August 12, 2014

halfies.

like my commitment to pursuing God, i was in halfsies yesterday. i listened to some sermons from the church we’ve been trying to go to, but only halfsies. the other halfsies of my brain was distracted by what i was reading, looking at, playing.

i’m just here for halfsies right now.. on everything. i’m about half the person i wish i was; half the mama, half the wife, half the friend. i’m loaded with potential… but half of me is drowning, lost, confused, scared, missing.

what happened?

i want to be on fire again. i want what is empty to be filled, what is lost to be found. that is my prayer today, God. bring spiritual hunger. fix my brokenness. i mean it. i don’t want to be in halfsies anymore. let give this my all.

August 11, 2014

let there be light.

instead of berating myself for not writing in in two years, i’m just going to skip that step and try to forgive myself.

i need light. i read a post today that said, “if our prayers were answered, who’s kingdom would be advanced?” i thought of my prayer with Ezra last night as he went to bed. i prayed for confidence, guidance, and for us to be built more Christ-like. those sound pretty good. but the underlying prayer motivation is always the same… what is going to make me happier. i can’t escape that selfish part of where faith comes from for me – desire to be happy. there’s no great urgency in me to find JOY… i just want to be happy. simple. 

i don’t want to fight for light or space or contentment or comfort or God… i want to stick my head into my own soft, well-plowed soil and not have to strive. that’s the difference [for me] between joy and happiness. joy is intentional and worked for and earned or chosen.. happiness is circumstantial and less predictable. but for some reason, happiness is easier.

let there be light.

i have felt heavy when it comes to faith and church for YEARS. literal years have gone by that i’ve given nothing. i’ve offered nothing. now, i have nothing to bring. i’m almost scared to get involved with anything, expecting to be tossed away again. expecting my heart to be trampled again.

that’s not just true in my connection to church and God anymore.. it’s permeated my entire life. i’ve whittled down to a bare bones life of emotional investment. i’ve pulled back everywhere i could. there’s little left of who girl i was.. a red bird with heart bleeding on my sleeve. i miss it. i miss being a part. i miss feeling God so closely i could almost touch Him. i miss the swell of emotions when i look at the boy i fell in love with. it’s been a slow fade… and it all starts at my wound. my ‘excommunication.’ my departure of the things i loved and held dear.

it didn’t have to happen that way, but in my own words – it’s hard to spend time with a husband when you hate his bride. Awkward, even. so you learn to pretend.. to play nice. then you have a baby and you’re able to be even less connected – because your focus is naturally diverted.

i think it’s a natural response to any type of abuse – to recoil and keep appearances up enough to fly under the radar. but how do i recover from this spiritual attack? where does healing begin?

we are back here in Winston-Salem. the place where i found God, knew the Spirit, walked with Jesus. the place where i fell in love with an amazing man. the place we got married and began our journey as one. the place where my spirit was lashed and wounded and broken. so much good overshadowed by one big, dark, angry bad. but i chose to come here. this was all me… philip wanted to go to Utah, but i felt this was the place and we decided to do this.

now what?

how does my heart awaken? how does it heal? how do i find a way to fall in love again? i don’t want to be a shell of myself for the rest of my life. i owe more to my husband and my son than that. i want to live in heaven with them and God forever. most of the time, i believe that we will. most of the time.

please, God, let there be light again.

July 31, 2012

beautiful arrival.

the little bear has arrived. and HE’s a HE!

the big footed baby bear

the big footed baby bear

this is Ezra Bear Thomas. he’s a baby, he’s MY baby. he’s a boy. he’s the newest person in the whole wide world… and he is now my whole wide world.

i feel… so private about him. i feel so perfect about him. i DO feel like i was made for this. just like marrying philip, everything about being Ezra’s mama is what i am supposed to be. i didn’t feel this way at 7.49pm on july 21st…. but at

7.52pm
on july 21st, 2012
Ezra Bear Thomas came into the world,
all 7lbs and 11 oz of him,
a whole 18in of beauty,
and i became the happiest mama on earth.

that’s right, 3 minutes before, i was NOT a mama. i was angry and sad and scared and in pain and overwhelmed and annoyed and every other bad emotion you can think of.

then, i met my son. my Ezra. my “God’s help.” and nothing has ever made me happier. not my wedding day, not drinking my first beer in 9 months :), not anything has ever made a happier moment in my life. i can’t believe it — i love being a mom.

now, for history’s purpose, ezra’s birth story:

around 1am, we finally went to bed after a fun night of eating chinese food and playing nerts with friends. i’d been to the doctor that afternoon, and she told me that there was NO WAY i’d be having a baby in the next week. we’d talk about induction next week. i was so bummed.

