WHERE TO FIND JESUS // A THANK YOU TO EVERY PETTY TYRANT WHO CHANGED MY LIFE

when I was young, I thought finding Jesus was easy, thought it was a one-time event. like, “Oh, he found Jesus, and now he’s saved.” (whatever those christian-isms actually mean?)

as I got older, I realized it’s never that simple.
because, as rachel held evans says, God chose a side when Jesus arrived here, wrapped up in our messy humanity.

so, today I am writing a thank you letter to every abuser, liar, manipulator, fool, and pharisee who changed my life. I’m writing this thank you letter, because they are the ones who have showed me where Jesus is and is not. they’ve showed me where to find him. they’ve pushed me towards him, unintentionally.

thank you.

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to the people in my youth group who made jokes about me every time I was moved to tears during worship, prayer, or someone’s testimony…
thank you. Jesus is with those who are moved with compassion, because the heart of God is moved with compassion. I felt like an oversensitive drama queen for years, until I realized my heart is soft, gentle, and overcome with empathy. and that those are my strengths. and that you can find Jesus with the compassionate.

to the girl who manipulated and sexually abused me as a teenager…
thank you. not for the abuse, which was despicable and vile, but for opening me up to the reality that Jesus is found with the abused. you can always be sure to find Jesus wherever people are being taken advantage of at their core. he was beaten, stripped naked, and hung on a tree for everyone to mock. Jesus is with us. Divine Love has chosen sides, and as a mother comforts, nurtures, and empathizes with Her children, She sits with us, grieving our abuse, collecting our tears.

Continue reading “WHERE TO FIND JESUS // A THANK YOU TO EVERY PETTY TYRANT WHO CHANGED MY LIFE”

ME TOO // A PORTAIT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ASSAULT & ABUSE

TRIGGER WARNING: this post is a true personal portrait of twenty-three year’s worth of sexual harassment, assault & abuse. what’s worse… this story is far from rare.

some things may be painful to read, so please, friend, read with caution.

statistics tell us, that…
1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault.
2/3 of rapes go unreported.
every 98 seconds, sexual assault occurs in our country.
1 out of every 6 women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
90% of all victims are women.
the amount of stress & disorders like PTSD reported by victims is drastically higher than that compared to any other major crime.
((ALL STATISTICS ARE FROM RAINN.ORG))

there are some very clear reasons why I write this post. 

contrary to the victim-shamers, it’s not for attention. (the attention victims gather is nothing anyone would covet.)

I write this to shine a light onto the state of how women are treated.
I write it to give a clear, personal account of real things that real women experience.
I write this as a privileged, white, Christian good-girl.



I write this because someone needs to.

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I write it because it’s my story, and mine alone, to write. Continue reading “ME TOO // A PORTAIT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ASSAULT & ABUSE”

WHY YOGA?

so… why do you do yoga?

I get this question aaaaallll the time, babes. it’s asked in a thousand different ways by a thousand different people with a thousand different motives.

and I love this question! the truth is, no matter who’s asking it for whatever reason (yup, definitely had people ask me this to try to prove their anti-yoga point), this is a question that never fails to spark some kind of excited flame in me… because oh, why do I practice yoga? let me count the ways, sister. 😉

because it soothes the mind

as someone who has lived with mantal illnesses, primarily anxiety and depression, for roughly 18 years of her 23+ year life, anything that calms my mind without a slew of negative side effects is my best effin friend. putting your physical body through postures of precision, steadiness, and intentionality has a profound calming effect on the brain. the signals sent through your nerves and your breath when you do something as intentional with your body as yoga, tell your brain that you’re alright, that you don’t need to panic. just a few minutes into a practice or flow & I can already feel my mind settling and my thoughts gaining clarity. and that’s priceless!

because it’s really good for your body

there are countless ways that yoga improves your overall physical health. increasing flexibility is just awesome for your body- you’re less likely to injure yourself in accidents or falls, you’re less likely to pull a muscle during another workout, and you’re less prone to stiffness/tension if you’re consistently stretching out your body. teaching your spine proper alignment (especially for those who sit at desks all day!) can make leaps and bounds of change when it comes to healing back, hip, and shoulder pain. alignment can also help clear up issues in the neck and head- for me, personally, my migraines dropped in amount significantly when I began practicing yoga and implementing proper alignment.


because it boosts confidence Continue reading “WHY YOGA?”

