The deepest part of the night…

I’ve always known that there was a reason that darkness has a power. Some of the scariest, loneliest, and worst moments of my life have happened in whispers and cajoles and darkness. 

For too long in my life, the power of the darkness swayed me. It convinced me that it was the ultimate truth. Those insidious voices that only pointed out the bad in me and others. That deeply uncomfortable fear that nothing happening in the darkness would ever come into the light. 

My walk with Christ has pointed out that as a lie. Everything comes into the light eventually, which makes me feel both happy and incredibly sad. To know that at some point every element of my darkness will be held screaming and bellowing under the weight of God’s judging light-filled hand, it sometimes makes me feel breathless and afraid. 

But. Jesus. 

So much of my life I’ve tried to depend on me. I like to feel secure in the rationality and intellectualism that goes on in my head. I like to turn away from emotions and blame them when I’ve done or said something I wish I hadn’t or shouldn’t or didn’t really mean. 

But. Jesus. 

He has already stepped into those gaps for me. The one between my emotionalism and my rationalism, He’s granted me His spirit and ensured that I’m never completely alone in my moments of weakness. If anything, I’m more connected to Him because I feel less secure in my own abilities. The one between God’s judging hand and my eternity, He’s there with His perfection and His blood. It’s what He promised when I put my hope in Him and what He’s done. 

I’m actually a bit glad for the darkness now. It highlights how clearly I need Jesus to be in my gaps. Because my weaknesses and the depths of my darkness is never outside of His reach. 

Hiatus

So.

I’m going to keep it simple today. I’m going to be honest.

My heart has been on hiatus. A break of sorts. Hiding. Healing. Restoring.

Last summer, I started my way through the heat growing more and more pregnant and wondering how my life could be so blessed.

Then the summer ended with shots fired and everything changed.

I watched my grandpa curl himself away in grief and illness. I watched my grandma shrink even more. I listened to my siblings cry and my kids ask uncomfortable and challenging questions.

I’ve pulled away from all the pouring out I was doing. I’ve channelled my big, public story into a small, private battle.

And in too many ways, I’ve felt like doing so was failing. Like not living like a beacon of change meant I had become useless to God. I’ve wrestled with hardness. Balked at my own legalistic, rigid and false hopes. I’ve reached for God and felt little. 

But. Four years ago, Clay and I embarked on a life changing moment. We fessed up and walked forward in faith.

And it led me here. To this private place of quiet and away from the public recognition of my walk. God has not left me alone or in isolation. He has gifted me godly and kind friends to walk with me.

He is taking my off my high horse. Simplifying my hopes and expectations. Helping me to get back to empathy and feeling and not letting me live only in my head.

And he’s given me people. Not as many as I had 1.5 years ago. But he’s given me real, raw, in the trenches relationships. People I can honor with my words and my heart. People I can lift up because I see them. And sometimes I’m the only one looking.

And I’m finding that maybe, it is enough. I am enough. Because Jesus is more. Always more. And my hope is in Him.

So. In light of my darkness, I am truly and spectacularly blessed.

When the fog clears…

When I was young, my favorite mornings were foggy ones. I loved the stillness and heaviness and isolation. I still do, but I don’t see many foggy mornings these days.

I’m usually arms deep in dishes, diapers, and laundry. I’m also frequently bundled up on the couch with a baby or toddler or both.

That fog that’s nice when it’s clinging to the grass is far less pleasant as a mental barrier.

I shared a bit recently about my depression. I’ve always been thankful that while my periods of depression are often intense and impairing, they don’t linger for long. This isn’t true for everyone or even most that struggle with depression.

As a lover of learning, I’m always trying to know more and look deeper. Sometimes I wander to far and sometimes not far enough. But this season of mental fog is starting to clear, and I’m finding the balance between my extremes again.

My God given friend, Lisa, is highly skilled at staying in the balanced spot of my extremes. She knows how to talk the monsters of perfectionist, approval junkie, and overthinker down from the ledge and she’s great at finding ways to give me a boost by pointing out things I’m good at. I value her greatly, and she’s done more than she’ll ever know in this season of my life.

In my extremes, I get a foggy brain and foggy emotions. I get too still, too weighed down, too isolated. It’s where I’ve been for months now and sometimes it’s been scary. I’ve been afraid of losing myself, of falling down forever, of throwing away my progress. I’ve been afraid to be vulnerable and afraid to be real.

But my people, the few cherished and loved people, who look at me and know me and show me over and over again that my value is not in what I achieve, not in what I excell in, not in what I manage to do well. My value is in being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, and an accountability partner.

The fog always cleared away quickly under the business of the day. As the world awakened and did the business of reconnecting, the fog grew thin and dissipated.

My husband, my friends, my mom, my sister. These are my people. They are there when the fog is thick, and they are there when the fog clears.

God has given me so many things to be thankful for and so many things to find strength from. And all of these things point to Him.

The fog is something I cannot always control, but He is a God that intimately knows the voice of the wind, and He knows just where it’s needed to bring the light back in and sweep away the fog.

The night before…

Mother’s Day.

Despite the fact that I have three children of my own, my husband still has to remind me that this holiday is for me too. I laugh because he’s right, and I forget.

I still see it as a day to honor my mom and grandparents, and sometimes I feel like I have to be older to claim a right to it. But I’m starting to see that maybe a piece of being a mom is in never really feeling like we deserve the holiday.

I just spent hours doing an annual self evaluation with my mom. Neither of us knew it would happen before the conversation started but we sure knew it part way in.

I’m introspective. Too far sometimes. I wander in the depths of my psyche to places I have no business or reason to go to. But I sometimes do, and I sometimes need a helping hand back to the light.

Tonight I needed it. She provided it. Even though she was tired and had little left to give, she gave it to me. She always has when she could see I needed it.

I’ll surprise you all by keeping it short tonight.

I’m grateful. For my mom and all the broken moms back to Eve that have raised and loved broken people. I’m grateful that God chose me, chose my husband, and then gifted me my children because He saw fit to include me in this line of life bearers, life givers. I’m grateful for all those mothering hearts that choose people who don’t share their blood to give themselves to because motherhood doesn’t always look like pregnancy and birth.

Lord, I’m grateful that wandering is not the same as growing stagnant. It just means I sometimes need someone to shout the directions a bit louder.

Your promises are true. Your love is deep and sacrificial and abiding. You have given me a mother and children so that I won’t and can’t forget.

Thank You.