Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Journey

I wrote my last post a few weeks ago. In that post, I poured out a lot of junk and told people part of my story. Since sharing my journey with depression and anxiety, I have been doing so much better. I am not sure if it is a combination of starting meds, back to school routine, running and sharing some of my deepest thoughts with others, but I have had a pretty good 3 weeks. They haven't been perfect but they have been so much better than what life was like beforehand. 

One thing I know for sure is that the most therapeutic thing for me has been the outpouring of stories, letters, phone calls, and visits that I have gotten since sharing with others. It has been amazing. 

So that brings me to the next part of my journey.  There are a few things that I have always known: 
1. I have always known that God has a sense of humor. 
2. I also know that God has a bigger plan than I can ever imagine. 
3. I always seem to think I know the plan and then it ends up being way different than I had expected. Here are some examples: 

1. When I got my first teaching job in Nixa, I thought I would be there for a long time. - NOPE - taught there one year. 
2. When we moved to Kansas City, Matt was going to go to Aviation School. - NOPE - Matt never went to school 
3. We thought that we would go and teach English as a 2nd language overseas. - NOPE - We were in Belgrade for 7 days. 
4. We thought we would live in Colorado and be ski bums. - NOPE - We got pregnant. 
5. We thought we would wait to have a baby - NOPE - See above statement. 
6. I went back to school to be an administrator and wanted to be a head principal. - NOPE - I really didn't enjoy it and hated the person I was becoming as I became an administrator longer. 
7. We thought we would wait for our 2nd baby to arrive until after I was finished with my Masters. - NOPE - I got pregnant as I entered my 2nd year. (evidently we do not know how birth control works)
8. We thought we would have a baby sooner than we had Nora. - NOPE - We had a miscarriage. 
9. We thought we were done having kids after our miscarriage and we got rid of baby stuff. - NOPE - We got pregnant with Nora. 
10. I thought having 3 kids would be a breeze. - NOPE - We are now zone instead of man to man. 
11. I thought I was going to stay home after I left Administration. - NOPE- I took a job with MU that was way bigger than I expected. 
12. I thought I only liked working with elementary kids. - NOPE - I now work with middle school students at church and high school students for work. 
13. I thought I would never speak of divorce with my husband. - NOPE - I laid divorce on the table last year because we had so much "stuff" going on inside each of us. I started to think we were both to jacked up to stay together. But then God poured out his grace on us and taught us both how to forgive. He led us to an amazing counselor and we now have the strongest marriage we have ever had. 
14. I thought that I would never go on medication for anxiety and depression - NOPE - I love my meds and I praise Jesus for who ever invented them. 
15. I never thought I would be a runner. - NOPE - Even though I don't claim to be a runner, I do know that running helps me and I am up to running 25 minutes straight. 

16. We thought Matt was going into the real estate business full time - ???? - We just had to have a hard conversation of "there is only one month left of getting a paycheck from the church and we haven't sold a house or had someone buy a house." It was a super scary conversation and we had to talk about the difference between perseverance and realizing that God's plan maybe different than you expected. That maybe this is a part time gig for awhile and then who knows what God has in store. This was really hard because Matt has been working so hard to learn this business. And then I laughed and said, "Matt - this is how our life works and God is probably slapping his forehead saying "Children, how many times do we have to go through this - I have you." I told Matt that maybe we needed to change our prayer to "Lord, where you go, we will go. Take this and show us what is next." Because he has never failed us. He has never not used an experience to add to our journey. (This means I have to change my prayer to "C'mon God, fill Matt's email and phone up with messages of people wanting to buy and sell their houses.")
On this one - we still don't know what answer will be next to this comment. It could be YES - it is a full time gig! Or it could be NOPE - just like the others but with an amazing ending next to it. 

17. I thought I was going to run 28 minutes today. - NOPE - I only ran 10 because it is hotter than hell outside. But here is the cool thing...
I was so mad that I couldn't keep running but I knew it just wasn't possible. So I stopped and I started walking. See, I slowed myself down and suddenly I knew I was supposed to write this blog. God and I had a conversation about what to write. He helped me list all the things I thought we had control over and ended up not having any control over. He reminded me that through all of these things, we have had remarkable people come in our lives. We have some awesome stories to share that are unlike a lot of people. (I would not have had this conversation while running. The only thing that runs through my head when running is "keep running".)

