Thursday, November 2, 2017

the one with the new rhythm

Lately I've been reflecting on my walk with God. I'll be real with you - God and I are going through a bit of a transition right now as I'm figuring out this whole "motherhood + discipleship" thing and ohhhh my is it a bit different. Between hormones, exhaustion, a dependent little person, and to be quite honest - my own sinful nature - finding a rhythm with my Heavenly Father is challenging. I've been fighting for it with prayer walks and new-mom devotional books, but it's certainly been an adjustment. My mom-friends keep telling me that this transition is normal and that it will get easier (um, yes please!). Because the truth is, I am loving motherhood and all it's spit-up glory - but I miss my rhythm with God.

I'm reminded of verses like Psalm 42:2

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?

And Psalm 84:1-2, 10

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Oh how I need God! Oh how I'm desperate for God. But when those free moments come and the baby takes an extra long nap and I'm left with a bit of free time - how easy it is to flip on the television, browse through social media, and just.waste.time. Now don't get me wrong - I don't think that's always the worst thing - moms need time to relax too (and shower, can I get an amen?!) - but all too often, I choose self-refreshment over God-centered refreshment. And that self-refreshment never lasts long enough and certainly doesn't sustain me.  

Just last week, Jesse and I went to Crane's Beach and it reminded me of how precious my walk with God really is. We first went to Crane's Beach on a beautiful summer day when we were in the peak of infertility. I was so unbelievably sad that when J found that this beach made me happy - he bought us a year long parking pass on the spot and agreed to take me every week that summer. It was the sweetest, most impulsive, most expensive decision ever! That beach became my sanctuary and the prayers I prayed up and down those sandy shores will stick with me forever. Last week, we finally took Rosie to the place we prayed for her over and over and it was magic.



Being back at Crane's Beach transported me to such a special time in my relationship with God but it reminded me of something else -- I don't want the best years of my spiritual walk to be behind me. My future with God can look different - different is fine - but it can't look worse. I never want to say that my best years as a disciple of Jesus were before I had children. Because to be perfectly honest with you, sleep-deprivation isn't exactly making me more Christ-like. I need more of God, not less! Motherhood is exposing jagged edges in my heart and character that desperately need to be smoothed and softened by God. And yet so often, motherhood and marriage - both incredible gifts from God, can easily (albeit sneakily!) become our excuses for not drawing near to Him! Sisters, this should not be. I want to be gentle with myself during this season - after all, Isaiah says that God "gently leads those who have young," but I also don't want to neglect my Maker. I need his help more than ever!


So maybe my times with God can't be quite as long in these infant days, and maybe I can't hop in the car and hit the beach to pour out my soul to the Lord - but I can absolutely do a few things. I can turn off the television, I can put my phone on "Do Not Disturb," and I can pull out my journal and my Bible and meet with God.

And if someone could remind me of this post when I'm tired tomorrow that would be great ;)

.......................................

To all my mama friends out there -- here a few things I've found that have helped me the last few months (If you have suggestions, please pass them along! I am so new at this):

- Devotional Books: It's been so helpful for me to have a ready-made Bible study everyday to meditate on. I wish I had the energy to create my own Bible studies but I'm having to accept that I don't and that it's okay to absorb other people's wisdom! I've read the books Gently Led and My Morning Cup and they've been wonderful.
- Simple verses, simple meditations: I may not be able to do an in-depth study on the Holy Spirit at this point in my Christian walk but I can pick out a short verse and meditate on it, consider it, talk about it and let it marinate in my heart all day.
- Podcasts: I've been listening to setapartgirl on iTunes and I love it. If I'm not able to sit down and read or if I'm nursing and needing to focus spiritually, I find that listening to sermons or spiritual podcasts are so helpful. Setapartgirl podcasts are Biblically based messages that last about 15 minutes and they really pack a punch for me. I've also listened to Timothy Keller and Francis Chan. It's fun to find new ones!
- Pray with others. When I have friends over, it's easy to just chat and pass the time - but I've found that integrating prayer into my times with other women just makes us that much closer and makes our time so much more meaningful! Why not bring prayer into my fellowship time! Jesse and I also try to go on prayer walks together a few times a week. It allows us to connect with one another, get some exercise, and most importantly - connect with God.
- Pray while nursing. So many moms have suggested this to me and I have to be honest - sometimes this goes better for me than others. But I do think it's a great practical - after all, it's something we new moms find ourselves doing a LOT!
- Ask your husband for help. This one is big for me - I ask Jesse if he can watch the baby for a little while so I can get some special time with God. Sometimes I forget to ask or feel guilty asking - but J is more than happy to take RJ for a little while so I can connect with God! I just need to make my needs known.

