Surrender

If my life had a theme song right now this would be it…

I’m so confused
I know I heard You loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of Your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done

from Thy Will by Hillary Scott

If you’ve followed our entrepreneurial story at all you know that Josh and I own a CrossFit gym. It wasn’t really a part of our plan when we moved to this town four years ago. But God made it very clear through a series of events that it was meant for us to endeavor. The first several months were so fun and exciting! (the honeymoon phase) Even though it was hard, we were energized and knew that everything would work out because God told us to do this so of course everything would just fall into place.

But then the long days, early mornings, endless filled weekends combined with relentless setbacks and disappointment kicked in. Not to mention the precious little life we brought into the world during this same time. Things got really, really hard. Don’t get me wrong, there were so many rewarding moments along the way. But mostly it’s just been wearying.

Lately there’s been a pull on our hearts that we’ve been ignoring. Hoping it would go away. Perhaps we were misreading the signs. But we know what we’ve been asked to do…

“I am surrendering my dream to you, Dream Giver. I’ve decided that it’s you that I can’t go without.” -The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson

We’ve decided to buy a smaller, cheaper house. If we hope to keep our dream going, we’ve got to give this up. And so we’ve decided it’s worth it.

 

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Sick day

Elora woke up with an eye infection this morning. I didn’t know it was pink eye, but I didn’t know it wasn’t either. So I opted to keep her home from school. Which I wasn’t super pumped about because this was supposed to be my schoolwork day! I just resumed my dissertation and I’m really trying to make some progress this time. So I was a little grouchy about this change up.

But I decided to make the most of the day. I started with a trip to Starbucks because

When we got back home I gave Elora a whiteboard and a marker. That usually keeps her entertained for a while. But today she just wanted to be on me.

The eternal mom struggle, right? My child is literally crawling on me begging for my attention. I feel selfish for trying to check a few things off the to-do list. Not to mention guilty for even having interests other than my child in the first place. I mean, a “good mom” would be happy for the impromptu play day with her child, right? We’re supposed to relish in these moments with our children because they’ll be grown one day.

Ok, let’s be real here. Very little enjoyable playing took place today. I thought Elora had an infection so we were stuck at home. There’s 5,000 toys strewn about the house but she wants to dump the plant out onto the floor. Every 15 seconds I turned around to find her in a precarious position with a breakable item. I’m pretty sure I said “no ma’m” at least 100 times today.

This is the point where I usually come around to some feel good conclusion that we should just be more positive and life is great. But that’s not the point I’m making with this one. One of my favorite authors and leadership experts puts it this way,

“Making our children the center of our attention is unhealthy for us and them.”-Tim Elmore

There has to be a balance and an intention. I want to have special moments with Elora where I’m completely focused on her. But I also want her to know that I have goals and responsibilities other than her. I want her to learn to chase the goals of her heart by watching me do that very thing.

I don’t have the secret for making my toddler entertain herself so I can get work done. But I am beginning to understand how to be more loving toward myself during this season. I am not responsible for my child’s every minute of entertainment. I am responsible for teaching her self-sufficiency.

I think deep down every parent struggles with this. It’s like when you see someone picking their nose in their car. We all do it. Literally every person has picked their nose when they thought no one was looking. But no one will openly admit to it, at least not to strangers. We’re all trying to live up to this unachievable standard of parenting that involves constant attention toward our children. It’s just not sustainable and it’s not healthy for anyone involved.

Parenting is a small word for a colossal task and I would never presume to know more than anyone else. But I have read a few things about leadership and we know that excellent leaders know how to balance support and freedom.

I don’t want my daughter to grow up and think she was the reason I never got that doctorate degree or started my coaching business. The truth is she is the reason I will accomplish those things.

 

 

The reason

I’ve kept a diary since I could form sentences on paper. I would find a quiet spot alone and chronicle my thoughts and reactions to my surrounding world. I kept it private and told few because it seemed an arrogant habit. To recount my life as though anyone but me would ever care. As I’ve finally emerged on the other side of my lifelong struggle with eating disorder and body image I can see it’s true purpose. It wasn’t a pretentious activity, but rather, a necessity of sanity. An escape. A weaving of a story. My story. That now I can tell to help others.

Whether you’re aware of it or not we live in an age of despair. A society more connected than ever, yet more disconnected than ever. We crave real human connection but are too “busy” to nurture it in the ways it requires. So we hopelessly attempt to fill that hole with food, sex, drugs, alcohol, attention, money, diamonds. You name it, someone’s drawn to it. But it’s an endless path laced with destruction.

Though I’ve spent the majority of my life hiding from people, God is prodding me with a sense of urgency. I feel I am busier than I’ve ever been, yet He whispers to me.

