Tag Archives: identity

mourning motherhood

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For as long as I can remember, Mother’s Day service at the church I grew up in always looked the same. The pastor would ask the moms in the room to stand up. They would, and everyone would clap. Then he would proceed to figure out which mom had the most kids by asking women to sit down if they had less than X number of children. By process of elimination, our congregation would celebrate the mother of the most children and she would be presented with a beautiful floral arrangement. Then the same process would occur to figure out which mom was the oldest AND which mom was the youngest, and both would receive a flower to take home and set as a center piece for Sunday dinner.

We were in the business of celebrating moms.

From an early age I knew that to be celebrated as a woman I needed to have children.

And I don’t say that in a prideful way.
I’m not fishing for applause, nor do I intend to have an “everyone come see how good I look!” attitude.

Simply put, I knew my value in the church and society would increase as soon as I had a kid.

So imagine 17-year-old Kayla mapping her life out.
Married by 22, 23 at the latest.
First child by 25, cause ya know…let’s be married for at least a couple of years before we have kids.
Be done growing my brood by 32.

And here I am.
Almost 29.
No marriage.
No kids.

The dreams I had for myself 12 years ago left unfulfilled.

And I’m not the only one. I know many people who have had to mourn the loss of the dreams they had for themselves. Whether focused on marriage, career, being a parent…whatever it may be. We all have things that we desire that have not come to pass.

And it’s okay to mourn those things.
It’s okay to feel deep sorrow for something you’ve never had.
To feel a sense of loss and sadness over something that was never yours to begin with is okay. In fact, I think it’s natural.

Especially when we’ve believed the lie that the thing we’re mourning is somehow attached to our value.

And yes, it is a lie. Straight from the mouth of the enemy.
It’s a lie for anyone, anywhere, in any context to tell you (or even show you by their reaction, or lack of) that your value is tied to an.y.thing other than Jesus.

If you find yourself with people – or in a community – that try to tell you that you can’t be fully who you are because you don’t have a husband/child/higher paying job/boots with the fur, you lovingly tell them to shut the H up.*

Be with people who, along with the Holy Spirit, help redeem the lies that have been spoken into your life.

A BIG PRAISE & AMEN for the way God has softened the ground of my heart and given me so many people who speak truth over my life. And not only speak it, but by their actions are in the process of redeeming so much of what has been broken over the years.

People who:

  • 2 weeks after their child is born and we’re in a crowded room say, “Here, take him while I go do something…” And let me snuggle their little one for what feels like an eternity.
  • trust me enough to stay overnight with their kids so they can go on a marriage retreat.
  • are honest with me when I ask them what it’s like to raise three boys and how they teach their kids to live off their own faith and not mom & dad’s.
  • invite me into their lives by sharing the joyous news of a new baby and remind me that they want me to be a part of their kid’s life.
  • let me sit on the floor of their nursery while they put their baby to sleep.
  • tell me that they feel safe and comfortable when I hold their daughter and, as I walk up, basically throw her at me because their arms need a break.
  • affirm the voice that I have with their kids and trust that I love their children and want to point them to Jesus.
  • when I ask them about their lives, they don’t just talk about their kids. They talk about themselves. Because that’s what I’ve asked about. And we can share life as people whose identities are rooted in Jesus, not the other labels that we carry.

You see, I’ve mourned “natural” motherhood for myself up to this point in my life. But I don’t really have to mourn all of what motherhood is because I have people in my life that value me. Kayla. They see me and love me and affirm who God has made me to be. They call me to good and ask me to do the same of them, and their kids.

For all the non-mom’s out there today, or any day really, know that it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to mourn that which you do not have. But also know that it’s okay to fight for community that not only allows, but asks, for you to live out the way God has made you as woman. Whatever that might look like.

And know that if we were to be in a church together and the pastor asked all the mom’s to stand up, I would clap for them, but then I would stand up and shout, “All women, rise!” and I would throw out candy because that’s usually better than flowers anyways 🙂

*but seriously, do it lovingly, not with anger or bitterness or trying to beat them at their own game. and if you need to take a beat, call me, then chat with them about it, feel free!

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revive me again

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Chances are I’ve probably already written about the Psalm I’m going to write about tonight. But if I can’t remember it, I doubt you can. And if you do, then, dddaaannnnggg, thanks for supporting a sister!