Here's to finding a rhythm with our God in each new stage!
xoxo
A+J





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

the one about {mornings}


Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness. 
- Lamentations 3:22-23 



Rosemary Jane arrived on July 22nd at 11:37AM. From that first morning until now, mornings have become my favorite time of day. Each morning, when my Rosie wakes up - I am giddy all over again, eager to hold the cutest bundle of answered prayers I've ever seen. Don't get me wrong, there have been nights of blown-out diapers and spit-up on bed sheets and un.real.exhaustion and drama-queen tears (her's...most of the time!) and did I mention exhaustion? - but all of those stressful moments fade away when the sun comes up.  The sun rises, a new day starts, and once more I get to kiss those long-anticipated sweet cheeks, see those little (but pudgier-by-the-day) arms stretch and stretch, and watch a teeny, toothless grin smile back at me and light up my whole world. 


Lamentations tells us that God's compassion for us is renewed every morning. Let's think about that for a second -- like, really think about it: Everyday, God looks at us - at YOU - with the doting eyes of a parent with fresh eyes of love, of grace, and of compassion. Yesterday's mistakes are wiped clean and the tears, the metaphorical "blow-outs," and even the tantrums are forgotten and replaced with a whole new helping of love. Our God chooses to forget and instead, I imagine him looking at you and I giddy to see our grins and eager to connect with us anew. After all, if I, with my limited amount of patience, can extend daily compassion to my daughter - how much more can our Heavenly Father do the same for us? 



Over the last six weeks, I've connected with this idea of God seeing me with compassionate eyes like never before. I meditate on who the Scriptures say He is - a Father eager to enjoy me, eager to console and soothe me, and eager to meet my needs.  And let me tell you - I have had a LOT of needs as of late. I've needed His grace like more than ever as my physical and emotional weaknesses have never been more obvious! I'm realizing that this verse (and many others) promise me access to this mistake-erasing, all-encompassing, absolutely relentless love every morning.
And me?

Well, I just get to smile back.

...

 Our friend, Jonny Havens, an unbelievably talented film maker, made Rosie a welcome-to-the-world video as a gift to us! Jonny made us our wedding video (only his second ever!) when he was an undergrad at Emerson College. Anyway, he made us this video and I cried when I watched it - cause, you know, hormones...and UGH SHE IS PERFECT. And believe it or not, this is the short version he made for us. The website won't let me upload a file that large (buh!) but the longer one is on Facebook. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!







xoxo
A+J

*All photos by Fergie Medar Photography*


Thursday, April 27, 2017

a + j's {incomplete} guide to infertility



Allow me to start this post by giving you a few important facts about infertility - facts that surprised me and facts that I think few people realize. Infertility is NOT only a female problem. 1/3 of all diagnoses are male factor, 1/3 are female factor and 1/3 are unexplained (meaning they have no idea why!). Jesse and I were in the unexplained, they-have-no-idea-why, camp. One of the biggest lies that Satan tells you when you're infertile is that your diagnosis is YOUR fault. That if you worked out more, ate better, and stressed less - you would get pregnant. But let's think about all the humans that smoked, drank like crazy, and made a plethora of unhealthy choices and somehow managed to get pregnant faster than you can say "Baby Mama."  As if we needed more of a reason to hate ourselves as infertile women - we buy into this terrible lie and head down the rabbit hole of self-hate. Every time we went to the doctor, my specialist would literally place a box of tissues in front of me and tell me (again) to get off the internet and that I didn't have to exclusively eat parsnips and pineapple cores in order to get pregnant. I can't tell you how much I needed his Robin Williams-esque "IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT" speech month after month. So anyway, from one crazy human to a likely less crazy one, here are my biggest pieces of input for a woman who may think she's infertile:

