Jul 6, 2015

Stuck in the Mud

Fear. Insecurity. Depression. Overeating. Under eating. Unforgiveness. Anger. Regret. Complacency. Laziness. Bitterness. Anxiety.

These are what I call "life suckers", "life takers", things that keep you "stuck in the mud", stuck in a place you don't want to be in. A place you never thought you've been in.

I've been there. And it's life sucking, at times it's crippling.

Why do we allow ourselves to be stuck? We can't control life and the circumstances that come our way. But we can do something about how we respond to our brokenness. It took me a good ten years to figure  out, and let me tell you I would love for you not have to go through what I did in order to get out of that mud I had dug my heels into. Because when we are so very stuck and don't take that step out of the place we don't want to be in, we are missing out on some incredible things. We are blind to the fact that we are surrounded by so many people who love us. We can be bitter to know end towards one person, and forget there are many many people that deserve and need our attention and love today. Sometimes we can miss the beauty in a sunset, because we are so wrapped in our fear that nothing seems beautiful and the world is so very dim. Sometimes we are so stuck in the mud in our battles, that we don't even want to get out of that mud. We are "safe" here. Familiar with the stench.

And yet, we have an incredible God who walks beside us every single day, hoping we will open our eyes to see Him. To see His truth. To see His freedom. To experience healing in the relationships that are broken, or the anxiety that is relentless. He has something greater planned. Even in the midst of a really difficult season.

The first step we can take is trusting God. All we need to do is look up. Say, I'm done allowing this to control my life, and my mid. I'm done being stuck in the mud and desire to let go of all I am holding on to. "I'm over it" is what I like to say. Because there's no reason to allow this to control your life. Difficulties, heart wrenching circumstances, they will always be here until we leave this earth. Yet we don't need to stay stuck. We can find hope and we can find joy.

Changing is difficult. Especially at the start. Letting go, forgiving, all of these things take lots and lots of work. For me, I'm nearing the end of a two year battle of overcoming life sucking anxiety. I say, nearing the end, because I am no longer allowing it to control my life any more. I'm letting go of that weight every single day, in little and big ways, and breaking free from that mud I was oh so stuck in.

And so can you. Whatever it is, big or small, you CAN make a change. You can learn how to forgive. You can experience peace. You can choose hope. You can see the blessings in your life today. It will be a battle, but God says He will never leave us. His word is filled with his promises to be with us always. Joshua 1:9 Is just one of the many that says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go".

It takes work. It takes accountability. Be honest with someone you are close to and ask for help. If you need encouragement, there is someone in your life that can help! Seek out someone that has overcome exactly what you are desiring to break free from. A pastor, your Mom, a sibling, a friend, someone.

It's so so time to get out of that mud you have been stuck in my friend. You can do this and it will be so very worth it in the end. Trust me! I've been in your shoes. 

May 17, 2015

She is My Mom

Recently I've been reflecting on my relationship with my own Mom, as I am now the new Mommy of sweet little girl named Lucy. I can't help but feel overwhelmed by this gift. It's so very special, so unlike any other friendship I've ever had. My Mom has always been my best friend. When I was young, I used to get so sad at times because I didn't have that one best friend. I always had a lot of close friends, but they all had that one bff ae...ae...ae come on ladies you wrote this one out many times. And my Mom would say, "that's because you have me, we are best friends". And as I've grown up to be a very mature adult 😉 I've realized the truth and beauty of this statement. It's true. She is my very best friend. She is my Mom.

I have many very close friends who are like sisters to me. And I praise God for them! They all have a different gift and purpose in my life. Yet my Mom can be a goof ball with me, she can laugh at me, she can put me in my place and remind me of the things only she can correct. She can blatantly remind me of my role as a wife. She can walk through countless stores as I search for the perfect top for this post pardum body, and that's no easy feat. I'm one picky girl. Always have been she says. But she puts the clothes back on the hanger, and Waits as I search for something else I'll probably not like. She is my Mom.

Now here I am, sitting on a couch listening to my own sweet daughter breath deeply as she takes that coveted long afternoon nap. Yet I can't help but wonder how I was blessed enough to be given this gift? My very own 24/7 best friend? Don't get me wrong, my husband is that role as well, and he will always come first. But I have a forever shopping buddy, a Woods Coffee date....I have that little buddy to enjoy life with while Dad is away at work. Someday I just may be where my Mom was as Little Lucy entered my world. Right by my side. Because she is my Mom.

