Boundless Beauty. (300 words)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in my own expectations or the facilitator of less than my absolute best when I am actively pursuing my dreams. I want to grow tired of the lies I sell myself and follow my heart as it leads me to truth. But it takes so much more than hopes and good thoughts to inspire lasting and effectual change.

Sometimes, you have to break down completely before you will ever follow through.

I am not infallible. Every day I wake up just like you with a choice to do better or to stay statically still. I could go on and on about the times I wasted or the balls I let drop while the world around me refused to stop–but none of that will matter unless I choose to make a difference now, for me.

When you are not emotionally connected to your actions, you will continue to fail without any regard to who you are taking down with you. You will emote and feel things deeply but forget that it is not all about your problems. It is about finding a path in the middle towards achieving and maintaining peace. Peace that can not exist if we are constantly fighting.

I do not want to hear “suck it up” when the truth in love inspires us to speak words of healing over people who are truly suffering. There are a thousand ways we can say the same thing without wounding sensitive spirits with our harsh expressions.

Some days this is harder for us to do–but the most beautiful things have a way of happening in spite of you.

beauty, life, expectations, hope, love, blog


Connect with me!

Instagram – @jen.cosby

Twitter – @jen__cosby

– Jen Cosby

When Home is Not Home. (350 words)

Parents are the first homes for their children. We exist to welcome and nurture them–as the protectors of their souls. This is not a perfect job, nor one where you can take off when you are exhausted. We were chosen. Given an opportunity to pour purpose and breathe life onto their innocent, blank slates.

Slates that are always, always influenced by their surroundings.

Parents/mentors/extended family have an important responsibility to guide children away from hardship–but to stand firmly by their side when pain is inevitable. We are NOT meant to wound these innocent spirits with self-righteous ideas of who we THINK they should be. Especially, when their idea of who they are conflicts with what we were taught to believe.

If home is not SAFE, children will learn to outsource their needs. They will run–into the arms of others who may give them false information and take advantage of their hearts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear when they think you cannot handle their truths. They will form guards against any connections to you.

I am reminded of children who “come out” to conservative parents. And parents who then attack the very thing they were meant to protect. There are parents who refuse to listen when their child is screaming for their attention. And parents who later blame themselves for the consequences.

I am reminded of myself. When I was younger I did everything I could to get away from home. I felt invalidated and broken. So much so, I delayed my potential for nearly a decade before I discovered that I was worth so much more.

Now I know that I am my home.

Sometimes, parents fail and we are left to keep our home safe. This is okay. Things like this happen to people everyday. We fall off our paths and run in a million different directions. We chase after things we do not need and leave our homes open without any security. We make mistakes then drag ourselves back in the game.

But with or without them you will find your way.

home, worry, hope, blog


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Instagram – @jen.cosby

Twitter – @jen__cosby

– Jen Cosby

You are Missing from Me.

As I draw further away from the negative reality of my past year–and come closer to the anniversary of our ending–I am hard pressed to examine and emote and release this anxiety that has already served its purpose for me. I suppose I just gave up when faced with the truth of my deception. I did not fight because I had nothing left to lose. Thought I was strong enough and wise enough to push past the initial defeats, but I will never forget you are missing from me.

I still try at times to make peace in my subconscious. My dreams are filled with road blocks and alternate routes that always lead back to you. Except, I spend most of my time jolted awake by the fact that I cannot change what God has told me is not now possible.

The hope is to give up the hurt you experience, and to focus your efforts on healing.

bloom, growth, healing, flowers, relationships, friendships, loss

Bloom with Intention

We all plant seeds that will one day take root and bear fruit. Whether it is good or bad fruit is determined by what we choose to leave. –Jen Cosby

Usually this would not matter to me. What mattered then is how my hurt manifested itself as a quietly ticking time bomb that without warning exploded on everyone I loved. Shrapnel broke down decades old foundations and opened up carefully concealed scars. This makes me human but also magnifies just how weak I really was. And just how weak I continue to be, when I try to forget you are missing from me.