BEING LOVED IS BRAVE

hey babes.

we’re living an incredibly painful & difficult season over here in the Avrick house. that sounds like a broken record, doesn’t it? yeah. well, to be honest, the past three years have been both the hardest & best of our lives. and it just keeps going.

but I’m learning things. oh, how I’m learning. there’s nothing like a trial to plant you deeper, darker into black soil and then revel in your wild growth.

and here’s one of the freshest, most in-process truths I’m starting to tentatively sink into… being loved is brave. yeah.

letting yourself be loved. like, really sacrificially loved. it’s hard for me. it takes everything in me to soften and allow hands of love to be opened in my direction.

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it opens years of wounding, years full of fear that I’m a burden, that I’m too much to carry, that maybe I’m a waste, that I’m just a troublesome human clinging to affection. it’s close to impossible to be loved in big, mountain-moving ways without me feeling those old haunts coming back to wrap their toxins around my fragile heart.

it feels like an insurmountable task- to be fully loved. Continue reading “BEING LOVED IS BRAVE”

MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD

maybe you know that my husband & I were surprised by a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, sweet-natured, PERFECT (of course) little baby girl who was born just over a month ago. her name is Iola, and we love her to bits and pieces. though not literally. cause that would be odd. and unfortunate. 😉

maybe you also know that I have generalized anxiety disorder & clinical depression. the first time I remember experiencing a very-not-normal type of anxiety, I was only five years old, although it really came at me like a punch in the gut the summer after I turned 16.

if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you probably know both of those things. but here’s something you might not know:

mental illnesses like these run in my family.
and my husband’s family.

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and for this reason, I was never really sure I wanted to have my own children.

so…
sweet, freshly-diagnosed girl looking out into her future with these fears, this is for you.
strong mama in the double trenches of mental illness & motherhood, this is for you.
tentative pregnant gal who never had to think about this until you had to go cold turkey off your meds, this is for you.
anyone who loves a mama with a mental illness, this is for you. Continue reading “MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD”

LET’S ALL STOP USING “MENTALLY ILL” AS AN INSULT

yeeaahh… let’s all just agree to not do this, okay? 

for those of you who haven’t had to walk this road, please allow me to humbly explain to you why this phrase can really wound when used incorrectly. I know that as our friends & family, you care about those of us who have to battle monsters like anxiety, depression, or another disorder, and we want to communicate to you how we can all best live in harmony! sound good? good.

here’s the thing: some of us are mentally ill. it’s a fact of life. sometimes our brain chemicals just aren’t doing their job, and it leaves us in the dust trying to figure out which way is up! or perhaps it was a traumatic event in our past that has significantly screwed with our emotionally sanity. either way, our lives look a little different from other people’s. 

here’s thing #2: mental illness is exactly what it says it is… an illness. like cancer or arthritis, it’s a sickness that takes lots of time, care, and sometimes medication to begin to heal. and while some mental illnesses can cause things like outbursts, momentary lapses in judgement, and the like, it’s not something that makes people terrible human beings.


when the people we know say things like “ugh what a complete mentally ill moron”, those of us who actually are mentally ill, associate the two. we feel like you must think that mentally ill people are terrible, mean, and ignorant. or worse… that because we are mentally ill, we have no other destiny than to become wicked people who hurt others and cause strife

those are already some of our deepest fears. we’re already scared that we are doomed to become horrible human beings because our mental illness has somehow broken us beyond repair. these are all lies our brains are already assaulted with. these are already lies we are fighting off at every moment. we are constantly striving to be kind & genuine people, despite the fog of confusion that clouds our hearts & minds

people with mental illness may be unconventional, but our illness does not take away our inherent worth, or make us somehow less than, or doomed to a fate where we are brokenly breaking everyone around us.

we are capable of greatness & goodness. but we won’t rise to our height of possibility, unless you believe in us, unless you’ve got our backs, unless we know that you will stand up for us. we can do this… but only with your help! 

can we all agree to no longer use mental illness as an insult anymore?

awesome. I knew I could count on you. 😉

xoxo

I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION

I don’t fight my depression.

yeah, you read that right.

I just don’t. in fact, after 5+ years of losing every single battle I’ve tried to fight with this beast, I have decided it’s just not worth it to fight anymore. It isn’t worth it to wind up bruised and beaten, licking my wounds.

before all of you go crucifying me on the cross of panic and political correctness, let me explain.

