Monday, October 17, 2011

a really weird weekend. where i cried. and figured stuff out.

*winner of doll giveaway announced at the end*

hello, my name is jami and i'm a verbalizer...i type what i think and then i basically just hit publish because i know that it's cemented when i do that. no turning back.

so here i go.

a couple of weekends ago, my husband and i went to what i thought would be a training session for an intense small-group-type-thing called, redemption groups. these groups are based off of this amazing book called, redemption, by mike wilkerson.


redemption groups would be a place where people come who are going through something intense and need a place to work on their things that a normal small group maybe wouldn't be able to handle. eating disorders, addictions, affairs, trauma, get it? for instance, a couple of years ago, when nato and i were going through his affair, they would have taken us out of our normal small group and placed us in one of these groups. it would have been a great help to us. kind of like group therapy.

so we get there and they say, we can train you best in what these groups do, by just making you all be the participants in a typical group.
i'm like...great. i love group stuff. this doesn't scare me. wait, what are we doing?

there were only 5 couples after we learned some key points from the book, we broke up into small groups. girls and guys. all married. some with kids, some without. all pretty young.
the instructions are:
in 10 minutes, tell your entire story. but start with your story now. what's going on in your heart now. then work backwards from that.

so immediately when i heard those instructions, it threw me off. what is going on in my heart right now, i asked myself. i answered.
i do not know.

i often times go throughout the days not looking at areas of my heart that should be addressed. sometimes i don't even know what's going on because i am caught up in mothering. in cleaning. in planning parties. in life. in worrying. in distractions.

i also need to be honest here and say that this question caught me off guard because i like to just tell my story as it pertains to our marriage. how God has saved my husband had an affair but he's redeemed it and now it's better than it's ever been. but i can hide in that and not tell you what's going on in my heart NOW. my life doesn't revolve around our affair...i mean, it used to, i think. but we tell the story a lot to help others and so it's just my go-to story most of the time.

anyway, some of the girls told their story. these are normal girls who are solid in their faith...but taking time to look at the condition of their heart. and i cried with them. i was listening to their story and did not think about my own. they addressed issues of the heart and i was asking them questions. i was caught up in their stories and learning more about them. tears rolling down my cheeks.

and i had no idea what i would say. i know that i am a verbalizer and so i thought, what in the hell is going to come out of my mouth. it will be filterless. shit. am i going to be embarrassed of myself for saying too much? what am i going to even say here. in that moment, i felt like i was losing control and it made me very uncomfortable.

it came to my turn. i was silent first. then i repeated the question out loud. like i was in a spelling bee or something. yes, exactly like that including how nervous they look and how you can see their brain turning just from looking in their eyes.

what is going on in my heart right now?

well. i am having a hard time with lila not being "normal". i want to control her. i want to google enough checklists at night before bed to make sure she's not autistic. i want her to talk faster than she does and develop faster. and yet, she does not. and so i set up more appointments and i think that if i do enough, she'll be ok. and people won't think i'm a bad mom because she's not like their daughter.
i go on like this kind of babbling through tears. admitting my arrogance that i thought that i could "do it all" for lila. that i could be her savior, basically.

ok, this point i'm sobbing. i had vomited this chunk of information and i wasn't sure what it sounded like. and i couldn't be eloquent. and it's also not what is expected of me.

i know that i was invited to this group on the merit of the affair. that we had been through this trauma and we could use it to help others.but i just went A-wall on these people and talked about something entirely different. i am perplexed by my tongue and by the darkness of my heart and i, in that moment, cling to the Gospel and say help me, Lord.

it's my favorite prayer when i am overwhelmed. and no one is comforting me or saying, it's ok...this happens to me too. they couldn't, because we had just read these rules before the group started.

wow. no one could comfort me. (here's the rules)
i had to sit there and be uncomfortable and feel the weight of trying to do all this stuff on my own. no distractions. 5 women just staring at me.

they began to ask me questions and dig through my mess with me for a while. one of the questions that hit me most was, i notice that you are sarcastic in do you think this plays into control?


