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It is well

I wrote earlier in a post on social media that I haven’t been depressed lately.

 

I’ve been aiming for a lifestyle focused on my wellness and I was going down the list of things I’ve seen an improvement on and I said I can’t quite speak to the affects it would have on my depression because I haven’t been depressed recently.

 

There’s obvious perspective gained when you’re on the other side of a mountain you know intricately. I know the highs and lows and everything in-between when I stand before depression now because I’ve been through bouts of it multiple times.

 

Since I’m currently on the outside, and who knows how long that will last, I wanted to address something that I’ve been thinking about the way I notice others, specifically the Church, respond to depression.

 

There seems to be this damaging idea that’s perpetuated by seemingly well-intentioned ‘encouragement’ that if you would just draw closer to Jesus then you would feel better.

 

I understand why that feels safe for us to speak those words, because it’s so simple to diagnose someone else and project onto them your perceived solutions, because then you don’t have to sit down in their struggle with them – you get to walk away without any responsibility because it’s on that person to get right with God so they can be better, right?

 

But that’s the easy route.

 

That line of thinking doesn’t make us face the truth that some struggles pursue us for the entirety of our earthly lives. We want healing in the here and now; we want Jesus to show up on our timeline and conformed to our idea of what “well” even means.

 

It can seem like you’re following a counterfeit Jesus if you are left enduring hardship instead of delivered from it. Isn’t Jesus “for” me? If I’m seeking Him, won’t I draw near to Him and then therefore He will draw near to me and then therefore I will feel better because how could you not feel better in the presence of Jesus?

 

This mindset, though, this “be better about your walk with God to feel better inside of your brain” is Psychological Prosperity Gospel.

 

I’m reminded as I’m writing this about that verse in Proverbs that says just as iron sharpens iron, so do men sharpen men. I wonder what would happen if instead of leaving our fellow sisters and brothers alone to sharpen themselves – if we pushed in and reminded them that their story should be told and their struggle isn’t something to be tucked away until it looks “acceptable”?

 

I feel like that type of awakening in the Church could speak to the wanderers of this world to show them that we remain wanderers after we are known by Him, so the difference in knowing Christ isn’t in some ability we have within us to be better but to set our gaze on the only unwavering thing.

 

And though we are flesh, we aren’t walking in accordance with the flesh but as Romans 8 says we are walking in the Spirit and by setting our mind on the Spirit we are welcomed into life and peace. That life and peace is not something we attain on our own – not some “being better with God so we can be free ourselves” – but being free in God to not have to bring to the table anything different than the offerings you and I already possess.

 

When we buy this Psychological Prosperity Gospel we’re using our mind and our thoughts as the sacrificial offering that’s blameless and pure, like “hey God I got this all together so now it’s acceptable to lay at your feet for you to use” but you guys we already have the Lamb that laid down His life in His own right, blameless on His own – we don’t have to exchange that in for a lie that isn’t real and a wellness that keeps us sick – that keeps us believing that God can’t use us in our struggle, that we must come up with our own presentable offering.

 

See, normally when you hear the words Prosperity Gospel you automatically think in dollar signs and tangible possessions. The Prosperity Gospel wants you to believe that if you are tight with God that He’ll bless you and then you get to be awesome with all those blessings and bless other people. It’s eye catching; it’s self-focused. That’s the most seductive thing about believing that abiding in the Lord will open your ability to serve and bless others better: it sounds good. It sounds right.

 

The same can be said for the Psychological Prosperity Gospel. There’s a certain attraction we might be drawn to by letting ourselves believe that being without mental struggle = being better able to serve people and advance the Gospel.

 

This isn’t true though and the Bible shows us that over and over again. We continually see that God will use you where you are so long as we submit that struggle before Him and abide in Him in all seasons of life, not just the ones we’re more readily wanting to showcase to the world.

 

Moses.

 

Ruth

 

David.

 

Esther.

 

Rahab.

 

Paul.
 

Mary.

 

Solomon.

 

People that had issues and faced adversity and yet were used by God, not after some attaining of perfection but within their struggles.

 

And then there’s you, and then there’s me.

 

Should we choose to offer up our lives to Him in our present and messy and unattractive state, we may see more clearly the fullness of God’s providence in the ordinary.

 

In thinking about this I can’t help but consider the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul”, that whatever our lot may be – peace or sorrow – as long as we offer it up to be used by and for God, we may truly know what it is to say “It is well with my soul”.

