And I’d do it all again…

I took this picture one late night after an episode while I was sitting not he bathroom floor. I initially was going to post it on Instagram but how does one do that?

The other day I was rearranging things in our medicine cabinet when I came across the prescription for Promethazine. I picked up that prescription from the pharmacy exactly one year ago today. I was hopeful that it would solve all my problems but, alas, it did not. Through the day that I delivered Quincy, I battled sickness; I’ll never compare it to those with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) but it was debilitating and there were many days that I cried while sitting in the bathroom floor.

Truth be told, I was hopeful that my second pregnancy would be a better experience than the first, and in some ways it was (I didn’t pass out or end up in an ambulance…) but the severe illness seemed about the same, if not worst.

If you know me personally, you know that I lost a good amount of weight and that I do not enjoy the process that is pregnancy. If I could skip from conception to labor, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, I won’t deny the blessing that comes from being able to carry your child; I fell in love with her the second I saw that positive test. I prayed often for her and that her and I would be healthy and though at times it felt as though I could keep nothing down, we survived.

People often say they’re surprised we had a second after hearing about the trauma that was my first pregnancy but it was all worth it because we now have two beautiful children who we get to love and raise with hope the that they love Christ and share in our joy. And though my husband is convinced two is enough, there’s no guarantee that in a few years, I won’t be ready to do it all again.

xoxo,
Brently

Married young and growing up together

Words will never fully express how proud of you I am…

I remember sitting across from her 6+ years ago as she voiced to me that you, too, had dreams, as if I had discounted them early on. If I am being transparent, I had no clue that this would one day be your dream and our reality. I just remember feeling incredibly defensive, blinded by true love and a desire to do it all right.

My prayer even then wasn’t that we would find our way or have the best marriage but rather that God would guide us and use us. If I had known then what I know now…

I won’t deny that we were babies when we got married, but we have had an opportunity that many haven’t. It has been almost 6 years of marriage now and I don’t regret the choice we made. Though things have not always been easy, I must also pose the question, “What marriage is ‘easy’?” We have struggled but we have struggled together – in the hardest of times, God has remained constant, and we have continued to lean on Him knowing full well that we aren’t enough for each other.

No, I didn’t see this part of our journey unfolding six years ago, but knowing what I know now, and seeing the way you have matured, I can’t imagine it going any other way. You deserve to live your dream, and as your wife, I get the honor of standing by you, supporting you, and loving you every step of the way.

Thanks for choosing me, babe.

xoxo,
Brently

{Just shy of} a year later

It has been just shy of a year since I shared my heart on this platform, which is bizarre since I have always found comfort in writing. The truth is, the analytics that everyone always tells us to pay attention to can be disheartening. Blogging and social media has become a competition; not something to do for fun but rather something used to create a comparison between ourselves and others.

Quincy Louise Mae
September 28, 2020
12:41 p.m.

In a year’s time, we faced a global pandemic and welcomed another member into our family (I should really write out my childrens’ birth stories some time). In a year’s time, my husband applied for his dream job and recently received the job offer he has been waiting for. In a year’s time, I have felt broken and mended and broken again. And yet, so much remains the same.

I won’t promise to right her regularly or on a schedule. I might go another year without sharing (but more likely not). The truth is, my heart has been missing this for some time and I think I need this. Not for you, but for me. Not for the numbers that offer validation (I know that my true worth comes from the Lord) but for the release that comes with sharing.

I am praying for growth in 2021 and that I will find my rhythm as a disciple, wife, mother, entrepreneur, friend… all the roles that I take on and that I love fulfilling. If you know me, you know that I choose a word each year, and this word is no different. Last year’s word was “still” and I got far more than I bargained one, so I have no doubt that this year will be a true learning experience as I embrace the word “change.”

And with that thought, I’ll end my ramblings here. Hopefully I’ll write again soon…

We’re all struggling

Hi, my name is Brently and I miss people😭⁣

I haven’t posted anything really in regards to COVID-19. Partially because it still doesn’t seem real. Partially because it’s affected me more than I care to admit. ⁣

The reality is, this hurts. I’m an extrovert, an enneagram 2, and I feel called to serve others. Dustin often jokes that I love others through having people over and feeding them food, but the truth is that fellowship is something I crave. ⁣

These past few weeks have been incredibly long and I wish it could all end tomorrow. And I don’t really have a reason for sharing this other than for you to know that, we’re all struggling in our own way. And while we take comfort in knowing that we will come out on the other side, it’s okay to not be okay right now. ⁣

Still.