well i control conversations with sarcasm and being funny. it's just worked for me growing up and into high school and into college...and into being a mom. but it's just another way of controlling something. for me at least.

the leader of the group said, what would it look like for you if you didn't have to be sarcastic to control conversations?

and i didn't know. and it scared me because, that's just how i am isn't a valid excuse anymore when God's trying to work on your heart and when you are open to change. and fear of letting go of a crutch is hard.i'm thinking, will people like me if i'm not who they expect me to be? and really the question should be,
where does my hope lie?
where is my identity found?
if Christ will always love me despite my performance, why do i care so much what others think?

(no this probably doesn't mean i won't be sarcastic anymore...but i will ask God to help me stop using it as a control mechanism)

anyway, the weekend continued and God worked on my heart more. it was intense and fast and i knew i needed to process it or as my friend ashley said, those weekend's are hard. because they are so great and so intense but if you don't take time to process it, it's like it never happened.

and i don't want it to be like it never happened. because for a moment, God had my undivided attention and he made me look at my heart and he asked me to change. i want to change my desire to control things that are not in my control and will never be. it is not for me to pretend like i can make my daughter progress the way i think she should. it is not for me to think that i am bigger than God and that i know more than Him.

it just isn't.

she is entirely in His control.

oh. huh. it doesn't all depend on me...that kinda feels great to know that.

so my favorite quote from the weekend...
At your worst, God gives his best.


you're's does this pertain to control? it's comforting to me to know that i can be at my worst, but God's work is not contingent upon me. He always gives his best. no matter the situation. it helps me to rest in his control.

anyway, intense huh? did i lose you in those deep thoughts? sorry, processing overload. consider it a crafternoon of the heart.

so ya, take time to let God work on your heart. what are you clinging tightly to? are there things you think you can do better than God?

surrender and repent.

winner of the dolls! ALISON BERRY. email me!


  1. intense, yeah... but in a good way.
    thank you for sharing what is on your heart.
    funnily (is that even a word?!) i feel very similar to you, a lot of the time.
    i use humor to mask some of the tough stuff.
    or, rather, to avoid it.
    it's been a work in progress the past 10'ish years or so.
    i've sorta built a wall around me b/c i feel like i can take care of myself really well.
    why bother others with my issues when they have issues of their own?
    wouldn't i rather make them laugh to forget about their problems?
    isn't that why i'm in your life?
    yeah, that's what i deal with.
    so, kinda similar?
    and yup, i admit, i'm a controller too.
    it sucks.
    anyhow, thanks for sharing what's going on in your life.
    it gives me encouragement for what i'm going through too.

  2. wow. really? you posted this today? well, golly. i'm going through something similar. not physically similar, but spiritually similar. went through some times of confession with my husband where he laid some big news on me. then i had to admit my biggest sin is my need to control. and when i found this out, and it's nothing i can control, it broke me. it broke the biggest part of me. you know why? because it shouldn't be the biggest part of me. god should. not my need to control everything that i surround myself with.

    i'm working on losing control now, too.

  3. Jami you're not only a strong womna bc you take the time to examine your feelings, your heart, but god has given you the gift to share with others so we might be more open to our hearts and problems. When I think of being embarrassed of my issues I think of how open and honest you are and realize god has opened my heart to not be ashamed through you. You will be loved by many sarcasim or not, you're an amazing person, with amazing heart.

  4. As always, great post, Jami. It actually teared me up a little - okay a lot. I am so much like you, it actually scares me. I, too, use sarcasm as a crutch in any given situation - happy situations, sad ones, mad ones . . . all of them. You are such a strong woman and I admire that strength. I can't imagine what you are going through with Lila, just remember that God gave her to you and Nato for a reason. He knew that you both needed her, just as she needs you. I pray that your struggles are lightened soon enough and your strength and courage is rewarded by God.

