Dear Younger Self…

Dear younger self,

You don’t actually know me, but I certainly know you. Someday you will know exactly who I am, but for now, you are focused on exactly where you are right now.

You are about 17 years old right now and you are living life day by day. You have no worry of tomorrow and no care for the future. This is the time in your life when most of your worries and fears are what you will wear the next day or whether or not the cute boy likes you or not. I wish I could shake you and tell you to enjoy the days and soak up every moment when things are not so bad. I know they feel like the end of the world to you right now, but it isn’t.

In about 3 years you are going to elope and marry the one man no one would ever want you to be with. You will be stubborn and hold as tight as you can to the trust you have in this man you love in spite of his faults. You will have the hardest first year of marriage imaginable, but hold on tight because there is so much beauty in the end! You will be carrying your sweet baby girl in your womb while trying to keep your marriage in one piece, but be still because God will carry you. You probably don’t believe a word I am saying right now because I know who you are at 17, but hold these words close to you if you can. Once you are in this marriage, in spite of the level of difficulties, God will move mountains! You will see Him work in your marriage, in your husband and in YOU in incredible ways! Have patience and trust your marriage to rest in HIS hands.

Continue reading “Dear Younger Self…”

Dear Women, It’s Time to Dream

“She believed she could, so she did.”

We have all seen this quote throughout our various social medias. There are two different kinds of women that post this quote.

  1. A woman with a full confidence in truly believing that they could achieve a dream.
  2. A woman who is trying to convince herself that she can be successful in something. As if posting it for all to read will somehow give herself a boost of motivation.

I have been in both places in my life. I have been the confident one when I am dreaming about something I know full well I am great at and then I have been that person that posts Pinterest quotes to try and convince myself that I am great at something.

I have a dream I have carried deep inside for a long time. I started to face this dream at one point in my life and then decided to “put it on the shelf” as I began another dream, which was having my little family. Lately I have grasped very tightly to this past dream again and with the support of my incredible family and friends I am facing it head on.

This dream involves a lot of schooling and unfortunately I have always believed that I am not great in that area. I have convinced myself through the years that I am not capable of great things because I am dumb, I am a horrible test taker and learning is just not my gift. The past month I have had to work very hard to destroy those lies in my head that have haunted me for so long.

It saddens me when I think about how deeply I was in the lie that I was just plain stupid. I was stuck in this feeling of “satisfaction” in my education because I was afraid to fail. So much so that I was willing to forget about my dreams completely.

Fear is toxic and fear of failure destroys any dreams you have. 

Guilt was also haunting me and I believe this is a common struggle with a lot of women when it comes to dreaming. Because of the way our society is today I believed that if I pursued a dream for myself then I was selfish and in my case a bad mom. I kept hearing this lie telling me that if you do anything besides be a mom then you don’t love your children.

This. is. not. true. 

“Mom” is forever and will be my greatest title in life. No matter what I achieve in the future, being a mom is my proudest level of success. This doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything else for the rest of my life, thought.

Mom’s can have dreams too!

Some moms have a dream to be a mom and I think that is great! Some moms dream of being a mom and then dream of more alongside that and I think that’s great too! It’s so easy for us moms to fall into this guilt when it comes to our kids or as women to fall into a guilt of focusing on something for just you and no-one else. My conclusion is that I want my kids to see an example in their parents of hard work, dedication, facing fears head on, stomping on those filthy lies and pursuing dreams no matter what!

I will share more details about my new adventure as things begin to come together a little more, but for now I want all of you women out there to hear me when I tell you that you are meant for great things!

Say this with me and believe it…

I can do this.
I am capable of great things.
I am smart!
I am gifted!
I am allowed to pursue my dreams!
I am not a failure!
I will stomp on these lies and rise! 
I will not let fear have power over me! 
I am a strong and confident woman!
I am a big dreamer and I love that about me!

If you are a mom feeling some of what I shared then say this with me and believe it…

I am a mom and I have dreams!
I am a mom with a dream and I still love my kids!
I am a mom with a dream and I will not let guilt carry me! 
I am a mom with a dream and I will not let fear have power! 
I am a mom with a dream and I am a great mom still! 
I am a mom with a dream and no-one can tell me that’s wrong! 
I am a mom with a dream and I. CAN. do. this! 
I am a mom and a dreamer at the same time and I love that about me!

