Sunday Feature: My Cousin Erin is Taking us to Church

Before I let my cousin, Erin, take over today’s blog post, I first wanted to share a little bit about our relationship. Erin is 7 years older than me and has always been my big sister. She offers the best, judgement-free advice no matter what time of the day I ask for it. She also is my Lexapro sister so she knows what it is like to be anxious. I was excited for her to write a post for today because I knew it would be raw and authentic. She talks about growing up surrounded by strong women and how that molded her into the woman she is today. You know how Oprah does her very own Super Soul Sunday? As soon as Erin sent me her final draft, I knew this would be her very own version of that. Today's post will take you to church. Keep reading and show her lots of love. Also, follow along with her on instagram (@elo312).

Happy Sunday, folks! I’m Erin, Britt’s older cousin. Some of you may know me but many of you may not so I wanted to start out with a brief introduction:

  • I’m an only child but more importantly a child of God.

  • You will always hear me before you see me.

  • I live in Sun Prairie, WI.

  • I love lipstick…nothing makes me happier than a rouge lip!

  • Guilty pleasure: trap music. On the daily!

  • Cute dish towels are my jam.

  • I am fluent in sarcasm.

  • I enjoy vintage shopping. Who doesn’t?

  • I play piano.

  • My nick name is “long story long” for obvious reasons.

  • I’m a popaholic – pimples, blackheads, you name it! TMI? Sorry! Gross, but true!

  • I’m passionate about building relationships with people.

  • And my favorite title is ‘foster mom’

So, in case you missed it radiating from every word Britt writes, we were raised by some kickass women. We are flooded with females who work hard, love others well, and have fun. There is no lack of laughter in our lives. Who wants a stiff broad anyway? (jk not gonna put that in there) ((Britt's note: def keeping that in there)). Much of this is by choice as we grow into adulthood. When we know better, we do better, right? But the reality is that our mothers and grandmothers and their mother’s mothers laid the foundation.

My great-grandma Tessie is the earliest matriarch I can remember. She crammed dozens upon dozens of people in her home for the holidays. Card tables set up in every bedroom. Wrapping paper fights from room to room. Enough food for four more generations. Hospitality at it’s finest! But she provided something far more than hospitality. She showed our family who Jesus is.

And then there’s my grandma, mom and aunt Harriet that follow in the same footsteps. But what they’ve given us more than anything is strength and love. What does a strong family look like? Respect despite differences. Time together. Showing up - God’s subtle way of proving that He will bring us an army to fight for us and alongside us. Their strength and love doesn’t come out of the blue. It too comes from the love of Jesus Christ. I’ve had plenty of instances when I have needed my family to show me who Jesus is!

I failed my NCLEX state board nursing exam nine times. Not once, not twice, but NINE! What a shit show. Of course I had my own pity party as I’m sure we’ve all done. I had mastered depression to work to my benefit. Sleep until 11:30 am . Stop by Milio‘s for a sub sandwich and soda. Pool at 12 until 4 pm. McDonald’s on the way home for a large Diet Coke. Order Chinese takeout for supper. In bed by 7 pm. Anyone else thinking this looks familiar? It was two months of that. Of course I answered my mom's calls every time so she didn’t worry but I was at my lowest. However, I am resilient. I am not a product of my environment. I am the one who makes the choice to wake up and choose happiness. The sun will come up tomorrow. It is with the strength of Jesus Christ (and a little bit of Lexapro) that I was able to choose life and overcome this season of my life.

I am not superwoman but what I know is that my strength has been taught, passed down, discovered, fine-tuned, and met by God! Every. Single. Day. I know I am human and full of flaws, unable to do the impossible. But God. How am I a single foster mom? Because God. How do I enjoy a screaming kids at the end of a horrible day? Because God. How do I keep a clean house? I don’t…waiting on a miracle from God for that one.

I am blessed to get through each day. Strength doesn’t mean we don’t get down or sad or depressed. But when we lock arms and join forces with other women, we are fulfilling our calling to build each other up! Find your crew, love them, and show up! It doesn’t mean you can’t get through life on your own, it just means you can lean in either direction, let it out, and keep going.

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