I’ve lost myself

So I haven’t really been writing like I usually do and I just felt the need to explain a little.  I don’t want to leave you hanging and I don’t want you to worry.  When I started this blog, I promised an entry a week, but things have, well, changed.

I have a new baby.  She’s three months old, that’s still new in my book.  So we are still figuring each other out.  I’m still wondering if the formula she’s on is right.  Is she starting to teeth already?  WHY WON’T SHE JUST FALL ASLEEP?!  You know, things like that.  We don’t have a great schedule just yet, things are kinda up in the air.  And for that reason, she’s still new to me.

Every time I have a baby, I feel like I “lose” myself.  I feel like I’m not the old Amy I was.  And you know what, I’m not.  When it was just Paul and I, I was different.  I was independent, I went where I wanted.  I could work out every day.  I could spend money on silly things.  I had time for friends and date nights were every night.

Then I had a child, and that person I used to be was no longer there.  It couldn’t be.  I now had to learn how to have a human being with me at all times.  I had to think about my husband more, and make sure he was still being loved well by me too.  I had to fight to get my body back in shape.  I had to always put someone else’s needs above my own.

I went through the transformation to become Amy, wife and mom of one.  But then came number two and I lost the previous self again.  Because now I am mom of two and that changes me.  More littles to think about.  More names to whisper in my prayers each night.  More worries, more love given.  I am no longer the Amy I was.

And again, I’m going through the same process currently and the same feelings as before.  I am losing myself in order to become who I need to be for Willow.  I am not the girl I once was and for the first time I feel like it’s okay, and it’s right.  I have to lose myself to become the new me, wife, and mom of now 3.

I am in a process of refining and redefining who I am now.  Not who I was last year or even 4 months ago.  And it is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes some tears and prayers and “coming to Jesus” moments.

It is a challenging and draining season.  It is uncomfortable and it is stretching me.  But, third time is a charm I guess, because this time I’m not resisting it.  I am seeking the Lord on who I am now.  The Amy He wants me to be now that I have a daughter.  I have a little girl who is going to look at me as her hero.  I have things that I need to fix inside of me so I don’t screw her up.  I have to learn how to be a mom to a girl who I will raise to be a woman.  I need to change.

It is not really my favorite season.  But although it is hard, it is so necessary.  I cannot resist this transformation. Either I learn to grow and change or I’ll be whiny and discontent and continually looking to the past.

So, for that reason, I am taking a break from writing for a while.  I need to get to know myself as I am now.  I am not the girl I was when I started this blog 16 months ago, and I can’t keep writing until I find myself again.  I have to get to know the Amy I have become and am still becoming.  I am excited to get to know her….  so goodbye for a season, I will be back, but I’m not sure when….  xoxo

 

 

 

 

He’s still here

I haven’t written in 5 weeks.  That’s the longest I’ve gone without writing.  There are several reasons for that. I’ll be vulnerable with you.  I’ve been battling depression.  I’ve been having health issues.  And I have a new baby which makes me exhausted.  These three reasons have made me feel depleted and that I am unable to pour out anything else, including nice posts with uplifting messages.  And you know what, I hate that.

I hate it because I am naturally a positive, the cup is half-full, kinda person and lately I can barely stand myself because I am such a downer.  I love to leave my readers and friends with a warm fuzzy feeling after they read my post, but I haven’t had much joy to share.

I am trying.  Trust me, I am trying to stay positive and to see ALL the great things in my life, because my brain knows there are SO MANY great things in my life. I know how fortunate I am to have this beautiful life I live.  But it has been a constant battle to stay afloat and to stay positive.

A huge part of it is my health issues.  I am having major hormone balance issues.  All of them.  Thyroid, pituitary, adrenal.  After I had Willow everything in my body is in an uproar and I am all outta whack.  Like in one week I lost 9 pounds and then in the next week I gained 11!  I’ll sleep 9 hours at night and wake up feeling exhausted.  My levels are all over the place and it’s causing problems with my energy and my mood.

But through it all I am learning to forgive.  I’m learning to forgive myself.  To say I’m sorry for being so impatient with myself.  For hating my body in the past, when it actually worked well.  When I was 50 pounds thinner, I still hated my body and now that my body isn’t well, I just want to be healthy and love my body.