A couple summers ago I heard a sermon on Psalm 85 that rocked me to my core. So much so, I still have my notes from that Sunday [although, that’s probably not much of a shocker to those that know me well…]. And turns out, it was the day before my birthday that year! #blessed

I’ve read and read and re-read that Psalm so many times since. In it, the psalmist does a few things:

  1. Reminds the Lord of what He has done
  2. Begs for revival
  3. Reminds himself of what the Lord has done & that He is capable & willing to do it again

I find this pattern necessary in my life. I need to remind God of what He has done in my life, and in doing so, I’m reminding myself of His past faithfulness – that God has showed up in my life on countless occasions. That He is a God that loves and is for His people.

It reminds me that I need to keep showing up. I need to beg for revival. I remember ever so clearly what the preacher said that Sunday morning. Verses 6 & 7 say, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.”

The preacher then said, “Ask for that. Beg for that. Beg for God to revive you again so that you may rejoice in Him! And when the answer is no, for today, get up again tomorrow and ask again! Continue to show up with God; fight for the revival in your soul.”

OKAY FINE! I WILL!

But then I don’t.
I fight for a couple days, then I decide the fight isn’t worth it.
I beg for a while, but then I get tired of begging m.
I want instant, blatant satisfaction. I’m not willing to wait on the Lord and thirst for God the way the psalmists did.

But the good news is that God is still God, and God is still good. Even on the days when I don’t ask Him for His goodness.

He will revive His people again, so that we may rejoice in Him.

There’s so much to be said about the words penned in the 85th psalm, but the simplest thing to say is that it’s all for His glory. Revival of my soul is not for my temporary happiness or earthly satisfaction. It is for God and God alone. “Yes, the Lord will give what is good.” (v12) And the ultimate good is Himself.

So, I pray for that tonight, tomorrow, in the coming days – that He may revive me again, so that I may rejoice in Him.

 

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learning to dwell

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For the past few years I’ve done this pretty cool (to me, at least) thing where I pick a word or theme of the year. One year it was discipline, last year it was #toshowingup, and this year it is “dwell.”

I think we can all agree that the only thing most of us resolve to do is not follow through on our New Year’s resolutions, so, in place of that, a friend introduced me to choosing a word/theme for the year.

I like the consistency of learning how to implement a theme over the course of the year. I enjoy the process way more than the outcome. AND it’s a lot less pressure than having to stop drinking coffee and go to the gym 8 days a week starting January 1.

So here we are, 2016, and I’m going to dwell.

I want to learn what it means to be in the present with God and myself.

I want to stop being anxious over uncontrollable circumstances.

I want to know deep in my soul that my identity and value are unshakable in Christ.

I want to dwell in the presence of my Maker, resting in His goodness alone.

Merriam-Webster defines dwell as a verb that means, “to remain for a time.”

It is active, yet it is passive. You have to make the choice to remain somewhere.

It’s easy for me to talk about rest, and dwelling, and sitting, and remaining. It’s a WHOLE ‘NOTHER BALL GAME for me to actually do it for a time.

I’m decent at dwelling for a day or so, when it’s convenient for me. But this year, this go ’round, I want to dwell forever. I want the time to not have a frame – I want to be with Jesus and remain in Him.

I doubt I’ll have this whole dwelling thing figured out by 2017. If I do, maybe you could take me out for queso and I’ll tell you all the secret things.

But I am excited about what 2017 will look like because I will have dwelt with the Savior. I will continue to learn more and more every day what it means to have my identity anchored in the Unchangeable One.

This year will be one for the books (blogs) and I’m excited to share it with you.

*what is God calling you to in this coming year? Is there a theme or word you can own for 2016?

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singles holiday guide: part 1

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With the holidays upon us and singles everywhere (somewhat) dreading going home to the same ole set of questions about their love lives, I thought it would be appropriate to address some questions that might pop up over the next few weeks. If you want to shut down any conversational advance from a pesky rando at family dinner, use the following responses:

Family Member: “So I guess your New Years resolution of getting a boyfriend didn’t work out.”
Response: “No, it did, but I broke up with him about 15 minutes in because all he could talk about was legos.”

Family Member: “Well, at least you don’t have to spend money on an extra person this year.”
Response: “You’re right…I didn’t buy you anything.”

