Self-Sabotage Part II: Life Without A Plan

In our last post, I rattled on about The Art of Self-Sabotage, and how to (perhaps) begin becoming an intentional mom.

I wrote about this because of my personal relationship with living unintentionally.

I’ll start by sharing a bit of my uber-unintentional path, to paint a picture of what that might look like.

Life Without A Plan

When I started my work with mothers several years ago, I truly had no attachment to a greater goal. I just knew – at my very core – that I needed to work with this particular segment of society and our world (more specifically, with you). This path was more than unexpected. Having grown up without the desire for children myself, I never saw this coming. But here I am, a mother madly in love with her motherhood. And here I am sharing God’s Word, His goodness, and what I believe the Universe has in store for each of us on our mothering paths if we can only find the greatest good within. The good He has made.

But it hasn’t been a dreamy, ease-filled process. In fact, it’s been a walk-through-the-trenches-at-midnight sort of ride. I’ve had multiple businesses – from a yoga studio to direct sales distribution – and went into none of it with any sort of plan.

(Opening my coaching practice has been different, and I’m thankful to press pause on unintentional living, indefinitely!)

Are you walking your experience of motherhood, career, fitness, spiritually, personal development, finances – really any significant area of your life – without a plan, too?

Coachable

You might be without a plan, but this doesn’t mean that you’re failing life. I want to ask you a very important question today – and I only ask for your honesty in return. (I know only honesty. It’s big. But do it. You’ll thank me for it later, I promise.)

Even if you are living life without intent, are you still coachable?

Laura Probert, MPT writes in her Huffpost article, “Being coachable is one of life’s most important skills and attitudes, whether or not you’re an athlete. If you’re any kind of person who wishes to grow, learn, improve, excel or peak perform, you should care about whether or not you’re coachable. In other words, being coachable relates to a happy, productive life. It means you’re ready to do what it takes to change, transform, improve or excel, whatever that means for you and your situation.”

Let’s Reflect

Personally, this paragraph brought up some reflection – and led me to ask a few questions of our tribe! Take some time on your own to dig into these, and see what responses you come up with. It might just take your unintentionality and turn it upside down!

  • What does being “coachable” mean to you?
  • What has your experience been (thus far) of growing and developing into the person that God has created you to be? and
  • What would you like your future experience to be like?

A Deeper Dive

For those on a Spirit-led path, grab some time in Jeremiah 29. One of the most reflective verses for those of us fearing the shift from unintentional to intentional (the act of creating a plan and therefore a life we design) is verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Your future isn’t determined just by you. Let these words stay with you, as you gather all the tools and resources necessary to begin your transition to co-creating your path, your plan, and your Universe. Small shifts for your greatest good will create greater good in all. I can promise you that.

Until we meet again, may you be surrounded by So Much Love (Yours, Mine, & His) on this path.

xox

Jennifer

Self-Sabotage & Success Planning: Be An Intentional Mom

Being Intentional

I’m sitting here staring at a blank page right now, knowing that I need to write a blog post for this week – if for no other reason than I committed to it – and in this season of life, that’s enough. Being intentional has been an “in-process” place and space of my life for many, many years. I was a busy girl. I’m now a busy woman. But I’m also a tired woman, too. I am a woman who has worn herself out with unintentionality, “commitment-phobia,” and reparation of possible hurt feelings (of family and friends turned-down invitations) with an overzealous yes-streak about a mile wide. Note: the yes-streak has come to an end as of late. There are some (many) blessings in special parenting!

And as I’ve adventured in each of these choices (and choices they are!), I have made “tired” a lifestyle – and I’ve made for myself an unpredictable life. Which brings me to where the Holy Spirit is guiding our conversation to today… Have you heard two words self-sabotage before?

Each of the ways that I was living life, presently live life, and perhaps might live life in the future (all listed above) have been separating me from God, and the “peace that surpasses all understanding” that I aim to just be in on my path.

Today, let’s just touch on the trap that I (and many of my clients) have fallen into…

Don’t Plan Your Steps

Let’s just be funny for a moment. What if this was your life’s work. What if you happened around repeating, “I Won’t Plan My Steps,” each and every day? Can you imagine?? No matter what goal you have, I’m guessing that you probably would see an advancement away from your goal, or (by Divine intervention) limited and scattered results at best from your efforts.

