Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Struggle is Real

It's no secret that I have struggled hard since Rockwyn was born. I've shared my drawings on FaceBook and Instagram, but I've found it harder to write about it. My words fail me, and they never seem to fit exactly like I think they should. However, tonight I just felt like I needed to write. It doesn't matter if it makes sense to anyone else but me. Because right now I need to write for me.

This last week I've spent almost every night getting up about every 10-15 minutes to check on my baby. It's something I had passed months ago. Her first few months were hard on me and I had a deep need to always check on her. Like the pesky pigeons who sometimes live on my roof, just when I think they are gone...

It's back.

I can tell you exactly what happen. It's a sweet baby who was lost too soon. It's a mother who mourns and has empty arms. It's another whose womb was full, but now is barren. It's a baby that's been sick for a week. The sorrow feels deep. The ache is strong. I mourn. I cry. I long for healing.

I tell myself that my thoughts aren't rational. That my endless nights are only making me weaker during the day. Making me a mom who is tired and cranky. doesn't seem to help.

My husband sees my anxiety. He steps in with help. With open arms to hold me. With ears that listen so well. Shoulders to help carry my load. It seems to help. But my need to meet the demands of my mind are so strong.

I bury myself in the Word. My prayers don't come out as words, they fill pages as pictures. I know that He understands. Because when my words fail me, He is the one who has given me pencil, paper and pictures in my head. My body seems to relax for awhile.

This is what I have learned...Postpartum depression/anxiety is much like my eating disorder. It rears it's ugly head when I least expect it. PPD works off my previous ED. They want to work together to bring me to my knees. They want to feed off of each other in hopes that I will surrender to them and give in.

I don't think they have figured it out. I am already on my knees crying out to the One who has saved me. I have already surrendered my life and each morning surrendered my day. This doesn't mean I'm not going to struggle, because I have to be honest, the struggle is real. It's heavy. It's hard. Some days it feels like it will never end. Yet, I have hope. Hope is really all I need.


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Cardigan of my Past

I wrap myself in the cardigan of my past. It's strangely warm and comforting. I know it well and it seems to fit just right. The feel of it makes me feel as if it's a perfect fit. Yet when I look in the mirror I know it has no business being worn anymore. It's tattered and torn. The fabric is so thing you see right through it. I feel the drafts coming through, but it's what I know. The familiar.

I play with the idea of taking it off, because I know it's not good for me. I feel the fabric shrink around my body as if to try and give me a hug. One last try to get me to keep it on. And I linger for a moment because sometimes the past feels good for a moment. Glancing at my closet I know I have numerous options. I have articles of the here, now and the present. If you look close enough you will even find a few items for the future.

Those items are new. They are unfamiliar. Stif and I am uncertain if they will look good on me. Yet I sit here in the warm deceptive  comfort of my rags in my head knowing full well that this does not look good on me. Is this what I want? To sit stagnant in the same old? To teach my girls that this is what life is? Settling for something that is less than what we deserve?

Old torn cardigans, while they may be comfortable are not meant to be worn anymore. And while I may feel as if this is the right fit for me...I know there are better things waiting for me to try them on. It takes great effort in the morning to switch my thoughts, but it's well worth it. Every struggle I have been through. Every horrible situation. Every abuse that has been handed to me. These are remnants of my past. They are not meant for me to deal on or continue to wear around. They may help form how I take on new adventures, but they aren't me.

As a mom of six girls it's a real struggle I feel. To not pass on the idea that settling for the old and dirty cardigan is ok. I want my girls to look into the closet of their lives and see the abundance of choices they have. That no matter what comes their is a fresh start. Time to throw out the cardigans of our past.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Momentary Afflictions

There are moments in life that break you. They bring you to your knees and force you to see the frailty of life. You are forced to stare the uncertain in the face and realize that we are not guaranteed anything in this life. To say this year has brought a few of these moments to my doorstep would be an understatement. From start to finish my year has brought me moments in order to really grasp how frail life can be. How precious each moment is to savor.

I think perhaps the most recent of these moments has been the one to bring me the most mixed up of emotions. My heart has never felt such a deep low heartache and yet so much joy in such a short amount of time. The ups and downs of Rockwyn's birth continue to welcome themselves in at unexpected moments.

