The Story Behind Simply Rooted
I was lost in the depths of depression in April 2017.
So much had happened in five months: our adoption had been finalized in South Africa, and Dan and I and our three children traveled across the Atlantic to meet Levi.
We lived there for a month, connecting with this tiny toddler who was the newest, the fourth, Fletcher. It was a glorious pause in our calendar-filled lives. The only thing on the agenda was building a relationship with Levi.
None of us were ready to come home after the ultimate honeymoon phase of adoption.
Once back in the States, Dan returned to work. Since we homeschool, it was me and the four children with reality setting in.
Picture … a tween with hormones, a highly emotional child who needs constant encouragement to function, a little girl who had lost her place as baby in the family and a wary toddler attempting to understand what had happened to him. And me.
Overwhelm was constant. I began to fold under the pressure I felt — the pressure I now know I put on myself. Remembering the awful side effects I experienced when I took medicine for postpartum depression years before, I denied it at first.
We had prayed for this child for years. Anything other than gratefulness for answered prayers felt wrong. Goodness and light drained away and guilt flooded in.
My comfortable life had been disrupted, and I began to lose my attachment to Levi. Shame creeped in.
Guilt and shame. I felt no one could understand. Instead of dealing with these emotions and asking for help, I held everything in and let it fester. My constant connection with Jesus was broken through my avoidance.
It was a lonely, black existence hiding behind a mask of fine. And I had never in my life felt so worthless.
What happened to allow me to share my story, be vulnerable and start writing?
Love broke through.
A fellow adoptive mama was brave enough to share about her attachment struggles with her adopted daughter, and I felt understood.
We ended up at an event together and everything I had been holding in spilled out in an ugly cry all over her.
That moment of surrender unlocked the barrier I had built around my heart and allowed some light in. It was the beginning of healing.
While I had avoided my friends and God during the depression, now I let Jesus rush back in, and He covered me with an overwhelming grace and began untangling the mess I had created.
Finally allowing myself to try medication was another massive boost for healing. My inner turmoil dissipated, and I started to feel better.
How sharing my story changed everything
First I told one person the truth about the previous five months, then a group of people and finally a large group of people.
Being vulnerable was scary and soothing at the same time.
The raw, real relationships I always had craved became a reality because I became raw and real.
Writing a letter apologizing to my best friend for distancing myself from her during those excruciating months led to a reconciliation of that friendship. She wrote back; she told me I was a writer.
A writer? Me? Journaling was how I always processed things. There was a story from my childhood my mom said should be published. And I had a blog a few years back. But I never considered myself a writer.
My friend’s words, “you are a writer, Jen,” felt like a window opening and the fog in my head began to dissipate. I’d loved reading since I was little, and in Catholic school, I learned about grammar and sentence structure. In high school, I had an excellent writing teacher who nurtured my skills.
The tidal wave of memories made it clear: “I am a writer. God gifted me with the ability to communicate through the written word.” As soon as I claimed it, I was filled with an inner confidence and peace, and I knew I had found a way to share my faith and my story.
God transformed my brokenness into a magnificent outpouring of grace and glory and Simply Rooted was planted.
The power of claiming who you are
The inner strength that comes when you recognize your gifts in Christ and start to use them is indescribable.
When I write my heart is full; my soul feels connected to the Lord in a deep way. And when I see my words impacting people, I’m so thankful to God for his inspiration.
What is that thing people see in you? What is the dream inside you — that thing you say you never have time for, but crave doing? What have you always enjoyed?
These are the areas you need to claim!
Accept that you’ve been gifted in that specific way and be thankful for it. When you pair your stories with your unique gifts, God shines out of your pores and people know you’re different.
Step into the uncomfortable vulnerability of sharing your gifts and strengths with the world.
There’s an intense healing that comes with vulnerability. It’s scary at first, but a soothing peace starts to seep in to fill the cracks of the broken places with light.
You may be broken, but broken is the new beautiful.
Our messiest places have the highest potential for God to work in us. Comfortable lives don’t change people’s hearts.
Claim who you are and how you’ve been marvelously created by an awesome God and you will feel strong enough to step into uncomfortable places. From there, who knows how far your passion and purpose will reach.
Simply Rooted has been inspired and lifted up through prayer.
It’s April 2018 and I’m a writer. One year ago I never would have envisioned where I am now. But God had plans.
This space only took root because I stepped out of my comfort zones and continue to do so every time I hit publish.
It’s an avenue to share my thoughts on faith, living with less, growing purpose, racial awareness and braving the uncomfortable places in hopes that you can take away something and use it in your own life.
Simply Rooted is growing because I want you to believe in yourself like I believe in you. You have bravery stored up inside you somewhere, and it’s time for it to be released.
Pick up your gorgeous, broken cross and follow Christ with all of your heart, mind and soul. Then claim who you are and share your amazing gifts with those around you.
If you’re still having a hard time believing in yourself, join me here and tell me why. What is holding you back?