  5. Jami, this is such a sweet, honest post. Thank you. I often struggle with control, sarcasm (a deflector for me...), and identity. As in, I live my life like an orphan trying to do it all on my own when I have a Father who longs to do and be all of these things for me. A savior He is, a savior I certainly am not.


  6. Oh my goodness Jami. I started going to therapy a few months ago for something horrific and painful in my past and ended up spending the first 2 months talking about my anxiety about raising Evelyn with all her issues. So as I read this post I started sobbing with you. I'll have to pick up this book. Are these groups something that Redeemer is going to be hosting?

  7. Oh Jami. I loved this post. I love how real, honest, and open you are. It's so true. We just have to surrender everything to God and realize that he is completely in control. You're an awesome person and God's going to do great things in your life.

  8. Oh my goodness Jami. I started going to therapy a few months ago for something horrific and painful in my past and ended up spending the first 2 months talking about my anxiety about raising Evelyn with all her issues. So as I read this post I started sobbing with you. I'll have to pick up this book. Are these groups something that Redeemer is going to be hosting?

  9. thanks for being a sarcastic and not sarcastic internet and real life friend. you do good stuff.

  10. Thanks for your honesty. I'm kinda sad to say that i can relate and struggle a lot with control and have been suffering from some anxiety because of it. A good word - as always - thanks.

  11. Thankful for that weekend too. God is sovereign, and He is GOOD!! Praying we both can rest in that. We needn't worry ourselves trying to do His job - can't remind myself of that enough! Love you when you're funny and when you're all snotty and serious:)!

  12. Oh, this sounds like such a huge help. I often wonder what I'm blind to--what I'm REALLY struggling with if I were to be honest about it and clear away the clutter and obvious stuff.

  13. I love how open you are. It is encouraging. And its awesome how God can use others (like the one who linked your sarcasm to your need to control) to really pinpoint the darkness in your heart. Keep on processing :) "He will crown your efforts with success" Prov 3:6

  14. Jami i can't imagine anyone not liking you ever..sarcasm gone, the funny stuff gone, etc.. you are so awesome. Don't you wish we could see ourselves like others do or for heaven's sake like Jesus does. Why is it so hard? I so love your realness and openness...always have. :)

  15. I just love you. You're my favorite.

    Inspiring. Honest.

    You got me thinking about all of this, thats for sure.

  16. It's crazy how I feel like we're totally neighbors or old roommates or something, and I live in Oklahoma and we've never met and I've only read your blog for like 6months. You're openness astounds me. Not your ability to share yourself. You seem like the type of person who has always been able to communicate well. What I mean is, your openness to cut yourself open, take a look at your insides, take notes on what needs to be worked on, sew yourself back together, pick yourself back up, and strive to learn something and be better for it. I think it's incredible. I envy your relationshp with God. I have been searching for a spiritual connection with Him for awhile now, and think I am finally on the right path. Your relationship with Him inspires me to realize we're already connected. I just have to get over myself enough to recognize it.

    Thanks for sharing, Jami.

  17. So, God kinda turned that introspective spotlight of your's on my ugly little heart too, while I read this. Oh, hot damn, I've been trying to control my Aspergers boy again. What's even grosser is I realize that I've been trying to do it with Emotional Manipulation. Ewws.
    Thanks for starting the Repentance Party all up in here!
    No, seriously, thank you. Transparency begets so much good fruit. You're awesome.

  18. wow, thanks for sharing your heart. i'm kind of the exact opposite of you. it takes me like forever to open up to anyone, i am super private, i gaurd my heart, i stuff everything down so deep i forget it's there. that situation would have been a nightmare for me, but with all of that said, i know the way i handle things is not healthy. you have challenged me to open up a little more, to say what is on my heart and most of all to turn to God with my worries, doubts, pain, etc. thanks!!

  19. Oh man how those fear aspects creep into our lives. And then we try to control. And then we fail. Then we fear more. And the cycle continues. And then God strips it all away. And we are open and raw and then we grow. Love this post & what God is doing in your life. Kids teach you so much huh?!?