1. Get Tested Early.

My sister went through infertility so I was aware of the possibility of a diagnosis much earlier than most. After suspecting infertility and doing all the things we could do to up our chances - I made an appointment with our doctor and got forwarded to a specialist. Our specialist informed us that "normal" people have a 15% chance of conceiving every month. Couples past a year have less than a 5% chance of conceiving every month. Those are challenging odds. In my humble opinion, it's worth it to get tested and to get answers sooner than later. After all, knowledge is power! If you've been trying for nearly a year - you're not being dramatic to make an appointment and ask for a referral to a specialist. Any fertility doctor would encourage you to go ahead and set up an appointment. It often takes a lonnnng time to get into see a good doctor and then several months of testing before you're even given any sort of diagnosis. So my advice would be to go to the doctors early - it can't hurt anything and it feels a whole lot better than doing nothing.

I wrestled with the idea of pursuing medical advice at first because I wondered if going that route said something about my faith in God's timing. I worried that getting help meant that I wasn't surrendered and that I was "taking matters into my own hands". But again, my sister's wisdom to the rescue! "Do you really think Sarah or Rachel or Hannah wouldn't have used every thing at their disposal to try and conceive?" A fair point. Infertility is a disease. Would you ever criticize a friend for seeking medical intervention about any other disease? Would you really call her "not surrendered" for getting medical advice? Of course not! So why is infertility any different? And even when you look at the seven women who dealt with infertility in Scripture (an incredible Bible study btw) - you see that many of them tried different things to get pregnant. And you don't see God shaming or judging them for trying to get pregnant. If anything, he deals with every infertile woman in the Scripture with incredible patience, compassion, and gentleness. If God displayed compassion as they tried to navigate infertility - don't you think that same compassion extends to you? Now obviously, seeking a medical diagnosis is something that you and your spouse need to decide together and with prayer and advice. However, those are just a few thoughts that helped me, an over-complicated/always guilty/over-thinker, to decide to go to the doctor.

2. Gather Support.

I personally believe that infertility is one of the most isolating things you can experience as a woman. It's an invisible diagnosis and something that most people don't quite understand. Being young and infertile was extremely strange for me because me and my baby face would walk into a doctor's office and immediately feel like a freak. I'm pretty sure I was the youngest woman in every waiting room I entered. I felt like every other woman (even the infertile ones!) were looking at me with judgement for getting married young and like I must REALLY be messed up to have a faulty body "at my age". Now, this doesn't mean anyone actually thought those things -- but I sure felt that way! That said, very quickly into the process I recognized my need for support and encouragement. As you all know, I was pretty open about our journey with people in my life. Vulnerability wasn't a luxury for me - it was a necessity. I had to be vulnerable in order to handle my job, my emotions, and just my day-to-day life. But as our waiting dragged on, talking about it with whoever wasn't always the most helpful. I chose several women - about three - to be completely and consistently raw with and then I was honest with others in my life to a less intense degree. I just couldn't quite bear my soul in the same way (even though I wanted to) with each and every friend. I had to give myself permission to not tell everyone every single infertile thought and emotion and about every single blood test and doctors appointment. I quickly realized that I just couldn't quite handle hearing everyone's opinions or thoughts or even sympathy all the time. As a compulsive over-sharer who is constantly afraid of being inauthentic - this was soooo hard for me. But I realized that I couldn't survive the day by reliving and retelling my latest emotional moment 15 times with 15 different humans. It just wasn't practical. I eventually started a text thread with some of my closest friends and named it "Future Aunties." I would text them updates regularly and send specific prayer requests to keep them in the loop. This was helpful because it allowed me to feel connected with them and they with me without feeling like I needed to call each and every one and explain the same thing every time.

