A Way in the Wild

 

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For the last two years, I’ve poured a lot of energy into reminding myself that my identity is not in my weight, size, shape, or appearance. I’ve focused a lot on how my physical attributes don’t define me, that how or what I eat does not define me…but it wasn’t until recently that I shifted my focus onto what else doesn’t define me. More importantly, I’ve been learning what does, and who I am because of that.

You see, I’ve let shame and my past hurts, experiences and choices dictate how I see myself. So even though I’ve stopped seeing myself as a number, and even though I’ve stopped seeing my worth defined by outward appearance, I have still let shame decide a lot for me. Those chains are falling off, and I want to share with you how I went from being a slave to shame in the darkest hole, to dancing in broad daylight in freedom, because it’s a beautiful love story and I don’t want to keep it for myself. I want others to know they can have this, too.

Jesus has been helping me through a mentorship course to unlearn so many things I have believed about God, and is helping me to relearn the truth. I am seeing so many areas of my life where the enemy has set up camp, and I am learning battle strategies to fight back and have victory. It’s an uphill climb, it’s hard work, it’s grueling, it can be ugly, but it’s absolutely worth it. I’m talking peace like yoga doesn’t even touch.

The enemy has told me so many lies for so long, and in such a way, that I’ve allowed them to be woven into the fabric of my life.  Lately I have been going through that tapestry, looking for those single threads that are the wrong color.  God is helping me identify the ones with almost indiscernible knots, the ones that just don’t fit, and pulling them out, one by one.

Shame has made me believe for so long that circumstances I’ve walked through or experienced made me ill equipped to share the truth with others.
Shame is a liar, and a thief, and a bully.
Shame is a slave driver, and there is no pleasing it.
Shame made me believe that because I have experienced mental illness and hospitalizations, I was not dependable, or reliable.
Shame made me believe that because I have experienced rape and abuse, I was small, dirty, and unusable.
Shame told me I was better off dead.
Shame told me my body was wrong.
Shame told me I was not fit to be seen, that my scars from self harm were shameful.
Shame told me that I was a disappointment to God.
Shame told me that although God loves everyone so much, I was the exception.
Shame told me I couldn’t have kids, because no child should have a mother like me.
Shame told me that my husband didn’t love me, that he was better off without me.
Shame led me to substance abuse and addiction, promising relief.
Shame told me that I was not enough, that I had no value, that I was a failure.
Shame told me I had to earn God’s love.
Shame told me I had no hope, that my very existence was without it.

I was enslaved to a shame spiral that took over my entire life, my thinking, my heart, the way I saw God, the way I interacted with others; Satan used shame to isolate me until I didn’t think I had a chance at even existing, much less living.

We were not designed to feel shame. That was not part of our original framework. Shame is part of living in a fallen world, but with Jesus, we don’t have to walk in it. I’m learning that there is a difference between guilt and shame, between feeling guilt when we know we have done something wrong, vs. believing shame, which tells us that WHO we are is wrong.

Jesus came into my heart and has been cleaning out the gutters, the dark cob web trash filled alley ways, and he has been planting gardens of light in the blackest of places in me. When He came in, shame literally ran away in fear. Shame wanted me to be quiet, to be silent, to cower; Jesus’ love, however, wants something different for me.

His love says I am useful.
His love says that when I am weak, He is strong.  
His love says that I am enough.
His love says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
His love says that I have hope, and a future.
His love says that I am of more value than the colorful flowers filling a meadow.
His love says that I was worth dying for.
His love says that am renewed, and clean.
His love says that I have purpose.
His love says that I am whole.
His love says that I can do anything through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.
His love says that I am forgiven.
His love heals.
His love casts out shame and fear.
His love conquers and is victorious.
His love gives us hope.

There are still many areas in the city of my heart where I need Him to cast out the shadows, but in the places where He already has, I am slowly starting to see flowers form in the light, places where there used to be only black darkness.
Shame doesn’t stand a chance, because the  God that parted the sea and calmed the storms with His voice is fighting for me. He is with me in the wild of it all, holding me close to Him and leading me into so much more than lies could ever promise. 

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Bandaids and Brainwashing

Child knee with an adhesive bandage. Vintage effect.