  20. I totally understand. My youngest was struggling with major anxiety! Last year, she was in the nurse's office almost everyday and she never played with friends. I wanted to take control so badly and tried to for a very long time. It was only when I gave it to God, did He point me in the right direction. I am happy to say that she has come a long way! God is in control. He will bless you and Lila.

  21. I loved this post & I am going to share it with others!! Way to pour your heart out!

  22. Thanks Jami for your candidness and willingness to be open.
    Sometimes I wish I was in KS still and we could meet up for coffee and hang out.
    Anyways...I think if I had been in your shoes I would have shared how I obsess about looking perfect and feeling inadequate compared to others. I think too much about having a "perfect" body instead of perfecting my spirit. The Lord has really been pushing me towards seeking His beauty over the worldly beauty that is empty and unattainable (as in, it is never enough). I need to be confident in Christ, not in whether I have a perfectly tight mid section. Cause as shallow as it sounds, I do spend too much time thinking about it.

  23. I wasn't going to leave a comment, but then I had to because I am going through the same stuff with my daughter- and it is hard. A lot of times I am in despair because I can't change her, I can't make her talk normally or act like all the other three year old girls. It's a struggle. It really is. I lean on the fact that God is ultimately in control and faithful. And today I am ok with my daughter being different. Thanks for sharing !

  24. wow. that is intense. thanks for sharing your heart, as always. it is always an encouragement to me and points me towards Christ.

  25. love this. thanks so much for the honesty and reality. thanks for pointing us to Christ by sharing whats going on in your heart.

  26. isn't growing up the best? i think the absolute most horrific lie we have ever swallowed is the thought that the best things in life happen before you're 30. that there is a mountaintop we reach and then quickly topple down the backside into wrinkly oblivion. i love the idea that God starts us as babies and grows us, and peels the layers on our hearts and matures us each and every day right up until the moment we meet him. there is no peak in his eyes. the moment we meet HIm in glory we gets to be all grown up. Praise HIm who loves me as I am but whispers in my ear who i am meant to be.
    ps... totally get the sarcasm thing.. has to not be the wall between you and the scary... but i love reading Job for the simple reason that God rocks the sarcasm. :)

  27. "Crafternoon of the heart" - love that. :) Thanks for sharing about your intense weekend. You may use humor & sarcasm to help you feel in control or to control conversations & this may be something you need to work on. But I want you to know, when you came to visit me after we lost Jemma, you were so real, so genuine, so THERE & I liked you just as much and I saw such an incredibly deep & compassionate woman, I see her often on this blog as well. Keep working on those things God puts on your heart, but know we see through your funny stories & jokes to the woman & servant you really are. Love to you.

  28. I can't tell you how I appreciate your honesty and transparency. I hate having my heart exposed for what it is too. Far too often I want to rest in the safety of my "personality" or another excuse. Christ is a relentless persuer though...didn't CS Lewis call him the "hound of Heaven" for this very reason? Ha. I love that. He will not relent and though it is often painful to come to terms with, there is always greater joy on the other side because we get more of him. Oh that I may see Him and trust Him more!

  29. thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. i love your story and learning about your struggle and your journey. thank you for opening made me take some time today and really look at where my heart was. i discovered i was a little dissatisfied with where i was. but then i was able to preach the gospel to myself a little and remember that it's not about me anyway, it's about Him.

    that redemption group sounds intense. that would be VERY difficult for me. both to have to sit and NOT comfort and to sit and NOT BE comforted. thanks for sharing. :)

  30. "what is going on in my heart right now, i asked myself. i answered.
    i do not know.

    i often times go throughout the days not looking at areas of my heart that should be addressed. sometimes i don't even know what's going on because i am caught up in mothering. in cleaning. in planning parties. in life. in worrying. in distractions."

    I know this all too well. Sometimes I think I don't want to know. Thanks for such an honest post. Refreshing and thoughtful.

