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legacy

what causes change? what causes action? how can we do better? what leads a person to practice empathy and consider a person’s story as truth? how can we listen without immediately becoming defensive? how do we say “ I hear you and stand with you”?

i rarely post my opinion on this because as a white woman i feel unqualified to share my viewpoint. my heart is pure in intention but my silence is oppressing so i cannot sit and support from a quiet place.

i do not have all the answers. i wish i did but as i think of the black community, i know i do not live in their reality. my world is different. i am a white woman. it doesn’t mean i don’t have problems or real life pains in that hold value- doesn’t mean i haven’t seen discrimination myself- but it does mean that my world isn’t shaped by fear because of my skin. my children are not robbed of their innocence earlier in life because i have to teach them how to make it back home to me. you don’t think this is true? ask a mom of color and LISTEN to her.

when i was younger i would say “ i do not see in color” and i meant that with all the best intentions. i wanted to express that i loved all people and didn’t view skin color as a means of value. but now that i am older ( and hopefully a little wiser) i understand that statement is false and so ironically blind. we all see in color. the key is appreciating each other FOR those differences and respecting what makes us all unique. that goes beyond just the pigment of your skin- that means respecting each other regardless of who they worship, who they love or where they are from. it also means acknowledging your own prejudice – because we are all humans and we ALL have them- and working to understand and appreciate someone who isn’t like you. different doesn’t mean dangerous. different means different than you.

let me repeat that, different doesn’t mean dangerous.

it’s uncomfortable, yes. it’s hard conversations and hard reflections. it can be heartbreaking to awaken to your own blindness. i believe most people are good at the heart but have been conditioned to see the world from only their perspective. empathy is the antidote( from all sides). good news: if your heart is breaking it means you have grown because you recognize your ignorance. that is how we do better.

parker came home from school the other day talking about his brown friend in his class. moment of complete honesty: my first response was” Parker that is not nice to say” and to correct him. complete best intention on my part but i sat on it for a moment and realized parker did not see his friend’s skin color as a negative attribute. he was describing his friend with the same characteristics as he did when he told me his friend was fun, and fast and always gave him a hug when he left for the day. he thinks this kid is super cool. pj was acknowledging their differences but he loved his friend anyways. so i asked him – isn’t it super cool that God made us all different – just like the song- but gave us all a heart to love each other anyways?

Parker: “yes because we are all precious in his sight.”

Me thinking I had a profound convo with Parker. Not five seconds later…

Parker: “ Mom, Huxley pooped. She stinks.”

Kids,man.

I saw a quote outside of a church yesterday that said “ legacy means planting the seeds but not sitting under the shade.” i repeated it to myself so many times. it hit me hard because to me it speaks to so many things in life but parenthood especially. when i think of racism, i think of being apart of the legacy that changes the narrative. for me, the biggest place that change occurs is at home with our children. we are the best example for our children, and how we live and love sets the precedent.

here is the hard pill to swallow.. change occurs when we TAKE ACTION. we cannot just talk the talk and hope our children become the catalyst of change. No, we have to take the steps to pave the path for them. we have to stand up for the silenced voices. our silence shows our children that sitting quietly while our hearts scream is how we combat darkness. no more sugarcoating it, that is teaching them to become cowardly towards injustice.

we have to teach them that doing right doesn’t always mean being liked. we have to feel uncomfortable,and be pushed to expand their understandings and our own. white privilege has been inherited, but doesn’t have to be passed down. my fellow white people, I see your heart and your defensiveness. I understand because i have been there. your fear is if you acknowledge your prejudice it somehow makes you a bad person. white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. it means it is time to understand it exists and decide to do better and BE BETTER for your fellow human beings, and for our children.

change starts with us. the legacy we build can transform the world. we may not be alive to see the beauty that comes from the seeds of our hard work but we can bask and celebrate in the tiny sprouts of acceptance and mutual respect that occur when we try.

so I ask again, what causes change? what causes action? how can we do better? what leads a person to practice empathy and consider a person’s story as truth? how can we listen without immediately becoming defensive? how do we say “ I hear you and stand with you”?

so, i may be unqualified to post my viewpoint. it may be unpopular or received with little applause and i accept that. i just simply want to say- i hear you and i stand with you. please help me to be better and do better because i want my legacy to be one that we all are proud we built together.

Can I get a do over?

I revisited my prayer journal. One night in June, I must have been feeling the spirit because during my prayers, I asked God to USE ME to his glory. I got down on my knees and asked God to use my life to speak of his love and goodness- to be a testimony of Him. And let’s be real, in my mind I thought of a speaking opportunity or mentoring young girls or even a new dream achieved. I thought of a pretty and clean glory to God. I never thought my prayer was welcoming God to obliterate the life I knew. I never thought asking God to use me would mean absolutely breaking me. I didn’t know that God was already putting his plan into action at that very moment in my life with every detail in place for this hard season ahead of me. I thought small, and simple changes. Not complete devastation and new beginnings.