I want to talk about emotional eating.
Close your eyes for a minute and think about that phrase: Emotional Eating.
What image popped up in your head?
Was it a person stuffing chips and ice cream into their mouth?
Was the person in a larger body?
If you answered yes, don’t worry.
Our reactions to common cultural phrases like “emotional eating” can be totally subconscious, but still carry the brainwashing judgment we are instilled with through living in a diet/“health” obsessed world. We don’t have to continue to think that way. 

Culture wants to tell us that eating our emotions is a bad thing. However, when we are all born into this world, we instinctively crave food for comfort. We are biologically designed to need food while being reminded we are loved, heard, safe, etc.

Why do we demonize this biological need as adults?

I see this as a problem, because the way our society thinks about food is out of balance.  We can’t emotionally eat because we will get *gasp* “fat,” because our society says fat is bad, and people with more fat than others have less value than those who don’t, so emotional eating = fat = fear of having less value as a person.
Right? (I’ll stop there before I go on a tirade about how heartbreaking and untrue that is – your body does NOT determine your worth.)

Remember as a kid, if you fell down and cut your knee, it stung like hell having to rinse it off before the bandaid was put on, but always felt better in the long run? Putting bandaids on a dirty wound will only protect the dirt, allowing it to fester; bandaids only work if you clean the wound first.

There’s always a new diet, a new program, promising to release us from our cravings, from the body we shouldn’t want.  However, our cravings are one of the ways our brain communicates with us! By learning to listen to what your brain is asking for, you can honor what your body is actually needing, rather than just going for the bandaid and ignoring the wound beneath.

Here’s a little science lesson:
When you feel a strong emotion, such as sadness, depression, anger, oftentimes our first instinct is “Man I could go for a drink,” or “I need a cup of ice cream” or whatever. What is actually happening here is that our brains are trying to communicate with us. When we have big emotions, such as fear, or anger, our brains release cortisol (the stress hormone) or adrenaline. Our brains try to compensate for the release of those chemicals by telling us it needs endorphins, serotonin, or dopamine, hormones that make us feel good.

While our brain is releasing all this cortisol and adrenaline, we are put into what is called “fight or flight response.” This is a natural response we are given to protect ourselves, to think quickly when we feel threatened, even if what is threatening us is a big emotion. It’s easy to run to something that gives us the illusion of the hormones our brain is actually telling us it needs. We crave sugar, or something that will give us temporary relief.

There’s a secret though, and it’s that eating something when you are upset is ok.
I’m going to say that again.
Eating something that gives you relief when you feel upset is ok. You are not lazy, or weak, or bad for eating food. Food has no moral value. It’s just food.
However, there can be a problem when we go to the temporary relief option, and don’t deal with the larger issue causing us pain, fear, or whatever we are feeling.

Last night, and most of yesterday, I was having a bad PTSD day, if we can call it that. I felt numb, overwhelmed, sad, angry, depressed, and confused. I wanted something to make those feelings go away, but I knew from experience that having ice cream just by itself wasn’t going to help. I did have a mug of ice cream, and it was delicious, but I also spent time texting a person I trusted, I used some essential oil to help me focus on my surroundings, and the person I talked to reminded me to try tapping, which is a great tool to use for people with trauma related mental health issues.

I focused on the sheet on my bed, the taste of ice cream in my mouth, the smell of the oils. I wrote out what I was feeling, why I was overwhelmed, got support, and was able to sleep for the first time in five days. This morning I worked out, because I knew my brain was still asking for endorphins to balance it out. After working out I ate a big nourishing breakfast, and my brain now feels centered. It feels balanced.

Was I emotional eating last night? Yes. But I was also nourishing my brain by taking a close look at what it was actually asking for, and honoring those requests.

Working out and eating foods that make you feel your best is a wonderful thing.  I am so thankful to live in a place where nutrient dense foods, as well as foods that are yummy to enjoy, are available to me, to have the privilege to work out, to use my body to meet goals, to grow and change and feel alive. There is nothing wrong with pursing health in that way.

What happens when all of the focus goes into these “healthy lifestyles” our society is focused on is that we can oftentimes turn off the intuitive voice in our heads. We obsess about our meal plan, our program rules, and then feel overwhelming guilt when we “cheat,” and then feel the need to work off a “bad” food with an intense workout out body may or may not be asking us for.  Not to mention, obsessively stressing releases MORE cortisol, which is so much harder on your system than eating potato chips.

