a becoming

"Your skin is criss-crossed with stretch marks because you don't participate in co-creation with God without being marked by the experience. You became a mother and, no matter how many sit-ups you do, your body will bear the imprint of that truth for the rest of your life in some way." -Sarah Bessey

I showed Jonathan this self portrait I made since reaching full term with our daughter. After seeing it, he said: "It's very true and honest. Moms need to know that." And when I mentioned my obvious stretch marks this time around he replied, "They're beautiful. I love 'em. Shows how amazing you are."

This body was our childrens' first home and I'll never be able to hide that. The evidence of it is splayed across my skin like a wrinkled river delta . My body has been widened and split open and asked much of; much like my heart, my soul. 

God has granted my body the gift of bearing me into motherhood. It's tired and well lived in and so much stronger than I thought possible. So maybe I need have the same mindset as my husband who clearly appreciates and praises what my body looks like since bearing children. No, it's not the same anymore. In fact, could I dare to believe it's more beautiful than it's ever been?

I can. 

Because the truth is, there is no shame in participating in something as God-ordained as creation. Whether we first bore them in your womb, our heart or the welcome of our arms, it's all worthy and good in God's eyes; this becoming of a mother.

How could we ever think that we'd remain unchanged after a holy encounter like that?

the secret to being ok when nothing is ok

I have this thing with mess.

Mess, as in both the literal and figurative sense. 

Dirt, clutter, disorder. Hard conversations, tense words, unresolved conflict. It all taunts my shoulders up into a mountain of knots quicker than most things. I just want everything to be in order; to be "ok". All the time. Who doesn't?

But thing about life is that--by it's very nature-- is quite the messy process. You can't live in a home or try to grow plants or learn how to love another human without there being some measure of mess. 

So, how do I learn to be ok with that?

Last week, I pushed our coffee table and rug out of the living room to intentionally make a giant mess right in the middle of our home.  We had new plants that needed potting and this pregnant mama liked the idea of doing the happy chore inside next to the air conditioning unit.  Dirt was...everywhere. Behr didn't even know how to handle it. Poor buddy. He's a lot like his mama in that he's not hugely keen on getting his hands dirty. 

"I scared of dat dirt." he declared at one point, hands splayed out like pudgy starfish. 

"It's ok!" I chirped back, "Dirt is good!" 

"Dirt is good?" his cautious skepticism was adorable. 

"Yea! Messes are ok sometimes." I reassured him. 

Yes, messes are ok because they're an unavoidable part of life. He needs to know that (and his mama wishes she'd embraced it a lot sooner). 

I tend to define myself by how well I keep my house/life in order. If  there's dust gathered behind the couch or the bathroom is in desperate need of wiping down, I think, "You're a failure." If Jonathan and I have a miscommunication fight or Behr is being defiant I think, "It's all your fault. If you could just be more (organized, mature, on top of things, etc) things wouldn't be this way." Instead of believing the truth that only by God's grace am I a new creation, I think my identity--my worth--is entirely made up from what I do. 

The truth is, I like ticking off checklists and feeling like I'm winning at the relationships in my life. I like being able to say: "Look what I did!" And while there's nothing wrong with being a good and faithful steward of the roles Jesus has given me, it's all supposed to reflect what God is doing in my heart, not how well I can seemingly hold things together. Because no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I strive to make my life perfect, it never will be. Like I said earlier: this life will always come with a heavy dose of inevitable, grace-inducing mess.

I'm fumbling my way through this, but I think learning to live with Inevitable Grace-Mess starts with simply accepting it. It's as if there's an undiscovered room of peace behind this door I call Control. I like that door, it makes me feel safe and predictable. But guarding that door, constantly checking the locks and straining to keep a firm grip on the doorknob at all times is a sure fire way to live life worn down, thinned out by stress and closed off to grace.  I just need to let the door fling open and breathe in the tangled beauty waiting on the other side. I need to be ok with things not always being ok and surrender the rest up to Jesus.  