What I’m saying is this: The less time that you spend on an action plan that is associated with your goals, the more likely you’ll be to rock the sabotage! (If you’re done reading my babblings by now, you can just scroll down to Closing Notes for a fun practice! But perhaps read this next sentence first.) Keeping your plan simple is the antidote to self-sabotage. Simple, for me, means letting the Lord guide my steps.

In Proverbs 3:6 it says, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

You can be sure that when you aren’t sure of your next steps, Papa (our Heavenly Father) is absolutely sure of them. Here are my two tips with this… First, pray over everything. And second, listen for His response. If it isn’t audible, as is the case with most planning processes (like allllll the circumstances where God doesn’t outright say, “Jennifer, you should work on your three-year engagement plan and this is exactly what it looks like”), take the next most-clear step.

This brings me to a story in my personal life.

In 2012, I was praying for Papa to lead me to a career path that would give me a sense of success and self and abundance. I was recovering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, an awful autoimmune crash that left me unable to walk, and the combined griefs of raising a medically fragile baby and losing a dear friend. I threw myself into working my pop-up mama yoga business, totally unsure of the next step on my path. As I hopped around, I finally found a job in maternal-child health that I felt was filling my well. But then in late 2013, the role changed and the budget was cut. With a sad heart, I came home. I didn’t take two breaths to determine the next most-clear step, and I opened up a yoga studio.

Within six months, it failed.

The yoga studio chapter of my life was me not asking and taking the next “most-clear” step, for sure! It was me scrambling to find my life’s purpose. As I spent the entire first season with no marketing plan and blindly excited from cash flow that didn’t cover expense, I began to realize that I still wasn’t reaping the rewards that I wanted to from my career or my life. I wanted success (I had full classes!), a sense of self (I was more present than before!!), and abundance. Yet in this season, I was going home at night tired and in full knowing that my time was completely embedded in something that couldn’t give me the extra income I desired to help our family finances.

The next “most-clear” step matters.

It matters a lot! That doesn’t mean that some seasons of life aren’t about our testimony from a test; it just means that perhaps God uses our “mistakes” for our good. I mean, we have free will… so we can’t make him responsible for everything!

Closing Notes

As I wrap up my words to you here today, I want to encourage you to take some time for reflection on your path. I took that season of life (and self-sabotage) and made my next most-clear step count. You can too.

A question for you today:

Are you sabotaging your potential because you don’t have a plan? If you are, what does making an action plan look like to you?? Read on for an awesome exercise that I found a few years back!

Let’s add a tool to your toolbox.

The Successful Steps Formula

In part taken from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, this is an exercise that I use in my coaching practice with my clients, today. Here’s my spin on it:

Step 1. Write out your goal, and pray about the next step.

Step 2. Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits (as they relate to your goal).

Step 3. Define your successful habit (to move toward your goal).

Step 4. Create an action plan (steps that you know God wants for your path, or ones that are the next most-clear steps to move you toward your goal).

Example:

My goal is to get more sleep.

The habit that is holding me back is scrolling through social media while in bed.

The consequences of this habit are that I’m always tired and grumpy with my kids.

The NEW habit that I have is to charge my phone in the bathroom.

The benefits of this habit is that I am getting enough sleep, and I have a better relationship with my kids!

The actions I need to take are as follows:

  1. Move charger to bathroom.
  2. Set an alarm on my phone to remind me when to turn it off for sleep (10 pm).
  3. Praise myself every morning for making a good choice when I wake up well-rested.

How does this process resonate with you? Are you ready to knock self-sabotage on it’s nose??

As always, I am for you, Papa is for you, and we both love you as the amazingness that you are – as you move toward the amazingness that you’re made to be!

xox Jennifer

Pain & Special Parenting

This is the day that I officially declare it: I am so very much unlike my God, our Lord and Savior.

Honestly, I’ve been a rock star mama for the longest time. I’m not passing along hurts or pains (that I’m aware of). And in many, many ways I have felt pride in how much I do for my miracle kids! How much I pour into them. How confident that they are because of it! But I am unlike God. I love my babies unconditionally, yet can’t bring myself to like my littlest sometimes, right now. And because of this, over the last few months, a Great Sadness has overcome my spirit. A sadness that has been – in part – recognizing I can’t fix everything. Not even my child.

Especially not my child.

I am so unlike God!

