2017 - Life as Mrs. Wilson

12 December, 2017

A Thrill of Hope

December 12, 2017 0
A Thrill of Hope
I vividly remember the first time I genuinely contemplated ending my life. It was the day before Christmas Eve, and at the young age of 13 years old, I had just begun to really feel the crushing waves of depression. I felt like I was suffocating and was quickly losing hope in any sort of relief from the despair I so deeply felt trapped in.

As I was struggling to continue on, the thought came to my mind so strongly to just turn on some music and go sit by my bedroom window. Little did I know, that day would change the course of my entire life.

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices."

Never before had those words echoed in my mind in such a personal way. I was weary. So so weary, and I desperately needed hope. I needed hope, and I needed a reason to rejoice. I looked out my bedroom window and tears began to fill my eyes. Where I grew up, snow wasn't something I got to see often. But there it began to fall, and there I began to find hope. I breathed in the simple bliss that comes with the first snowfall of the year, somehow more beautiful than it had ever seemed before, and continued to listen to what would soon become my favorite song.

"Fall on your knees, O hear the angels' voices."

Instant peace filled my soul in a way it hadn't before, and I have no doubt that angels surrounded me that day, comforting me and lifting me up. They have carried me through this life, and today as I look back on each Christmas season I have endured since that day nearly a decade ago, I am forever thankful that the 13 year old girl looking out her window found a reason to keep going.

I am thankful that she heard the words to that song and decided to dedicate her life to seeking after that thrill of hope, which is our Savior. For in Him, my life has become more than I ever thought possible.

At 13, I was consumed in sadness. It wouldn't be the last time I felt the darkness of depression, but it would be a turning point in my life. I've fought hard to be alive today, and now, as a twenty-something wife and mom, I am so incredibly thankful to be here. To have found cause to rejoice.

Sometimes, all we need is to hold on to that hope, which is our Redeemer. He will carry us through our most difficult days and will always give us cause to rejoice - no matter how weary our soul may be.

No matter the trial, no matter the cause for mourning, we will never be left comfortless. If you are currently facing darkness and feel that life is becoming too difficult to bear - please, hold on. Look for the simple beauty of the earth. Have hope in better days. Seek the light of Christ. Life does get better -- make sure you are there to see it.
"Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted." 

03 December, 2017

Though Now For a Season

December 03, 2017 1
 Though Now For a Season
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness." -1 Peter 1:6
It's been nearly a month since I've written anything. Not because I didn't have anything to say, but because life has just felt....heavy. I went from a season of absolute joy to a sudden shift into sadness and grief. I had been in that season of joy for so long that when the darkness hit, I just wasn't quite ready to fight it. Life, so suddenly, felt far too heavy to handle and I felt trapped in silence, pain, and the nagging feeling that I was completely alone in what I was experiencing. It has taken weeks to push through this weird funk I've been in, and I'm not entirely sure that I'm even all the way through it yet, but I struggled to write out my thoughts and feelings for a long time because even though I had been trying every single thing I knew to help, nothing seemed to be working, even for weeks on end.

I pushed myself to practice gratitude, yet I still felt sad. I tried to serve others, and still the grief filled my soul. I prayed and prayed and did what I knew had helped me get through these feelings in the past, and despite it all, my heart still hurt.

One day as I was struggling to navigate my feelings, I turned to social media, just hoping that I could find some light, and I came upon a video of someone who was explaining exactly what I was going through and expressed that she was going through the same thing. She went on to say that in these situations, when we feel so much sadness and heaviness without a real known cause, well, sometimes we just have to push through and keep going - even when things don't seem to be getting better.

As the video ended, I knew that this was a time in life where I was just going to need to stick it out and do my best to seek out the small joys and miracles of my day to day life. This time, no matter how long it would last or how soon it would pass, was a season of heaviness - and I needed to do my best to learn and grow from it.

I have to admit, there have been days where I've just been so frustrated that I've had to go through these feelings, even when I could logically go through every reason why I SHOULD be happy, or should be this, or that, or whatever. It's taken a lot to try and shift my perspective to be a positive one despite the lingering sadness.

Thankfully this weekend, after what felt like one of the longest months of my life, I have felt my burden lifted. As I've had time to ponder why I've been experiencing these feelings of sorrow again after so much time in happiness,  I think I'm finally starting to see the bigger picture.

I think God shows us patterns in nature to teach us more about our own lives. Each of our lives ebb and flow through different seasons, and all we can really do is learn to appreciate the time we are currently in, whether it be joyful or filled with sadness. It does us no good to wish away the winter in hopes for warmer days, when we could be playing in the snow all along.

We need the heaviness to better appreciate the joy. We need the heaviness to have compassion for others going through the same. Just as we need the life and warmth of spring, so too do we need the bitterness of winter.