I am learning to be gracious.  To give myself a break.  I am realizing that I am not perfect and I can never become perfect.  That I can’t always be Little Miss Sunshine, and that is ok.  Sometimes I am afraid that if I’m not always happy, and put together that people won’t want me.  They are used to Positive Amy.  Bubbly Amy.  And if I’m having a hard time, I can’t let them see that side because then they’ll drop me.  I’ve realized that is not true.  I’ve not been myself for months, and people who truly love me are still here.  They haven’t left.

And most importantly, I am learning that God is still here and He loves me completely.  I have felt so alone through this time until last week when I finally got on my knees and really cried out to God for help.  You know what, He was there immediately.  I felt His peace instantly.   I realized He was always there, I just wasn’t turning to Him.  How often are we going through something hard, and we are looking everywhere else for peace, for love and we forget to look to the one true source of it all?

Now, I am not healed yet, and I am still battling depression, but for the first time in months, I feel hope again and feel that I can turn to someone who loves me through it all.  I don’t feel alone and that makes all the difference in the world.

It’s so simple too.  Just come to Him, cast your cares on Him, and allow Him to love you through whatever you’re battling.  He’s there.  He’s always been there and He always will be.

And if you think about it, pray for me.  I really need answers with my health…

 

Identity Part 2

I told you all last week a little about the journey I’ve been on and how God has stripped away unhealthy mindsets about my identity and where my identity comes from.  This week I wanted to expound a little on what finding your true identity in Him looks like.  I want to share some things He’s shown me through this process.

First, we have to understand what identity means.  What is it?  It is who someone is.  It’s their name, the qualities that make them who they are.  It’s the beliefs that make you different from others.  God marks us with our identity before we are even born.  We are born with a fingerprint that never changes.  It marks us.  It defines us.  It’s who He’s made when He created us.

So I want you to do what I did… Ask yourself Who am I?  What’s my name, my qualities, my beliefs…

I am Amy Elaine Johnson/Stern.  My name means Beloved.  I am a strong woman in both heart and stature.  My qualities are strength, resilience, leadership, compassion, tenderness, hard-working, intuitive, and honest.  I believe in God, I believe in His goodness.  I believe in family and love.  I believe that I can make a difference in my world if I just open my eyes to it.  There are more things that give me my identity, but this is just a start…

When I realize that those things that make me, me, are from God I can understand that He has already given me my identity. I don’t have to try to figure out who I am, I just sit and listen to what HE says I am.

God has given me my identity and out of that is birthed my purpose.  We cannot walk in our purpose without knowing our identity.

So what is purpose?  It’s the aim or goal of a person; what a person is trying to do, trying to become.

I believe God first shows us our identity and then gives us our purpose in this life.  You can’t fully understand your purpose until you understand who you are.

I think that’s why so many of us are walking around wondering if we are making a difference.  Wondering what our true purpose for being alive is.  We are seeking for something more, something meaningful with our lives.  And all the while, we are just unsure of our identities.   I know that’s what I’ve felt lately.

When I understand who I am, then I understand my purpose.

This is some purpose God has spoken over me…  I am to be a loving woman.  I am to support and serve Paul as his wife.  I am to raise Gibson, Cannon, and Willow to know and love the Lord, and to be kind to their world.  I am a worshipper who worships God with my voice in pureness and honesty.  I am made to be a light in a dark world.

When I see my purpose then I can start living each day differently.  I am more content with where I am because I understand it is right where I’m supposed to be.  I can ask myself, Amy, are you being a loving woman?  Are you serving Paul and caring for your children?  Are you worshipping God and being a light today?  If I am focusing on those things then I am fulfilled in knowing I am doing what I am made to do. And it doesn’t matter if it’s at a workplace, at home, or in a social setting… I should be doing all those things no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

If you are unsure of what your purpose is, then start by asking God what your identity is and then write down what He says.  If it is something belittling or negative, don’t write that down.  Even though we all have faults, I don’t want you to start there or get stuck on your shortcomings.  Start on the positive and beautiful things that make you, you.  I’m so excited for you to know your identity and then start to walk in your purpose.  It’s what you are made to do and you are amazing!

Identity

Do you ever just wonder what you are doing in life?  Do you ever ask yourself, “What am I?  Who am I?”  Do you ever feel like you don’t know how you are?  The last 6 months I have been asking myself a lot of questions and then seeking God for answers.

I’ve been in a very strange and new season in my life.  Foreign territory to me.  I do not have a church that I’m calling home.    Gasp! What?! That’s craziness to Christians!  Most people who would call themselves Christians, have a church!  And if they don’t, then they are actively looking for a new one.

