My Everyday featuring ... Jess McClenahan


image.jpg
image.jpg

[#1] Share a snippet of your story. 

I married my high school sweetheart, Joel, and soon found myself with the title of farmer’s wife. After attending high school in a rural community I had promised anyone who would listen that I would NEVER marry a farmer. Haha…never say never, right?! It turns out that being a farmer’s wife is actually pretty great. And there is no one else that I would have rather walked through the past eleven years with than my always-joyful husband. The farmer’s wife gig was just my first lesson in trusting that God knows what is best for me even when it doesn’t always feel like what is best. I taught kindergarten for four years before I became a stay-at-home mom shortly after our daughter Cora was born. Best job in the world, for sure. My world was rocked to the core when we found out Cora had cancer and then said goodbye to her seventeen days later. She was eleven months old when she entered the arms of Jesus. I was completely devastated and continue to miss her like crazy every day. But I have seen the faithfulness of God first hand as He walked with us through those very dark days of grief. I learned to cling to Truth in a way I had never done before and to allow God to meet me in my sorrow. I would have never made it even one day without Him. Our house is now filled with two rambunctious boys and I am so thankful for all the noise (at least most days!). Levi (4 years) and Griffin (2 years) are such a gift to our family and I am grateful that I get to be their mama. 

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?

My favorite time of day is anytime I can be outside with my boys. I find that some of our best memories and sweetest conversations happen outside. I don’t know if it is the lack of distractions or the fact that we are just together or maybe because they are boys…but it is the best. Going on walks, watching the boys climb all over Cora’s stone, exploring, planting our garden, finding the boys covered in mud, driving dump trucks, picking pumpkins, swimming, helping daddy on the farm, walking to the mailbox, splashing in puddles, riding tricycles, picnics in the yard, all memories I will never forget. Sometimes these things seem so mundane day after day but it is such a privilege to be able to spend these moments with my boys. Each moment is a gift. And just so you know…we are not huge fans of winter. We are ready for the Kansas weather to warm back up so we can be outside again! 

image.jpg
image.jpg

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.

So hard to choose just three. I am so blessed to have many inspiring women in my life. As I thought about how blogging has allowed me to connect to women who have also lost children I thought of 1 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” These three sweet mamas have been a comfort to me in so many ways:

@joyshope – Julie has such a big heart. Her compassion and generosity to my family was such a gift after losing Cora. Julie was ahead of me in her journey through grief of losing her sweet Joy and it was so encouraging to be able to peek into her life and see God’s faithfulness as her family’s joy was restored. She challenged me to cling to Jesus and be a blessing to others along the way.

@life_made_lovely – Heather is the sweetest. I love how she has used the loss of her sweet Samuel to be a blessing to so many. If you haven’t heard of the Joyful Life Library you need to check it out! Heather is always thinking of others and challenges me to look outside of myself and do the same. Not only is her home lovely, she too is lovely inside and out.

@sarahdamaska – I met Sarah and her husband last year at a retreat Joel and I attended. The story of our Cora and their Annie are very similar and we were instant friends. Sarah is passionate about God’s life-giving Word, as she has chosen to trust God even when it’s really hard. Though we are far away friends, I am constantly learning from Sarah and thankful that God gave me women like her to walk this journey of grief alongside.

image.jpg

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?

My biggest challenge is priorities! There are so many distractions and so many opportunities out there. It is easy to want to do everything…and easy to feel sorry for myself when I can’t do everything…and easy to get overwhelmed when I attempt to do everything. I am learning that I have to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus when there are so many other things trying to pull for my time and attention. I have to cling to Christ on the days when I am sinking as well as the days that are mundane. I have to keep my time in the Word a priority and give Him each moment and each day. It is when my eyes are fixed on Jesus that everything else falls into place. It doesn’t mean everything is easy, but I have peace knowing that I am going to be given just what I need to make it through because my Jesus is walking through it with me.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3).

My family comes next and at this stage in my life my boys take up most of my time. I have to remind myself that those two boys, who sometimes make me want to pull out my hair and scream, are entrusted to me at this time…and they are my priority. This means that blogging doesn’t happen as frequently these days and any creating I do usually happens together with my boys. I have to be creative to make time to be creative! It takes longer and is messier but they love to be a part of my projects too. And I love that right now my days involve making creative messes with my boys. 

image.jpg

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?

A favorite family tradition is quickly becoming rides with daddy during harvest. It is fun to see the boys get so excited about spending time with their daddy at work. What an amazing blessing as a wife and mama to watch Joel embrace this time with his boys. We love when Joel is driving the combine and we can pack our lunches and ride with him while we eat. I cherish these times together during the busy harvest season. Before I know it I am going to blink my eyes and find myself bringing lunches out to the field to two grown farm boys working with their daddy. Hopefully they will still take their mama for a tractor ride! 

image.jpg
image.jpg

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home, what image would you share and why?

This is the room where you can usually find the boys playing…if they are not outside. You might find them driving tractors around, setting up their train tracks, working on a project, playing a game, definitely making a mess, and occasionally performing a concert on top of the table. The concerts are my favorite. 

image.jpg

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.

I love to post the joyful “perfect” moments…the moments that I want to remember. But the reality is that often my days are filled with a fit-throwing two year old who wants to do everything his own way and a four year old that is learning that God wants him to obey with a happy heart even when he’d rather pout and whine (which unfortunately, I can totally relate to). These days of raising little kids are precious but also very trying. While it might look like we have our act put together over here at the Macs, just know that I am leaning on my Heavenly Father for wisdom and patience and perseverance as I raise my boys just as much as all of you are! Sometimes you just have to smile while they cry it out. 

image.jpg

Be sure and follow @jessmcclenahan on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms