a war on our worth.

20130506-210852.jpgToday, I’m fed up.

My word, how often will we (I) allow ourselves to fall victim to believing lies? How often throughout the day or week will we (I) allow things, situations, people – to determine our worth?

This is so heaaaaaaaavy on my heart. Because I see the lies and struggles and pains, etc, etc, ETC strung all throughout conversations face to face or on social media posts and pictures and it flippin’ breaks. my. heart. What we believe about ourselves and how we define our identity…

WE ARE SO MISSING OUT.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT.

We (me, me, and me every day) are summing up our worth for the day in what we have/haven’t done, what we have/haven’t accomplished.

I’m so over it. SO over finally plopping down for the night and feeling like a failure. Some nights, I don’t but most nights, I do. I even measure up my worth by the cleanliness of my home, if I have/haven’t squeezed a workout in, how I communicated with my children, etc… SERIOUSLY, Jami?

The lies, the lies, the lies- whether it be a stay at home momma like me – struggling because even though it might be what we love and want, the enemy says: “you’re just a stay at home mom. And honestly, you don’t even do THAT well. Look at your home. Look at your children.” etc.

I hear it from working mommas, struggling believeing lies that they aren’t a good enough momma or that they didn’t spend enough time with their little one(s) that day, or that their little one wouldn’t be as close with them as a “SAHM” momma.

Or a wife who is struggling to get pregnant and struggles believing that it’s her fault and perhaps that she has failed. Or a husband who struggles feeling shame if  he can’t help “fix” what is going on with his wife, or if they are struggling month to month.

ANYTHING that creeps in our hearts and minds and that we claim as our identity. Anything besides Christ and being His beloved…

I recently read Abba’s Child by Brendan Manning and OH.MY.WORD. has it truly helped me to understand what my identity in Christ is, how He views me. It’s an every day battle for me, however, I feel like this book ROCKED my world and perspective. Excuse the all over the place, post and quotes from his book. Here are some thoughts for tonight:

“Our identity rests in God’s relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.”

Facing our shadows:

“Accepting the reality of our sinfulness means accepting our authentic self. Judas could not face his shadow; Peter could. The latter befriended the impostor within; the former raged against him.”

We all have shadows. Too often I allow my shadows to overwhelm me. Even the “little shadows” of a messy home, misbehaving children, feeling chubby (yep)…  what if we we’re to befriend our shadows. Accept them. Recognize they are there and they are real. And move forward in truth and in life.

“To ignore, repress, or dismiss our feelings is to fail to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our emotional life. Jesus listened. In John’s Gospel we are told that Jesus was moved with the deepest emotions (11:33)… The gospel portrait of the beloved Child of Abba is that of a man exquisitely attuned to His emotions and uninhibited in expressing them. The Son of Man did not scorn of reject feelings as fickle and unreliable. They were sensitive antennae to which He listened carefully and through which He perceived the will of His Father for congruent speech and action.”

 What if we listened to our feelings, instead of repressing or ignoring them? Perhaps they wouldn’t overwhelm us if we truly faced them, accepted them, validated them or threw them out as lies. HOLY MOLY.

“we unwittingly project onto God our own attitudes and feelings toward ourselves… But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves — unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely, and freely. ”

This hits home for me. I struggle with this so much.

“The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves. He anguishes over our self-absorption and self-sufficiency… God’s sorrow lies in our refusal to approach Him when we sinned and failed.”

His sorrow. Isn’t it sadly ironic? In our sin, we run. When we see our shadows, we try to hide them or we allow them to overwhelm us, when the reality is HIS SORROW lies in watching us run, or hide, or be consumed, or fight. He’s our most welcoming love and our most approachable Father … and yet some days I cry tears of feeling like a failure, wallowing. Allowing my little and big shadows to consume me.

Accepting our Belovedness:

“The engaged mind, illuminated by truth, awakens awareness; the engaged heart, affected by love, awakens passion. May I say once more – this essential energy of the soul is not an ecstatic trance, high emotion or a sanguine stance toward life: It is a fierce longing for God, an unyielding resolve to live in and out of our belovedness.

YES.

“While the impostor draws his identity from past achievements and the adulation of others, the true self claims identity in its belovedness. We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary, mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life.”

Brendan refers to our human nature as “the imposter” and I just really love that. This quote  is another one that has truly hit home for me. I’ve recently recognized that I was allowing even the condition of our home cleanliness to determine my worth. WHAT? Not to mention, when I’m in public or home, and my boys are fighting or Chase throws a tantrum, etc… or when I’m filled with pride vs a humble spirit in an argument with my husband, etc. Or even most often how I am emotionally – in depression and in dealing with my fear and anxiety – this is a big area of struggle for me.

