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Last night a friend sent me a picture of us from eight years ago. While looking at my then-youthful face and super lean figure, my daughter said, "you look so different now."
Wow. OK. (Should I ground her for pointing out the obvious??)
At first, I took offense, but then I started thinking about change. We all change - in fact, my middle school daughter, who so kindly pointed out my change, was only four when that picture was taken. Change is a part of life, and being a product of change can be a very good thing. I certainly am not the person in that picture from eight years ago. While I wouldn't mind the luscious locks and tighter skin back, I am thankful for change because I have grown emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.
As I woke up this morning, I continued to think about change, and a fellow author friend messaged me. She shared a video diary of her journey as a children's author. I instantly related to it, and as we started talking about the process of writing books and sharing our stories, I realized that Be the Sparkle was released on the second anniversary of my living in Indonesia and the start of my deconstruction. I immediately connected her words to the past two years of change in my life.
Here is what she had to say:
Throw perfection out the window
Be willing to make mistakes
Be open to learn
Know when to stop
Advocate for yourself
Let go of what you can't change
Trust the process
Her words came at the perfect time. The past two years have been a tug-of-war between hanging on and letting go. I have been learning, growing, and evolving. My relationships, my mindset, and my life has changed - I have changed - for the better. It hasn't been easy. It's been extremely hard but so worth it. Be the Sparkle is an analogy and product of that growth.
On the same days I was learning to let go of what I thought was a perfect religion and a perfect evangelical image; I was learning to let go of creating the perfect product. I could search the world over and over and never find perfection. The truth is, there is no such thing as perfect because perfect is different for everyone.
On the nights I regretted my past, I stared at red marks and changes that needed to be made to my manuscript. I accepted that mistakes are how we learn because learning is how we grow. Without growth, there is no change. Without change, things don't get better.
During times of constant research and validation of my new view on life, I was constantly editing and adjusting the layout of my book. I learned to be still and when to stop. Peace and perspective came when I took the time to be still.
At the same time friends and family were telling me how they thought I should live or what I should believe; I had editors and fellow creators telling me how my book should be. I learned not to fold into others' expectations of me. Instead, I learned to advocate for what I wanted, needed and believed. Advocating gave me a voice and helped me set boundaries. Advocating for myself gave me confidence.
During the process, I realized that there were some things I could never change, like people's opinions of me or illustrations once they were printed on paper. Letting go of what I couldn't change helped me focus on what I could change and what needed to change.
Moving across the world, deconstructing, and writing a book are quite similar. They all involve patience, lessons, wrestling, editing, letting go, adjusting, and creating something amazing. Trusting the process allowed me to practice patience and find the message in the mess. Life is messy - period. There isn't a single one of us that doesn't have a messy part of our life. Trusting the process instead of trying to control it is where I found my sweet spot.
Be the Sparkle went from a few words on a blank manuscript to vibrant pages with a universal message to share, and so have I.
Eight years ago, I was naive and fearful. Today, I am aware and brave. I am not the same person I was eight years ago or even two years ago, but that's the beauty of it, right? I am evolving, I am changing, and being a product of change means growth, and growth is a beautiful thing.
--First posted on jamieedelbrock.com-
This Week on the Podcast: Jamie Edelbrock, mom of three tween and teenage daughters, author of those gorgeous and healing words, children's author (see books below in our resource section), mental health advocate and fellow deconstructing mama kicks off Season Three with us. Jamie was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. She's married to her high school sweetheart and has been all of the following at some point: homeschool mom, preschool director, family ministry director, author, and advocate for children's mental health. FUN FACT: She is also an ex-pat and travel and live around the world in a far-off land (you can hear more about that on the podcast). On this episode, Jamie tackles some really tough issues of deconstructing while raising her girls, especially why she would not want them ever to believe in a God that sounds more like a narcissist than anything else (the one she was raised with). Lots of red flags that we chat through and come out the other side. It's a conversation that is filled with the shaking of heads, lots of laughs and much-needed hope for why deconstructing toxic theology is life-changing for us and for our kids in all the best ways. You can find Jamie at the following: Instagram: @tangledupbook Website: jamieedelbrock.com
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Jamie (our podcast guest) has two children's books: The award-winning children's book Tangled Up, intended to lessen the fear of the unknown and shine a positive, peaceful light on mental health and therapy. Studies show one in six kids between the ages of two-and eight-years-old have a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Navigating this world as a parent can be scary, but experiencing this as a young child can be even scarier. Tangled Up colorfully shows how the beautiful threads of us can become tangled, and how therapists and counselors are here to help us twirl bravely through life.
Jamie's second children's book titled, Be the Sparkle, is available now!
Research shows that frightening news and scary current events can negatively affect a child’s emotional and cognitive development and mental health by causing fear, anxiety, and stress. Be the Sparkle teaches young readers that they are not alone and shows them positive ways to respond when the world feels dark. Pssst... a third book is on it's way! You might be wise to follow her on Amazon so you don't miss out!
One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther
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