Can I encourage you to call your Mom? Or text her and tell her you love her? This year was my first Mothers Day and goooooodnight is that a well deserved day. This job is endless, 24/7, 365. And it's beautiful. I know life brings its lemons and can sour any relationship.. I spent a good couple years being a snot nosed, hurtful teenager to my own Mom. But, she is my Mom. She loves endlessly and forgives effortlessly. Obviously many have experienced more heartbreak than that, yet forgiveness is possible in every circumstance. Life is too precious and so very short. We never know how long we have with our best friend, so use this time wisely.

I Pray that I am that Mom to my sweet sleeping Lucy. I pray that as she experiences heartbreak because girls can be so mean, and boys can be so cruel, she will know she always has me as her best friend. I pray that the bond we have now,, will only change and grow as the years go by.

 Because I am her Mom. 

Apr 17, 2015

The Birth of Lucy Rose

Lucy Rose.
Our sweet little stinker that was born February 19th at 6:30am here in Bellingham, Washington.
And it was a beautiful day. And for weeks now I've wanted to share with you the story leading up to her birth, and the exciting adventure of labor. But I've been busy changing diapers, feeding a hungry little bean, and trying to sleep whenever she does. But today I was inspired. Don't worry, no gory details will be shared, no need for that....and I don't have too much of that anyway.

1 year.
We tried for this precious baby girl for an entire year. Almost to the day.
I had been taking medicine for anxiety for many many years, and this medicine was unsafe for pregnancy and I wasn't about to subject a precious little pure baby to the chemicals found in this medication. So the journey of trying to find another pill that worked with my brain began, and what a journey it was. I'll go into more detail in another blog at another time, because that's quite the experience and God has written quite the story within that journey. Someday, I hope it will be a book, a book that will encourage others and bring hope for healing from anxiety and everything that goes along with it. But today, we focus on the beauty that came from Lucy.

After a very difficult and scary year of trying to find "the right" pill to calm my anxious mind, I came to realize I actually didn't need this pill and it was time to come off of it. That was a three month journey I will write about later, but within DAYS---HOURS of it being completely out of my system, my sweet Lucy Rose was created. Only God could do that. And what a confirmation to me that I did not need this pill any longer.

9+ months go by, and that baby grew--and so did my belly. It was an incredible experience!

It was about 11:30 pm and I was in bed trying to sleep when the first official contraction hit. And I knew. I knew she was coming. And I was terrified. What if I can't do this? What if my desire to do this labor completely without medication, without the tool I had previously used to numb any and every ounce of pain before trying to endure it--wasn't possible for me? What if I have too much anxiety to be a good Mom? What if all this healing and growth I've experienced isn't actually real?

So I told my sweet sleeping husband. And I told my Mom in the other room.
It's time.
After making that inevitable trip to the hospital to find that I was only 1.5 centimeters dilated, and Lucy wasn't quite ready, I lay in bed next to my Mom, next to the one who brought me into this world, how surreal is that--breathing through contractions off and on every 6 mins for a couple hrs. And picturing Jesus holding me in his arms. This was the ONLY way I could relax through every painful contraction the entire 30 hours.

At 12:00 pm I remember going into the large jet tub in our bathroom where I had previously thought I would so calmly labor, and cried. I was terrified and exhausted. I had already labored 13 hrs, how could I continue? That's when Jason put on the new Bethel album, We Will Not Be Shaken.
And I continued to cry. I cried out to the One who created this life inside of me, ready to come out and breathe her first breath.

5 hrs later my wonderful doula Deana came over, reminding me that the journey was not over and there was still breathing, squatting, walking aka--laboring to be done.

Around 7:30 everything started to really progress, and my everything intensified. By 10:30 I felt the urge to push and my Mom, Deana, and Jason felt it was time to go back to the hospital. I will NEVER forget that 25 minute drive. The entire time I tried not to push, but everything in me wanted to. I feared that this baby would come during that car ride. Sorry for putting you through the ringer Mom---but it was pretty cool to get to the hospital and be 7 centimeters dilated, knowing I had done all of that work at home!

After checking into the hospital and "settling in", we found out my cervix was not in the right place for this precious baby to come. So no pushing could be done. And the agony began. 4 hrs of waiting, continuing to labor---and wait. I remember so vividly this part of the journey. Mentally, I felt incredibly at peace as I labored in the tub, listening to Bethel's album in the background, with my nurse, Doula, Mom, and husband surrounding me. At one point the song, No Longer Slaves came on and Jesus filled the room with his presence fiercely. To this day I wonder what the nurses thought during that time. There was no going around hearing that song, and feeling the peace of God fill that room.

