Life, in all its glory, is oftentimes excruciating. That’s why I write. I’m searching for beauty and then I’m sharing it.
It can be awfully lonely seeking a path through the wilds of nurturing others, as a parent/shepherd or an artist, and trying to stay alive yourself. Let’s seek Beauty in a quiet place together. I know we’re dealing with health issues, devastating losses, relationships, responsibilities, fears, stress, and burdens far far too heavy to bear on our own.
I know this world of ours often does not feel like a beautiful garden, but I’d like to remember, with you, when it was, because being passionate about the Gardener and the stories of wonder He has planted deep into our world, and deep within us, is our lifeline to survival.
There is such a thing as glory and there are hints of it everywhere
and the hints are overwhelming and its scent is in the air.
I want the words and images I share to create: a space to breathe, think, pray, and to dig. Yeah, let’s get our hands dirty together, because we are together. I want to do more than survive too, I want to thrive.
Let’s explore together this wilderness of pain and discover together that pain, in it’s myriad forms, isn’t here to torment us, but rather to lead us onward. This isn’t just a happy thought, it’s a living, breathing reality.
When I say, explore, I mean let’s ask questions, listen to and face fears, stand in awe and practice the beauty of truth until it shapes us—even when it hurts beyond what feels like the ability to breathe. There is much LIFE on the other side of all these things. Let’s walk through them together.
When I say, together, here’s a little about me, so you can know who’s writing you: I am a wife of 18 years to MrJayMyers. I am also a mom of six children between the ages of five to fifteen. I am homeschooling, learning and being discipled daily as I seek God through the craving of writing, the second set of eyes that is photography, and the wide-open-vulnerability of speaking from my heart.
I’m aiming to bring strength and courage to myself as well as fellow parents/shepherds (physical and spiritual ones), fellow creators (which is all ya’ll), and simply anyone hungry to let Truth and Mercy lead in our lives. I am doing this because I get the raw need for support in these roles.
I have tasted the bitter and the sweet of walking through the inherent challenges in these important journeys. I know we need each other, we need to encourage one another, if we’re going to make it. I’ve seen the fallout of loneliness. I’ve experienced burn out, the disengagement it brings, the lack of health. I’ve tried to carry the heavy burdens myself and I’ve experienced the consequences.
…the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song. —Abraham Joshua Heschel
This conviction to walk together, with honest and open hearts, has grown from a seed planted in my mind, over twenty years ago, when I first underwent my training as a doula. (A doula is a support person to women in labor.) It has shaped me as the grace of this position spoke worlds of physical as well as spiritual insights into my hungry heart.
Labor is this stunning process of transformation, that reflects life endlessly. Don’t even get me started! 🙂 But here’s my point, it was created as a process that will do most well, when the woman is truly supported. Many of you are in a labor of your own, spiritually and/or physically—I want you to know your pain is meaningful. Who you are as parents, shepherds, nurturers, creators is infinitely important, don’t. give. up.
When we find a redemptive perspective on our suffering it ceases to be suffering.—Victor Frankl
I’ve learned the need for this through my own hours of labor and transformation. I’ve learned through stumbling, groaning, depression, grief, ill health, damaging myself, and the ones I love. I’ve learned through the gift of Love and Mercy opening new ways of thinking and living.
I’m still learning, but I’m sharing the journey because I believe more in persevering together than waiting to try to perfect something that will never be “perfect” by our definitions. But we can be reborn, again and again.
Learning this through stumbling and perseverance, not perfection (which kills), has given me confidence that life will sometimes require labor—but we are equipped for it. It has instructed me that supporting each other is a powerful, not easily broken force—a blessing not to be missed. Following this way of Mercy, has allowed me to receive love thereby filling me with love to give. I’m not on empty. Mercy is healing me, and that means I have healing to give too. This isn’t pride, this is the power of grace.
It has changed me from one who tensed when the contractions of life came to one who is recognizing the need for willingness to say, “Yes, and thank you”, to the work of the contractions—through relaxing, breathing (prayer), enjoying, surrendering, and marveling at the miracle birth is, but most of all, at the God of the miracle.
We are alive within mystery, by miracle. —Wendell Berry
I know Him as Yahweh, the God of Israel, Adonai, the One Who is Mercy and Love, and has taught me that gentle rebirth is possible, even here, even now. His goodness stirs and compels me: wind, seeds, labor, birth, family life, all of creation, is telling His story—I want to listen.
I need to see and know my Creator more. He has breathed this entire physical world, mirroring so much spiritual reality, into being. In His being we live. Do we even know what that means—the wonder of those words?
So, to know Him, I choose to try to be like Him—and I create!
I fail, I fall down, but meanwhile I keep dancing.—Hillel
This has taken me through doula training, photography school (NYIP), writing courses, six babies who are not so baby-ish any more, and several other mediums as well. My husband and I have created together over the years, particularly through The Martyrs’ Cross. Yet, one of the surprises of my life, along the way has been:
I’ve written a book for you, my traveling companions…
Actually, at first I wrote it for me, and I still use it—but I am truly excited to get to share it with you too! My first book: Pray, Like a Woman in Labor. I wrote it at a time when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and many fears.
It includes a portion of my personal story of struggles and overcoming as well as a 14-day, written and photographic, journey based on the prayer Jesus taught his disciples.
I was needing and seeking wisdom and vision to be faithful in the work of serving and living an awake, set apart, life—as a mom to six beautiful children. I wrote this book of prayers from the trenches, and it has brought me a lot of joy to get to share it.
OK, it’s not easy writing an about page. I’m glad that’s over. Now, maybe, tell me about you in the comments below?
Here are some of the things I’d love to hear about you: Are you a spiritual parent/shepherd or a physical one? Do you consider yourself creative? What do you create? What has most shaped you and lead you to seek God in life?
What are your three biggest points of need right now? What would you like to read from me, what subject would you like me to write about? I’d sincerely love to hear your feedback on these questions or anything else you’d like to share.
Thank you for being here and reading about me! I would honor the privilege of getting to send a note to your inbox when I post, subscribe here if you’d like that too, and I’ll send you the first chapter of Pray, Like a Woman in Labor as my way of saying thanks!
With you in the journey,
(simply pronounced “Rain-ah”)
Missouri, United States