Help them.

When I want to remain quiet because who am I, really? What do I know? He persists.

Tell them.

I am afraid so I still resist replying, I can’t.

You must.

In the midst of my struggle I have several distinct memories of particularly hopeless moments, most of them embarrassing. They bring a sting to my heart when I think of them. Moments of ultimate lowness. I recounted one such moment in my diary. My fingers tremble even now to think of sharing this moment. It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s not a memory I’ve ever uttered to another soul. Which is why I now believe it must be shared. Because if it’s a secret I’ve kept, there are most certainly others who’ve been there.

Monday October 27, 2008

            I am at chelsea’s house right now and I have had too much to drink and eat. I have my computer because I intended to edit pictures I took at the river earlier while I was running. I am feeling bad about myself right now. I feel like an addict. I am addicted to food. is there such thing as FA?? food addiction. I went to an overeaters anonymous meeting but it is not what I need. what do I need?? who the hell knows. I need to be able to eat what I like and love myself anyway. but when I eat what I want I hate myself and feel fat. josh loves me anyway. I am happy with him.  I don’t think the counselor knows how to help me. I need help but I don’t want it yet. I love to eat. I just love to eat and always have. but I have to end this post because I am about to pee myself. that is sad. I need help. please.

I can still feel the weight of the hopelessness that consumed me that evening. Inebriated with food and drink on a week night, enveloped in crippling shame. Desperate for help but grasping blindly. Alone. But by choice.

I never found anyone to help me. I read books and eventually gave my struggles to God. And here I am today. I know others relate to this. Even if it’s not food, it could be anything that keeps us in bondage. This is the reason I share my story. Freedom is waiting for you.

Sometimes I wish someone would have seen me and offered help. But I also understand the importance of refinement through the process of struggle. That being said, I cannot stand by while others hurt. I must speak my truth in the hope that if it does not expedite someone else’s process it at least provides encouragement and hope along the way.

I miss my friend

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened. There’s not a single moment I can point to and say, yeah that’s when we lost ourselves. It was more like a long series of moments. So many missed opportunities to turn toward each other. But the weight of the responsibilities we now hold just kept building. We grew weary of carrying it. At the end of the day we’re tired and worn. We simply have no energy left to give to each other. So we convince ourselves that a good night’s rest is all we need and tomorrow we’ll talk. Tomorrow we’ll hug and kiss and maybe dance in the kitchen while cooking dinner together.

But tomorrow we are just as tired as we were and the dancing doesn’t happen. Something always gets in the way. The tiredness can’t be alleviated with sleep. Days and days of this have taken us to where we are now. Together but alone. Weary and spent.

When I see that picture of us from spring break 2012 in our bathroom I feel sad. Sometimes photos show a happiness that isn’t there. But this photo. This one has true warmth and love emanating from the day it was taken. That love is still with us now, just more of a twinkle than a beam.

I hear our song in the car and my eyes well up a little. It’s the song we used to spin around to on the dance floor after midnight drunk on alcohol but mostly love.

I often wonder if you feel the same when you come home to find me disheveled in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, pack lunches, answer work texts, and calm a screaming child. Are you disappointed that I’m in pajamas? That I have at least one, but usually more unidentified substances on my clothes? That I smell vaguely of diaper cream and you’re pretty sure I haven’t showered in a couple of days? Do you look at me and miss the freshly showered and perfumed woman who used to have your dinner ready when you came in the door?

Remember that time we drove all the way home from St. Louis? That seemingly never ending car ride? It started out exciting and fun, it was a best friend road trip after all! But somewhere between Oklahoma City and Texas it turned nasty. Hours in the car made us both irritable and we just wanted to skip the rest of the drive and be home already.

That’s kind of what this stage is like. We’re in that ugly, flat, open area of land. But it’s ok because it’s a part of the journey. Our St. Louis drive is a great story now. We lived. We made it home and we celebrated. Time passed and we forgot the details of the trip. We only remember that it was hard but we did it.

And so my love, I say all this to assure you that we’ll survive again. We must learn to appreciate the landscape of where we are now. We aren’t going back to where we’ve been. This road trip of life doesn’t go in reverse. We’re moving forward. And you’ll always be my best friend.

Laugh without fear

Today was a hard day. Actually, I’ve had a string of hard days lately. Days when the sadness takes over. I really don’t like those days.

Occasionally, when I’ve had too many of those days in a row, I lose it. Usually I am alone when this happens. I like to go home, run a nice hot bath, and just let myself cry. Alone.

But I don’t really have a lot time for planned break downs these days. So today some poor, totally unsuspecting, woman had to witness my crazy.

