A Letter

I’v been reading this book today, Don’t Settle for Safe by Sarah Jakes Roberts. Very rarely have I read a book that impacted my life in such a short amount of time. I will go into more details another time, but I wanted to quote one of the last pages.

Side note, I’ve cried multiple times during the course of reading it. God used it and will continue to use it to propel me to what’s next. At first, I was resistant. Growing hurts. Pruning is painful. You have to look at yourself, for who you really are, and face the things you’ve been ignoring and forgive yourself. Ok. Enough with that. This is taken from page 153-154 of her book titled Don’t Settle for Safe….

             You can no longer afford to trust the treasure that is your heart to anyone who says you’re beautiful. Anyone can admire a diamond, but few recognize the quality and care required to keep it beautiful. For too long your insecurities made you so desperate for attention that you handed over your golden heart to people who’ve only handled glitter. This is not their fault; it’s yours. You ignored the signs, hoping they would wake up one day and see your worth. The truth is it’s time for you to wake up. You can no longer go through life unconsciously hurting yourself and asking someone else to heal you. The power for you to overcome is already inside of you. The longer you stay, the more you deny the strength you have to move on. You’re better than the you’ve subscribed to. There is still beauty inside of you. There’s nothing you’ve lost in this process that can’t be restored, but you must determine how you will spend your grace. Don’t give your patience away to people that will abuse it. Don’t give your courage away to people who don’t understand it. Surround yourself with people who can reciprocate what you pour. Let their validation be an overflow that allows you to touch the lives of other broken people. This is bigger than you. This is about redefining love and esteem in a culture determined to make us feel less than. You are the hero you’ve been looking for. So put on your cape, get off your knees, and stop begging for someone to love you. Love yourself. Seek God and all other things will be added to you. 

I really can’t think of an appropriate response to that. It feels like I should mic-drop and walk away. But I can’t. I know you are hurting. I know you feel lost. I know you listened to the bad things people have said about you and allowed it to take root in your heart. Maybe you’re starting to believe those things. But i’m here to tell you. You are not your past. You are not defined by the things you have done. You have the power to change your trajectory. I know because, while failing over and over again, I’m still here. God still reminds me daily of the things I’m called to do. Don’t let your past weigh you down. Also, don’t repeat the negative things you are or have been ashamed of. I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you. I’ll be the first to tell you my flaws. But I have some locked away in my heart that I’ve recently started dealing with, so healing can take place, and I can be a vessel of love.

Buy this book. It will change your life. But don’t ready it until you’re ready to face some things that will be painful. It’s time to be real with ourselves.

XOXO

Jess

Life as I know it 

So, this is going to be the most transparent blog I’ve ever posted. It’s humiliating. It’s the lowest point I’ve ever. Been in my life. But there are some things I need to share, for those reasons alone. 

My husband was convicted of theft by conversion. He’s been in Douglas county jail for the last 8 months. This past Tuesday, he got shipped to Jackson, Ga where the state prison is. We are not able to speak for 3 weeks. When I first found out, I was overcome with anxiety and fear. I didn’t know how to respond to finding out. I was in a daze for the rest of the week. In fact, I’m still I a daze. I can’t believe this is my life. You never dream that your life would go in this direction. Especially when you’re married to a God-fearing man. I understand we all make mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to put God first, so you’re less likely to make those mistakes. I’m sure a lot of you are wondering, “how did you not know what was going on?” Well. I was raising my children. I blindly trusted him because he had never really given me a reason not to, except for a few minor hiccups here and there. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not here to throw him under the bus. I’m here because I’m broken. My prayers are not being answered. I cry out to God on a daily basis and nothing has changed. I feel like Job. I feel like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. I feel alone. 

When all this happened in July, my emotions were out of control. I couldn’t find my footing. In fact, I still haven’t found it. I’ve never been so devastated in my life. I’ve considered divorce. In fact, it’s been on the forefront of my mind for quite a while. I hear different opinions. God forgives. How will it make anything better. God hates divorce. And I get it. I understand everyone’s perspective and point of view. But does God’s grace run out? Are my financial blessings being withheld because I hold this in my heart? I’m about to lose my house, my car, my power being cut off, insurance lapsing, plus many other things. And it’s not for lack of looking for a job. I’ve searched and applied fo more jobs in the past month than I have my entire teenage years. 