Do you see? If you are feeling an intense craving for something, it may be that the cupcake in your mind just sounds really good, and if eating it will bring you pleasure and you want to enjoy the flavor and texture, that’s great. Cupcakes are wonderful, and so are taste buds!

If your first response to feeling big emotions is “I want a cupcake” I’d challenge you to pause for a moment, and think about why you want it. Maybe sit and text/call a person you trust, or even write out what you are feeling; then eat the damn cupcake, because it will taste so much better when you give your brain the attention and love it deserves.

I promise that by listening to your brain, it will tell you what it needs and wants. Our bodies instinctively want to heal, and honoring those thoughts and intuitions will help you to reach your healthiest self.

*If you struggle with PTSD or want to learn more about intuitive eating, check out my Resources Page for more info!*

kintsugi

There has been a lot going on the past eight months, hence my silence on here. I’ve been trying to focus on my new role as a mom, keeping up with editing projects, and focusing a lot of time and energy on my physical health.
(If you are a new reader, hop on over to my About page for a quick summary!)

After I had my son Henry back in May, a few months went by, and I was feeling tired to the point that I knew I needed help. It wasn’t a quick “take a nap” tired, it was the kind of fatigue where I felt as though my bones were trying to root themselves to the earth. Fatigue aside, there were a lot of other physical and mental symptoms I was having that I knew weren’t normal. I had multiple labs and blood work done with multiple doctors, and everything came back normal. It was frustrating, because I knew something was off, and I felt as though I just sounded crazy to those whom I reached to for help, all while feeling worse and worse as time went on.

November rolled around, and I spoke with a long time friend of Curtis’s and mine, who focuses on a holistic approach to healing. She encouraged me, listened, and validated my thoughts. With her guidance, I ended up sending in some of my hair to a lab for mineral analysis testing. The results I got back were incredibly detailed and SO helpful! I actually did have a lot going on, adrenal fatigue being a huge culprit. I have been working with my friend since then on healing my body from years of neglect, over-exercise, substance abuse and over-medication. It’s astounding to me how different I feel in just two and a half months; it has been the biggest answer to prayer.

Learning so much about intuitive eating this past year has been incredible as well. It has allowed me to better learn how to fight back at the eating disorder voice that is always urging me to “just have half of that” or “just skip lunch” or “that’s a ‘bad’ food”. Discovering that food has no moral value, and listening to what my body is asking for as well as honoring those requests (even if the requests seem so random) has brought me so much joy and freedom with food! It might seem like a small thing, but letting go of control and trusting my body to lead, means I have more energy to spend processing the things deep down that I normally would bury with my control of food. It’s brought some really hard things to the surface, but as I’m taking things as they come, I am slowly feeling better and stronger.

Lately, where I used to look at myself and just see useless broken bits, I now see as potential for healing, for something new to form. Kintsugi is an old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold. Those of you who have prayed for me and with me over the years, I really see you all as the beautiful gold that God has used to fill and heal my brokenness. Looking back at where I was five years ago compared with today, I am just humbled beyond words. I thought that receiving a diagnoses of severe mental illness was a death sentence. Without it, however, I never would have met those who I now hold as my dearest friends, who have cried and cheering and prayed with me along the way. All of you who have stood by me through so much, you are my torchbearers of hope.

I am ready now to start sharing more of my story, because it is still being written, and is far from over.

Dropping the Weight

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A lot of you know I have struggled with an eating disorder and depression for a long time, among other things. The thoughts in regards to those things still creep in, but now I know why, and I am able to punch those thoughts in the face. One of the things that has really struck me is how much so many of my friends and I have been taught through media and culture that we aren’t enough as we are. It breaks my heart.

I am really angry at our culture. I say “angry” with every bit of the heaviness that word can carry. At first I was just sad, but now I just want everyone else to see what I have been seeing.

Did you know our culture, by and large, does not want you to succeed? It doesn’t. If we were content, and happy as a whole with who we are and what we have, and taught from a young age that feeling good about ourselves was ok and possible, businesses built around our failure would fail.
Yep. Businesses built around our failure.
This is hugely in regards to the diet culture we are plagued by. If diets were successful and were meant to give long term results, the comapnies that create them would sink. They are meant to be a temporary fix, one that makes you keep running back for more when it seems to not be working.