If you’ve been following our story over the last year (since I began to share it), then perhaps you know our Wild has been on an incredibly bumpy ride. If you’re new to our adventure, our Wild has severe sensory processing disorder. She’s been “put” on the autism spectrum by two clinical studies (though we are still diagnosis-free) and we’re currently battling with behaviors that represent anxiety, OCD, ODD, and ADHD. She’s still very little (she just turned 4!), and it’s hard to say if autism or sensory processing disorder is causing it all, or if these are just separate experiences of her sweet body. And in the midst of this, this mama is enveloped in a sadness so profound… that the things I’ve loved for years, just aren’t filling my well anymore.

I close my eyes and suddenly, I’m back – laying on the floor of my college apartment, getting high so that the sadness might go away. There’s a reason why I call my coaching practice and blog Raw Motherhood…

(Can we just be human?)

Back then, I didn’t have kids yet. My sadness was pain and disease. And I was tired of the roller coaster and doctors only giving me options that made me sicker. My sadness today is different. But it feels the same. I gave birth to this miracle. And my daughter’s pain? That’s my pain too. Seeing her battle her body daily, and being unable to provide or fix where she is has led us to an adventure of appointments with every kind of doctor and therapist possible, those that might support her better than my doctors supported me. Those who might be God’s hands where I can’t be.

In 2008, on that apartment floor I found Eckhart Tolle’s work A New Earth, and I suddenly saw life through fresh eyes. I didn’t need the marijuana anymore. I had God. And I saw His hands all over my life. I’ve had God ever since. But in raising Wild, I’ve been playing God too. I gave that up this year… I can’t always be His hands and feet. Especially not in the situations He isn’t calling me to.

It’s exhausting trying to be the Infinite with a very finite existence…

Thus, I believe that a Great Sadness takes over when we’re not on the right path. When we’re doing what we weren’t designed to do. Some of it is hormonal for many folks; I believe that fully. But for me, my spells of grief are in seeing clearly the pain, but not seeing the God who can heal it, take it, mold it, morph it, and reshape it into something good.

You can pray without ceasing to a God you believe in, yet take on a battle as all yours – and not feel a thing.

Which leads me to today. As I stop playing God, I begin a new chapter. A chapter that began because I wanted to serve more through our Celebrate Recovery Ministry at our church, that has now transformed into being a part of the served at Celebrate Recovery at our church. Three weeks in, and I couldn’t be more amazed by this process. Each week, I bare my soul to phenomenal women who get pain. They’re in it or almost through it or just beginning to dance with it for the very first time. And we support each other in accountability and non-judgement and prayer. There’s no hi, how are you? and responding with a bland good. There’s hi, my name is Jennifer. I am a grateful believer and a daughter of the King and I’m battling shame. I’m battling shame! (I had no idea.) And part of that shame is that tonight, I like my daughter. But this morning I did not. My shame is also in that I can’t do it all. My shame is that I can’t fix what God didn’t create me to fix.

I’m ready to give up shame. I’m ready to give up trying to be God. Life can bring us down some interesting paths, dear friends.

I’m so unlike God. But God is God. And in this process, I’m beginning to see that the more I trust Him with my daughter, the more that I can peek out from under the covers of the blanket of sadness (pretend covers, because Wild still doesn’t give me lots of them during our shared sleep) and see glimpses of who I am without my pain… and without hers.

To my fellow Warriors, I love you, He loves you, and we are both for you. If it’s time for you to hand over all the pains – especially the one’s you don’t own – to our Creator, know I’ve done it first. And I’m praying over the (gluten free) bread crumbs that I’m leaving behind me along this path – that you might pick them up and follow me out of the valley and up the mountain to higher ground.

{{{{squeeze}}}}

Peace & Love,

Jennifer

The Battle With Autoimmune Disease

The Battle With Autoimmune Disease

It was just two years ago, when I decided that I was done having an autoimmune disease. Without digging too deep into history, I had been sick for a long time. A really long time. When I met my husband (at age 21), I had a decade of doctors visits and hospital stays under my belt; I was taking a powerful drug to keep my seizures under control; and I readily shared about my dis-ease. I shared because in order to do life with me, you would have to also do life with it.

Fast forward through learning that I had lumps in both breasts in 2008 and then living through one of the worst autoimmune crash/flares of my adult life in 2011 and, we were absolutely doing life with it. Life was a delicate dance of “living” to the max and then going days and days with an exhaustion so deep that I thought that I might die. Literally. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, it is taxing to feel like a burden. I know this firsthand. And because I didn’t want others to know how much of life felt like a challenge to me, there was a constant chatter in my head of “I can go without this much sleep until…” and “I can have this much sugar today, but…” and “I can go out for at least…” Perhaps, dot dot dot.

