Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's not always easy...

Sometimes I feel as though others can look and think my life is grand - they are excited I'm writing a book, expecting a child and enjoying life with my wonderful family. All of these events are true, but they don't translate to an easy life.

Just this past Friday I quit denying the reality of the struggle that is taking place. As I met with one of my best friends, who is also the co-author of the book, our talk shifted from typos and spelling errors to what felt like a big mistake in my life.

She sensed something wasn't right and asked, "What's wrong Jill? Are you having second thoughts?" Leanne is aware that not everyone, including close loved ones, is in favor of me publishing a book that chronicles a faith they don't understand. I'm sure worry about what they think and how they will react is part of the recent struggle, but over the last couple of weeks I've realized it is more than that.

You see 10 years ago I walked through a valley of clinical depression and took medication, but in the 9 years since I've accepted Christ and through His strength didn't need the medication any longer. Everything hasn't always been rosey, as life always has ups and downs, but the extremes of emotions, thoughts of worthlessness and feeling of being overwhelmed have just now returned.

I denied it for awhile and chalked it up to pregnancy hormones, but I'm afraid it's more than that. As I wrestled with this I felt like a failure, thinking here I am about to publish a book and share my faith with the world and I'm in a place of doubt. I felt so week and messed up. It seemed if my thoughts were disappointing me, it was only natural they'd have the same effect on everyone else.

That line of thinking caused me to do exactly what satan wants - close myself off from those who love me most. I felt myself keeping conversations on the surface and pretending things were alright. I mean - God has blessed me with a great husband, wonderful kids, a baby on the way, the privilege to serve Him - life should be great, so I started acting like it was.

All last week I knew that was wrong, which only caused me to feel worse. Here I was encouraging others to be real, trust in God's plan and what was I doing? Obviously not practicing what I was preaching. And the realization of that almost drove me further down - it seems when your mind is low, it doesn't take much to push it even further down.

Wednesday was the worst day - I felt if I had no purpose what so over, like everyone would be better without me - yeah, I might be missed, but the lies in my head seemed to out weigh the truth, so I found myself in tears quite often throughout the day.

My kids saw it, but I was amazed at how fast I slipped back into old ways and played the "fine" game as I talked with friends on the phone. I was denying the truth and falling deeper in the pit.

Until Thursday morning, when God used a unique experience to really grab my attention and prove to me my thinking was wrong and this was more than pregnancy hormones. My 6 and 4 year old had rescued a wild baby bunny four days earlier, but Thursday morning our son checked on "Jenny" and walked back into the kitchen with tears and delivered the message, "She died." Instantly Joy was crying as well and soon I would be too.

We went outside to bury her next to Dorothy, the goldfish that actually died last August on the same day as our miscarriage. Pain from the loss of their fish and my baby came back as Job dug the hole. J.D. then placed the bunny they knew for a short while, but loved from the depths of their hearts.

As they stood and looked at her one last time and whispered their good-byes, tears fell to the ground - not just from their little faces, but from mine as well. It's hard to write these words, but I sensed God telling me, "See their pain, they can't say good-bye to you." I cried hard too, I think they were surprised I was sooo sad to say good-bye to a little critter that made me scream days earlier in the kitchen! They didn't need to understand, but I got God's message.

I couldn't deny the pain any longer. I was heading in the wrong direction and it wasn't a place He wanted me to go. He has a plan and in that I have a purpose. Though at times I feel I have no worth, He knows my value.

So I answered Leanne's question and the tears began to fall. She listened, but didn't judge. I shared and she reassured. I cried and she did too. After talking I no longer felt alone or ashamed and I once again sensed God's presence.

Tuesday I have my next pre-natal visit and I will share with the Dr. the events of the past, I'm no longer afraid and wanting to hide the pain. So I share with you as well. I appreciate your prayers as I know I'm not magically better and this will be a process. But I also know I'm not alone in my struggles, so if you're in a similar situation, please, I pray talk with someone. I know it's hard - I avoided doing so myself. Though it's not easy, it is right. God didn't create us to walk alone, He is there to help and I found He works through those who are close to me. If someone like that is not available for you, email me (, I'm willing to listen and honored to pray.

Remember no matter what battle you are facing, it's not easy, but God is on our side and the victory has already been won. Keep holding on and looking up! (Those words are for me, just as much as they are for you!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Child Myself

A story from 3 years ago...

God used my worst shopping trip ever to remind me that I too, am just a child. The story began in a Christian bookstore where my three-year-old son, fifteen-month-old daughter, and I were looking for Mother’s Day gifts. I had debated whether we should stop in the not-so-kid-friendly store, but knew we wouldn’t be in town for a while, so decided to take the risk. We’ve had a few minor struggles during shopping trips, but nothing drastic, so I trusted this day would be the same.

Well, my son, J.D., decided shopping wasn’t his activity of choice, which led to an experience I soon won’t forget. I was holding Joy looking at the cards when he decided to go on an adventure. He headed up the stairs that led to the storage room, labeled for employees only. As I said, “Stop!” J.D. proceeded to do what he always does when trouble is on the way – run! After a look of concern from the clerk, I headed up the stairs and thru a maze of boxes to find my son hiding in the corner. We went back down, I described his future punishment, and then approached the counter embarrassed and feeling like a failure. I apologized to the clerk and she kindly told J.D., “listen to your mom – she knows what’s best.” Then in an attempt to make me feel better, she said something about little boys not being made for shopping. How true!!

I left in a state of anger, but before things hit the boiling point, my emotions shifted to guilt and thoughts of doubt. I asked myself, “What kind of Mom am I? Who lets their child run through the store? Can I do this? Will he ever listen?” Then I was reminded there’s only one perfect parent and when I let God play the role of Father, I am a child myself.