Here I was, two years after an incredibly terrifying, life changing, "dark night of the soul" kind of seasons. I can't even begin to tell you of the fears I have overcome at this point. To be lying in a tub, going through a very painful labor (as they all are), completely without any medication, FEARLESSLY. At one point I remember hearing a nurse, or someone say, "She is so brave, so strong, so peaceful".
These are not words I would EVER describe myself after going through two years of CRIPPLING fear. And here I was in a place where if I took control of your mind and keep from allowing each coming contraction fill your mind with fear, they would be less intense. At times I caved. At times I allowed myself to be FILLED with fear. But would be reminded by my Mom, or Deana, or Jason---RELAX. BREATHE. YOU'VE GOT THIS. And I did. And I would once again maintain that peace.

And then they broke my water. Just moved that dang cervix. And everything intensified and moved very quickly. And it was time to push. And two long hours later, my sweet baby girl Lucy Rose was born. The precious gift, miracle, the baby I prayed for, cried out to God for, was placed in my arms.

The journey was beautiful. The labor was longer, and more agonizing than I had prayer for. Yet it was exactly what I needed. It is a life long reminder of how brave I am, how STRONG I am. The days after her birth were incredible. They were also difficult, painful, and terrifying. And God is not done breaking me free from fear. It's a long journey breaking free from something you've battled your entire life. But what a beautiful journey it has been. I look forward to seeing the GOOD that comes out of it. So far, my sweet Lucy Rose is the greatest GOOD that has been born out of this journey.

All glory to God.

And I adore this sweet baby, her smiles, her coo's, her cuddles. I actually look forward to feeding her in a few hours because it's time with just Lucy and I. Watching this little baby grow and flourish as a child of God, my little mini-me that I get to raise. Plus, she gives me 5-8 hours that first chunk and at 2 months I recognize I am beyond blessed to have that. Today I am just in awe that I get to be her Mom. I am humbled that God has actually given me this baby, this new life, after battling daily to fully trust Him.


Here's is the link to that incredible song by Bethel. https://youtu.be/f8TkUMJtK5k

Aug 9, 2013

It's Time to Get Real Again

Life is interesting.
It's beautiful, exciting, and full of joy.
It's also challenging, daunting, overwhelming, and utterly painful at times.
And we all get that.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been struggling with anxiety, fear, and many other things that come out of these painful reminders of our great need for God's mercy and deliverance. And I never thought I could experience the feelings I experienced. For my entire life, I've been the optimistic, bubbly, happy go lucky, nice girl. Faith has come so easily to me for me. Always. Even in the midst of an eating disorder I could somewhat grasp faith that I would get through this.

I remember one evening when I was 7 years old, being at the park with my best friend Ali, we were climbing the monkey bars just talking about life, and I looked up and realized how big God was. I can remember to this day, what those clouds looked like. They were so full and "fluffy".  So powerful. You know what I'm talking about. The kind of clouds that make you stop for a moment and thank God for being real. At some point I remember saying something to Ali about God, about how he's always with us.

At 7.
And He is with us. He's been so real in my life from the start. Many of you know that I've struggled with anxiety for many years. Anxiety has its way of coming and going.

Four months ago, I started to experience a different, more difficult side of anxiety. It was one that just wouldn't go away. It started to dig so deep, that one day I woke up and just couldn't push past the fear any longer. It's like I was beating one lie or fear down, and then another one popped up so quick I couldn't even prepare myself for the next hit. And for the first time in my life, I can honestly say the Old Testament came to life in a way I never thought it could. The last couple of years life has brought its own challenges and I've had to experience emotional pain I never did before. We all have that. We've all been there. In fact, right now as you read this you probably are thinking about something you yourself went through or are going through that was painful. We all have painful memories.

For the first time in my life I was crying out to God asking "Where are you? Why aren't you delivering me from this anxiety? I'm doing everything I can to get better, to lay down every fear at every moment. Why aren't you delivering me from this pain God?"

For the first time I could relate to those who struggled to get out of bed in the morning. Who couldn't even begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And it hurt.

It was terrifying.

Health is SO important. Going to the doctor and making sure you are balanced mentally, emotionally, and physically...is SO important. Most of you know I am already open about taking medicine for anxiety. And email me if you need encouragement and hope because I do believe in God's healing. And I've come to the realization that God also heals through medicine. As I began to balance out my hormones, and the chemicals in my brain, I was able to actually stop, breathe, and lay down each fear. I could take that fear that had gone from one tiny little thought and blown up into something so hard to even manage, and battle it. Everyone has different thoughts on medicine and I've had to come to realize that a diabetic needs insulin to live healthy. People with excruciating headaches or backaches need pain killers. People with clinical depression need anti-depressants. So people who struggle with anxiety, and have tried everything they can to take care of the root, and it's still not even beginning to go away, also can take medicine.

