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.

coffeeshop5.jpg

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”

DEAR FRIEND

Dear friend…

if you are feeling lost, alone, marginalized, heartbroken, or hopeless, know this:

I AM FOR YOU.

JESUS IS WITH YOU.

you are not alone. there may be those who would desire to rip you apart, but sweet soul, they don’t win.

we who hold true & cling fast to the heart of our precious Jesus will always find those on our side. we will always find hope when we need it. we will always find sweet peace & a gentle home for our weary souls when we feel we cannot go on.

so when you are living in fear and looking around at a world broken with pride & hatred, remember this…


come back to your breath. this is the core of your physical & emotional self.

recognize that growth involves mourning. saying goodbye to the old things is painful, and it’s really really good.

release the toxic things. they stunt your growth. they break your will.

cling to what is good. this is your lifeline because all good is from Jesus.

remember your inherent worthiness as a daughter of Divine Love. you’ve been filled with a brilliant breath of glory. and yes, you’re worthy. worthy. worthy

know that your wild can also be your holy. 

love yourself fiercely, the way your are SO LOVED by the Divine, and let that love spill over to soak everyone around you with that fearless, brave, intentional LOVE.

we will make it through this. together.

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.

family.jpg

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

37 WEEKS PREGNANT // BUMPDATE

I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to be writing this post.

just 6 weeks ago we entered the hospital with my contractions less than 5 minutes apart to find I was at high-risk for pre-term labor, and were afraid we’d have a teeny preemie on our hands; in the 4-5 weeks that followed I was on a modified bed rest to make sure our Iola Grace stayed safely put until she was grown enough to be healthy out in the real world. (you can read the whole story here)

just before Christmas we were in the hospital yet again with more concerns, but (yet again), we were sent home and labor continued to hold off.

the pain has been excruciating. the emotional strain (and yeah even trauma) has been real. the heightened anxiety has been exhausting. and the contractions (now consistently every 10 minutes or less for the past few weeks) have been frustrating.

with each doctor appointment, my doctor expressed the doubt, but hope, that Io would stay put until the end of January. each appointment confirms that I am indeed getting closer to active labor by the day… but our little love has officially made it to term, which we never thought would happen, and we are both so happy & so impatient. (especially this mama who has been in early labor for 5+ weeks!!)

keep us in your prayers! mama is completely worn out and exhausted from the pain.
our girl Io is still looking perfect (as usual!), if a wee on the bit small side. ❤
dad is super ready to see his baby girl… and to have his other girl be less miserable. 😉

we’re a hot mess over here, but we are hanging on! this sweet little soul has been desperately waited upon & joyfully suffered for. we can’t wait to see her beautiful face…

happy 37 weeks of life, Io girl. we love you! 

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.

tree10.jpg

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.

14718892_10208894195886020_2148810843074376513_n

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”

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?
positive triggersc
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”

when faith isn’t the answer

“do you want to be healed?”

I can’t count the number of times Christians have pointed me to the scripture in John 5. ah yes, the man who had been ill for 38 years. the man to whom Jesus so gently, powerfully said “pick up your mat, and walk!

they’ve pointed me there and echoed it… “do you want to be healed?”
DSC_0239

I never really know how to respond. so often their well-intended words feel like a stinging slap across the aching surface of my soul.

do I want to be healed?

oh, gee, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. hmm, let me see…

are you kidding me?! do I want to be healed?

for years, I’ve not just wanted… I’ve pleaded. begged. sobbed, rocking on my bedroom floor to be healed. I believe in the deepest parts of my soul that God can heal me!

and yet I’m told “you need faith!”

oh, Christian, I have faith. through my deepest sorrows and blackest nights of the soul, I have gained more faith than many people I know.

sometimes, faith isn’t the answer. Continue reading “when faith isn’t the answer”

The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people

In our church, we’ve really been practicing that whole weeping with those who weep thing lately. Yeah guys. It’s been rough. We’ve been hit hard.

In the span of a year we’ve held two particularly shocking funerals… Two funerals that were held for those who made the heart-wrenching decision to end their lives prematurely.

Our church has survived two suicides this year.

We are broken people, like any other community. But here’s the thing… I can’t help but think we might be holding fewer funerals if we had simply done our job.

If we had loved as Christ loved. Cared as he cared. Walked in humility as he walked.

If we had spread our arms wide with Jesus-love, speaking authentically, baring even the ugly doubts and reeking losses… When will we bulldoze through the society of singularity we’ve caved to and create a safety net of untidy grace where people are free to struggle with those hard and holy things that make life so damn hard. 

How many more will die before we wake up and realize that authenticity is what will heal our churches?

In the wake of the grief and shock that suicide unleashed upon those left behind, I have found true and authentic community with some of those who have been starving as desperately as I for it. I have bared it all and bathed in the relief it washes over those who plunge themselves into the tidal wave of vulnerability and grace that always follows authenticity. Precious authenticity

I have never experienced true authenticity as clearly as I have as of late.

I’m never going back.

My sweet friend and dear fellow blogger, Simone of The Adventures of Everygirl, and I have been making this our theme lately.
simone
We’ve realized that this is what we’ve been craving, what’s been missing from our souls. After lots of thought, passionate discussion, and epiphanies numbering in the dozens (because, duh), we finally seemed to grasp what it was that made authenticity so enticing, so addicting.

I’ve taken a few moments to jot down what I believe are the five most important characteristics of habitually authentic people. If you want true community, take note, dear ones.  Continue reading “The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people”