But now sitting in this season, I jokingly ( but maybe not) ask God if I can take it back. “God, can you maybe use me in an easier way? Because this wasn’t what I signed up for in my prayer. This is NOT what I had in mind. You aren’t doing this the way I wanted it.” And I laugh in those moments …sometimes to keep from crying.. but laugh all the same because I know I asked God for this. But I didn’t think of God’s plan on that June night, I only thought of my own.

And as God has taken every safety of my world, and laid it aside. Leaving me feeling naked, terrified and vulnerable just as I imagine Eve felt hiding from God in the garden. He has exposed to me the most beautiful constant in my life; Him. As my world was rocked into dust around me, He has been patiently waiting in front of me with his arms open. Hoping that I would stop long enough in my tears of shame, guilt and self pity to see him. As this season continues, God has been working in my heart and my soul ( because this girl needed A L O T of work). And this is where I find myself as the Lent season approaches. Pain still exist, fear creeps in and shame visits but this peace I have found is new. Saying God’s plan is best is easy- I mean I have the t-shirt but fully believing it is a whole different challenge. Here’s to fully leaning into whatever God has in store and taking this time to just be still ✨ I pray this season of Lent brings you a new peace into your life and a reignited JOY in your heart. See you all again after Easter.

“ The person you were made to become is hidden beneath what God strips away in the Valley.”

Photo Cred: Alan Matthews

unanswered.

This Rollercoaster. This constant up to the peaks where hope and dreamers live and back down into the depths of heartbreak and shattering. It seems to never stop. The ever moving, swirling and cycling journey through healing. Y’all I’m motion sick from it all.

Some days I feel myself walking in unison with God’s steps. I feel his hand on my back as he guides me through the wreckage. And other days I feel quietness and unanswered prayers. This has been the biggest struggle lately in my walk of Faith. Understanding the quietness. I feel my mind screaming but the calming soothe of peace doesn’t find me. Instead, discomfort is in it’s place.

You know that feeling of discomfort that makes you feel like you can’t sit still? The uncomfortable. The always rearranging, always moving, always searching for relief. That is it. The uncomfortable that nothing can relieve in that moment. That is the discomfort I’m feeling.

I ran Cross Country in high school. During our long runs on Monday afternoons, I would always hit this wall around mile 6 or 7. This wall was discomfort. A wall that made me very aware of all the wrong feelings and sensations around or affecting me. My tank top would start to irritate me by merely touching my skin. My ponytail hitting the back of my shoulder would start to feel like needles. My shorts rubbed. My breathing had caused my lips to chap. The sweat under my watch stung. My legs were heavy. My shoes felt like weights. My mind grew weaker. My shoulders tinkled. The sun bared heavily on the sidewalk and ate us up in his heat. And every bit of my self discipline would be used to keep running- to not stop.

I always wanted to take a break. Rest. But I knew if I stopped right then in that moment, it would be even harder to start back. This discomfort wasn’t going anywhere. And every run around this point, I’d have to make a decision.

“Do I stop? Is the discomfort so powerful that I give in?”

or

“Do I push through?”

Let’s be honest, I was not a star athlete so some runs I would walk. I would give in to the discomfort and watch my teammates pass me. They would breathlessly offer words of encouragement, but they couldn’t pick up my feet and make me run. I had to choose to endure the discomfort. And when I would start back into my run, discomfort would find me. It didn’t keep moving with my teammates. No, it hid behind the tree waiting and would jump right back on me when I decided to keep going.

Discomfort is apart of the journey. It sucks. There is no other way to describe it. It’s constant, unwavering presence will and does test you. But the moment I decided to keep running, endurance was built. Strength was being developed. A runner’s endurance is one of the shiniest tools in their race toolbox. You will never find a successful runner who doesn’t have strong endurance. Endurance is what wins races. Just like endurance is what wins in life. Discomfort forces us to continue moving, but we decide in what direction that movement takes us.

Truth bomb: God leaves me in my discomfort purposely. And I quite literally feel -in every moment of those days- like I am uncomfortable, and cannot stop rearranging in search of relief. In those D-days, I know God is calling me to rely on him,to trust in him, believe in his Goodness and his plan for me ( even when I cannot fathom the outcome). And to be frank when I praise and lift my discomfort to him, it is a sacrifice. It is not easy, and it takes purposeful action. When I am desperate for the discomfort to be lifted, and it feels like God is radio silent. I look to Heaven with my questioning eyes, it takes all of my trust to know his plan is at work. The reality: I’m not use to the quietness of God. I struggle with my prayers not being answered as I feel they should. If my God is Good, why isn’t he lifting this discomfort from me?

The answer is simple ( and anything but): God uses discomfort for Growth. He orchestrates the uncomfortable to develop. He purposely is strengthening me and my endurance. I once saw a quote that said, ” God is much more concerned about your condition than your comfort.” Basically, God is more concerned about developing my ability to win the race than he is about my chapped lips. And that my friends, makes a whole lot of sense. God isn’t ignoring me, he is working on something GREATER than me. He is patiently waiting on the moments when I am ready for my answer prayers. And right now, the discomfort is leading me to that place. The definition of endure is defined as to withstand with courage. And some days, all the courage I have to is show up and Trust in Him.