I’ve held on to this for a week now… ⁣

“The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet.” Existed 14:14 ⁣

“Now, therefore, present yourselves and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.” 1 Samuel 12:16 ⁣

“To seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we have commanded.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 ⁣

Listen. ⁣

Peace. ⁣

Silence. ⁣

Rest. ⁣

There’s a theme woven through these verses that is heavy on my heart. ⁣

Still. ⁣

For a while now, a friend of mine and I have talked about the wilderness and what that means in a Biblical sense. And I think in each occurrence, there’s a sense of stillness, which provides a place of peace and rest. A place where you can be silent and listen rather than to talk and ignore. ⁣

You see, I see stillness as a deliberate action. Stillness isn’t doing nothing because it requires a lot. I like to compare it to active yoga poses. While it appears as though nothing is happening, your body works incredibly hard to be still in that moment. ⁣

I’m scared. I’m scared to be still because I like to go and do and I sometimes use doing as an escape from sitting and reflecting. ⁣

I know this year will be a year of growth, and I’m genuinely excited, and anxious, and a million other things, so feel free to pray for me😉⁣

Also, if you have a word for 2020, I’d love to hear it and I’d be so honored to pray for you as well!

Certainty in the uncertainty

This time of year is hard for many of us. This will be the first year we go through the holidays without my Mawmaw and my heart has felt broken more than I care to admit. ⁣

Just this morning, I woke up from a dream so real with her, and I felt the familiar heartache return. Rather than push the emotions aside, per my usual response, I embraced them. ⁣

Y’all, how awesome is it that God gave us the ability to love one another so deeply? How incredibly precious that we could feel such a powerful heartache? And what a small reminder of what God feels for us in our separation from Him! ⁣

I’ll never claim perfection in this walk of life, I know myself too well, and I would be lying if I said I don’t have a million questions for our Creator. But I also fully realize, more and more each day, that those questions have no real bearing. So often we let our emotions and our questions and a million other things distract us from the life we have in Christ. ⁣

He doesn’t calls us to have all the answers to all the questions because He doesn’t provide us with all the answers. He calls us to trust in Him, even in these moments of pain, because He knows so intimately the sorrow we feel when separated from those we love so intensely.⁣

And, today I take comfort in this: ⁣

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) ⁣

Because though I don’t know it all, He does. He has gone before me and He will carry me through this season just like every other. He will continue to love me unconditionally, and one day He will wipe all tears of sorrow from these eyes. And I will choose to find rest in that amongst all the uncertainty.

Stop instilling false fear

I was you. I laughed at the thought of using essential oils to support my health. I thought it was silly that someone could be so concerned about what they’re putting on their skin. I thought it was unnecessary to worry about what you clean with since the goal was to get rid of germs.

And then, one day out of the blue, something clicked.

I’ll never judge you because I was you, but sometimes I wish we asked questions and did research instead of instilling fear into others. I wish we were willing to ask questions instead of mocking others.

There’s research out there that explains how toxins in so many of our personal care and beauty products are harmful and can affect our body systems. There’s research that suggests women who work within the home are more likely to develop cancer because of the pollutants inside the house. And, my family is proof as to how effective oils can be.

We so easily become fearful the “unknown world of essential oils” because of misconceptions and our own willingness to accept the status quo. It’s true, it’s not regulated (but neither are your beauty products so…) but there are companies out there who are working their tushies off to make sure their oils are of the highest quality.

I am NOT suggesting you blindly follow and use oils recklessly.

I am also NOT denouncing all forms of modern medicine.

What I am saying is that you are your best advocate. Your doctor, chiropractor, etc. will never know your body as well as you do. They also should not be the ones dictating all of your health decisions. One of my all time favorite resources when it comes to holistic health and wellness is Lindsey Elmore. If you’ve ever wanted to see some quality research and explanations on essential oil uses, she’s your girl!