Praise God for the healing that comes through that.

And healing is just beginning. It's a process. It takes time. But each day, I'm able to wake up, breathe, pray, exercise, worship, eat, and live once again.

 For the first time in my life, I felt like I had to truly SEARCH. I had to truly STOP and LISTEN. I had to shut out the noise of this world, I had to get off Facebook, instagram, and deal with what was going on in my life, in my heart and in my body. 

So why am I sharing this with you? Well, during my moments of feeling God's embrace I knew I needed to share my experience once again because some of you may need to be reminded you aren't alone. Im still working on getting healthy again and I know it's all a part of this journey. Some days are better than others. But I'm holding onto the truth that this too shall pass. Because GREATER is HE who is in me than he who is in this world.

God is so real. In those moments of darkness He is holding onto me. He is battling the spiritual, physical and emotional battle WITH me. And He is with you.

This morning while spending time with God I had this picture of me walking away from the pit I was stuck in, and God was walking with me, holding my hand, guiding me towards truth.

And He is with you as well.

Im praying for you more than ever before, that if you've fallen into a dark and scary pit, that you look up and see God reaching his strong hand towards you, pulling you back to freedom.

Phil 4:4-9 Brit

Aug 11, 2012

Sweetness to Deepness: Our Story

Recently I've been reminded of how lucky I am to have married my best friend. I remember for many years, waiting and waiting for that special person to come into my life. I dated a few different guys, but when I met my Jason, I knew. I knew his friendship was different. I knew his smile was different. It was for me. It was just for me. And now, as I look back over the last 5 years that I have known him, I am filled with such joy. When he came into my life my second year of college, I knew he was the man I was supposed to marry. I remember sitting in a worship service at his parent's church and just soaked in God's presence. At one point I opened my eyes, and look up at our worship leader and heard "that's the man you're going to marry". Immediately I thought, are you crazy Britt? You don't know this guy...and went through every reason why whatever I heard was wrong. I even remembered one of the conversations I had with my Dad when I was younger about how sometimes we think we are hearing God speak to us, when it just might not be him but rather ourselves. So I went home that night after church and journaled. (It would be fun to go through those old entries just to see all that I had said) Anyway, I decided, I'll just give this to God, lay it down, and see where it goes. After a few weeks of hanging out in groups, one evening everybody bailed and Jason and I ended up being the only ones to go to our weekly coffee night. And that's when I began to realized that God might have had something to do with what I heard in my heart that one night. Over the next 6 months, I really began to fall in love with this guy. And after being just friends for the entire school year, we decided to give a relationship a shot. We dated for 8 months and got engaged. 7 months later we were wed. It was such a fun time. Looking down and seeing a diamond on my ring finger was unreal, especially because it was from the guy that had become my absolute best friend over the span of the last year.

Our honeymoon was wonderful. Romantic, exciting, and full of the hot summer weather you find in South Carolina and Georgia. Everyday was filled with adventure and exploring the east coast. We loved it! So much that we wish we could head back there and do it all over again. I remember one evening we decided to ride our bikes over to another part of Hilton Head Island to see some outdoor concert and eat another incredible dinner. As we were heading home, we noticed the clouds had rolled in and we were caught in a thunder storm/down pour. Which of course reminded us of our wedding day. If I haven't told that story, I'll have to do that another time. Anyway, Southern downpours in July are rather hot, so it was something to be experienced for sure. No need to run under shelter when the rain will only cool you off for a little bit. Needless to say, our honeymoon was just what it should be. Just me and Jason.

The day we got home, we were welcomed by wonderful family and an overwhelming amount of gifts. There is nothing quite like having everything you could possibly need for your first home come in one day. It was like Christmas times ten! That evening though, we were hit with a ton of bricks by some incredibly difficult news. There was some traumatic things going on in the family that would eventually work itself out. Yet, our first year of marriage was incredible difficult. Not between Jason and I. That was beautiful, blissful, and exciting. But there was pain from what had happened after our honeymoon that dug so deep that there was always this dark cloud hanging over us. So as we were trying to get to know each other as husband and wife, we were also trying to deal with some painful family drama right outside our front door. But we made it through stronger. I remember when we had been married for a little over a year and the family issues had cleared up a bit, and we had learn to separate ourselves from it. It was like our honeymoon stage had just begun. I remember looking at Jason and seeing a new man. We were able to look at life differently. I was able to go to weddings and not cry. Before, I wasn't tearing up because of how beautiful everything was, (just cuz I'm more someone that gets really excited and giddy rather than filled with tears.) I was tearing up because I didn't understand why we had to have thunder and lightning on our wedding day. Or why the day we started our lives together  (outside of the honeymoon times of bliss) everything had to change from joy to sorrow and anger. I was filled with a hope that these new couples getting married, wouldn't have to go through what we did. And none of them have praise God!