By 2015, I had spent more time crawling through motherhood than experiencing it. So, I claimed change. I claimed laying it all at the Lord’s feet thanks to Matthew 11:28-30 “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I couldn’t quite imagine this easy yoke or less-burdensome existence that Jesus spoke of, but I was willing to search for it. These are my tips from that adventure:

  1. Ditch the label. When I picked up my bible and found Matthew 11:28-30, I wasn’t picking up the cross too. Jesus died to make us whole. Did you hear that? You Are Whole. You are not your disease. You actually aren’t any of the labels society throws at you – but especially this. You do not have a cross to carry (Jesus carried it already), and your disease does not define you. Unless you allow it to. Which brings me to my next tip…
  2. Pick up a micro-habit. Find something attainable and do it every single day. Your habits do define you. They build you up into the person that God wants you to be! You can only become this best version of you in two ways: 1. by slowing moving in the direction of who you want to become and 2. by beginning with the end in mind. Slow movement is easy to make into consistent movement. Goals make movement almost effortless. Example: Every teacher and holistic doctor that I’ve seen over the last two decades has reminded me that while rest is necessary with the disease that I do battle with, I must still exercise in whatever capacity my body allows – even a 2-5 minute walk each day counts. My goal this year? Exercise daily. My micro habit? 10 push ups a day (…keep the doctors away… is my 2017 motto). And guess what? Most days, I throw in some yoga, a plank, or some sit ups. And when I feel really good? I hit the elliptical machine. An object in motion stays in motion. Period. If you know nothing else about our Lord, know that His goal for you is to be blessed by the body that you’re in. For some of us, it’s recognizing that complete healing is an option (and then choosing micro-habits to move toward that). And for others, it’s seeing the good in what we – in our humanness – often want to label as bad or ugly. Whether you’re on either side of that path (healing or thriving with disease), it’s time to hit up my final tip…
  3. Get into gratitude. One of my favorite references to “praising through hardship” is in the bible. While many of us understand the power of a positive mindset, there is nothing that can mend a broken soul more permanently than belief in something or someone greater than yourself. I want you to know that wherever you’re at, Job most likely had it worse. But because of his faith, he was able to go through the agony of scraping itchy sores all over his body with a clay pot, yet still find goodness His perspective took into account that in his lifetime, he had experienced lots and lots of blessings from the hands of the Lord. And guess what – after his hardship, there were also lots and lots of blessings! Even during Dengue Fever (exacerbated by my autoimmune disease), I could praise through. Did I ask God to take me away? Absolutely! I’m human – and the worst pain of my entire life accompanied the mosquito-borne viral infection. But there were moments that I could see Papa’s great hand on my life (like the fact that during the illness, my husband was already a stay at home dad and could take care of our young kids). Back to Job. Read it. For real! I don’t care if you don’t have a believing bone in your body (okay, actually I do – because I love you, but still), grab The Message version of the bible and read this. If you don’t enjoy reading, watch this sermon. Then praise through with me.

My greatest prayer is that in reading this today, these tips will help you. Some of us heal from disease and others of us walk through it for a lifetime. If you’re on the latter end, know that you aren’t walking it alone. I am with you, and far greater than that God is with you. There are ways to go this path without the yoke and the burden. And all of them go back to a relationship with Him. If you’d like to learn more, contact me. I would be happy to partner with you as you grow in your wellness and faith, because truly, they go hand-in-hand.

So Many Blessings,

xox Mama J.

Premature Labor & Bliss: How A Healthy Baby Changed My Life

Premature Labor & Bliss: How A Healthy Baby Changed My Life

To my precious Wild,

I love you. Happy fourth anniversary of our first big hurdle together. I know we’ll have many, many more challenges because of the way your precious body works. I also know we’ll have many, many more wins because of the unshakeable faith that I have in our Heavenly Father.

To my friends,

Today I want to share a snippit of our adventure with Bliss. And how it was absolutely wild from the get go!

Four years ago today I was 32 weeks and 1 day pregnant with my second miracle baby. On March 13, 2013 I found myself sitting in a room full of health care providers and experts in maternal well-being. The theme of our time together? Preventing and supporting maternal mental health for those experiencing premature birth (and birth loss). I left that conference with a strange tightness in my chest. It was the same tightness that I felt while carrying my son… but I can only recognize that years later. In that moment, I just didn’t feel “right.”