two hours later, yes, that’s 3am, i woke up and thought – oh man, i really need to poop! and i did… like 5 times in the next hour. i am thinking, why in the world do i feel like i need to poop every 10minutes?

by 5am, i am thinking — holy shit. this is a contraction.

i went upstairs to the couch so i wouldn’t disturb philip’s sleep, grabbed a heating pad, the computer, a pad of paper, and a pen. i started timing the contractions, writhing in pain on the heating pad, and researching HOW DO I MAKE THIS SHIT STOP??!?

i got in the bathtub… i drank water… i threw up.. i took a shower… PAIN. every 4-10minutes i HATED LIFE… then things calmed down for a while and i switched to planning mode — “what do i want to wear? should i take a cute outfit to leave the hospital or sweats? should i try to wash my hair for the photos?” ha.

by 7am, i felt so tired, lonely, and overhwelmed… i went downstairs and woke philip up. i told him not to worry, but i wanted to let him know that something was happening. “i think i’m having contractions?” no, i didn’t think, i knew. but i also knew that he was not going to be getting any sleep for the next… X amount of time. so i better let him sleep some more.

at 9am, i couldn’t be alone anymore. i went downstairs and cried and needed him to cuddle me and tell me it was going to be okay. at 10am, i started getting dressed and ready to go. but i don’t think philip really believed that it was go time! when i was having a contraction, he would start moving really fast to get himself dressed, the bag packed, eating breakfast… but in between, he would move in slow motion and look at me suspiciously — is she really in labor? YES, man. i am REALLY in labor. philip packed an entire suitcase full of STUFF. haha… just stuff.

at noon, he was finally convinced that it was time to leave. and yes, i’ve been in labor 10 hours now.. but i’m still calm, quiet, and okay. philip takes THE LONGEST route possible to the hospital. yes, THE LONGEST. my body is going insane every 5 minutes, and he’s driving like a grampa behind the SLOWEST mother f*ers on the street…. but i’m okay, i’m okay!

our doctor was at the hospital when we got there, and she said, “what are you doing here??” in the middle of contractions, i’m thinking “having.. a.. BABY.. you.. idiot!” but i [fortunately] couldn’t get any words out :).

the next few hours, philip and i had to make decisions about epidural, pain meds, all sorts of things. i didn’t want to, but i decided to have an epidural around 2.30pm. i asked them to not give me the constant flow of medication, but just a one shot deal to take the edge off. it was a great decision, because i slept like a dream from 2.30 until about 6pm. hallelujah.

then, it was go time again. the pain medication was wearing off and it was time to push… we were only two hours away from finding out if bear was a brother bear or sister bear!

July 18, 2012

made for this.

the Spirit is the encourager of our hearts.

philip calls it “bow-chicka-wow-wow” moments, when God is just funny and intimate and puts something in your path that you cannot ignore is Him, is divine, is personal, is awesome. i love those moments.

anyways. the Spirit has been slowly encouraging my heart to embrace the fact that it’s birthday week… i’m going to be a mama sometime very soon. i was slow to warm to the idea of being pregnant, slower to being a responsible parent, slowest of all to sharing my philip and our life.

this isn’t going to sound profound, but it really was:

i was driving to work the other morning, just thinking about how much i love my husband. without a doubt, i love philip more than i ever thought humanly possible. i love him with parts of myself i didn’t know existed until his love created them. i love him in ways that should most likely be reserved for my Creator. i love him to the point of denial. it’s love, folks.

and i love thinking about how God crafted him for me, and me for him. it amazes me that – before i was born, before my mother was even born – God had picked this perfect man to love me my whole life. while we were being formed, God had chosen this life and this love for us.

for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, i know that full well. my frame was not hidden from you when i was made in the secret place, when i was woven together in the depths of the earth. — psalm 139|13-15

in essence, every part of me was made for philip, and every part of him was made for me. i was born to love this man, i was created with this purpose in mind. that’s INCREDIBLE. so as i was thinking on this, the Spirit wedged in and said, “you were created for this, too.”

and i looked down at my huge, watermelon belly. there’s someone in there (it’s hard to connect with, even when it’s your own body), and i was created for that little someone, too. back before i was born, God started preparing me for this purpose — in essence, i was made for this. i was made to be little bear’s mama.

yes, God created my heart to be philip’s wife, and little bear’s mama. He created my body to hold and house little bear. He created it so that, someday soon, it’s going to give birth to a baby (holy shit). but it was created for that! i was made for this! it’s somewhat comforting when i get nervous. i was made for this.

that means….. it’s going to be okay.