But I also had to realize that I did need to be totally transparent with a few in order to keep my own heart and walk with God in check. As the months dragged on, I had to deliberately choose to let these women influence me, guide me, and even correct me in my particularly dark moments. At one point, I even decided to seek counseling as the process got more intense. And honestly, it was extraordinarily helpful. Being a minister, I had no idea how to talk with someone without asking questions in return. I would sit there like, "Um, so you really wanna know more about me?" But I eventually got over it and those sessions changed my perspective and my heart in very real ways. The weirdest way I found support? Through Instagram. I know, I know - it sounds weird. But there's an incredible trying-to-conceive community on Instagram - known as "TTC accounts"-  and these women are all going through different parts of the infertility journey. It ended up being a great place to ask questions and make friends who were dealing with similar treatments at the same time. One of the women that I connected with has become a dear, dear friend and we are due with little girls within 4 days of each other! Her support got me through so many hard days as someone that completely "got it." Support is vital and may come from unlikely places!

3. Recognize the Crisis. 

You're not crazy. What you're going through is really hard!! And just because someone has a worse challenge, a harder life, or a circumstance you can't even begin to fathom - doesn't invalidate your pain. This is hard. And it's not wrong to acknowledge your heartache. I eventually learned to anticipate and plan for my hard days. I discovered that days I went to the doctor, that I needed to plan in more time to process and deal. I learned that events where lots of pregnant women would be present would be hard for me - this didn't mean I didn't attend - but it meant that I took the time to pray and prepare my heart ahead of time. I had to acknowledge the crisis in order to endure it.

4. Recognize your Need for God.

Going through infertility can either make you bitter or draw you closer. There will be moments where you stare into the abyss of bitterness and dip a toe (or five) in. Back away from the edge, dear friend. Bitterness will not give you a baby, comparison will not make you happy, and judging other women will not make infertility any more bearable. Pursuing peace, praying deeply, and soaking up the intimacy that only suffering can produce is far more worth your effort. If you question if God is good - study it out. If you wonder if he hears - study it out. If you question his justice - study it out. The word is full of insights for the hurting, the helpless, and the lonely. It will not leave you nor forsake you. My times with God changed over the course of infertility. The room that will one day hold our baby was a battle ground for me many, many mornings. I put on my spiritual music, prayed (when I could get the words out), studied the word, and tried to work through whatever lie Satan was throwing my way that week. Sometimes, I avoided the subject of infertility altogether and focused on other things about God and prayed more fervently for others. Other days, I went on prayer walks and just tried to bask in God's creation. Whatever it was - I needed God and I couldn't handle infertility without him. But that's the beauty of it - I didn't need to.

5. Lean In.

Ok, I know this is going to sound weird and make me sound slightly "over-spiritual," but bear with me: nearly everyday of our journey (especially as it went on and on), I tried to thank God for the pain of infertility. About halfway into our struggle, I realized that one day, I would miss infertility. I would never miss the heartache or the pain of it - never that - but I recognized the way it drew me closer to God and left me needy for Jesus in a way that was beautiful, sacred, and special. That day, I decided to start leaning in to the pain - and allow it to fulfill its purpose in my life. I thanked God for the intimacy it gave me with Him and the way it brought my husband and I closer and led me to friendships that I never expected beforehand. I thanked him for the sweetness of buying a baby substitute - our little Huckleberry - and the sweetness of to-be-answered-prayers and more time to enjoy just J and just our simple, but still-full life. I thanked God for the ability to understand pain in a way never before known to me and a deeper sense of compassion for other women than anything I had ever experienced. This doesn't mean that everyday I accepted the pain with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step - HA, not.even.close (somewhere, my sweet, patient mother is laughing). But on my better days, I tried really hard to fight for this perspective and fight for gratitude. I still thank God for these things as often and as deeply as I know how. Again, not because I would wish infertility on anyone, but because there was something beautiful developing in our suffering. I don't know what God is producing in you during this time of waiting and hurting and waiting some more - but I do know that it's something precious and absolutely worth every minute of perseverance.

"Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
- Romans 5:3-5

I think that's all the words this little post can handle today and it's by no means an expansive guide! If you're currently dealing with infertility, feel free to reach out - I'd love to pray for you and share more about our story if that's helpful! For those of you reading this that haven't experienced infertility - thank you for reading! I hope that this very incomplete guide helped you understand at least one woman's perspective on a complicated topic.

xoxo
A+J

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

the one with the rejoicing

Well, here I am - finally emerging from a long (and needed) hiatus! So many things have happened since I lasted posted: we kissed summer goodbye, cherished this fall's extra bright foliage, welcomed lots of students into our campus ministry family, turned 29 (okay, that's as of today), endured countless doctor appointments, prayed and cried and prayed some more, and finally, and I mean finally, got pregnant!! I spent the majority of November and December in a state of delighted shock and happy-exhausted-nauseous-but-crazy-happy haze. As the reality of this little miracle sets in - it's hard to even begin to express all that my heart wants and needs to. I'm fairly certain that this post will turn into a series...so prepare yourselves...but also know that I won't be offended if you don't want to follow along. 

That said, today, I'm not really going to discuss the journey or the process or the heartbreak - I'm going to start at the end; I'm going to begin with the rejoicing. 



We found out we were pregnant earlier than we should have...mostly due to my own impatience. I caved and took a pregnancy test (much to my husband's very-wise and very-careful dismay). I day-dreamed of positive pregnancy tests and plus signs more times than I care to remember but there was never a time where we even came close to a positive. It was all stark-white pee sticks for us (sorry, TMI). The first positive brought equal parts shrieking (on my part) and cautious optimism (on J's). We were worried that it could be a false positive due to some medication I was taking so I sent a photo of the test to two friends who had experienced a similar infertility journey. Both texted me with so much enthusiasm I thought my iPhone might explode like a Galaxy Note. A teeny flame of hope began to light in my heart. 

The next morning, I woke up before the sun, heart racing, and took another test. Still. Positive. This flame started to become a full-on fire at this point. I told the only person sure to give me both an accurate - albeit emotional - response: my big sister. Let's just say that when she saw those pink lines - there was zero heart-guarding going on. All the tears, all the joy, all the shock, all the relief. Watching someone you love accept the news that you can't quite believe is the best, most surreal feeling I can describe. 

Two agonizing days (and an election) later, we went in for a blood test. Around noon, the nurse called with the results and we listened - stunned - as she told us what we longed to hear. 
"You're pregnant!" she said, with a huge smile in her voice. We thanked her profusely (through the tears), got off the phone, and Jesse and I just held each other weeping and asking each other if we believed it. I'm not quite sure if we did. We thanked God through the shock and basked in the miracle.



The next few days were filled with sharing the news with the prayer warriors who stuck by us through our darkest days. Seeing their eyes light up, tears stream down their faces, and all of the finally happy prayers -- humbled us in a way I can't describe. 

Romans 12:16 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." I think most of us know this verse by heart but I never saw it truly come alive until we faced infertility. Just like I day-dreamed of a positive pregnancy test and just as I still dream of this sweet, sweet baby -- I also dreamed of finally telling people that God heard their prayers on our behalf. I longed to see my faith and the faith of our community become sight. I had a feeling it would be special - but nothing could have prepared me for the outpouring of love Jesse and I received as we shared this news. 

When you wait as long and as publicly as we did, there are moments of so much exposure to the struggle and your own weaknesses, that you're tempted to wonder if it's worth it. However, yet again - God taught me that vulnerability breeds closeness like nothing else. So many of you (that I hardly know!) prayed for us, shed tears for us, and have since rejoiced with us. Each of you have built my faith in indescribable ways. Through you, I dared to believe that God sees me, that God hears me, and that God cares about what I care about. After all, if we as sinful humans can have so much compassion on one another - how much more does our Father in Heaven long to "satisfy our desires with good things" (Psalm 103:5)?

For those of you still waiting, still mourning, still longing - you may not realize it - but you have a community at your disposal who longs to be there for you. Many of you have waited longer and through more trying circumstances than I can begin to imagine - and I cannot and will not pretend to truly understand your pain - but I can promise that God sees you too, he loves you too, he cares about you just as fervently, fiercely, and fully as he cares about anyone else. I hope that the story of our answered prayer gives each of you hope. I long for the day when you too experience the gift of sharing your good news, only to see your own celebration reflected in your friend's eyes. 