In July of this year my husband and I transitioned out of our worship pastor role at our home church of 5 years.  After that we felt that we needed to take a step back from attending church to focus on a couple of things.  (Not a step back from God, a step back from attending church…there’s a difference!)  We wanted to focus on my health, because I was on and off bedrest throughout my pregnancy.  Also, to refocus on family and being intentional at home.  And most importantly, to seek God on what He wanted us to do, what direction He was taking us.

So since July I have attended a church service only 3 times.  That sounds insane to me, a girl who was born into a church- going, very involved in church family.  I have alway attended every service that was offered.  I’ve always greeted and been on the worship teams.  I’ve jumped right in to serve and got heavily involved in every church I’ve been a part of.  But after Paul and I were no longer on staff, we both felt that God was stripping us of a church family for a season.  He wanted to speak to our hearts without any other influences.  Just His voice.

I know that sounds strange but now I’m starting to see clearly what God was doing in our hearts.  This season has been difficult and very emotional. I have felt lonely and lost.  I feel that God was stripping away unhealthy mindsets I had.  He was getting down to the core of my beliefs and my identity.  That process has been uncomfortable and has left me extremely raw.

I believe we all have “identity issues.”  Some of us more that others.  I have always struggled with certain issues that I have felt give me identity and worth.  My work roles, my weight and body, my friends, my clothes and stuff I own.  And through this season, God’s exposed another…my church.

Without having a home church, I’ve felt like I was floundering.  Now I think the church is God’s design for us. Church is and can be great.  I know the importance of it and the role of it in our lives and our community.  And I love being involved in the local church.  I will be again one day, but I believe we can put too much of our identity in our church and it gives us too much of our foundation. Or at least that was the case in my life.

God wanted to get me to a place where my foundation is solely in Him.  Rooted in the only foundation that will stand through anything.  Abiding in Him and receiving all of my identity and worth through His love and His truth.  When all else is stripped away, I’m left with me and Him and that’s when He can fully give us our identity.  That’s when He can answer the questions, “Who am I?  What am I supposed to be doing in life?”.   Because nothing else is fulfilling our need for worth, and nothing else is a substitute for Him, that’s when He can speak truth to our souls.

I want to share this journal entry I wrote in the midst of my questioning and seeking.  It is very vulnerable and very honest, but I think it might help some of you know that you aren’t alone in your hurt and struggle and your identity crisis.  And I hope it will help you start allowing God to strip away anything that you are trying to find worth and identity in other than Him.  Because anything else is a cheap substitute for all that God has for you.  Trust me, nothing else satisfies.  Allow Him to speak worth and value over you with love and in truth.

 

Michigan Vacation  Wednesday, July 25

I’m up early before everyone else.  I could have dozed another 30 minutes or so, or get up and have quiet time.  I’m glad i chose to get up.  As soon as I sat down and opened my bible, the tears started flowing.  My soul feels dry, my heart feels weary.  My body is exhausted.  I honestly feel depleted on all levels.  I’m 31 weeks pregnant and so uncomfortable.  I can barely move around and I hurt all over.  My relationships are strained because I’m afraid to be vulnerable and to trust anyone right now.  It feels that my friendships are all in the closet until I’m ready to let them back into my life.  Paul and I are distracted by our burdens and are empty for each other.  We just don’t have much to pour out right now.  Where I felt secure in my giftings and callings for God, I now have insecurities and doubt.  I am unsure of what God has for my family right now.  I feel unsure of my future.  I am starting to have fears about our finances and how we are gonna make it and ever get ahead. I feel worthless and useless and worn out and hollowed out.  God, I need you to fill me up.  I am not free.  Not full of life, not full of joy, not full of hope.  I am not full at all.  I am realizing that nothing else can fill me up.  Nothing else can satisfy.  No friendship, no church, no community, no family, no stuff, not Paul.  Nothing but you.  I have to remove all the “fillers” in my heart and replace them with you.  Replace them with your spirit.  I need you Lord.  I need you to fill me  completely.

Stayed tuned. Next week I will share what God has been speaking to me about identity and purpose.

 

Lessons at 5:05 in the morning

I’m up for the day at 5:05 today.  Not happy about it.  You’d think it’s because of my newborn.  No, she’s fast asleep in her crib.  It’s my dear 4-year-old that decided to wake up 2 hours early today.  I tried to lay with him and get him to fall back asleep, but no, of course not.