Desiree Linden is an American long distance runner and in 2018 was the first American to win the Boston marathon in the women’s category in 33 years. She once said, ” Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through Hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better. My advice: keep showing up”

Discomfort is a necessity for transformation. Endurance is vital for Growth. Both require Courage. Remember in the moments of quietness and discomfort: His plan- His PERFECT timing- His love.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Hebrews 12:1

revivification: to give new life to : REVIVE

2019: Closing of a year always calls for reflection on your personal highs and lows from the past year. When I look back on this year my heart winces in pain and immediately my flesh wants to label it as broken beyond repair. We are so quick to focus on the bad, aren’t we? And the truth is this past year has been nothing short of a nightmare. I’m sharing more than I should but here it is: In less than a month, my life was ripped out of my hands, shattered to the point of dust and thrown into the fire. My job. My marriage. A Surprise pregnancy. A loss of this Child. Complications from the miscarriage. Continued Betrayal. Heartbreak after heartbreak. Loss after loss seemed to find me. I looked around at my life, a life I didn’t recognize anymore and all I saw was devastation. With the enemy constantly whispering in my ear that this hell would be forever. No good would ever find me. And for a while, I believed him.

This has been one of the darkest seasons I’ve walked in my life. It felt like I had gone out into the waves of the ocean as you do on vacation. Lounging on my float, sunglasses propped on my head casually thinking about what I wanted for dinner or something so normal, living in this false sense of safety. And then without any warning, a massive wave crashed on top of me flipping me out of the float and pushing me under the rough water. I was tossed, flipped, scrubbed across the rough sand as I fought hard to find my way back to the surface. I was losing air, losing the life I had known and I was fighting with every part of me. And as soon as I’d break surface another life altering wave would come and suck me under dragging me across the bottom again.

If you read any of my posts, you know I try ( sometimes annoyingly so) to always be open and raw. So, I wish I could say I have walked this season always full of grace, humility and love but nope that’s not true. I’m flawed, human and hurt. I have been truly UGLY- full of rage and bitterness. I have begged Karma to show her face because I felt no justice was served. I have gossiped and belittled. I made mistakes. I dreamed of revenge. I have tiptoed on the line of right and wrong – and crossed it. And the truth is- all this did was lower me to a level I didn’t want to be. I felt dirty and worse than before.

But through this hard terrain, God was calling me back to him. He was beckoning my weary soul and offering me peace. And look, I have pleaded with God. Not a “please God do this”, but a heart wrenching DESPERATE with tears streaming down my face and hands lifted up, pleading for God to deliver me from this bitterness and this anger. I have fought him. I’ve questioned why he was allowing this pain in my life. I have BEGGED on my knees in the wee hours of the morning for him to deliver me to a place of peace and acceptance. I have prayed for the courage and endurance to continue to trust in him. I have tried to practice love, unimaginable love. I have prayed for God to soften me, and allow myself to be changed by this in his Glory. And the one message that kept being whispered every time I prayed: “Molly, remember beauty from the ashes. “

True story: about a week or so before I found out I was pregnant, Parker kept telling me he was getting a baby brother. By the advancements of modern day medicine, I was completely convinced that would never happen. But Parker’s vision became reality. I was pregnant. Parker continued to talk about his baby brother but he began to call him Jack. I had no idea where the name came from but it stuck. There was weight to it and I knew it meant something. I felt God’s hand on it. One day I googled the definition of the name Jack. My heart skipped a beat and tears streamed down my face as I read “ Jack: God is Gracious”. I didn’t know how, or what my life would look like but I knew I would be okay. Jack brought me hope. But on my wedding anniversary (an already painful reminder of my season) I wore a hospital gown at St Vincent’s while nurses, the on- call OB and an X-ray technician worked around me. I laid in the hospital bed as they came in to confirm that our baby was not viable with life. I’ll be honest, my hope evaporated. My mind swirled with anger, pain and heartbreak. It felt like it was a cruel joke. Did I deserve this? What was God telling me?

During this season, I have clung to Its Not Suppose to be this Way by Lysa TerKeurst ( I highly highly suggest it for your personal library) Her words breathed life into me and placed hope in the most broken pieces of my heart as she explained why God allows pain to happen to his people. Lysa writes, “What if God desires to make something brand new from our shattered circumstances? Dust doesn’t have to signify an end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.” And when I read this, I knew what God was doing in my life; I’m being remade. His whispers rang out and spoke a promise into my soul; Beauty from the Ashes.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 NLT

