[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
At 37 weeks pregnant with my second daughter, after several months of battling preeclampsia, the left half of my face went numb and then drooped. I was rushed to the hospital as my doctors feared I was having a stroke. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. Labor was induced and I delivered my girl the next day. After several different forms of failed treatment and 3 doctors later telling me they believed I actually HAD suffered a mini stroke, I slowly began to accept that my face would probably never look the same. This September marks 3 years since onset. It has been a long and emotional journey. I didn’t think I was a vain person (I’ve never even owned lipstick or liquid foundation) but suddenly I was brought to tears every time I saw myself in the mirror or in a photo. The self-hatred caused problems in my marriage. I pushed my husband away, probably partly because I didn’t want him to reject me first. But also because I believed he deserved better than what he was getting. He chose a girl with a bright smile and a contagious laugh and now he was stuck with a girl who had a gimpy face and lazy eye. I would be lying if I said those thoughts are completely gone. But thankfully, he stands by me anyway, and walks this road with me regardless of how my face has been altered. Now it’s about me learning to accept myself and relearn what beauty is. I think it’s also about learning to accept the life story God is writing for me, rather than the life I have scripted in my head. We have walked through unemployment, two devastating miscarriages, and now have a beautiful daughter with some significant developmental delays. These plotlines were not a part of my daydreams. But I once read, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”, and I believe that because I am one of those souls. So now it’s just about learning not to hide my scars.
[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
I want to say…naptime! But seriously, I love the mornings. When we don’t have therapy and we all just get in my bed and snuggle. Love starting the day slow with my two girls giggling in my bed.
[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
I know you only asked for three but I have to name four. First I have to say @lightlovers. Naomi has a heart of gold and has encouragement for everyone she comes in contact with. She has an uplifting spirit and it’s contagious. Then I’d have to say@thegraygang, @_cherishthemoment. These two mamas are so real. So honest. And so hilarious! They don’t try to make motherhood look like walk in the park. They are honest about how they struggle and I think that helps other people admit how they’re struggling in the same way. As the same time though, they are so grateful and so tender towards their children. They remind me on my bad days, what a gift I’ve been given. And last but not least I have to mention @wifeysinger. She’s my newest ig friend but I was inspired the instant I found her feed. I think many people have hard lives and we’ve all had experiences we would trade, but some of us can’t hide our scars and Hannah doesn’t even try. Both our faces expose part of our story and not only does she let it show, she radiates beauty and confidence that can only come from Christ. And every time I see her lovely face in my feed, I get a little braver, and a little closer, to accepting my own.
[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
The challenge I’ve faced most is just to find balance. I want to be a good wife, a good mother, a good sister, friend, daughter, worship leader, photographer, and so on. But it’s hard to prioritize. And it’s hard to get enough sleep. I feel like my husband and I are constantly reassessing our calendars, our plans, our commitments, while we try to find our pace as a family.
[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
My favorite tradition with my kids… ?? I’m not sure if Sabbath counts but that’s the best I can think of. The kids are still so small I don’t know if we’ve formed a lot of family traditions yet but every week we celebrate Sabbath. I think it’s such an important part of living a healthy life. So I’m glad to pass that understanding onto my kids…that we all need a day to rest.
[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home, what image would you share and why?
I would share this. I think I am pretty honest about real life. I’m not trying to make my life seem perfect but this moment, is when it felt pretty darn close. I was painting some old furniture. The girls were coloring with chalk and my hubs had brought out his guitar and was singing some old tunes. I looked up and just thought, wow. I will remember this forever. The moment my life felt perfect.
[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
Most people have a junk drawer. I have a whole cupboard. :-/ I can't seem to get it organized and it's full of all those projects and pinterest crafts that I will get to "someday". or never. extra linens, Christmas wrapping paper, piggy banks? A little bit of everything. I'm just glad the doors still close. Although I guess that doesn't matter much now that I'm sharing it here with all of you. ;-)