And maybe a tangible way to remind myself of that can sometimes look like turning our living room into a temporarily soil filled gardening station. After all, you can't give anything a place to grow without first getting your hands dirty, right?

What sort of Grace-Mess are you going to "be ok with"  today? Hop over to Instagram and let me know!

In case anyone was wondering, the beautiful and extremely functional mat pictured here is from Gathre and we couldn't love it more! 


mommy is broken

{I wrote this months ago when the anxiety and depression had been gathering like clouds and finally broke--wild and storm like--on my heart.  It was a very difficult time. But, praise Jesus, I'm doing much better now. He's brought me healing and given me the freedom to share about it. May He use my story to make you brave about yours. The picture is an old treasure that I never shared and speaks to the sweet relationship I've been given with my boy. Thank you for reading. }

There's something I wish I could tell him. This child of mine with his young soul that wrecks me by it's beautiful presence in my life. There's is something he needs to know:

Mommy is broken.

I know he's too young to understand the complexities of that statement--and I wouldn't have him bear that burden anyway--but I feel that he deserves some sort of explanation. Because maybe in the precious innocence of his young mind he's wondered what's wrong with me lately. Perhaps he's tried to figure out why I was sobbing into Daddy's arms (again). Or why I can't play with him because I'm too tired . Or why I yelled at him. I know, I'm so sorry. It scared me too.

First, he needs to know that Mommy never wanted to be this way. It shatters my spirit that I can't be perfect for him. He deserves that. Big words like antepartum depression and sin nature are terms he can't understand so, I'll just say what I said before: Mommy is broken.

Yes, I am broken and I need help.

Sometimes that means his Grandma comes over to clean the house and play cars with him. Sometimes that means Mommy has to ask him for a big word called 'forgiveness'. Sometimes that means Mommy cries a lot and can't tell anyone why.

But it never means that I'm going to stop fighting back the darkness for his sake.

It never, ever means that I don't love him.  


One day he's going to grow up and discover the uncomfortable truth that he doesn't have it all together. He's going to realize, like I did, that he's not perfect. And that, in fact, it's impossible for him to ever reach the unattainable goal of perfection. I don't want him to fear this.

My prayer for him is that he doesn't run from his humanness. I pray he doesn't construct a mask and hide behind it. May he never be ashamed to admit the one truth everyone has to come to terms with: we're all broken. No one escapes this. No one gets a free pass to never making mistakes or suffering the consequences of a fallen world.

I'm broken and so is he. And that's ok.

I want him to know now what I wish I known a long time ago: that humbling yourself and saying the following three, life giving words will heal him more than hiding ever will.

"I need help."

Trust me when I say that it's alright to need help; to be on the receiving end of being offered grace. This is a beautiful thing. Because when you admit you need help because of your brokenness you get to discover how loved you really are.


The other day I had to explain to him why I was staying home from the grocery trip Dad was taking him on to give me a break.

"You comin' wif us?" he asked with eyes peering into mine like blue moons.

"No." I said simply, not able to explain to that my depression had won that day and why I really needed rest. "Mommy is staying home."

He kept staring right into my face and perhaps he saw the heaviness there because then he asked, "You sad? You cryin'?"

I knew then that he'd had put it all together in his own little way and it broke me. I couldn't stop the tears from really coming then. I never wanted him to see your mother like this.  

But maybe it's a good thing after all.

Maybe the fact that he's see how broken I am can also show him how I'm not able to do this alone; how no one can do life alone. The truth is, I can't live without grace, without love. And, as painful as it is to reveal, it ultimately proclaims for all to see--and especially to my child--how desperately I need Jesus.

I might not want him to see me this way but, if it shows him how God's love really does conquer all, then it's worth it. If it shows him that sometimes the strongest thing he can do is admit how weak he is, well then, I believe my battle with depression isn't in vain.

And so, I thank God for gift of this burden and for Him giving me Behr to be reminded of why I carry it. I'm never giving up and he's the reason I have hope to keep bravely walking forward.