When I created this site, I envisioned a place where people could come for empowerment and to find a like-minded tribe. What I wanted to bring to life in this blog just so happened to turn into real life for me. Throughout my journey, I’ve crossed paths with many people who became my thoughts manifested into the closest of friends. Watching them go through their own journeys of self-grace, I’ve asked them to share with us all. Each story brings hope and a fresh perspective. I can’t thank them enough for their support in my vision as well as their courage to walk beside me. So without further ado, this is Christian’s story.
Oh, crap…those were my thoughts when I got pregnant. I empathize with women who want children and can’t have them for a myriad of reasons. But if I’m real, I was absolutely terrified when I found out the big news…I did not want to be pregnant. Will my boyfriend (at the time…now husband) leave me? Can I afford a baby? I literally just shot so much tequila two nights ago! My anxiety got the best of me and I questioned my ability and capacity to be a mother because of my upbringing. It wasn’t horrible, but my glaring Daddy Issues certainly took a toll on me. Seeds of doubt and resentment began to fester. I just wasn’t ready. Thankfully, I moved forward and birthed not one, but two awesome boys at this point. I can honestly share that being a mother is one of my strong points. My kids make me better. They are the vessels God uses to teach me all about how His undeserved, unmerited love and favor work. But believe me…ya girl has to work at being OK with this almost unfathomable concept daily.
4/20/2010, (go ahead, make your weed jokes), is a day that will go down in infamy. My good friend/ sorority sister and I were at my apartment. She was trying to calm me down while I cried over 6 different pregnancy tests. Lots of things were sinking in during those several minutes…including the fact that I knew I couldn’t possibly do this alone. Sure, I had a great relationship, my family, and awesome friends who were ready to be “play-aunties”. But there would have to be more to this journey I would need to be the type of mother I dreamed I would be. My realization of how drastically life would change was a huge trigger for my own unfaithfulness to God. See, I grew up knowing Him. I was a PK (Preacher’s Kid) for a few years. I did all the right things. His Word guided my steps for the most part. But He had let me down in a way that I wasn’t anticipating when my parents got divorced. My foundation was shook! I was in the midst of a spiral (that’s a whole other entry…or several). Acting out was a thing I did for some years during college. I kept trying to hide my pain. So, imagine the guilt I felt when I found out about our new addition: Good girls don’t do those things, I thought. Clearly, my understanding of God’s grace was nonexistent.
Call me the Prodigal Daughter, folks. One of the first things I did after settling into my new role was to start going to the alter again. I went to church with my big belly and no ring…in the Bible Belt. I was seeking forgiveness from God for getting pregnant before I was married, which, if you haven’t caught on, goes against all Southern Baptist teachings. I wanted Him to see me as His sweet daughter rather than the person who did all the other ratchet, irresponsible things I did after taking a break from Him. I was ready to put that behind me. I was into the Word again. Praying more. Doing good deeds with the intent to make sure God was seeing me again. Whew! That was stressful. It wasn’t until I met a woman at church who taught our Young Adult women’s Sunday School class about grace for at least 2 months straight. I learned that all my works were trash. I was doing the opposite of what the Word says: that working for God’s love is totally unnecessary and the concept kind of negates itself. I learned that no matter what I did, God still loved me. My new normal as “Mommy” was a turning point for me, as I learned what Amazing Grace means. It was mind blowing that all I had to do was be myself…warts and all.
Ten years later, I have a loving family, growing businesses, and awesome friends. I am truly winning. My work aligns with my purpose for God’s Kingdom: help others heal. As a licensed therapist with the focus on recovery from trauma, I often tell my clients the importance of giving grace to the self. Of course, I am a terrible practitioner of this, but I’m working on it. We go through things like a random diagnosis of a chronic illness that God uses to wake up our stubborn self who wants to keep grinding instead of drinking water. He’s calling us to leave that toxic relationship, stop spending money frivolously, start that non-profit to serve. But yet, we don’t slow down enough to hear the directions. On the flip, we don’t slow down enough to feel the grace. The fact that you didn’t get that dream job, or get into that school, or keep that man was protection. Yes, that’s another component of grace. I often share with clients and in speaking engagements the importance of reframing. There is always a silver lining in the midst of the storm. How can we recall this so we can fight the pending depression and anxiety that comes with ruminating over the “what-ifs”? What can I do or stop doing to address my overall mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health? Grace. Know that the grind is not graceful. It is based on a need to be our own heros. It’s the temptation to lean on our own understanding instead of relying on the unwavering favor of Christ. And if you mess up, that’s life and grace is especially necessary then.
My turning point was becoming a mother. It’s when I learned the power and importance of grace. I remember how I bossed up when I knew about our baby boy and how I couldn’t do it without God’s favor. I refer to those moments when I feel down and remember that I have handled business before. This is how we address the anxious narrative when we question ourselves: challenge the narrative that says you can’t do it and remind yourself you have already come this far.
So, tell me…how do you follow the example of God and give yourself grace? Please comment below and share some of your awesome self-care ideas! Thank you in advance for supporting and uplifting us on this journey to being a more favorable person to ourselves.
Christian is a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina. She specializes in treating trauma and the resulting depression, anxiety, and other PTSD symptoms. For more information, check our her private practice website yanacounseling.com or her Facebook page, Couch with Christian. You can also follow her Instagram page, @couchwithchristrian for tips on managing mental health.