Today, I walk through doors that I did not have to blow up in order to walk through. They open because they are mine and I did not have to convince myself that I was worthy. They open because I accepted my undeniable part in the mess I experienced and gave up praying God would bless the dysfunction.

I realize my pursuit of wellness may not mean restoration. My desire to be better may never be seen. But I promised myself that I would be honest when I am hurting. And the truth of the matter is you are missing from me.

 


P.S. As life continues to evolve I am realizing that I am posting less frequently on this site. My goal is to only provide “good” thought provoking content at all times. With my current schedule in mind, I will begin to follow a bi-monthly posting schedule.

Stay Socially Connected:

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I look forward to connecting with you guys on these platforms!

-Jen Cosby

For The One Who Birthed Me. (excerpt)

I used to pick fights with
the parts of myself that
seemed to resemble you.

The idea of me that lived up
to your impossible expectations
and the lies I told so often,
they eventually became true.

The difficulty I have now comes
riddled with self doubt because
the one I relied upon did not
know how to meet me half way.

Captured by your adverse opinion,
when all feelings are fleeting.

I will miss you, yes–but I know now that
I am not responsible for your unhappiness.

I will not cut myself open
because you refuse to let me grow.

A Decade to Go.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to go_3
In less than 2 weeks, I will have a 9-year old at home and it amazes me how fast time flies by. I miss being able to pick up and carry my daughter–who is now almost as tall as I am. I also miss seeing her try to walk for the first time or experience new things with a sense of awe and wonder. There are still many big moments to come–some of which, like dating, I have no desire to experience ever. But I look forward to surviving and thriving through them all, regardless.

One of the things I aim to have with Jenesis is an open communication policy. I want her to know that she can come to me with anything, no matter what. Sometimes, it is difficult to drill this type of policy into the hearts and minds of children. Their ability to see the long game is skewed and their overall opinion of time is that it is torture. They also do not want to suffer consequences for their actions and fail to see that hiding the truth only makes the problem worse in the long run.

For instance, Jenesis has a habit of “forgetting the truth” when she does something that she knows is wrong. Last week, I found her watching a mature show on Netflix, “Glee”. It is Rated PG-13, and I have allowed her to watch certain episodes–particularly the singing portions when we are together. When I brought it to her attention she told me, “You said we could watch it together”. She failed to realize that watching it by herself was not the same thing as watching it together.
I try to limit her exposure to a lot because innocence cannot be regained once it is gone. I want her to remain young and carefree for as long as it is in my control. However, children have a natural curiosity for adult things–always wanting to know more when they are not quite ready.

I was raised with two differing styles of parenting from my childhood. My parents are divorced and thus had different ideas of how to handle/or not handle adult content in the home. My father and step-mother allowed us to watch adult content when they were present but told us to “cover our eyes” when an adult scene came on. The funny thing is, we could still hear sounds and conversations and I feel this approach only served to increase our desire as children to see what was going on behind our hands. Pretty soon, when we were not being supervised we found ourselves secretly watching adult stations trying to figure out what our parents did not want us to know.

My mother similarly watched adult content while we were around, but did not instruct us to cover our eyes. Part of the time we would cover them out of habit, but other times we would look to her for direction. When no direction came, we figured it was okay to keep watching. I can tell you as an adult now, that it was not. Passive parenting inspires confusion and leads the child to make mature decisions with little to no guidance. A lot of my adolescence was spent making poor choices based on my limited point of view.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to goAs a parent now, I chose to go a completely different route with my daughter. I did not want her exposed to anything that was not meant for her age. I do not watch adult content in front of her or listen to music with adult themes. The problem with my method is that she spends a large amount of her life in a school where I cannot protect her from the influence of peers. Everyone she comes into contact with has a unique home background and when you mix all of these kids together you are bound to get a host of conflicting information. If I do not give her the right information at home, she may eventually make bad choices based on what she learned from her friends.