  31. Jami I go to Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and have both been through redemption groups with my husband and counseled by Pastor Mike. I literally yelled "Ha!" when I started reading your post, such a small world seeing as I've been silently reading your blog for a while. Let me tell you from experience that the Lord will work through your heart in redemption group and as things get harder the intensity of the group will produce in you a need for Him that you haven't known. I pray that the Lord will use this time for both you and your husband to bring your lives even more into the light and that the hard honest words will ignite a transparency in the community at redemption groups, with each other and in every day life.

  32. i notice that you are sarcastic in do you think this plays into control?

    Ughh....what....control....Who looks at it like this!? That was a profound statment that slapped me in the face. I didn't think about me being controlling as I speak without my "filter" as my husband calls it. Thanks so much for sharing all that you do. I too am growing when you share these times. Thank you!

  33. ...this is me. 100% Every friggin day of my life. Glad to know there is someone else out there. Sucks that it has to be you. Be praying for you as I pray for myself.

  34. Wow. Thanks for being totally real and open. Praying for you and that sweet girl.

  35. Jami, I am so glad you wrote this, applies to me in so many areas but definitely as a mom. Trying to get Ruby closer to the growth curve and hoping not to give her an eating complex.... thankful for you friend and your heart

  36. Thank you. I needed to hear this. And i need a group like this. Maybe i'll just pose this question in my bible study group (that i'm in with wo other fanastic women) much to pray about and think about. Again, i say, thank you friend :)

  37. Thanks for being so raw. You are fabulous.

  38. i wish i could say something to make you feel better. i'm glad you were able to let it out...even if it was in front of stangers. sometimes it's easier to do that. love you sister.

  39. thanks for always being you, honest, and true--you are fantastic and i hope you know that~what a great post.

  40. Jami,

    Thank you so much for this honest post. You are wonderful! It is so important to look at ourselves critically and really listen to what our hearts are worrying about it. I'm so grateful for this reminder. Thank you! You and your beautiful family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Louise :)

  41. I love this. It's so true...we do often get so wrapped up in what we're doing that we don't take the time to think about where we're at...and to let God work on our hearts. This group idea sounds intense, but amazing. I wish we had something like it in our church! I'm excited to hear how God is going to use you and your hubby to touch other people's well as to continue to teach you to follow Him more closely. xoxo

  42. jami. i love this. i know its hard. but i really do love this. i've recently realized that i have a huge control issue as well. suck. so i'm in a similar process of trying to repent as well. good glory. messy stuff isn't it? but so good. or it will be so good. :) keep pressin on dear one. fighting alongside you! love!

  43. vulnerability is a beautiful thing. and the people who let others in to see it all are the most beautiful people. thanks for sharing. you do an amazing job of letting it all out. thanks.

  44. iya, i have so much to say in regards to this post, so maybe i'll just call.
    but i did want to say that the Lord knows little, sweet lila and what he's molding in her. He has her in HIS hands...taking care of her...loving her. trust that He is going to work all things for His good. and trust that she's fine...cause i think she is :) sweet lila.

  45. My goodness, you are SO me. Like seriously. I've never, ever thought about my use of sarcasm as a controlling mechanism. Diversion, yes. But control? Ack. But it totally is. Those non-small group chicks are smart.

    And I spent probably 2 months of my life filling out autism checklists. And then heart attack check lists. Because it gave me chest pain.

    See I'm being sarcastic again. To divert.

    Great post, Mrs. Nato. Really, REALLY great.

  46. gosh you're such a badass, and really good at living your life transparently so others can learn from what God is currently teaching you. i love that. It's a gift, this being a badass thing. for real. a gift.
    I love the question, "where are you finding your identity today?" Because lets be real, it can be different everyday. and most days i'm not finding it in my Jesus. a great reminder to look at my heart today.
    You can't know who you are, unless you know whose you are.

  47. i know i'm lateish on this dialog, but i wanted to say i love this post. my most recent post was about God revealing our blind spots too..i've been thinking a lot about that proces and how much crazy grace He has in how and when He chooses to reveal our dirt to us. it's like super yucky and super awesome at the same time, somehow. thanks for sharing so vulnerably. and i'm glad your post was long b/c mine are often too and so i didn't feel as lame. obvs my comments have the same problem.