As I’ve walked through this time in my life (and continue to do so) holding God’s hand, I have found that his love is steadfast, and unwavering and ….. completely gracious as he promised. I have pushed God away, but he has never stopped pursuing me. God doesn’t promise us a life without pain or hardships but he does promise us peace within him. And that peace of knowing at the end of it all, IT WILL BE OKAY. That peace, that gracious love of God, offers me the hope that I have desperately needed. I may not understand his plan. I may want to edit my story or have God take it all away but that’s not trusting in him. God loves me enough to give me what I need, not what I want. He is carrying me through the fire and showing me that my trust in him is safe. I have had my eyes opened to the blessings God bestowed on me even when I thought I was walking through Hell. God has used this experience to strengthen my humility and grow my empathy. I have been softened in some areas of my heart and strengthened in others. God proved to me that I was loved both in Heaven and on Earth: I have been shown how loved I am by friends and family, a level of support that I honestly never knew I had. My corner as I like to call them have carried me, encouraged me, and spoke wisdom. Even when I didn’t want to hear the truth, they delivered it wrapped in honey. That’s love. One of my lifelines once told me, “Molly, God doesn’t waste seasons. He is moving in you and changing you. He is using your story as a testimony to others so they can know they are not alone. You may feel like a mess and that’s okay! We know someone who takes messes and makes beauty of out of it and from it. Let God lead you.” And that’s what I have decided to do, take this complete mess that I am and use it to tell of the goodness in my life. Because there is still so much there. Even though I’m still walking in unknown territory and I don’t know where I’m headed or what my life will look like, I’m okay. I know who is leading me. So, here I am: limping, covered in scars but praising him through it. I’m a hot mess of a person but a damn strong one.

I know I’m not alone in people who are limping into the new year, and welcoming a fresh start. I know hearts are hurting, spirits are bruised and souls are weary. But as with the new year, our brokenness offers us an opportunity for rebirth. I decided for 2020, I wasn’t going to hold myself to any resolutions- No “ less junk food, get organized, workout more, etc”- Because truth be told, I never stick to them. So instead, I’ve decided to find a word of intention for my year. A word that describes my purpose, my focus and my driving force for the entire 2020 year. I took days praying and researching my word of intention. I tried out many, and couldn’t narrow it down. And then, I found it and it was perfect. My word of intention for 2020 is revivification which means to give new life or to revive. 2019 brought me to my knees. My old life died and I’ve spent time grieving my losses. But with all the pain, I am discovering myself again and will continue to fight white knuckle to my God given purpose. I’m a huge work in progress but I’ve got 20/20 vision for 2020. This is the year to revive! This is the year that I set boundaries, and respect myself. This is the year I focus on healing. 2020 is the year my life changes. Not because of someone else’s actions, but because I am actively working for it to change. Life will continue to happen, my hard times are not over, but I have found a peace within my soul and I know that it will all be okay. And I pray that you have that peace too.

So, here is to your word of intention for 2020. May you keep your focus. I hope next year as you and I reflect on our year, we are in awe of all the goodness God brought into our lives and all the progress you have made. God has already revived my soul, now it’s time for me to continue to build my testimony through the revivification of my life. The most incredible beauty can come from brokenness. As my girl Lysa says, “ The breaking of you will be the making of you. A new you. A stronger you.” Amen.

Let’s do this!

Cheers to you all, and Happy New Year!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “ Mark 11:28-29

That Purple Crayon

Every morning I pray for the bitterness inside of me to evaporate. I pray for it to be lifted and replaced with compassion and empathy. And everyday bitterness and resentment bubble up and leave me feeling defeated.

I wish I could say that pain hasn’t caused me to grow bitter in this season of life. But that would be untrue. I wish I could say that my thoughts and emotions were always as grace filled as my blog or instagram posts, but that would be untrue. And I wish I could say that moment when I’m triggered I fell to my knees in prayer rather than wrestling with rage but that would also be untrue.

Bitterness, Resentment and Anger get into your soul through little cracks and set up shop. So when your soul is broken wide open, they come flooding in and wreak havoc. I’ve been desperately searching for guidance on how to navigate through it. Or more honestly, how to avoid it. I want to skip through all the hard messy parts and get to the part where I am whole again and skip off into the sunset. The problem is my bitterness makes me feel guilty. My anger makes me feel like a bad person. My resentment, well that’s an old friend that I’ve allowed to build camp in my heart for years but that’s another conversation for another day.

I’ve become so fearful these will permanently change my heart that I’m not allowing myself to work through them. Instead of heading into them face first by acknowledging my emotions, and accepting that this -what I’m feeling right now- is not forever, I suppress. It’s true, I might be bitter sometimes, I am angry a lot and I have resentment but that doesn’t have to become who I am. This is a phase, a season of my life and if I don’t purposely soak myself in it, I’ll never move through it.

Today I was trying to journal while my kids played. I had just written “bitterness” at the top of the page when hux climbed into my lap and wanted to write. At first I was frustrated because I felt so many emotions I wanted to get out, but as I watched her purple crayon add color to the blank page titled bitterness -it hit me. These emotions- as negative and ugly as they are- are making me better. These emotions and challenges give my soul more color. Hardship gives us an opportunity to grow and expand. These emotions are the side effect of the brokenness but without them you never learn how to love a little deeper, forgive a little easier or live a little fuller. I refuse to let anger, resentment and bitterness deform me but I will allow it to transform me.

It’s a lot easier to write about it and never put it into practice. But I’ve come to realize the future is going to come whether I welcome it with a party or avoid it like my enemy so I have two choices:

(1) hide under the bed when the hardship rings the doorbell- avoid the hard stuff, harden myself and never fully develop into who I could be and all that could be waiting for me

or

(2) welcome the hardship in and give it a drink- engulf myself in the pain and it’s side effects so I am healed and ready for whatever God plans to put in my path

I vote for opinion 2.