Remember, there's always the storm before the calm.
The trial before the blessing.
The sorrow before the joy.

Sometimes, seasons of heaviness are needed. And when, if need be, you are in the heaviness of life, know that there will always be reason to rejoice and that the calm and peace that you seek will soon come. Find moments of joy where you're at. Look at each conversation you have as an opportunity to learn. Connect with others. Laugh more easily. Seek simple miracles. And push through the hard. Don't ever lose hope, not even for a second. Life truly is worth living, despite the heaviness of it all. 

07 November, 2017

How Practicing Gratitude Changed My Life

November 07, 2017 0
How Practicing Gratitude Changed My Life
"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life" - Sarah Ban Breathnach
A couple of days ago, I shared a few thoughts on gratitude and how implementing a daily gratitude practice has changed my life. Since then, I've gotten a significant amount of questions regarding what a gratitude practice is and what I mean when I talk about my "gratitude walk." So, I thought I would share how I personally practice gratitude, and how it has changed my life for the better.

About 7 years ago, a church leader of mine taught of the importance of gratitude and gave each member of the class a journal. In it, we were to write one thing we were thankful for at the end of each day. That concept of physically expressing gratitude on a daily basis really stuck with me, and I continued to write in my gratitude journal without missing a single day for 5 years. As time went on, my way of practicing gratitude evolved, and now as a mom, I practice gratitude on my daily walks with my son.

Every morning we spend the first part of our walk listening to podcasts or scriptures, and for the last 10 minutes of the walk, I either turn on quiet music or turn off everything, then I begin saying (in my mind or sometimes out loud) what I'm thankful for until I walk in the door of my home. If you've followed along on my Instagram stories for a while, you might have already caught a glimpse of what this looks like, and the term "gratitude walk" simply came from my dear friend Amy, who began referring to it as such a while back!

This way of implementing a focus of gratitude has been absolutely life changing for me. To dedicate time each day for expressing what I am thankful for -- no matter how simple -- has helped me to feel calmer, more at peace, and more thankful than ever. I no longer feel the constant nag of comparison looming in my mind, and I'm able to live more fully in the present moment.

Practicing gratitude doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to be extravagant. When you simply look around and strive to appreciate things such as the trees that provide shade, the sun that gives light, or the feet that carry you, your life will change - and really, you as a person will change as well.

When implemented daily, practicing gratitude can become as effortless as the breaths that escape your chest -- but it's called a gratitude practice for a reason. Being thankful despite life's unfavorable circumstances can sometimes be difficult, but it's always attainable, and always worth the effort.

With November being the month dedicated to giving thanks, I especially want you to know how thankful I am for each of you taking the time to read the thoughts I share and for the support you provide. This gratitude practice of mine holds a huge piece of my heart and I dearly hope that you will take on the challenge of implementing a daily gratitude practice  as well - not just during the holiday season, but throughout your entire life. Gratitude extends beyond one month of the year, and no matter how silly you may feel at first for saying you're thankful for things like paved roads and caffeine, I promise it'll better your life in more ways than you may now realize. 

I believe that now more than ever, the world needs light. The world needs more gratitude. And the more that people like you and me can center our lives on being thankful for what we have and just thankful for life in general, well, maybe just a little bit of this world can change for the better. 

I'm thankful for this life, no matter how hectic and scary and difficult it can be at times. And whatever your day may look like, know that there is something to be thankful for. Seek after the joy that comes from practicing gratitude - I promise you won't regret it for a second.

24 October, 2017

Redheads Can't Wear Red

October 24, 2017 0
Redheads Can't Wear Red
Today I did something society always told me not to do: wear red lipstick. I know how strange that sounds, but for as long as I can remember, I was told that redheads aren't supposed to wear red. That redheads can't 'pull off' red. And so for the majority of my life, I just accepted that rule and avoided wearing red at all costs (even though I really wanted to).

And I get how frivolous and superficial something like lipstick is, but I spent most of my life struggling with low self esteem, and so much of it came from the expectations upheld in the media and societal approval.

My whole life I tried so hard to make myself look like the pretty girls I saw, but I always came up short. I hated my red hair and freckles because it meant I couldn't wear what the other girls wore (or at least I thought that's what it meant). I struggled hard with the comparison game and the whole mindset of this is what I should look like, but I'll never look like them.

It was so hard for me to let go of needing the approval of others and the fear of not fitting in. The hardest thing I did was move from self hatred to self love, but it was absolutely the best thing I ever did for myself.

So in case you needed it, here's your reminder that you don't need the approval of society. And you most definitely don't need that approval to be happy.

Here's your reminder that you are beautiful because of your unique qualities (even especially the ones you are self conscious about).

And here's your reminder that you CAN pull off that thing you've been avoiding because society told you to avoid it.

