My pastor often talks about how many times he has to live through whatever his sermons are. As I joke about being the pastor of brown couch ministries I see just how true that is for me. This week hit especially hard for me.
In my girls mentorship program, I’m doing a series on what is essentially the fruits of the spirit. I believe these principles applied to our self identity will make for well rounded and healthy positive mindsets. This week I took the big concept of long suffering and made it 3-5th grade public school friendly. I put the words flexible, stretch, bend, adjust and change on the board and asked the girls to define each word. As expected they were filled with excitement as all of them are very interested in gym and cheer. They named off different moves that require various levels of agility and physical strain. After they defined each word, I asked them to take their bodies out of it and reflect on a time in their life when they had to adjust or make changes in their own lives. I prompted them using examples of new siblings, moving homes or schools or a simple change of plans. The girls shared their stories in great detail and we made rubber band bracelets to remind us that we can stretch and bend and adjust to the different things in life but we are not easily broken and that when we have support we become stronger and even harder to break.
Well! My mind is blown on how this was really for me. I’m still in the first 5 years of marriage and just completed my first year of motherhood. I have been stretching and adjusting and bending and flexing daily! This week however felt especially hard for me. Last week I had gone to the dr to check to see if there was any health factors relating to my rapid weight gain. They tested me and wrote me off to needing sleep and being depressed. I don’t do well with labels. As someone who has been living with this label of depression and anxiety and seeing how far I’ve come with coping, I was so upset to hear that that’s the only answer they had for me. I’m in physical pain daily, and being tired comes with parenthood!
I took the step this year to get back to who I see myself as by doing things I love. As a new entrepreneur and entering a new field and all that comes with that I just really wanted to do something that was just for me. So I auditioned for a local Christmas play. I got a part!!! Excited yet hesitant I felt so selfish for having to go to practice 2-3 times a week for over a month. This combined with the amount of trainings I’ve been taking to build my business I knew I would be physically and mentally unavailable to my family way more than before. Balance is so important to me! I fully believe that if I lose who I am in my family they won’t like who I become and if I give all my time to what I want to do it will cause harm as well. Finding this balance through my guilt was hard. Last night was my second of 12 shows. They provide childcare for participants and so I brought my son. After a rough morning and being emotionally drained it was time to get on stage. Dropped lines and missed cues all over the place, yet people kept stopping me backstage with high fives and encouragement that I felt so undeserving of.
I felt like I was unraveling! thread by thread on the verge of falling apart. How are they telling me I’m doing a good job?! I’m not being a good mom or wife! Then it clicked. These people don’t know me. All they see is my acting as well as my ability to deliver the roll assigned to me. I did do a good job! Then it hit me like that fast pitch ball did in 8th grade. I have the ability to stretch but not break and that’s a power in itself. Even in this time of intense stress and strain I am still here in my right mind. I am able to deliver what is expected of me in the best of my ability and they were there to support me. Support strengthens if we take the time to rest in it. Side note!! Please take the time to think of who actually supports you rather than looking at who you want to support you and active shoes that they don’t…
One of my favorite comedy stand ups is Kat Williams taking about stretch marks. He said all they are is one of two things. Either you were small and got big or you were big and got small. EVIDENCE THAT YOU MADE IT! Mothers sometimes show off their stretch marks from each child as evidence! People who have gained or lost weight as well. It’s to show what we have experienced! Yes there are children walking around as a testament but I carry a reminder on my body that I have been through and survived the amount of stretch it takes to go produce life! As women we are created to bring forward. To give life and to birth what man never can. So weather or not you are a mother you still have the unique and amazing ability as a woman to withstand and thrive through the stretch!
The things we experience in life stretch us to the point that it may leave a scars, but let those scars remind us that we survived. We are able to do far more than we may expect and we can heal and recover! In this time I see so many women who have lived through a variety of life experiences. Let’s pray together. Apply this to you in your current season of stretching.
Lord, thank you for this day thank your for allowing me to be in this season and this time in my life. Thank you for the lessons you have for me to learn and the people you have placed in my life for this time to support me and for me to be a support to. Thank you God for stretching me. For showing me how far you can extend me past even what I think I can handle. You know the plans you have for me. To prosper me and not to harm me. Help me to rely on your strength when I feel weak for you strength is made perfect in my weakness. Help me to look to you for my help in my dark moments as well as when they are bright. Lead me on the path you want for me to go. I surrender my will to yours, I accept what you have for me and I trust your plans for my life. thank you for reminding me that I am strong, I am worthy and I am capable. I love you, and praise you. In Jesus name, AMEN