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#DearMama-Meet Christine

#DearMama-Meet Christine

We're winding down the series and I'm still in awe of my amazing friends. This mama is no exception, I think we met on IG years ago (we connected on a mutual friends page in the comment section I believe) We hit off from there and began have girl time in the form of Bible Study at Panera. When I first met Christine she was just starting out on her walk with Christ and to see her maturity not only as a woman but in her faith as well is so amazing. Fast forward a few years, a move to Hawaii (for me) and Los Angeles (for her), different trials, some victories, a husband and a baby (coming soon!) later and here we are. Friends meet one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out, Christine.

Best moment of pregnancy so far

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
— Psalms 127:3 ESV

There are many experiences within my pregnancy I had no idea would come. Including what became one of the best moments of motherhood. There was no previous wisdom or understanding of what it would feel like when my child would give me their first noticeable movement. I had no other way of describing what my child's first movement was going to be like. In the moment when I first felt my child's movement, I was struck with joy and awe. It is by the will of God that women are blessed to carry life inside of them. It took a great deal of pleasure and gratefulness that I was now able to bond ever further with my child. I'll never forget how I heard from other moms about the experience of feeling your child move for the first time. I didn't know what that feeling would be like and when it happened in my pregnancy, it was my own experience. My child was going to move based on how he felt. Based on what affected my child and what he was responding to at the time.

Over the course of my second trimester, the movements began from little flutters to little pops, to now being strong squirms,  pushes, head pushed up against my stomach, fingers moving across and close to my belly button, and little toes against my ribs. To have a baby inside of me has been different every time I feel a movement. When I don't, I know he is sleeping or just calm in his activities, and I find myself smiling that I carry him wherever I go. It seems that feeling my child move so much in me has been one of my favorite moments with him.

Anytime I can have the energy and passion for singing, I do, and I sing to him. I like to waste no time in letting him hear my voice. Anytime I have the obedience and fear of the LORD to read scriptures, I make our time in Psalms so that the truth blesses us both. Anytime I can touch my stomach, I am blessed by his interaction with me. What I experience inside my womb makes me feel exquisite and my heart grows with tenderness and care.

It's now springtime and I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and I have found myself waking up to him leaving his place from being head down to laying across my womb. He managed to find a resting nook with his head laid on my left side with the rest of his body curled to the right. If I move to lay on my back or right side—he would move rather more as though I was sensing this was not what he wanted. As I moved back to my right side, a few moments later, his movements subside as though he would rather it be this way. I laid awake at 4 am wondering was I that aware of his needs? Was I being silly? But he was still. Whether I've acutely picked up on what he needs or not, this would prepare me for the needs he'll have after his birth.

How does faith play into your pregnancy and becoming a mother

When I found out I was pregnant, I was not immediately struck by joy or awe. I was not excited and I was in disbelief. I stayed quiet the night I found out I was pregnant and woke up the next day filled with doubt, fear, and anger. I got pregnant on my wedding night and nothing we did to prevent being pregnant could have caused God to let His will be done. There was Providence and I had yet to accept that. That bothered me for some time. I was not thinking about aborting my child, but I did have the heart of an abortionist. I saw my child as a burden and threat to my will. I knew I had to stop letting my feelings get the best of me but I could not find joy within the first few weeks of my pregnancy. We were financially struggling, we had a short-term mission trip to Haiti coming up, and we both wanted to be married, alone, without the responsibility of a child. I had plans and dreams for a career and life I wanted. It was about me and that self-centeredness was going up against a new life. Everything in me was selfish and it was being exposed right before my eyes.

I began to feel the weight of guilt and shame. I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant for a long time. I wanted my husband, Joey and me to keep it to ourselves and we did. How could I be a mother? I knew I couldn't live thinking and feeling this way any longer. The truth was somewhere in my being, because of the Spirit reminding me that our child is a blessing. 

He who sends mouths, will send meat, if we trust in him.
— Matthew Henry

The beauty of it all was that I had the help of God to grieve and lament. I found that faith in Him was doing the work throughout my deception, the hearing of lies, and feeling my will slip away. I had losses and I need to grieve over them. But I had so much more to gain and a life I never imagined at the age of 30, was now being handed to me with grace and provision to a place I was being guided to.

Faith in God led me to have my heart of an abortionist be transformed to a woman receiving my child. I became more thankful rather than resentful, pleased by God's will rather than my own, and I was seeking Him rather than my own desires to hide from Him. It took many tears without commentary, many ways of verbally expressing without tears in letting Him know all that was laid on my heart and mind. At this point of my grieving, I was submitting further and finding my desire and radical need to lament. My lamentations gave me relief and a deep sense of God being with me. I felt His comfort, confidence, and acknowledgment of my grief. 

The moment I found confidence in Him to be a mom, I felt the reassurance of my faith strengthening and courage with going forward with my kingdom being destroyed. Faith needs to be important when you become a mom. Without it, we walk blindly and depend on ourselves. 

When I was in Haiti, I experienced dependence on God in deeper ways and I was utterly wrecked by it. It left me vulnerable and I even had to rely more on my husband and the people I was with. Every day had its own battles of morning sickness, emotions, and yet I cradled my belly with so much love for the knowledge that I knew I was growing deeper in love with our baby. Faith was definitely at work with bringing me from distrust and angst to trusting our Provider.

Hopes and wishes for baby

My hope for our son is to be as scripture says, "a reward." The weight of raising a son in this day and culture is not something I can water down. To raise a son is more than I can even fathom, so I will always need God, my husband, and our community in this. Each day will present its own challenges and joys. What I know is that according to God's glory, I have a call to present my son the Gospel and to pray for a teachable heart. Not just for myself but for him, too. As I mature and walk in faith, I need our son to see the brokenness and beauty. I would not want to hide our son from the brokenness of his parents or the world. Yet, with wisdom and humility, I hope we can be leaders and teachers admonishing him, guiding him, and helping him with his growing understanding and view of the world he will live in. 

I have to rely on our community and trust God that He has given to us a gift and He is sovereign. Being a mom so far has already given me a glimpse of what life will be like when he is born. When he's in my arms to when he takes his first steps, responds to his name, calls me mama, or wraps his soft little arms around my neck—all very good things to look forward to—I hope that loving God and loving people will come to fruition in his early days. 

We are part of the body of Christ in Los Angeles, and our city is broken just like any other place. I would like for my son to know God is with Him, God loves Him, and his God is a personal God. We gave him the name Ilias not just for us to be reminded that "Yahweh is my Lord" but that he would know it, too. I pray for our son, Ilias will be a reward as we live to serve him, not just for us but for God and those who will come to know and love him.

I was so honored when Christine let me know that she was introducing her sons name here first, and with a name like that and a mama like her, he is already so blessed. I'm constantly in awe of how amazing this motherhood journey is, and how God uses each one of us purposefully in our children's lives and in the lives of our mama friends. If you want to keep up with this amazing mama and her journey as she embarks on one of the most beautiful phases of life, click below ♥

Instagram @christine.reyes

 

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