The reason I write this isn't to try and give you fashion advice, or to tell you that redheads can *officially* wear red lipstick now. But I guess I'm really writing this because it's what I wish someone would've told me years ago.

I'm writing this because I wish someone would've told me that happiness doesn't come from the approval of anyone else.

Because I wish someone would've told me that I could still be beautiful even though I didn't have blonde hair or tan skin.

Because I needed to hear that the beauty of someone else didn't take away from my own.

Because I needed to hear that truth for a l o n g time.

Because I'm done seeking societal approval.

And because I'm done with "redheads can't wear red."

19 October, 2017

Let's Talk Motherhood - Seasons of Life

October 19, 2017 0
Let's Talk Motherhood - Seasons of Life
I'm so excited to be back this month with the Let's Talk Motherhood series! I've teamed up with some amazing moms to share in a conversation from each of our perspectives on different seasons of life. These bloggers have answered the following questions on their own websites, and all of their perspectives are linked at the end of this post for you to read! This interview collaboration series was created to connect, encourage, share, and relate with other moms. No matter how different our perspectives may be, we're all in this amazing and challenging journey of motherhood together.

On different seasons of life as a mother:

1. What is something you want to remember about this particular season of your life? I think above all, I want to remember how happy I am right now. I also want to remember the little things, like how Conrad is in the drunken baby stage of walking, and how he is constantly chatting to himself and everyone around him. I want to remember how much Conrad laughs when we chase him, and how he'll grab my hand and start walking. How he talks the whole time we're on our morning walks and how much of a personality he is developing. This is such a joyful season of life for me as a mother, and I just really want to remember that.

2. Through each new milestone in your child's life, (like the transition from crawling to walking or gaining independence in other ways) how have you adapted and transitioned your own life as well? It's interesting, because I think the biggest thing I've learned from each new milestone is that everything gets easier, and harder - at the same time. Once he started walking, I didn't have to hover over him 24/7 - but now I have to chase him down before he gets into things he shouldn't. It's awesome he can feed himself better now, but now he's starting to throw his food too. Like I said, it gets easier and it gets harder. But I feel like I struggled to adapt to the milestones at first. It was hard for me to let go of each stage of Conrad's life and I felt like time was so fleeting that I was reluctant to move forward. Yet other times, I was so desperate for sleep that I would long for seasons of life in the future when I wouldn't be up throughout the night. But as this first year of motherhood has gone by, I am learning to embrace each milestone and allow myself to be more flexible and more patient with myself and others. I'm letting go of what I had in mind before and just going with it.

3. What was the transition into motherhood like for you? How did you manage adjusting to such a different season of life? The transition into motherhood for me was devastatingly hard if I'm being honest. While I've always wanted to be a mom, I didn't feel ready to be one when I found out I was pregnant. Then, the intensity of Conrad's delivery and the time in the NICU created a whole new set of challenges. I struggled with severe postpartum depression and anxiety, along with PTSD from the delivery, so it was difficult for me to adjust for quite some time. It took a lot of faith, and a lot of hard work, and a lot of leaning on my husband for support to find my rhythm with motherhood. It's crazy to look back on how difficult those days were and how much I struggled to embrace motherhood, because now I can't imagine life any other way - and wouldn't ever want it any other way.

4. In three words, how would you describe your current season of life? Peaceful. Joyful. Exhausting.

5. What advice would you give to mothers that are struggling to embrace the season of life they are in? Give yourself some grace. It's okay if you're struggling to embrace where you're at (the entire 7th month of my sons life was pretty miserable for us all with 6 teeth coming in at once and a sleep regression - I get that not every season of life is going to be a happy one), but don't let your mind get trapped in the past or the future. Be mindful and practice gratitude. Be kind to yourself and know that you can find joy in every single day. My advice would be to start a gratitude practice! Doing that has genuinely changed my life and has helped me so much to embrace the now. The harder you search for reasons to be thankful for the present moment, the easier it will become to see that there is good in every season of life, no matter what it may look like. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the perspectives linked below!

If you'd like to be a part of the Let's Talk Motherhood series, email me at lifeasmrswilson@gmail.com!

17 October, 2017

Forgiving My Abuser: Me Too

October 17, 2017 0
Forgiving My Abuser: Me Too
I'm sure many of you, like me, have seen two words showing up all over your social media feeds: me too. These words represent the thousands of women, and men, who have been affected by sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. It's been several years since my experience with sexual abuse, and it's something I never thought I'd share, but after reading post after post stating "me too" I felt that maybe it was time for me to share what has silently weighed on my heart for years now.

When I was still in my teens, I found myself trapped in an abusive relationship. It started out with manipulation, then forced isolation, and soon enough I found myself being emotionally abused on a daily basis. When that emotional abuse turned to sexual abuse, I reached a low point. I felt trapped, and worthless, and I believed the threats that my boyfriend would spit out any time I would attempt to end the relationship. I was left fearful, and for a while, I just accepted that I would be stuck with him until I ended my own life.