We are told through magazines, movies, tv, music, advertisements, that we are not good enough the way we are. We need different clothes, trendier clothes, new devices, better bodies, plastic surgery, weight loss pills, fancy workout gear, the newest fitness tracker, premium gym memberships, we need to be more tan, but not too tan, natural but airbrushed.

This problem gets worse every year, and the information we are marinating in gets handed down over and over to more and more people. We are all in this stew, pouring these ideas back into one another until NO one feels good enough.

If you do, you must be “arrogant”. You can’t be confident without being cocky, or without having a reason to be. You have something to show for it. You’re only allowed to be confident and happy if you have a a quote “perfect” body, or if you’ve already lost weight, or if you have “perfect” skin, teeth, hair….It’s just sickening. Busineses exist around the idea that people aren’t happy. If people were content and knew they were already enough, these industries would fail.

The idea that we have to be a certain way or we aren’t “acceptable” is bred from the same culture that praises individuality, while also stomping it out like a fire. No one is safe. No matter how good you are, you could be better, yeah?
Why.
Seriously, why?

Why are you, right now, not enough? I’ll tell you what: because our culture somehow thinks they have the right to make you believe that, so that in an attempt to feel better about yourself, they will make money.

What they don’t want you to know is that you don’t have to spend another dime buying into this lie, that somehow who you are right now and what you look like and what you are capable of is not enough. Nothing could be further from the truth.

**Side note: This is not a post meant to bash cute workout gear, gym memberships, eating healthy or working out. I love cute workout gear, I go to the gym, and I try really hard to eat healthy. The mentality over why we often feel we need these things to feel good about ourselves, however, is what I want to examine as I share this next part.**

Today I was getting ready for the gym. I’ve been going to get my strength back after having a baby. Before I started going back though, I thought I probably “needed” to get some new workout clothes, so I bought a bunch even though I didn’t actually need them. My thinking was “I need something I feel good enough to go out in public in, I can’t wear my old shorts.”
Says who? Guess.

Today I thought “I would love to just go in pants and a sports bra because it is so so hot, and it would be way more comfortable that way.” Then a voice crept in saying “Ew, you cannot go show off your saggy post-partum belly at the gym, how gross.” In my head, only people with washboard abs were ‘allowed’ to wear things like that. Even the fact that I said “ew” about the part of my body that housed my baby for nine months makes me so sad.

When  I got to the gym, I was in a big empty room with a wall of mirrors by myself. I was tired of hearing negative things about this body of mine. I had had it, I was done. This is a body that God created for me to use and live in. Why did I hate it so much?
I looked into the mirrors, the whole long row of them, raised my arms out to the sides and just told my reflection nice and loud “I love you! I love you body!”

In my head I kept going. I told myself “I am giving myself permission to love you, body, and I don’t have to ask anyone else if that is ok. We are no longer at war. We are a team.
It is ok for me to feel strong and beautiful because I say it is, and God made me and says I am enough, and that feels AWESOME! No one is allowed to take that away from me.”

I lifted weights over my head, and I held my head as high as it would go. Instead of counting reps obsessively, I imagined that the weights were my son and I was lifting him over my head like an airplane. I thought about getting strong and healthy for him, to be the best mom I could be. I thought about getting strong so that I could have energy for my husband, to have joy to give my family.
I danced around, fully aware that I probably looked silly, but I was having so much fun I didn’t even care.

I lost a lot of weight today.

I dropped it all at once onto the floor, like letting a dumb bell fall from my hands with a loud thud. Every time I’ve been to the gym the past few weeks, I drop more weight. I let the weight of cultural expectations fall from me, and it feels so good. My physical weight doesn’t matter, because I am healthy and happy and strong, and no number on a glass square gets to make me change my mind about that.

You are allowed to feel confident.
You are allowed to give yourself permission to feel joyful about your body right now, today, in this moment; it has gotten you this far!
You don’t need to change anything to be enough.
You already are, and no one can take that from you.

Made for More

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This is a picture of what my voice looks like when I use truth to fight lies.
It feels so good.

I feel like I can finally breathe and think clearly. I have been struggling massively with negative body image thoughts since Henry was born, and have been feeling the temptation to skip meals and count calories more and more.
This morning I decided to write a letter to my eating disorder, and to read it out loud to those thoughts. It felt like winning a fist fight with my voice.
This is what I wrote:

“You don’t have any place here.
You do not get to whisper in my ear that I am not enough, that I am fat, that I am undesirable, that I am worthless. Those are lies, and I’m done listening to them.

