Friends! I was honored to write recently for a wonderful website called Off the Page. The piece was published last week and I hope you’ll check it out.
My childhood nickname was “Long Shot” because I always went for—and then achieved—the “long shots” in life. I grew up believing if I wanted something badly enough, I could achieve it. That if I was determined enough, worked hard enough, I could accomplish it. I soon realized accomplishments brought praise and accolades, and I created a life around my hard work, my accomplishments, the resulting praise.
I struggle, however, with my own weakness. I have always experienced the brokenness of our world so strongly, always experienced volatile emotions and reactions that often seem disproportionate. In an effort to avoid the devastation I experienced when let down, I began to worship self-reliance. My works—and hard work—bolstered me and buoyed me while masking my inner frailty.
By college I felt both unstoppable and deeply vulnerable. Utterly confident and acutely insecure. I worked hard. I relied on me.
Won’t you hop on over to read the rest at Off the Page?
I’m linking up with the amazing Addie Zierman’s synchroblog on the dark places in life for this post. SHE JUST RELEASED HER SECOND BOOK!! This week!! Buy it now: Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark.
The changeling beast of depression has always been a part of my life. It has reared its ugly head in a myriad of ways – as searing anger, endless tears, chilled-to-the-bone numbness. As anorexia and suicidal thoughts. As cutting and burning and borderline alcoholism. I am all of these things.
But I am also a mom and a wife. A Christian. A musician, a writer, an arts administrator, a runner, an INFJ. I love the ocean and the sky, beautiful words and images, the way a Hopper painting is so lonely and so familiar, the way Bach makes me believe in God. I am all these things.
I am also a fighter. I fight the demons, the darkness, the negativity. Some days I win. Some days, I lose. One Thursday I was losing. Continue reading
I have a few things to say to you, but it won’t be enough.
You will get through this. You will. But it’s going to take work. And then it might happen again. And it might be the same – or it might be completely different.
No one has experienced exactly what you are experiencing or have experienced. But there are plenty of people who have walked similar roads, traveled to the hard places and come back again. You are not alone.
The world is broken. It’s broken! It’s broken because of sin, because in the perfect Garden, when a man and a woman had a perfect relationship with each other, a perfect relationship with God, and perfect relationships with their work and their bodies and all the animals and everything else, sin entered in. And things began to break down. Even if you’re not sure you believe this – look around you.
The world is broken. Undeniably broken. Continue reading
Filed under body image, career, children, contentment, depression, family, friends, God, god & faith, identity, trust
My sweet baby girl —
It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it?
You experienced so much change and you had to learn so much. In fact, you learned more in this first year of your life than perhaps you will in any other single year moving forward (!). And the change you experienced – it was unimaginable, too. You went from having every single need met so perfectly that you had never even experienced need – to a world in which you experienced every basic need and more – hunger, exhaustion, frustration, anger, fear, sadness – sometimes all in one day or even one hour. I’m so sorry, sweet baby girl of mine, that it’s been so hard.
And yet – you amaze me. Despite all these hard things, you grew and thrived. You learned to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, start to walk. You learned to drink and eat (and boy do you love food!), to smile and laugh and start to talk. I am so proud of you, already, for your persistence, for your feisty spirit, for all the many things you have learned and accomplished in this short year. Today, you are ONE.
My sweet baby girl, it’s been a hard year for your Mama, too. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, children, contentment, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, sensory overload
Happy First Birthday to grace in the darkness! A year ago today, you made your way into cyberspace after many months of gestation (months which I spent researching and planning and writing and designing) and, like any birth, that day was filled with many hopes and dreams, much excitement, and certainly some nerves. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already — and that some of you are still reading my words after 365 days.
Mostly, it’s hard to believe because it’s so easy to wish that I’d done more. Written more posts, taken more beautiful photos, facilitated more guest authors. Also, I’d hoped for more success. I wish I had acquired more followers, seen more readership growth, been offered more book deals (ha!). I’d hoped for more.
