Heavy. And light.

Sleep deprivation and constant self sacrifice – required from every angle, demanded with shrieks and tugs in different directions – has led me to quite the desperate place.

The kind of church community we need in order to thrive has been mostly non existent for well over a year now, and that coupled with the obstacles this year has presented, plus two babies in less than two years brought me to some serious hopelessness.

I lost sight of almost any joy in motherhood.
I finally said out loud that I’m battling PPD.

What you might not know is that even when things seem to be going perfectly, I’m a moment away from being certain that I’m the worst person ever.

So when things are going badly, I perceive with some serious certainty that the entirety of what’s wrong in the world is my fault. (Obviously I know how ridiculous this sounds, but is my truth, far too often.) It is where my heart goes. There’s this guilt that starts to weigh me down for all of the possibilities of various outcomes for every miniscule to major mistake I perceive that I’ve made.

It’s crushing.
And I had this community where I felt so at home to share my struggles that I didn’t censor my stresses. It was my attempt at processing what I wasn’t able to. And I caused stress to women who I only ever wanted to equip with new courage.

I’ve been so lost and felt so alone.
I’ve struggled so much as a mom and felt cheated and punished yet completely deserving of every adversity that I’ve come to expect nothing less than pain. Nothing less than an unceasing battle.
I’ve given up on rest.

I’ve been living in the darkness.
I’ve stopped desiring any light because I’m afraid of hoping that things will be different. Because then, when they’re inevitably not, I don’t have to process the disappointment, because I expected it.

And I’m so sad.
I’m so sorry this has become my reality.
I’m so sorry to the friends I’ve discouraged.
I’m so sorry that I’ve said such dreadful things about motherhood.

And I’m so grateful for those few of you who cared enough to see that I’ve been drowning and had grace enough to not abandon me  entirely.

I’m not out of it. It feels like I never will be.
But I have to hope otherwise. I have to hold onto the idea that today is the first day of many that will be entirely different.
I have to notice and say out loud and practice with my every breath this idea of  thanksgiving. (Eucharisteo.)

Because if I don’t, I think in this drowning I might just sink. The fighting will end and I’ll just fade away.

It’s my hope. It’s hope that I can name these gifts I’ve been overlooking and practice hope. Practice coming back to life.

So here goes:

1. Light poured through shady trees
2. Spanish moss
3. Fresh ocean air on open roads
4. Bridges and uninterrupted skies.
5. A house full of friends, sharing a meal
6. Mismatched chairs
7. Late night films with my soulmate
8. The sway of my little boy, barely walking and determined to dance.
9. The boldness of that little boy to take on big things.
10. The tenderness of my daughter to swaddle her pretend babies.
11. Teddy bears ticked in with blankets to their chins.
12. Wisps of sleepy sweet sweaty blonde baby hair
13. Siblings imagining the same thing together.
14. Amelie’s bewilderment at all things alive. (And sometimes dead.)
15. lily pads
16. Still water
17. Unkempt nature
18. Pig tails.
19. Curly, blondish, ringlet, pig tails.
20. Her smile.
21. Toddler pants.
22. The texture of printed, bound pages
23. The freedom of conviction.
24. The sounds of ocean waves
25. Wind blown curtains
26. Reminders hidden in pages.

27. Forgiveness of friends.

Heavy. And light.

2 reasons I haven’t killed my kids.

‘I’m an awful mom.’

I said that to a group of women this week.
Despite the fact that I love my kids wholeheartedly, despite the fact that moms tell me all the time what an awesome mom I am. Despite the fact that I’ve managed to keep these kids alive as long as I have, I think I’m an awful mom.
Mostly, because there are a lot of moments that I am so frustrated with parenting – so frustrated with myself for not living up to my own expectations, for not having endless patience that I wish I did – and I get so frustrated with my kids. And the miracle is not only that I’ve kept them alive as far as not drowning {that was a close one!} or getting hit by a car, but also that in my weakness, in my fury, in my awfulness, that I haven’t killed them.

