The Space Between

For the women trying to live life in the space between it all.

Tag Archives: Jesus Life

Sweet, simple faith.

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Every night, my husband and I pray with our daughters. One of us usually starts and Audrey jumps in and asks if she can pray instead. It usually goes something like this, “Dear God, thank you for mommy and daddy. Thank you for Audy and Quinn. Thank you for Dez. Thanks for my friends. Thank you for Sofia the First. Thank you for our IMG_7857blessings. In Jesus’ name, Amen!” Sometimes it’s super short and sometimes it lasts for minutes. She will usually add in thanking God for MawMaw & PawPaw and Nana & Pop or her aunts and uncles and cousins and other family members’ pets. I remember very specifically when we were praying for someone to get better she prayed, “Please make her all better because she’s sick.” What if it was actually that easy to pray like that? What if we actually believed that the Lord could make someone sick better?

Childlike faith. We’re called to live like little children and have faith like a child, but do we actually do it? Do we truly believe the Lord can heal like a momma’s kiss on a boo boo? Do we thank God daily for all of the things we are blessed with? Is it difficult? Do we feel silly? Do we think it matters? I think we could learn a lot about prayer and faith by watching and listening to children. It’s so sweet and simple. I think as we get older, we become calloused to things because we go through so many trials and the world is so full of hurt. We become less likely to believe in things we can’t see or experience firsthand. Maybe we begin to take things for granted. Maybe we don’t see the miracles and provision in our own life. Maybe we don’t see the little blessings we are given every day. We become so jaded that we don’t believe the Lord can perform miracles. Miracles are happening around us every day, we just need to change our perspective a little bit. My sweet three-year-old sees the world in such a different way than I do. She thanks God for everything, and I do mean everything. A few weeks ago she thanked God for cheese. She thanks God for the park. Imagine if we had gratitude for everything in our life? Even something as simple as the park or cheese. Imagine what our life would look like. Our lives would fill up with so much gratitude and contentment. As we enter into the season of giving and thankfulness, I challenge you to have faith like a child. Thank the Lord for the little things, pray for others, ask for miracles. We just might be able to change the world.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:3-4

A real, honest and raw article about anxiety. 

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Please let me preface that this is unbelievably hard for me to write about and admit. Anxiety is real and terrible and it affects more people than you could ever imagine. Some of what I’m about to say is going to sound crazy but I know there’s some of you out there who can relate which is why I’m willing to share part of my journey.

I haven’t always struggled with anxiety. I’ve always been kind of shy and introverted but I used to be extremely carefree. Things didn’t bother me. I could drive without breaking a sweat. I could pretty much do anything. But something over the last 5 years completely changed me. I’m not the same person I used to be. Let me tell you a few things that anxiety has done to me.

Anxiety has…

  • Made me stay at home instead of going out with friends.
  • Led me to question my marriage and if I should even be married to my husband.
  • Made me question if I was a good mother.
  • Made me wonder if I’m capable of snapping and hurting my children.
  • Caused me (in the past) to be an extreme people pleaser.
  • Made me question if my own parents and husband even liked me.
  • Made me wonder if this world would be a better place if I wasn’t in it.
  • Made me think I’m stupid and incompetent.
  • Never allowed me to completely let my guard down in relationships.
  • Never allowed me to completely be myself in any situation, ever.
  • Forced me to be on guard no matter where I am – anyone that walks in the park or by my house is out to get me or my kids.
  • Caused me to lose friendships.
  • Caused many fights and arguments.
  • Caused me to question if God really exists and why He would put me on this earth just to fail.
  • Made me question if being a wife and mom is truly what I’m meant to do.

This is actually a really short list compared to what all I’ve dealt with. If you’ve never struggled with anxiety, this probably seems absolutely crazy toIMG_4112 you. But if you have, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Anxiety is ugly and mean and it brings out the worst versions of us. This is a topic I’ve never really talked about. I finally found the courage to talk to my husband about it a couple of years ago. He was extremely supportive and caring. Another topic that people are afraid of…I struggle with intrusive thoughts. Thoughts that I never would’ve imagined I’d be capable of thinking. If I’m carrying my baby, I’ll have a vision of me falling with her. If I’m driving, I’ll imagine what it’d be like to get into a car accident. There have been times that I’ve been so unhappy with the way things were, or rather, my brain was telling me I was unhappy, that I wondered how everyone would handle it if I just ran away. Now, let me be perfectly clear here – I’ve never felt capable of ever actually running away (or hurting my children, for that matter) but there are many times that I can’t control my thoughts. If I read an article or news story, my mind will wander and create these thoughts, then they creep in and consume me. I have to completely shift my mind and not think about them and even then, they still loom. I’ve questioned if being married is truly what I want. I’ve questioned if my girls would be better off without me. There have been times where my brain is telling me, “That person doesn’t like you.” And I believe it, even if there isn’t any proof or reason to believe that to be truth. I’ve thought it about my husband and even my own parents. I always think people are mad at me and I read way too much into stupid little things. I have made myself literally physically ill over things completely out of my control. And anxiety is to blame. It’s caused crippling fear and terrible thoughts. It’s caused me to lash out over minute things that nobody would ever understand. And as the freak out is happening, I can feel it not being me but I can’t stop it. I can’t control it.

