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Still Finding Beauty in Christ: Life Updates 2020

Lately, I have been thinking about my therapist. I have not seen her in over 8 months but I would love a “tune up” just to check in. I thought about the work we did in our 7 months together and I know that much of the progress I have made in 2020 is due in large part to our time together in 2019 and beyond. I thought about the panic attacks that sent me running for her office for the first time in May of 2019. I still get a little nervous about those waves of overpowering emotion that makes it seem like I will never know peace again. I sometimes wonder if remembering them would trigger another such attack. But I wave away the worry and re-center my thoughts on the progress, and the incredible things God has done to meet me in my darkest hours.

I think about how excited and focused I was at the beginning of the year. Work was flourishing. I finished my book. I had big plans for the rest of the year 2020. My last project wrapped in April. The work promised for June and beyond has yet to materialize but I am here still. I have grown by leaps and bounds in my creative ability. I cherish the flash of inspiration and the continued discipline that motivates me to engage with my audience daily. But a part of me worries about the stall in my income. Again, I have to continue the work to silence the voice echoed by various sources doing their best to convince me that I am not a good (enough) woman (wife, mother, person) if there is no paycheck coming in my name. I have to repeatedly give myself permission to be in this in-between stage of willing to work but not yet working. I have to keep reminding myself that the primary opinion I should be weighing along with my own lives in this house with me. And based on our numerous check-ins, we are in a really sweet spot. Yet, the voices of self-doubt try to convince me that my value has dwindled since my main stream of income has dropped. The work continues to shut those invisible critics up for good.

Over the last few months, I have developed into my most creative version of me. Unapologetically so, too. I launched a podcast on a whim and I have passed the ten episode milestone. I began documenting my day to day looks in photos on Instagram. I created a growing community of like-minded women to have transparent conversations and chats with me online. And I am having an amazing time doing it all. I no longer give any credence to the voice that loves to tell me that I am “doing too much” for enjoying beautiful creations – myself included. While the world has been slowed down, shut down and “safer at home” – I have found new aspects of my creativity to love. It has been such an adventure.

Additionally, I am finally reconciling with the fact that being thrown into teaching my children while working from home full time and running a home as the primary caregiver gave me some form of PTSD. It was utterly demoralizing to witness how quickly life went off the rails for us as I attempted to do worthy work, parent, homeschool and give adequate care all at the same time. The thought of diving back into distance learning this year was completely terrifying. Amazingly enough (it’s only day two so stay tuned), it has been a pleasant surprise and not the nightmare I was dreading. I think I have finally learned the language of grace with myself when it comes to my parenting. I am not in competition with any other mother. I am not even in competition with myself. I am simply going to make the best of each day (or moment). Yesterday may be outstanding while today is a dumpster fire. Neither one takes anything away from what God has deposited in me for the benefit of my family.

I am really grateful for my growth as a minister of the gospel. Even admitting that I am a minister of the gospel is growth. Years ago, I would have shied away from that language because I would have called it presumptuous since I am not ordained. But I have grown. Thanks largely to my training as a leader in Wives in Waiting, I have learned to exist in my identity without questioning it, attempting to dissect it, or quantifying it. I am what the Word of God says I am. I am grateful for the opportunity to study to show myself approved, and rightly divide the word of truth – both for my private growth and for public ministry. The privilege to teach other women what God has taught me never gets old.

By all accounts, life is good. My husband and I are experiencing what I would consider a time of flourishing in our friendship and union. I am grateful. The lessons and challenges of our first years of marriage have given birth to a steady love I cannot stop marveling at (nod to India Arie).

If you are still reading (bless you), let me wrap it up for you here. This year has been anything but predictable for the entire globe, but I can honestly say that God has shown Himself faithful to me in the last eight months. I am safe. I am well-loved. I have grown. I am better equipped than any of my years before. In short, I am flourishing. I pray you can say the same for you and yours.