Grasp your dreams and your family all at the same time! Surround yourself with good supportive people in your life that want nothing but to applaud your every step!

Women are such amazingly strong and beautiful beings and we are made for great things!

Go now and dream, my friend.

 PIN IT FOR LATER

 

 

 

Dear Mama, There is Hope in Postpartum Depression

THE STORY

In August 2017 we welcomed a new baby girl into our family. It was 3 long years of 2 babies in Heaven and a lot of patience that lead us to finally holding our new baby in our arms. My pregnancy was not a graceful journey. I was told at 6 weeks that there was no heart beat found. I remember going home and feeling frustrated, defeated, but also a part of me was in total denial that this could be happening to us again. I returned to the office a few days later to find a little baby growing inside me with a heart beat. The first 12 weeks were a battle to keep her healthy and growing. I was on progesterone, which was constantly being adjusted based off of my levels that were taken each week. The journey to our baby girl was never easy, but the day she arrived healthy and strong made every step of my pregnancy worth it. 

A few weeks after bringing her home, I was lying in bed staring at her tiny little face. I felt as if I hadn’t slept in years and was praying she would close her eyes so I could take a nap as well. For over an hour she fought sleep. She would close her eyes for a minute and then be wide awake again.

I just wanted to sleep. I needed to sleep because that was the only time I was numb to how I was feeling.

I tried to hold in the tears I felt coming. I felt this rush of emotion come over me that I felt I was not going to be able to control. Then it happened. All control was lost and I cried hysterical tears that came from a place so deep that I had never been before.

I don’t want to be here anymore.
I just want to run away.
Everyone is better off with out me.
This baby is better off with out me.
I hate myself.
How could anyone love me?

I couldn’t understand how I could look at that sweet little face and be thinking these things. I had waited so long for this baby. I had begged God to place another baby into my arms and He did. I felt like the most ungrateful and terrible person for feeling so unhappy.

In that moment I realized I wasn’t okay. I knew that I was starting a war with my body that I had no control over.

As the days continued I started to become not only more emotional, but I was also obsessive. I had this terrible fear that my baby was going to die. I did everything in my power to make sure that it wouldn’t happen. I would go as far as adjusting her pajamas 10 times before leaving her in her bed because I was afraid they would choke her. I wouldn’t sleep at night because I would wake up constantly to check if she was breathing. I would get anxious when other people would hand her around because I was afraid it would “wear her out” too much and she would die.

When I think about these fears now they sound so silly to me, but they really are not. These were only a couple of the deep fears I carried daily. I was always in fear and even when I had a smile on my face I was aching inside.

MY TRIBE

I was at a crossroads.

I could either take the path where I walked alone or I could walk the path with those I love most. My feet were aimed for the path alone because I felt so ashamed for carrying any kind of unhappiness in this time where I should be so thankful and full of joy. I felt scared to share the voices in my head with someone else afraid they would take my baby away from me because they would think I was unfit to care for her. I knew deep inside how much I loved that baby girl, but I was continually blinded by my emotions that it held me back from truly showing and feeling it.

My heart was aimed for the path where I would walk with others by my side during my journey. My heart didn’t want to be alone, my heart knew that being alone was the worst thing I could be and deep inside my heart longed for others.

But what if they think I just want attention. 

I’m here to tell you now that if anyone ever thought that for one moment then they weren’t the right person to walk on my path with me in the first place. This was still a fear of mine, though. It breaks my heart that our world has put depression and anxiety into an attention seeking category. Because of this so many women choose the path to walk alone and it leads to destruction and more pain.

It’s hard to reach a point of allowing someone else into your battle. It’s hard to be vulnerable and honest about the thoughts overtaking your mind. I told myself that I would not be able to overcome this alone and I knew I needed a tribe to fight with me or I would lose precious time with my babies caught up in this uncontrollable imbalance.

I created a very small tribe of people, including my husband, who showed me nothing but kindness, understanding and love. They supported me and never made me feel like any thought I was having was irrational. Every feeling and thought I had was completely valid.

