Supermom!

As I’m sitting here writing this, I am feeling not enough. In fact, that’s how this post was birthed. Not being enough. But what if I told you that we, as moms, don’t have to be enough, because through Jesus, we already are? So many of us are striving for a perfection that doesn’t exist. Now lets all take a deep breath and relax, knowing that we don’t have to be. I took these thoughts to Facebook, because I wanted to see how many of y’all were like me. I asked you what were your insecurities were as a mom. The most common thought that was shared was something along the lines of this:

“My life doesn’t look like the perfect moms I see on social media.” Ok, first of all, that’s fake. But that’s a whole different post. I’ll save that for another day! Second, who is perfect? Not her. Not me. Not you. We can be anything we want to be on social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s truth.

If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time now, you know that I like to overshare. Some think of it as a bad thing, but I see it as a gift. I know not everyone is comfortable being that open, so I want to say thank you to the ones that participated on Facebook. It takes guts to be so transparent and vulnerable. To the ones that messaged me, I hope this helps you on your journey. Exposure is so important…things being brought to the light so they can be dealt with. The enemy likes to isolate us (hello, Eve!) so we feel alone. When we feel alone, he can trick us into thinking we can’t share because people will judge/condemn us, so speaking out can feel scary (look what it did for Esther though) but you’re in a safe place here. When we hide in darkness, bad things can grow and take over. For example, mold. When left unaddressed, in a dark place, the spores multiply and eventually take over. Same for an infection. When left untreated, it will grow into something bigger and more toxic. When you treat these things early on, they don’t get that chance. Same with our insecurities and toxic thinking. When brought to the light, they can be shut down and destroyed. My weapon of choice? God’s word. I read it out loud so it filters through my ears and into my brain and takes root in my heart. I know that God’s word is truth, so my thoughts have to change. Even if it takes me reading it out loud over and over again until I believe it for myself.

I’m going to talk about a few insecurities I deal with as a mom. A lot of the time I feel like I have to be Supermom, but really, all I have to be is the Abiding mom. Abiding in Christ.

“I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”-John 15:1-4

“I can’t provide the life I want for them”

Yikes. As a single mom, I deal with this ALL the time. Sometimes, providing means the bare essentials. Like paying my water bill. Forget about taking a vacation! I get angry about it too. Or sad. Or discouraged. But the Bible is so encouraging…

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”-Psalm 34:10

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:19

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”-Matthew 6:25-27

“I’m not making a positive impact because _________________”

This one was left blank because you can insert whatever reason you want. Mine is that I don’t get enough time with my kids. They are gone for a week at a time. That might sound appealing to some, but I assure you, it’s not. Two different homes, equal amount of time. Two sets of rules. Two different parenting styles. Unequally yoked. It makes my job, as their mom and positive influence, twice as hard. My thoughts are usually something like this:

What are they being exposed to? How long were they in their rooms alone today? Lord, please be their filter while on YouTube. Are they getting outside play? Are they eating healthy?

Sheesh. It can get overwhelming IF I LET IT. That’s the key. Not allowing it to get to that point. So again, I turn to the scriptures.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”-Deuteronomy 6:6-7

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”Deuteronomy 11:18-19

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”-Proverbs 22:6

So, you see, it’s not about how much time, it’s about making the best of the time that you have. If you’re planting good seeds, they will become fruitful! My oldest is 14. She has lived primarily with her dad since 2015. The things I’m about to say next are NOT SHADE being thrown.  Looking back at the way things have happened over the last few years, it was an absolute blessing. He has done a great job being Bella’s biggest support system. But. They don’t go to church*.

*Going to church doesn’t make you a good person or get you into heaven.

They don’t foster a relationship with God. Had those seeds not been planted in her since the age of 3, things might look a little different for her. She watches messages from Louie Giglio and Steven Furtick. She also watches my home church, West Ridge Church, livestream on Sunday mornings. Without anyone telling her to. Talk about a proud mama!

