A Time to Heal

Usually, I write these on paper and edit them before I post. But today, I was inspired and while stuck in traffic, it got all jarbled  (I just made that word up. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. Oh and that was a quote from Anchorman if you didn’t catch it. If you didn’t, go watch it immediately.) So. Here we go.

This time last year, I weighed in at 108 pounds. We’ve been over this so I’m not going to dwell on it. Now I’m 145. Yay!! I had a gym partner that contributed to all of my gains. He was a body builder and I basically did exactly what he did. The results have been so amazing that it inspired me to become a personal trainer. I finally pulled the trigger and started my classes yesterday. It’s been SO MUCH INFORMATION. It’s definitely not as easy as I, or some people, think. Myology. Anatomy. Biomechanics. Kinesiology. Nutrition. I thought my brain was going to ooze out of my head yesterday. But it didn’t and I woke up this morning feeling even more motivated.

Before I talk about what’s next, first let me say, Body Design University has been incredible. Doug Blake is the single-most engaging instructor I’ve ever had. He is a wealth of knowledge and will answer every single question you have, even if it’s off-track from what we’re talking about. Talk about a mentor!!!!! Oh and he’s funny too. No boring conversations in that classroom! If you’re considering a career as a personal trainer, look nowhere else but Body Design.

So. Here we go. Today we took a field trip to the Bodies Exhibit today in Atlantic Station. It was mind-blowing. And a little creepy and very informative. But it made me feel (just a little) sorry for guys because I learned that one, women have bigger brains than men (duh, ladies, am I right?) and two, their junk is exposed and hanging out the outside. You think they’re not cute alive, try seeing it on a cadaver!! Be right back. I have to go laugh.

I’m back. Hahahha!!

One of the exhibits that stood out the most to me, was that of the liver. It has about 500 different functions in the body. So cool. But what got me was when he was talking about having a fatty liver and what can cause it. Diabetes. Alcoholism. Junk food. But then he said something I was expecting, and it was that people that struggle with anorexia and/or bulimia can also have a fatty liver. If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. It’s managed much better now because of exercise, but at that moment, I felt overwhelmed with it. I started to cry, just a little bit, because I didn’t want anyone to see. The damage is repairable, another awesome thing about our liver. Once you change the thing that contributes to the damage, it can start to repair itself. I wasn’t upset over the fact that I was damaging my liver. I was crying because I am GRATEFUL. I am grateful that I’ve been in recovery and now have a healthy relationship with food. I am grateful that I was able to come back from it because so many people cannot. Now don’t get me wrong. I still battle negative thoughts. But it gets easier.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because whether you don’t eat at all, or eat too much, there is hope for you. We are all stronger than we think. It’s mind over matter. But sometimes, we need help. Sometimes, we need to talk to someone to help us not to feel isolated. If you struggle with this and you feel stuck, please reach out. I’m posting the number to the National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline below.

1-800-931-2237

Thank you for letting me share this with you

xoxo,

Jess the Haute Mess

You can also follow me on my new fitness journey on Instagram, @PurdyHauteMess. Make sure you say hi!

The Weekends are Always the Hardest

I have so much I want to say today I’m going to try and share this with you in the best way I know how, which is real, raw and painful.

The holidays are my thing. I love having a house full of people. I’m constantly baking, Christmas music is always playing. It’s a magical time. It’s a reminder of why we’re all here. Jesus. But lately, I’ve been dreading it. All of it. I don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving. I don’t want to put my Christmas tree up. I hear Christmas music and I cringe. I’ve dealt with these type of feelings when I was a teenager/young adult because I always felt alone. My birthday is on Christmas, and (most) everyone forgets. Wah, wah, right? I know. There are bigger problems in the world. This year is different though. My husband won’t be here for Thanksgiving. He won’t be here for Christmas. He won’t here for Bella’s birthday, my birthday, Elisha’s first Christmas or Paisley’s birthday. Like I’ve said before, I know military mom’s do this all the time. And again, I applaud you for your strength. I look to you for inspiration.

