“Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26

HELP! I have 20 days left of being a teenager.

Today is May 19th… and I now have only 20 days left of being a teenager! I turn 20 years old on June 9th, 2010.

This realization has sparked quite an array of responses. While a part of me feels as though I’m still only a little girl, another part of me screams that I haven’t felt like a teenager in a very long time.

People call me an “old soul” and usually, I certainly feel like one.

Every year that I grow older, I seem to put a weight and responsibility on whatever new age I’m turning. I find myself determined to raise the bar and rise to the new responsibility that is before me.  I remember the first time I was able to be called a “teen” in a news article… I just about BEAMED with pride! Something about being called “teen” felt sophisticated, dangerous… exciting! (yeah, I was kind of a dork…)

Turning 20, however, feels like a whole other playing field when it comes to a new phase in life. Something about saying “I’m in my 20′s” rings out a new challenge… a new meaning. It floods me with questions like, “What IS expected of a 20 year old?”

So far, I’ve already got the anti-wrinkle cream, and am working to refine my homemaking skills. haha! ;) I’ve seriously been on a kick lately about learning how to cook like my mom (she’s an unofficial chef!), fold clothes perfectly, iron, sew and master other skills of the sort. Not sure why I’m on this tangent, but apparently, those are a few expectations I have for myself as I turn 20!

Really… my question for you right now is, how do I spend my last 20 days as a teen? Is there anything that can only be done now, or is best done as an official teenager? A part of me feels like I need to go sky diving or something crazy… but then again, that just sounds like something I would do before I die! Soo, we’ll save that for later.

Seriously… I have 20 days left of being a teenager. How should I spend them? The floor is open and I want your thoughts! It can be funny, serious… all of the above! I’ll be sure to give a thorough update on the ideas of yours that I choose to do!

When you feel like the Grinch…

Well, it’s Christmas day… and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling with being a Grinch this season.

Okay, so maybe my heart hasn’t been 3 sizes too small… but this year, my family of 12 couldn’t get together for Christmas. Half of us live in Pennsylvania, the other half Tennessee. Granted, with such a big family, there has been many times when one or two of us were missing… but overall, the majority of us would be together. THAT’S what always made Christmas. It didn’t matter what we did, or if we even exchanged gifts. It was just about being together.

With that taken away this year, I think we’ve all been fighting the “bah-humbug” of the holidays. As so much of what I’ve come to know Christmas by has been stripped away or rearranged, I’m brought  back to the one… the only thing.

Christ.

Without the gifts, and yes… even without family… it’s STILL Christmas.

Christ IS Christmas! Do we really understand and believe that? I know it’s taken a lot of rearranging in my heart to make room for that idea and be content with it. Because frankly, I love the trimmings the culture has put on Christ’s birthday. They make it to be all about the gift infested, tree-lit, tradition strung, magically romantic and heart warming family time. Which is great… but THAT’S not Christmas.

 

 

In fact, the first Christmas happened without any of those. And here’s the beautiful PURPOSE:

Christ came because we couldn’t get to Him. HE had to come to US.

When there was no other way in this dark and desperate world, He gave it ALL up… the Heavens, His throne, His power… becoming vulnerable in the form of a little baby. He came to US!

That just takes my breath away. THAT’S the romance that is magical to me this season. I was rescued on this day many years ago. And so were you.

So Merry Christmas loved one! No matter how much of a Grinch you may feel… THIS is the day that you were rescued. It’s CHRISTMAS day!