Monthly Archives: June 2014


It seems to bring out the worst in me.

To be fair, I’ve never been an especially patient person. And this waiting is particularly difficult. I’m jealous and angry and frustrated and even more impatient than usual.

BUT. The waiting has been teaching me a few things too.

The first week of waiting for our daughter’s birth as the due date approached was fun and filled with “treats.” My husband and I spent more time together during that week than possibly in the entire month beforehand (what a luxury!), Continue reading


Filed under god & faith, motherhood, parenting

God in the stubborn darkness (part 1 of 4)

When I first started calling the Christian faith my own, I had a long list of objections, questions, and doubts. One of these was how to reconcile my understanding and personal experience of depression with what I was learning about Christianity. I (mistakenly) believed that if my faith was strong enough, or my “quiet times with God” profound enough, or my sense of identity secure enough, I wouldn’t struggle with depression.

I thought that Christians equated depression with weakness – or, even worse, with sin.

But I have known depression for years – decades. I have struggled with volatile emotions and hopelessness, fought the demons that insisted life wasn’t worth living and tempted me to cut into my own skin. I wrote in sixth-grade handwriting in a spiral-bound notebook, This can’t be normal. What I’m feeling is too much. I don’t know how to live like this.

I know depression. I know its ugliness, its self-centeredness, its reality of hopelessness and despair. I know emotions that are explosive and debilitating.

I first hurt myself when I was thirteen.  Continue reading


Filed under depression, god & faith, identity

living as a prisoner

Last time, I wrote about motherhood as a “career,” as an identity. But there’s an important second chapter to that discussion.

I am a Christian.

How does my faith come into this? What does identifying as a Christian mean for my struggle to feel worthy, to find value in what I do and who I am? How should my beliefs affect my identity?

I remember when, as a teenager, I first really started learning about the Christian faith – as something other than going to church with my mom and sister on Christmas and Easter. There was a lot of talk in my friends’ Presbyterian youth group about “their identity in Christ” and “finding their worth in Christ.”

These were mysterious ideas to me. My identity was in being a high school senior, a varsity cross-country runner, a violist. My worth resided in my hard and consistent work at everything I tackled, my good grades, and how I was hopefully headed towards an Ivy League school for college.  Continue reading


Filed under god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting

motherhood = career?

Is motherhood a career? An identity? An escape? A calling?

Your identity is in this constant state of chaos and change and influenced sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. What this leads to is a very inconsistent emotional and spiritual life. These are the things that may explain you, but they do not define you.

Mark Driscoll[1]

I have long struggled with the idea of motherhood as a “career,” and spent many difficult hours in prayer and conversation about my own journey towards motherhood. My eventual decision to leave my full-time job at Carnegie Hall in pursuit of a combination of freelance opportunities in performing, writing, and consulting that would also allow (“allow”) me to serve as the primary caretaker of my first child and our home was . . . far from easy.  Continue reading


Filed under identity, motherhood, parenting

the hardest thing

Some days, the hardest thing about my day is that I can’t communicate to my son how much I love him. He’s 20 months old – old enough to understand so much of what I say to him (“Can you turn on the bath?” “Bring mommy your shoes, sweetheart.” “Don’t touch that! Too hot!”), and yet not old enough to understand this most basic – and 20131029_Hollingsworth-50most complex – concept.

Even on the mornings when he’s up at 5:20 AM, banging on the side of his crib and yelling (he’s not a quiet child) as if he hasn’t eaten for days, even on the afternoons when he refuses to nap and I accomplish not one of the too-many things on my naptime To Do list, even on the evenings when he throws his food on the floor and slowly spits out his water before erupting into laughter – even on these days, my heart overflows for him.  Continue reading


Filed under god & faith, motherhood, parenting

deliver me

We must not underestimate our adversary, life itself. Uncomfortable even at good moments, difficult and unfair usually, and a complete nightmare much too often, life will stubbornly resist betterment, always finding new ways of being more than we can stand.

— Ian Frazier

Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

— Psalm 68:19-20 (ESV)

This idea (life is hard, and God gives us the strength to persevere) seems to be following me around lately – showing up in tangible ways, like my daily Bible reading email (which I only sometimes open and/or read) or the Reflection in the front of the church bulletin. And I’m not one to really believe in coincidences.  Continue reading


Filed under depression, god & faith

keep your mouth shut

I realize that I am officially ten months’ pregnant, with my second child (ie, I’m not especially small right now), but I still do not understand how this fact makes it acceptable for people on the street to comment on my physical appearance.

In fact, it’s driving me crazy. If one more person says something – whether it’s a sort-of-friendly Congratulations! or a more obnoxious Looks like you’re gonna pop any day!, I might punch them. To the ground.

Why do strangers feel justified in making comments on my physical appearance? Why am I so sensitive to people’s comments on my physical appearance?  Continue reading

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Filed under body image, god & faith, motherhood