Bit By Bit

Being able to post yesterday opened a bit of a floodgate in my heart. Until I sat and wrote I hadn't really processed just how much was there. I was overwhelmed by the fragments getting thrown around but couldn't grasp how many there were until I just dumped the mental bag out on my lap, if you will.

So here's the thing: nothing's changed in two days. In fact, in many ways I feel worse because I'm facing all that I had been avoiding. And while I can't sit down and write the way I want to I can try to get scant pieces out here and there from my phone. Functionality is limited and I have to let my inner control freak go come off the ledge from her tantrum in the corner but, despite bugs and quirks, the blogger iOS app is manageable.

Here's how I reached that conclusion: today, instead of sending Jason to Costco I realized I could go and he could try to get some work done while Roger napped. Even holding Juliet while working would accomplish more than the nothing he'd do while out shopping.

And so I went, parked as far away as possible on purpose (but still near a cart return because old habits die hard--with kids you always need to be as close to your car as possible and traipsing even 20 yards to return a cart while they're in the car feels about a safe as getting into a bathtub filled with black widow spiders). Anyway, after literally 30 seconds tips of walking, no kids and at my own pace and no real reason to rush (Jas could feed Jules pumped milk if need be), I was thinking about my State of Things post and had a pretty big realization. Funny how that happens.

[Pretend the pic at the bottom is here. Can't make it so on phone. Inner control freak is desperately trying not to throw herself on the ground!]

It hit me that while I like to be honest and share truth I try to "clean myself up" far more than I like. I know better so I like to think I don't do it. But my habit is to share a sweet truth Jesus has graced me with (good!) and then to explain how well I' believing it (not so good). Even if it's not evident to you, the reader, it is the reality in my heart.

I was thinking about how, though it was sweet to have the break, going to Costco alone isn't my rest--Jesus is. But then I immediately began evaluation mode: how do I prove I actually believe that? And have I repented of every instance in which I haven't? God forbid that I don't have it all together, even the tidying up of my sin!

I've had enough. Here's the truth, sister: sometimes Jesus speaks and I have joy. It is a salve to raw, desperate soul. But sometimes I just basically tell him to shut it because I just don't give a damn. Sometimes I repent quickly, sometimes I stubbornly burrow into my sin.

You know what never changes? Grace. Jesus continues to speak and live and pursue. My response in so many ways just does not matter.

I'm terrified to say that because I fear I'll be misunderstood. So listen--yes, ultimately I cannot remain in unrepentant sin and be a true partaker of grace, a Christian. But far, far too much emphasis is placed on how we respond to said grace and it becomes about our reception and not the precious sinless, slain, and risen Lamb who deserves so much more than the gluttony of self that is this inward focus on which I frequently feast.

Even yesterday I felt the pressure to make sure it seemed clear that, by golly, in this tough time don't you doubt my maturity in Christ! Ha--what the eff is that, anyway? How mature am I really when, at 3 am, I completely forget my God exists and I think about the least messy way to blow my brains out if only--oh, if only!--we owned a gun?

I know how wrong that was. I know all of the ways I'd biblically counsel someone in my position. But what really matters is that I get so worried that people won't know that I know those things that I smear poop all over the sweet grace Jesus gives by trying to prove that I really am a good little Christian, you guys!

I've had enough. And clearly many of you have, too. The biggest theme of the many sweet responses, other than sweet reassuring words of how very loved I am, has been to thank me for my honesty because so many of you have been there--here, where I am in a pit of toil, pain, and unrelenting struggle--and you felt completely alone because the church, where we're supposed to embrace our fallen nature as inherent and "look to the author and perfector of [our] faith," is one of the least safe places to do so. Either others lie about how together they are or even if they're a mess they Jesus-juke* us into how we *should* be responding. Meanwhile, Jesus watches his bride slice herself to pieces and bleed, bleed, bleed out the life he's constantly pouring into her.

I'm a mess, but how I pray I will be a gloriously in love with Jesus mess. So what if it isn't pretty? Jesus is beautiful. That's enough. And man alive, I pray it's Jesus people see on me, not the shit-stained cloak of feigned spiritual reliance on Jesus that reeks of putrid self-righteousness.

This was a lot for being on my phone. But once again, so glad it's received the clarity to go from mental scramble to prose. I love this medium--thank you for allowing it to me, Jesus. And thank you to those sweet friends who have reached out so graciously--I am infinitely blessed, truly. Jesus has loved on me through you.

*Jesus-juking is something Jas and I coined. It's when people use Jesus' name to try and coerce others into piety. Example: I'm struggling with some severe post-partum side effects. Jesus-juking is, "Well at least you have a baby. You should thank Jesus for that blessing since so many people would love to have your problem. Handle it better, already!" Or the person whose father beat them being told at least they had a dad, gosh how Jesus blessed then and they're so horribly ungrateful. That sort of stuff. I do it to myself--I'm the worst offender again me in the crime of Jesus-juking. It needs to stop.

Below: what it looks like when I get to park at Costco and walk a wee bit.


  1. What a blessing to be able to hear about your journey, Tami. I don't know how much I mentioned it before, but I can completely relate to your struggle. I have been in circles of women (Mars Hill women!) in which I felt like the odd man out, like what the hell is up with these women and why am I the only one who thinks parenting is hard. I have seen the depths of postpartum depression, and my heart aches for you. Those moments are dark and crushing, yet you are (at least trying to) see Jesus in it. What would you think if I brought you a meal this week or next? I'd love to. :)

  2. Interesting how Jesus works in our hearts...After I submitted my earlier comment, I've been feeling the Lord tug on my heart today, showing me the ways I have held bitterness against moms that appear to have had a much easier time than me, motherhood-wise. In some cases, it has been a skewed perception, and in others, they actually have had it easier. Either way, though, it doesn't do me any good to get angry with them. Repentance is good.

    Regardless of my own issues, I want to be an encouragement to you, a voice that says, "you are not alone." Also, I will say that you have mad writing skillz. That is all. :)

  3. Thank you! I am so encouraged by the outpouring of support and empathy! I'm grateful that Jesus is working beyond what I could have hoped.

    And a meal would be amazing--next week would be awesome! You are so generous to offer :)