Martha vs. Mary

My friends Teri Miller and Karen Klasi, both whom have inspired me to blog and continue to blog are amazing women. Both beautiful writers and beautiful women of God.

And I am jealous. Karen’s talent with words far surpasses that of my own and I read her blog posts with joy and sinful envy. Teri is blessed with the ability to see the lessons God has for her through everyday experiences.

Today I feel stuck. Writer’s block as they say. Does that even exist? I heard somewhere at some point in time to write anyway.

So, write I will….

My oldest took the rare nap on the couch yesterday while the youngest was sleeping. He asked me to cuddle with him and if I would play some lullabies.

Of course I would.

Jewel has a lullaby CD that he and I have listened to for a looooong time. As she sang and I snuggled with my enormous 4 year old, my mind started to fill with the things I *needed* to do. Laundry. Dishes. Dust. Vacuum. Change the litter box.

No. I told my brain to shut up.

But both boys are going to sleep…..think of all you can accomplish.

Eventually the “Martha” in me lost (as in the one from the Bible who rushed around preparing and cleaning, not Stewart. Though if I had a crew of people working for me to organize, craft, and clean, I would give her a run for her money.)

I chose to be Mary (as in the one who sat at Jesus’ feet).  I wrapped my arm around my growing boy and felt his body relax and noticed when his breath steadied indicating he was indeed, sleeping. I talked with Jesus while I was there. Thanking Him, praising Him, feeling humbled by the gift of Motherhood.

Waking up 20 minutes later, glad I had chosen to be Mary for a bit, I let my boy sleep for a little longer.

I can’t recall the finest details of eventually doing the mundane household chores (which of course I always do as on to the Lord….not).  But I can vividly remember that snuggle time, adding it to the various snapshots in my mind that my brain has taken throughout this life.

Oh, and if you want, please check out my dear friends’ blogs. You will not be disappointed.


There WILL Be a Day

My postpartum OCD set upon me like a wildfire to a forest. Out of nowhere, a blaze began and traveled rampantly, attempting to destroy all of my joy and leave devastation in it’s wake. I remember the date specifically, February 22.

As much I would like to forget this date, I will never be able to look upon it again as “just a date on a calendar”.

I shared briefly with my MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers) about my blog and mentioned the specificity of knowing exactly the moment my world came crashing down around me.

A fellow MOPS Mom shared with me after that she had “a date” as well. She distinctly remembered when things went awry for her as well.

My one year anniversary of my PPOCD onset is approaching quickly. I can praise God that He has graciously delivered me quickly (though not fully) from this terrifying chapter in my life, as many women do not experience the “quick” recovery I did. Many moms don’t recover from a postpartum mood disorder until 1.5-2 years after the onset of their illness.

Lately I have been struggling with the “what if’s”. What if this comes back? What if that thought I just had means it’s coming back? What if I never fully recover?

I believe this is God’s way of bringing me right back to Him. Now that “happy days are here again” when those moments of uncertainty creep in, I HAVE to turn it back to Him and say, “I am Yours. You have saved me. Your Spirit is at work in me. I can look to You during feast and famine”. I don’t know if this episode in my life will always be a thorn for me. It is so easy to praise God when things are going well. It’s also easy to take it for granted. I don’t believe God punished me with a postpartum mood disorder, but I believe He allowed it for a greater purpose. He took what Satan intended for harm and destruction and turned it into something beautiful.

To quote Jeremy Camp:

“There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always”

“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 52:8-9

But I’m Scared….

My oldest has been a hair twirler as early as I can remember. When his hair was long enough he used to twirl the hair right on top of his head before falling asleep. During our nursing days, he held on to my hair with a fist clenched so tightly I had to pry his fingers loose.

His hair is rather short now, so he doesn’t have the luxury he used to. So, he uses mine. We were in the middle of playing and he grabbed my hair on both sides and pulled it under my chin. He said, “Momma, who do you look like?” I said, “Who?” He said, “Mary!” (Mother of Jesus). I laughed. He pulled my hair pack and put it behind my shoulders and said, “Now you look like Momma again”.

His words struck me at that moment. I began to wonder about his perspective of my PPOCD. Did I still look like momma in my worst moments? Did he see the darkness that wrapped itself around my heart and mind? He many not have understood exactly what was happening, but I know he sensed it. Thoughts like “I’ve ruined him for life” or “He’s going to be an anxious man” plague my heart. I wonder if he’ll remember any of it. I did my best to protect him from it and am not sure how well I succeeded.

Recently he has been “afraid of everything”. The dark, his room, being left alone, the closet, going to preschool. You name it, he’ll tell you a reason why he is afraid of it. I don’t know if this is stemming from normal childhood fear, or if he is emotionally scarred. As ridiculous as that sounds, that’s what runs through my head….

There is a part of me that feels like the worst mother in the world, and then there is the other part of me that knows this is not true. I didn’t ask for a postpartum mood disorder, but I got one. I got help for it, and I got better and am continuing to head in the right direction. God’s grace has been more then abundant and his provision overflowing.

After exhausting lots of attempts to alleviate his fears, I finally found a way to at least show him a little bit of reassurance. My therapist suggested that I teach him how to be “in the moment” during times when he is not afraid. Placing his hand over his heart and saying “You are ok right now, and God will always keep you ok in your heart. When you feel scared, put your hand over your heart and remember that when you weren’t feeling scared, you were ok, and that God is keeping you ok now.”

It seemed to help a little, but then we integrated a concept from the book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. In short, a little raccoon doesn’t want to go to school, he wants to stay home with his momma raccoon. Momma raccoon goes through all the reasons why school is important and fun. She shares a very old secret with him called “The Kissing Hand”. She kissed the palm of her baby raccoon and told him to put his hand to his cheek “whenever he felt lonely or needed a little loving from home”. This reassured him greatly and he was excited that he could take her love with him wherever he went. The story ends with him giving his momma a kiss on the middle of her hand as he left for school. I think she needed that Kissing Hand just as much as her little raccoon.

Our bedtime and goodbye rituals include the kissing hands and he says to me, “Now you always have my love, Momma”. I tell him he always has mine and we put our hands over each other’s hearts and on our cheeks. I remind him that he always has Jesus’ love in his heart as well and he can always talk to him when he feels scared. I pray this helps him work out whatever his brain is processing and he can be “himself” again….and isn’t scarred for life….

I kissed his hand when I dropped him off today at preschool and he smiled shyly and kissed mine. Just like the momma raccoon I need my very own kissing hand just as much as she did, and just as much as my son does, perhaps more so.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your comfort and peace. May it penetrate my heart daily so I may be a source of comfort and peace to my children.

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5