Happy Thursday, my dears! I am so very excited to have Beth sharing on the blog today! Connecting with her through the journey of "birthing Flourish" was one of my most favorite highlights!
Even though she's very north of me, we had the opportunity to meet back in January at the Influence Conference in Nashville... we even squeezed in a coffee date before the conference began- what joy! I am certain that if we lived in closer proximity we'd be hard to separate :)
I hope each of you are so blessed by Beth's honesty in her story of loss and the redemption she's experienced.
Share where you currently live:
I live just outside St. Louis, MO in Illinois
Share where you grew up:
I grew up in Colorado and to this day find such peace when I’m surrounded by mountains.
Share about your family/your job/living situation:
My husband and I have been married for 10 years this year! We have two children, Olivia (4) and Roman (1). My husband is an Air Force officer so we are professional nomads (and could totally start a moving business based on our pack/un-pack expertise). We’ve lived in Texas, Washington, England, California, and now the Midwest. After becoming a military spouse I quickly learned that having my traditional teaching job wasn’t very compatible with moving every 2 years. So after having our second child, I decided to start my own wardrobe styling business called Liv & Ro Styling Co. I combined by education background with my professional stylist experience to create a platform that teaches healthy foundations of personal style. I love working with women one-on-one to discover their story, not their just body type, and how that translates into their wardrobe.
Share your favorite book and/or podcast:
Oh my goodness, as a former English teacher this question is so hard! There are just so many! Recently I’ve loved reading historical books that feature strong female characters. There are many stories about women from our history that have never been told and it is fascinating to see the magnitude that their roles played in shaping our world. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a beautiful story of sisterhood during WW2, while Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler is a really interesting dive into 1920’s America. Did you know that many of F. Scott Fiztergald’s words where actually written by Zelda but never credited? I love learning about the un-told, lesser-known parts of life.
Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:
Days after my son was born I lost my sister-in-law in a tragic bicycle accident and she left behind two 18 month old twins, my niece and nephew. After her accident I developed a severe case of anxiety and I refused to go anywhere without my kids. After several months of this very unhealthy way of living, I finally shared my struggles at bible study and a dear friend shared this verse with me: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”(Proverbs 3:5-6). I pray this verse anytime I start to feel overwhelmed and it was amazing to see how the weight of anxiety can be lifted, a little more each time. I still struggle with these same fears but I am becoming more confident that God is in total in control.
Share your favorite beverage:
La Croix is my official afternoon pick-me up! Otherwise you’ll find me with a coffee cup, a giant water bottle (I’m weird and like tracking how much water I drink throughout the day), or a glass of wine in hand.
Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:
Truthfully this was initially hard for me to answer because I have suffered some loss the past few years. I’ve had several family members pass away, some tragically, and a miscarriage. But I kept coming back to my biggest loss being my parent’s separation 5 years ago. At first I couldn’t figure out why but the more I reflected I realized it is because family is our safety net; it is the place you retreat to when the world seems like it’s spinning out of control. It is where you go when you want to shut out the noise and be whole-heartedly, unconditionally loved. My world has, at times, felt like it is spinning out of control and my safe place is now gone. And how do you find refuge from the struggles of this world when your sanctuary itself is the thing that is dismantling? Life is hard, plain and simple, and we were never promised an easy life here on earth, but I believe that is why God gifted us with family. A family eases the heartbreak and pain we will suffer in this lifetime but trying to face those hardships without a strong foundation to lean on can sometimes be harder than living through the tragedies themselves.
Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and supporting you while you are healing:
Seeking out counsel, be it in a traditional form or from others who have experienced similar situations, has been the best in helping me heal. My husband and I have also made sure to keep our friendships very strong and stable so that we do have that foundation, even if it is not in a traditional form. We have been blessed with some amazing couple friends from our younger years that, as we have all started having kids, have only grown into deeper and more meaningful relationships. We have a lot of “friends who are family” that support us and are excellent examples for our children.
Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:
My husband has been such an amazing man through my years of tears, anger, and bitterness. Not only has he talked me through so much but he always finds ways to end things with a smile. My kids are also at the wonderful silly age where their personalities are blossoming and they are always keeping me laughing. There is nothing better than an oddly executed preschool knock-knock joke!
Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:
My parent’s separation shed light on an area in my life I never knew existed. Growing up, I wanted my future marriage to look exactly like my parent’s marriage. They were a Christian couple who were affectionate, shared numerous inside jokes, and respected each other. After their initial separation, I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening because divorce didn’t happen to my family, that was for other people. I tried to hide it in conversation by changing the subject or making it look like it was totally normal that my parents were living in two completely different states. God revealed how prideful I had become about my perceived perfect family and taught me that I am not above any of the sins of the world.
It also taught my husband and I to be on-guard and always fiercely protect our marriage. We make sure to take the extra step to communicate and carve out time to read a marriage book together or attend a conference at church. Date nights and weekends away are hard when you are not living near family but we take as many opportunities as we can to get away just the two of us when the opportunity arises. It can be easy to put our kids first during this season of life but we try to remember that our marriage needs to come first; none of this would exist if our marriage wasn’t the priority.
Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:
The biggest advice I can give someone who is going through their parent’s divorce as an adult themselves, is to take time to mourn the loss. My assumption about the experience divorce as a child is that it may be a bit easier - it becomes your reality and all you’ve ever really known - but divorce as an adult gives you a before and after picture. You know what your family looked like for the 20+ years you grew up and now you have to navigate a completely foreign landscape. You will question everything about your childhood memories and whether they were as good as you thought they were. You will long for what was and you will have to say goodbye to the type of family you hoped would be in the future. It can be tempting (and truthfully easier) to push away the pain because you are an adult now with lots of “adulting” to do; kids to raise, bills to pay, your own marriage to sustain – who has time to worry about what parent you will see at Christmas or who to Facetime this week? But shoving aside those frustrations will only create more anger and bitterness. Give yourself time to grieve and mourn, and then give yourself time to let God show you that He has not forsaken you and that He always redeems.
Keep in touch with Beth at the spots below and definitely check out all her fabulous styling tips!