“Come on honey. Put your shoes on. Get in the car.” It’s way past my bedtime on a school night but desperate times call for desperate measures. I tried to tie my shoelaces as quickly as I could, softly looking up at my pacing mother. “Mommy, where are we going?” I muttered in a timid child-like voice.
This was not uncommon, in fact, it happened a few times a month. My sweet and worried mother would summon me to the car in a hurried and anxious voice, trying to make it sound like we were headed on a fun adventure. I knew better though. I was keenly aware of this dysfunctional life we lived. The truth is, we were headed out to look for my drunk father. We would slowly drive by field after field looking for his truck, sometimes even pulling our little Jetta into the fields to get a better look. We would drive past his dad’s house, past bars he sometimes went to, we would go anywhere we thought he might be.
our family of three
i know he deeply loves me. it was love at first sight.
I came to know the Lord at a young age. I vividly remember praying along side of my wooden bed in my Noah’s Ark themed bedroom. I believe Jesus grabbed a strong hold on my heart immediately. He knew the terrors, trauma, and heartbreak my little life would endure. I grew up walking behind a strong, Godly, and fierce woman. She possessed (and still does) a gentle strength like no one I have ever known. She was firm in the Lord and desired that for me as well, and so my hero modeled it to me from the start.
my sweet, strong, Godly mama
Fast forward through a lot of hard years, but God-filled years. Years of me knowing I needed God, but wanting to runaway from God and Him literally not letting me. I would try so hard to escape but I always came back to Jesus. It was really of no strength or will inside of me but strictly the Holy Spirit protecting, loving, and sheltering me during the raging storms.
It’s 2011 and I am attending undergrad at Wheaton College, just outside of Chicago. I can tell you to this day exactly where I was standing and what I was doing when I received the news- the news that my mother, my hero, my best friend, had cancer. I wept. Oh did I weep. I cried the most ugly of tears. I remember a few nights after finding out, lying outside of my dorm room on the grungy hallway floor of Fisher 2West, sobbing and screaming and letting out the deepest parts of my wretched soul. I read through Job that night once I pulled myself together. I felt like Job. I was terrified of the worst but scared to really hope.
Just a few weeks after finding out about Mom’s cancer, my Dad fell off of our second story roof at our house, near paralyzing himself. He received a metal plate and 10 screws in his back and was put in a coma to detox him due to the lethal levels of alcohol in his system. The doctors said it was a close call and a miracle he still had a beating heart. Thankfully, he is still able to walk even though the doctors were uncertain at first if he would come out paralyzed or not.
I was a fresh 20 year old caring for my two physically broken parents that summer after my sophomore year of college. I sat by my mom’s side for every one of her chemo treatments. I tried to force my dad to keep his brace on, but to no avail. I was beyond grateful to have them both alive though. I was literally inches away from becoming an orphan between March and April of that year.
Unfortunately, my dad’s sin is as strong as his Irish stubbornness and he continues to be shackled to the beer can to this day. We continue to pray for freedom from his captivity and we hope for him to find his life- his life in Christ.
daddy-daughter dance on my wedding day
But Praise God that my mom recently celebrated her 6-year remission from Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer that doctor’s say should have killed her. Her life is a living miracle of Jesus!
celebrating mama’s remission in the Grand Tetons, WY
My life has been wrecked but it continues to be gracefully saved in Jesus name. My battle is far from over. I am now married to a God-fearing, rugby playing man whom I love with all my being. He has shown me what real love from a man can and should look like.
there he is- my strong, rugged, God-fearing, Military hubby
Anxiety to the point of my body trembling, my limbs going numb, my heart racing, and me gasping for my next breath feeling like it’s my last. I struggle deeply with fear of losing my closest loved ones, my mama and my husband. It’s crippling, really. I fear being terrorized, I fear being alone, I fear traumatic experiences. I fear. I worry. I am almost always anxious.
I am now 26 years old and only a few years out of some of the most trying times of my life. I really know no other way of life. I’ve had two years of wedded bliss and I think I am finally processing my childhood and the things I have endured now that I am not living in that environment day in and day out.
I see glimpses of what God has in store for me. In 2014 I founded a holistic lifestyle business and blog for women. God has laid this so heavily on my heart. My mission is to help women live meaningful lives where they feel confident in their Creator and in themselves, allowing them the freedom to live a beautiful, whole life full of intention that can impact not only themselves but also their families and their communities. I want to create a space where our homes, our wellness, and our stories intersect. My heart is for women to create healthy and beautiful homes where they enjoy being and where they can raise their babies and invite others in with hospitable, open arms. My heart is for women to care for themselves so that they can better care for others.
Because I grew up in the exact opposite of this picture of a healthy home, I began to crave it and see the deep impact our homes have on our wellness and on our lives. And because I witnessed a man throw away his health with every swig of the can and a mother fight for her life from an almost death-sentencing cancer, I am passionate about health and stewarding our bodies well because it is a commandment. I desire to change the way we as women view health and fitness and begin to see it as the true act of worship it is. I am excited to journey along with other women and help them to see the value and beauty in their home and help them to embrace the purpose of their homes! I get fired up working alongside women and helping them learn how to care for themselves in a way that cultivates real health and wholeness. Our bodies are a gift- we should treat them that way. And weaving beautifully through our bodies and our homes are our souls that deserve to be tenderly cared for and encouraged.
This is just a small glimpse into my roots and where my roots have led me. The Lord is crafting a beautiful story and an incredible brand right before my eyes with HIS STORY! I continue to fall flat on my face in amazement to His most imaginative and most purposeful design over my life. Our deepest roots, if given tender care, watering, and attention, can blossom into a beautiful story of how brokenness can bloom beauty, of how hope patiently waits, of how beauty can come from the weeds and dirt. Because no matter where we come from or what are roots are, through His watering, the most beautiful flowers can come from those very broken roots. And this is precisely what I’ve been learning over the past 7 months.
From the moment I released my hands seven months ago and gave Him full control over my business and really my life (again), He’s continually amazed me! I hope you’ll walk alongside of me and HomeBodySoul. I’m on a new journey that I feel so peaceful and secure in, because He is at the heart of it, He is authoring it. I’m sharing just a little bit of my story here with you today so you begin to see the heart behind HomeBodySoul. And so that you can be encouraged to allow YOUR STORY to become HIS STORY. My story, your story, everyone’s story has the potential to change lives, if we allow Him to.