What about you?

Epidural State

After the needle was inserted and the medicine was injected into my spine, I was told to lie on the bed. I did and I could feel the warm sensation beginning to run up from my feet to my legs and continued up throughout my body. I was terrified. I could not move my toes. Then my legs. The medicine reached my hips and my CRNA leaned over and said, “ it’s going to feel like you can’t breathe but you are okay. Just continue to breathe like normal. I’m watching your vital signs. You are safe.” And just like she said, my chest grew heavy, and my breathing felt very labored. I remember panicking inside. This is all a normal day in the office for the staff in the room but this was a new strange world and I was dependent on them for survival.

Once I was completely numb, they rolled me into the operating room and a few nurses transferred me from the hospital bed to the operating table. As I laid on the table, my eyes scanned the room. Everyone was busy talking and preparing for the procedure and I laid on the table as if part of the scenery. I tried to move my body to get more comfortable but I couldn’t. I was completely immobile at this point from the ribs down. The nurse came and pushed my gown up my body to prepare for disinfecting and such. She walked away leaving me naked, alone, cold, and shivering from either fear, embarrassment or medication. I looked around the room for some comfort, and I finally rested my eyes on my reflection on the silver light above me. It was the strangest feeling to see yourself, so exposed and afraid and completely unable to do anything about it. I remember laying on this table naked as the baby I was about to have and feeling such an overwhelming sense of vulnerability. A vulnerability that reached the inner workings of my soul and brought a crashing amount of fear to me. I was completely and utterly exposed and completely and utterly afraid. I was dependent on other people to keep me safe, and I was allowing them to see a rawness that no one sees. This rawness was my weakness, and I was welcoming them in to be front row to it. And it scared the absolute shit out of me.

Fast forward to last weekend, Dr. Y asked me, “ Molly, describe trust to me.” And I sat there for a while with so many definitions swirling around and I finally landed on the depiction above. Nothing is more vulnerable than being immobile on an operating table. That complete vulnerability is what I like to call an epidural state. Trust is willingly giving someone this deep vulnerability and hoping they keep you safe.

I’ve been given the homework of focusing on trust and journaling my thoughts wherever they may take me. Trust is the ultimate ingredient in a relationship or at least in my book. And because of that, my therapist has been pushing me incredibly hard to discover why. Why am I so programmed to feel that trust sits above love? Why does trust sit above respect? Why ( in my mind) is trust the vital foundation to any relationship? And when I say vital, I mean trust is as necessary to a relationship as your heart is to your body. It cannot function without it.

What I discovered through my writing is that trust is a gift that is given with your vulnerability. When you allow yourself to become exposed, and share the inner workings of yourself to someone else, you are trusting them with whatever precious gift you are sharing. I am not a super private person- I think if you read my blog or know me in person you can gather such but I am very scarce with my trust. I do not trust easily. Well not deep down nitty gritty trust anyways. I will tell you about my failures as a mother any day but I will only tell very few the scars that have caused me to be painfully afraid of failure. I will tell you about my struggles as a woman, but I doubt I’ll tell you how much I have hated myself for most of my life. It’s the inner dark rawness that we give to those we trust.

Trusting someone is giving them your epidural state. You are delivering the completely vulnerable, terrified, naked and exposed self in hopes of them keeping it safe. And when someone breaks your trust, they become the young kid who doesn’t like their birthday present. They throw your gift to the ground and stomp on it because it wasn’t what they wanted. Your precious exposed self wasn’t appreciated like it should have been. It wasn’t enough. And that’s why it hurts to be betrayed. You no longer feel safe.

Let’s be honest, no one likes to be exposed, and left naked on a table. It’s terrifying to be vulnerable. But to offer the epidural state of vulnerability to someone is that heart stopping, cold sweats scary. And unfortunately, people will betray you. I’ll shoot you straight, I’m still considered to have “trust issues” and try to work through this every week at my therapist’s office. So, my post is not to tell you how to overcome it. If you have a step by step handbook please pass it my way.

But I found through my homework this week, one thing keeps giving me encouragement. This morning during my devotional, I came across King David’s prayer in Psalms 139:23-24 that said “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Wow, let that sit on your heart for a second. David is welcoming God to search his vulnerability. He is happily handing over his epidural state of vulnerability to God and saying find my fault Lord and lead me to your glory.

Why do you think that is? I’d like to think that as scared as David was for what God would find deep down in his soul, he knew God loved him so much that his inner self was completely safe. His fully raw, naked and exposed self was safe within God’s hands. Because God is trustworthy. God never betrays. He is steadfast in his love and pursuit of you and I. So although I am working on my practice of trusting others, and forgiveness ( which is a whole different mountain to tackle and I am definitely not ready for that post today)- I know I can find solitude by putting my trust in God.

Even when it’s hard, God will take your precious gift and celebrate with pure Joy that he received it. Your exposed soul is beautiful to him. So as you limp through whatever battle you are enduring, I hope you find encouragement in knowing that there is someone waiting for your epidural state with steadfast love, and a safe place to land. Trust him.