I mentioned in one of my last bog posts the story of Mary Magdalene and how important this story is to me. I’ve always felt a connection to her. Her love was lavish, uncontrollable and it made people uncomfortable. She was an outcast, or as I like to call her, a wierdo. Just like me. She acted ridiculous in front of Jesus and His disciples. She didn’t care at all. Because this is the same Mary that was caught in the act of sex, with someone that wasn’t her husband. The Pharisees dragged her out into the street. I’m certain she felt shame. She was naked and vulnerable and humiliated. I imagine she felt like the lowest person on earth; like she was of no value.

I want to backtrack a little bit on myself. I grew up from the age of 15 without a dad. I didn’t know what it was like to feel the love of a father. So much like Mary, there were times (and still are) that I feel shame. Guilt. Humiliation. Vulnerable. My heart was hardened.

But just like Mary, my first encounter with Jesus, my REAL encounter with Jesus, set me free. He came down to my level. He lifted my chin and looked me in my eyes and told me I was valuable to Him. Ever since then, it’s been a battle in my mind to remind myself that He sees me as cherished and valued.

Mary had a special relationship with Jesus. Her act of love was instigated by her, not the opposite. She had fallen at His feet when He drew the line in the sand. She had fallen at His feet during her display of extravagant worship. She experienced His love, protection and deliverance. He cast  7 demons out of her!

Lazarus was sick. So sick that he died. Jesus took 4 days to get to Lazarus. Martha ran to meet Him, but Mary stayed behind. Remember, Mary loved Jesus on a level that some of us may not ever understand (although I hope to). I believe she was feeling rejected and forgotten. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When Jesus finally arrived, He comforted Martha but He knew the love that Mary had for Him. He called Mary by name. She didn’t run to the grave to mourn. She ran to the place of her Savior’s feet that had been a source of comfort for her. The same place where she met Him the first time during her moment of humiliation and shame, the same place where she poured out her love on Him.  He stands her up to look into her eyes. She says to Him “Where have you been? You’re late.” I see this as a moment where she was mad at Him for not being there. She couldn’t hide her feelings towards Him. But being the Jesus that we serve, He looks at her with tears in His eyes (Jesus wept) and said “I’m not late. Take me to see my friend Lazarus.” In other words, TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN. He tells them to roll the stone away and He commands the grave wrappings to loosen and free him. This is significant because Jesus wants to come to Him raw. NO matter how angry we are with Him. He’s saying TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN and let Me fix it. When we are real with Him, even though He already knows, the bondage that has us bound can fall off at His command and set us free. What the devil meant for harm, Jesus turned it around and made it into something good.

So next time you’re (me) weeping uncontrollably on the bathroom floor, so badly that you’re blinded, cry out to Jesus. Take Him to the source of your pain.

I don’t have all the answers. All these words sound great. But it doesn’t bring my husband home. It doesn’t bring my family back together. But it reminds me that Jesus is FOR ME. HE IS FOR YOU. Not against me. Not against you. He has plans to give us a hope and a future. John 13:7 says “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you understand.” If you’re impatient like me, which I’m sure you’re not, this is so hard for me to grasp. It doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me hurt worse. I know it’s supposed to do the opposite. I’m just being honest with you because I know there is someone out there that is battling something and you feel like God has abandoned you. He hasn’t. Even though it feels like it, He hasn’t. Keep your hope and keep your faith Even if all you can muster up is the faith the size of a mustard seed. He said that’s all we need. My precious Bella told me the difference in hope and faith is that hope is something you think or want to happen but faith is something you know will happen. Out of the mouth of babes!

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Luke 7:47-“Therefore I tell you, her sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little”

Be Blessed,

Jess the Haute Mess

It’s finally time for me to share this with you

The story that I’m about to share is an emotional one. I will preface a little bit. But first let me say, there are women out there that do this every day. Military wives. Single moms. Please know that I’m not discrediting you in any way. This is just my story.