He reminded me that some people have longer lists than this, while others have shorter lists. 
I thought about this a little bit more. I hope you have a list because I know that without this list, I would have missed out on a lot of people and experiences. But most importantly, I would have missed out on God's faithfulness to show us through our storms and cloudy days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Today was a big day. Today was a day where I sought help and I took courage and I stood up to a huge creature inside of me. Today I went to the doctor and I confirmed what I had been dreading - depression. Today I started these...

Please do not judge me about the dog hair that is on my couch. Unfortunately, our sweet Nala loves our couch and will find anyway she can to get on the couch while we are gone. 

I had Postpartum Depression with Nora, when she was born a little over 2 years ago. I remember being totally out of control, my emotions, my mind, my body, everything was out of control. I had started meds and took it for awhile but started to feel better. So I stopped. 
For the last year, I have felt it creeping up. I did things to help keep it under wraps. I changed jobs, Matt and I did counseling, I took things off my plate so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed, I exercised, I ate healthier, I used oils - folks, I did it all.  This list could go on and on. Some of these things bandaged it and helped for awhile, but the depression and anxiety would find a hole and creep out. A month ago, I called my doctor in tears and they said they could see me in a month. (This isn't a jab at my doctor because I love her. It is just a big clinic and everyone loves her.) I cried after the phone call because I wasn't sure if I would make it through the next month. 
But you know what...I did! And as I type this- I think I should celebrate with some ice cream tonight as I sit and watch the Olympics. 
As I sat and talked to my sweet doctor, she looked at me and said I wasn't alone. A lot of women have this and those that have Postpartum Depression can fight this their whole life. She told me there was no shame in this and she was proud of me for recognizing signs and for coming in and checking on it. She put me on meds and she recommended weekly counseling.

As I left the doctors office and was driving to a meeting, I thought about what my doctor had said to me. "A lot of women deal with this." I thought about how Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastry.com  just wrote a blog about this, and how just this morning one of the swimmers for the USA team was talking about how she had fought depression and had almost quit swimming. Folks, this is a topic that needs to be talked about with our friends and families. It needs to be talked about with our sweet youth. And not just famous people should talk about it or just in a doctors office.  Depression and anxiety are real. The problem is that it makes you feel like you are so alone. It makes you feel like you want to curl up in a ball and never get out of bed. It makes you feel like you suck at life and any curve balls that are thrown at you. I did not want to write this blog. However, it was itching up inside of me to get this stuff down on paper (or a screen) and not just in my journal but to share it with others. 
As I sat down to type, I set my alarm for one hour (a trick Glennon taught me) and started Pandora. The words "make something beautiful out of me" was being played out of my speakers and I instantly knew - this is it. Let this brokenness and sadness be lifted into something beautiful. 
So here it is folks - here is what has been going on.
I would start my day with a list of 10,000 things I needed to do and I had the expectation of myself to get all 10,000 things done. It would also be nice if it was done by noon so I could have a little down time. (Ugh..just typing this makes me cringe.) As you can predict, each night that I went to bed, I was so disappointed that I didn't accomplish everything that had been on my list. I started having mornings that I felt defeated before even getting out of bed because I stayed in bed a few minutes longer than I should and that would throw my whole day off. 
I got to a point where any curve ball that was thrown into my day, would send me over the edge. I would either cry or scream. Now, with having 3 beautiful children, but still children, my day is filled with curve balls. So you can see, there were a lot of tears or raising of voices.  
At first I could hide it by swallowing the tears or hiding in the bathroom or flopping down on my bed to scream in my pillow, but then it was happening so frequently, it was really hard to hide it.  Matt had to start coming home in the middle of the day this summer to check on me and make sure I was okay. Luckily he has a flexible job so he could do this. 
Then the tiredness came. Now being the mom of 3 children, working full time and keeping my marriage up and going, I figured being tired was just part of it. Even though that is somewhat true, this was a tiredness that came on strong. I no longer could get out of bed early and if I did, it was torture. (This was huge because I have always been a morning person.) By the middle of the day, I felt like I couldn't go on and would want to sleep for hours. Night time would come and I couldn't wait until my kids went to bed so I could go to sleep. 
I would try to start things, like exercise programs or diets and I would keep up with them for a couple weeks and then I would fall off the wagon. Defeated and feeling like a loser because I couldn't keep up with something would be the next set of emotions. 
And then there were dark thoughts. I won't go into much detail on these things, but I will tell you that communicating these thoughts are crucial and was a saving grace for me.