  48. Sweet friend-

    I love you and I love your honesty. Taking a good look at our heart is like ripping a band-aid off a hairy hurts like hell, but is such a relief once we just do it. You grew in amazing ways through the affair and I know that you'll do the same as you love Lila through her little years and beyond.


  49. you've done it again, shared your heart in a beautiful way. thank you!

  50. I just shared this with a friend struggling with her husbands infidelity. Thank you for sharing your heart, truly.

  51. Jami,

    I don't normally read blog posts but I randomly stumbled across yours and I have to say that I admire your open honesty about your faith and how it affects your daily life. I would just challenge you to think of one thing: how do others perceive your faith when you use cuss words? Just as the comment about sarcasm in conversation opened your eyes and prompted a change in you, maybe this will too. I'm sure there will not be a shortage of people who disagree with me on this, but I personally find it very uncomfortable when a person who is open about their relationship with Jesus speaks in the same manner as those who don't know Him. Maybe it's just me and, no, I don't have any verse in particular at the moment to back up my argument, but I DO know that when we are saved and turn from our sin we are supposed to work hard to change all the things in our lives that aren't pure and pleasing to Him. I also know that people observe your daily life, even when you don't know they are watching. No, it's not fun to think that others are constantly judging you, but it's just reality. I think Christians in today's world get a bad rep because people perceive them as hypocritical. They see them act one way in church on Sunday mornings and another way at work/home/in public. That being said, I think we should all take a look deep inside and ask ourselves what non-believers are witnessing when they look at our DAILY lives, not our Sunday mornings. I strongly admire your posts about dealing with the sarcasm and also about dressing appropriately (I COMPLETELY agree with you!). I don't mean to offend you or anyone else in any way, just wanted to give something to consider. Call me old-fashioned (p.s. I'm 23...not 100), but I honestly feel that your story would be EVEN stronger if the language was not intertwined with your powerful, thought-provoking messages. Thank you for your courage in sharing your life and your story!

    1. hey anonymous. i agree with you. i shouldn't cuss.
      sometimes i do though. like sometimes i don't want to yell at my kids but i still do. and i'm working on it. like all sin issues in my life, but just because i share that i do cuss sometimes, doesn't mean that i'm not working on my sin or that i'm not worthy of preaching the Gospel.
      the only thing here is that i admit it. so if i was a christian blogger and i did cuss but didn't admit to it, i think that might be worse. because i'm hiding and giving everyone the perspective that i live in perfection. when really, i'm a sinner in need of God's grace in my life. and i'm weak. praise God that He uses the sinful and the weak. so i disagree with your comment, "a person who is open about their relationship with Jesus speaks in the same manner as those who don't know Him". we are all that person. you are that person too. your language is just as bad as my language when you gossip as mine is when i say" ass".

      now, if an overweight pastor preaches God's word, do you stop listening because he is obviously engaging in gluttony? or perhaps we should make all the overweight bloggers stop blogging because they are engaging in sin and proclaiming God's name. we could go on and on with this type of example.
      i'm obviously exaggerating here to make a point, that we are all constantly sinning but that God uses us even in that. we don't have license to keep sinning because of our grace, but i'm not going to lie to everyone and say that i'm sinless in any area. specifically in the cussing area.
      all that to say, i think that i do need to work on my cussing. absolutely. thanks for calling me out on it. i actually appreciate it. but i want you to know that i will fail you because i sin a lot and am in constant need of a savior. i probably will cuss again in a blogpost. and maybe tomorrow in real life. i pray that as i walk closer with the Lord he will transform my heart and perhaps one day, i will be free from my tongue that boasts, gossips, tears down, lies, and cusses. it might be in heaven though. LOL.

      thanks for engaging in the conversation with me and again, i want you to know that i appreciate you and your willingness to speak up.


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