I had my first babe at 24 and 5 years later we were bringing our fourth child home from Ethiopia! 1 child – 16 months later – 2 children – 2 years later – 3 children – 2 years later 4 children! I had researched and watched my sister model cocooning with her adopted children. I knew that I wanted to create the most healing environment for our Ethiopian beauty that I possible could after the loss and trauma she experienced in leaving her first family and home country. I made every effort to attend to her cries, feed her on demand and attend to her every cry – so she could learn to trust me and my love. I have 3 other babies that needed my love and affection as well.
During this time Michael (the hub) and I were over involved in serving in our church and community. Months after we brought M (Ethiopian beauty) home we joined an intensive church planting internship that included meetings several nights a week and hours of book homework a week. It was hard. and wonderful. and life-changing. Our desire for being super involved in everything we lead to home life being even more stressful than just having 4 young kids.
You know the saying, opposites attract? Yeah, that’s our marriage. We have different views and very different ways of being in the world. During these early years, we were bent on convincing each other that our way was the best. There’s probably many more areas I could share about where I was overcommitted and relationally challenged during those this time in my life.
Yes, life was all of those things and it was beautiful and great. I want to make sure that I’m painting a full picture. Life was like life is for most of us: busy, beautiful, and hard.
I found myself in my early 30s and disconnected from who I was created to be. I had jumped into marriage, family, church and community with two feet. After many years of swimming I was exhausted and barely keeping my head above water. My relationships -with the Lord, myself and my people were based on earning my worth, instead of living into to.
Since I had not learned to carve out time for self-reflection, I found myself in a constant reactive state. I was trying to please everyone in all of my spheres and not stopping to notice what I wanted to be pouring myself into and who I was – what did I even have to pour out?
That’s what I know now but then I all I knew was that I was all the “feels” – frustrated, irritated, knit-picky, sensitive and easily annoyed. Mainly those feels came out towards my children but it wasn’t them causing the problems. I was overcommitted and under self-reflective.
I was tired of feeling all those feelings. So, I started an experiment. I decided I needed time-outs of sorts. I began to take myself for a walk whenever the feels popped up. I prayed that the Lord would help me notice when a negative feel reared it’s head, so that I could respond.
Sure enough, I began to notice. I would slip my shoes on and walk 2 houses down one side of the house and to the edge of my garage on the other side- I couldn’t go far. The 4 kids were still inside the house- I homeschooled and I didn’t understand the value of self-care. I never paid a babysitter and rarely asked anyone for help with my kids. Wonderwomen? NOPE- too proud to ask for what I didn’t know I needed.
Anyway- back to the walking. I would get out of my house. I would walk and pray – “Hey, help! I don’t want these feels.” After a few laps I would feel calm and usually go back in the house- sometimes a porch sit was necessary.
In case you’re wondering- the kids would often be loco when I came back in. But that didn’t matter. I had given myself a pattern interrupt. My brain was making new connections. I was getting fresh air. I was learning I didn’t need to respond to the feels. I could make other choices. They didn’t own me.
After a few months of taking myself for walks things changed. I had more brain space to make decisions. I felt empowered that I wasn’t a robot, I could change the way I was programmed.Taking myself for walks was the beginning of my habit change passion. I’ve spent the last five-ish years learning. pausing, and implementing behavior changes. I love it.I am so very different now than I was years ago. And yet, I’m very much the same. Who I am at my core was buried under all the things I felt that I was supposed to be. The uncovering of who I was created to be has been a journey.I pursued training and certification in life and health coaching because I experienced change when my mind and body connection was made. My mind and body began working together and it opened a whole new world for me.Since I was primarily doing this work alone, it took me many years to change. Now I have the privilege of walking alongside my clients so they can experience transformation in months instead of years.It’s the bomb. I love what I do. I am wired for seeing beauty in the hard and helping people live into their purpose. It’s a passion. Sanctification can be fun and full instead of shame-filled and heavy.