I graduated High School ready to change the world. I had spent the last 4 years of my life in high school dominating every arena I could get my hands on; sports, student council, peers and popularity. I felt like I conquered it all. From President to All – Star, Salutatorian and most everything in between I was the OVERACHIEVER 10X. I was out the door with my badges of honor; “Most Likely to Succeed and Most Athletic” the Senior Mosts that mattered most to me. I achieved the title, acknowledgement and I was ready for my next space to prove myself. While I spent my life striving to be the STAR and the success in sports and business as I knew it I also knew there was a much bigger world outside of the small town girl in AZ that I was.

California Dreams came true as I drove up to the most beautiful campus in the US in my little gray sports car ready to do life BIG. The door to my little dorm creaked open and the stark reality of re-defining me in the small and big life of the city, college and community of San Diego CA at Point Loma Nazarene University set this country girl running hard, chasing the dream! In the first few weeks of training with the cross country team, I tore my groin and life as I knew it took on a whole new demand for surrender and acceptance. Where I always felt power and control in making things happen, I felt powerless; physically I could not do it! Where I used to lace up my shoes and run with the wind, now I was happy to walk to the training room for another day of therapy. All the areas where people knew I excelled; instantly I did not, where I stood out in the gym I could not, where I was known; I was hidden and where I was strong I was weak. Strength was being redefined at its deepest level for me. When everything else felt taken out my hand I had to know who I was. It was the ultimate journey of self discovery the first year in college, away from home, no one and nobody and all the hopes you had of creating your new world as you imagined and dreamed it to be; gone. I was done! I was no one for anyone. No one cares what a “star” you were, all that matters is what and who look like now! College is where the playing field once again is leveled and I felt robbed. My identity was shattered. The athlete I was for all my life was a memory but not my future. The community I was creating with my teammates and all the other athletes on campus started to look so much different when day after day I was not able to make practice. I was the injured one; that’s for sure…. Scared for life; if I let it.

The HEALING journey began here. In my biggest hurt physically and mentally I began to feel the depths of needing healing. I needed to physically heal from being restrained, held back, limited, withdrawn and last in line. I need to know what it felt like to be humbled in the hurt in order to hunger for the healing. I hadn’t felt like this since I was that little girl, the only child with divorced parents that no one believed in; who was told I needed to be held back in school and I just didn’t have what it took. I longed to feel noticed, loved, and whole, yet my whole world felt pulled out from underneath me. I planned to live in California and spend the rest of my days in the sunshine and in the water living the California dream; wild and free! No scholarship anymore, tuition and bills too high for my dad to reconcile, I was back in Arizona attending NAU for my sophomore year. Shattered dreams, yet I knew deep in my gut that was where I actually belonged. I was trying to manipulate and control my life and be what I WANTED it to be and I would work hard to make it happen, and yet here I was life had happened again FOR me, not for me to prove, but for me to find my deepest purpose and meaning.

What happens when all the Hard work, control, and motivation ends up being the reason you are forced to surrender. I always correlated hard work and accomplishment with success and now, although I did all the hard work I was finding myself having to redefine success. Where I used to think no pain no gain, all drive and determination I was face to face with the HEAL in my health; physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. This was the beginning of a life long journey of the tug of war between doing more and doing less. The struggle between control and surrender, dreams and peace to receive. Manifesting and manipulating. Fear and faith. Abundance and scarcity.

In the last 25 years since leaving home that high school girl, I have walked through some very deep valleys as a woman, wife and mother of 6. I’ve experienced the complete collapse of my health, the near loss of 2 of my children, marriage on the rocks and businesses that were built to only be shut down by a pandemic.

Life has a funny way of working out; it always does. “God’s got this” has become my mantra when the reality of my humanness becomes so obvious that there is no strength in and of myself that could conquer the mountains I am up against.

The Motherhood Myths, Messages and Mercy for your soul.