Because I chose to have a very small tribe that helped keep me stay focused and encouraged, it caused me to be quiet in other relationships. As I look back I find it very interesting which relationships grasped tightly even in the silence and those who just disappeared because they weren’t part of a tribe they didn’t even understand. I had to keep reminding myself that I was making decisions for myself and my health and how my decisions made others feel was not valid at that time. Unfortunately this was an extra and unnecessary part that came with this journey, but it has ultimately showed me the beautiful people in my life who stuck with me through it all!

GET HELP

As the obsessive compulsive part of my battle continued, I decided to get professional help as well. My midwife recommended I seek a therapist at Pine Rest to help me through this on a more professional level. This was a very difficult step for me to take because I was concerned of what other people would think if they found out I needed therapy.

It was the best decision I ever made.

I remember walking into the building for the first time feeling sick to my stomach and just praying I didn’t see anyone I knew. I felt ashamed by it for a while, but still today I am seeing this therapist and it has been so good for me not only in my journey with postpartum depression, but also in dealing with other parts of my life I didn’t even realize I needed to work through.

If your therapist or doctor recommends medication to help control the hormonal imbalance that is behind your depression then accept that help and don’t be ashamed for one minute! This is what these professionals and tools are there for!

If you find yourself in any place where you are fighting a battle whether it is depression, anxiety, grief or abuse please get help! Don’t be ashamed for one moment over needing help! I truly believe that everyone could use a little therapy!

There is nothing wrong with needing help. Ever.

IF YOU ARE THERE NOW

Dear mama,

If you are finding yourself lying in your bed crying uncontrollable tears over every emotion possible, don’t be afraid to cry.
If you are finding yourself wishing you were not here anymore and thinking no-one really needs you, you are needed and wanted.
If you are looking at that tiny little face and feeling nothing but an emptiness, you are not a bad mother.
If you think your feelings should be ignored because they won’t make sense to anyone, acknowledge your feelings because they are valid.
If you are ashamed to tell anyone know how you are feeling, give someone the chance to listen and love you.
If you feel guilty for not feeling thankful for what God has given you, He hears your cries and knows your true heart. Rest in that.
If you are stuck in this battle of depression and think no-one will hear you, you are not alone.
If you are afraid to make your tribe small in fear of hurting people, do exactly what YOU need, not what others need right now.
If you are afraid of what people will think about you seeking help, what others think is not important, YOU is what is important.

You’ve got this, you are not alone, find your tribe and hold on tight.

IF YOUR FRIEND IS THERE NOW

Dear friend,

If your friend lets you into their small tribe, listen more and say less.
If your friend does NOT let you into their small tribe, be only what they need specifically from YOU. Nothing more and nothing less.
If you haven’t heard from your friend in a while, reach out and never take it personally because anything you think you know is typically something you have created on your own.
If your friend is afraid to get further help, encourage, but never force.
If your friend is fighting a battle of any kind of depression or anxiety, it is not yours to decide if they are looking for attention.
If you feel at a loss of what to say to your friend, don’t be afraid to seek counsel for yourself.

Be present, be what they need and hold on tight.

THERE IS HOPE

My sweet girl is 9 months old now and I have come a long way in my journey. I can say I feel like myself again and I could have never reached this point without the amazing people in my life. Looking back at it I am so thankful I did not try walking through this alone. I have become a better mom and a stronger woman after overcoming this battle, but I could have never done it alone. Not only did I have a tribe, but I also had a tight grip on my Heavenly Father who carried me through a war taking bullets for me as He wrapped his arms around me and protected me with His strength and undying love for his daughter. 

If you are sitting in this battle right now, hear me please. You are not alone even if you are choosing to be. You are valued, loved and are worth fighting for and God will fight for you. Rest in that today and don’t let fear, shame or guilt get in the way of walking out on the other side and feeling that hope that is waiting for you!

My prayer for all of us women is that we can see my story and others stories out there as a great example of who we need be to each other. We don’t always know what others are going through and honestly, we don’t need to know the details in order to show love to them. Choose to love someone even when you are not in the know and even when you don’t understand. We have an amazing opportunity as women to support one another and so many of us tarnish that because we are so focused on how WE feel.

Put yourself aside today and love someone who needs it and if you are the one who needs to feel loved I pray someone chooses to put them self aside for you.