Family Member: “You can totally go to Grandma’s early to help start cooking since you don’t have a family to get ready, right?”
Response: “Nah, but I WILL go to Grandma’s early to suck up and get all the good pieces of bacon before you suckers show up.”

Family Member: “Any prospects in your life yet?”
Response: “If by prospects you mean good movies to go see? Then, yes.”

Family Member: “Do you think you’ll ever get married?”
Response: “If it means I have to start asking for toasters, quilts, and light bulbs for Christmas, then NO THANK YOU.”

Okay, so those aren’t the most gracious responses, and I wouldn’t recommend saying them unless you have a pretty sarcastic family. However, I do feel for those of you that are inundated with questions about your single life from those closest to you.

It’s hard to be around people who only see your identity as single or married. Or divorced. Or childless. Or [fill in the blank].

Your relationship status is not who you are. Your value and worth come from Jesus alone! This season is to be lived in celebration of the God Man coming to earth to save us.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)

Remember that this holiday season as friends get engaged, weddings are attended, and well-meaning family members say some hurtful things. Remember that a Savior was born for you and me. And nothing outside of that truth really matters.

*at least Amy, Kristen, & Maya have a boyfriend this holiday season…

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what the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise has taught me: part 1

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First of all, I included all three of these shows because I watch (or have watched) all of them. I wouldn’t put myself on the “obsessed” level yet, but I’m definitely above “just curious about what’s going on” or “staying culturally relevant.” For example, the first thing I did today when I had some free time after work was catch up on “Bachelor in Paradise” and that’s probably what I’ll do tomorrow because it’s a two-episode week y’all!!

As I was catching up on the show this week, I couldn’t help but feel this uneasy pit in my stomach. I started to feel kinda bad for those involved in the show. I was sad for every single female that ends up in one of those “confessional” moments and says something similar to, “I just want someone to fight for me,” or, “I guess I’m just not good enough.”

Today, those confessions just stopped me in my tracks. I realized lots of things that I’d like to cover in the coming weeks, but we’ll start with this:

Insecurity exists everywhere.

Everywhere.

If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on with the Bachelor franchise, it’s that they really like beautiful people. Every person on every episode is beautiful. And every one of them, at some point or another, doubts themselves. They feel inadequate. They feel as if they are missing something.

It reminds me of the time when Adam and Eve were walking with God in the garden. The Lord had brought them together in perfect harmony and the Bible says that they were “naked and were not ashamed.” Then, they rebelled, went their own way, and did the one thing God told them not to do. The first thing that happens after that bite is that they realized they were naked. And they were ashamed of their nakedness. So ashamed they hid from God.

One of the most compassionate statements in the Bible, in my opionion, is in Genesis 3:11. God asks them, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Who spoke that in to your life? Who told you that you were anything other than beloved?

That’s what I want to ask the contestants on the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise.

Who told you that you were naked? Who told you that you weren’t enough? Who hurt you so deeply that you feel unworthy?

Then I want to tell them about the greatest love of all that can heal all wounds. I want to tell them about Jesus. I want them to feel whole.

We all feel that, don’t we? We all feel inadequate.
We all want to feel whole.
Praise God that Jesus makes us just that. Whole. Complete. Beautiful. Beloved. Wanted. Redeemed.

Enough.

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I need to be Perfect

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Let’s be honest. Us ladies ride the struggle bus all the way to Perfection Point a lot. I’m pretty sure I have a frequent rider card at this point. I feel a deep need to have all my ducks in a row. I need to keep everything in my life lined up perfectly so I don’t screw things up. A few stories to illustrate:

1) I was at FCA Girls Sports Camp last week and when it was close to the closing of camp and we needed girls to fill out camper evaluations, I literally stood, frozen, in the middle of the room because girls were kinda crazy and it wasn’t perfect so I didn’t know where to start. I literally froze because the atmosphere wasn’t “perfect” to me. And it wasn’t an elegant frozen state like Elsa.

2) Last week while I was at the camp mentioned above, I got a little anxious when my blog flow was thrown off because I didn’t have a chance to write a new entry. My perfect streak of a new post every week was gone, so I “fixed” it by letting the world (really just my Facebook world) know that I was at camp doing some holy things so I couldn’t post anything. I made sure my image was intact.