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Today I posted this photo on IG: “If in measure my worth by the cleanliness of our home, how it is managed and how well my children behave, I’ll always feel a failure. Finding my worth in Him alone is a daily struggle.”

This is what inspired me to write tonight. I know I’m not the only one out there that struggles with worth and identity.

I’ll end with this:

“Experience has taught me that I connect best with others when I connect with the core of myself. When I allow God to liberate me from unhealthy dependence on people, I listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, and am more compassionate and playful. I take myself less seriously, become aware that the breath of the Father is on my face.”

I n c r e d i b l e truth.

Just a “quick” post to declare it and share it with the hopes to encourage a weary one tonight.

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

xx,

Jami

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Pregnancy After Loss {Part 4}: Was I hoping for a boy or a girl? (Word heavy blog post)

(You can read part 1 herepart 2 here, and part 3 here.)

This “Part 4” is where I feel the most fear and hesitation about sharing honestly but I also feel a desire to share my heart regarding this. It’s a question that comes up a lot and also I think an unspoken one among many and I really do want to share.

 Was I hoping for a boy or a girl?

Mustache or bows? :)

I really want to pause here before I write about my response. I want to say that if you’ve walked through the loss of a child and are reading this, PLEASE know that this post isn’t to say that how I felt is the only way to feel or that you were wrong in your feelings. Another reason I feel so hesitant to share also because I don’t want another momma who has lost a child to feel an ounce of guilt over what they/you may have/will feel. Even though we may walk the same path of losing a child, we all grieve and ache differently and have different desires and longings when it comes to pregnancy after loss. Okay, whew, how’s that for a disclaimer :)

From early on in this pregnancy I journaled my heart away and I will share a snit bit of my response to these very questions. Let’s rewind to the beginning of this pregnancy.

If you’ve ever been pregnant or have known a loved one who has been pregnant, you know that the moment the two little pink lines show up, they never shut up :) You/they are flooded with all kinds of emotion and the excitement pours out at any given moment when a new thought arrises; thoughts about a future with a baby, will it be a boy or girl, wondering what day they will be born, early or late, big or small, hair or bald, daddy’s nose or mommy’s, etc, etc, etc…

Newly pregnant with baby #3, I wasn’t able to enjoy these questions that arose within me as I did with my first two babies. Instead I was faced with a loads of fear and anxiety as I finally began to think of the future. Thinking of labor was out of the question due to fear and memouries from a stillbirth. Thinking of a life with another little one on the way, I just couldn’t. I had a hard time finding hope to believe this little one would make it into my arms healthy and alive, breathing.

When it came to the thought of gender of this little one… whew. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have hopes for one gender or the other in each of my pregnancies. In my pregnancy with Chase, I had thought it was a girl all while deep inside I had hoped it was a boy because I loved the idea of having my kids have an older brother as I never did. With Eisley, I just had a feeling from the beginning that she was our Eisley-girl. I wanted her to be and she was.

This time around I found myself in an entirely different place than with the first two pregnancies. I cried out to God in regards to this little one’s gender. (And here is where my fear sets in before I share my heart…) Here is a quote from my journal that I feel says what my heart felt the best (I edited out some more personal things, but this is the main portion I feel to share);

“…you know my heart, you know how I’m wired, you know me better than even I know myself…I know that you know what I need, even if it’s not what I would have thought….but my heart doesn’t feel ready for another girl. Not so soon after losing my Eisley-girl…. I feel like I would be replacing her, I know I wouldn’t ever do that intentionally but I know myself and I know I would struggle believing that lie. Everything that I had dreamt and hoped for my Eisley, I would struggle as maybe those same thoughts arose if this is another little girl. And they will, I mean, even just how different it is to dress a boy and a girl, they would arise…. Please hear my heart. I know that either way You will be with me, guiding me in healing, whether this little one is a boy or a girl. But please, hear my cry … my heart just doesn’t feel ready…”

Even though that sums up what I had felt, I want to share a little more extensively. From the beginning I had hoped with everything in my that this little one was a boy. As you read, I was terrified of what my heart and mind would do if we were pregnant with another girl so soon after losing Eisley. I will be having this baby just 14 months after we lost her. It felt too close for my heart. I know that Eisley and this baby are two totally different children, two different personalities, etc. I just knew that my heart and mind would struggle in feeling like I was replacing her. I know myself well enough to know that it would be a daily battle at least for a while.