So, this past week I chose to sit her down and have an open and candid conversation about this mixed up world around us. With her growing interest in adult material, I know it is my responsibility to give enough information so that she is informed but not enough to taint her innocence.

Some of the themes in “Glee” include: teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, drugs, sex and the list goes on and on. I wanted to know which of these themes she saw and what she thought or knew of each one. I explained my expectations of her as a little young lady and addressed what was right vs. what was wrong for her age. I felt the need to even detail her upcoming menstrual cycle and the changes that will come along with that.

I know parenting is not a perfect process and many mistakes will be made along the way. But children are the highest blessing and it is our responsibility as parents to give them the absolute best we have. I will never take this honor for granted. I pray God will continue to give us all the grace to grow and teach our children well before we release them into the world, on their own.

jencosby_blog_parenting_decade to go_2

-Jen.Cosby

 

You Cannot Rush Freedom (400 words)

Most of us exist for tiny moments of excitement–forever looking for the next thrill to write home about. I wish life was always this simple and we did not have to think about problems or troubles or figure out 5-year plans. But the truth is, an honest life is one of requirement. Everyday we must come to terms with the fact that our lives are not completely our own. We are responsible for other people–in the most benign to the most extreme of ways.

And nothing wakes one up faster than realizing that another person is counting on you.

I imagine taking this type of ownership to its highest peak. Because without sacrifice, we are incapable of offering anyone anything. Sometimes, the hardest part of my day is facing this blatant reminder in the form of an unrelenting alarm clock. It screams, “Wake Up!” when all I really want to do is sleep. The act of hitting snooze in this instance is probably one of the most selfish things.

When I was a child, I relied upon my parents to prepare me for every future event. From school and extracurricular activities to family special occasions; I was helpless without them. At times I found myself helpless as a result of them. Now that I am an adult, I remember the way I would rationalize their dysfunction on my life. I did not see drunkenness and disorder; it was unpredictable fun. My mother was not financially irresponsible and careless, she was spontaneous and carefree.

This is the lens I used to guard my innocence when what I really needed was protecting.

I dreamed of leaving my destructive nest and living a life of order and structure. I remember trying to fly on my own for the first time and it was then I learned that you cannot rush freedom. I thought maybe flapping my wings and kicking up dust would guarantee that no one could ever reach me. But the higher I flew, the more I lost sight of my calling and destiny. It took coming back down and sitting in the reality of all the hurt I experienced that finally gave me the courage to let it all go.

I could have chosen to cling to my past and perpetuate the cycle of pain, transferring the guilt I felt onto my offspring. I could have continued to run from my responsibilities. But I know I must live a life of intention.

And God intended for me to be free.

The One You Love (300 words)

He leaned in the door frame with a shadow cast over his eyes from the hallway light. He looked down pensively as she stood in silence behind him. Neither wanted to be the first to walk away but both understood that something needed to change. Maybe if I was awake I would have understood the significance of this goodbye. Night fell over the home as children slept under the weight of adult decisions.

Decisions that would affect the rest of their lives.

I wish I was intuitive enough to accept change with grace but all I remember is his absence the next day. Perhaps no honest explanation could have made a difference. After all, when you do not get to choose you must learn to accept what is given to you. Every day people fall out of love, break up and move on to brand new families.

None of which eases the pain of this modern day tragedy.

Years later, tales of love hit me like bricks in the chest as I mused on the idea of happiness. My experience of happily ever after left nothing worth desiring in my imagination. It seems the older we get the less likely we are to compromise–or seek a winning balance for both sides in the relationship.

So much easier to promise forever when your heart has not been broken.

I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to hope without fear that happy endings exist–that second chances can make all the difference. Because what have you really accomplished by leaving the moment it gets hard? Every bad thing that has ever happened leads you closer to the person who deep down you are.

The fights, the lies and the ugliest of goodbyes

…all have the potential to save your life.