The day I made a phone call to the doctor, I had come to a realization of something. I realized that I didn't like myself. I didn't really like my life. I couldn't find joy in anything. I had went from this zealous extrovert to a low confidence introvert. If I was feeling like this, how was I supposed to parent these three amazing children. How was I suppose to teach my children how to find joy in life? How was I supposed to teach my children to love their bodies and their minds? How was I supposed to teach them how to love on others and to give of themselves? 
I had also tried to explain to Matt what I was feeling and why I was acting so crazy. God love that man because his words about sent me over the edge. He said "But Jodi, you seem so put together. You seem so strong. You are a good mom and wife." Now on any normal day, these words would have been a compliment. Not on this night- I about pushed him out of bed. I told him that was what got me here - trying to be so put together, trying to be strong so no one knew - and I was done with it. I didn't care who knew I felt like I was going crazy or how bad of a mom I was. Poor guy, he had no idea what had happened. I did apologize the next morning. He just hugged me and told me he loved me. 

I want any women or man who feels any of these emotions that I have listed above to know - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I promise. Find someone - a doctor, a friend, a counselor, a pastor, whoever it maybe to listen to you. Be brave to say that you don't feel good or that life is overwhelming to you. It could be meds that you need or maybe just a listening ear. 

As I get ready to hit publish, there are butterflies in my stomach. So here is the end of this post - 
Dear Heavenly Father, 
I pray you take these words and move them into someone's heart. Lord, help any person out there that is feeling inadequate or defeated, to speak up and find help. Lord, I thank you for leading me to this point. For walking alongside me, and even carrying me through some yucky stuff this past year. Lord, you are a powerful and great God. You are a loving God, who wraps His arms around his children and protects them from the storm. 
Thank you...

Friday, May 27, 2016


This morning I couldn't sleep. I was wakened by the storm at 3:38 and laid there until 4:30. I decided to get up at that point because sleep wasn't coming at all.

I took advantage of the quiet house, a cup of coffee and my devotion. Here is the verse that was laid out in front of me.

He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 
Genesis 2:19-20

I picture the Garden of Eden. Green and luscious, with flowers and sweet smells everywhere. I see Adam standing in the middle of the Garden, smiling and patiently waiting as each living creature comes to him. (In my structured mind, I see the living creatures standing in a perfectly straight line, but that probably is just my personality.) I see him stop and ponder, and quietly say the name. A name that will last and be forever.

To name things is a big deal. Think about it - when you are naming a child, it isn't usually a quick decision. There is reasoning behind the name. The name you choose gives meaning to the child and it will be what he or she is known as for the rest of their life (unless they want to go through the           rig-a-ma-roll of changing their name). 

In my devotion One Thousand Gifts, it has a line that I love.
"God is in the details; God is in the moment. God is in all that blurs by in a life - even hurts in a life. GOD! How can I not name? Naming these moments may change the ugly names I call myself."

I have been challenged by this book and devotion to record 1000 gifts that I see and have in my life. I am recording the smallest of things to monumental occasions. I am naming the gifts that I have daily. I am putting a name and giving meaning to these gifts that surround me. Sometimes it is like a puzzle or solving a mystery - "What shall I name you?" Yet, once the pen has scrawled the name across the page - it comes alive with meaning. It makes me realize the gifts I am surrounded by and it shows me that God is in that moment - even the smallest of moments. He handles the details and when things are blurry - He helps me to name those times. He helps me see the drops of grace in my day so that ugly names don't appear on the page. 

