Damsels in Distress

How to come back stronger every time!

So… I messed up. And by that, I mean I REALLY messed up. And by that, I mean I messed up so bad, that everyone at our insurance, body shop, and rental car shop were both dumbfounded and humored by it all.

Jeff and I were up in Estes Park getting some last-minute filming done for reenactments that required snow on the ground. We found a quiet little mountain bluff that had a patch of snow just untouched by the sun, so we sprang into action.

I turned the corner on what should have been a normal road, and BAM! The front end of my car went straight down 3 feet and we were stuck in a hole… yes, a hole in the ground! I couldn’t believe it. What was that thing even doing there? Ugh… life.

I had a hard time backing out until Jeff laid down in front of the car and leg pressed it out of the hole like a dang ninja. It was pretty great.

But when I got out to look at the damage, I was horrified. It didn’t even look like my car anymore! The whole front driver corner was crushed with the headlight hanging out by a wire. I couldn’t have been going more than 5mph and this is what happens? I immediately threw my face into my hands and just started crying. I was exhausted, I was crushed, and I was defeated… or at least that’s how it felt at the time.

It’s at times like these that what is truly on the inside manifests on the outside.

When we’re physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, and life decides to throw us one more sucker punch to the gut, we find out what we truly believe and where we truly are in our walk with God.

The famous Proverbs 31 Woman has been a source of comparison and grief for countless Christian women the world over, but I don’t think she was ever meant to be. Instead, I believe she represents the power that resides on the inside of every woman. But it’s up to use to decide to draw on who we are rather than how we feel.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
— Proverbs 31:25 NLT

But what does it even mean to clothe yourself with strength and dignity. I certainly didn’t feel very strong or dignified in that moment. But if we remember that these two traits don’t come from external circumstance, but rather from inside of our spirits, then it becomes a choice as to whether or not we operate in them.

I love the second definition of both strength and dignity... 

Strength:

2. mental power, force, or vigor.

God has given us mental power. We have authority over our mind, thoughts and emotions. When life throws us a curve ball, we can feel defeated and exhausted but we can also choose to control our thoughts and consequently, our emotions will follow. This is what it means to be mentally strong.

Dignity:

2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness.

She puts on her true nature. As daughters of God, we are to “put on” our true nature every day. We are not mere girls trying to dodge the sucker punches of life. But we are the royal daughters of the King and we are meant to walk, talk, and face hardships with this perspective.

Nothing that happens to me or around me in this world has the power to change either of these two things. They allow me to “laugh without fear of the future.” Our mental strength is a gift from God that we can choose to use and our dignity as his daughters is a gift that can and never will be taken away from us.

God doesn’t cause the bad things to happen in our lives.

We live in a fallen world where evil things happen and people hurt people. And sometimes, there’s dang holes in the ground for no reason at all! God didn’t cause these things, but if we are willing to gain mental strength and rest in the dignity we have as his daughters, then God can use even the most frustrating of situations to sharpen our character to the point where we walk away from every situation stronger and more capable then when we fell in.

When I was crying, I was fearing the future. How are we going to pay for this? Will my husband ever trust me again? Am I always going to screw things up? My trust was in what I could see with my eyes, feel in my emotions and reason with my negative thinking. But when I calmed down and remembered whose I was, I could then pull on the strength that comes from knowing your identity. “I know I’m His beloved daughter in who he is WELL PLEASED with (Matthew 3:17). Even when I mess up, he delights in me (Zephaniah 3:17) and he is going to take care of everything.”

No matter what hard situation you are facing, remind yourself to put on strength and dignity.

Decide what it is you’re going to believe about yourself and your situation and then walk in that confidence. Then walk through it and away from it laughing without a single fear for the future.

You are safe.
You are secure.
You are loved.

Oh! And after I did stop crying, Jeff asked me if I could film him laying next to the mangled car for a reenactment shot. I smiled and said yes. Don't let life keep you down for long. 

xxo,
Jess

To the Wife Who Burnt Dinner

How to move on when we feel like we've failed

It was almost 7 o'clock and dinner was not ready. I confess, I had often dreamed of being the hostess with the clean apron, manicured nails, and delicious home-cooked meals that all came out of my oven at the exact same time. As far reaching as this dream was, I quickly realized that after only a few months of being married, our little apartment was apparently the place to be and my tiny kitchen would be producing not so much "perfect" meals, but certainly enough to sustain even the hungriest of twenty-somethings. 

As I went about the final preparations for taco night (yes, one of the absolute easiest meals to make) I laid out twelve hard taco shells on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to warm up. Now, for some reason I had it in my tired mind that broil is what you used when you just wanted to heat something up and not cook it. All of a sudden, we start to smell smoke and sure enough, we open the oven door to unveil my shame in the form of twelve flames- one for each taco shell. 

But wait, there's more. 

The smoke was INSANE so we all start opening windows. I open up the sliding door but leave the screen shut so our cat doesn't get out. My brave husband valiantly grabs the pan and makes a run for it outside, only to be greeted by that screen door I shut and the piping hot pan kisses him right in the stomach. He calls it his battle scar... 

I didn't realize braving my cooking was like going to war! 

Honestly, I was mortified. Here I was a new wife, new to cooking for 2 people let alone 8, and I failed at what should have been one of the easiest dishes known to mankind. I went to bed that night feeling more defeated than I knew I should. Why was this such a big deal to me? It's not like anyone was hurt- or hurt too badly.. The house didn't burn down, everyone ate and went home happy, smelling just a tad bit of smoke. So why did this taco shell incident attach itself to me the way it did? 

Sometimes as women, and maybe you men too, we attach certain "roles" to ourselves and make them our identity. As a new wife, I had attached things like "great cook," and "good house-keeper" to who I was, so that when I messed up in one of those, it felt like an attack on me as a person. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? I think sometimes we just want to feel important, valuable, and irreplaceable. In a society that says "there's nothing really special about being a woman, anyone can do it," we're pretty desperate to shout back, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!!!!" I don't know what girl hasn't pictured the day she was going to get married and also pictured being the perfect wife. I mean, we know we're not perfect but... I expect that from myself. And consequently, we start to assume that other people expect that from us. WHEN THEY DON'T! 

This journey of life is exactly that, a journey and no one get's to start off life, a marriage, parenting, a career, school, or anything else by being the best. 

One of my favorite songs for times like these (or let's be honest, any day!) is "Second Chance" by Rend Collective and in the very first line, they remind me of everything I need in times like these: 

My future hangs on this,
You make preciousness from dust.
Please don’t stop creating me.
— Rend Collective, Second Chance

My future isn't dependent on what I can achieve or accomplish or create on my own, but rather it's based on His ability to do what he does best: making preciousness from dust. Bringing beauty out of ashes. Creating memories from my mistakes. It's not in my ability but in his goodness that I even have a future, and a future that's filled with goodness and hope (Jer. 29:11). 

When we have our less than perfect moments, let's remember that our perfect God is working ALL things together for OUR good, that our mistakes (and our accomplishments) do not determine who we are and where we stand in his eyes, and that we're not perfect, but he will never be done creating us. 

So go forward with confidence, even if you have a little leftover smoke still on you and for goodness sake please do NOT put your taco shells on broil ;) 

xxo, 
Jess