Because, let’s be honest. I’ve wanted to. And chances are if you’re a parent of a child who’s at least two years old, you’ve had your moments too. If you’re not a parent, borrow my kids for a day when one is teething, and both are still in diapers, and see how you feel at the end of the day. When one’s lying on top of you and the other is pulling your hair, and you’re just trying to go to sleep.

But still, I get about a dozen personal messages or emails every week asking me for parenting advice. Cloth diapering info. Gentle parenting ideas. Teething help. EC information. Natural birth. Home birth. VBAC. So. many. questions. And I love helping people grow in their knowledge and understanding – and of course I’m affirmed that other people want to make choices that I have, who wouldn’t be? I meet moms and I gauge where they are in their parenting lifestyle, whether they have support, whether they feel secure in their identities as moms, and 95% of the time I share information with them that I sense they need to know on their mom journeys… And often, still, I invite them into one of my communities – a place that I think they will find ongoing support in their journey.
Because moms MUST have support. There’s no way around that.
No man is an island.  No mom can survive as an island.
We can be it, when we have to be. But not long term. There’s no way.

I love connecting people. I love helping people find their identities and know freedom.
{{This is why I love sharing with people about Jesus… from the most simple ways I try to talk about him, to the more complicated ways of trying to live out His truth in calling us to this radical and subversive Kingdom.}}

So I love sharing with moms. And connecting them to other moms.
Because there are two reasons my kids are even alive.
1. God’s grace.
2. My community.

I would’ve given up on all the things I valued long ago, I have no idea what my mental or emotional state would be but for these amazing women who come around me at least once a week. Sometimes we’re just present, existing in the chaos of our toddlers, together. Other times, we voice it. We voice our craziness. We voice our concerns. We ask our questions. We let each other know that none of us knows it all. None of us has it down pat. We’re all just learning, growing, and sometimes only surviving.

Thank God for these moms who survive with me, helping me to grow, helping me to live, and most of all helping me learn how it is to love my kids while still existing as myself {more than “just” the booger-covered, spit-up soaked, drowning in poopy-diapers, burning dinner, stay at home mom.}

2 reasons I haven’t killed my kids.

Amelie: Water

Our darling daughter is turning 2 so soon!
And when she learned that some boys and girls don’t have clean water, she wanted to help them. See for yourself in the video below.

So, for her 2nd birthday this year, we’re trying to raise at least $200 for clean water.
Our family is participating in the 12 x 12 project this year, and the goal for the project this month is to raise enough money to build a well. That’s only $5,000.
Help us contribute by giving Amelie clean water for her birthday. :)

Thank you!

Donate HERE through Living Water International. 


Amelie: Water

“Jesus hates me.”

I have to confess.
I sometimes watch garbage TV.
Let me be clear… it’s trash.
I mean that in no way to be disrespectful to those of you who inevitably love some shows that I probably put in this category. But let’s be real.

I was recently watching one of these shows, Grey’s Anatomy, when I was absolutely disgusted by something that happened. And I realize that as a Christian woman in our culture that the thing that “should disgust me is that on a regular basis there’s a ridiculous amount of unacceptable behaviour, especially adulterous behaviour.
But what actually disgusted me to my core was this:
A character on the show who’s known for being a prude because she’s a virgin, gets drunk on confidence {and possibly alcohol since they were at a bar} and lets it get her on an emotional high where her guard comes down and she chooses to have sex with another character, a guy on the show who we know from previous episodes has slept with at least two other women recently-ish. He’s hesitant when she starts to kiss him and he says he can’t, because she’s a virgin. And she gives him all these reasons that she’s a virgin, that she shouldn’t be anymore and doesn’t need to be anymore, and then they have sex.
And then, he leaves.
And then, they see each other the next day.
And she can’t look at him.
He asks if she’ll never look at him again.
Without looking at him, she says, {and I am slightly paraphrasing because I don’t intend to google it.}
“I was a virgin because I love Jesus. And now, Jesus hates me.
End scene, storyline changes….

I was furious. Oh my goodness so irate at what I saw happen there.
Because it’s the same lies I believed that kept me away from His Love for so long.
I believed that I wasn’t worth loving because I had so many reasons to live in my shame.