What will I name today? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Am Loved, I Am Redeemed

A couple days ago, I was driving to Tan Tara for work. I had to drive there and back home in one day, so it was a lot of car time by myself. To me this is exciting....at first. But then my mind starts kicking in and I start thinking of all the things I could be doing instead of driving. I usually end up making a to-do list in my head that never gets done because I am too tired after driving all day. Since I drive a lot in my job, I have started listening to podcasts. I am in love with Rob Casts by Rob Bell and Serial (two totally different types of podcasts...but I love them both).

Anyway - I listened to a Rob Cast where Rob Bell is talking with Glennon Doyle Melton - whom I adore and love her books as well as her blog. You can check out the podcast here and the blog Momastery here . This Rob Cast totally inspired me. It was all about being honest and showing your true identity. I loved it and haven't stopped thinking about it. So much in fact that I wanted to share a journal entry that I wrote the other morning.

So here it goes...
I am loved.
I am redeemed.
Why are these 2 phrases so easy to say but oh so hard to believe? It's not that I am loved and redeemed by everyone - it is that I am loved and redeemed by God. His grace pours down on me moment by moment. Drips drop all through the day to show me His love. A reminder to say "I am with you, my love."
I often go to bed thinking about all the things I didn't accomplish that day. Thinking tomorrow will be better. I will have it more together tomorrow. Sometimes I wake up with the weight of of the world on my shoulders - already defeated because I woke up late so I won't get a run in or I won't be able to do a quiet time before the kids get up. Other times, I wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world. However, it always ends the same - what did I not accomplish today. What have I now added to my list tomorrow? Why can't those first two lines carry me through? What is it that is in me to push these lines away?
I long for a walk with God but then I stray. I long for God to take the wheel but then I start driving.

To trust - to give up control- is so hard.

I have no answer but to pray. Pray hard and pray fiercely. I can safely say that a calming comes around me and for a moment I feel it - a rest in His arms.

Then the world comes crashing in -
-the kids want breakfast
-the kids are fighting
-the husband wants a hug and to talk about how I slept
-a run needs to happen
-the dog needs out
-laundry is calling
-emails start dinging
-parents are calling to make plans
It all collides - nothing bad or disastrous- but it quickly whips my neck around to see where I am. I am needed.

So my prayer is to keep holding tightly to God's hand throughout the day. To cling to his hand, his robe, his finger or whatever I can so that I remember -
I am Loved
I am Redeemed
- even when I fail
- even when I fall
- even when I yell or get angry
- even when I am overwhelmed
- even when I don't accomplish
I am Loved
I am Redeemed

I wrote this yesterday and I probably should have read it this morning before my day got started. It was the first day of summer break and you could tell that we are used to some structure and not being in the house all day! Yet, this was a nice reminder to look back and see where God dripped his drops of grace throughout the day. (It was also nice when there were drips of cream going into my 1st and 2nd cups of iced coffee today too!) I am thankful we have a whole summer and we don't have to fit all the fun activities into one or two days. I am also thankful that God has given me this chance to learn how to accept his grace and love.

Have a great night.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Books, Books, Books!

These two books below are amazing. Every time I read a page or a chapter in these books, I am inspired and walk away feeling like "there is actually someone out there like me" and "I can do this!" 

Side note...
The above statements make me sound like I read all the time. This is not true. I dream of reading all the time. However, the book Carry On, Warrior, I think I have been reading it for about a year now and my Kindle says I am at 68%. I did start For the Love, and I am on chapter 3 now so I am gaining some ground. I find minutes to read if possible. For example, today while taking John to karate, Sophia fell asleep in the car. My heart leaped for joy because I knew that I would have to stay in the car and I guessed I would just have to read a few chapters. I also like to read in the car. Matt, my husband loves to listen to talk radio and I HATE it. I loath talk radio. So I don't feel pressure to talk to him because I would hate to interrupt him. My children are usually watching some type of movie so VOILA! I get to read!

Anyway, back to these books. They are amazing. Both of them equally amazing. You should also feel better that you can read either one of these for a while, lay it down during crazy seasons in your life, and then pick it back up and feel like you have just been reacquainted with an old friend. 