It is what you say, and also how you say it.

Self talk. I always rolled my eyes when trainers, therapists or counselors would speak about the importance of self talk. If I wanted to hear warm and fuzzies, I’d call my grandmother. I’m a realist. I like to shoot straight. Well, when it comes to myself anyways. There is no need to sugar coat things.

But what I found was my realist words walked hand in hand with negativity. And that negativity would snow ball into straight up mean cruel talk. Why is it that we tiptoe around others, afraid of hurting their feelings (I mean apologize to the driver who pulls out in front of me) but we speak to ourselves like we’re the worst people alive? It’s insane.

So lately my homework from my therapist has been speaking to myself nicer, gentler if you will. I would say it’s been hard. It feels awkward like I’m speaking a foreign language. It’s a work in progress to say the least- I have my “student self talker” sticker stuck to my chest at all times.

Fast forward to today, and I was getting my butt handed to me during my workout. The rower is truly my definition of hell. I hate it. It hates me. We hate each other. But I found myself rowing for distance… multiple times. And with every circuit, my endurance was slipping. Our goal was to meet or exceed the distance of the circuit before- so far I kept up- but this last circuit I was struggling. I had tried to close my eyes and focus on using my legs. But the pain and tired muscles were taking over my mind. I was winded, not winded, I was panting like a dog on rower two. I was spent.

Our coach started yelling at us in an attempt to encourage us. She said “ Your body follows your mind. Tell yourself you can do it, you will do it and you will keep going.”

I was at my end. I thought, “Why the hell not? What do I have to lose?”

So I started talking to myself. I tried the whole you’ve got this pep talk. But that wasn’t working. So I decided to hit where I needed it.

So my conversation went as follows:

“This sucks but you are strong.”

“Molly, You are strong.”

“You want that goal? Work for it.”

“ Yes this hurts like hell but you are stronger than this.”

“ Keep going. Close your eyes, use your legs, pull hard and keep going. You can do this!”

I’m sure the lady next to me thought I had completely lost it. I know I looked like a fool. If it’s possible to limp across the finish line on a rower, that’s what I did but I finished. Not only did I finish, I hit my goal! I thought I was going to puke at one point or several points to be honest, but I didn’t care. I had proven to myself that I was indeed strong. I was stronger than I thought I was. The more I believed it, the better my form [on the rower] got.

Then we had to transition from the rower to the treadmill- it was time for the distance run. After all that rowing, I was seriously looking for a trash can just in case I spewed. But I stood on the treadmill, I looked myself in the mirror and told myself, “Molly be the badass you wish you were.” And I pushed the start button. I finished all three runs, and hit my goal with each. Don’t get my message wrong, I was panting like a fool and my heart monitoring was blinking red like it was trying to alert me that my heart is not suppose to be beating so fast… but I didn’t die. I made it. I finished. And I felt like a badass for those last sweet two minutes of stretching before I had to face the real world. Maybe there is something to this self talk after all.

Proof I didn’t die.

Look, there is nothing more empowering than accomplishing a goal that you didn’t think you could. There is nothing more badass than realizing you are stronger than you thought you were. But what if this happened more than just in the gym?

On my drive home, I reflected on my last hour of torture. My body did follow my mind. So what if I could use this new found superpower in the real world? What if I could alter the way in which I react to stresses and situations just by adjusting how I perceive myself in them? What if I actually spoke nicer to myself and started to believe the kinder words that were said to me? Mind blown.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got my “student self talker” sticker present at all times. Mental strength is something that’s always been a work in progress for me. But it’s a work in progress I’m actually trying to focus on.

I have lived 23 out of my 30 years on this earth, thinking, feeling and believing that I wasn’t good enough. I am my worst critic by far. All those people who have negative things to say about me…. well honey you just keep talking because I can promise you, I have said WAY worse about myself to myself. We grow up hearing sticks and stones but the reality is words do hurt us. Words hurt me more than stones. Words bruise more than my skin. They bruise my heart, and my soul.

As I continue to work on speaking a little nicer to myself, I encourage you to reflect on the voice in your head. As mothers, we have to notice that our little ones look to us for example on how to do this- no pressure or anything.

I remember watching my mom look herself in the mirror when I was a young girl and hearing her throw every insult she could think to herself. She thought nothing of it. She was just unhappy with her body or her hair but it shaped me. I thought my mom was the most beautiful human being on this earth and if she hated how she looked, what was I ever going to think about myself? So I started copying her words. In the beginning because I felt it was cool. Then because the world began to tell me those words were true and real. My mom loved me fiercely as I grew up and she was my biggest supporter. She would have never in a million zillion years told me I was ugly, stupid, fat or not good enough. Never. But by telling herself that, she showed me how to speak to myself. And now as a mom, I cannot allow my daughter to follow in my footsteps. So it’s time to be a little kinder, more forgiving and gentler with myself. I’m only human after all. Completely imperfect and flawed. A true hot mess of a person. But I am also strong and a badass when I need to be. And I will keep telling myself that until I believe it down in my soul.

to the girl in the middle of rejection

Girl it hurts. I get it. Some days it feels like this rejection is going to be the thing that destroys you. Some days getting out of bed requires more effort than you think you can muster. Some days you feel like the strength you need, just isn’t in you. And all those negative, awful, soul crushing lies you have told yourself for years must be true. Because if you were not {insert all the hurtful words you use to describe yourself} this never would have happened.

enemy: See Molly- you are not good enough. You are not exciting enough. You are not fun enough. You will never be beautiful enough. You are used and tattered. You are convenient but not worthwhile. You will always be second best.

enemy: How do I know? Look at your life and see the proof. You will NEVER be good enough.