Over the past year, I decided to face my anxiety head on. I was done. It had consumed me for so long and I wanted my life back. It has taken me many steps and lots of prayer and conversations but I feel more like myself every day. I still have days that are very tough but I have some days that don’t consume me. I caIMG_4113n finally drive without feeling sick to my stomach constantly. I can take my kids to the park or go for a walk without
constantly looking over my shoulder for a serial killer. I now greet at church without
breaking a sweat – BIG step but I’m doing it. I can leave my kiddos with grandparents and other family without leaving a schedule or a huge long list and without feeling guilty. The girls and I go to the store without my husband regularly, whereas I wouldn’t even go by myself when I was pregnant. My husband and I fight a lot less and I’m able to let more things go. The past year has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions and working through this. I’m nowhere near close to overcoming anxiety and I honestly don’t think I ever will but it’s gotten better.

 I know exactly what you’re feeling. Whether you suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD or some other form of mental illness, I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s pretty common for anxiety and OCD to be linked and sometimes depression can sneak in there especially post-partum. I’ve dealt with all of those. I had severe post-partum anxiety (PPA) after my three year old was born and mild post-partum depression (PPD). I’ve always struggled with OCD, but that’s a topic for another time. I want to urge you to seek help if you’ve been dealing with any of these feelings. There are healthy ways to deal with them and while they may not be curable, they can be manageable. Whether it’s PPD or PPA or even just anxiety/depression you’ve always dealt with, please seek a healthcare professional. Talk to a pastor, talk to a friend, a doctor, message/email me. Seek help. You’re not alone in this journey. You are seen and loved, even if your anxiety is telling you otherwise.

If you need to talk to someone, here are some resources available:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
National Postpartum Depression Hotline – 1-800-PPD-MOMS
Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-SUICIDE

Living in doubt.

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This is going to be extremely candid and not very well rehearsed as I’m writing this from my phone while nursing my 8 month old. I’ve felt the Lord pushing me to write this for a few days now and I’m finally doing it very causally and quickly. I’m praying the Lord paves the way and these words are truly from Him.

I’ve officially been a stay at home mom for two months now. I’ve been struggling big time with only living on one income. I love shopping and spending money and I love serving others and being able to help others out. I like nice things and coffee and smell good things. I’ve been struggling with not being able to willy nilly buy whatever I want. Talk about selfish. We have a beautiful home, beautiful children, beautiful things. Of course there’s things we want to improve or buy new but that’s not a reality for us right now. Why am I so focused on the things I want rather than what I already have? Why do we do this? I want. I want. I want.

I started applying for jobs last week. Brandon and I talked and we came to the conclusion that God was just trying to teach us a lesson about money and being grateful for what we have. Yes, that’s it. We’ll be different this time. No, no we won’t. We’re still spending left and right and haven’t learned anything. I told my mom I was applying for jobs and she told me that it was just a case of the “I wants.” She was right. I had a very eye opening conversation with a friend who is in a similar situation last night. She’s struggling with some of the same things. But she’s trusting the Lord to provide and they’re doing everything they can to make this work for them. She told me we’re always chasing something. We’ll always want more or new or different. I’m currently wondering what I’m going to do come fall and I can’t spend $200 on Bath & Body Works fall candles like I do every year. Is it even fall if your house doesn’t smell like pumpkins or fresh leaves? Maybe not. Just kidding, yes it is. And at the end of the day, I’m staying at home with my kids for my kids. Do you think they’re going to remember what our house smelled like? Will the pumpkin smell be their fondest memory growing up? It might be. But probably not.