Sometimes when I sit down to write there’s a heaviness sitting in my soul before I even get the first word onto the screen.

It’s not necessarily always a dark thing, sometimes it’s just this present feeling that I’m about to explore a place I’m so familiar with but I haven’t yet truly visited. And that can have unexpected outcomes so I delay it sometimes but I can’t shake the feeling until I explore it so, here I am.

I read a quote, years ago maybe, that comes in and out of my mind every so often. I see it shared on someone else’s page and kind of tilt my head and inwardly think “oh yeah, that. I need to explore why that always stops me in my tracks.”

It’s beautiful and haunting and a bit perplexing all at the same time.

 

“Be who you needed when you were younger”

 

Every time I have come across it I wonder why it reaches out to me in such a way, because when I was younger I had everyone I needed. On the surface I did at least.

I had and have loving parents. Parents who held me when I was sick, corrected me when I was wrong, clothed me and fed me, let me explore my own interests even if they didn’t align with what the typical kid was doing. I grew up in a loving home.

I had siblings that didn’t beat me up. They helped me clean my room, or let me give them a makeover, or invited me to play with their friends when I was left out of my peer group.

I had friends in various seasons of life that meant different and important things. Some that I laughed with, some that I cried with. Some that stuck around for the hard things, some that pushed me into the hard places and I learned from that just as much.

I think I feel a little guilty when I linger on this quote because it feels selfish to say I needed more.

But, then that’s where I kind of settle in on why this quote resonates. If I could reach out to younger Alyssa, I think I would be the person who tells her that sometimes you’ll experience things in life that are very familiar to you but unfamiliar to those closest to you. And that’s okay. And you don’t need to feel strange for feeling out of place, and you don’t need to hold it against those closest to you for not understanding the way you are or the way things affect you.

You can grow up in a loving, attentive environment inside of the walls of the places most familiar to you but the external world still exists beyond that and that impacts everyone differently.

When I was five I had an extended relative of mine tell me to “stop smiling so weirdly” and just be normal for a picture. It’s the first memory I have of not seeming good enough, feeling less than in my appearance, because – I was just smiling the way I knew how. It’s the same way I see my mini twin son smile in pictures today. Squinty eyes, crooked grin, full of silliness. Not a glamour shot, perfect photo op type of way. It’s the first time I felt let down by family that I remember.

When I was in middle school, a Sunday school teacher of mine casually asked if I’d mention my weight to a group of girls in my class because a few of them were struggling to feel confident in theirs and she just “knew (I) weighed more than they thought” so it might help them to not obsess about their number on the scale. When I was 13 I looked like I was 18 and a lot of adults spoke to me as if I was some adult when I was just a vulnerable adolescent just like everyone else. That conversation is the first time I remember being let down by the church.

There was a guy one time in high school that condescendingly told me I was so much prettier when I smiled and I needed to smile more often. I spent the rest of my time in school every time I saw him with a passive aggressive smirk instead of a smile. At the time I felt so violated by his words. Who was he to try and guide me to be a certain way when I wasn’t that way?

In all of these situations and countless others from growing up I think about the type of person I needed when I had a handful of good options anyway, why – as a grown adult reflecting on this – did they not seem like enough?

I think who I needed when I was younger was just the older version of me.

It seems too simple, or maybe too complex.

Either way, it isn’t something I have figured out yet but it’s something that’s caught my attention, for now, until I’m ready to make peace with it and tuck it away.

I needed to age into a woman who still struggles but who also overcomes, and learn the beauty of self-acceptance. It’s a continual acceptance, by the way. Or at least for me it is. I don’t think you reach a point in adulthood where you’re all the sudden just fine with everything and everyone, you sometimes daily, sometimes monthly, sometimes yearly have to choose that you love yourself enough to be okay with who you are even if you feel misrepresented or misunderstood.

I’m careful about the way I treat those younger than me because I know what it is to be treated a certain way. I know I wouldn’t be as mindful of that were it not for the various things I experienced in life.

I needed to experience all of those things to shape me into who I am today.

I’m someone comfortable with posting a selfie some days because I feel cute and it feels good to accept myself on that day. For someone that used to hide behind sarcasm and quick wit, it’s nice to feel fine enough to show my face, too.

I’m someone who doesn’t weigh myself often because the scale doesn’t let me know if I feel confident and if I feel healthy. Instead I eat healthy some and I indulge some. I take walks with the kids to clear my mind, and I run or workout in my living room for my physical heart. I don’t look at clothes and obsess over a size but contemplate whether I feel confident in the outfit, do I like the clothes or do I want them because they are “acceptable fashion” to society right now?