Here's a little video I made of some of the responses I got to witness :) And there may be a little announcement at the end that's worth waiting for...


All our love and all of our gratitude, 
A+J 


Photos courtesy of Fergie Medar Photography

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

the one with that 70s flair

Culottes, wide-leg pants, cropped wide-legs, or whatever you wanna call 'em -- I think I {with extreme surprise to myself} am a believer. First of all, they have the lady-likeness and breeziness of a midi-skirt with the practicality of...well, pants. Secondly, they pair well with the boxy tops that have been so popular lately. Third, they make me feel like Barbara Streisand in a 1970's dramedy. Can you say, "BONUS"?!?



Anyway, I'm excited to see how these bad boys transition into the cooler months. And did I mention my mom almost bought them too (twinsies)? Cross-generational style for the win! But to be fair, I'm fairly sure she wore them in 1975...but in a tasteful orange plaid.




For more ideas on how to style wide leg pants, check out my Pinterest board, "wear" -- I've pinned several looks on there that I'm pretty crazy about.

Peplum top: Banana Republic Factory
Culotte (similar): Banana Republic Factory
Sandals: Target
Necklace: Francesca's
Lip Color: Magenta in Sephora Long-Lasting Luster Matte

xoxo
A+J

Thursday, August 25, 2016

the one where i pulled the plug


*not a post on euthanasia* 
In mid-June, I temporarily deactivated my Facebook. It was my first time deactivating since joining Facebook back in 2006 -- you know, back when you had to have a college email address to create a profile? Over the course of my 10 year Facebook career they've invented about a thousand other ways to keep us connected.They added news feeds, opened registration to moms and grandmas the world over, created the chat and messenger features. But in my case, these tools of connection threatened to turn into something a little more sinister - a method of comparison.
So back to June: I was reading this book, and the author asked where we turn in times of anxiety and stress. She asked if we turned to social media to self-medicate - or if we turned to God. It was a question I already knew the answer to. I turned to social media. And inevitably, at the end of these scrolling sessions, I would leave feeling dissatisfied, even more discouraged, and increasingly self-focused. I saw someone's latest adventure and felt dissatisfaction for my own life creeping in. I would read someone's great, beautiful news and be tempted with jealousy. I saw another person's opinion laid bare about some news story or political event and begin to get stressed out. Isn't it amazing how many temptations can come up from a simple scroll?! 

So right then and there, I did something I had been unwilling to do for a long time -- 
I disconnected. 
{Cue my husband doing a happy dance and nearly instantaneous relief washing over me}