Today, a dear friend who’s been going to church lately {after not having gone in years and years} asked me if now that she’s going, she should stop sleeping with her boyfriend, the father of her 2 children, who lives with her and provides for her to stay at home with their children… because “God doesn’t approve” of sex outside of marriage.

Man, oh man.
What a doozie of a question for her to ask me.
In a text message, no less!! Haha.
I thought about it.
And thought about it.
And talked to John about it.
And the more processing I did, the more I realized that I’m having difficulty answering the question because I’m trying to answer the wrong question.

See, God created man for woman and woman for man.
He created this beautiful marriage relationship where there’s one mate.
And we’re most connected to Him when we’re living in the way He designed for us to live.
So it’s not that He doesn’t approve of this or that. It’s that He created you with this beautiful design in mind – this beautiful place for you to be connected to Him and walk in a way that you know one another intimately. And when we actively choose to walk in disregard for the best He has for us, we’re betraying Him.

And He’s walking there with us, waiting and hoping for the moment when we choose to walk with Him.

So when we’re faced with these things in our life where we go, ‘should I modify this behaviour so God’s not disappointed in me?’… We’re looking at Him like He’s a school teacher giving us progress reports instead of realizing that He’s eagerly awaiting the moment we choose to run to Him and share our lives with Him, and that He’ll guide our hearts to the place where they actively want to be more in line with how He created for us to be.


“Jesus hates me.”

Dearest Ladybug.

Darling Ladybug,
You are an absolute joy to know. I watch with delight as I stand nearby, privileged that I get to be on this journey with you as your mom. Terrified of all the things I could do wrong, hopeful for all the things He will do right.

I watched you today, brilliant, you.
You problem solve and work so hard. You are one of the most determined people I have ever met – and your personality shines so bright. You are just adorable. And I don’t only mean that in the precious cute pigtails sort of way. I mean, you were created to be adored, dear one.

You are beautiful. Stunningly beautiful, little girl. You are lovely in ways I never knew such a little girl could be. I see already the beauty that you will grow into. And I, as your mom, get all worried for what that will mean.
I worry that you could easily get caught up in finding your identity in your appearance.
Or I worry that you will hear how cute you are as the first words anyone says to you for the next several years, and that will leave you concerned about your looks all the time.
I worry that your outward appearance will cause people to miss out on the brilliance that is your beautiful little personality. You are so smart. It just blows me away. You’re brilliantly creative and you sometimes need encouragement. You love people, and you want to be with friends whenever you can.

Darling one, I see your Creator in you so, so evident. He put so much life and love in you. And I truly treasure and adore you, and getting to be in relationship with you.

I get sad sometimes, thinking that soon it’ll never again be just us.. that you’ll only be my only child for a short while longer {though you’re already not, as your baby brother or sister has already changed things up}. But soon, I won’t be able to comfort you each and every time you’re afraid because I’ll be tending a newborn. And I worry that I won’t make you feel as loved as I ought to. But I’m reminded that His love overcomes. And that I can have hope in His promises. And that your identity and my identity is in Him. And my dear girl, you are His masterpiece.

I love you, darling daughter.
And I treasure getting to watch you grow.
I look forward with anticipation and joy to the years to come.
– Your Mom.

Dearest Ladybug.

Being Churched.

Makes me think of the phrase “getting schooled.”
But that’s so incredibly unrelated.
It’s super late when I’m writing this. So you know, I’m delirious.
And I’m high. I’m high on excitement thinking about a passionate idea I have to possibly love a friend well. An idea that gets a community involved to pour love into the life of some folks I adore, and more importantly folks that He calls His masterpieces. Whew, Jesus is so good.

So, being “churched.”
It’s a phrase I’ve often heard within the church, and as with many things, it’s a phrase that’s used to separate & divide. It’s used to say whether someone has been “churched” or to call someone “unchurched.” It sets a line – them and us, or us and them, depending on which side of the conversation you’re privy {or un-privy} to.

