Two Blue Lines

I had barely passed my nineteenth birthday.   I was waiting for acceptance letters from universities.  I was a band nerd who had attended few parties and spent a good amount of my time going to church and youth group.  And now I was seeing two blue lines on a pregnancy test.

I don’t know why I was shocked.  Little to no preventative measures had been taken and I knew what I was doing.  I had experienced an odd tingle at what I imagine is the moment of fertilization that had tipped me off.  Yet those two blue lines knocked me to the ground where I bawled my eyes out.  These types of things don’t happen to girls like me,  I thought.  I was pretty sure I was invincible and untouchable to the things that brought a teenage girl’s world crashing down even though I always flirted with that line of “don’t go there”.  Taking risks and being adventurous were awesome! – as long as I didn’t get caught.

Ask my parents –  I always have learned the hard way.

My recipe for messiness?  I was completely insecure and found my identity in being the girlfriend of so-and-so.  I was nothing if I didn’t belong to someone.  I felt like I was free falling and completely ungrounded if I wasn’t involved in a relationship.  You know, I was going to marry my boyfriend eventually – we were totally in love – so it was *really* ok to be doing the things I was doing.   Was life not was like a television show where problems were cleaned up in 22 minutes?!  It all worked out for David and Donna!! (People use to comment I looked like Jennie Garth – I blame them for my delusions).

Looking back now, there were also some mental health issues going on during those years that were beyond just feeling insecure.  Perfectionism, poor body image and disordered eating started to surface and affect my patterns of thinking.  I lacked the tools to process intense emotions and would turn to self-destructive behaviour in order to gain a sense of control over my life.

My good girl image was important to me and now I was exposed.  My swollen belly was on display to the world like a sign over me stating “Yep, she screwed up”.  Shame was my constant companion and, at the time, I felt like I deserved it.

Nine months after taking that test, a healthy baby girl was born and my identity shifted solely to being a mother.  I put school on the back burner and concentrated all of my time and efforts into learning about being a good parent and fulfilling that role. I devoured books, participated in MOP groups and  started to root my identity in God.

Almost 20 years later I have realized that my recipe for messiness hasn’t changed a whole lot.    I am still pretty insecure.  When I became a young and unmarried teenager I somehow came to believe I no longer had the right to say anything about anything because I had messed up.  My opinions no longer had merit.  I was damaged goods and my mistakes negated my value as a human.   No one ever told me this wasn’t true.

So I am writing now because I want those young moms-to-be out there to know that you are not sub par.  You are still precious and worthy and valued by God just as you were yesterday, last year and from the time you were conceived.  We are all still human with the same value to our voice and contributions.

Which means, daughter of mine, that you can still change the world.

The Carrot on the Floor

bbf10-carrot

 There was a carrot in the middle of the living room floor this morning. I snacked on carrots and hummus last night while snuggled on the couch with a novel so I know this carrot has been hanging out on my floor all night long. I sat in my chair looking at that carrot. I knew the compulsion to run over and pick that carrot up would sweep over me. I knew I would want to remove that carrot from it’s wrong place and put it in it’s right place. I knew I would be uncomfortable in my imperfect living room until said carrot was removed.

 I don’t enjoy being uncomfortable and will naturally do what I can do avoid it. Being uncomfortable sometimes involves distress, pain, anxiety and fear. I don’t particularly enjoy those emotions or feelings and none of those do I willingly enter into.  Suddenly though, as I am just coasting along, life gets messy.

So far, my 2014 has been really messy. There has been a ton of hurt, crying, anger, disappointment, exasperation and frustration. As it continues on, it’s incredibly uncomfortable and difficult. To be honest, I just want it all to be over.  I want my easy, care-free, pretty-much-pain-free-life back.  My instinct is to just fix it all up nice on the surface so that it feels good and I can pretend everything is a-ok.

Except, sometimes when we all we really want to do is clean it up, we prevent the work that happens in the midst of being uncomfortable. As an example, I recently started doing Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown and mid-workout she instructs us to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” As I am stretched to my limits (and sweating my butt off), she reminds me that enduring the uncomfortable is worth the end goal.

Smack in the middle of this crazy mess, God is working. He is teaching me patience. He is forcing me to see that deep down my choices are rooted in self-preservation, self-promotion, and self-soothing. He is challenging me to prove what love really looks like. If I forego the difficult and uncomfortable parts of life, I miss being shaped by Him. If I just skip over the unbearable-I-really-don’t-want-to-do-this parts, I miss an opportunity to grow in character and in relationship with Him.

More than anything else, I want to know God, love God, serve God and show God.  When I signed up for this Jesus thing, I knew I was signing it all over.  Comfort, wealth, family, ease, friends, my own plans – all of it.  I am confident of the depths of God’s love for me and will continue to yes to Him.

That carrot?  I never did pick it up.