Mother's Day is this Sunday and I have been reflecting on the journey of motherhood for weeks now, fulfilling gift orders for so many sweet mamas and grandmas out there. I love hearing the stories from mommies about the special names for their little ones, or the way their own mothers have inspired them and how deeply the bond of love is as a mom. But one story in particular stopped me in my tracks last week and I am so grateful I get to share it with you. It's a beautiful and sentimental reminder of the fact that motherhood is a gift. It's messy, frustrating, humbling and hard-beyond-words but it is the greatest gift imaginable - and on days like Mother's Day it's nice to be reminded just what a blessing the trials really are.
So I'd like to introduce you to Lauren Schoeny. She is a fellow maker and grateful mama. Here is her story in her very own words:
Hi my name is Lauren Schoeny and this is my story of my journey into Motherhood.
My husband and I had been married for a little bit over a month when I became pregnant. That wasn't exactly the plan, but sometimes God's plan is different than ours. The pregnancy news took some getting used to, but we were thrilled nonetheless. Everything was going good until six months into the pregnancy. The doctor found an abnormal growth in our precious baby’s lungs. The doctor said, “let's check back in a month and see how everything is looking.” We came back a month later and the growth was still there.
There was a tumor in our son’s lung and the only option was surgery. Mind you, we were living on the island of Kauai, beautiful vacation spot, but not the best medical options. So the doctor pulls us into this room, basically a cry room and tells us, “your baby has a rare tumor in his lung. Its called a Bronchopulmonary Sequestration, he will have to have surgery on Oahu.” My husband is trying to hold back the tears, as I’m balling thinking, “WHAT? BRONCHO WHAT? “
As you can imagine, my husband and I were devastated. I was in complete shock I didn't know how to react. I was angry, sad, and heart broken. I asked why? Why God? Why would you let something like this happen? What's the purpose? Here I am thinking, “I wasn’t ready to be a mom, and now you throw me this curveball.“WHAT ARE YOU THINKING LORD, I’M NOT THAT STRONG.”
But as I sought comfort in His Word, He gave me this verse; “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) In that moment, I felt His presence in a way I never had before. I finally stopped asking why and put my COMPLETE faith in God. That's when he began to move in my heart and in our lives. I felt him saying “Trust me, Trust me and my name will be glorified through this trial.” During the pregnancy, God opened the door for us to move from Kauai to California. He provided a job opportunity in San Diego for my husband, the chance to deliver our son at Loma Linda Children's Hospital and housing with my parents who lived close by which helped with finances (as my husband didn’t work for three months prior). Everything seemed to fall into place, down to the tiniest details. The Lord totally paved the way for us.
I was monitored closely for the remainder of my pregnancy because the tumor was growing at every monthly checkup. We met with surgeons, had a tour of the NICU and were ready for surgery when the baby was born. Delivery day arrived and there were more medical staff in the delivery room than I could count. Nurses, doctors, techs, you name it. We had a few short minutes with our precious baby boy and then the doctors took him to run tests and prep for surgery. The time seemed to last forever during those few hours they were checking our son. But when they brought him back, they said, “All vitals are at 100% and we can’t find the tumor.” The tumor was miraculously gone!!! In that moment my heart was overwhelmed with so much joy! And I couldn't help but cry and be amazed at God's faithfulness. Our son was born and he was born perfectly healthy!
Two years later, I'm blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and spend all my time with our miracle, Mason. I love that being a mom is my full-time job. Its not always easy, but it is worth it. Since becoming a mother it seems like there is never enough time, especially for myself!
One way that I’m able to relax is by being creative. Ever since I was a little girl I have enjoyed crafting, in every sense of the word. So I started an Etsy shop, Ello Love Designs. A place where I could make things I love and share them with people I love. Currently my Etsy shop features a fine selection of baby blankets, handcrafted macrame wall hangings, dream catchers, wood burnt art, and jewelry!
God is the driving force behind all I do; whether it’s as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, or business owner. Miracles still do happen! God knows why you are going through the season you are going through. Trust Him, in all circumstances. When you place your trust in God, He moves mountains!
-Lauren Schoeny [Instagram @the_schoeny_adventure]
I found Lauren by her craft, one of her beautiful wood burnings hangs in my daughters room. I tagged her in a picture of it that I posted on Instagram and basically we became friends in a matter of minutes. This is the kind of heart you find in handmade makers. We are attached to the things we make, we are personally invested in them. When someone else shows an affection for them or an appreciation for them, our hearts are united. So naturally I had a few more questions for Lauren, and here is what she had to say:
Z|W: What is the inspiration behind your designs and/or craft?
Ello Love Designs: Jesus is the inspiration behind everything I do. I find inspiration in the world he created. I love handmade gifts and the sentiment it brings. Every piece is made with love.
Z|W: How long have you been crafting and how we're you introduced to the skill sets you use?
Ello Love Designs: I have always been very creative. Growing up my grandma taught me to sew and I proceeded to explore in many other creative avenues such as wood burning, sewing and jewelry making. I love creating anything and everything.
Z|W: Why do you think it is important to support handmade craft versus manufactured mass-produced goods?
Ello Love Designs: It's important to support handmade because each piece is made by somebody with a story. It's not produced by a robot but a real person with a real story. And when you take part in that you become part of their story. And impact the artisans life in more ways than one.
Z|W: What is some advice you would pass on to other artisans looking to start their own craft-based business?
Ello Love Designs: Don't do it because you want to make a buck, do it because you love what you do.