Loving Her Well

“Do you love me?” say the blue grey eyes of my 12 week old daughter, Asha, as she stares at me. I respond, “We’ve been doing this for a while, haven’t we my love?” Her playful gaze is endless, as she examines my face like a little scientist. In an instant she flashes me the smile she has been practicing in her sleep since her time began. At bed time she tells me her secrets through coos and babbles, before she drifts off to sleep. We are deeply attached, attuned to each other, if one is off so is the other. Although our journey together has only just begun I feel like I’ve known her my whole life.

Loving her has brought a new completeness to my heart. While I’m in a season where I am giving more of myself than ever before, I’m brimming with joy. There is nothing I’ve found more fulfilling than being a mother and loving my daughter well. Coming from a women who swore against having babies, fearing the commitment, these changes bring surprise. My daughter has derailed my life in the most wonderful way.

Something in my heart has shifted and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve been told that when you have a baby, your world changes and eventually you will forget what life was like before. Chris and I have had many conversations baring this concept of our life before Asha, we agree both hold goodness. There was freedom when it was just us, our days flexed around work schedules and outside hobbies. Now we respond to feeding times, diaper changes and nap times. Things have changed. Our apartment never seems to be in order, dishes pile up high and our poor dogs have suddenly become second fiddle, all at the stance of tiny baby. It’s a delightful mess.

A few weeks ago in a plea for help, I asked my mother in law to come over and help me clean my house. Something I’d never asked for, even just months before Asha was born. Pride would dare me to hold it together.  Instead I’m suddenly apologizing for tardiness to meetings because my daughter had a blowout right before I left the house or excusing myself for crying during a daycare walk through.

Recognizing my need for support is deep in this season, letting others in to listen, pray, help me pick up my house or watch my daughter. I’ve felt the wind of God lift my sails to return to recovery work in hopes of deeper restoration on multiple levels. For the first time since I can recall my heart is totally present and vibrant to live fully alive. I’m compelled to dream again after a long season of personal bewilderment and trials at Restore One. I’m letting my heart believe again as we face the impossible of opening The Anchor House.

There is completeness to this season that has facilitated freedom growing larger within my heart.

While finishing this entry I got a call from my mother in law, saying Asha wont stop crying and asking if I want her to be brought home. Knowing she received her vaccinations today, I’m assuming she just wants her mommy and the comfort only I can bring. Within minutes my time to write will be over until she goes to bed and by then I will likely be too exhausted to finish. These are the complexities of holding the weight of love, cultivating space for her to grow and flourish, while I let others hold my heart, too. At the end of the day it will all be well, as I watch her peacefully drift off to sleep, knowing there is a greater God working on behalf of both of us, whose love shepherds my heart to love her well.

Anna SmithAnna is passionate, a lover of God and sunrises. She is a wanna be poet and pour over coffee connoisseur. And in her garden she grows Drift Roses (of all things). She is a Master Level Social Worker and a 200 Registered Yoga Teacher. In 2012, along with her husband Chris, she co-founded Restore One, an anti-trafficking ministry that serves men and boys. Journeying through her own recovery process, she understands that healing is a painful yet beautiful path we must take to receive freedom. Anna believes healing is possible for everyone. Anna enjoys throwing pottery, writing and teaching yoga and spending time with Chris.