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


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– 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.

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

-Jen Cosby

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

 

Even the Righteous Need Breaks.

I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.

The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.

jencosby_blog_inspiration_lessonsThere are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.

For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.IMG_2204

Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.

What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.

 

Open Invitation.

I get so sick of brokenness and the repercussions of mistakes that separate me from the one who first loved me. At first, it feels like I am in charge of this rebellion–like I intentionally chose to run against His grace. I realize I am not that powerful, but the results are still the same. When I am outside of God’s will it is only a matter of time before I run smack into a wall of dead ends.

But if He works all things for my good, then even detours will lead me back to where I am meant to be. I find this encouraging in the midst of missing people who are no longer a part of my life. I stand confident in the fact that there is a greater purpose in spite of my mistakes.

It is so easy to sit in your faults and to believe that you do not deserve happiness. I tend to isolate myself in a bubble away from people who want to help. The greatest tragedy is trying to ignore the voice of God, himself. But when I am quiet, when the world slows down around me–He reaches through my crowded thoughts and pulls at my heart strings.

He asked, Why won’t you talk to me?”

Immediately my eyes began to water and my vision grew blurry as I answered, “I don’t know.” I used to turn off the music during my morning commutes and just talk to God. I would pour out my thoughts and feelings and ask for His divine guidance. I would pray for my friends and family. Yesterday, He used a traffic jam to get my attention–and not just one accident, but two. He decided that enough was enough.

Enough running and hiding and casually living for Him. Enough with carrying shame and holding onto the past I cannot change. He gave me an open invitation to come. He asked me to drop all those heavy memories and regrets. He chose me. He wanted me.

And He will set me exactly where I am supposed to be.

God, faith, quotes, bible, life

The Coincidence of Obedience.

Words will always pour out of a writer’s heart as long as the right door is opened.

I went back to my home church in the month of April.  After many excuses and in spite of my infamous stubbornness, there were multiple occurrences that led me to believe that now was the right time. For one, I ran into a church member and friend at the city-wide Spelling Bee in which our children were participating. The day of the 1st test, I was stuck in what seemed like an unnatural amount of traffic and I thought to myself, “There’s a reason this is happening right now.” We finally make it to the library where the Spelling Bee is held and right after we check in a little girl runs up screaming my daughter’s name. I turn around to see four faces I have not seen in over a year.

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It is important to note: I do not believe in coincidence. Every moment in life we have the opportunity to make decisions, but each cross road we ultimately come to is intentional. At times, I did not like where I was headed and made the choice to correct my course. Sometimes, I would choose to keep going on a path I hated, towards a sad and lonely ending. Still, in either direction there was a voice–one that rang louder or quieter depending on my choice. The 2nd occurrence happened on my way back home from visiting my family in Virginia. I could hear a thought in my mind saying, “It’s time to go back to your church.” Not only did I hear this thought, but I also knew and felt the exact time to go. It was also around this time that one of my pastors reached out and asked me directly when I would be coming to see my family.

The answer was very soon.

Regardless of how I left or the emptiness I once felt, it was time to return to the place I knew I belonged. Ironically, walking into those doors again felt familiar and comforting rather than intimidating or wrong. I was reminded of the kindness of these people whom I had known for a number of years. Now, I could see with clear eyes how I should have stayed and asked for help. Help, that I did not feel I deserved at the time. I also remembered the hurt that burned in my chest when I left and no one seemed to notice. I realize now just how hard it is to reach someone who does not want to be reached.

Especially since the person who needed to be reached, was me.

It is my hope that my future decisions will bring me closer to rather than pushing others away. Life is already difficult enough without me being the perpetrator in my own narrative. I choose to be brave and strong–to allow people to love me through my mess and to see me fully. I choose to speak my truth and walk forward knowing that I am doing my best. And the best, is yet to come. authentic_life_lessons_truth

Broken Grace.

art, broken, poetry, lifeI wonder where you were when I broke down in ways that shattered my future expectations. I reached out, hoping that you could be objective but found your unresponsiveness to be the final nail in my proverbial coffin.

I know I am dramatic–I used to wish
that my feelings did not run so deep
or go so hard. But most people never
recover from the magnitude of this
particular type of loss.

Especially not me.

Forgive me for not being on my best behavior. For taking my war against my obsession too far. Maybe, you are just not familiar with these particular types of scars. I wanted you to understand the
consequences of your decision.
Instead you chose to ignore me
at my worst, throwing
silence in my face when
I really needed you.

You never had the ability
to face the impossible truth.
And now you wonder why
you are broken, too.