I struggled immensely in deciding when to share our pregnancy with the “whole world”. Hence waiting 5 months, and even that was hard!

For one, I found myself struggling to believe in myself for this pregnancy, that I could carry to term and grow/nourish a baby. A part of my fear of sharing was fear of hearing people ask me if it was too soon after Eisley or if I’d be able to carry this baby full term, etc. I needed people to {believe} in me and in that we could do this. I was afraid of even the few responses, like that, that might come. (I’m thankful that I only ever had one response where I felt they weren’t happy for us but more fearful!)

I also wasn’t in an emotionally stable place (not that I am now ;)) to share. We decided to share with close friends and family right away, which was terrifying, but we immediately found ourselves surrounded with their joy, excitement and belief that this would be a healthy pregnancy. As we began to share, questions were brought to me that I didn’t know how to process. I realized that if we were to share with the “whole world” that many more questions would arise and I really wouldn’t be able to share where I was at. I didn’t know. I was in shock. Fear and anxiety had a strong grip on me and what I was able to feel during that time. I needed the time to “process” the best that I could. I found taking it one day at a time, even still, is the best medicine for me. God guided my heart in showing me that important “one day at a time” lesson when I was pregnant with Eisley. Not that I am a faithful do-er, but I try to remember that and it helps immensely.

Another huge reason for not sharing early on was due to fear of having my heart wounded. After we lost Eisley, I was incredibly stunned to find myself wounded by people I’d never imagined myself hurt by. I had an incredibly hard time being able to sort through what people intentions were when they shared something publicly or to me personally. It was (and occasionally is) a constant daily struggle.  I found distance creep into even some of my closest friendships. I lost friendships due to feeling abandoned and ultimately wounded in the time of our darkest season, but for the most part, I allowed distance between friendships and people because of my assumptions. God has brought a lot of healing to my heart and now I rarely struggle with bitterness anymore. But it’s taken time and I still feel the ache of the loss of those friends when I really think about it. All this to say, I wasn’t sure how much more hurt I could handle at that point, where I first found out we were pregnant. I was in an incredibly vulnerable state that I feared more pain. I feel much stronger now and am able to (for the most part) sort through what’s said, or not said, and let. it. go. 

Perhaps, though, my biggest reason for not sharing my pregnancy with everyone for months… I didn’t want to have people think or even say things that implied that I would be replacing Eisley with another baby. Especially if this baby would have been a girl. As I began to share our pregnancy with family and close friends, I found myself in tears after sharing more than standing in joy and belief. I didn’t want to hear how “redeeming” this pregnancy could/would be. I didn’t want to hear that people had hoped I was having a little girl, because it conflicted with what I had hoped and my reasonings, and so I would believe that ultimately people were saying to me “I hope you have a little girl! Wouldn’t that be so redeeming?!” Even when that was {not at all} what people were really saying. I struggle believing that if we shared with everyone, perhaps most would hope we’d have a little girl. In my heart, I ached at the thought that others might really think having another little girl would be redeeming when in fact I knew for myself, even though that might look to be like redemption, it would not be at all. It would never bring my Eisley back and in that way, it could never be redeeming. (I hope I’m making sense)

All of the above are the “reasons” for why, for the most part, I kept my mouth sealed tight, until we shared at our Mustache or Bows Party. As I shared all of these above struggles with one of my dearest friends, she suggested that maybe I wait to announce to everyone (like on social media) until after we’ve had the party and can share with the “whole world” that I was pregnant and it was a boy. That way it left very little room for my heart to feel wounded by responses of people hoping it was a girl for redemptive purposes. Even when that wasn’t what people meant or their intention, it was/would be hard to hear.

So a quick summary of what I felt when I first learned that baby #3 was a boy… well, first things first, I noticed before anyone told me! I have seen quite a few ultrasounds and I just noticed that it was a boy. I asked the ultrasound technician  if what I was seeing was little boy parts and she looked at me quite surprised and said, “Yes! I’m almost positive that what we’re seeing it outdoor plumbing.” :)

At 13 weeks pregnant I found out that I was having a little boy. My heart and mind felt relief. He had heard my cry and knew that this was what was best for my heart right now. I was also so thankful I found out so early in this pregnancy. That same week, I chose the perfect name for our boy and I can’t wait to share the name and the incredible meaning for him and for our family, in less than 10 weeks now!!! Boy S will have to do for now :)

Do I want a girl in the future? Yes I do. And I feel so strongly that we will have another little girl in our family but that time is not right now. I feel in my heart that when we do know that we are pregnant with another little girl, I will be as “ready” as one can be. I imagine that some of these same fears, struggles and lies will arise, but I also know that time will help my heart to heal and become ready for another precious baby girl.