My husband was arrested 6 days before I went into labor. This was my hardest pregnancy ever. I had lots of preterm labor issues, bed rest, bleeding…it was hard. I missed out on a lot of things because I was always in the hospital for something. My body doesn’t handle pregnancy well at all. I’m going to be very transparent here and say that I’ve had 4 miscarriages. Not many women want to talk about it because they feel alone or that something is wrong with them. But unfortunately, it’s more common than you think. You are not alone.

So back to my story. He was arrested 6 days before I went into labor. I thought he would be home the next day and we could just go back to our business until the next court date. But that wasn’t the case at all. His bond got denied because we had no legal representation. I cannot express to you the emotions that I was experiencing. Crippling fear. Sadness. Loneliness. Fear was the biggest one. I was so scared I was going to go into labor at any moment. I had moments of clarity and faith that said “he’ll be home before your son is born”. Well. It didn’t happen that way. God does things His way. And sometimes you don’t understand until you’re looking back on things.

At the Shine Conference this year at my church, the theme was “Brave”. The whole time I’m thinking, wow, I’m pretty brave. I’ve lost 4 babies and lost custody of my oldest to my ex-husband. I would’ve told you then that I was pretty brave. But God was setting me up for the things I had no idea we’re coming downstream.

My Pastor’s wife told me, “We’re praying and believing for a miracle. But we also need a plan B.” So I came up with a plan B. People that I would call if I did go into labor. My mom had already driven down the day after he was arrested to come and be a help to me. My oldest daughter, Bella, had told me about a dream she had that Elisha was born on a Wednesday. She was right.

It was 1:00a.m. on Wednesday morning. My contractions had been strong that day and were getting closer together. I woke my mom up and told her I was going to drive myself to the hospital and just to stay with the kids until she heard from me. As I was driving to the hospital, I got out my phone to start making my phone calls and the Holy Spirit stopped me. He told me “You and I are going to do this together.” I can’t explain to you the peace I had at that moment in time.

I get to the hospital and I’m 4 centimeters. I had been 4 centimeters for 2 weeks with no change. They kept me over night to see if I would progress. I just kept crying out to the Lord and singing over Elisha, songs of worship. One song that repeating on my playlist was “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel. It was also sang at the Shine Conference. (By the way, as I’m writing this out, I’m crying my eyes out. One because of God’s goodness and another because my husband still hasn’t been able to hold his son).

There was no change, so they sent me home the next morning. It was around 8 on Wednesday, July 22. But I knew he was going to be here that day. I talked to Billy and told him that today was going to be the day. He cried with me but said “Make sure to celebrate him. He deserves that. Don’t be sad because I’m not there. Be happy because you’re bringing forth God’s promise.” That was around 1:00 p.m. I had already been readmitted into the hospital with again, no change. My contractions started getting stronger and I asked my mom to take the kids downstairs to get a snack so they didn’t hear the pain I was in. I had no epidural. Well my water broke and I went from 4 cm to 8 cm in a minute. Literally. It was time to push. I was so scared and felt so alone. I looked up in the midst of my labor pains and anguish and I saw Jesus in the room with me. He was just sitting in the chair, very casual. Like I imagined Him to be when He was sleeping on the boat. No fear. Just peace. He nodded His head at me and somehow I mustered up the courage and strength to bring forth my son, with no one but Him to get me through it. It happened so fast.

In the picture I’m going to share, you can see the mixture of sadness and joy on my face. IMG_1163Here I had this perfect little baby. All alone in the room. No one to take pictures. No one to kiss me on the forehead. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But now, here I am, 3 months later, finally able to share it with you on a level that only my closet friends have heard. His name is Elisha (God is salvation) Silas (forest). Silas actually has a double meaning to me. Silas because Silas was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Imprisoned while doing God’s will. And forest because sometimes, when the trees are thick and we can’t see where we’re going, Jesus will show up in the room, give you a gentle nod and guide you the rest of the way.