These are all great resources, by the way, if you are looking for a home church or just to be fed spiritually!

“I am not enough”

This thought is so damaging. It doesn’t just apply to us as moms either. We use it when it comes to all of our relationships. Our jobs. We don’t feel like we are enough with Jesus either. We are constantly selling ourselves short. We don’t even try because we self-sabotage before we even start. But this isn’t what God says about us….

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”-1 Corinthians 3:16-17

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”-2 Corinthians 12:9-10

WOW!! I’m just gonna leave that right there for you to chew on for a minute.

I know, being a single mom, about feeling alone. We carry all the weight of our families on our shoulders. But that’s not a weight we were meant to carry. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the everyday, I forget that I have a husband I can depend on. Yes, I said it. A husband.

But you just said you were single.

Yes I said both.

“For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name-the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”-Isaiah 54:5

That gives me so much peace. Jesus is the ultimate husband. He will never leave me. Never forsake me. He will give me good things. He gives me hope and a future.

I want to leave you with one last thought. Once you have made up your mind to trust Jesus, stay planted in that. Don’t allow your thoughts to toss you back and forth, wondering if you can trust Him or not. Watch this message from Pastor Louie Giglio, from this past Sunday. He goes into more depth about it and it truly changed my thought process on so many things.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.-Isaiah 26:3

I hope this has encouraged you to at least not feel alone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, on any platform, if you need prayer. Before I write any of these messages, I pray over them. I ask God to be my voice and that it would help those that need it. So if you’re reading this, I’ve prayed for you. Thank you for taking the time to read it. If it has helped you, in any way, please feel free to share it, so it could possibly help and encourage someone else.

Remember. We don’t have to be Supermom. Just a mom that abides in Christ.

xoxo

 

Forgiveness??

If you were to make a list of the people in your life that you needed to forgive, could you be honest? Would your list have two names? 20? None? How many of those people are family members?

The family dynamics in Colossians 3:18-21 is God’s perfect plan. You can call me old-fashioned, sexist, barefoot and pregnant…I don’t care. It’s what I believe. Our family is supposed to be our first line of defense. Our parents to protect us. Our siblings to build and learn about friendships with, along with conflict resolution (even if that involves these hands! Right Lyss? You were so mean!). But instead we have strife. Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). And no, I’m not referring to the SEC…at least not today haha!! Go Dawgs!

If there is division, it can destroy the family structure, causing us to “wander” solo. No one by our side to hold us accountable…yes we have friends, but we can talk about that later….that’s how Eve was able to be tempted. She was alone. When a sheep wanders away from the herd and it’s shepherd, it’s more vulnerable to its predators.

The funny thing about this blog post is that I don’t have an answer or resolve to what I just talked about. Which brings me to my next topic.

Today was my first counseling session at Elevate. I had one major issue in my life that was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. That’s what caused me to make an appointment in the first place. I wanted some healthy coping mechanisms for when I felt anxious. God had bigger plans, y’all. I wasn’t ready!! My first session and I’ve already learned that I’m dealing with un-forgiveness. I didn’t even know!!! It was so profound that I’ve decided I’m going to make this journey public. I’m going to blog after each one of my sessions. I will share my revelations, my heartaches, my joy and my victories. My darkest places. I really hope that my transparency will help you to see that you’re not alone. No, I won’t be sharing names if anyone, in case you were wondering! This is for my exposure, no anyone else’s.

I thought I knew how to forgive someone, but today I found out that I don’t. I’m excited to learn and share as I go. My hope is that it will inspire you to seek it out for you and your family too.

xoxo

Dry January?

Alright y’all. I didn’t know that “Dry January” was a thing until a few days ago. I had unknowingly participated. Let me tell you about it…..

Today marks a month of no alcohol for me. My decision to stop drinking didn’t stem (wine…you see what I did there) from a “problem” per se. At least I didn’t think so at first. Just like everyone else, my personality would change when I would drink. But I was in denial. I didn’t want to hear that I was aggressive and inflammatory. Those aren’t exactly personality traits anyone would want to posses. Well, maybe some of y’all but no judgement!