3) This afternoon after work, I fell asleep on my couch for 2 hours because I feel like I haven’t stopped moving in 10 days and I’m exhausted. I needed a good nap and I got one. When I woke up and realized it’s Wednesday and time to write, I had an argument with myself on whether or not I should go to Starbucks and write or if it would be okay for me to just sit on my living room floor and type some words. My thought process went a little like this: if I don’t go to Starbucks the atmosphere I’m used to won’t be the same, therefore the writing won’t be as good. I needed the perfect seat in the corner with the perfect cup of coffee to make sure that my writing is perfect. And yes, I’m in that seat in the corner with that cup of coffee as I type…(insert heavy eye roll here)

Now that I think of it and write it out, maybe I just have OCD. Who knows.

My point in all of this is that I’ve been relying A LOT on myself lately. I feel the need to be “perfect” (whatever that means: emotionally, spiritually, physically, etc…).

If I miss a day at the gym, I don’t give myself grace. If I forget to pray a certain amount of time, I don’t give myself grace. If I don’t have the right answer for a friend in need, I don’t give myself grace.

I’ve been trusting myself with the seemingly little details of life and only relying on God when I crash and burn. I try to fix myself up before I come to Jesus, assuming that He won’t want someone that doesn’t have everything figured out on her own.

Jesus tells us in Mark 2:17-

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

I don’t know where this need for perfection comes from. I don’t know where I think I need ultimate control over my life. I do know that every time I rely on myself I fail. I also know that I have a Savior that blatantly tells me over and over again in Scripture that I don’t have to fix myself. He has called me, loves me, and saves me because He can. Not because my perfection has earned it.

A sweet friend asked how she could be praying for me this week. When I told her, “that I would let go of perfection and fixing myself.” She shared a little nugget of wisdom from her mom: My imperfection demands the Lord’s presence which is glorious because we have a Savior who rises to every occasion.

May we all rest in that truth this week: that we need Jesus and He is always there to love us, especially when we aren’t perfect.

*this week didn’t have much to do with dating/relationships/singleness. don’t worry, that discussion on perfection will come next week! (you’re so excited…I know…I know…)

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Me & My T-Shirts

An unintentional theme of the past couple of weeks has been about value, self worth, and identity. Probably because I struggle in those areas and need the Gospel to transform my mind on those issues moment by moment…so why not write about it?!

Those of us that struggle with seeing ourselves through the eyes of Jesus often have things we’d like to change about ourselves. We think brunette is not a pretty as blonde, so we dye our hair. We think we’re too shy, so we seek out how to be more outgoing. We think we’re too loud, so we quiet ourselves. We think we’re overweight, so we obsessively work out and monitor our diet.

Or in my case, I think I have too many t-shirts.

Let me back up a few years.

When I was a freshman in college someone very dear to me made a random comment about my wardrobe. They said, “If you ever want to meet someone (to marry), you really should stop wearing t-shirts.”

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Mind you, I’m pretty sure I’ve been wearing a t-shirt since I was in utero.

Something as simple as a statement about my wardrobe made me question my value, my identity, and my future. I began to think (and have thought this since) that no man would ever want a lady that would rather play catch, or hunt, or go camping than do more typical “womanly” things (whatever that may be…). I began to believe the lie that God had made a mistake. That he had given me desires that no man would find desirable.

Praise Jesus that my identity doesn’t change with my wardrobe!!

The Good News that I cling to as a follower of Jesus is that my identity is not dependent upon what I do. It all hangs on this truth: that Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life, went to Calvary out of His love for me, died a brutal death to pay the penalty for my sins, rose again on the third day, and has entered into heaven itself to appear in the presence of God on my behalf.

This is what life is about. Not my personal satisfaction or temporary pleasures. Not my hair color or my weight. Not even about how many t-shirts I have.

Life is about glorifying God in everything I do because He has redeemed me and set my identity in stone. My value does not change because God does not change.

God has made each of His children unique for a reason. He has given me the desire to wear gym shorts and t-shirts as often as possible because someone has to keep sports stores in business! It doesn’t devalue me or make me less desireable, even when I may think it does.

Chances pretty good that this is a lesson I’ll need to keep learning, but praise God He’s okay with teaching me for the rest of my life.

*but really, I do have a lot of t-shirts…anyone wanna help me make a quilt out of them?!

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