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

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

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!!

You know it’s God when the peace is there, but not the logic

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Well, it’s done. Me and the girl are going up the mountain and me and the girl will return.

When God makes you a promise, you really have no idea when it will be fulfilled (unless He tells you specifically). But in the meantime, you must trust Him daily.

If you don’t know, I have just recently finished my court trial over custody for my 7 year old daughter. It took 8 months of waiting, 4 days of trial, 27 days for an answer, and a 30 second phone call for my world to come crashing down. The judge ruled in her dad’s favor. As I was sitting, looking over the order she had written, I was in shock and disbelief. She says in the order that I am a GREAT and NURTURING mother. But that I shouldn’t have baptized her at the age of 6 because she didn’t understand what it meant. Bella could out-preach half the pastors I know. She knows what it means and how significant it is. Because of 3 things, I lose. I lose my legal rights. I lose any say-so in her upbringing, extra-curricular activities. Where she goes to school. I. Lose. I’m sure you’re wondering what these reasons could be, what did I do that was so bad that she stripped me of everything. Well I’ll tell you.
1.) She missed 10 days of school, 7 that were unexcused, while she was with me.
2.) Because my husband works out of town, leaving me with 3 children by myself, which takes away from one-on-one time with her.
3.) I threw away an antibiotic that was giving her diarrhea.
Because of these 3 things, the judge decided that Bella’s father was more stable and able to take better care of her. Shocked? Yes. I was too. As I’m reading this, I was crying harder than I’ve ever cried in my life. In fact, the next morning I look like I’ve been in a boxing match. I love my children so much. I’ve made sacrifices for them, just like any mother does. There are moms out there who allow their kids to live in homes with meth labs in the basement, crack houses. There are moms who physically, sexually and mentally abuse their children, yet they still have custody of them. How could this have happened to me??

Of course my flesh wanted to fight and appeal. And that’s exactly what we did. I told my attorney, “Whatever it takes, whatever the cost.” But God had other plans for me and Bella. You see, when she was 4 years old, God told me, in an altar, “If you give her to me, I will give her back to you.” Ok God! Cool! She’s yours!!! After court was over, He said, “Ok now really give her to me and I’ll give her back to you.”

I don’t know what that looks like. I’m at God’s mercy and on His timetable. But He told me not to fight. “Let me perform this spiritual surgery on her, and you cannot be a part of it.” He kept reminding me of the scripture in Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I mean, I would see this everywhere, in the most random places!!

This is the prequel to my last post. Those were all the things God used to reassure me.

So for now, I get to see my daughter, the one I carried in my womb for 9 months, the baby I swore was a boy but cried when I found out she was a girl (because that’s what I wanted), the one I named, the one I woke up with all night to breast feed, the one I rocked constantly because of colic, every 2nd and 4th weekend of the month. And whenever her father is gracious and kind enough to allow me to see her more.

Radical obedience produces radical blessings. God made me a promise and God does not lie. So until the day that promise is fulfilled, I will be seeking and crying out to Him daily because “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

I now will be fattening the calf for when the prodigal daughter returns.

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