 PIN IT FOR LATER

You Are Seen, You are Heard, You are Known on Mother’s Day

I see you. 

I see your weariness and exhaustion as you face each day with a new-found energy you didn’t know you had in you.

You still laugh and find joy with your family in spite of your exhaustion.

I see you hiding in the bathroom with tears streaming down your face feeling an emptiness that you are sure will last forever.

You don’t give up and somehow are filled up again and again.

I see you longing for a moment to breathe where no-one needs you for a moment.

You serve your people so beautifully.

I see you reaching for a dream, but feeling a guilt of dreaming for more at all.

It’s okay to dream and reach for the stars with your best people by your side.

I see your desire to love yours endlessly, but the struggle when you feel you have nothing left to give.

You love your people to the best of your ability and are doing it well.

I hear you.

I hear your cries for rest and relaxation.

Find rest and take a deep breath.

I hear your hearts desire to be the perfect mom when perfection never existed in the first place.

Let go of perfection and grasp the fact that who you are right now is enough.

I hear the guilt you are carrying because you made one decision for yourself instead someone else.

Sometimes decisions we make for ourselves make you a better YOU!

I hear the lies you are believing that you are a bad mom and are un-appreciated.

Throw the lies out the window and know YOUR worth is great!

I hear the noise filling up your mind because your calendar is so busy.

It’s okay to say ‘no’ and see that enough is enough.

I know you.

I know your empty womb as you face a day like today longing to be a mother.

Let God hold you in that place.

I know even with children, but longing for more causes an unexplainable ache as well.

You are allowed to hurt too.

I know your grief as you remember those you have lost in your womb or those you have lost in your arms.

I am grieving with you.

I know your body postpartum when everything is so imbalanced and you feel like a terrible mother for feeling the way you do.

Give yourself some grace and know you are not alone in this season.

I know your broken heart as you face every day without your own mother.

Words can’t even express, but you are loved by many today.

God sees you.

God sees your weariness, your exhaustion, your tears, your dreams and your desires. He sees you and wants you to see HIM in your emptiness. Let him fill you up and rest in His arms.

God hears you. 

God hears the cries, the guilt, the lies and the noise. He hears you and wants YOU to hear His voice telling you that you are enough, you are cherished, loved and appreciated! You are not perfect and you will never be, but how amazing is it that a perfect God loves us in our imperfections. Your qualities are exactly what God intended for the people He has placed in your life.

God knows you. 

God knows your pain, grief and brokenness. He knows your every being and He created you fearfully and wonderfully. He wants you to know HIM and HIS desire for you as a mother, sister, friend, daughter as you grow in your relationship with yourself, with God and with the people HE put in your life to love deeply!

Being a mother is not easy, longing to be a mother is painful and being without a mother is agonizing.

Today is not always a celebratory day for everyone, but today I am celebrating ALL of you! No matter what season you are in on your journey, you are being appreciated for being exactly where you are!

Happy Mothers Day to the women that have children to hold, the women who long to hold their own and the women who wish they were being held.

 

 PIN IT FOR LATER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Cancer Changes Everything- Part 3

Read Part 1 of When Cancer Changes Everything

Read Part 2 of When Cancer Changes Everything

What do you think people will see when they look back at YOUR life?

On Memorial Day 2016, we celebrated my mom’s life surrounded by our friends and family. The church auditorium was full of the people who loved my mom and people she loved so dearly. Each and every person that was in that building was touched by my mom in a special way.

The service couldn’t have been more beautiful. It was full of music and worship, which is exactly what my mom would have wanted. A couple of people spoke during the service and had nothing but the kindest and most positive things to say about her. After the service we had a reception line. We as a family greeted everyone who attended the service.

“Your mom was such a special lady.”
“Your mom served everyone so selflessly.”
“I loved your mom so much.”
“Your mom was an amazing and faithful friend to me.”
“Your mom was always so kind and gracious.”
“Your mom loved the Lord so beautifully.”

As I think about all these amazing things people had to say about her it makes me think about what people would say about me. What if my husband, my dad or my sister were standing in that reception line.

What would people be saying to them about me? 

Continue reading “When Cancer Changes Everything- Part 3”