You are not allowed to tell me that my body is gross, and that I am a failure. Guess what? My body is strong, and healthy. It grew a human, it birthed that baby, and my body is being used to nurture, feed, and comfort that child. You are not allowed to ever take away the joy I have with my son – not one second of it.

These legs have walked through beautiful parts of the world, they’ve carried me for 28 years, and you don’t get to tell me that they are disgusting or that they need to change. My arms are fine as they are. These arms have cut down trees, have held on to my husband, have been used to create, to carry, to write words like the ones I am writing now. Nothing you say can diminish the fact that I was created by someone greater than you, that I was made with a purpose.

I’m angry that you have made me question my worth for so many years. I’m angry that I bought into the lie that numbers were all that mattered, that somehow I was crazy and beyond repair, that I was a disgrace. I’m angry that you used starving and endless thoughts about weight loss to distract me from digging beneath that to find healing for all the hurt that was under the surface.

I am whole, I am complete. I do not have room for your lies. I know i keep having to fight them, and it is hard work.
However, I am stronger than you.
The voice I am using, even now, is more powerful than your satin breath on my neck. I’m ripping the fabric of your voice apart the second I feel it graze my ears.
You are poison.
When I see my reflection, I know you are there, but I am learning to stomp you out like the disgusting insect that you are. You’re not allowed to tell me that I am too big, too much, or that I am a burden. I am enough, just as I am.

I’ve been set free by grace, and because Jesus is in me, I have his strength to fight you. Don’t mess with me, because God is on my side. I was made for so much more than any lie you could possibly offer me or promise.
I was made for more.”

Beautiful Things

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My son was born on May 23rd, 2017. His name is Henry Isaac.

It’s been a long wait, and I would do every minute of them a thousand times over because of how much I love him.

The night that I went into labor, I was in the bath listening to music, and the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor came on. I just sat there in the water singing and spending time with Jesus, praying for my baby and wondering when we would meet.
Around midnight, I started having contractions, but I didn’t think much of them because I had been having them off and on all week.

Around 3:30 I woke up my husband (rather my dog Zoey ran in to wake him up when I told her to get him) and he came out to help me. I was on the floor on my hands and knees trying to breathe through the waves that kept coming. We went for a walk outside for a while, and the stars were so vibrant. I told Henry as I looked at Venus shining alongside the red sliver of moon, that one day I would show him the stars. It was my favorite moment of my entire pregnancy.

Around 11 a.m., I was talking to my dad, and he texted me saying that I needed to go to the hospital. By this point, I was having contractions about five minutes apart, but was in complete denial that I was in labor. I thought I was overreacting, and when Curtis took me to the hospital shortly after, my contractions were two minutes long and three minutes apart. Apparently my water had already broken, something I had no idea had even happened. I kept telling Curtis I was just there for a “check up” and we would go home soon.

Once they told me I was in active labor, they got me into delivery, asking over and over if I wanted pain meds. I refused, because the last seven years I have been so over medicated that I have missed out on some of the most incredible things. I wasn’t going to miss this, I knew i could do it, my body was ready.

I felt Jesus next to me the entire time. I’m not kidding. He was there, next to me, holding my hand and comforting me in a way I have never experienced. It was the sweetest thing, and even though I was roaring like a feral animal with sounds I could never replicate if I tried, I felt so much peace in my heart.

I went through the entire labor feeling every single thing, at times positive I would die. When I was 9 cm I begged my husband for an epidural, and he just told me in a strong voice “You’ve got this hon, you can do this, you’re almost there!”
I spent about an hour pushing, and towards the end, it got quiet for a moment. My husband just started praying for me right then, in front of all the doctors and nurses, and that was all I needed to get through to the end. I kept praying for God to help me finish strong, and about two pushes later, at 6:27 p.m. Henry was born.

I caught him when he came out, and immediately held him to my chest and kissed his head. As I looked into his big open eyes I just said “You are my baby…Hello! I’ve been waiting for you for so long.”

Everyone was scurrying around rubbing him, trying to get him to cry, but by that point he was already nursing, calm as could be. He let out one tiny cry once, but only because everyone was buzzing around I think. He has been the most content, happy baby, it’s just amazing. We had zero complications or interventions, and that is all God.