I get asked all the time if I planned on having six kids. The irony of it all is that I spent most of my life planning my life but I never planned on having six kids! As an only child and losing my mom at 16 I spent much of my life watching how to do life from the outside perspective! I knew the life that I was living as a child was not the life that I wanted to re-create for my children! Of course there were huge nuggets of truth that built me to who I am that I gleaned through it all and it was the life that made me who I am. Yet, I knew as a child that while most of my peers we’re playing, imagining and creating a fairytale that they enjoyed, I spent most of my time creating the real life that I wanted to have some day but it was not going to be a princess being saved by her prince charming in pink dresses with shiny slippers; I knew I wanted the real good life. Yes, I am an old soul born through adversity and refined in the fire, but however old my soul is my spirit and energy are young for life! Life is a gift and I realized very early on that I wanted to squeeze all of life out of life and if I really wanted “it”, I would have to make “it”happen. I did long to someday by a mom and have a larger family than my own, but I also longed to really change the world. I knew I was leader from the beginning and would continue to have that spoken over me through the year. I also knew the dreams I had were not for fairytales and make believe, they were for the REAL; the believe it or not this is life, the good, the bad, the hard, the hurt, the hope and the healing.

Today I am 43 with six kids from 5 to 17 and for the first time in my life I think I am beginning to understand surrender! The messages of motherhood start early to do it all, have it all, be at all and always look great doing it! I started parenting when Pottery Barn was at its prime. The moms I looked up to all had a lot of money, were a bit older and homes that could make it in the pottery barn catalog any day of the week! I always surrounded myself with people I desired to be more like because I learned from them. Motherhood was no different, however the feelings it left me with made me different and some days not for the better. I felt like I was trying to create my family to look, be and appear like everyone else’s, including the catalogs and magazines, even the facade I knew that it was, it was addicting and contagious. I always wanted “MORE”, be more, have more, look more, live more…

We moved from that small town when my third was just about a year old and found ourselves in Flagstaff where we would start fresh, only this time it was about what your home looked like it was what your “homeschool family” looked like. Yes I was homeschooling and I was 100% all in! It was daunting but it was something I wanted to prove to myself, my family and the onlookers. I wanted to be a successful mom right, and all moms know if you can homeschool your kids then you’re a rockstar. Yes a “rockstar” at a concert of yelling kids, a mad mom and a distraught dad! There were a few years of homeschooling that rocked my world literally into a full blown auto-immune attack. For 2 years I struggled everyday with not wanting to wake up and look into the mirror to see what kind of day it would be. The effects of the attack were always revealed in my face, swelling, puffiness, redness and complete inflammation. Everyday would be a little different but everyday I knew the mirror would reveal the truth- what my body was processing inside.

When I finally made it out of that wilderness I knew part of my healing would be to see my world differently. Where there was judgement, a critical spirit and pride I would move forward creating a world and space of healing and hope for life renewed.

In 2014 I opened ROOTS Mind + Body Health and Fitness. I would share my own healing journey; the internal and external struggles of healing the mind and body at the roots. While this journey has been completely transformational on every level, the voices in my head continue to vibrate in my mind and body.

The real mom struggle to be it all and MORE. The push and pull between home, work and self care. The purpose I find out of the home, the passion I feel for my family; the health and vitality I crave for myself. The search for balance and meaning and the tug of war for the living, breathing, bright soul.

What I’ve realized in this journey is; My life is a light, sometimes it flickers, sometimes it shines, sometimes it’s a beam and sometimes it only casts a shadow in the dark night of the soul.

My word for all the moms out there… Surrender. Let it go! The striving, driving and doing more just to compare, critique, cut ourselves and others done all in the name motherhood. God forgive us all! Grant us the grace to see each other through eyes of compassion, understanding, kindness and support! May we embrace where we are and be thankful for whatever each day may bring. Sometimes we feel our purpose in our work, sometimes in our home, sometimes in our friends and sometimes not at all from day to day. One thing is for sure life is always changing and so are we. Find your function in the Flow and grow, for each day has enough challenges of its own.

Kelsey Mercer

Author Kelsey Mercer

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