When I would drink, I would wake up the next day with a tremendous feeling of guilt. It was like my soul was wired to reject alcohol. Even if I didn’t do anything worthy of that feeling, it happened nonetheless. This next statement might sound contradictory, but a lot of times I would forget things I said. I was a binge-drinker. I couldn’t enjoy just a drink or two. It was always shot after shot, usually Fireball or Jameson, followed by PBR or Miller Lite. No apologies. I’m a redneck deep down!

Drinking would always cause my emotions to go to the extreme. If I was happy, I was giddy. If I was sad, I was sobbing. If I was angry, I was aggressive. Insecure? Yes, you guessed it. It was terrible. I was terrible. So I decided to do some soul-searching. It was time to lay my relationship with alcohol to rest.

I’m happy to report, that it’s only been a positive outcome from it. No more feelings of guilt. I’ve saved money. Lost weight. My skin is clear and glowing. I’m just happier in general. However, one thing I wasn’t prepared for was having to face my emotions dead-on, without a crutch or something to mask them. That has been the hardest part. January has been one of the most challenging months of my life, mentally. Doing a competition prep, fresh off a breakup, school…it has been overwhelming at times. But now I’m in control of me. I’ve had to do a lot of deep breathing and most of the time it doesn’t work but I’m trying! Growth in 2019. That’s my goal. Like Cher said in Clueless “I needed a makeover…but this time I would makeover my soul.”

Am I saying I won’t ever have a beer again? No. Let’s be real. Braves. Beer. Some things just belong together. But now, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Being the drunken messy girl is not something I ever want to be again.

And to the person that forced me to see this reality, thank you. Hard truth isn’t something I’ve always been good at accepting, but thank you for loving me enough to hurt my feelings.

XOXO

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

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!

Let them eat cake..er, cookie dough!

Last night, while making cookies with my kids, they mention to me they’ve never tried cookie dough. Real cookie dough. Growing up, I want allowed to eat it because of the raw eggs. “Salmonella!!”, my mom would say to us. So much that it became an actual fear. Irrational c yes, but there nonetheless.

When my kids said this, it triggered something in me that made me do something I’ve never done before. Let me give you a little background. I’ll start with a simple, yet profound statement. 

Sometimes it takes losing everything to make you appreciate what you have. 

As most of you already know, my ex-husband spent some time in prison. I’m not here to sling mud. He’s done his time. But it still happened. That left me to try and pick up the pieces and try to keep my family from unraveling. Well guess what? I failed. I was on the brink of losing my home (for the 2nd time). I was working 2 jobs and that still wasn’t enough to keep up with everything. So after taking to my then-husband, we both decided and agreed it would be best for our kids to stay with their grandparents in Tennessee while I tried to salvage what was left of my sanity and my dignity, and he went back to jail to finish out his sentence. Trust me when I say this, it was the last thing I wanted. It showed weakness. It showed failure. It showed that I wasn’t enough. That I couldn’t handle it. Insert whatever statement you want here. I promise you I’ve already beaten myself up for it at least a hundred times. But sometimes, as a mom, it means making hard decisions. I’ll never forget the day they left. I was devastated. I kept telling myself “it’s only for a short time.” The pain was unbearable. I closed myself off. I rarely talked to them on the phone because all it did was tear my heart out more each time. And theirs too. This went on for (roughly) 6 months, maybe 8. 

Side note, this isn’t something I’ve shared with many people. If you were apart of my life during this time, you knew. But I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops. Until today. 