I returned to my office, and sat down at my desk. After a few minutes, I asked a colleague if she would bring me to the hospital. Was it a heart attack?

I don’t remember much about the 24-48 hours that followed (I think that’s a protective boundary my sweet mind has gifted me), but I do remember two things: 1. the moment that my blood pressure crashed due to a medication meant to stop my contractions (No heart attack here! Just preterm labor. Again.), and 2. when I heard the words BED REST.

Millions and millions of women have no idea what it’s like to be on bedrest twice. But thousands of us do. Is it worth it for a healthy baby? YES. Is it pure torture while you’re on that particular path? Oh, friend. You can’t even imagine.

There I was, a mother with severe perinatal anxiety being put on modified bedrest (at home, Praise Jesus!) for 22 hours a day, every day. A mother still recovering from postpartum depression who now had limited contact with her two-year old son – let alone any other human being for weeks and weeks on end. (The second half was a product of living in the sticks back then.)

I will never, ever complain about those five long, medicated, darkest of dark weeks where I wept every day and pretended to be fine. Those weeks gave me a beautiful child of full health born on (wait for it…) her DUE DATE. We both proved our fight. (Thank you Bliss for teaching me how to be bold and brave then, just as you do now.)

My friend, the story doesn’t end with a healthy baby. It begins there. I’m reflecting on that right now because so very many women don’t experience this gift. Nothing can prepare you for all the feelings you learn about as you hold your first healthy baby. Nothing can prepare you for the joy you’ll experience. And nothing can prepare you for the longing and sadness that might rise up, too. When I gave birth to this baby, I realized how very disconnected I had been from my first…

Regrets? I have none. But I do have so much empathy for the woman I was. The woman who didn’t know what motherhood could be – who had no idea that she could fall madly in love with a child at first sight. Oh, how I fell in love with my Bliss at first sight!

In our short time together, Bliss has taught me gratitude. She has taught me big, scary love. She has taught me patience and kindness and loving-awareness and simplicity and balance. Bliss has taught me connection and reconnection and bravery and that it’s okay to not text back right away (life doesn’t stop) and that you can actually give birth to one of your very best friends… And we’ve only been together 4 years.

It feels simultaneously absurd and authentic to write this… but I can’t wait for the next four and the next four and the next forty. A mother’s job isn’t to raise her young and walk away – but to counsel the next generation in her wisdom as she grows old. This season is just the beginning of something beautiful. Today, I get to walk alongside moms who have experienced chunks of life that have look like my chunks. But there will come a tomorrow when I will get to walk alongside my Bliss, teach her what she has unknowingly taught me.

xox

Mama J.

 

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.” -Proverbs 31:26-31

Feeling All The Mama Feels

Can I go Here and come back whole? I ask myself as I put my fingers to the keyboard this morning. It’s so easy to become lost in thought. Especially for a girl who hides from emotion. Or a girl who hid from emotion. A girl who doesn’t hide from feelings anymore… yet doesn’t particularly care for excessive feeling either. Still.

Perhaps, after months of write-free sabatical, and an exploration into integrative wellness from the other side of the table (as a coach-in-training), I can be Here and return into my sweet little world whole.

Let’s give it a try.

Today, I want to talk to you about these emotions I’ve been burying for years and years (and years). Today, I want to be brave enough to tell you that you are not alone if you have had big, scary emotions begin to rise up – and then you completely freaked the freak out (with or without knowing it). Today, I want to be brave enough to share this space with you. Because maybe, just maybe, if we share this space it will be easier to tell you about Jamie. And maybe it will be easier to tell you about growing into an emotional being, too.

Jamie was the first mother that I chose a relationship with shortly after becoming a mother myself. My peers didn’t have kids, especially sick ones, and I was crawling out of my skin most days pretending to be someone I wasn’t… yet. But in those conversations with Jamie – a friend and employee at my day job – I wasn’t pretending. I could tell her about the sleepless nights and the worry. She held a space for me. And in return, I held one for her. Our sons were only two weeks apart in age, and we could connect on so many different experiences. Including this one: Jamie lived with a physical dysfunction that was wreaking havoc on her life. That dysfunction took her from our beautiful world five years ago today.