He’s like me.  When he’s up, he’s up.  My dad calls it “pinging”.  We are morning people and we “ping” in the a.m.  We get it from him.  I’m the same way.  If I’m awake anytime close to 6:00 and my eyes are open, it’s very unlikely that I will fall back asleep.  And apparently my Cannon has been “blessed” with the same pinging genes.

So, I get him out of bed so he doesn’t wake up his brother and I start the coffee cause I’m gonna need it and I get out the biggest mug we own.  I give Cannon the iPad so he’s quiet and doesn’t wake up the rest of the house.

As I wait for my coffee, I sit on the couch and start tearing up and beg God to help me out.  I pray that He would make life a little easier.  I’m tired.  I have already been up feeding my newborn in the middle of the night.  I have gotten only 6 hours of sleep and I’m the person that needs 8 at least. I feel like I can’t catch a break.  It’s so hard.  Poor me.

And almost immediately I realize that I need to stop boohooing.  I felt silly and like a child throwing a fit for something not worth crying about.  Yesterday I came across an article about Orphans in other countries, showing pictures of their frail, underfed bodies.  I was remembering that when I was crying out to God for help and I felt bad for being such a complainer.

I know that being a mom is sometimes tiring, sometimes stressful, and sometimes uncomfortable.  But it isn’t hard.  In my life, it truly isn’t.  For myself, the moments I think are “hard” are usually just when I’m being selfish and my kids are inconveniencing me.  That isn’t hard though.  It’s exhausting sometimes, it’s selfless most of the time, but not hard.

I know there are things in our lives that are challenging and stretch us and make us uncomfortable.  Trust me I know. But sometimes I find that my attitude is what’s making the situations more uncomfortable than they need to be.  My frustration and “poor me” attitude can make a bummer situation more tragic than it needs to be.  I should have just woke up and thought, “oh well.  I’ll try to nap later.  Cannon can’t help it he woke up early.  Maybe I can get some things done with the rest of the house asleep…”  That attitude would have been a better one to start my day off.

I’m working on my first response attitude.  I want to be content and joyful in ALL things.  Even the things that are a little annoying.  I have so much to be grateful for and to praise God for, there’s really no room for boohooing at 5:00 in the morning because I wanted to sleep more.

As I’m siting on my couch, in my lovely warm home, in my safe neighborhood, writing on my laptop, drinking my huge mug of coffee, looking at my very well fed son playing an iPad, I find that there’s really nothing to complain about and certainly nothing to cry to God about.  I’m pretty sure there’s a ton of people who would gladly trade my “hard” morning for theirs any day.

Let’s be grateful today and try to respond with a good attitude.

One year later

One year ago today I wrote my very first post.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  When I started this blog it was out of obedience to what I felt like God had asked me to do.  I felt He asked me to write my heart, my journey, my struggles, my victories. As I reflect on the last year, I realize that it’s been quite the journey.

I feel like so many things happened that gave me so many real and raw posts to share.  I quit my job, started to try to have a baby, had trouble conceiving and decided to pursue fostering.  We found out my second son Cannon has autism, ended up finally getting pregnant, health issues in the pregnancy, a miracle healing in the pregnancy.  We transitioned out of our pastor role at our church, my husband changed jobs, traveled, had our sweet baby girl, and ended up to today.  Wow!

I had so much to share, so much to process through my writing, and having an outlet to do that through this blog was so helpful.  Thank you to all of you who have followed my year, shared my writing, commented, encouraged, and supported me through this blog.  It has meant so much to me and has humbled me that people care and people are quick to reach out and love on me with their words.

I have learned that people just want honesty and vulnerability.  Sometimes we try to have it all together, we try to act like we are ok and I’ve learned this year that it’s alright to not be “ok”.  It’s alright to admit that life is beating you up and that you are struggling.  What helps the most through those tough times are people.  The people in your life that have your back no matter what.  That allow you to hurt and tell you it’s ok to cry.  That hold up your arms when you don’t have the strength anymore.  That pray with you.  That rejoice with you.

I’ve learned that life is full of ups and downs and it’s a constant story that we are all writing.  What matters is the ending.  That’s what matters… I know that all of life’s joys and all of life’s sorrows are just for a moment while we are here.

A great young man who I knew died 2 weeks ago while protecting others.  His life ended so suddenly and tragically.  He couldn’t have known it was going to end that day, but it seemed that the 33 years he had lived had prepared him for it.  He had already lived his life in such a way that left a legacy that will not be forgotten.  He had left his mark on the world at a very young age and people all over this country sang his praises.  It has made an impression on me.  His “ending” was remarkable.  It was evident that he lived his life to please God and to love people.