Being a mom is hard. You’re responsible for teaching and raising kids, to grow into successful adults. There is so much pressure to be “perfect”. Have them in the best school. Sports. Dance. Church. Good grades. Before their father was arrested, I was the worst kind of helicopter mom. I gave them freedom, but not too much. Looking back I now see it wasn’t very much at all. Them being away from me for that long taught me a lot of things. One of the most important things it taught me was to LET GO. I was trying to control their every move and every outcome. I couldn’t just let them be kids. But now?! Now, on the weekends, they can have ice cream for breakfast (sometimes). They can walk in the grass barefoot. They can hang their arm out the window in the backseat. They spent all day yesterday in their pajamas. We had pizza delivered twice in a week! The little things in life that are meant to be enjoyed, are being enjoyed. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and a step back. Yes, it was awful while they were gone. I hated every single moment of it. But it made me better. Better for them and better for me. 

Cut yourself some slack, y’all. Parenting is hard. Parenting with an ex-spouse is even harder. Do the best you can with every day you’re with them, even on the days when you want to run and cry in a closet. 

I guess I’ll address the cookie dough thing. We are cookie dough last night. A lot of it. And they said it was the best thing they had ever tasted. Something as simple as cookie dough!! They danced around the kitchen and laughed with delight. Such a small moment but such a huge impact. There will be many more cookie dough dates in our future. Oh and by the way, no one got sick 😉

xoxo,                                                                                     Jess the Haute Mess

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!

DSC_0017

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

In the words of David Bowie

I know I’m way behind on my blogging. But I have a good reason! I took a little trip to Missouri to spend time with my hubby. I miss him so much!! I haven’t so much as even thought about blogging. 

Don’t take the little things for granted. Like snuggling on the couch at night with your love at night. I think Brad Paisley said it best when he sang “Little Moments”. 

So your probably wondering why the title of this post is “In the words of David Bowie”. Well I’ll tell you!!

“Pressure, pushing down on mePressure down on you, no man asks for, Under Pressure that burns a building down, splits a family in two, Puts people in the streets”

What in the world does this have to do with anything? Well I’ll tell you!!

I’m under a lot of pressure right now. Things I can’t even talk about yet. But don’t worry, when the time is right, I’ll share. Y’all know I’m more transparent than that!! That’s another reason I haven’t been blogging. Because of all the pressure I’m under, I have writer’s block. I’m fortunate to have formed these sentences!! 

Let me squash the rumor mill, first and foremost. My marriage is wonderful. My children are healthy and wonderful. Everything is wonderful, just some things going on that are NOT COOL!!! 

So anyway. I’m asking you to pray for me. God knows my needs. If you read this, and you pray, please throw my name in there when you’re talking to God. Actually, if you could throw my name around a few times this week, I would be soooo appreciative. 

God bless y’all!!

Oh Saturday….

Well, today was supposed to be day 2 of the Love Dare for parents. It’s ironic, too because today it was on patience. 

I had absolutely no patience today. But, in my own defense, I didn’t get a chance to read the chapter until just now. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. I’ve been busy since before the sun was up this morning. 

Bella had a softball game this morning. Against my better judgement, I followed my GPS to get there. Always trust your gut, y’all. Instead of being on time for warmups, we made it right before the game started. One thing I will tell you about myself is that I absolutely hate being late. It just does something to me at my core. Nothing stresses me out more than being late. So you can imagine how I felt upon arrival. Frazzled!!! I missed Bella’s first at-bat because Isaac had to go number 2. Hallelujah it wasn’t in his pants this time!! Then I missed her 2nd at-bat because they all wanted snacks. I can’t tell you the last time I actually got to just sit and watch her play. All these things may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re both mom and dad because your husband is out of town, it really takes a toll on you. Again, I had no patience today. Add all this in with a trip to the grocery store, and you’ve got yourself one mama who’s about to fall apart.

Now I’m sitting here at my computer, taking a minute to relax. Just telling you about it all makes me feel better! 

Tomorrow I will try again. I will read each chapter the night before it will go into action so I can remind myself what I’m to focus on. Tomorrow I will be patient. Tomorrow I will be patient. Tomorrow I have church…getting all 3 kids ready for church and making it on time? Yes that’s challenging. But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, right?? 

Pray for me, y’all. I’m building a fire tonight for the first time.