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It was an out-of-body moment. I couldn't believe I was really here, that this was really happening.
I sat there on the toilet, intensely watching the blank spaces on the pregnancy test. Everything felt slow–the what ifs in my head piling atop of one another, the beating of my heart, the seconds to follow seeming like eternities. Is this really happening?
One little line. Two little lines.
I wish I could say the floodgates of love and thrill and excitement overtook me. I bet you'd even imagine ugly crying, eccentric laughter, OMG's and happy dances. But in that moment, unlike many expecting mamas, joy didn't overtake me. And unlike most unexpecting mamas, fear didn't overwhelm me. In that precious, life-altering, monumental moment, shame & unworthiness moved right on in.
I could not fathom I was going to be a mom. (Hell, I still don't fully get it. lol)
A mother. A freakin' mother. I was going to be someone's mother. Me? Me.
I called my husband, Kevin, to come into the bathroom. (I could barely speak beyond that.) I put the pregnancy test on the countertop next to me & watched him celebrate, the "normal" way. The running-around-the-house-screaming-with-excitement-and-disbelief kinda reaction that someone has when they find out they're going to be a parent.
And upon realizing the only voice cheering was his own, the thuds of his feet pacing rapidly back and forth around our apartment living room stopped. The repetitious chants of "Oh sh*%!" paused. Kev came back into the bathroom where I was still sitting, staring blankly at the plastic stick that flipped my whole world upside down.
"Are you ok?"
I don't know about you, but having kids has always been one of those in theory kinda things for me. It was the somewhere-in-the-not-too-sure-future kind of presumption. Like the thing you sometimes talked about but never really thought deeply about when you'd play M.A.S.H in junior high. Like the daydreaming of baby names that riddled the insides of your notebooks as you pictured marrying your celebrity crush or high school sweetheart. But this, this was the real deal.
All the happy feels of becoming a mama didn't kick in for a few weeks. When Kev + I began telling our family and closest friends the big news, I was happy they were happy. Everyone was so giddy about the little one that was on her way, but I felt broken. Something was incredibly wrong with me and I couldn't understand what it was.
I wanted the goosebumps and the intense sobbing from soul-deep joy. I wanted the frenzied rush of inspiration running through my fingers to curate Pinterest boards for a gorgeous nursery and organic baby purée recipes and adorable tiny outfits.
But instead, I got the shame gremlins–as my girl Brené brown calls 'em. They stole the show.
"Who do you think you are?"
"You're not good enough."
"You'll screw up this the way you've screwed up everything else."
"You're too young."
"You can't handle this."
"Not you. Not now. Not ever."
How quickly the mistakes and failures of our past can make us think we're disqualified from being worthy of a beautiful future.
For a while, I listened to those loud, pesky voices. And for a while, I was convinced they were right. Like yeah, seriously...who am I to be responsible for raising up a woman of strength, love, grace, magic & dignity? I'm not even that, and will never be that, or so I thought.
Through those 9 months that followed and even now as I revel in soul-deep joy on the daily thanks to my spunky one-year-old, one truth changed the game for me, taking me from feeling unworthy to living worthy. And that truth is this:
You are not your failures just as much as you are not your accomplishments. You are simply a daughter, and that is enough.
Maybe, like me, you've gotten so comfy with telling yourself you're not worthy of the good stuff that you can't even recognize or celebrate a good thing when it comes your way–even if it arrives while you're on the toilet. Maybe you've let the shame gremlins taunt you for so long, you actually believe what they've got to say.
Whether it's in becoming a mom, a girlfriend, a college student, a wife, a leader or holding any other title that is riddled with responsibility–a.k.a something that depends fully on you + you think has the potential to get totally effed up by your imperfection–you're not alone.
Despite the old things, God is always doin' a new thing:
"Be alert, be present.
I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?"
–Isaiah 43:19 (MSG)
Newsflash babe: you are loved wildly by your Heavenly Father, and that love trumps both the times you've missed the mark + the times you've knocked it out the park.
The good stuff in life isn't about what you didn't or can't do, you've got what it takes. It's more about if you'll let God in to do the heavy lifting to help you take care of that good thing.
So what do ya do the next time shame and unworthiness get all up in your face with their stupid who do you think you are's? You tell 'em you're a daughter. And that good things come to those who've got a really good, good Father.
What good things do you think you're unworthy of? What goodness is around you right now that you can celebrate? Tell me in the comments below!