If there’s one thing I would want you to know about me, it’s that I am able.
But I have not always believed it.
Were you to read my social media bios, you’d get the Cliff-Notes version of me:
Wife of my marvelous bearded preacher-man for 16 years.
Homeschooling mom of two amazing kids: a near-teenaged daughter and an 8-year old son. My firstborn came from my own womb, and my second-born came from the womb of another mother.
I battle chronic neurological and autoimmune issues.
My personality is introverted deep-waters, while my word quota binges are extroverted, and I host a podcast by the same name (Word Quota).
Bios are useful for assessing similarities and solidarity within limited space, but there is so much unpacking to do. Once you open up the magic inside, it’s like pulling treasures from Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpet bag. Still, I’ve yet to find someone who is “practically perfect in every way.” Although Mary Poppins was my favorite childhood movie character, there is a particular relief in the awareness of the fiction within her character (besides the obvious fact that people can’t fly using talking umbrellas):
We are all practically imperfect, and despite what they may seem, our imperfections are practical.
It’s in our imperfections where we often find our most beloved comraderies and connections, and our inabilities hone our qualities.
Imperfect and able.
The physical struggle inside my body has many times developed a struggling mind. Over the years, with the connectivity that modern technology affords, I have learned that I am less alone in my ailments than I initially realized. But before we could type in a hashtag to discover a common bond and prior to google transforming from a noun to a verb, I felt very isolated and misunderstood. Lacking names or diagnoses for so much of what ailed me left me feeling inadequate and impossible as a person. Although I don’t wish to be defined by the labels of illness, having no names as reference means two very disheartening things: elusive solutions & little support from others- even outright disbelief. Eventually, the uncertainty and judgment I perceived seeped into my pores so that I disbelieved the value of my own being. I loathed and shamed myself for the quality of my existence. Lack of foreseeable solutions rendered me hopeless on many occasions. To anyone who feels this way in this moment, I feel it’s important to interrupt myself here: your now is not your forever. There may be things that don’t change. There will be things that do. But no matter the details of how it all plays out, I am living proof that there will be goodness in the presence of the hard if not beyond it, and it’s a goodness well worth hanging around to experience. Don’t miss out.
One area in which I’ve struggled internally off and on is in regard to my motherhood. I thought so often that my children deserved much better than I have been able to offer them. In a conversation with an online friend whose blog I frequented, I was imparted with this critical message:
“You are God’s perfect gift to your children.“
Although I believed that my circumstances could indeed be used for good in some yet-to-be-foreseen complicated way, I had never prior considered them to be a gift. And I had definitely not considered myself as a gift. I had not thought that the God of the universe would think of me as just the best thing ever to give to my favorite people and light up their faces. God uses me- ALL of me- to teach my children a tenderheartedness they don’t even know that they are learning.
In a compassionate twist of irony, my kids have been God’s perfect gift to me.
Exuberant. Intelligent. Empathetic… I call my daughter my wonder-FULL child. She delights in being a big clash of color (her words), and she truly sees the wonder in the stuff of life: in sunrises and clouds, and people and words and a million little things. She is amazed by and appreciates every last little bit of it: the perfect contrast to my not easily impressed self. Through her eyes I now observe value in many facets, which has allowed me to truly appreciate the magnificence and AWEsome-ness of God that I had previously looked past, unbothered. New dimensions have come to life through this girl of mine, and God was gracious enough to gift me with her smile.
Passionate. Clever. Savvy. My son has an amazing mind for dates, times, and details. He has an internal timeline that rivals an anatomic clock, reminds me to remember things my foggy brain has long forgotten, and knows which direction to travel. He’s a problem solver so I don’t have to be one as often. Through his adoption I came to a new awareness- a true heart-knowledge of the depth of God’s love, and that it actually applies to me- that there is no holding out on His part. Since I was small I have trusted Jesus and known that I am ultimately, eternally safe in His arms. But I did not always believe Him to have gotten things right with me, to delight in me, or that I was worthy of being adored. The definition of Love Himself, somehow, he must have been disappointed that I messed up what he made. With that boy of mine, I was washed over with a flood of love that rushed into my soul and flat swept me away. Suddenly all of the scriptures pertaining to adoption meant something to me: I am His own. I am His heir. All that He possesses He is pleased to pass on to me as blood-kin. His delight in me is incomprehensible, and it’s heard in the gift of my son’s infectious laughter.
My children are gifts to my heart as I am to theirs: both as practical tools and just-for-the-joy-of-its. Despite my body’s inability to work at times in ways I think it should, He empowers me to be able to be exactly who I was designed to be, and in fact I wouldn’t be those things without what I never would have desired or known to ask for
Mom. Wife. Daughter. Fighter.
If there’s one thing I want you do know about me, it’s that I’m able,
only because of Jesus: the purveyor of impossible possibilities for the practically imperfect.
How has your story shaped who you are today?:
I'm able not just to exist, but to live.
What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:
Jasmine's inspiration and the love of Jesus :-)
What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:
Gifts are in the hard things.