I did have a little breakdown on the first night because I realized that the last cruise we were on was almost exactly three years ago (same month) when I was pregnant with Audrey. We had her diagnosis and were trying to enjoy it but were so distracted and devastated by reality. There had been a point on that cruise where I was going to grab something to eat and I slipped on something slick and wiped out, landing (almost) full force on my tummy while I jerked my knees out just in time to catch me. The worst part was that everybody just stared at me and nobody helped me up. When I finally did get up I was bawling crying and ran to find Todd and all of our friends and I was bruised up for days. I hadn’t really even remembered it until I walked through a similar area on this boat and all of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach. It’s amazing how the mind works, and I have so many of those stored places in my mind that I don’t access until I’m in the moment and it just falls right on me. That seems to be the hardest part of the grief journey right now-just the unexpected times when something occurs to you or a memory comes back and you just weren’t mentally prepared to cope.
This was totally going to be a happy post! Sorry about that 🙂 But it is, unfortunately, reality…
Overall the trip was really fun. I was going to post some pictures but who are we kidding? Not my strong suit…so, if you’re curious and want to see some great photos, click HERE to go to Kelsey’s facebook album and see how everyone looks so grown up!!! Seriously, Charlotte even has little chic-let teeth 🙂 She has finally decided she would like to begin sitting up and making motions in the direction of crawling. I’m telling you, this kid is one in a million. So laid back and easy-going and her smile is absolutely infectious. I am so madly in love I cannot even tell you…
In other news, I spoke at my first official Women of Faith event a few weeks ago (not an arena event, but the one where all the group leaders meet up…about 2500 women) and despite the fact that I was honest-to-goodness terrified out of my mind, I got through it. The women were so incredibly gracious, and even though I feel like I did kind of a choppy and unpolished job, I’m letting myself relax a little because I don’t think I will ever be super put-together on the platform and I’m trying to embrace that 🙂 At least people feel like they can relate to me, right?? Anyway, it was great to be with the WOF team and to really see their vision for the events. I love, love, love what they do and I can tell you from behind the scenes, these are INCREDIBLE women who I really look up to and enjoy being with. I was expecting to love it, but it’s so much more than I had anticipated.
If you are going to be at one of the events that I’m speaking at, I would love to know! It may not be possible but I keep thinking it would be so cool to have a little breakfast or something where we could all meet and share coffee…feel free to shoot me an email and I will start putting together a little list just in case 🙂 It would be so neat to put flesh on you all instead of just reading your words 🙂
And, because I genuinely think of this as a safe place where I can come and share my heart, I want to ask for your prayer. Those of you who have read this from the beginning know that all of this other stuff was never on the agenda for my life 🙂 I sincerely feel that my choices are in line with God’s will for my life, and I have gotten much better at saying no when I need to, BUT…
It’s a lot! And as much as I love WOF and all the opportunities the Lord has given through Audrey, I remain a wife and mom first and foremost. I am going to be really transparent in the hopes that I won’t receive judgment for saying this, because in all honesty, I think more people need to share this kind of stuff. I have NOT done a perfect job of keeping my priorities in check. I struggle with being a people-pleaser and there have been times when I have let this affect my decisions, and in that, I have failed to put my husband and children first. That does not mean I don’t think I should be speaking or writing or any of that, but rather that I am trying to be a good steward of my highest calling above all else.
I guess as I started writing this I thought about the fact that sometimes we don’t want to admit we haven’t done a great job, or that we need help (for example, Kelsey comes twice a week for several hours to help around the house and let me go write when I need to. She can pinch hit with teaching, laundry, or whatever is pressing, and I am so grateful to have her help! I don’t do it alone!!!), but I think I would be doing you a disservice if I painted the picture that everything was simple and easy and I never felt like I had screwed up. Because I have, and I will continue to, but I am trusting that the Lord knows my heart and my deepest intentions, and that He will guide me as I go.
To that end, I am asking the Sundays to pray for me in this season. Please pray specifically that I will know what God’s will is for me, and that I will not overstep His grid for my life. Please pray for my marriage, my kids, and my own heart as I discern the ins and outs of my ministry. I know I don’t have to share any of this, and I’m not trying to justify myself or my decisions. Quite frankly, I feel that I need and desire the accountability and support of many of you who have walked with me. At the risk of it sounding like I haven’t figured it all out, let me say it this way.
I haven’t figured it all out.
One of the ways the Lord has spoken to me is that if there is ever something I am invited to speak at, I am going to plan to bring one of my kids with me. I have talked to the girls about this being a “special date” with mommy, and Todd and I are saving miles to make it feasible. Right this second in my life I feel like God has said there are pretty serious boundaries as far as what makes sense for my family (as far as the amount of time I’m gone, which is pretty much never more than one night unless I have the fam with me). In fact, tomorrow night will be the first night I have ever slept in a hotel room by myself…:)
I did ask Ellie to come with me but she said she was really wanting to play with her cousins instead and could she possibly go next time instead? Sweet girl. Don’t tell her but I’m kind of sad about it.
Anyway, this is jumbled and ugly but I’m praying that the Lord will speak through it anyway, and that you will know how humbled (genuinely, profoundly humbled) I am to be able to share my story, but also that I want to do it in the way that honors God the most. That means I get smaller, not bigger. That means my marriage and family life thrive. That means I keep my focus where it needs to be and not where it doesn’t. It means I confess to you that I don’t always get it right, and ask that you join me in praying as I go.
I hope some of this makes sense, and if it doesn’t, just click on the link and look at all the cute pictures.
But don’t expect to see Kirk.
All my love and gratitude,