I’ve spent the last month doubting God’s plan for our family. One of my dear friends received a text from me at 2am one night because I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop crying over this. She encouraged me to pray. I’m truly grieving the life we used to live but I truly believe (and am working on living it out) that the Lord has a great plan for us. I may get a job soon. I also might not. But I’ve had some strong convictions lately and if it does happen, it’ll be for the right reasons. I don’t know what the future holds. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a God crystal ball? I’d love to see the future but that doesn’t leave much room for faith, does it?

Today I’m praying for anyone living in doubt of what the Lord has planned for you. Having faith can be so hard but I’m letting Jeremy 29:11 ring true.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬

Such powerful words. The Lord has great plans for our lives. Maybe you’re in a season where you just don’t feel that. Hold tight. It’s coming. He will always provide and in the midst of the good and the bad – He remains constant and good. Shake that doubt away and hold close to this promise He made to us. He has us. He has me. He has you. He won’t let any of His children slip through the cracks. I know it’s hard but rest assured this is only a season. I’m praying for you, friend.

For when you tried your best.

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Oh sweet momma, today you rocked it. You kept the kids busy. You didn’t turn on the TV once. You painted, you danced, you played doctor, you played with playdough, you colored a card for someone who’s sick, you let them paint some more, you kept your cool, you didn’t let the series of unfortunate events get to you. Thing after thing happened but you didn’t break. Not today, Satan. Nothing seems to go right but you’re trying your hardest to make the best of it. But you’re only human and you’re only one person so naturally, it gets to you. Time for a mini meltdown. Or a huge one. Doesn’t matter.

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Why do I even try? Why is this so hard? Why can’t things just go how I want them to for once? Why does it seem like the universe is against me? Why can’t this just be easy?

 I have had those days. Trust me, I’ve had them. However, tomorrow is a new day. You get to start over again! Looking back, I know we had hard days when my second was first born and even my first was born, but I truly cannot remember the details of them. I can’t remember a specific bad day. I remember the good ones, oh do I remember the good ones! But the bad ones? Not so much. This is just a moment. An hour. A day. A week. A season. It always gets better. Sip on some coffee, snuggle with your kiddos and know that tomorrow will be better. Each day holds new hope and promises. You’ve got this.

You are capable. You are amazing. You are super mom. You are radiant. You are a rock star. (You totally rock!) You are incredible. You’ve. Got. This.

My first week as a stay at home mom was a nightmare.

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I’m going to preface this by saying, I’m SO thankful I get to stay at home with my kids. It’s such an answer to many prayers and truly a blessing for us. However, I expected our first week to be sunshine and rainbows and it wasn’t. Not. Even. Close. It doesn’t even make any sense because I stayed home before, I just had additional kids to watch. You’d think it’d be easier! Nope. It wasn’t. My kids lost their routine. They lost their friends. Now we wake up when we want, we eat when we want. We’ve been doing the same thing every day for a long time and now everything is changing. Why did I decide to use this huge adjustment and transition period to potty train my two year old? Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment because holy moly it was the worst idea I’ve ever had.

It’ll be so great. I’ll be able to clean my house and go outside all the time and potty train Audrey and have dinner on the table when my husband comes home. The laundry will always be caught up and I’ll be able to meal prep and make gourmet breakfasts. What was I thinking? Why did I think this would be easy?

Audrey is a mess because she’s trying to adjust to a completely new day to day life and Quinn has done nothing but scream and cry all day every day since Monday. Genius idea to schedule 6 month shots that first week. Good job, Alli.

My poor husband didn’t come home to a clean house or a meal on the table or a happy wife. He came home to a tornado of a house after Hurricane Alli came through trying to do her home cooked meals and a shell of a very defeated wife. I haven’t even had time to write a blog post until now because I’ve been so busy adjusting and figuring things out.

I’m going to share a screenshot of a text my amazing husband sent me and hopefully he doesn’t get mad – just kidding, he won’t! I’m so thankful for his encouragement and support. He has made this difficult transition much easier with his encouraging words and being willing to clean our disaster house after his long work days.

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Can we all sing together? What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Good job, guys! But seriously, how awesome is he?! I’m such a lucky lady!

Stay at home moms, I don’t know how you do it! We just finished up week 2 and it was much better but not any easier. My house is still a wreck. I’m hoping the ability to balance things and juggle will come with time. It does, right?!

When the Lord provides.