The point of this blog is not to point fault to anyone, or "brag" about how hard we have had it. The point is to show that those smiling faces in the wedding albums have more of a story to tell. The love that you profess on your wedding day deepens as time goes on. The love I have for Jason is different now, three years later. It's a deeper love. He has become my companion, my life partner. It's a process. Becoming one is a process. It's a difficult process at times, and extremely wonderful at others. I wouldn't change our story, because it's made Jason and I who were are today. The trust and faith I have in him is deeper than it might have been because we learned to depend on each other and the Lord from the beginning. Rather than living in pure romance and bliss, we had to learn to see past the frustrations and remember why we CHOSE to marry each other. We learned to deal with frustrations right then and there when they came up. Of course we still argue and bicker at times. Marriage has it's ups and downs. But those up's and down's have never made me question why I had married this man. They always challenge me to look at myself and change my attitude. Or just TALK it out with the man that I love. Open communication is sometimes the most difficult thing, but it's the most beautiful thing. It strengthens the relationship.

I have a feeling I've written WAY more than I normally do, and that this blog would actually be considered a short book. But it's for a purpose. Marriage is a challenge. If you fight, you are not alone. If you have had some difficult times, you are not alone. More couples have had diffulct first years of marriage than you would know. We've met many that have had their own difficult trials as well. It's life. And when life throws you lemons, turn it into lemonade:)

Blessings to you guys today,

I'm going to go and enjoy some time with the man that I love more and more each and every day. Yep, he's kinda perfect for me. Adorable. And oh so handsome:D


Aug 9, 2012

More Lost than Found

More Lost than Found was an interesting read. In some ways it was a little difficult to get into, but that’s because I’m not one to read a whole lot of self help books anymore. I have 4 years of Bible College to blame for that one. The overriding theme of this book was filled with helpful information in relation to my generation and how they respond to Christianity now days. It helped me understand why I’ve had so many conversations with friends about how they don’t see the need to go to church, spend time with God, and not do certain things. The author makes a few statements that do affirm the fact that many of our young adults sitting in the pews each Sunday are actually more lost than they are found. And even more are leaving the church they have spent so much of their life in. He brings clarity as well as direction in how to encourage and lead them in the right direction.  If you find yourself wondering why there are such a smaller amount of young adults in your church, this book might help give you some insight. The author does explain that it’s not always the church’s fault that they have left. Rather, they are being strongly influenced by the world we live in. I would encourage you to read this book!

Mar 15, 2012

Life is...

There's a new song that just speaks to my heart. It's one of Bethel's Loft Session songs, Come to Me. Everytime I hear it, I'm filled with such awe in the God that we serve. I'm hit with such admiration. With such wonder. How can God love me when I continually screw up? How can he show forgiveness and grace after I make mistake after mistake? All he asks is that we come to him with humility and ask for forgiveness. Wow. Really? You mean I don't need to go out and do this or this or that and earn your forgiveness? You mean you give it freely? Because you love me?

Wow. Speechless. 

How can we not give a God like this a chance? 
How can we not take a moment each day to thank him for loving me JUSTAS I AM. 
How can we not desire to make a change in our attitudes, in our temp tantrums?
How can we continue on a path towards destruction, if that's what we've decided....

I remember reaching a point in my life where I finally understood that our God is a God of love. He doesn't sit up in heaven waiting for us to make a mistake, then hit us with that painful lightning bolt. He's a God of love. Just like you may be a parent of love. You desire for your children to make good decisions, because you love them. You don't want anything to harm them. Neither does our God. 

Recently I've been feeling a bit bogged down with the stresses of life, the pressures, the frustrations. I'm not really a person that focuses too much on that stuff, but there are times where I do have something heavy on my heart. And I'm reminded of how incredible my God is. How he is full of such incredible grace and forgiveness. And goodness does he know how to bless his children! 

Sometimes taking that moment to reflect on those things about us we desire to work on, is a good thing. It's refreshing once the frustration is replaced with "...the peace of God that goes beyond our understanding..." Phil 4:... 

Listen to this song. It's incredible. It's a reminder that the God we pray to each night, and sing to each Sunday, is listening. Thank you God! 

Come to me, I'm all you need. I'm everything. 
I am your anger in the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast, so don't be afraid. 
Though your heart and flesh my fail you, I'm your FAITHFUL STRENGTH
I am with you, wherever you go. 
Come to me, I'm all you need. 

Wow, how cool is our God:)

I love him.