This week, I met a Mom {for the second time} while at the park nearest my house. She was joining our moms group for a walk around the Lake & I was thrilled to have her company as I panted my way around the lake, sweating and wondering why they can’t call them practice contractions instead of Braxton Hicks contractions. Anyway…. This mom & I are talking when she says, “Praise the Lord!” in response to something noteworthy I must’ve said and can’t currently remember…

I’m going to pause to go into a side note here, and will resume the story shortly:
Anytime someone says something that even hints that they know the Jesus that I know, something inside me leaps {and not just the baby in my belly, either}. I get this excited anxious yearning to know if they really know who I know, or if they know someone by the same name who’s vaguely familiar to me, too. I search for ways in my heart and mind to ask the right questions that will draw them out in a way that lets me see what lives inside them… is it Truth or are they bogged down by the lies they’ve been sold?

So she says “Praise the Lord!”
And my inner monologue starts going, wondering who she is and where she met Jesus and if she knows the Jesus I know, and what she’s been set free from. It’s like I’ve discovered that she might be from my hometown, and I want to know if she knows all my favourite places – if she knows the people who I love the most.
So I quickly respond, trying to get a word out over the excitement that’s going in my mind,
“Oh! Do you go to church here in Lakeland?”

She explains that she used to, a few years ago, go to a megachurch I’ve heard quite a few things about… and that she doesn’t go anymore – but she sends her tithe every month.
I realized that I probably made her feel shame.
Because rather than asking her the questions that matter – the questions that draw out who she is and if and how she knows who I know, knows the love that I do, I asked her a question that put her identity in Christ somewhere else.

I wanted to tell her how I don’t actually think that church on Sunday is how the church was meant to live and breathe and grow. I wanted to tell her that I understand! That it’s amazing that she still gives to a ‘church’ that gives no life to her! I wanted to tell her so many things, but I was just. in. shock.
I was in shock that I looked for a way to identify her by something so trivial.

Because, really, since when does going to church on Sunday have anything to do with whether or not you know and love Jesus? Since when is that a measure for your spiritual growth?

I won’t wander into ramblings about all the reasons I think churches are living out what we were intended to be as community when they do it opposite to how our culture does.
I’ll just say that I think it’s a sad thing that the primary measure of someone’s walk with Christ in our culture is whether they go to a church building on a Sunday… where they sit when they’re there, how many other events they attend by that church throughout the week, or any of those superficial, self important, business minded things.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve watched throughout my life who sit in churches on Sunday mornings and don’t know the first thing about what it means to live a redeemed life. People who don’t know the first thing about what it is to love your enemy. People who proclaim Jesus while they fill their coffers with all they can and hate the people around them. People who have no hope, people who by all the measurements I’ve been taught to use by this system would pass with flying colors. But people who I see no evidence of the Truth of the Gospel in their lives.

Similarly, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who haven’t stepped foot into a church in years that have spoken His Truth to my soul in ways I never imagined I’d understand. People I watched the previous folks shy away from. People who showed me what it is to live and breathe in the freedom of His Redemption.

Being “Churched” has

Being redeemed & living a life changed by Truth that inevitably sets you free and causes you to live in a place of generosity, hope, courage, and love is what it’s all about.

I pray that the next time I’m compelled to ask a question in hopes of getting to know someone’s journey with Jesus, I’ll ask a simpler and more loving question that gives them space to speak in freedom and grace.

Being Churched.

Dear John. | { Marriage }

Dearest Husband,
There are moments when I’m reminded of the absolute gift I’ve been given in having you for a husband. And in those moments, it’s one of my life’s biggest regrets that I don’t spend pretty much every minute of every day telling you that I adore you. That I treasure you. That it’s my life’s greatest joy {after having been set free in Christ} to have you as a best friend.

I have a husband who’s truly a help mate, and who challenges me to be so. A man who strives to lead me to Yehovah daily. A man who is creative, thoughtful, hardworking, loving, unbelievably patient, and kind. A man who has lived out grace to me.

Knowing you is one of the most wonderful, challenging, delightful, worthwhile, and amazing things I will ever experience.

I love that I get to know you even more as you grow even more into your adulthood – into parenthood – and as you lead our family to where the Lord is convicting you to do so.

It is my prayer that I will properly respect your leadership, that I will appropriately value every. single. moment. I have the opportunity to spend alone with you, and that I will begin to adequately express His love for you, my love for you.

With love, His love,
Your Wife.

Dear John. | { Marriage }