I thought of the times I have also ran when trouble was approaching or when I should speak up, but remain quiet. I recalled mistakes I had made, people I let down, and motives that were wrong. I was reminded of the times I didn’t listen intently – like when J.D. told the same story again and again or when my husband described his hunting trips. I thought of the times when I don’t obey - like when God is leading me in one direction and I choose to go a different way. I thought of how upset I was with my son and wondered what that meant about how God felt towards me.

Then I glanced in the rear view mirror to see J.D. sleeping peacefully. He looked so innocent and at that moment I knew I forgave him. Eventually, I’ll even take him shopping again; maybe in 20 years, but I still believe someday he will obey. He is my son and I will always love him. As I had these thoughts, I remembered I too am a child and my Father loves me even more than I love J.D.

I know how God feels towards me – like any parent, He’s hurt when I go the wrong way, but He also knows lessons are learned when mistakes are made. He forgives me and every morning gives me a chance to try again. Just like I won’t quit on my son, He’s continually molding me into the woman He knows I can become.

Growing up, we dream of answers to the question, “Who will I be?” “A teacher. A doctor. A designer. Maybe a lawyer or engineer. How about a singer or movie star!” The list goes on and on and changes every year. Now I’m an adult and have answers to that question, but I’m thankful my son reminded me of the best answer we can give – “Who am I? A child, a child of God.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Me, A Mom?

There was a day when the thought of me being a Mom seemed quite out there! It's not that I didn't want to be - I played house with my younger sisters quite often as a child and then spent many hours babysitting as a teen. But through high school and into college my life was consumed with basketball. Though I enjoyed the game and devoted countless hours to it, my lack of dating bothered me at times.

I think I was 20 before I went on a date and then it didn't happen again until I was 24. During those years I honestly thought marriage and motherhood weren't going to be an option for me. At times that was tough, but I tried to fill my mothering instinct by pouring into the kids I taught and coached.

Well, God had a plan that worked according to His time and not mine. He knew before I could give my life to a man, I had to surrender it to Him and make Christ the love of my life. Shortly after that decision, I reconnected with a guy from my hometown at my sister's wedding in April of 2000. By that November we were engaged and this July we will celebrate 8 years!

In those 8 years many things have taken place with one of the biggest being the fulfillment of a childhood dream! I am a mom! Not only once, but we've been blessed with J.D. who just turned 6, Joy who's 4 and our little Jaylyn who's 2. This past fall the fairy tale took an unexpected turn as we experienced a miscarriage and now have a little one waiting for us in heaven.

But today, on Mother's Day, a day I once questioned if I'd ever celebrate, we announced that God has blessed us once again. I am almost 16 weeks pregnant and we're expecting a little one in October.

Again God is reminding me things go according to His plan and I keep reminding myself His timing is perfect, even when that doesn't seem to be the case. You see at times, quite often actually, this pregnancy has me overwhelmed. More than once I have asked God, "How is this going to work?" I mean I'm already busy with 3, I'm homeschooling one, coordinating MOPS, have a book coming out this summer, I'm helping organize a retreat that's schedule only days after my due date...."HOW?!?"

But today, the day created to honor the ones who play the role of "Mom," I'm reminded that I shouldn't be surprised with this question. My oldest is 6 and I have asked that very question quite often. As I sit here, I recall a poem I once wrote and one line said, "It's not about having all the answers, but sometimes simply listening to the questions."

At the time I was referring to communicating with our kids, but the same is true for the conversations that take place in our minds. It is impossible for me to have the answers, I don't know what the future holds, but as I listen to the question my mind creates I need to remind myself to turn to the One who has the answers.

He may not reveal them for awhile, but I must trust that He will lead me to the place where they will be found. Ten years ago I asked the simple question, "Me, a Mom?" At times I doubted that it would be answered the way I wanted, but God's ways were perfect and I'm more blessed now than I ever imagined.

And though I worry and stress about what the future holds, I trust the one with the answers. In another 10 years I look forward to looking back and seeing how He answers this one!! Then I suppose I'll ask myself another question, "Why were you worried?"

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Tribute to Moms

"A Mother’s Love"
It begins even before you are born,
It grows with each internal kick –
She’s never even met you
Yet she already loves you.
Then you are born
And there’s a love she’s never felt.
You are part of her
And she’ll forever be part of you.
Time goes by, you grow older,
Yet she’s there for you.S
he cheers for you and
She hurts with you.
Years pass and others come into your life –
They influence you and even love you, too,
But your mom is always special –
She loved you first.

"Like A Mom"
You weren’t the one who
Cared for me as an infant,
Disciplined me as a child,
Or guided me as a teen,
But thru the years,
You’ve become like
A Mom to me.

I confide in you &
You listen to me.
I ask questions &
You provide answers.
I share struggles &
You give encouragement.
I don’t know what to do &
You offer advice.
I am in need of prayers &
You talk to God for me.

You weren’t the one who
I called Mommy,
But I’m thankful you
Call me daughter.
No matter how many
Years go by,
A Mother’s work
Is never done
And her love
Is always needed.

"A Mother’s Arms"
A newborn enters the world –
Alone in the unknown,
She’s scared and afraid –
Until she’s placed
In her mother’s arms.

A child falls on the rocks –
Hurt while having fun,
He’s crying and upset –
Until he’s held
In his mother’s arms.

A teen-ager hangs up the phone –
Let down by a friend,
He’s misunderstood and feeling unloved –
Until he’s embraced
By his mother’s arms.

A new mom is feeling depressed –
Alone in the unknown,
She’s scared and afraid –
Until she’s wrapped
In her mother’s arms.

The young and the old –
Are all in need
Of the comfort and security
Found in the touch
Of a mother’s arms.