39 weeks = watermelon

June 25, 2012

BaByQ

it’s not a modest proposal… just a baby celebration with good food, good beer, amazing friends. little bear is a lucky baby.

mama + papa bear

new clothes!

a blessing tree for the bear.

June 19, 2012

in mourning.

this is lame, but i kind of mourn my wedding’s passing. a whole year has gone by since that awesome day! 25 was definitely the most beautiful year of my life… i got engaged, married, moved to a beautiful state, started a life with an astoundingly wonderful man, and i got to wear this awesome ring on my finger everyday that told the world — i am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. i mean. my ring is awesome.

could we be any cuter? come on. yes, i am a lucky girl who have had the most perfect wedding day.. not that everything went perfectly, but it was perfect in my eyes. kind of like my marriage… neither of us are perfect, we fail at communicating now and then, we snap when we should be gracious… but i married the perfect man. he is my perfect match and our marriage is absolutely perfect to me.

and here we are… one year later – a thousand miles different. this year on our wedding day, i’m about 35 pounds heavier and would probably cry if i looked at my wedding dress. i wouldn’t be able to drink the champagne or get swung all over the dance floor by my groom or hop fences to take pasture pictures. i can barely get up off the floor without assistance and my wedding toms — they don’t fit.

worst of all: i can’t wear my wedding ring anymore.

why has that been the hardest part for me? it’s a symbol (a gorgeous, huge, rockin’ symbol), not the whole of our relationship. i had to hide it from myself because everytime i saw the ring box sitting there with my beautiful rings in it.. i just felt large. huge. fat. disappointing. sad. can only a year have gone by and i am already such a different person? i still want to be the little girl in the beautiful dress being celebrated for her new love. i still want my husband to look and see only me, of everyone in the crowd. i’m not ready to let go of the wedding fantasy.

so, even though we had sweet plans and i really enjoyed celebrating with and connecting with my darling husband — i’m in mourning a little. our first year has flown by and i’m a little turned around about how to be in this state, body, time that we’re in.

replacement ring stack :)

one year of love.

April 6, 2012

teaser.

so.. maybe it’s been four months since i’ve posted a blog. i kind of got out of the habit. somehow, being blissfully happy in my relationship with philip means that i forget to write, how much i like writing, how less-crazy-person i am when i write, and how peaceful and natural it feels. somehow, i’ve forgotten a lot of those things with recent life changes.

i did put in a little teaser in the last blog, in ooo… december. which was a trimester and a half ago! which means, i’m pregnant and HUGE now!!

the story is now known far and wide.. because a. it’s funny and b. philip and i might be oversharers (we also might be those people at church who just talk too much.. we’re always the last ones to leave. we’re getting old). for us, pregnancy is the result of too much fun.. one day, we’ll tell little bear (baby’s nickname) the dangers of irresponsible drinking of cheap beer on a raucous holiday like halloween :). we were dressed as patty mayonnaise and quailman.. apparently, this is what you get when you wear your underwear outside of your clothes in public.

long story, short: i woke up the next morning to philip saying, “shit. i’m still wearing a condom, and it’s broken, and silas shit on the floor.” mother of God.

he took me off the bottle and coffee immediately. which, what the hell else do you want after news like that??!! it’s the curse of pregnancy :).

but, enough of that kind of talk, it’s taken us both a few months, but i finally feel like i’m moving into a love, excitement, joy, and happiness about expecting the bear. it did take a while.. night of crying and asking how the hell we’re going to do this. but that’s totally normal.. right??

this kind of brings me back to my original thought.. losing myself. i was almost afraid of losing myself in marriage, but i love philip so intensely, i actually didn’t mind the thought of being lost into that forever, being enveloped by a whitlwind of love and being his. but it’s true… there are so many things i used to do and be that i stopped doing and being. i used to spend so much time intentionally alone, being alone, being silent, being at peace, being with God, being outside, thinking, writing, intuiting, being. i found it romantic. it was restful. now, i’m so plugged in to my phone, email, philip, thinking, planning, [wtf]baby-ing, doing, moving, going. it’s a freaking drag. it’s like.. the more i am, the less i am.