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For the past few months it’s been laid on my heart that I’m being called to be a stay at home mom. I’ll be perfectly honest, my husband and I battled a lot about this because I kept bringing it up. It was all so silly and crazy because I would never quit my job. Ever. I love my job. None oIMG_8956f it made any sense. We’d fight and I’d get frustrated because I didn’t understand why I felt so strongly about something that wasn’t ever going to become a reality. It didn’t make sense. I even bought Erin Odom’s book You Can Stay Home with Your Kids in hopes of finding some good tips. Why? I have no idea. There was no reason for any of this. Then I got the news. In two weeks, I wouldn’t have a job anymore. Suddenly it all made sense. The Lord was preparing my heart for this for months and I didn’t even know it. He was preparing my husband for this conversation and preparing our household for what was to come and we didn’t even realize it. The days to follow were stressful. My husband very clearly knew the desires of my heart but the protector and provider in him was having a hard time coming to grips with losing an entire income. I prayed and begged and pleaded. I prayed a lot. I sought a lot. For the first time in a long time, maybe even ever, I listened. I listened with all that I had. I updated my resume. The Lord said no. I began to search for and apply for jobs. The Lord said no. I begged for clear and concise answers. I’m pretty sure God laughed at that. Well, maybe I can just work part time. The Lord said no again. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! Focus on your family. But, Lord, focusing on my family doesn’t make any money. Trust me. I will provide. I kept praying. I prayed and I prayed. All of a sudden, I felt this amazing peace. There was no fear. I knew there would be many sacrifices but I was ready and willing. I felt free. I felt excited. I had no idea what the Lord had planned – to be honest, I still don’t – but I know He has a mighty plan for my family.

The blessings started pouring in. The Lord was providing! Just like He said He would. I somehow managed to cut our grocery budget in half and now we’re eating better than we ever have before. How? I have no idea. I bought the same groceries I always do and yet this time they were a lot cheaper. I can’t explain it. Our phone bill was due to be dropped by $40 that month because they would both be paid off now. My bosses were extremely gracious and paid me for 4 weeks after I was done working. Little things began happening. Random free items, random discounts, bills that should have been more that were way cheaper than we could’ve imagined. Our eyes were opened. The Lord was providing. He wasn’t dropping hundreds of dollars from the sky but little by little, He was showing us just how powerful and mighty His great plan is.

Trust in Him. Even on the darkest of days, trust in Him. Give it all to Him. Listen. Trust. Believe. Seek. Pray. Worship. Know that the Lord will provide. And even though it may not be what you thought or look like what you wanted, know that He has the most incredible plan imaginable in the works. You just have to be ready to step out in faith and trust that He has a hold of you. He will always pave the way and go before us, we just have to trust and have a little faith.

Mom Pressure

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It’s 7pm the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I realized I didn’t get dresses for the girls for Easter. What kind of mom am I? Major mom fail. Ugh. I rifle through Audrey’s closet and find a cute, fancy schmancy dress in the back that a friend gave us last summer. It’s in her size. Score! I trot out to our back garage and dig through 70 billion totes to find Audrey’s old spring clothes from a couple of years ago. I find her first Easter dress and it’s 9 months. Score, again! Pretty Easter dresses – check. Now for the perfectly staged Easter picture. Not so check. Trying to get a sassy toddler and a 5 month old to both look at the camera and smile is near impossible. I couldn’t even manage to get Little Miss Sassafras to look at the camera.

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There’s so much pressure on perfection. Living in the social media world that we do makes it difficult at times to not play the comparison game. How does she get her kids to always smile for pictures? How does she get the sunlight to perfectly shine on her children’s faces? Why does her house always look perfect? How does she do it? Why is she so perfect? Here’s her secret. She’s not. Nobody is. It’s so easy to make social media our highlight reel and let everyone believe we’re perfect. But where’s the fun in that? Life is messy, raw, real, chaotic and a little bit sticky. (Or maybe that’s just my house – stinkin’ toddlers.) Why make it seem perfect? Why allow someone else’s highlight reel to put so much pressure on you? So what if you didn’t buy your kids Easter outfits? So what if you don’t realize until 7pm that your child only had goldfish for dinner – big, fat oops. So what if you forget about trick or treating and order their costume 2 days before? (Guilty – I also did that. Thank God for Amazon Prime.) So what if you forget about show and tell and your child takes the obvious last minute choice? So what if you shamelessly turn the TV on while tossing chicken nuggets in front of your child for the second night in a row?

None of it matters. None. Of. It. Matters. Period. I promise that all your child will remember is that momma tried. You tried. You did your best. At the end of the day your sweet baby still snuggles into momma because you are their safety net. Nothing bad can happen with momma around. You protect. You love. You provide. You cherish. And guess what? Despite the messes and the chaos and your crazy dry shampoo mom hair, your sweet angel looks at you and sees nothing less than pure, beautiful perfection.