I don’t fight my depression, because I have a greater goal in mind- I don’t want to keep getting beat until I can no longer get back up. nope, I don’t care any longer to be a hero. I don’t want to fight it. I want to survive it.

and I can’t do both. I can’t both keep fighting AND survive.

this is not a pity party, and it’s not a declaration of defeat. this is not me throwing in the towel or waving the proverbial white flag. this is none of those things. this is a decision so much bigger and so much braver than nonsensically charging into battle, armor-free, which is what it is like trying to fight depression.

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hear this well: there is no armor strong enough to protect your mind from itself when it is determined to take you away from everything you are, everything good, everything safe, everything that is true. regardless of what you think you do or do not know… depression plays by only two rules, and those two rules never change: shame and isolate.

you cannot beat shame and isolation with brute force.  Continue reading “I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION”

A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE

sweet little Io,

it’s amazing, you know.

you’re this whole little person, just growing away, practicing breathing through your little lungs, stretching out long, curling up small, slowly becoming this wonderful human that will be unleashed upon the world.

you have so much promise in your blood, and so much beauty and grace and strength is being passed on to you from the loving legacies of incredible women and men. I believe with all of my heart that you’ll feel it too, as you grow into your own, as you take hold of the person you’re designed as.

your blood holds brokenness and anxiety and depression and trauma, too. it holds weaknesses that have haunted your people for generations, demons that have hunted us, shadows we’ve cowered in. you’ll come to understand these stories in time, I know; and, though I pray it’s not the case, you may have to learn to own them as your own and fight them better than we’ve fought them. don’t shrink away from this part of you; it is important. stand on my shoulders, sweet girl. learn from our defeats, and carry our love and your learning into battle.

these terrifying possibilities are why I thought I might never want to carry a child, never want to watch her suffer under the weight of things I’ve suffered. but I know now that you’re being built strong as well as graceful, powerful as well as fragile, fierce and full of fire as well as gentle. this is how good women are made, little one. and you’re good.

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your dad and I named you early on. we knew who you are. we felt it in our bones, and it felt right. Iola Grace. dawn of grace is what your name means, said together as one. dawn of grace is the spirit I know you’ve been given.  Continue reading “A LETTER TO MY BABY GIRL // 25 WEEK BUMPDATE”

how to make life less sucky when you’re crazy busy

let’s just be real guys.

when we get too busy, everything becomes a blur of checklists, schedules, meetings, getting things done, disorganization, chaos, family world wars, atomic bombs… waitno. mostly just checklists and schedules. but seriously, as the speed of life picks up, I end up feeling like I’m in the middle of a race I didn’t realize was happening, and I’m all out of breath and miserable and confused. (it ain’t pretty)

and right now, with less than four weeks to pack up and move cross country, you could say I’m stressed worried nervous in a total panic. so, believe me… I need this post as much as you do. let’s take a deep breath and read on.

here are a few ways to make that out-of-breath chaos a little less sucky while you’re living it…

1.) give yourself a time-out
while generally time outs are associated with mischievous toddlers (or, you know, normal toddlers), sometimes we all need a couple minutes to simply get our bearings and take a deep breath. so set that iphone timer for 10 minutes, shut and lock the door, and just breathe for a second. pay attention to that breath in your body, and focus on just how it feels to breathe instead of letting your mind loose on all the things you have to do. I went full yogi on you with the breath. sorry not sorry. thank me later. Continue reading “how to make life less sucky when you’re crazy busy”

Creating Positive Triggers

for those of us whose life stories contain chapters of mental illness or trauma, triggers are a terrifying part of everyday life. it’s like your life is a jack-in-the-box that keeps getting rewound. you’re not sure when it’s going to pop out at you, dragging you back to that point in time you were most vulnerable, most taken advantage of, but you know it’s there… waiting… and the fear of it can keep you from living your life.

it feels rather unfair, that something you survived and lived through should then be allowed to haunt you, to surprise you, to not let you forget. but it is a scar, and though they fade they don’t disappear. I’m right there with you, friend.

but let’s take a step back real quick.

here’s the definition of a trigger:

trigger
verb
(used with object)
to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.)
so, as you can see, even though it is overwhelmingly used to describe a person, place, thing, word, situation, (etc, etc…) that ignites a negative process or chain of events… there’s no rule that says that has to be the case.
but what if we started combating this with like firepower?
what if we started creating our own positive triggers?
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I realize this might be a new concept to some of you. it’s not really something that I’ve ever heard of either. it just kind of came to me during my yoga flow a few days ago, and it stuck. it won’t leave my head, and I just can’t lose the idea that this could be something so big in my life.

Continue reading “Creating Positive Triggers”