Awakened

Julie, Tony, and little Bear in Kommetjie when baba was 2.5 weeks old.

In this month's Team Thoughts blog, Julie shares a bit about her journey into motherhood. Bear Malloy Barwick was born in Cape Town on August 23, 2017 at 3:03 am. According to Julie, Tony, and every other parent ever, life hasn't been the same since.


In April 2016, God gave me a word for my next birthday, my 3rd decade. 

Awakening.

Little did I know how long or hard the season would be. 18 months in total. But despite long, despite hard, it was a rewarding journey.

I sat in a coffee shop, armed with my journal, a C.S. Lewis book, and an Americano, and my mind didn’t even begin to fathom that a baby boy would eventually be the cherry on top of it all—the finale to what felt like a marathon of relational and spiritual tension.

A new thing happened this time. I was at peace in the tension. I didn’t enjoy it, of course, but I knew it was meant to be. “Why fight the inevitable?” I reckoned. So there I was—more content than I’d ever been amidst a difficult time.

Maybe it was my own helplessness that got me there. Perhaps I knew that the struggle was fleeting and that things would come right in the end. That God is, after all, good and in control. 

I don’t have the perfect words to describe what took root in the deep parts of my spirit that morning. It’s as if intuition finally kicked in. A knowing, a firm faith. Performance/strife/perfection—even the spiritual kinds—started to dissolve, and the freedom that Jesus talked about filled the empty spaces. It was a divine experience.

In the Ashtanga yoga practice, teachers describe a similar happening. It's said that through breath work and postures, the yogi creates an internal body heat that burns away negative imprints. After the fire subsides, lovelier things can take root and grow. 

I’ve always found the parallel fascinating:

Breath --> Breath of Life
Fire --> All Consuming Fire
Negative Imprints --> e.g. Performance, Strife, Perfection
Lovelier Things --> e.g. Intuition, Faith, Freedom

This process, it’s an awakening to the Truth. And after moving through it, I’m convinced that apart from divine intervention, some imprints simply cannot be shed. The way through hurts. It burns. It's good.

Every Ashtanga practice ends with a surrendered bow. Then with the final pose: savasana, also called resting pose, dead man’s pose, or corpse pose.

Exactly. To be awakened means to rest, to surrender, to die to the old self.

The way to life is through death. I still don’t fully understand this concept, and unlike the past, I’m not desperately trying to figure it out. Instead, I’m simply enjoying watching it come to life before me, knowing that the revelation has more faces than I have years.

In April 2016, I said yes to the process because of the promise of awakening. At the time, I didn’t know I was saying yes to the fire—to old things burning away, dying. But that’s what it became—what it’s becoming. Many little acts of letting go, all tied laterally along the same thread.

The reward waiting at the end of the road was better than anything out of my wildest dreams. Freedom. Unfading freedom. Life. Life to the full. A new life, too.

I hope that Bear will be nothing less than much better versions of Tony and myself. Since his conception, we've been praying into and speaking about his destiny. Our ceiling, his floor.

It’s been said 1,000 times. Motherhood is both the hardest and the best thing a woman can do. The last 8 weeks have felt like a dream, and the days seem to be quickly fleeting. Life is more precious now. Because of my son, everyone and everything seems more important.

I have a desire to seize moments like never before. I want to squeeze my husband and tell him how much I love him. I want to relish and remember all of the sounds, smells, and sleepless nights of my newborn. I want to tell the odd stranger that he/she is valued. I want to love and forgive and be joyful.

Bear has taught me so much already—probably more than he’ll ever know.