An Open Letter: 'Seasons'
I don’t even know how to begin this, other than, I’m sorry. You know, sometimes when you are in pain for so long... pain ends up being your identity. When we launched Creative Collected, it was a personal dream of mine. I felt God beckoning me to just take a leap of faith and do it already, this Creative Collected dream I had. I shared this dream with my husband who echoed this heart call from our God. Then we shared it with my sister-in-law and she identified with the same whisper from heaven. And Creative Collected was born.
Behind the scenes I was 7 months pregnant, Josh and I had just been forced out of our living situation and were frantically trying to figure out what our next step was, both in life and in living. And then to top it all off, once we found a new place, weeks after a promotion, increasing our rent by 3x, and signing a new lease, Josh lost his job. It was like the world was caving in on us. We were exiled, abandoned, and alone.
We had two choices, and instead of wallowing, we decided to use the newly acquired ‘time off’ to put our hearts and soul into Creative Collected, this dream we had deep in our spirits. We launched it in the faith that it would help us turn our lives around… only to realize it was us that needed to do the turning. Our perspective was off, and for that I am truly sorry. It’s funny how your heart can be in the right place, and you can still miss the task at hand.
The past three years had been the most painful, humbling, grief filled, joyous, new, exciting, scary, devastating three years of our lives, and launching Creative Collected in the middle of the mess was a gutsy move. We were out of hope, out of resource, and out of practice. However hard it was to do, we made the decision and worked tirelessly until our launch three weeks later.
For three more weeks we worked, and out of it came something we were truly in awe of, and so proud of. Content started flowing out of us, and I even learned how to code (minimally), which if you know me, is a miracle in and of itself. I mean, Josh and I became friends because he was over fixing my computer so often…. but that’s a story I’ll tell you another day!
Then after hosting a dinner party, my water broke. After 42 hours of labor, we ended up having to have a C-Section. I almost died on that table. It was horrible and traumatic, and not at all what we had ‘planned’. Yet out of that pain, came the most precious gift life has given us, our son, Cohen. However hard the journey that led to him being placed into my arms a hour later, after my convulsions finally subsided. He was and is amazing.
This kind of trauma, where you are exposed, life flashing before your eyes, unable to respond or see, finding the courage to tell your husband to raise your son well, and slipping back into a sea of nothingness, changes you. It somehow opens up every deep crevasse of pain you’ve ever had. Every deep exposure you’ve tried to conceal, and makes you look at it square in the face. That kind of trauma give you two choices… either let the pain take you or move on. And after much deliberation, I’m choosing the latter.
All that being said, I am different now, raw, undone and not looking to hide any longer. We are grateful for everything we have, have lost, and through those two mediums, above all, grateful for God, who has carried us along the way. We were homeless, jobless, friendless, abandoned by family, and staring death in the face while life entered the world. It was a miracle that we were even standing, let alone, able to dream and create out of that place. Yet we did. But then, we retreated to learn how to move on, with a hope that we would lead well.
I am only telling you this, to paint a picture of where my mind has been, where my soul has been these past few months… years. I want to be the best mother to my son, my gift, my darling. I want to support my husband, who now, with a newborn, is wearing the sole responsibility of provider. And mostly I want to be a good steward of the name Christ Follower. These pressures have been weighing heavy on me, as I have also been trying to be the woman God has called me to be, pioneering Creative Collected from spirit up. And the loneliness, grief and pain has suffocated my voice in all of it.
When I look in the mirror I don’t see the woman I want to be, or the woman I need to be, I see a shell of the woman I used to be. I don’t see strength, I see failure. I don’t see beauty, I see grief. I don’t see joy, I see pain. I don’t see victory, I see scars. And I have let that silence me from writing and sharing with you, because to be perfectly honest, I just haven’t felt worthy of you. For that I am sorry. My heart in Co-Founding Creative Collected was to create a place where everyone was welcome, a place of rest and refuge, a place of retreat. And in the midst of that, I let my insecurities keep me from being the transparent community member it was created for.
Today, I was listening to ‘Seasons’ by Hillsong, with tears streaming down my cheeks, holding my 5 month old as he reached out to touch my face, and realized that my pain must stop defining me. I had let my pain get so big, I began to question everything, and decided God called the wrong girl. But today, as I listened, this lyric stuck my soul, to the depths of its existence… “melt the ice of this wild soul, till the barren is beautiful”. I started to picture that, and let the words of the song ring over my life - I turned a corner.
I realized that I am greater than the pain that has enveloped me over the past three years. I realized that the story I am meant to tell is worth telling. I realized that if I was being smothered by lies, then maybe someone else out there in our community was too. And I realized that my silence is only hurting our community and perpetuating my loneliness and grief.
So if you feel called to this community, and are encouraged by a girl who’s trying to be the woman she could be, please continue on this journey with us, and I’ll do my part within Creative Collected to help mobilize this community of rest and refuge. I’d like to start dreaming again, about actively pursuing a place in the arms of our Creator, to breathe and retreat. And mostly I’d like to commit to being transparent with you as I journey through and out of this year, with the perspective of ‘Seasons’.
With love and tenacity,