God's Brave Women - Erin's Story
God's Brave Women - Erin's Story
When I was little I dreamed of having a family of my own, which naturally included me being swept off my feet like Cinderella. I imagined holding and caring for babies that would live healthy abundant lives. We’d grow old in a story that wasn’t perfect but was full! Full of love with a bond that could not be broken, and I never even entertained the idea that it would EVER be broken. I was living that dream at the ripe age of twenty-two. This year, fourteen years later, that dream has been stripped away.
In those early years, I found that being swept off my feet also came with difficult challenges. It came with hard conversations about how to spend money and how to work as a team when we each wanted our own way. Holding and caring for babies came with me wanting more and feeling exhausted at the end most days… more than I want to admit. My life was not perfect, but I still thought it was full of the love I longed for. Soon I found myself being consumed with comparison. I’d compare my life to others, wishing I was living more Pinterest-y moments. Wishing I could do it all. If I could just follow some sort of formula my kids would turn out ok, my marriage would make it through, my house would eventually be all I imagined, I would actually start to like cooking, and we’d live in close community like the biblical model of Acts 2. I just needed to follow the formula…
But in my current uncertain season, I’m learning listen to my gut. I’m learning to stop assuming the best and really look at reality. For a long time, I created a coping mechanism and tried to ignore what was really going on. I tried to not ask the hard questions when they need to be asked. If I assumed the best, then I didn’t have to deal with the actuality of where my marriage really was… or where my thoughts went when I wanted to escape… or what was really going on in my kids’ worlds. Facing the truth in my circumstances has helped me see clearly. Even though I feel pulled in so many directions, especially as a mom, I know I needed to stretch. However, it’s still exhausting. Sometimes when I feel like I’ve gone beyond my limits, I don’t want to persevere and wait. I want the slow cooker of my life to hurry up like an Instapot! But I’ve had to remind myself (and so many others in my life) that my situation isn’t black and white. It’s a whole lot of messy gray and the only healthy way through is right through the middle of the mess. And that is where I am today.
"But I’ve had to remind myself that my situation isn’t black and white. It’s a whole lot of messy gray and the only healthy way through is right through the middle of the mess."
One year ago, I was on the beach at one of the most incredible weekends of my life, a Holy Yoga Retreat. As I sat on the beach, hours before heading back to my family, I asked God for one thing He wanted me to go home with. I sensed Him saying, “I’m going to take you on a love adventure.” What I hoped that would mean and what actually happened were polar opposites. This year has been a year of being stripped down… to rock bottom. My marriage is in tangles, I’m separated from my husband, I’ve lost my job, and I’ve entered into a season of grief like I’ve never known. On paper my life looks like a wash, such a mess that I ask myself how in the world is this my life right now! It has felt like a nightmare, one where I want someone to pinch me so I can wake up from this horrible dream. Yet, even in the midst of my life’s realities, how it’s changed and flipped completely upside-down… I still see God’s hand. I see how He’s made me brave.