Rejection concretes these lies. It proves that your worst fears about yourself are truths, and these self-damaging thoughts are tangible. It breathes life into the lies that the enemy wants to plant into your heart, and worse…. your soul.

Girl, never feel like you are alone in this attack. Do not believe the lies that rejection is pushing into your heart. I know it feels like your world is shaking a part and your self worth is in pieces on the floor, but do not give into this wave of attack. The enemy knows where your soul is aching, and he is playing Trojan horse with your mind. Embedding himself into your mind, and waiting until the darkness and quiet to spill his destruction.

No matter the scale of your disappointment, the pain you are feeling is there. The rejection of not landing the promotion, the negative pregnancy test, the loss of your job, the death of a family member, the destruction of a relationship/ marriage or even the loss of a pet. That pain is forcing you to reexamine yourself, and there within that self examination leaves you vulnerable. But with the vulnerability, it also grants you the opportunity for growth. I use to say that rejection will happen in life but you have the choice to be bitter or be better. Granted, that was when life threw smaller disappointments my way- when being “better” was easier. When being better didn’t mean pulling every ounce of self control and strength out of my bones to function. But regardless, those words still ring true. And they will ring true to you.

Trust me friend, if you allow this rejection to destroy you, you will become consumed with bitterness. Your sweetness, and your light will dim. You will allow this disappointment to become all of who you are. When truthfully, this disappointment will always be a piece of you. This rejection happened to you and there is no erasing that. But this pain could become a small faint scar that causes unimaginable growth and beauty.

I have rose bushes in my front yard. I have no green thumb but I have learned that rose bushes are perfect for me. You see, roses are the most beautiful after they have been pruned. When you prune a rose bush, you cut the beautiful rose petals back and leave the stems and thorns. The rose bush looks pretty bleak for a while- no bright petals on the stems; nothing but thorns. You do this with faith that the roses are going to grow back more beautiful, fuller and bigger than they were before. And with time, sunlight and faith, my roses always grow back more beautiful, fuller and stronger than they were before. They were pretty before I pruned them. Then I took the painful step of cutting away all of their beauty and exposing the bareness of their thorns. And with time, they grow back more beautiful than I could have imagined. And God’s plan for you isn’t any different. You are being pruned right now. You were pretty before. But girl, the beauty that is blooming in you right now is unimaginable. Hold tight to that faith.

It is okay to not always be okay. It is okay to need time, and moments to grieve the disappointments in life. You probably shouldn’t call into work for a week over a bad haircut, but taking the time to work through this rejection in your life (no matter the scale) is not being weak. Do not ever, I repeat EVER, mistake your need for time and reflection as a sign of weakness.

Sweet girl, I know right now while you are in the middle of this pain that you do not see how special you are. You do not see how much goodness you offer the world, how much beauty is found within your heart, mind and smile or how pursued you are. I know you feel broken and damaged. And honestly you might feel that way for a while. But I do hope you know you are chosen. You are loved. You were made with a special purpose that only you were called to do. Do not let this disappointment rob you of all the treasures waiting on you on the other side of this rejection.

There is that caterpillar quote found all over Pinterest that says something to the extent of “when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”. Gosh, isn’t that so good? I may or may not have this magnet on my fridge. (the answer is yes, I do)


Well, you my dear are in a cocoon phase of life. The beautiful wings are waiting for you.

More disappointments will come in life, that is guaranteed. And hopefully they are bad hair days, and not things as painful as now… but either way, cling to the understanding that there will be butterfly days coming. And this pain will only make you more beautiful, fuller and stronger than you were before.

I know this pain myself because friend I am in this cocoon phase too. And just like you, I have been pruned and am waiting on my new petals.

September: NICU Awareness Month

I found myself saying it. It just slipped out before I had realized what I had said. I always said I wouldn’t but I did.

“I know what you are going through”.

She was a NICU mom like me. She held her baby while he was hooked up to monitors. She left him every night and made the agonizing drive home with an empty car seat. She struggled with frustration, guilt, emotional weight…. I saw so many similarities between her story and my own. And it just slipped out during a conversation before I could stop myself.

Ugh. I hated myself the moment I said it. But I couldn’t take it back. I was now one of them.