It wasn’t her fault really. She was just delivering news that was caused by the system she works in. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back as they say. And I started weeping in front of her and everyone else in that office.

I call it volcano crying. It starts with quivering lips. Then your mouth puckers up because you’re trying to hold it in. Your bring your hand up to your mouth like that might help. But eventually the tears build up and you can’t hold them back any longer at which point your face erupts with tears. You’re still trying to push through so you attempt talking but your voice gets really high and your speech is nearly incomprehensible. This is the kind of crying you really only want to do alone. Or at least with a close and trusted loved one.

Not the receptionist at the doctor’s office.

But that’s what happened to me today. I eventually gathered myself and shortly after that humiliating experience I was in the restroom where I came across a small picture frame. I almost didn’t notice it had it not caught my eye at the last second before I was leaving.

It had a single verse which read

In that moment, I was feeling weak, shameful, and completely unsure of the future. Certainly not like the woman this verse describes. But I left the restroom with a peaceful sense of worthiness. I don’t have to believe what my enemy voice says anymore. I get to choose.

I don’t know how I’ve never come across this passage before but it totally struck me. These were the EXACT words I needed to hear. God knows what we need and when we need it. He speaks to us if we know how to listen.

Girly girl

I’ve never really been the “girly” type. I didn’t start wearing makeup until after college, I’m way too tall for heels, dresses make me fidget, and I’ve always had short hair that I don’t curl, braid, or dress in any way.

As a young girl, I was more interested in other things and by the time I realized it was ok to fix myself up a little bit I was too busy to learn how to do it properly. So it’s always been a little bit of an insecure spot. Now that I have a baby, a business, grad school, and 2 side jobs, I just don’t have the time to fiddle with such things.

Which unfortunately translates to my daughter. I like to attempt fixing her hair in pony tails and clips but 1) she hates it and 2) she pulls them out. To me it’s a time waster.

But now her hair is starting to get in her eyes and everyone thinks she’s a boy without her hair fixed.

So today I took Elora to school in an orange halloween onesie and gray sweatpants, and no hair decorations. She looked like a little boy.

When I picked her up from school, she had the most adorable pig tails in her hair! I really did think they were so cute. I complimented the teacher and thanked her for doing it. But when I got in the car I noticed this old familiar feeling…

I felt like a “bad mom” because I sent my child to school with hair in her eyes. Like less of a woman because I can’t figure out how to fix her hair cute and make it stay. And basically a terrible person because I don’t really care if she doesn’t have cute hair.

I spent the  whole 10 minutes home berating myself and feeling embarrassed that someone had to help me with my baby. Luckily, I’ve had enough experience with this to realize when I’m headed down the shame hole. In no way did that sweet teacher intend to demean me by putting Elora’s hair in pig tails…Super cute pig tails.

She did a really nice thing for Elora and me. And I decided to be GRATEFUL for a teacher who loves Elora enough to fix her hair. That was a much better feeling than the self-imposed mom-shame I was headed toward.

Trials of many kinds

This whole entrepreneurship thing is no joke. It is HARD. Like last mile of the marathon when your entire body is screaming no and  you’re mind is rationalizing it’s way out of going one more step HARD.

The other day I was driving in my car crying again, because it’s just all too much and the worry has to go somewhere, and frustration overwhelmed me. In weak moments like these, I’ve been asking God to make this stop. If we could just fast forward to the easy part that would be great, thanks.

Right then a thought came to my mind. Put there by Him no doubt. Just a quiet reminder to me in my moment of anger.

Dry Needling.

It’s a technique Josh uses on me to help with neck and upper shoulder pain. (That I get from all the anxiety by the way, but at least I know I have a problem). I wrote about needling once before.

The thing about dry needling for me is it freakin’ hurts. Every single needle stings and my muscles are so wound up that it’s torturous when the needle gets in there and forces them to relax back down. My instinct is to fight it. I want to tense up and brace for it. Sometimes I literally sweat and get in full on fight or flight mode. Josh doesn’t even realize how close he’s come to getting a good punch in the face. But since I looked like frankenstein with needles sticking out of my neck he got lucky and missed out.

It took a few failed sessions, for me to realize that the fight makes it worse. It doesn’t help my pain, and it doesn’t release any tension. I have to ALLOW the needles to do their JOB. Which is to hurt me. In a brief moment I feel immense pain. But the reward of living every other day with the freedom to turn my head in all directions is worth it.

I’m working on the “pure joy” part but I can at least realize that this pain is temporary. And it is serving a purpose. I’m somewhere after mile 20 wondering why in the world I signed up for this but I’m still going.