I’m someone who smiles but who also is comfortable crying and showing emotion, because I don’t owe anyone a happy face just because it might look good on me. I’m attentive to my emotional needs so that I can be mentally well to take care of my sweet children and love on others well, too.

 

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

 

I think I am learning to be that, every day.

I think if little Alyssa saw me, she would dig that I still very much carry a lot of her with me: cooking up various concoctions, appreciating art and words, rocking out to unpopular music, wearing a sweatshirt from ten years ago, and feeling confident enough to rock red lipstick sometimes.

I had a lot of people on my side when I was younger, it did make the difficult times easier, but I’m learning to have myself on my side now, too. And it feels good.

Whoever you needed when you were younger, be that for yourself, now.

wilderness

I’m forever searching for inspiration. I find it in thought provoking quotes, stupid memes, intellectual conversations, TED talks, things my kids say, stuff society does. Whatever.

 

I’m always considering things around me. I love to take ideas and concepts and perspectives and figure them out from the inside out.

 

I’m trying more recently to consider myself, though, as a source of inspiration.

 

It’s hard for me to turn inward and look for inspiration but sometimes I’m like “hey you’re good enough to inspire someone, even your own self.”

 

It’s sometimes a weird thing to feel as intensely as I do. I get the idea that most people care about things on a gradual scale from caring not at all and caring a lot. My scale seems to have the same two sides I just mentioned but with no gradual climb or decent. It’s like a light switch, it’s either on or off. That’s what brings me to writing most often, I can’t turn the switch off of a certain topic or idea or feeling.

 

It makes me feel a little bit immature that I can’t get over things or process things like others, but it also makes me feel empowered sometimes that I’ve got this ability to stay with something (like considering depression and how we view it and how I’ve experienced it) and not abandon it just because it’s awkward or hard to talk about.

 

I say that as honestly as I know how but it still makes me feel like I’m exposing some scandalous truth about myself. “Hi, I’m Alyssa and I am weird.”

 

I’m at home in my weirdness mostly, but it was just a decade or so ago (and then again several times over the years…peaks and valleys, you know) where I wasn’t and I think about that younger girl and the type of person she needed in her life and so in some ways I’ve already been inspiring myself all along. I learned to write because I needed something to read.

 

I’m sure there are those of you that are thinkers and feelers, if you are one then you know it feels like a lonely boat to sail sometimes.

 

I’ve always been a loner, and not in a negative way. Or at least I don’t see it as negative like I used to.

 

I can spill five thousand words onto a page in a day but I struggle to say three sentences out loud.

 

Small talk is painful to me and I usually avoid it at all cost.

 

I struggle with eye contact, I’m 28 years old – usually people figure this out by like age 7 or something. I don’t really know how to talk about the weather unless we’re going to write a poem about it, I’m not really sure how to carry on a conversation about what’s on sale at the grocery store this week but it feels like a work of art to cook a meal for you and given a pen and paper or screen and some spare time I could explain the ingredients going into the dish in a way that would make you love a dish you hate and hate a dish you love. Although I’m getting better at it I have been known to avoid social gatherings like I’m getting paid to do it. And it’s not the people, really. I love people. People are wired to want to connect with other people.

 

People are naturally inclined towards relationships.

 

Social situations intimidate me more so because of me than because of others. Strange thing to try to to learn to not be what’s expected of me and just to be me, especially when “me” is someone who doesn’t like to “be” in the sense of being out and about and on display.

 

I’d rather sit quietly here usually.

 

So, it’s kind of an interesting balance to navigate if you feel and think a lot of things and want to share those things but also are sort of fine living under a rock. Maybe I would just like to come out occasionally. But not as much as most of you.

 

It can feel equal parts therapeutic and incredibly silly to type away on this screen. I go back and forth between feeling like I’m writing for me (therapy) and I’m writing for you (so silly).

 

Silly because, why are any of you reading this? Sometimes I do not know. Yet, some of you are and some of you enjoy it and that moves me in a place I haven’t always been able to peg.

 

Recently I’ve had multiple people randomly shoot me a message or pull me aside in person to mention something on my blog and at the time these little thoughts or suggestions here and there were coming my way I hadn’t even written a post since four months ago.

Mulling over those interactions I think it’s helping me flesh out what starting this blog nine years ago has meant to me and through that I better understand that hard-to-peg part of me that feels a certain way when someone seems to like what I have to offer here.

