Little things…..

That have brought me joy this week….

Sitting outside at dawn or dusk on the back porch
Reading summer fiction
The first wonderful eye opening sip of coffee in the morning
The endorphin high after a great run
Buying shorts in a smaller size
The first breath inhaled when stepping outside
Smelling someone grilling out
Hearing my boys make each other laugh
New pj shorts
Going to the library and checking out books for me
Learning something new from bible study
Sloppy wet kisses from Sammy

Keeping it simple allows me to feel like each day has its own place…..

Thank you Lord for the ability to appreciate all the little things…help me not to lose sight of them when hard days come…

I made it.

I had fully intended not to write about this day. I was going to let it come and go like any other day without much of an acknowledgment.

I sat down to study Hebrews, the book that my fabulous discipler friend and I have been going through the last few months.

I pressed play on iTunes as I pulled up biblegateway.com and listened to the song that has become so familiar to me, “Arms that Hold the Universe” by 33 Miles.

As the first few notes began to play, I remembered how I used to cling to the lyrics in this song during the deepest of my struggle. It became my “theme song”. (Ever watch Ally McBeal?)

Then I was smacked in the face with the realization that today marks the one year anniversary of when it all came crashing down.

I covered my face and felt so overcome with emotion I almost exploded. The tears didn’t come like I thought they would. I was instead filled with an overwhelming amount of gratitude and was literally speechless before God.

I can’t explain why the passing of 365 days since the onslaught is remarkable. I feel like I have permission to look over my shoulder at the experience of my postpartum illness, acknowledge it for what it was, and then look ahead with confidence and continue to walk away. With His grace…..

I made it.

On being a Mama

There is nothing more endearing as a mother of boys then seeing my four year old with a fresh haircut, in cammo shorts, shirtless, boxing gloves, beating the heck out of his Hulk Hogan pop em’ sock em’. Oh, and he’s yelling, “You wanna piece of me? Huzzah!” and throws and uppercut.

Or telling him not to pick his nose and eat his boogers….for the 23rd time at least.

Or hearing him say, “Momma, I will be in your heart forever and will always be your son”.

Or when my almost 16 month old wakes up with the worst case of bedhead you have ever seen and smiles at me with is pacifier in his mouth when we wakes up in the morning.

Then there are the moments when either of them cry and they make the same face they did when they came into this world.

There’s the determination on my youngest’s face when he is denied something he wants and is trying to figure out a way to get it. His eyesbrows furrow and I recognize that as my “concentration face”.

Throwing goldfish on the carpet for my littlest because I know that’s where they will end up anyway while I try to finish a dvd workout, and end up picking him up half way through because he wants to be held. He laughs as we spin and jump together and I fall in love just a little bit more.

And all of that just happened in a week.

The wonder of motherhood and the intensity of emotions is something that will forever baffle me. This complex gift is one that I take with a great sense of honor and gratitude. How I wish, oh how I wish, I could just hold on to these days! They slip away like grains of sand through my fingers.

16

As I walked through 2nd & Charles yesterday, I talked to a very dear close friend of mine from college. Wandering the store for almost an hour, I shared my struggle with postpartum OCD and she shared her unexpected struggle with postpartum anxiety.

While finishing up my conversation, a new friend and I spotted each other.  She previously revealed to me that she too struggled with depression after the birth of her first child and is now expecting again. We decided to take our kiddos to lunch and had a great conversation.

While dropping off my oldest at preschool that morning, a friend from church told me she appreciated my blog and had struggled after her first pregnancy.  She passed it along to someone who was currently struggling.

All that postpartum awareness in one day! I love it!

16 – that is the number of you beautiful women who have communicated to me at least one of the following:

  • I went through that.
  • I’m going through this now.
  • I thought I was going crazy.
  • I didn’t know anyone else had those thoughts.
  • I felt alone and didn’t know what to do.

How amazing is that!!! You all didn’t know there were so many of us, did you? 😉

I want to thank all of you for trusting me with your struggles and encourage you to keep persevering. Postpartum illness does not discriminate against age, race, or which number pregnancy you might be experiencing.

I am proud of all you mamas, and all the ones out there that I don’t know who are struggling, and continue to pray for you and praise God for you. I praise Him for bringing these amazing women to my life and for giving me the means to speak for those who are too afraid to speak.

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

Philippians 2:1-2

all is stripped away

I stood at the kitchen sink last night peeling the skin of an apple for my oldest son. He loves apples but hates the skin. He also doesn’t like the “yucky parts” where the apple is bruised from being mishandled or past it’s ripening date. After peeling the apple, I inspect it for “yucky parts” and dig them out with the tip of the peeler. The flesh of the apple ends up with mini craters, perhaps not the most appealing to look at, but nevertheless meets my son’s approval for consumption.

As I watched the red strips fall one by one into the sink, it occurred to me that God does the same with our lives. We all walk around with a facade; our “people” face so that others may not reject us (or perhaps we won’t reject ourselves). As we place our trust in Christ, he begins to peel away this mask and uncover the bruised spots of our hearts. We all have them. Whether these bruises are caused by our own sin or the sin of another, they continue to rot us “to the core” if we allow them to. Without Christ to dig out our imperfections, hurts, fear, sin, and so on, we will remain covered in spots. The alternative is to allow Him to do what only He can do: the work of forgiving, healing, and restoration. We may be left looking less than perfect, but we now have approval in the eye’s of the Father. Despite our pock-marked appearance, we can rest in Him knowing that only He can repair the damage in our hearts.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

1 Corinthians 5:17

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