But nevertheless. I keep praying. I keep waiting for the windows of heaven to open up for my family. My best friend gave me some words of wisdom that haven’t left my brain since she said it. “You have to let go of the thing that you’re holding onto and get your boxes back in order.” See, since my husband got arrested, I’ve been ashamed. Embarrassed. Condemned (by my own self). I couldn’t walk into my church home with feeling all of those things. How can anyone look at me with love after knowing what my husband is? It’s a daily struggle. Especially when Sunday and Wednesday come around. But I have a select few who continue to speak life over me and pray for me and love me through it all. And I am grateful for you. Who knows where I would be if it wasn’t for your prayers and support. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it gives you a little more insight as to my life. I also hope that it helps you know that you’re not alone in your struggles. We had a picture-perfect marriage. While it wasn’t perfect, it appeared to be. Stand your ground. Don’t relent. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. I haven’t been living as righteous as I should be. But I’m a work in progress. It’s a choice. Every moment of every day it’s a choice. I pray that (we) make the right choices today. Especially me. 
Xoxo,

Jess the Haute Mess 

Just some thoughts

If you had told me this time last year, what my upcoming year would look like, I wouldn’t believe you.

Let me backtrack a little bit.

My hubby used to travel for his job. We would move every 6 months or so. We we’re never able to take root anywhere, and I was totally comfortable that way. In fact, I tricked myself into believing I preferred it. If you didn’t grow roots anywhere, you couldn’t connect with anyone and if you didn’t connect with anyone, you couldn’t get hurt. Right?

We started going to our church about a year ago. We knew it was different from the first service we were there. Everyone was so happy and so friendly. It made me a little uncomfortable at first, just to be honest. I couldn’t understand how everyone I encountered that day could be so stinkin’ happy!! I didn’t realize it, but I had become dried up and bitter. There are not many things worse in life than the harsh self-realization that  you suck. I’m sorry, but it’s true!

So back to church. I had developed this mentality that I didn’t need to go to church to be close to God, that I could serve Him from home, blah blah blah. Any excuse I could come up with, I used. And let me say this. Those things are true. But what I learned is that it’s not about that. Yes, you need to be a part of a local church. The bible says so. But is your church life-giving? Going to church isn’t just about serving and honoring God. It’s about family. Friendships. Connections. Those weren’t things I was used to. So these super-happy people that I was encountering every Sunday, were breathing life into me without me even realizing it.

I have the tendency to shut people out. When things go crazy in my life, I hibernate. I think, “No one cares what’s going on in my life because they all have their own issues to deal with.” Or I think, “I can fix this myself.” Again, I was wrong!!

This weekend is the biggest weekend for most churches all year. We have 3 services on Sunday. Needless to say, everyone is busy preparing. Thursday night, I was on my way to worship practice. Yes, this one dried-up and bitter person is now serving, something I said I would never do again. See how love heals? Anyways….Thursday night. I’m pregnant. I had an issue arise on Thursday night that called for medical attention. I told my leader what was going on, and started to leave. I was doing the whole “hibernation” thing. Even though I told her what was going on, I tried to dart out the door before anyone could ask me how I was doing. BUT!!! God was not having it. I got stopped on my way out, “Hey. Are you ok?” So I reluctantly spilled the beans. She immediately took me by the arm, walked me down the stairs and to my car. But wait…there’s more. As I’m putting my foot in the car door, another friend stops me and says “I don’t think you should be driving. Let me drive you.” Now this may not seem like much of a big deal to you, but these are very busy people that took the time to show me they loved me and cared for me. Remember, it’s Easter weekend? I have never felt more loved at that moment, from someone other than my husband and kids, in my entire adult life.

Sometimes we need to chased. Sometimes we need to be linked arm to arm. We can’t do life by ourselves. I’ve tried. Not only is it hard, but it’s not fun. God didn’t create us to be alone. I now have a list of people I can call to pray with me, cry with me and laugh with me. I couldn’t say that a year ago.

God loves us like that. He will leave the 99 to find the 1. Don’t discredit your kind words to someone. You never know when your words will light up someone’s day, causing them in return to draw near to Jesus. Thank you, Pastor Tony and Pastor Sheryll for setting the example for your flock. I feel like I’ve been rehabilitated.

Side note: even as I was writing this, I got a phone call with an invitation to spend time together because they consider us family. I am forever grateful.