Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

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Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Friday, December 15, 2006

a beautiful thing, and things I didn't expect

First, Matt bought a cd of Byzantine Hymns from the Great Feasts at church on Sunday, and as we were listening to it, I was really struck by the beauty of the words of this hymn for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:

"The Cross is the guardian of the whole earth; the Cross is the beauty of the Church. The Cross is the strength of kings; the Cross is the support of the faithful. The cross is the glory of angels and the wonder of demons.
Today the Cross is exalted and the world is sanctified. For Thou who art enthroned with the Father and the Holy Spirit hast spread Thine arms upon it, and drawn the world to knowledge of Thee, O Christ. Make worthy of divine glory those that have put their trust in Thee."

Maybe what struck me most is the picture of the Cross as our Guardian...very cool.

Second, I've been trying to write some/think some about all the changes that have taken place in my life over the last three weeks. To be totally honest, I'm surprised at how difficult it's been. It seems like every time I try to write something, I get all choked up and nothing comes out quite the way I want it to--I really didn't expect that.
So, what I have managed to do is make a list of things I didn't expect about giving birth and having a baby, and am continually adding to it. It's quite extensive, really. Anyway, here's a few for you to laugh (or cry, which is what I did) at:

1. I didn't expect to feel so hollowed out and so full all at once. After nine months of the Holy Spirit crafting a brand-new person inside you day and night, I think it's only natural to feel a little bit empty when it suddenly stops. But I didn't expect to need to be close to my baby as much as I do, and I didn't expect that my body would ache for him so much. It's certainly not a feeling of "loss", but it is kind of a lonely feeling to not have him so close to me anymore. Luckily, (2) nursing is perfectly designed for this, since newborns eat more than a grown man--and is perhaps my most unexpected delight (thanks to my friends Renee and Denise, who were kind enough to get us latched on...literally. You guys are so, so awesome! I can't thank you enough!). There is, without a doubt, no greater joy in the world than to give life to a child--and to continually offer your body to them to give them life. It's incredibly beautiful, and produces the most powerful emotions you'll ever feel.
3. I didn't expect to love him so fiercely. The pains of labor are so intense, so overpowering--and you know, they don't stop after the birth, they just move from your womb to your heart. I didn't expect that. Maybe I just truly underestimated the love of a mother for her children. It truly does turn you into a life-giving machine, you know? Another dirty diaper, another midnight awakening--all the demands just kind of fade into the background, because I'd gladly give him so much more if I could.
4. I didn't expect to be slightly disappointed at fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes a week after he was born. Not disappointed in the sense that I wish it wasn't so, I guess, and I say this at the risk of receiving lots of hate e-mail--but, birth is such a HUGE moment, such a beautiful thing, and without a doubt the most life-altering event's almost a little bit offensive to my soul that my body healed so quickly--it doesn't even seem to remember it, while the rest of me is still reeling from the wonder of it all, and just trying to catch up. I think I'd feel better if I had some war wounds, or something...:-)

Anyway, that's all for now.

Comments on "a beautiful thing, and things I didn't expect"


Blogger DeeDee said ... (December 18, 2006 12:05 PM) : 

So beautifully put, Erin. I too, feel hollowed out and filled up after birth. As a new mother, the nursing couch is the only place where I am at peace and relaxed.
Thank you for being so sweet, but I did so little in actually helping you start nursing...I mostly stood by and was terribly concerned that you & that tiny boy be as happy and contented as possible.
Don't let it disturb you if you can't see the signs of this soul-shaking event in your physical appearance. I am certain that there are some subtle differences in your outward appearance that you may not realize. By this I mean your new motherhood is a warmth that comes from deep within. Thoughts, emotions, purpose are geared differently now. It shows in your eyes, your touch and your care for your baby.
And yes, you should thank your lucky stars that you can fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans, missy! ;-) I only have one pair of "mom jeans" that fit and my baby is almost 8 months old!


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