“HE must increase, but i must decrease.” john 3|30

but how do i become smaller? how do i become more at peace? how do i make time “for myself” when i am very happy to be loving, serving, pestering my amazing husband.. and would probably rather be with him than alone? and i’m about to have LESS time! we’re going from two[+one needy dog] to a full-fledgling family! i’m barely confident in my role as wife, and it’s about to be altered in an unknowable way.. into mama. i’m going to be a mama. fuck. where do i fit into all of this? who will i be? where does God fit in? how the hell are we going to do this? how in the hell are we going to make this work??

i don’t know. i don’t know who i am going to be and how it will all work. people want me to answer these questions now, but i just don’t have the ability to. 9 months are a blessing for so many reasons.

all i think i really know now is that i’ve got a bear and a papa bear to love, care for, nurture, and grow with. i’m going to try to be the best hostess/house i can for this little one until s/he is ready to enter the world. then, we’ll figure it out as we go. i’ll try to be an interesting adult in public. i’ll try to honor God in parenthood. i’ll try to make my husband my number one love always. i’ll try to fit back into my skinny jeans.

that’s our bear. look at that sweet little face… 15 more weeks until i see it. 15 more weeks to be a better mama to you. 15 more weeks to figure out what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into :).

December 7, 2011

who, me?

i’m simple. just am. my desire for high brow took a quick nosedive after i graduated from college and realized i was more of a pretentious, pedant-wannabe than the intellectual revolutionary that college of charleston taught us we could be. anyways, i’m simple. i like it.

but sometimes — i am shocked by my simpleton thoughts until they get rattled out of me. i’ve been mad at God for a solid two-three months now. it was boiling under the surface before then, but it really began seeping out and into my life around a trimester ago ;). in my mind, God broke His love. He was supposed to love me a certain way, and He didn’t, and He was a love disappointment. THAT is a scary way to feel about God. THAT is a lonely way to feel about God. THAT is a fine opening to put new idols into place. i didn’t feel protected or cared for or loved, and that meant God’s love was broken.

maybe intellectually i hadn’t admitted that (because it doesn’t make intellectual sense).. but emotionally, it was the truth. dating + marriage has taught me that my emotions are not always the best indicator of truth, per se. not that they aren’t valid or treated as valid, but — i have noticed — that i’m still angry sometimes after there’s nothing to be angry over. i just haven’t calmed down yet, but i need to shut up and let it happen. you know, emotions have to catch up to your brain. they’re a little slow.

anyways. it never occurred to me that God’s love wasn’t broken, but that my view of love was.

nope — seriously. never occurred to me that i might be wrong.

there is no fear in love. but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. the one who fears is not made perfect in love. we love because He first loved us. john 4|18-19

Him first. so the question is.. where is my love broken? what are my wrong ideas about love? they should first be based off of what God says and did and does… not everything else that bombards us about love. i’m curious. where is my love idea broken?

October 22, 2011

what the..?

being married [to philip] is amazing. i think pursuing an honest, loving, careful relationship through marriage [with philip] is the best decision i’ve ever made. he makes me so happy, i love him with all that i am. and he loves me so truly, so well, so thoughtfully, so fully — that it rocks me every time i think of it.

and i am so angry.

did you follow that transition? life is awesome — i’m so mad. ??.

but.. it’s true. i’m so FREAKING angry. i’m not blaming my marriage, but it is the catalyst that got me to my anger. being loved by philip so well is teaching me what true, authentic love is. it feels heavy in how it covers you, but light with peace. it feels protective, and stronger than any other force in the world. it feels like being known, which is so, so, so ultimate. everyday, i’m healing from feelings of being abandoned in love because another day has passed that he is consistently loving me. (a friend in new jersey gave some good advice: once you’ve made it for a month, you know you’ll make it months. once you’ve made it a year, you know you’ll make it through the years.) i can know his love, it feels tangible to me. it’s AWESOME.

you know what is NOT awesome? how learning about love has made me feel about God. i feel like God is distant, and does abandon me, and does leave me feeling unprotected and abused — just like my earthly father. and i am SAVAGELY angry about it. i wish i could see Him and beat His big God-chest and tell Him how pissed i am that i never felt loved.. throughout my whole life.. like this. HE was supposed to love me like this. HE has supposed to protect.

so. i haven’t been praying much. i haven’t been reading much. it’s been a silent treatment kind of anger. we aren’t really speaking right now, me and God. because i’m so angry at Him.. even though, intellectually, it feels stupid. to be mad at God? kind of stupid. He holds everything together in His hands by His grace.. and, if HE was a lesser God, an stupid, angry, snotty girl like me might really peeve Him. but… my God is gracious — He allows for my anger with Him. i think, probably, He grieves it. like a Good Father who just wants to give His love to an indignant, naive child.

my anger — God can take it. after all, He gave me this amazing marriage and husband that ultimately would send me over the edge.