If you would have asked me in January if I would be able to do this without my husband, I would have said not a chance!! But God has taught me to be more dependent on Him. He has constantly provided for our family. I’ve had to go back to work, which has been hard because I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for years and years. But there’s no one I trust more to take care of my babies than my mother. She gave everything up to move here and help me. Mom, I love you and I’m so grateful for all you do.

Please know that you are not alone. Even when you feel like you are, you’re not. This story isn’t over yet. My husband still isn’t home and I don’t know when he will be. But everyday I believe for a miracle. And you should too.

Jess the Haute Mess

Feet of a Deer

Sometimes God does things and you don’t even realize it until it’s over.

Friday night I went out and had dinner with two of my favorite people ever. Evanda and I had discussed getting tattoos earlier in the week. She sent me a picture of a deer head with antlers and right away it clicked. Now let me be clear. I’m not a “country girl” nor do I hunt. But something about this picture intrigued me. It represented the scripture in Psalms 18:33 that says “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on high places.” This entire chapter is David praising God for delivering him from his enemies.

A lot of you don’t know, but my husband has been in jail since July 14th. I haven’t made it public because I was shocked, embarrassed, sad, angry….you name the emotion, I experienced it. I still feel all of them on any given day. I gave birth without my husband by my side. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I cannot put into words the challenges I have faced since all of this has happened. I can’t wait to share with you all the details of this trial, I just can’t yet.

But God.

God has been with me every step of the way. He (even though there are many times, even daily, I feel He has left us) He has shown Himself every single day.

Ok, back to this tattoo.

I was wondering what the significance of a deer’s foot was. So I did a little reading. When deer are jumping from embankment to embankment, there is no way for them to know where the best footing is, however, they rarely slip and fall. But it’s the hooves that make the deer so special. Their feet consist of 2 elongated toes. Each toe is capped by a hard toenail (the hoof). These hooves absorb the shock of every stride and also provides traction on wet surfaces.

So why does this matter? I believe that God is telling us He will equip us, when our enemies are against us or are being tested in our faith, to give us traction. To absorb the shock. Even though the embankment we’re walking on we are unsure of, He will keep us from slipping and falling.

This tattoo is not a coincidence. God used Evanda to show me that He has equipped me to face this, head-on and no matter what, my feet will be on solid ground, although it may be unsteady.

Did I mention she got the same tattoo? 🙂

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Until next time!

Jess

It’s a……………

Hey y’all!

Today was a pretty surprising day for me. I can only remember one other time in my life where I was more shocked. But y’all already know that story.

Today I am 16 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I wasn’t really expecting them to tell me the gender this morning, but I was hopeful. My husband wasn’t able to be there because my 2 youngest are still sick with some nasty crud that has been going around. Side note: Parents!! Please keep your sick children at home!! So I was at the doctor’s office this morning and I told the sonographer that I didn’t want to know the gender because my hubby wasn’t there and we wanted to find out together. I had my head turned pretty much the entire sonogram. It was challenging for me!!

This pregnancy has mirrored my pregnancies with my 2 girls. Because of that, going in this morning, I was 99% sure that when I opened that envelope, it was going to say “It’s a girl”. We already had her name picked out! I hadn’t really entertained the idea of boy names because I was so convinced we were having a girl.

Well. I am excited and shocked to tell you….we are having a boy!! Billy (my husband, in case you didn’t know his name haha) dropped to his knees. I sincerely thought he was going to cry because he was so happy. My son, Isaac (who maintained his idea it was a boy this entire time) DID cry because he was so excited to have a baby brother. “Another boy like me, Mama!!” he said as he danced around the kitchen. Paisley, on the other hand, was downright mad. She cried too. She kicked her feet. She wouldn’t speak to us! Hopefully all of it will wear off by the time he gets here. Bella doesn’t know yet but I’m certain she will be just as surprised as the rest of us. I’m trying to think of a cute way to tell her. Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions!

Thank you for sharing this moment with me!!