Part 5 I’ll share what it was like to share the news at our gender reveal and also to the “whole world”.

I am a bottler.

Bitterness.

I can’t sleep tonight because of this lovely word.
I am wrapped in this very thing tonight.
Even the word itself is so awful, but this feeling is so much worse.

I am hurt.

I am frustrated.
I am bitter.
And I can’t sleep because of it.

I am a bottler.
I bottle, bottle, bottle.
Then explode (usually in tears).

Healthy, huh?
Yeah…I’m working on that.

Part of why I am upset is because I witness injustices and I bottle them up.
Wanting them to be made right.
Yet they go unattended, ignored, avoided… never to be made right.
I have eyes and a heart for justice and I can’t seem to grasp the mercy part.
Yet they go hand in hand (I’ve blogged about this before).
I guess it has just added up and I am weary of carrying this.
We are being wounded left and right and it seems like we aren’t getting a break.
I’ve begun to see people for who they truly are.
Their true colours despite their facade.
I don’t understand what exactly is going on.
People choosing the cause rather than relationship.
We live in a seriously fallen world.
And I also know that “hurting people hurt people”.
But somehow that doesn’t make this any better.
It also doesn’t help that I am also easily offended and hurt.
Oh golly, I’ve got a long way to go.
This is me, “unbottling“.
Trying to get this out and hopefully I will sleep better tonight.
I’m going to need the help of my Father on this one.
God, thank you so much for being so gracious and merciful.
I have a lot to learn from you!
It’s pathetic the things I hold onto sometimes and even more pathetic that I lose much needed sleep to them.

I’ll take the food poisoning, please.

Yesterday I was extremely sick with food poisoning
But that isn’t what aches the most.

My closest loved ones are hurting.
One possible more than ever before.
And the other is in utter confusion and despair.

I have been challenged to trust God despite the circumstances
But today I stand in frustration and confusion. Why is everything around us falling apart?

How could God bring my sister this far, only to take away the very thing needed the most?
Healing, positive people surrounding her, a time set apart with Him.

She too has such a hard time trusting God and then this?
I am at a loss of understanding.

I don’t understand why people couldn’t help her and those I know that could have but just didn’t.

I wish I had what she needs to stay.
I wish I could have helped, even just a little bit.

I was thinking about what I could sell this weekend but it’s too late.
The grace period is up…

God, it’s hard to understand what you were thinking here.
And it makes me wonder, are really controlling this situation?
I mean, is this your doing?
I am realizing more and more how hard trusting is while living in this world of sin and selfishness.
Please, Father, guide her, love her, speak to her and if possible MAKE A WAY for her to stay!
All things are possible with you.

That is what I will cling to now.

An Insecure, Dissatisfied Jami,

Today I have really struggled with being insecure and dissatisfied with where we are in life.

I want, I want, I want;
  • A place to call home, A place to settle in. Roots, A HOME of our own, with a backyard, A home for me to decorate, To eat healthy. Organic even! Gym passes for Ted and I, new clothes for Ted and I, a nice, reliable, new car,….. there is so much WANT in me right now!
I don’t know what is going on. I feel like it’s an attack.
I know that the wants and the desire for these things is stemming out of being dissatisfied with myself in other areas.
Ultimately, it boils down to feeling disgusted with myself for not trying hard to lose this baby weight, for the way I eat and what I am eating/drinking, I shouldn’t have lost a pound.
I am frustrated with myself for not spending the time I do want and need with God, for not using my time wisely and doing the creative projects I desire to do.
I am dissatisfied today. Immensely so!! I feel like I am too far gone to do anything I really desire. I have always had desire to create, to live life to the fullest and to not waste my time and I feel like I am stuck.
The only thing I feel encouraged in today is the fact that Chase is secure in knowing he is loved. You can honestly just tell. He is such a truly happy and chill little guy. I spend a lot of time with Chase, talking with him, hanging out on the floor playing with him, singing, going for walks, getting out for the day, etc. It is the one area I feel like I am doing good in.
Ugh, please pray for me. I’ve been working on the fruits of the spirit and I am failing miserably.

Let’s Walk Then.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who areChrist’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-23

I want to walk in the fruits of the spirit.

I mean r e a l l y WALK not just talk about it. I’m tired of the talking.