Most of my life I have lived masking my emotions. So writing this hasn't been easy because it brings up emotions from years ago and brings up new emotions. I consider myself an open book, and usually have no problem talking about life, my past and all I have to share, and yet when emotions come into the picture I am real good at shutting down. This is perhaps why it's taken me almost 3 weeks to write this simple yet complex post. Hold tight as this post may seem to be all over the place.

Our year started with a miscarriage and now I sit here with a bundle full of joy in my arms. Having gotten pregnant so soon after my miscarriage brought its fair share of stress to a time I normally love. I continued to remind myself that all of it was worth it. In the end I would have a blessing that was worth all the stress.

I had envisioned how the day would go. We would wake up early. I would be induced...and some many hours later I would be holding our newest little girl in my arms. So at the end of the day while I sat in my room by myself while my daughter was flown to the NICU and my husband went to be with her...I wondered how I would respond to this newest heartbreak.

Little Roxy had her cord wrapped around her neck twice and after she was delivered I remember how purple she looked and how rushed they were to get her to the warmer. Even though she was in the same room I felt so far away from her. I remember my husband coming over to me and saying "She's just like JJ." I knew then that this was not going to be easy. I prepared myself for an extended stay in the NICU. The moment the doctor let me know she was in respiratory distress and they would most likely have to fly her to Sioux Falls I feel like I just went numb. I felt I had to protect myself from any emotions. It was then that I didn't know if I could handle one more thing this year.

Everything happened so fast and she was flown to Sioux Falls and we were back home in a couple of days.There have been moments when I think she should be older because of everything she went through. I look at it all and I am so thankful for how everything turned out. So thankful for my doctor and all the nurses. So joyful that my husband and I can sit in our living room with our 6 wonderful daughters. And yet at times my heart still feels a slow ache because of all the ups and downs I felt in those few days.

While I had moments to think by myself the first few hours after her birth a song came to mind. One that I have listened to many times this year.

"Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You

Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need."

In all my trials and suffering, this is what I want my response to be. In all that comes my way, no matter what I face I will still worship because He is all I need. John Piper's words in the midst of the song have played over and over again in my mind. 
"Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that."

Every painful event or struggle I have felt is meaningful. I also think about how these events have shaped me in this life. I see things differently. I react to others with more grace. I am able to understand the struggles others may be going through a little better. I can look back at my year and be thankful for my momentary afflictions.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Inbetween. The word that comes to mind when I think of my oldest. She not a little girl anymore, and she hasn't hit the teen years. I find myself looking at her and wondering how the time went by so fast. It feels like just yesterday she was my chubby little toddler and now she's growing up into such a beautiful young lady.

The years of the inbetween are some of the hardest for girls. You struggle with who you are. What you want to do. The pull from both sides is great, and navigating this road with grace is hard. It's hard for the young girls, but it's also hard on parents.

At the start of summer we started to notice that our little girl just wasn't so little anymore. We saw changes in her both physically and emotionally. It's been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions in this house. You can imagine what it's like with a preteen daughter and a pregnant mom. It's not always smooth sailing. But...Grace.Patience. Those two are our biggest helpers in all this.

Emotions were flying all over the place and my husband had hit his limit. We sat and talked about it together. We came to the conclusion that grace and patience would be the only way we could make it through all this. We realized that THIS is our life for the next 18+ years. But...this is our first time around this road. We are going in slightly blind.

I understand that transition from one side to the other can be...Hard. Painful. Frustrating. Traumatic. But I also know that it can be BEAUTIFUL. It's a time in which we get to help our daughters navigate this road called life. We get to play a vital role in their lives of helping them understand who they are, and who God made them to be.

I don't want my daughter to come out on the other end of this frustrated with her body. Upset with her personality. Struggling to accept her sweet differences. I want to her to embrace those things that make her different...that make her..HER.

It's not that I will have it perfect everyday. It won't always be pretty, but at the end of the day if I can share in both her moments of happiness and her moments of frustration with it all, we may just make it. We will come out of it all with grace and patience.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

My State of Peace

My year started off with heartache. Pain. Loss. Deep feelings that I hadn't felt for a long time. It was hard to ignore the thoughts I had. Hard to ignore that I had so many people around me who loved and cared for our family. Wanted to know that they were praying for us and some who understood the pain we were feeling.

Our pain turned to hesitant joy as we learned we were expecting. I couldn't hold in the excitement when I learned the news. I wanted to shout it out, but it was so soon after our miscarriage that we kept it to ourselves for a little bit...but we soon felt freedom to share the joy with others after we saw the precious heartbeat.

