There was love. There was marriage. There were dreams. And then suddenly, there was her.
She was absolutely part of the “original plan”, but maybe not in this timeline? Our exhilarating city life - skyline view downtown loft, intense day jobs and after hours events, dinner parties and Sunday brunches with friends - no longer fit. We had imagined space and stability before beginning our family. But there she was, the ultimate disruption, bringing with her sweet presence months of illness and discomfort, shifting priorities and putting all else on hold.But amidst all the change, a new dream was born. No longer was I dreaming for myself; I was dreaming for her. Although my previous years had been filled with independence, missionary work, and beautiful relationships, she sparked something new. She stretched my heart for the first time beyond myself, challenging me to consider another “self.” I had said yes to giving her life, yet here she was, giving life back to me.House of Royals would not be here if it weren’t for her. Just as suddenly as my daughter arrived, so did the idea for a mission-based company - a movement, really - that had never been done before. An “aha” of a company.As I sat rocking her and looking into her needy face with my exhausted yet loving gaze, my heart ached and I wondered, “How can I communicate her royalty to her? If she’s anything like me, she’s never really going to grasp it.”It was this prayer that inspired my dream for House of Royals. This prayer wasn’t just for my sweet daughter; it was for every daughter and son of the King. How could I do my part in surrounding her and every child with home decor, fashion, accessories, and more importantly, family, friends, community, that show them their royal birthright as a child of God, their claim to an ages long inheritance of deep inner beauty and grace, that they could access for free? My new dream finally came to life as three more children joined in on the excitement, in September 2019, and we are just getting started.
The ultimate disruption...
Then, in early January, when life still seemed a bit “normal” for everyone (can you even remember “normal life”?), a certain pregnant celebrity delivered a gut-wrenching speech at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards.(If you aren’t familiar with it, this beautiful, talented woman held her award tenderly above her womb while expressing deep gratitude that she’d employed her woman's right to choose over the years, ie. choosing key projects and a successful career over earlier pregnancies and babies, so that today she could proudly receive acclaim for her hard work, and choose to have her current child on her own terms and in her own timing. She drove home that she was grateful to God for this choice, and that as a voting body, women should make this country look "more like us".)
My heart shook. I contemplated the thought of having let go of any one of my children, at any given moment, for the sake of my career. I weighed the true complexity of that choice...against each of their lives. And I knew, almost immediately, that when I had been presented with that choice, I had laid down my career, and not the life of my daughter. I am not "proud" of that choice, really. Honestly, it didn't feel like my choice to make at that point in the choosing. The choice I'd made was earlier - intimacy with a person I love. Either way, now that another person's life was growing within me, I couldn't imagine why my personal power to choose would somehow bear more weight than hers to live. However, still, I was also again rocked with deep empathy for women in impossible circumstances, without the support of a loving partner or with pressure for this culture’s version of success from every side. I have known the shock of what I see as poor timing, and I have known the hardships of pregnancy. I can make space in my mind and heart for women faced with the direst circumstances, who feel the only choice is obvious, and almost made for them...As I took to social media to process my heartache, yet lacking the words to share my position of compassion, Leah Darrow set out to inspire millions with her #BabiesandDreams hashtag and empowering Instagram post - from the hospital bed where she was literally in labor with her 5th child!This was the answer: the #BabiesandDreams movement!I wanted to cry out...House of Royals, my biggest “career dream” in life, hadn’t even occurred to me until I gave life to my daughter. Perhaps there are millions of unrealized dreams and successes because the other choice has been made. “It’s a lie!” I wanted to tell women... "You don’t have to choose one or the other." You can permit yourself to undergo the current, temporary pain for the unexpected plot twist blessing...because it will come! So, I joined Leah in sharing my story, witnessing to a different outcome...a choice of hope in possibility of future goodness. Babies and dreams are not as opposed as we assume...sometimes they evenspark our biggest dreams.
The divine irony...
Somehow, the moment after I pushed "post" on my Instagram caption for #BabiesandDreams, I felt an odd sensation bubble up in my heart. “Oh no,” I thought, “There’s no way that - no, that’s impossible.” Yet something inside me justknew. Sure enough, two familiar little blue lines stared up unmistakably at us: (can you guess it?)pregnant. I laughed out loud at the irony. Here I am swearing by "babies and dreams" while facing that surprise all over again. And it was those two blue lines that now invited us to grab hold of our courage once more and lean into the truth we’d been sharing.Just as our first little girl showed up at what seemed like an inconvenient time, this time too felt impossibly daunting, with months of school ahead for four other siblings and multiple creative projects planned months in advance. We were in a pivotal time of entrepreneurship, yet we were now confronted by new grace laid out before us: a fifth season of baby life.A surprise pregnancy does shake our plans and schedules. We have had to make way for this tiny human and let a lot of things go.It's okay to wrestle. It takes courage. But what matters is that we strive to willingly lay down our dreams at Jesus' feet and hope that what His Grace brings out of it will prepare us for the next, better dream. Let’s be honest: I was shocked, and I wrestled, AGAIN! (You’d think I’d be used to it by now?!) I knowa lot of women can relate to this. Women in poverty, teen moms, or those without the support of their partners, and also women in happy marriages who are open, but hoping for a bit of spacing.It took a long time to recognize that there doesn’t have to be a choice between our babies and our dreams.In the end, since I believe in a Love greater than my small love, surrendering the “perfect” timing and circumstances has blessed me with the ability to lay down my life for a person outside of myself. And that's an incredible gift. A gift called LOVE.Someone needs to give mothers an award forthat.Xoxo,Christina