That experience that we connected on has absolutely wreaked havoc on my life too. And five years ago, I had just recovered from an autoimmune crash and back injury. I was teaching yoga, contemplating leaving my job in veterinary medicine, and feeling nothing (still). My son was 20 months old, and I was completely disconnected. But on the day that Jamie passed away, I felt something for the first time since becoming a mom. I felt something real and raw and vulnerable. And it wasn’t fear – quite possibly the only thing that I had been feeling for quite some time. What I felt was one of the deepest sadnesses that I have ever known. And, home alone with my little boy when I received the news, I felt one of the deepest loves that I have ever known too. My mild child sat upon my lap as I crumbled that day. He sat upon my lap and he wiped away each and every tear that fell.

The little boy that I didn’t know how to love, loved me. I can’t put this experience into any more words than this. At least not today.

Flash forward through the next year, and slowly but surely more emotions bubbled up to the surface. And of course, one by one, I pushed them back down. When I became pregnant with our second baby, I decided immediately it should be a boy again. I was raised to believe that boys were less emotional. Which would obviously make life much easier for me!

feelings
This little boy might be the most emotional being I’ve ever met. He breaks down gender stereotypes daily. And I love it.

But alas, God’s hand placed me on a healing path – and that second miracle child ended up being a sweet (and wild) little girl. Not only did I begin to learn emotion through her, but I learned that all people have emotion through having her. Emotion isn’t just a girl or woman thing. It’s a people thing. (And it is safe to have them.) I’ve seen the emotion of a little boy learning to grow into a relationship with a lost mama bear; and then watched his emotions expand and contract as he learns to grow into relationship with a special needs sister. I’ve seen the emotion of a man who almost lost his father. I’ve seen the emotion of a child lost in her world. I’ve seen my emotions twist and turn and churn and bubble up through it all.

And while I don’t love the idea of being so hugely vulnerable as to feel all the feels all the time, I do feel a lot of feels a lot of the time now. Feels that don’t pull me down into a deep dark hole, but inspire me to lift someone else out of theirs.

How do you live in your emotional body? Does it feel good and safe to you? I would love to know.

To Jamie – thank you for being on my heart daily. You remind me always that being present means being grateful for all of the gifts that Papa has given me.

xox

Mama J.

 

Acceptance In Motherhood

Dear Mama,

9 hours. Did you know that it takes 9 (interrupted) hours to take a 2 hour defensive driving course online at home on a Sunday afternoon? If this isn’t motherhood in a nutshell, then nothing is! Pretty much everything that we do – once we enter the realm of nurturing other little beings – takes at least double the time to complete. Are you okay with that?

Yesterday, I was not. I was not okay with the distractions and the interruptions and the crying and the screaming and the tattling and the nose-picking arguments. (You know the one. It starts with “please, sweetie get your fingers out of your nose,” and ends up with you raving over the 15 different reasons why you should not stick your fingers in your nose… to a three year old, who at the end of the conversation is still picking their nose. #JesusFixIt) Yes, yesterday acceptance was long gone and I was being hung out to dry by two precious miracles who sucked all of the love words right out of my soul and replaced them with responses like, “really?” and “I can’t even.” Please note, hands were being thrown in the air during both responses. Signs that you really have a frustrated mama bear.

But guess what? I have no guilt. I have no guilt that acceptance wasn’t even slightly on my radar. I have no guilt that I’m human. And that I’m okay with. Are you okay with your humanness?? Are you okay that sometimes your mission field is full of explosive mines and that sometimes, you’ll get struck – you’ll go down, down, down – and then you’ll reappear as Mommy Mary Poppins the next morning? Are you okay with that?

bliss
She’s okay with it. She is more than okay with my humanness. Because interestingly enough, she already recognizes HER humanness.

 

Mama, I want to know if you’re okay with that because our mission field might always be filled with tiny explosive devices – some that might be concealed for weeks or months or years – and then boom. You trip one, and you are no longer the magical mama bear you’ve worked overtime to become. You’re just a bear with limited maternal instinct, but your survival instinct is still on fleek, so you roar and you run… And then Monday morning comes and you gush over how blessed you are and it brings you so much joy to see your kids excited for school – and that bow, did you see that bow my wild is wearing today?

We’re an interesting bunch, aren’t we?