I laid there just thanking Jesus and feeling as though the world had gone still, and I had arrived in some sort of paradise. Since being home, I have been happier than I could ever imagine. I am tired, and sometimes I feel grumpy and snappy and have to apologize. However, I feel alive. I feel full and content and fulfilled, because God kept His promise to me that I would have a son, the baby I prayed for is here, and it is everything to me. It’s been so incredibly painful and hard having to wait, missing him was the worst pain. Having him here however is the greatest joy.

I have never felt so strong or so confident as I did that day. Seeing God give my body the strength to do something like that was incredible, it felt like magic.

The day after Henry was born, I sat in our room by the window in the desert sun, feeling it’s warmth crawl down my back as I held my baby to my skin. Looking at the above photo now, that raw moment my husband captured, I see a million stories. The tattoos on my arm have been for years the reminder of God’s promise to me. The vines and blooms go down to a clock. The clock is set to 5:23. That was the day my husband proposed, and the day we got married. It was also the day our son happened to be born.

The reason I had vines and flowers tattooed around the clock (which is hard to see) is because of a passage in the Old Testament, Ecclesiates 3:1-11

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.

I didn’t know as I sat in the tub that night, thinking about how God makes beautiful things out of us, that I would be seeing the most beautiful thing in less than 24 hours from then.

He is a God of miracles, a God of hope, a God of promises. I am eternally grateful for my Heavenly father, and for the ways he has woven my story together with such expert creativity, in ways I will never understand. As hard as it can be, I am learning more and more to trust, and to count all ashes as sacred, knowing that they will be turned into something miraculous.

 

 

Even When

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Not long ago, I wrote the following words out, and decided not to share them initially, because I didn’t want to come across as “weak.” These feelings don’t apply much to how I feel today, but it’s important for me to acknowledge them so that I can be aware when they spring up:

“I’ve been staring at this white box for too long. I know there are things I need to do, but I feel frozen. Do you ever just sit and lose track of time, of your surroundings, and kind of coast through the hours? Lately it feels as though time is a snowy hill, and I am sledding down it towards an end I’m not sure is there. It’s as though I am on pause, all while being hurtled down that steep decline, a blur catapulting into the infinite white nothing.”

Navigating depression alongside pregnancy hormones has been a huge challenge. Some days it comes in like a dark cloud, and is so heavy that all I can do is wait for it to pass. Other days I have more of an ability to fight, by getting outside, or I focus on cleaning or doing something creative. For the most part, the major anxiety I struggled with has evaporated. The psychosis is gone. The mood swings are gone.

The persisting weight that won’t leave for good, however, is this depression, but I am learning to live with it and work with it in healthy, natural ways. Even on days when it is at it’s worst, it is not all consuming, which is a first for me.

Part of me is reluctant to share any of these thoughts, because I wonder how others will react. Maybe someone is reading this thinking “What right does she have to be a mother?” because that is honestly a thought I have had before as well.
However, who am I to question God? I am not a diety. It is not for me to say whether I have a right to be a mother to this child or not, nor is it anyone else’s. We can’t determine the plans He has laid out for us, or for the children he entrusts us to care for.

When God made me, he had my life written out. He knew I was going to be born imperfect, into an imperfect world. He knew every moment of my life before it happened. Every struggle. Every thought. Knowing all of that, he still allowed me to become pregnant with this specific human, and I know that he will enable me to care for this life.

Some days I am terrified, positive that I will do something so irreversibly horrible that my son will be beyond repair. Why do I allow myself to believe that I am capable of making mistakes that are too much for God to heal? Of course I will make mistakes. Of course there will be days that are incredibly hard – but if God can place the stars in the sky and know them each by name, if Jesus can heal the blind with mud, then I know without a shadow of a doubt that He will be at my side as my little boy grows. He is ultimately this child’s father and eternal parent. There is nothing I can do to change that, and that gives me so much peace.

As I am sitting here writing this, I am reminded of part of this passage:

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

I don’t have faith in God because my parents told me to.
I don’t believe in Him because a pastor or church told me to.
I don’t even have faith in Him simply because of the Bible.

I have hope in Jesus because he has shown His faithfulness to me throughout my entire life.

He is not just talk, He is action.

It’s easy to doubt when I don’t understand why certain things happen (or don’t happen), but even in my confusion, I am able to cling to the solid promise that He will never leave me, even when I walk through the darkest valley.