I hesitate to share that, because it truly was such a dark time in my life, but it still is part of my story. But eventually, I was able to successfully end the relationship and I am forever thankful that I found the courage to continue my life, free of abuse. 

However, emotional scars lasted beyond the relationship's timeline, and I was consumed with resentment and bitterness. Not only did I hold a great amount of resentment toward my ex, I began to resent myself for staying as long as I did. I began to blame myself - could I have done more? Was it my fault? And while I soon realized that it wasn't my fault and that it really was abuse that I went through, I still held on to the anger towards my abuser.

I held resentment toward him even after I got married, because I would sometimes find myself flinching when my husband would hug me. I knew my husband would never hurt me, but the scars from the abuse still lingered, and still affected me.

And while I admit that I still have those moments of fear even now, my heart is different. And that's because I've forgiven him.

I've forgiven the man who hurt me in so many more ways than he might ever know. I've forgiven him not because I dismiss what he did, but because my heart just couldn't take that bitterness anymore. I physically could not hold on to that anger any longer.

It has taken a lot of tears, and a lot prayers, and a lot of TIME to get to a point of peace. To be in a place where I can even write a glimpse of what I've experienced. But I'm here, and I forgive him, and I'm moving forward. 

This post does not come without fear. It doesn't come without hesitation that I'm sharing too much, or that I may not be ready for people to know that I am numbered among the me too's. But I feel compelled to share because if you are reading this and want desperately to let go of the resentment you have toward your abuser, I want you to know that it is possible to forgive them. And it is possible to heal and to feel whole again.

Whatever harassment, or assault, or abuse you've endured - you can be healed. Know that you're not alone, and know that you have someone to lean on. I hope with all my heart that you will find peace, and that when I say that I have forgiven my abuser, you can also one day say, "me too."
If you want to know exactly how I've found peace and healing from abuse, this article explains it beautifully. 

15 October, 2017

The Joy of Simplicity

October 15, 2017 0
The Joy of Simplicity

For what it's worth:

Your days don't have to be filled with extravagance to be considered great. 

I used to spend a lot of time wishing my life was more exciting, or more adventure-filled, or really just a whole lot more. I wasn't a fan of quiet, and I wasn't keen on the idea of living a "simple life." 

My view has since changed, and I'm so glad it has.

I spent my day stacking blocks with my one year old, going on a family walk, and had lots of sick baby snuggles in between (croup - it's tough). But yet, here I am at the end of the day with a heart completely filled with joy.

You see, simple isn't always bad. In fact, since I made the decision to embrace simplicity, I've never been more at ease and more happy with my life. 

And I guess the point of me sitting here writing this is to say that you don't need more of anything to find joy. Joy doesn't have to come from exotic vacations or adventure filled weekends. Even the simplest of days can bring the greatest joy. 

My day started simple, and it's ending simple. I write with music softly playing as I listen to my husband reading our son a bedtime story in the other room. It's simple, and it's calm, and it's even better than that action-packed life I thought I wanted all those years ago. 

08 October, 2017

Conrad's 1st Birthday Party

October 08, 2017 0
Conrad's 1st Birthday Party
Has it really been a year already? Our Conrad James will be a year old this week, so we decided to throw him a little party over the weekend! It was such a pleasant day with Jake's family and Conrad's godparents, and I'm so thankful for all of the love and support in Conrad's life. 

I'm not a huge party person, but I wanted to do something fun to celebrate Conrad's first year. Jake and I always talk about how crazy and full of life Conrad is, so we decided to go with a party animal theme!

My sweet sister in law, Sarah, helped so much with putting together all of the little details!

The balloons originally said happy birthday, but we had a letter pop at the store, so happy 1 it was!

Jake made his famous tacos for the party, which I somehow never got a chance to eat (running around taking pictures will do that to ya;)

Jake also baked Conrad's cake along with the most amazing Boston cream pie for the rest of us!

One year old!

Rad loved opening his gifts!

Fred + Savannah
(Conrad's godparents)

and their sweet baby girl Ava, too!

Jake's mom, Laurel, and Ava (Savannah grew up spending lots of time at the Wilson's home!)

My boys

These two are the best of friends (and we're trying to convince Conrad and Ava that they're best friends too ;)

Sarah, the most amazing creator, sister, and friend ever. 

By the time I realized we hadn't taken a family picture yet, Conrad was over being in front of the camera. But hey, you take what you can get right?

Had to add this one because Conrad, one day you're going to see this and know that your parents have always smothered you in love, even when you weren't too sure you wanted us to ;)

We had so much fun celebrating Conrad's first year!