Without Hope the Soul Is Unwell

At the end of August, we will have been in California for a full year. Others who made similar uprooting transitions before told me it would take at least a year to adjust, two years to finally feel settled, and it’s been true for us so far. The blessings, the benefits, the bright side of living here with family and near friends have been undeniably good though each good thing has been tinged with a darkness around the edges. Depression laying like an abyss in the background of my mind. Nightmares invading peaceful sleep for the kids (and then for us when they cry and scream). Old wounds coming up fresh in our marriage and working hard to know and love each other well again.

June was a particularly hard month— the tension of darkness and stress formed a pressure I couldn’t bear anymore. I lost hope and reason to keep going.

I’m over at the The Mudroom today talking about hope and my soul’s wellness:

I told my husband I felt like shattered pieces of glass lying on the floor with no one to help me, no one who knew how to put me back together. The cracks in myself, in our marriage, in my parenting had come to a pressure point, and the pieces that were held in tension gave way.

My survival technique of sucking it up and doing the next thing helped me get to where I was, but it left me exhausted and depressed. I had no energy to figure out how to disciple my kids in faith, to work harder toward health in our marriage, to know whether I was going through a bout of depression or recognizing a long-term struggle with it. I just knew I couldn’t go any further. I wanted to pause time, to escape for a moment to some place where I could breathe, to break away from the clinging and whining, and be still, at peace. But the fantasies of escaping turned dark, and even though I looked fine on the outside, I wasn’t well within.

Read the rest at The Mudroom.

Longing for a Soul That’s Well

longing soul wellThe moral of the story as it relates to leadership is this: what lies beneath the surface -of the ocean or our lives- really matters. Whether I know something is there or not is in some ways irrelevant. My awareness of it or lack of awareness doesn’t make it any less real. It doesn’t much matter whether I have ever heard of what is lurking beneath the surface or whether I believe that such things exist. The point is that there are things lurking under the surface, and it could even be that others are seeing these things though I am not. If, by God’s grace, we become aware of the dark creatures lurking below, the best thing we can do is to get out of the water- fast!
– Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton

I’m a crier. It’s the only way I can release the fullness my heart feels when I’m overwhelmed, and I get overwhelmed a lot. It could be over anything- a TV show, people praying, people crying, parenting, babies, old people, saying goodbye, weddings, a powerful truth, kindness, Jesus. It’s definitely normal for me to cry, but this past month I’ve been feeling everything more intensely and crying more than usual and I don’t know why. I apologize every time a flood gushes out of my eyeballs, or I dismiss my tears by calling them silly, but I know it can’t just be that I’m being emotional or hormonal. Something is lurking beneath the surface.

I’ve been restless, looking for novelty. My heart is prone to wander- away from God and from the people who love me- and it scares me. It could be stemming from so many things, but what is it really about? Why am I searching? What am I wanting to find?

I meet with my counselor tomorrow morning, and thank God. It’s by His grace that I’ve become aware of the dark creatures lurking in the depths of my soul, but I need her help to see through the murkiness. I need her to walk me through the depths and bring me back to solid ground.

I’m walking toward wholeness, and I know it’ll make me a better person, a better wife, a better mother, and leader, but in the end what I’m searching and longing for is a soul that’s well.

31 Days of Writing Freely

FREE-5I had a Story & Soul Session with the lovely Ashley Abramson last week, and she encouraged me to turn down the editor’s voice in my head so I can write freely. I’ll be honest. It takes me days, sometimes even weeks, to write a post. I edit as I write, and too often people’s faces come to mind and I wonder, Will I offend them? Will they misunderstand my intentions? Will they get what I’m saying? I go over each word and its placement and question whether it’s the right or best one. It’s exhausting, and writing starts to become a chore instead of an act of worship.

I want to write freely. I want to turn down the critic’s voice in my head. I want to edit less and write more. I want to weave writing into every part of my life by making it a habit so I’m taking up the 31 Days writing challenge. The goal is to write every day for the month of October, and even though I was thinking of quitting even before it even began this morning, I’ve decided that there’s nothing to fear and nothing to lose.

There may or may not be a theme to what I write this month. Most likely it will be a continuation of what I write most about- faith, life, and motherhood- but I’m hoping that my writing will take us down some new paths. I’m hoping to explore and uncover deeper things as well as be surprised by simple delights, and I hope you’ll come along with me.

See you tomorrow! (Hopefully)

Each day a post goes live I’ll be adding a link + title below so all the posts will be accessible on this page at the end. You can sign up to receive posts by email or you can follow along on Instagram!

Day 2 – No post

Day 3 – Dearest Single People

Day 4 – Dear Three Year Old of Mine

Day 5 – Being Other

Day 6 – No post

Day 7 – You Are the God Who Sees Us

Day 8 – You’re a Good, Good Father

Day 9 – No post

Day 10 – When Your Kid’s Just Like You

Day 11 – No post

Day 12 – No post

Day 13 – In the Middle of “Not Anymore” and “Not Yet”

Day 14 – Longing for a Soul That’s Well

Day 15 – No post

Day 16 – No post

Day 17 – This Is Why I Write

Day 18 – What I’m Loving

Day 19 – Catching the Sun

Day 20 – Taking a Step Closer Toward the Light

Day 21 – No post

Day 22 – No post

Day 23 – No post

Day 24 – Feeling Miss-y and Embracing Vulnerability

Day 25 – What I’m Loving

Day 26 – It Does Get Easier

Day 27 – No post

Day 28 – No post

Day 29 – No post

Day 30 – It’s Almost Christmastime

Day 31 – The End + Beginning of Writing Freely