Her story

I have not been myself lately. People tell me I’ll go back to normal eventually after my hormones settle down. But I feel like women don’t actually have a “normal”. Our entire lives are a screwed up roller coaster of hormonal ups and downs.

But anyway, I woke up feeling off again. Couldn’t get myself out of bed. Skipped another workout. Moped around the house for an hour before deciding I just needed to get out of there. I grabbed Elora and we went down the street to Starbucks because where else do you hang out at 9am?

One thing I MISS is reading. When Josh and I lived in St. Louis I would walk down to the Starbucks and read for hours. Uninterrupted. Without a child trying to eat the book. And it was glorious.

Elora absolutely hates the car seat so I had her on my lap. I had this picture in my mind that she would sit there and just play with a toy and I could read a book.

Adorable right?

Nope. She was annoying the crap out of me. Ripping my book, covering it with her body, slapping at my face. Suffice it to say, reading just wasn’t happening.

Just as I was about to give up and leave, a sweet lady came over to us. She told me how absolutely precious we were. She asked me for my phone because she wanted to capture the sweet moment for me.

It reminded me of this video that a friend of mine shared on Facebook a few days ago. It’s called “A Normal Day” and totally worth the minute and a half to watch.

My little girl just loves me and she loves being near me. That won’t always be the case. Ever since I watched that video I have been trying to think of my days through Elora’s eyes. What would her story to Josh be at the end of the day? I don’t want her to see me as a tired, worn down, irritable momma. There will be plenty of time for reading later on in life. And when that time comes, I’ll probably be doing it to distract myself from the fact that my children don’t need me anymore.

Easy like Sunday

I firmly believe happy is a choice. It doesn’t just happen. But I do pay attention to things that make me feel happy because I think it helps me find my sweet spot. That place where being happy doesn’t feel like such a struggle.

One of my classic sweet spots is the Sunday of a three day weekend. When you know you have Monday off so you don’t have to do all the things you usually do on a Sunday night. You get to play a little bit longer than usual and sleep in the next day. It feels glorious.

I was one of those people who contributed to the debasement of Mondays by dreading them every week.

But something really wonderful happened to me. A few weekends ago, Josh and I were going to bed on a Sunday evening. I laid down and realized that I had a really good feeling. An easy going contentment. I was looking forward to the next day. I had several things to do but I wasn’t dreading it like I used to. I was ready for the day to come.

It was such a reinforcing moment. When Josh and I gave up the security of my 8-5 job it was a huge leap of faith. But we have been gifted in so many ways since then. I know now that we chose the right path. Now every Sunday is like the Sunday of 3 day weekend for me. I look forward to my work. I don’t dread Monday anymore. I look forward to the possibilities that a new week brings.

 

But seriously…why is Josh always right?

Josh is such a great coach. He is so encouraging and involved. He knows when to push and when to just let you work it out. He is what I call a noticer so he remembers things about people. He remembers what your previous weights and times were. He remembers things that are going on in your life. People really respond to him and love him as a coach.

Except me. It’s different when that coach is your husband. Or maybe it’s different because I’m a perfectionist and don’t want Josh telling me what and how to do.

I actually wrote about this way  back in 2013, when Josh started teaching me CrossFit. I titled it Suffer Now because I needed to just get over myself and let him be the expert. Still working on this one ya’ll…

I’ve been in denial for years. I mean…years. I have always just tried to outwork my diet with exercise. I have a few go to treats…

But now that little bit has come along, I’ve found making time for exercise challenging. Sometimes just moving her back and forth between all the play mats and exersaucers is my workout.

And Josh has been telling me for years to get my diet stuff under control. He’s been telling me I would feel so much better if I could stop eating breads, sugars, and excessive dairy. But what does he know? I LOVE those things. I NEED those things.

So back in November Josh told me that he wanted to do a paleo challenge at the gym. I was like

But then he said he wanted to do strict…which means no dairy…and I was like

So it took him 3 months to convince me to do this. The fact that I felt like crap every single day helped. I would rather feel the discomfort of avoiding certain food groups than the discomfort of bloating, headaches, low energy, and constant sinus infections.

So I did it. 30 days of strict paleo. I’m down 10 pounds and I lost nearly 9 inches in my torso and legs.

But I gained so much more. I have energy for the first time since before I was pregnant. My mood is better. I have a happier outlook. I just FEEL BETTER. I never felt good after having 2 margaritas at dinner. I mean, they tasted good but I always had to suffer with the after effects. It’s just not worth it.

So even though this is the last day of the challenge, I am going to maintain a mostly paleo diet. And I’m going to start listening to Josh more because dang it, he’s usually right.