 

In all of these posts – over 100 posts I’m pretty sure?! (and the first one referencing a Nickelback song no less, #cringe)– this space has given me a community I’ve needed. I type my heart out and I feel alive in the most real way. (usually with Explosions In The Sky – Your Hand In Mine playing in the background..I ditched Nickelback long ago)

 

 

In school you’re structured to be a certain way: group projects, oral presentations, team sports.

 

But then there are people like me. I can do those things. (K maybe not the sports…) But I don’t thrive there. No amount of what I’m “supposed” to be like is going to quell the person that I actually am.

 

I thrive in a quiet room, with loud headphones. I can lower my guard when no one is around, and then share that vulnerability with you in the most pure way I know how: words.

 

I might not be great at coming up to you and talking about our weeks, but I can type out my wonderings and help us learn about ourselves. I say us because every time I feel like I’m writing for you, I’m really equally, if not more so, here for me, too.

 

I’m not too good at a dinner and a night out with girlfriends, but I can post about my depression in motherhood and weave a bond through dozens of you that have quietly reached out to me feeling the same way and instead feed a part of our souls that are hungrier than our stomachs.

 

I may never have (or want, eek) a crowd before me listening to all my musings, but I can sit quietly with you on this side of the screen and offer my words to you in solidarity as we face the same questions and answers and problems and solutions.

 

The book that I’m writing that I’ve shared about with several of you has made a lot of progress recently and I’m excited to share it with you one day. So much of it has roots tied back to this blog that I started once because I was feeling some way about some thing. Strolling through this path that doesn’t always seem to look like the general population has at times felt like a wilderness but it’s been in the wandering of that wilderness that I’ve discovered so much purpose to press forward in exploring the goodness of the barren places of life.

 

This book… I owe so much of its existence to some of you who have encouraged me over the last almost decade to continue writing and continue sharing.

 

I’m going to keep doing that and I hope you’ll keep reading.

 

Until next time… ❤

Dear Brantley

I need to take a minute and reflect on the fact that I’ve gotten to love on you in the outside world for a year now.


The first night we were home this picture was taken and I couldn’t believe what a sweet baby you were. Being a mother for the third time I knew that a fussy period was going to start eventually so I wanted to soak in your sweet disposition while I could.

You never had that phase though.

 

You have remained the happiest baby for an entire year and my heart leaps when I’m around you. 

Each baby I have reaches down into parts of my heart that I’m unaware exist until your three tiny souls discover it.

Your sister helped me fall in love with the ordinary things, the day in and day out messy, beautiful parts of motherhood. 

Your brother stretched me to take care of myself. I throw so much of myself into taking care of you three that I sometimes need a reminder that mommy is a person too. It was a hard lesson to learn and I still learn new parts of it every day. He showed me it was okay to not be okay.

When I came out of my depression with Timothy that’s when I learned a side of wellness I hadn’t known before.

When I felt happy again, after being sad for so long, I didn’t really know how to handle it.

I had learned how to cope with depression and so when I came out of that nightmare I was hesitant to let myself dream again.

I was so anxious when I was pregnant with you. I felt like I would quite literally die if I had to soldier through postpartum depression again. 

When you finally arrived I kept anticipating all the hard parts hitting me again. The sleepless nights, the endless crying, the raging hormones, the self doubt. 

But you have smiled at me every day since you learned how.

And you could never know how badly I needed that. I needed to learn what it was like to dwell in the freedom to live happily.

  

You, sweet boy, you make me happy in the most genuine of ways. The joy you display is infectious. 

When you were tiny up until you were ten months old you coslept with me and those will always be some of my favorite memories.


You would fall asleep instantly when you were nuzzled next to me. I took the above photo because I never wanted to forget how much it moved me to find rest, literally at night but also in my personal life, and that you found me safe enough to rest beside. ❤️






When I have hard days, your bright eyes and big smile are like the loveliest winter fire after coming in from a snowy storm. 



Now that you are changing so much from a baby to a toddler, I know you will start to need me less and I will make peace with that. I see you try new things and I’m so proud of you when I see you figure something out all on your own, but then I’m also relieved when I hear you calling out for me at night and you just need me to rock you and hold you.


When you wake up in the morning you’ll be a one year old.

I feel so privileged that I get to have a front seat to all that life has in store for you.

Happy first birthday Brantley Griffin, I love you so much 

We’ve been doing a lot of artsy stuff over here lately because the craft store had a sale and Bob Ross got added to Netflix so now I feel like I can conquer the world or at least a canvas. 