i’m so angry. i’m angry at my father for abusing me, i’m angry at him for not being strong enough to be clean for his kids, i’m angry that once he couldn’t use me anymore – i never heard from him, i’m angry that he terrorized me for 25 years, i’m angry at him because i lived in fear. i’m angry at my mom for subjecting me to her slew of unbalanced, scary, weird husbands, i’m angry that she didn’t protect me, i’m angry that she told me so many lies throughout my life that i’m slowly unlearning, i’m angry that all of this has taken away my fun-loving mom and turned her bitter. i’m angry at my sister for being there, too — because she knows, and i wish no one knew, because i know she has/can/probably will use it against me.

this is different. anger is different. it feels different. i used to be scared… now i’m just fucking pissed.

if that’s not a testimony to a happy marriage, what is? :)

October 1, 2011

ignor-ance.

i can’t help but notice, even though i keep trying to ignore it, that i’ve been whirling in a state of ignorance and ignor-ance for the past few months. i’ve been neglecting so many things that i used to hold dear… like friends, church, blogging, socializing, learning.. oh, and my God. just those few little things. it’s weird… i think maybe the only thing i’ve focused on is trying to be a good wife, a fun wife, a loving wife — but it’s really not possible for me to be good, fun, and loving without all of those other things i’ve been ignoring.

i am not trying to lay blame on philip or our marriage for my ignoring, not in any way. he encourages my faith, learning, and socializing and being married actually creates more opportunities for growth in all of those areas. it’s me. it’s clearly, blaringly, definitely me.

when philip was out on his last rotation, i didn’t make a single effort to see anyone. i didn’t go anywhere but work, home, and the dog park. i skipped church + small group on purpose. i didn’t crack a Bible or a book once. seriously, i was completely lame. why? i am really not sure. i had zero motivation, but i’m not sure why.

i’m ignoring investing in anything — which is weird, because i love that, i love investing in people and relationships and learning and faith and love and fun and happiness and God. except maybe right now.. i don’t. and i’m not. and it’s ignorant. and i’m disappointed in myself. and i’m afraid of disappointing philip. and i’m sure i’m disappointing God. and i’m afraid i’ve lived up to what the jerks at 1.21 thought about me — and i hate the idea of proving them right.

a few weeks ago at small group, we were having some honest discussions about our prayer lives. the two girls i was talking with and i all expressed guilt over our lackluster prayers + prayer lives. we all kind of sheepishly admitted our weaknesses and unhappy lengths of time between prayers and lack of prayer lives with our husbands and, basically, it came down to mealtimes + hard times.

guilt.

as the talking continues on, God kind of put a thought into my head that i shared with them. guilt — that’s usually a lie satan is whispering in our ears wanting to distract us from experiencing God. God desires our time + words + hearts, but He isn’t the God of guilt trips. He’s just not that passive-aggressive — that is what we put on Him, but it’s not His heart. He started telling my heart that guilt is not what that feeling is, change the way of your thinking and realize that that guilt is actually a DESIRE for more of Him. don’t let satan trick you into thinking your desire for God is a bad thing… let the Spirit reveal your heart to you and share it with God.

that’s what i want to do with this recent ignorance. i want the Spirit to reveal something to me so i can get out of this weird funk, reveal the lie, and show me how to desire God more out of it.

right now, i know i believe. i have the great hope from the past and know He will be in the present and future. but my faith? it’s weak. i have belief, but my faith — that trust and confidence — is weak and weary. there — i said it.

this little poem encouraged me once, and i’ve been thinking about it since then:

there have been times…

when i felt the presence of God was more real to me
than the chair i am sitting on;
when the Word ricocheted like broken-backed
lightening in every corner of my soul;
when a storm of desire carried me to places I had
never visited

and there have been other times…

when i identified with the words of Mae West: “i
used to be snow white, but i drifted;”
when the Word was as stale as old ice cream and
as bland as tame sausage;
when the fire in my belly flickered and died;
when i mistook dried-up enthusiasm for gray-haired
wisdom;
when i dismissed youthful idealism as mere
naivete;
when i preferred cheap silvers of glass to the pearl
of great price.
— brennan manning

it’s weird to remember the fire in the belly times, the times when i literally felt a physical God holding my hand as i cried (no, i wasn’t boozing that night), when i felt like i could see Him whipping wildly through my life, when i saw His presence coddle and court people in my life, when He was UNDENIABLE. and then to think of now — when He’s barely a thought. it’s such a bummer. i miss Him.

He’ll be back. or, maybe, i’ll be back. i have the great hope to back it up.