However, despite not being more, it’s been a good, full year. A hard year, certainly, but what year isn’t? As I was preparing to write this post, and thinking about the past year, I revisited many posts from the last twelve months (of course). I revisited the dark places and the questions, the favorite quotes, the letters to my son and daughter, the post about learning to love our family of four and the posts exploring Ed Welch’s book about faith and depression that I found so useful. I remembered my struggles with finding community in New York and applauded my efforts at starting to run again. And you know what? It’s not more, and it’s not the best, but it is good. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, career, children, community, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, Uncategorized, writing
My last post got me thinking about love. (Too bad Valentine’s Day was last month. But this is very me, you know, to be a little behind.) Specifically, it got me thinking about a mother’s love.
Yes, perfect love is all the things the Bible says it is – patient and kind, not self-seeking or easily angered. Perfect love does not envy or boast and is not proud. Perfect love keeps no record of wrongs. Yes, it is all those things. Yes, this is my model for love. (Yes, I fail at this love. Often.)
As I wrote last time, a mother’s love is also a sacrificial love. We make sacrifice upon sacrifice for our children, giving and giving and giving – because we love. But a mother’s love is not only sacrificial. It’s also unearned. Continue reading
This winter, feeling tired and overwhelmed paved an easy road for hopelessness.
How’s it going? A friend would ask.
Oh, pretty well, I’d reply. It’s hard, but things are fine. You know, it’s just a different way of life now. A thin smile. We’re finding a way to make it work.
But the thing is, things were not fine, and things were definitely not working.
However, I’ve gotten really good at powering through. It’s easy for me to keep on doing and going and “yes, I’m fine”-ing (as I wrote last time). To keep showing up for meetings and attending church and getting myself and the kids dressed and out of the house.
So that’s exactly what I was doing, this fall. I just kept going and smiling and doing.
But I knew I wasn’t fine, inside. And my husband knew I wasn’t fine. And after a little more time, my kids knew I wasn’t fine. Continue reading
Last time I promised that I’d write about what depression is like for me in this season of life. It’s no cakewalk, but it’s not Hollywood either.
I don’t spend days in bed crying, forgetting to eat and unable to take care of myself. I also don’t have dramatic breakdowns resulting in hospitalization. (Although, admittedly, on my worst days I have wished that was the case.)
In fact, all outward appearances probably look pretty good most of the time – certainly this time around. (Helps to have cute kids, right?)
When depression rears its ugly head in my life, it’s not always the same – certainly there have been times in the past of poor self-care, insomnia, extreme hopelessness and bouts of crying – but I mostly left that permutation behind in college. And there have been many periods of gray, when I’ve fought, every single day, to go through the motions, to take care of whatever job or child or spouse or friend or piece of music or writing I needed to do, because everything felt futile.
This time hasn’t been any of those things, exactly. Continue reading
Remember how I wrote about figuring out what’s necessary in life?
Well, I’ll tell you how that’s going in a bit.
These days, I’m teaching my son to breathe. When he gets upset and I can’t talk any sense into him or get him to stop crying long enough to look me in the eyes or answer a question, I try to breathe with him.
In and out, in and out, in and out.
It often takes a long time until he can join me. But the minutes that I spend sitting with him, inhaling deeply and slowly and then exhaling fully –
those minutes are good practice for me, too.
Because I’ve been holding my breath for awhile now. Wondering what kinds of feelings each day will bring. Wondering if I’ll make it one, two, three hours before hopelessness starts to replace hopefulness. Wondering if I’ll start to know – and really feel, not just know in my head – that God is real. Wondering if it’s too early in the day to start drinking.
It’s been hard, the past few months. Continue reading
So, my son. He is just over two years old – you know, the beginning of the infamous “terrible twos,” so-named because this is the time when toddlers start to express feelings in all sorts of inappropriate ways (also known as, “tantrums”). Theoretically, this happens because the toddlers don’t yet know otherwise and haven’t learned how to manage their emotions.
My son has these outbursts – he actually becomes inconsolable and entirely hysterical, hyperventilating and such. So far these haven’t happened in the candy aisle at the grocery store (are NYC grocery stores big enough for a candy aisle?) or in the car seat as I try to buckle him in (what car?), but instead they happen in the stroller when we are walking home at night and he can’t see the moon (darn you, clouds), or at home because I took the corn out of the bowl and put it onto his plate.
(And we are talking MAJORLY upset, people. Out of control and sucking in air too fast and choking on saliva and tears everywhere upset. Hysterical upset.)
But the thing is, I’m not surprised. Continue reading
Filed under children, contentment, depression, family, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, running, Uncategorized, writing