I’m Bob Rossing it tonight, like I said, the first season of his show is on Netflix and so it’s Nostalgia City over here, population: me.

I used to watch Bob Ross when I was little and I credit a good bit of the beginning of my desire to create with words back to the days of sitting as a kid and watching him create with paint. There’s something about watching a blank canvas turn into a beautiful landscape that makes you feel inspired to create something yourself.

You see a white void and then all the sudden there is a sunset along a river and some happy little trees.

Watching this has me thinking about creating versus consuming.

Think about what you experience for yourself and see in others most often in the day to day… We consume video games, food from hip restaurants, clothes from Name Brand stores, cell phone Apps, literature, sports, news, etc. The list could go on, and the list isn’t all bad but I wonder how long our list is of things we’re creating. I would guess it is pretty thin.

When is the last time you let yourself create something you would otherwise just consume? What holds you back? For most I would say we probably like the convenience of ready-to-consume things and we also fear not creating something worth the amount of effort we’d have to spend creating. We might not admit it, but in the deep down place that we don’t let many people into we probably don’t create as often as we should because we’re scared others might not find what we create “good enough”, so we’ll look for already approved methods and products and just consume those instead, then if we receive criticism we have a place to fall back on “it was a highly rated recipe”, “this magazine said these shoes were popular”, “Pinterest told me to.” Blah blah, you get the idea. 

The longer I am a mom the more I become burdened to be intentional with my children in the way they are raised. I don’t want them to feel pressured to be perfect, I want them to feel comfortable with their own gifts and at peace with their own weaknesses. 

I want them to feel confident in their ideas. 

Sometimes my kids say they are bored and want me to structure their play time, but honestly they are kept the most entertained when I leave them to their own imaginations and don’t bombard them with fixed activities but allow them the space to figure out how to have fun with what’s around them, and the ideas in their own brains. Then they play until they are bored again and then figure out how to keep themselves entertained again, it’s small scale creativity. 

Creating keeps you hungry, with moments along the way that satisfy until you’re hungry again. This is a natural and good process. We learn balance in that ebb and flow.

Consuming keeps you starved and dependent on another source to continue to give.

This extends beyond creating things, though, right? 

When we let our kids create we give them permission to know their value. Their ideas for playtime are just as good as my ideas for playtime. (Honestly they are usually better, a Pinterest craft is not as fun as a pretending you are a princess night ninja on a mission to rescue a baby dragon who is about to set the house on fire because the baby dragon hasn’t learned to control its fire breathing yet. And yes this is a real example, and yes we caught the baby dragon in time.)

I feel like this is a small way to teach them about their importance as functioning members of society as they become adults. We can be contributing members to change but we have to take the initiative to offer ourselves when we’re generally looking to other people to give us the change we want to be a consumer of, so we can let ourselves off the hook of hard work. And it is hard work sometimes: to be a voice for change, to put action to that voice, to stand up when a lot of people are sitting down.

When we live simply as consumers we walk around like zombies looking for the next thing to feast on until that’s not enough and we need more. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to create ideas and things and change, we don’t just contribute what we’ve created but we contribute our very selves
I want my kids to be conscious that they are important members of society with much to offer. I want them to feel like they can accomplish things because they aren’t afraid to fail. I want them to feel empowered to speak out against injustice because their voice matters, they don’t need someone in a higher position to take the lead – they are allowed to be world changers themselves. 

I want them to see the blank canvas of their lives before them and not be scared of the void, I want them to be excited about the potential they have to offer. The world needs less consumers and more princess night ninjas ready for action. 

It looks like a thunderstorm may come tonight and I’m pretty excited about the potential for rain.

I think my favorite thing about the rain is that it causes everything to be still mostly, except for the falling rain of course.

Sometimes there is so much to process in your mind, or even just visually throughout the day, that it is a very welcome experience for something to cause the scene to still. Rain is like the white noise of nature, other things may exist outside of it but it commands your attention subtly enough that you can withdraw without much effort.

I don’t mind the gloomy hues, either. I like the darker skies, they make me feel relaxed, almost safe and sound.

Now I’m not a fan of total darkness, but when everything is just gray enough it makes what’s illuminated that much more beautiful and apparent. A lightning strike, a vivid flower against a dreary background, a candle. These things come into focus more when muted tones surround.

I was reminded today of something Sam says in Fellowship of the Ring, when he’s decided to embark on the journey with Frodo:

“I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want–I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand.”