This morning, I imagine that Big Papa is rolling over our interestingness. I believe He finds enormous humor in our innocence – and not in a roll-your-eyes-at-that-mom-over-there kind of humor. A genuine, childlike Joe Biden meme kind of humor. Have you seen those meme’s yet? Mama, just x right out of this post right now and google it. Okay, okay, we’re mid-conversation – so check it out later at the very least!

He finds humor in how one moment we’re on cloud nine posting on every social media platform that our miracle child has a wonderful new skill (like peeing on the potty) and the next minute, we’re barricaded in the bathroom with a glass of wine and some chocolate, while Frozen is playing on repeat in the living room. We somehow believe that our “Frozen moment” is a sign of our weakness and our failure – meanwhile, we’ve got a savior that died for our sins so that our failures would be absolutely unrecognizable to our Heavenly Father!

Y’all, Jesus fixed it! Can we be okay now? Can we be okay that while striving for being more, we have a good, good Father that loves us the same even when we’re not? Can we accept that no matter how wobbly we personally feel, that we are always on solid ground with the One who loves us enough to have given us these challenging miracles? I hope so. I hope and pray that we can be okay with what is while working for what can be. Because I promise you, you are worthy of okay. Actually, you’re worthy of a whole lot more than okay.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14

Let’s rock more than okay. Catch you soon, sweet friend.

xox

Mama J.

Why I Went Back to Facebook

Dear Mama,

For almost a week, I walked away from Facebook. If I’m completely honest, that was in part due to the upcoming election and the negativity that I found vomited all over my newsfeed day after day after day. {Still, I’m human.} Gone were the sweet pictures of new babies and old friends and crock pot recipes and family vacations. And I felt my excitement for the social media platform in general dwindle. Over the last three years, Facebook has been my space. It’s where I have connected with my yoga students off of the yoga mat – and it’s where I have stayed in touch with our team around the world! I was shouting it’s praises for building community. I loved Facebook.

And then I didn’t anymore. Yet, I still went back.

I went back after I spent some time in prayer over my hiatus. Five minutes here and there. An entire boat ride with the grandparents. A walk through Walmart, during which I’m sure I got looks as my mouth moved in silence. {That’s just how I pray, y’all.} Prayer about our family, our business, our sensory wild child and miracle mild one. Prayer over church and community and government. Praise over God’s goodness in every gap he’s filled. I still didn’t have the answer to whether I should be on Facebook, though. Then I wrecked my car, Wild in the back seat, and reality hit as I journaled. That reality is simple: we can’t run away from what isn’t working, if we’ve been called to fix it.

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It was risky business posting this. I’m not in love with how I look – but giving testimony where it’s due means showing messy, not perfect.

This thought or prompting, brought me to the moment many, many years ago when I gave up. I sat on my knees in a damp, stinky basement – and I prayed to be released from life. I was in a rough relationship, my best friend had just announced her affair, and I had decided to confront someone close to me about long time abuse. All of that isn’t what is important from this memory, though. What’s important is what I heard, which is this: “You are here to make other people happy.” Boom. Calling named. Now, back to why I can’t leave Facebook…

I can’t leave Facebook because I wasn’t called to watch change happen. I was and am called to make change happen. To be the change, as Mr. Gandhi said. And as I gave thanks in my journal for walking away from a pretty good {not good} accident, I realized that no one knew I had walked away with minor, minor injuries – and that my baby girl had none. Not a single one. If no one knows your testimony, it’s kind of like it never happened. It happened. And to give glory where glory is due – to over 2,000 Facebook family, friends, and business partners – isn’t optional. It is necessary.

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At least it is for me. So, going forward – I’m back on Facebook. Will I take breaks here and there? Absolutely! It’s good for the soul. But I won’t leave until it is no longer a space where more love and light and laughter is needed. Project Change All The Lives has only just begun, because love can break through.

When love broke thru

You found me in the darkness

Wanderin’ thru the desert

I was a hopeless fool

Now I’m hopelessly devoted

My chains are broken

And it all began with You

When love broke thru

And it all began with You

When love broke thru

– When Love Broke Through, Toby Mac

Until we meet again – may love break through.

xox

Mama J.

Seek Not – Why I Gave Up Control

Dear Wild,

Seek not control, for it won’t be given.

