Dear Des Moines Moms Blog,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be with you today. Typically, I would have to submit a query letter, a cover letter, a proposal, and/or my DNA. Thankfully, you replied with just a solid, “We’d be honored to have you.” I love you for that.
Although, I must admit. When I sat down to type this post, I immediately thought to myself, Self, you are an idiot. A moms blog? What do you know about being a mom?
I mean, I have a mom. A lot of my friends are moms. Oh, wait. I almost forgot. I am a mom. Here’s the thing: I’m not so good at explaining what that means. Like, do I talk about farts and body parts? That’s a good story. My four-year-old daughter thinks she has a Vir-Gine-Yuh. Close enough, right? Or do I talk about dried Cheerios disgustingly devoted to the dried milk on my dining room table? Or do I just stare at my computer screen for 27 minutes praying that someone on the other side will start typing? Ladies, I so envy your blog and the talent you all possess when it comes to writing about motherhood. And that’s exactly why I practically almost quit.
Graced by sassy, spiritual wisdom, my daughter said, “Mom. When life gets hard, remember Jesus is with you,” and then she took a bow and waltzed away.
That was all I needed to hear.
The whole purpose of my blog, You Are On Time, is to expose the difficulties of this life. To erase this expectation that life is easy, and to face the harsh reality that life is, in fact, HARD. The struggle here is real, but so is the victory. So is the victory. I can’t help but believe the more we open up to one another (and ourselves) about being a human person on this planet, we’d spend less time trying to be and more time realizing that we already are.
And that’s why I am thrilled to be here today. To share my thoughts, in this moment, with you.
On March 4, 2014, I left my ex-husband. My son was five and my daughter was two. I was involved in a toxic marriage — one that I hope no one else believes they deserve (you can read about that juiciness in My Truth Was a Lie). By the end, I was so ready to escape that an overwhelming sense of freedom came upon me. I immediately found a job, and like clockwork, I kept running into women, who were my age, either going through a divorce or who had just gotten a divorce. After so many similar interactions, I couldn’t allow coincidence to stand a chance. I felt like God was forming my mission field.
I slowly began sharing my story with these women strangers. A two-way street called Friendship started forming and consistently grew wider as the weeks went by. Nearly every Monday, I planned coffee dates with different women. Some single. Some divorced. Some married. Some mothers. Some not. I noticed the more I shared my story, the more these women felt comfortable sharing theirs. In my newly divorced situation, I was gaining a sisterhood I never knew existed. It wasn’t because my son obtained good grades or because my daughter could write her name forward and backward using either hand. It wasn’t because I got pedicures on a regular basis or because I reached my sales goal every month. I’m not saying that any of those moments shouldn’t be celebrated — please don’t mishear my heart. Go get a pedicure! What I am saying is, I connected with these women because our stories were equally messy.
An amazing thing happens when we brush aside how strong our lives appear and we welcome in how weak they actually are. A special bond, a vulnerability, an understood trust takes shape. I don’t know about you, but when I tell my mom friends that my son went to school crying over an argument that exploded over crust on PB&J sandwiches, I don’t want that look of, Oooh, that never happens at our house. Or when I have to postpone a play date because my daughter acted inappropriately, I don’t want to feel like I’m not a fun mom. Maybe these aren’t your circumstances, but have you ever felt this way?
I want to be the mom other moms come to when her son is diagnosed with ADD, or when her daughter is being bullied, or when she is struck down in a pit of despair over a miscarriage, or when her marriage is falling apart, or when she feels like some days she just doesn’t measure up. I want to be the mom who cries with you, laughs with you, goes through life with you. Why? Because when something like that happens to me, I wanna know you got my back, too.
Though valiant and spectacular, being a mom isn’t always about raising our kids. It’s also about being a friend to the mom at Target whose children are out of their minds. Rather, it’s about being my friend when it’s my children who are out of their minds. It’s about being a prayer warrior when life-threatening changes come to be. It’s about breathing life and power and encouragement into each other’s lives. It’s about listening to others’ stories so ours can simultaneously be restored. It’s about inspiring the footsteps inside each and every one of us to keep moving forward. To push through. To rise.
I find great strength when my moments of weakness are reciprocated. It reminds me that I’m not alone. That I’m human. That I’m still a rock star, even if projectile vomit is in my hair. May we always remember there is an infinitely woven bond among all of us to love fiercely and bless boldly. The truth is, we aren’t ever going to be perfect. Like, ever. And we aren’t ever going to have an easy life. Like, ever. So perhaps the best offering we can give is to be a sisterhood binding the brokenness that is bound to bring us together.
Friends, I urge you to share your truth. Your story. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. It will be the greatest blessing you never knew you needed.
From the top of my heart, I thank you.
Sincerely, happily divorced, happily single (not really), happily mom,
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Meet Guest Blogger Jenn Gedden
Jenn Gedden is a working single mama of two kids. Ten months ago, Jenn launched, You Are on Time, a blog designed to inspire and expose this harmonious truth: our brokenness brings us together. She is currently working on her 33rd post and has expanded her outreach through Facebook. Jenn invites you to go alongside her by visiting her website, You Are On Time, and by following her Facebook page, You Are on Time.