I have butterflies in my belly and the only words I could say in prayer have been, “God, use me.”
I started this blog to share my story and offer tools and resources for mamas in the trenches, in hopes that at least one woman will find hope and freedom like I have.
Depressed. Anxious. Bulimic. Anorexic. Cutter. Insecure. Self conscious. Promiscuous. Broken.
I was a mess. I had no confidence. I compared myself to each and every female around me. I craved to be someone else. Anyone but me.
I was a chubby kid growing up. No doubt about it. I was the “fat kid”. I was the slow kid. I was the unathletic kid. And I knew it. Plenty of my peers made sure I knew it. I proceeded to spend my adolescence and some of my adult life trying to prove to myself, and my peers, that I would no longer be the “fat kid.”
Cue bulimia/anorexia/depression/self harm. If I was skinny, they would like me. If I was skinny, they would want to be friends with me. If I was skinny, the boys would give me attention. If I was skinny, all my problems would disappear.
So I did whatever I had to do to be that skinny girl. And it came with six years of doctor’s appointments, rehabs, counselors, psychiatrists, medication, blood work, scans, anxiety attacks, heart monitors, you name it.
It didn’t matter how many meals I skipped, how many times I used that razor blade, how many times I made myself sick…the problems were still there. It still pained me to look in the mirror at the girl staring back at me. My problems didn’t disappear, they were magnified.
My anxiety was crippling. Panic attacks that stopped me in my tracks; brought me to my knees. I remember my mother rocking me, at age 17. Holding me, rocking me, convincing me that I would be okay.
My depression ran deep. I slept. I slept, and I slept, and I slept some more. Sleeping was the escape I needed to forget the heart work that had to be done if I ever wanted to pursue a fulfilling and successful life.
Hand in hand with my eating disorders was a downward spiral of drinking and promiscuity. The acceptance I craved from my peers ran so deep that I would do just about anything to gain it. That meant drinking to the point of forgetting my moral compass. It meant sleeping with boys that, for just one night, made me feel like I was the center of their universe. It meant trying drugs that numbed the edges of a life I longed to escape.
Writing this makes me so sad for that girl. She missed out on so much. So much joy. So much beauty around her. Beauty within her.
I remember sitting in a doctor’s office at age 19. I distinctly remember the doctor bluntly explaining to me that if I were to continue living the lifestyle I lived (neglecting to eat, harming myself, over exercising, drinking in excess, etc.) my heart would likely fail me by age 25. 25. That if I continued down this path, it would likely result in a heart attack by age 25. That stuck with me.
Fast forward a year to Mother’s Day 2010. I asked my mother, whom I love and admire deeper than words could ever articulate, what she would like for Mother’s Day. Her response? “For you to get better.”
For whatever reason, that did it. Not the rehab, not the endless lists of counselors and psychiatrists I had seen, but that request from my mom. I had to fight for my life.
I remember during one counseling session telling the therapist that I had a hole in my heart, and no matter what I filled it with, I still felt empty. I was grasping at straws trying desperately to fill this void in my life. I knew it was there but it took me years to find out exactly what it was.
I wish I found out what filled that hole much earlier in my life. But I know why I didn’t find it earlier. I didn’t find it earlier because God wanted this to be my story.
You see, that hole, it was God shaped. It was a hole in my heart that could only be filled by the love of Jesus. And He wanted me to suffer in that season of my life. He needed me to. Because He knew I could then use that suffering to somehow make a small impact on someone’s life. Even if it’s just one. Even if it’s “just” you. Those years of pain were worth it.
I was skeptical. I didn’t grow up in the church. Heck, we weren’t even “Creasters” (you know, the ones who just go to church on Christmas and Easter.) To me, God was kind of like the adult version of Santa. He gave big kids something to believe in and get excited about. I wasn’t sold.
Until I saw my parents lives change. Drastically. They were beat down from all of my issues. I was their only child and I was broken. They couldn’t fix me and it killed them. I didn’t know it at the time, but they have since shared with me gut wrenching realities that were their lives. Coming home from work to make sure I was alive, just to see me comatose on the couch in a depressed fog. Crying themselves to sleep at night. Seeking marriage counseling because the stress and anxiety of dealing with me hurt their marriage. They were hurting. And for the first time in their lives, though both had suffered unjust pain in their lives, they needed a Savior. They needed something bigger to place their hope in.
We started to go to church. We started to pray. We started to surround ourselves with people who empowered us and loved us in an undeserving manner.
One night, around 2am, I broke. I had broken before. I had cut to feel alive. I had drank enough to forget. I had slept away reality. But this time, I don’t know, it was just different. I crawled out of bed, I turned on “Held” by Natalie Grant, and I sobbed. I sobbed so hard I crumpled into a little ball on the floor and just begged Jesus to take this pain from me.
That night, I found hope.
I wish I could say that from then on out, I found confidence and purpose and all of my past demons vanished. But it was a journey. It is a journey. Every day, I have to actively decide that God is King and He has a plan for me. I have to choose to believe that our Lord of Lords did not make a single mistake when he created my being. But you know what? I believe it.
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I promised God that I would use my story to further His Kingdom. And that is exactly what I intend to do.
God has granted me the honor of now being the mother of two beautiful baby girls and the wife to an incredible man.
It is no coincidence that God has given me baby girls. I have the ability to raise these sweet girls in a way that reflects God’s love and grace. I get the privilege of reminding them, every single day, that they were fearfully and wonderfully made.
In addition to being a mommy to my girls, I am a motivator and coach for women who desire to find the confidence and self love that I have come to discover. I am also a part time teacher, a profession that allows me to pursue my passion for education and aid in shaping the minds of our future.
I will shine God’s light in each and every aspect of my life in whatever way I can.
In my blog you will see the real, raw footage of what motherhood looks like behind closed doors. You will see truth. You will be given tools and resources to help you put yourself first for once. You will discover ways to find yourself, redefine yourself, and better yourself.
You can overcome your past. You can use it to empower you, not define you. You can make time for you. You can rise above your circumstances. You can live your very best life.
Mama, you can thrive in this season, not just survive.