Seek not, sweet baby girl. It’s one of the only things that I can truly say that I have learned in mothering a sensory child (you). After what felt like (or actually was) over six weeks with few breaks from the wildness, we’ve hit our longest streak of calm in the last two years. (If you consider bite wounds on your brother’s nose calm. And after many of our other adventures, I certainly do.) This calm will potentially be disrupted by the multi-sensory, emotional experience of being reunited with family in a few short days – but alas, we have seen you my wild child. We have seen you. The you that lies far beneath the squirming and anxiety attacks and sensory meltdowns and obsessive compulsive cleaning and tidying tendancies. And you are beautiful, Wild.

Let me clear the air and tell you mother to daughter that you have always been beautiful. The rolling over within 24 hours of birth? Beautiful. The wide eyed (insane-looking) smiles you gave at just three weeks old? Beautiful. The 24/7 demand to nurse for 10 months? Beautiful. The asphalt-stained face after your first public meltdown? Beautiful. The way you scream with excitement? Beautiful. The confused and dazed look that overcomes your sweet face on a challenging day? Beautiful. You are always beautiful.

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There is nothing like watching your child thrive in a social experience. You absolutely amazing me, Wild. Your fight to be the best version of you continues to push me to be the best version of me!

Do you know what else is beautiful?

Handing over the reigns. Letting go of what you can’t control. I’ve been in awe this past week of who you are and who you are becoming. Yet, these last few days I’ve been waiting in fear – forgetting to breathe – because barring a miracle, this will not last. Oh, but imagine if it did?! I have to remind myself to hope for it, still. That while we treat you and work to prevent challenges, I can still pray for your complete recovery. And I can still know that God is God and that if it’s not his plan, then that’s okay too.

Motherhood is one of the few places where I’ve ever felt so in control, yet so out of it. Wild, I’ve been gifted you and your brother and I have worked so very hard to be a better version of me – for you. A place where I felt in control. Yet, without God’s great hand that lifted me out of a troubled stretch with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders combined with an epic autoimmune crash, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Seek not control, sweet girl, seek not… for it won’t be given. And it’s truly not worth your time. What is worth your time? Enjoying seven mostly-awesome days with a child that you wanted more than anything else in this entire world.

Until my fingers meet these keys again, you are the most precious gift little one.

Love,
Mama J.

 

But Not Right Now

Dear Mild & Wild Ones,

I went to bed the other night feeling a bit broken and beat down. What has transpired from that unrest, blows my mild. For so many years, I have been the jack of all trades. It was during the space created on Sunday night that it came into my attention not everyone will understand why I must have my hands in ten different things at once – and that sometimes, I will also forget why I dive into everything that calls my name.

But then I think about who our God is, and I know that when He puts your name on a task – you don’t say no. In the last few years of building our family’s business, I have not said no. What I have said is “but not right now.” And he’s still blessed me. In January, I first wrote down that I should begin writing. And immediately thereafter in my journal, I wrote “but not right now.”I think there is such an interesting web we can weave for our future when we say those four simple words. Sometimes, he’ll respond so that you have no doubt that “not right now” is now. And other times you’ll have a prompt (like I did late one night for a manuscript I just sent off to four different publishing houses). And still other times, you’ll make a guess about when it is “right now.”

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I know how easy it is to spiral into a space of constant busyness. And I am thankful for amazing friends and family and a Father that remind me how important it is to say “not right now.” If no’s are hard for you too, this might be a good place to start!

And through it all, you’ll be offered grace. Through it all, you will carry out his plans. Because you are known, my sweet children. You were knit in my womb by a maker that has predestined you to a greatness that neither you nor I know of… yet. In Jeremiah 1:5 it says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” And in Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

How awesome.

How awesome that we are offered free will each and every day to pick up the staff and move onward, or leave it there and be still. How awesome that God already knows which you’re going to choose – even though you don’t until that moment. I think of David often lately, and the temple project he worked laboriously. A project he didn’t see come to fruition, but his son did. What if everything he’s placed on my heart isn’t meant to flourish in my time? Maybe that’s why I don’t say no. Because I could begin to build the legacy that one or both of you will fulfill.

So many thoughts as I allow myself to dream without limits again (for the first time in maybe a year or so!). So much joy in realizing that my greatest dream is alive and well. I’m home with both of you. Exactly where he’s called me to be for exactly two years this month.

I love you sweet babies. I treasure the good and the rough and the sleepless and everything in between. And I am so hugely, enormously, awesomely glad that I don’t have to say “but not right now” to you.

“I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.”

-You Make Me Brave, Bethel Music

Love,
Mama J.