I want to grow in each and every one, as they go hand in hand! But there are a few of which stick out to me as extra difficult; longsuffering, self-control and kindness.

I spent the last few weeks taking things into my own hands. Handling situations on my own. And I am weary. I’m weary because I know there is a better way and I’m not walking in it.

I believe that if I really walk in who I am in Christ I will portray the fruits of the spirit. I also want to work on being more mercy oriented rather than justice oriented. It’s super difficult for me, but I am tired of constantly trying to make justice happen even everyday battles which mercy needs to be shown.

It’s difficult but doable. Especially when I recognize I’m not doing this in my own strength.

Amen for that.

suchprettyrain.blogspot.com

But I Will Also Dance.

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


This year I will weep, but I will also laugh.
I will ache, but I know I am healed and I am being healed.
I will grieve, but I will also dance.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

This is a tough day for me and may always be the hardest day to walk through each year.

This year is different though for I am choosing to let go of my understanding and choosing trust and follow you despite everything.



This weekend while at IHOP a sung was sung at church and really spoke to me.
Some of it is out of a passage in Isaiah that I l o v e.
“You Pour Out Mercy”
Luke Wood

You have known our souls in adversity

When we strive against You

You extend Your hand time and time again

From the heights of glory to the depths of my heart

For You have bound Yourself to man

Despite his unfaithfulness


You pour out mercy

You open Your heart

You pour out mercy to

Reveal Your heart

All man’s empty promises

Lie broken at Your feet

But You have never broken one

You open up Your heart Time and time again


You give beauty for ashes, Garments of praise

You give infinite mercy To those who fear Your name

Thank you my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Healer for always walking beside us through the thick and the thin, through times of sorrow and times of joy. Through the good and the awful.

To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

BAM.

Suddenly it’s hit me and with quite a force.

I was telling Ted last night how I feel so apathetic.
I feel like I haven’t had many great conversations with God lately.
Or barely any for that matter.
And frankly, I feel like I don’t have time to.
I am also dealing with a bit of bitterness toward Him.
He knew my heart’s desire for an all natural delivery of our child.
And I was only able to go 16 hours without any medication.
And then, even 42 hours later & 10 cm dilated, I couldn’t even have him naturally.
It still feels like a low blow to me.
I hate that that is the way I feel.
Because it’s not me and it’s not t r u t h.
I realized that it has been since I’ve become a momma.
It has nothing to do with Chase or being his mommy, no, that’s not it.
I’ve been in this huge transition of going from working in ministry full time to being a full time mom.
I am learning how to recognize the presence of God is still with me.
I know that may sound awful, but it’s seriously true.
I am learning to recognize Him again.
As I a home with Chase and not at YWAM, where you can literally feel the presence of God most of the time.
He is with me
as I change diapers, nurse, cook, take naps, clean, grocery shop, do laundry, run errands…
as I live life outside of YWAM.
as I transition into a momma.
It’s actually a lot harder than it sounds.
Anyone who has left YWAM can relate.
oh golly.
But I do know without a doubt;
I am called to be in ministry
I am designed to be Ted’s wife and Chase’s mother
Here I am recognizing.
You are here with me as I walk through this transition.
This is only the beginning to a seriously sweet and complete relationship with You.
Living life to the fullest no matter where I am or what I am doing.

This New Journey.

I am a mother.

It’s still so surreal to me.
And boy, am I in love with this little guy.
Chase Journey Davis
<3
Bringing him into this world was exactly like his middle name; a journey.
40 plus hour of labor resulting with a c-section.
But brought such a beautiful baby boy.
All 8lbs 15oz of him.
It’s been such a transition, being a mother.
I find myself becoming a mother with each new day.
If that makes any sense. I am a mother but I am also becoming one.
It’s hard, sometimes draining,
But he is worth it all.
Tonight I am aching a bit.
I realize that I am now different than I have ever been before,
I don’t think it’s a bad thing though.
Well, deep inside I know it’s not.
It’s just a lot of change.
I feel more matured in some ways,
Yet so unsure of myself in others.
I’m trying to let this change come without being afraid.
I also don’t want to become apathetic if I do need to cry because of this change.
Tonight I want to cry,
But can’t.
I want to be myself but I am learning who that is now,
as a momma.
I’m sometimes worried about my relationship with Ted too.
I feel like I am distancing myself or that I’ve changed too much.
Especially physically.
Oh there is so much more inside that I can’t express.
I am not depressed, really I am not.
I am just working through this change.
I am still the same old me, only this me is intermixed with being a momma.
Father, guide me as I walk blindly through these changes.