Carry On Warrior- an awesome book but beware, this lady speaks her mind and I love it. She just tells it how it is whether you agree or not. She has a great story about where she came from and how she loves Jesus with all her heart. Honestly, she says a lot of things I think in my head and don't necessarily say out loud. But once again, she loves Jesus and the particular chapter I read today was how we should treat everyone we come in contact like we were Jesus. God made these precious souls that we see either once in a life time or every single day. How sometimes we have to turn our cheek when someone says something hurtful, but when we turn our cheek, often times we turn our face to something that is beautiful. Oh...I love that. 

For the Love - If you have never read a Jen Hatmaker book...you have to read one. She also has an awesome devotional called Out of the Spin Cycle. One of the best devotionals I have ever done. This lady gets me and I think she will get you too. She brings this being a woman thing into a realistic view. She challenges you to find your place and be proud of your gifts. Ugh...I love this book so much. I could go on and on about it. 

I do hope you pick up one of these books and if not, that you would find a book that inspires you each time you pick it up. Have a great evening! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Night Before School

The night before school, the backpacks were packed and the kids were snuggled in their beds, dreaming of what a new school would be like...

Tomorrow marks a few new chapters in our lives. Sophia is starting Kindergarten, John is starting 1st grade at a different school, and I won't be at school with them. 
These are 3 huge things and they have impacted our lives the last couple months. There has been a lot of preparing, a lot of talks, a lot of tears, and A LOT of prayers that have went into these new chapters. And now it is here...the page is about to turn and the chapter will begin. 

Sophia is so excited for Kindergarten. She has her first 5 outfits picked out and ready to go. She has had her backpack hanging up and ready to go since she got it for her birthday in March. She is so excited to make friends and have homework. She is ready to learn! However, there are lots of questions, especially comparing Kindergarten to Pre K. She is so ready to go and this momma can't believe that it is about to happen. I have prayed daily that she will keep her spirit, her creativity, and her love for people as she starts school. 

John is not excited...or so he says. He is scared and nervous. He had me at school with him last year and he knew a lot of teachers and had a lot friends at that school. He loved everything about CME and hates change. This is the hard part about being a parent - pushing them towards what you know is best for them, even when they aren't sure. I have prayed daily for this kid and this upcoming school year.

This new chapter is hard for me too. I don't think I realized how much it would affect me in the ways that it has. I feel like I am a first time mom sending my kids to school. I got to see John at school last year throughout different parts of the day. I knew the people well that were taking care of him. This year, I will drop John and Sophia off and then be there to pick them up. For some, this is no big deal and I know at some point it won't be a big deal for me. But for tonight and tomorrow...it is. When I made the decision to resign my position, I was fully aware that this would be a part of my life I would lose. I knew that I would lose being "in the know" and being in the behind the scenes parts of school. Yet, I also knew that it was what I needed to do for my family. I knew that God had a different path for me to take and he showed me that path when I took the step of faith to resign. He provided another job for me within a week. A job that would be flexible and allow me to work at home. It would allow me to walk my kids to school and be there to pick them up - with my full attention. It allowed us to keep a 2nd income (smaller, but still more than nothing) and provided benefits for my family. He gave me an even bigger passion to help students with disabilities. God is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, 
I praise you and I thank you for this new opportunity. I pray for the teachers, the administration and the staff as they open FSE doors tomorrow. I pray for the students that walk through the building. Please be with John and Sophia as they make new friends. Lord, let them shine your love into others. Help them in the choices they make throughout the day. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Girl and Her Shoes

Nora LOVES shoes. When I say love, I mean like both of her Nana's love shoes! As soon as she spots her shoes, she brings them to you so you can put them on her. She especially loves her sparkly tennis shoes. The first time we put them on her, she wasn't so sure. She would lift her knees really high, as if she were saying, "Hmmm...these are heavy on my feet and I am not sure how I should walk." The big kids loved watching her walk in them the first time. They thought it was a hoot! 
Now she is a pro and practically runs in any shoes that she has on. She thinks she is so big when she has her shoes on. Her love of shoes is quite cute now, but it could end up being an issue as she gets older :)