Here's what I discovered in my time off Facebook: 
  • The world didn't end because I didn't know about so-and-so's engagement or watch so-and-so's hilarious video. In fact, I felt free to enjoy living in my reality rather than someone else's. 
  • The birthdays I really needed to know, I remembered/saw them on Instagram/apologized if I was a little late. And guess what?? No one was angry with me! Another valuable life lesson - people aren't usually angry with you for not knowing things :) 
  • I had more time to be more present in the real world. I followed more news stories and got a little more educated on the world at large rather than the lives of acquaintances over the Internet. 
  • There are plenty of ways to reach me outside of Facebook messenger. Can we all just agree that messenger is the WORST? I'm bad enough at responding to emails in a timely fashion much less an entirely different medium that needs its own separate app!  So anyway, it was nice to finally not disappoint someone for a little while.
  • There's something liberating about not knowing. "Sorry I don't have Facebook," became my favorite sentence. All of the sudden, I was free of my 21st century, self-imposed expectation to be constantly "plugged in."  It was inexplicably freeing  find out information a little late - or even, gasp!, not at all. I found I worried about people a little less and trusted God to take care of them a little more. I prayed rather than investigated their Facebook posts. I prayed...and then maybe checked Instagram...but really and truly, my anxiety level went down. 
  • Facebook stalking is a sport I will never be in good enough shape for. I think you know what I'm talking about: Your best friend's profile leads to someone else's profile and pretty soon you're down the rabbit hole of someone's cousin twice removed who lives atop a mountain in France with her model husband and chunky baby (with dimples) - and oh look!, she's got another on the way! Before you know it you're coveting someone's life in French and needing to get open with a friend about your secret shame...but then afraid of judgement. Then, you spend the next half hour determining if your Facebook profile pictures look as cool as that couple with a baby on a european mountaintop - change it 15 times, "maybe that one pic of me studying abroad 7 years ago still looks hip?" - only to change it back to the one with you and your dog because - everyone likes a good puppy pic, right? Whew. See what I'm talking about?? EXHAUSTING. And I needed a break (ahem, repentance!) from my severe cyber-stalking.
**disclaimer: I decided to keep Instagram and Twitter. On those mediums, I follow a limited number of people and therefore, have found it less of a black-hole of comparison.**
  • Bottom line, I learned that I wanted more for my life than what social media offers. Going forward, my life should be more than a collection of well-curated images, more than witty statements made in 140 characters or less, and more than "likes." After all, I follow Jesus and I'm pretty sure a lot of people wouldn't have "liked" his posts (And believe me, I don't mean this in a high and mighty way - but rather as one of the worst offenders!). I want to do better. I want to be better. Yes, I still want good pictures, fun trips, and dare-I-say-it, approval from those I love - but I hope and pray that I get to a place where those things matter less and less to my own sense of worthiness. I hope and pray that my ego learns to takes a back seat. Who cares what image I present on the internet if the image of Christ isn't the first thing I'm portraying? How easily I had forgotten (ahem, keep forgetting) that my image and my worthiness are not measured in comparison to another person's. Rather, I've exchanged my tattered, too-stretched, ever-flawed image for the unchanging image of Jesus. I've exchanged human approval for the approval of God - and he has already deemed me good enough, valuable, and loved.
 So fast-forward to August and I'm back on Facebook but with a new-found perspective and some self-imposed boundaries. Why go back, you ask? Well, primarily, because it's helpful for my job in the ministry (we use Facebook as our primary mode of communication for announcements with our students) and also because I missed the good pieces of it - swapping life stories (and even sharing my blog) on it! So anyway, here I come Facebook! But beware, if you mess with me again, this time -- I won't be afraid to pull the plug.

What about you? Could a little Facebook break be just what the doctor ordered? :) 



Saturday, April 30, 2016

the one she needed to write

she's here

she's a woman caught between stages. she's fixed somewhere between just married and happily ever after. she's not sure who she is. she's not sure who she's becoming. she's unrecognizable. she's ever-changing. she's ever the same. she's defined by this. she's undefined. she's all the things. she's none of them. there's a chance she's crazy.

she hurts

she feels dramatic. she hates that. she wants to pray. she cries instead. when she cries, it's not soft and sweet. it's snotty, red-faced, and audible. she feels embarrassed. but she feels a little better when she stops.

she aches

she goes on living. breathing in, breathing out. she listens to friends. she congratulates good news. she smiles. she laughs. she aches and she aches. she answers 'fine.' she means it sometimes. other times, fine is a fine-line. but overall, she's fine.

she longs

she doesn't want the moon. she doesn't crave the stars. she daydreams of normal. she dreams of no-meds, no-shots, no incessant blood tests. she dreams of pink lines and plus signs, nausea and swollen ankles, booties and sleep-deprivation. she vows to savor. she vows to never complain. she makes promises she knows she can’t keep. she does it anyway.

she waits

nothing is bad. it's more the absence of good. she has seen what could-be. she has felt what might-be. she wishes it came easy. she wonders if it's her fault. she wonders if God knows, if God cares. she wonders what he's doing up there. she keeps going. she keeps praying. she keeps going.

she wonders

she meditates on His promises. she wonders what it all means. she holds on for dear life. she rides the waves of uncertainty. she fixes her eyes on the Father. she paints his or her face in her mind. wondering what kind of special human is being prepared in the heavens. she thinks it must be someone special. someone she can't wait to meet. but someone she's always known.

this is me