Despite the darkness ahead, Sam was able to have clarity- maybe not on the outcome of the journey, but he had a peace about moving forward in the unknown because there was a purpose ahead of him that he could no longer reach in the place he was so familiar with, the Shire.

I think we all have a ‘Shire’, the comfortable places for us, maybe not even comfortable but at least predictable – and not even physical locations. Maybe habits or social circles or opinions on things that we don’t allow space to grow, because growing is painful and our Shire’s are, even if not comfortable, familiar. And even familiar pain is better than unknown pain.

We can feel fear if we’re trying to break away from our typical ways, because: what if?

Isn’t that the question people torment themselves with most often: what if?

But we can’t let “what if?” hold us back from “what is:”

The “what is:” are the truths we have before us instead of the questions we have behind or ahead of us, and since I’m already on a Tolkien theme:

“No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.”

I was talking to someone I love earlier who is struggling in many ways I’m familiar with and they were making a comment about the contrast of their own thoughts where darkness is present but at the same time God is present there as well.

And I think that’s something a lot of us have a hard time reconciling. How can I know God and still be plagued by a certain mindset/habit/struggle?

But that’s the thing: apart from God, we are only capable of darkness, and so it should be no surprise that is what we are bent towards. That is the truth we must cling to, that is the “what is:” that we present to our “what if?”

We must know what is truth: God is the only source of light we can alleviate our darkness with, that is why we much ‘follow the Light unflinchingly’. He is the only remedy for the things that hurt us, and the fears that follow us, and the struggles that attempt to enslave us.

As you feel the nudge to leave your place of familiar, comfortable, or routine, I hope you can look beyond the darkness of the unknown. As you come across the many “what if’s?” I hope you can learn to focus on what is seen rather than what is not seen, I hope you can follow the light unflinchingly.

If you’re in a similar place and reading this, I hope this is a small reminder that there is light to be found even in the darkest of places.

 

Mother’s Day thoughts in my head but we’ve got a busy weekend ahead and I don’t want to forget to write out some things…

The longer I am a mom, the more I appreciate my Mom.

The more I have to resist raising my voice, I wonder how she kept it cool all those years. With grace and gentleness, I cannot remember a single time she raised her voice at me. But I never questioned her authority.

The more I learn who my kids are, their interests and how they are so different from me, I appreciate that my Mom never tried to force me into a box of what I was supposed to be interested in or make me a mirror image of my peers. As a little girl, when a lot of kids were at the ballfields on Saturdays, I was in a neighborhood art class. As a pre-teen when kids were asking for various ‘age-appropriate’ Christmas gifts, I got a bread maker I had wanted. When high school prom rolled around and I wasn’t interested in going to mine [not that I even got asked to mine ;)], I didn’t get some speech about how I’d miss out or needed to get dolled up, I had dinner and watched a movie with my Momma, which I doubt she even remembers because it was such an ordinary day, but I’ve never forgotten that memory.

The days I’m running on zero sleep with little energy, I think about how many days she must have been feeling depleted but still gave us her time and her love and without complaint. And still does. I think I can confidently speak for my sisters, too, she’s never made us feel like a burden.

As I learn what motherhood looks like to me, sometimes that looks different than the way we were raised, in little ways and sometimes significant ways, and I never get a condescending “well back when I was raising you this is how we did it”. Our parenting is always met with respect and an eagerness to understand why we feel such and such is best, which – I’m friends with a lot of young moms, I know this is rare.

I think about the days she prayed with me and for me, and it challenges me to pray for/with my kids more. I think about the meals she and I cooked together and it makes me pause to allow the kids to actually be a part of the process and not just micromanaged so a mess isn’t made. I think about little treasures she’s purchased for me over the years and not because it was a holiday or birthday but “just because it reminded [her] of [me]”, and it makes me take note of things that make my kids smile so that I can find treasures of their own over the years.

More vividly because it was more recent, I think about the way she cared for her mother in her final years. What that must be like to have grown up under a woman who all of these same things could be said about, and then have to say goodbye. There are some moments that could never be verbalized to anyone else, they are only known to those who exist within those moments – and many of my Maw Maw’s last days fit into that category. The magnitude of those memories can probably never be written out in a way that carries the proper weight with them, but watching the way my Mom cared so delicately for her Mom pushes me to be a more gentle human being. I hope that I can thank you for these things for many more years to come, but I just wanted to highlight them as Mother’s Day approaches.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, and especially so to mine. Love you Momma. ❤