Everyone has a story of perseverance. We all have a time in our life that we look back on having been glad we made it through.
I look back on mine with sadness, yes, but mostly with a grateful heart for a Savior that led me through it all. Here’s my story, and while it won’t seem nearly as hard as some of yours, it’s my journey and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
I grew up with a quintessential childhood. I lived in an upper-class neighborhood, had two hardworking parents (still in love after thirty-five years, by the way), a younger sister, and all that I could possibly need. I wasn’t spoiled by any means. We made our beds each morning and worked for anything extra we needed.
I attended a Christian private school and was always top of my class, with little to no desire to be rebellious. I graduated with honors and a 4.0 GPA. I was voted as Most Christlike, Most Dependable, Most Attractive, and Most Likely to Marry First.
It gets more obnoxious.
I fell in love at fifteen to a boy at church three years my senior, and—you guessed it—married him a few months after I turned twenty-one. I guess the vote for Most Likely to Marry First rang true. We were high school sweethearts from different high schools who grew up together, naïve and all.
We had our first child exactly three years after we were married. It seemed like the perfect way to time it. We got pregnant on our first try. My planning seemed to always pay off. I think it’s something that royally irritated and probably still irritates people about me. I’m a bit too dedicated to making things go the right way and for being overly prepared for what may come.
But, after some difficulty with postpartum right after my son’s birth, I realized I was losing parts of myself. I especially remember lying in bed, telling my mom that I felt like my soul was plummeting into a dark hole. I physically felt like I was losing the will to live.
I was losing myself to this new role of motherhood, which was nothing like I’d imagined my whole life.
I was losing myself to the anxiety that had crept into all of my life but had completely taken over after the birth of my first.
And I was losing relationships around me because of loneliness and being misunderstood.
In the following few years, Satan really pushed me into dark places and away from anything quintessential. I was pushed away from my family, away from the girl I once was, and away from the Lord. I really was unrecognizable even to myself. I was a wonderful mother and never let my son see my suffering, but, as a result, I was being buried alive with guilt, pressures, and anxieties.
After two years of living in this place, I woke up sick of myself and what my life was becoming, and then I surrendered it all.
I wish I’d had some miraculous step-by-step guide on how you too can get out of a dark time, but I think it is different for everyone and boils down to first being willing to want to change yourself.
I remember wanting help with my anxiety but feeling like medication was a weak way out. I remember wanting to communicate my fears but again felt that would show I was incapable of handling things on my own.
It wasn’t until I realized I needed help and needed to let go of what I couldn’t control anymore that I started to see a change in who I was. I remember lying prostrate on my bedroom floor upstairs and saying, “This is it, Lord. I’m done living this way. I want to change. I want help.”
After that moment, I realized it was time.
I say all of this to say that, in a Pinterest-perfect world, we take on too many tasks, try to please too many people, and, as a result, forget about who we are and who we were created to be.
Our ‘baby of hope’
After my surrender, I got help. I got on medication that helped heal parts of me I didn’t know were mendable. I changed. I let people back in, and, slowly, with the grace of God, I found myself again in a new light—and you can too.
Fast-forward a few years to when we had our second son.
There was a time when I thought our firstborn would be an only child, especially through those dark years. I had surrendered the idea of becoming a mother again, especially after how hard it had been on me the first time.
Talk about fear—no way did I want to have another and deal with what I’d previously experienced after having our first. But, after my healing, we decided it wasn’t right for our family without another.
Enter our baby of hope and our second chance.
I can honestly say that this little guy is the happiest, most joy-filled human we could have ever encountered. The Lord gave me a second chance with this guy—without depression and anxiety this time—and he’s brought countless joy to our hearts. He’s completed our family and still reminds me often that, had I not surrendered, he wouldn’t be here.
Sharing my story
I’ve since found my passion and leaned into it. Being wrapped up in motherhood is daunting. While we also homeschool, I was missing parts of my desires to create. I taught myself to use a camera and started taking pictures of our home and sharing my love for décor. Once we started building our current home, I took Instagram along for the journey, and, little by little, I have grown my account into a community of beautiful women whom I share my life with daily.
Little did I know that in those dark moments lying on the bedroom floor, I would have a story to share here and with others through social media. Each time I share, I am met with so many messages from women who are going through similar trials and whom I get the pleasure of encouraging daily.
It’s a beautiful way the Lord brings redemption, isn’t it?
With a book coming out this spring and my eyes set on what’s ahead, I hope you learn to lean into your passions and take time to discover what you are created to be in motherhood and in life.
I never knew my journey would bring me here, but I’m so thankful it has.
You are worthy and worth investing in.