So, I challenge you to be brave. Do your research. If you’re already conscious of your nutrition, look at the stuff you’re putting on your body and into your environment. And, if you ever want to ask questions, do it!

Make it to church

*I originally posted this on Facebook/Instagram but I thought maybe you needed to hear this, too!

This is pretty much how we spent most of our weekend. Warren had a tummy bug Friday and spent yesterday recovering. This is also the one weekend Dustin was out of town. If I’m being honest, this weekend exhausted me. I had a ton of excuses as to why not to go to church. ⁣

And yet, we woke up this morning, ate breakfast, got ready, grabbed a coffee on the way, and showed up at church. Not because I felt obligated but because I knew that, even if I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and tired, there’s a place for me among my brothers and sisters. ⁣

Y’all, don’t make excuses. You’ll always be tired and the kids will always make the mornings 100x more stressful than they need to be, but that’s why we attend church. There’s a safe place, a sense of fellowship. There are 100 people who can relate to you but they, much like you, have a desire to be there and know what it’s like to have a relationship with Jesus. ⁣

The Secrets of My Heart

It has been a long time since I shared my thoughts with this blog. And it is an even rarer occurrence that I share my poetry with other eyes, let alone with a public forum. Usually, that is because I’m hyper critical of my own work and almost never consider my work “finished.”

But this morning I stumbled across this rough draft of a poem I originally wrote with my four sisters in mind. It was written during a time of intense private pain and deep gratitude for the people in my life. As I re-read the words I wrote years ago, I felt convicted to push through the awkwardness of “not finished” and share this piece with you:

Sister

Do you know the secret places of my heart
        where I hide thee?
Where I hoard you safe from theft and loss 
        in my memory?

You have walked with me,
        run with me,
        cried with me,
        laughed with me,
        surpassed me.

I have loved you,
        lost you,
        chased you,
        found you,
        learned you.

In the dark times when I hurt you,
       you hurt me,
       misunderstood thee.
I search those secret places,
      and there find thee - we.
Five different fruits of the same tree. 

I see you,
      feel you,
      hear you,
      savor you,
      treasure you. 

I find your gentleness,
       your pride,
       your strength,
       your vivacity.

I hold you in the secret places of my heart
and in the quiet remember thee. 

You are my gift,
       my burden,
       my challenge,
       my encouragement,
       my sister. 

Letting people into the secret places of our hearts can be a scary thing. God calls us to love one another, but doing so puts us at risk of becoming deeply hurt.

This poem is a reminder that no matter the future loss I may one day face, I hold the people I love in my heart and nothing can steal them from me. Love doesn’t come without risk, without pain, but we do have this guarantee. It is a reflection of the guarantee that we are secure in the arms of our savior.

Who do you hold in your heart? And in whose heart do you reside?

With all my heart,

Johanna

Fear and the enneagram?

Obviously the blog hasn’t seen a lot of action in 2019. I could probably get really creative and make a list of a million excuses as to why buuut let’s just skip all that and put it all out there: this blog terrifies me.

I mean, what kind of person am I to just blog whenever I feel led? (A normal one.) I realize now that I set all these expectations for myself so as to impress others and that I’ve stopped writing, often, because I want to please others. I lose sight of why I ever started this crazy thing in the first place and instead I become obsessed with wanting to feel loved and supported by those around me.

I am sure you’ve heard tons about the Enneagram, but if not, it’s essentially a number system that allows you to learn more about yourself. It’s not an attempt to put you into a category but rather a way for you to understand some of the motivation behind what you do/say. Over the past few months, I have read and listened to a lot of things regarding the Enneagram, and while I recognize we’re all individuals, it’s insanely comforting to know that there are similarities that link us together and that help us to better understand ourselves.

So, I share all of this to say, fear stinks and it doesn’t have a place here. Once you recognize what your fear is (i.e. my fear of being unwanted or feeling unworthy of being loved) you’re able to combat that with truth.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39

I’m learning that I am worthy and I am loved. I might not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I was created with purpose and I am loved by the One who created all things.

Xoxo,

Brently