Let’s rewind. When Parker was in the NICU (or even after during our year and a half of hospital stays), nothing pissed me off more than someone telling me ” I know what I was going through”. Literally, it downright made me angry. This admission might make me sound incredibly immature or dramatic … and so be it. But comparing your situation to mine, doesn’t help me. The day I was discharged from the hospital, and we left Parker in the NICU was easily one of the hardest of my life. Every single inch of my soul was screaming to go back and get him. I remember feeling empty, hollow and wrong. We felt that every night until Parker was home. (And thank God we were able to bring our baby home- I know some don’t get that gift.) So, when you say you know what I’m going through ( and your child was in the NICU for a day) then no you don’t know.

Here’s the deal, every NICU parent’s experience is different. Every single one of us has a story to tell that is unique to our child. We have similarities, yes … but every parent will describe their lowest point differently. We each have some trigger that pulls us back into our memories. Memories of those long days sitting in the hospital chairs just staring at our babies willing them to breathe, eat, and grow. So every parents fears, joys and deep pain is slightly different.

September is NICU awareness month. It is a month that all NICU parents reflect back on their child’s early days, and how many emotions flooded those small hospital pods. These parents remember all the tears, and prayers that filled those days, and the staff that helped them ease through the foreign world they found themselves. We all have similar factors that unite NICU parents, but each of our child’s experience is as unique as our NICU babies. We are a community that comes together because we know what not to say to new NICU parents. We are a community that comes together because we know the journey is hard, and sometimes long. We know the trauma that can follow you home. We know the fears that change how you parent your child. We understand it all. But we will never pretend we know exactly what you are going through. Please remember when you speak to someone loving out a dark season in life, they need comfort, love and support. They do not need someone trying to level up their grief like a morbid game. You may have had a similar experience but no friend you do not know EXACTLY what they are going through. So, instead give them a hug and say I am here for you.

September allows me to reflect on all the amazing staff who loved on our son through his journey and the incredible community we found through our NICU experience. Without so many people task hint around us to let us know they were there for us, I am not sure I could have remained so strong for my family. Thank you to our NICU community, we couldn’t have done it without you.

sitting on that high horse

Not too long ago, I sat judging others. In my mind weighing how I would handle my peer’s devastation better than they did. I sat arrogant, and foolish with a false sense of security. Haven’t we all listened to a friend’s desperate plea for our opinion… but in our minds thought, I would “never”.

Never.

That word that flies out of our mouths too often begging to be tested.

It’s in those moments when we believe in our gut that our lives are superior to others, thats when God shakes his head and says ” let’s just see”. Not in an act of anger or hate, but to show his sovereignty. To remake us.

And in that moment, God pulled the rug out from under me. Those devastations I judged of others were piled high on my very own doorstep and this time there was no hypothetical response. This time it was real life. My life.

Devastation comes in many forms. We all handle it differently. I believe I have walked in every emotion. But humility seems to reside most in my mind, accompanied by sadness and disbelief. And anger is like the nosey neighbor that can’t seem to stay away too long… and wants to be involved in every conversation. I’m a walking, talking basket case just trying to do the best I can.

I’ve always been a believer but I have discovered that my relationship with God had become complacent . Just like everything in my life. I had grown distant and numb. I wasn’t relying fully on God for strength or grace. My faith wasn’t strong. It hadn’t been tested like this before.

One of the hardest lessons I have learned ( and still learning) through this season is God’s will may not be ours but our faith requires us to believe that his will holds more beauty than our earthly minds can imagine. Faith allows us to keep holding fast to the hope of tomorrow. And within his promises, I have found myself on my knees more than ever. In my devotional, there was a line in a prayer that has been my mantra. “Dear God, I know you will never forsake me but will go to great lengths to remake me”

Amen.

And this keeps me holding to my faith. I know I wouldn’t have been willing to be remade without my pain. My arrogance would have stopped me. Does it stop you?

Believe it or not, I’m going to respect my family’s privacy and not spill my deep dark secrets on the internet. At least not now. And I’m asking you respect that privacy too.

But writing is therapeutic for me and now more than ever I need outlets for my thoughts. Let me be clear, this post IS NOT about what’s happening in my life. I will be okay. My kids are healthy and happy.

But this post IS about the testimony in which God has carefully designed for me like a skilled architect. He is piecing my heart together better than it was before.

It’s like going on a diet and cutting out fudge chocolate ice cream. In it’s absence, you begin to realize how much you truly love the taste of it. The day comes when you get to indulge that sweet tooth again, and you appreciate the sweetness so much more. And you don’t want to waste those calories on anything less than the very best. You want the good stuff. The REAL stuff. And I know that’s what I want in my life forever.

I do not know what God’s plan for my life looks like at this moment. If you would have asked me a few months ago, I could have told you an actual answer. Today, this isn’t the case. But I can tell you that I trust in God. And I will continue to trust that his plan is one of love and mercy.

If you are in the middle of a hard time, please see this post as a simple message of encouragement to anyone who needs it. I’m in the battlefield with you holding your hand.

“Yet you Lord are our father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

And a message of warning to anyone who feels they are above the blows of life. Don’t be like me and believe your life would “never look like that”. Life is messy. Life is unfair. Life has a way of bringing you down to your knees. But even with all the hurt, I will continue to work on this Beautiful Mess of Mine … just like God continues to work on me. ( and you.)