Rachel's guest post

Hello, friend! Today I am welcoming Rachel Shewmaker to my doorstep. She is talking about beauty from the perspective of a mother of three and the recognition of being fearfully made. Please welcome Rachel and visit her blog!

I watched her watching me. Her little, dimpled hand stroking my cheek, tracing the outline of my eyes and pinching my chin. She wasn’t judging me. She wasn’t critical of the wrinkles beginning to form around my mouth or the ever present lack of sleep bags under my eyes. She didn’t care that I had no makeup on or that my hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. Our eyes met with love and tenderness and we both soaked in it for a while.

I never thought I would be nursing a two year old, yet there we sat, sprawled out over me enjoying her pre-breakfast snack, me fumbling for my coffee trying to free my arm from her crocheted and very loved blankie. The truth is, I was done with breastfeeding about six months ago, and I even told her that, but she had other plans. Who was I to argue?

She is baby #3 and probably our last. There are twelve and half years between the oldest and the youngest with a six year old right in the middle. I feel like I have been a mom for a long time. My body feels like it has been a mom for a long time.

Our oldest son, 14 ½ years old, is adopted, so while I can’t claim I carried him and delivered him into this world, I can claim part of my body belongs to him, many parts belong to him.  My hand holding his as we walked around the park, my arms that held him and rocked him when he just didn’t understand, my lap that he sat in while I read him all his Thomas the Train books, my knees that hit the ground every night as I prayed for his adoption to be final. So maybe I didn’t give birth to him but he has left his mark on my body.

Our middle son, 6 years old, has the honor of being my first pregnancy.  For nine months I watched my body change and felt it being overtaken by someone I hadn’t even met. Each week there was a “something new your baby is doing” blurb to read about – a new organ forming or growth spurt happening.  My pregnancy was textbook, I was grateful and actually enjoyed it.

There was still morning sickness, aches and pains, insomnia, heartburn and all the blood work and doctor’s appointments (ugh) but it was all manageable. Then we learned, about a month from our due date, that we needed a c-section. My dream of my body and mind working together to deliver this perfect baby was broken and at 39 weeks two days I underwent surgery in order to welcome our healthy baby boy.  Recovery was hard and painful, and I have a scar and phantom pains that still linger.

Our youngest and first daughter just turned two! My pregnancy and c-section were very similar to my experiences with her younger brother – maybe even a bit easier because it was the second time around.  My recovery was longer, being a mom of three at that point, there was little time for an actual recovery.  This girl, she has claimed ownership of everything that is me.  Co-sleeping, bathing, walking, nursing, peeing (I mean, let’s be honest), there is nothing I do that doesn’t belong to her.

As a mom, you are called to sacrifice part of who you are so you can help them become who He has designed them to be.  But just like your children, YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made, beautiful in His sight with a crown of beauty instead of ashes.  I struggle daily to find who I am apart from the three beauties that call me their mom.  I gently fight to reclaim my body.

Motherhood has molded me physically and emotionally, but I am more than a mom and I need to remember what that looks like.

My arms will still be here to hold and comfort them, my hands will still hold theirs, my ears will still listen, my eyes will still watch and my mouth will still tell them I love them. But, I will reclaim my body for me, and one day I will look at myself with joy and confidence because His “…works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Rachel's headshot

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel and I am very excited to be a guest today! Jennifer’s series on women and  beauty spoke to my heart, and I am humbled and honored to share with you today.
A little about myself – I am a follower of Jesus, a wife to a very patient man and a mom to three delightful characters. Working full time inside and outside of the home I often struggle with balance, patience and purpose. I am on a constant search for the JOY in all the uncertainty that life brings. Check out my blog, 30 o’CLOCK, for some words of encouragement, laughter, faith, and a bit of crazy.

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