My year quickly turned to fear once again when my mom told me that she had cancer. Cancer. Not a word any family wants to hear. I am not one who expresses my emotions well. I typically hold most of my sorrow and pain inside and eventually it all comes flowing out.

My heart has been through so much. So many ups in downs in the last eight months. It feels like it needs rest. It needs a state of peace. In my storms of ups and downs there is only one place that I can find that peace. The One who is able to calm storms can also calm my heart. The One who knew me before I was born can place my heart at ease.

This has also been a time for me to understand that writing is a gift that has been given to me and that I should be using to help process emotions and help others. We recently found out that we will be adding a 6th daughter to our home! What a great reminder for me of my passion to help young girls and their mothers. So starts my journey back to writing.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Broken Scale

I stood in our bathroom looking down at the big E that screamed at me. I stepped off and tapped the scale again to zero it. When I stepped on again there was the E flashing at me. Screaming at me.

"I'm broken! Stop trying!"

The silent screams from the scale didn't stop me from trying again. It didn't stop me from keeping it in my bathroom and every so often stepping on to see if maybe I could get a glimpse of what I was worth.
What am I worth? 

In times of stress I goto the scale to tell me what I am worth. Those numbers give me a feeling of importance. I see the numbers rise and the stress piles one and I feel worthless. I see them drop and I feel great...for a moment. Then I am back on my scale. I am back needing that confidence booster and by then the numbers have changed by a .5. Sigh. 

The most liberating feeling was the day I feel to my knees and prayed for peace. Prayed for God to intervene in my life once again. It was then, when I dug deep into God for strength, that He gave me the strength to throw that broken scale out. What good was it doing me? It was only bringing frustration. 

Initially I thought I would buy a new one right away. Yet here I am a week later and there is no new scale and no desire to buy one. To you a week doesn't seem long, but for someone who so often goes to the scale for reassurance and to find worth it's huge.

I find that so often as women we go to the scale to find our worth. We want those numbers to tell us we are good enough. We let those numbers dictate how we are doing in every area of our lives. Those numbers make us bad wives, horrible mothers and even worse friends. I wonder what would happen if we all dropped those numbers. Give them up. 

I wonder what would happen if we dropped the scales. Let them sit broken in the trash. Start looking to the true source of our worth. Don't look to the world. Don't look to friends or family. Don't look to strangers. They can't tell you about your true worth. That needs to come from the the one who formed you. 

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."
Psalm 139:14

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Art of Rejoicing and Weeping

Romans 12:15
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."

I have sometimes seen this verse as two separate. While someone is grieving I don't want to share with them my joy. While they are rejoicing it's hard for me to share my grief. I will rejoice with you, but I won't share my sorrows. I will weep with you, but I won't share my joy. How wrong I have had this! What a blessing it can be to carry this out all at the sametime.

Never have I seen this workout so gracefully in my life than the last few weeks. It makes me even more thankful that I shared my grief, because God has taught me such an important lesson. That even while I am grieving, my heart can find healing in rejoicing a new life. That even typing those simple words brings tears to my eyes it has taught me that living life along side others is a beautiful mess of emotions.

I don't believe for one second that it was an accident that a little over a week after our miscarriage I was standing in the birthing center holding a beautiful little girl. Thanking God that this little one was brought into the world safely and that she was given life. I rejoiced with her mom that her labor was over and she had this bundle of joy to carry and love on. I edited pictures of this precious time knowing that God has great plans for this child.

While I still sit in confusion at times, wondering why...Why will I never hold my tiny baby? Why do we go through this type of grief? I cannot imagine not rejoicing in this new life. I cannot imagine not experiencing this time with someone who means so much to me. In the depths of my grief I find the joy in what others are experiencing.

I have found comfort in those who have come alongside of me and wept with me. Who have shared their own grief and sorrow of losing a little one. A deep pain and emptiness that is hard to explain. It can be a mess to share in mourning. Uncomfortable to share the sadder parts of your heart.

My experience of walking out this verse in my life has been a mess of emotions. The last few weeks have been a very up and down experience for me, but one I would never change, because it's taught me grace. It's taught me how to live life together with others no matter how different our circumstances maybe. So no tip toeing around me...I want to rejoice with you. No hiding your hearts hurts...I want to weep with you.