I’m a wife, mom and step-mom. I am passionate about Jesus and the Seattle Seahawks. I also have a persistent addiction to salted caramel gelato. I enjoy writing, gardening, singing and (because I am spoiled) being the wife of the most fun, adoring husband on earth.
While I am indeed blessed, my journey thus far has not been easy. In 2001 my life was transformed overnight when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It is a daily battlefront, and I know when I wake up each morning that it will demand my attention in some way. However, in over 13 years of living with this illness I have learned that I do not have to allow my struggle to define my life. When trying to think of a name for this blog I asked Chris, my husband, to describe me with just one word. He immediately said, “Tenacious.”
MS is not the only reason Chris has to call me tenacious. My life has required it of me. In 1990, I came to understand the love of Jesus as a pregnant 16 year old with some pretty tough experiences to overcome. My first marriage began soon after and I spent the first few years focusing on, learning and growing to be a woman who loved and served my family, church and community. From the time I read The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson (cheesy movie, great book) I had a desire to help and minister to teens who had struggled like me. Since that time I have had many titles and roles in life; Home-school mother, Sunday school teacher, secretary, youth pastor, youth counselor, worship leader, pastor. Each had its challenges and taught me something new about myself and the world around me.
However, with my illness came great financial stress as my former husband was self-employed and a large portion of our youth ministry work was not for pay. We had no health insurance and before long were bankrupt. Many sacrifices were made in order to procure healthcare for me. My ex gave up his own business for a job with solid health insurance. When we became pastors, pastoral ministry did not offer the financial means or insurance to support our family so he worked two jobs. Burnout and resentment set in and the stress took its toll. After more than 10 years in the ministry we stepped down. I was heartbroken. A year later we hit the breaking point and were divorced.
Though I was very sick I picked up a job in town and spent the first year as a single mom supporting my teenage daughters on $8 an hour with no child support. My girls and I moved from the house that had been our home for 13 years, into a low income apartment where they lived with me during the week and worked on finishing high school, while spending weekends with their dad.
I connected and fell in love with my sweetie Chris who I married in 2010. We are so much alike and he has a unique perspective on my life because while we’ve only been married for a few years, we have been friends since our youth. When he said his vows he knew what the words, “In sickness and in health” would mean, and he still said them. We are a team and have learned so much from all of our mistakes and from all of the curveballs life has thrown at us.
Every struggle has taught me not only how to maneuver through difficult situations, but also has given me a new compassion for others who have to fight through grueling circumstances. Regardless of what I have been through, my faith is still intact. In fact my confidence in God’s unfailing love is now stronger. I’m less critical and spend less time pigeonholing others as I have stopped seeing myself in the various boxes (titles, roles, responsibilities) I resided in for so long. I am continuing to learn what it means to see others as God sees them; through loving eyes. Also, challenges that used to strike fear into my heart no longer faze me. In fact, now I usually just think, “Okay, here we go. How are we going to fight through this one?” And the strategizing begins.
What does it mean to be tenacious? Merriam-Webster defines it thus:
te•na•cious – adjective
Continuing despite difficulties, opposition, or discouragement
Another word for tenacity is moxie. Moxie implies that you have guts, nerve, and spunk! Just saying these words makes me feel more courageous!
I hope you will read on! Whatever you’re facing, don’t give up. Find your moxie. That is what this blog is about. I’ve learned so much over the years that I would love to share with you. Whether you come to read about finding a grant for your medical treatment, mouthwatering recipes for comfort food or for your anti-inflammatory MS diet, DIY projects, housekeeping without harsh chemicals, or you just come to be encouraged, I invite you to join me on the road to a life tenacious.