I want that to be evident in my life.  No matter what trials come my way, no matter what success I have in this life, that at my ending, whenever that may be, others would see and know that I served my amazing God and that I loved people with all the honesty and vulnerability that I possess.

So my promise to my readers…. I will continue to be honest and vulnerable and real with you this upcoming year.  I’m hoping I have less “big” things to write about, but maybe I do still want the “big” things.  You see, that’s my story and it’s a beautiful story.  I don’t wish to have someone else’s because I’m too busy writing mine.  :)

Happy One Year!

 

My gift has arrived

Well I haven’t written in a while because my sweet Willow Janee’ arrived last week and I’ve been busy with a newborn.  I am going to share my birth story in this post so head’s up.  If you don’t like birth stories or babies, you might not be interested.  However, it is a really great story and I learned a valuable lesson through it.  So I’d love for you to read on…

I don’t really plan on writing about my baby all the time.  I’m not that kind of woman… as in, I adore my kids and think they are the best, but I realize that not everyone cares.  And I want my readers to enjoy my posts no matter what stage of life they are in.  Parenthood or not.  But I just have to share this crazy birth story.

So, here goes.  Last Monday, September 26th, I went into the hospital to be induced.  Paul and I had known for 2 weeks that we were going to be induced.  My doctor and I had decided that my body was ready and Willow was ready to come out.  I had been in a lot of pain and really was just done.  I realize some of you might judge me for that.  I don’t mind.  I feel good about my decision.

So we had decided that for this birth, we wanted it to be intimate.  I only wanted Paul in the room at delivery and I didn’t want to tell anyone beforehand.  This is very unusual for me because I tell everyone everything.  In the past I was posting about my labor on Facebook and texting all my family and friends.  But I really wanted to keep it about just Paul and I and Willow this time.

We start pitocin at about 9 am and I’m 2 cm dilated.  4 hours go by and I’m at max pitocin and still at 2 cm.  Nothin.  I’m not in pain but having big contractions.  So they break my water to get things moving.  About an hour in, I’ve progressed to a 4 and baby is starting to have some distress… her heart rate is dropping.  So they put an internal monitor in her little head and stop pitocin to slow down my contractions so she can be safe.

The nurses suggest I get my epidural if I’m planning on it to see if we can relax me so Willow can progress a little easier.  I’m not in any pain yet but decide to get it if it will help.  Get the epidural, hang out and they start pitocin.  This is all around 3:30 pm.  So we are hanging out I’m feeling more pressure and realize that I’m feeling everything, like the epidural wasn’t working.  I can feel the little monitor in her head move every time Willow moved.  I can move my legs all around.  They aren’t numb at all.  And then around 6:30, I’m in pain.  Like gripping the bed, not breathing right, eyes squeezed shut pain.  What?!  I got an epidural, why am I feeling all this?!

I have a huge contraction that lasts 3 minutes and I’m sobbing.  It hurts SO bad.  So the nurse checks me, I’m 7 cm and she decides to call anesthesia back up to give me meds in my IV.  At this point, I’m screaming and really confused why I’m in so much pain.  I delivered 2 babies with an epidural and I was napping through contractions and joking in between pushes.  This was NOT the same!

The nurses leave the room around 7:00pm.  I have another really long hard contraction and I yell, I’ve got to push!  I couldn’t control it.  The nurses said not to yet, I still had more cervix left and I’m doing kegels and yelling “I can’t control it”.  Paul is trying to tell me how to breathe, God love him, but we haven’t trained for this.  I don’t know how to breathe.  I had planned on not feeling any of it. All of a sudden she crowned and Johnny Cash’s song “Burning Ring of Fire” is all I can think about because I’m FEELING EVERYTHING!  And that is how I would describe the feeling of a baby crowning.

Apparently the anesthesiologist was next to me talking to me and getting ready to gives me meds.  I don’t recall ever seeing her.  I’m in so much pain I think somethings wrong and they need to give me a c-section.  Paul is still telling me to breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth.  All I hear is my nurse say, “If you just push this will all be over.”  And that is all I wanted, so I through a leg up, I’m still lying on my side, and I pushed one time and Willow flew out like a rocket!  No doctor made it in time, my nurse delivered and in an instant, at 7:09 pm it was all over.

I layed there stunned and relieved and so confused.  I just kept saying “What just happened?!  How did I feel all of that?!”  The nurses couldn’t explain but agreed that my epidural didn’t take. The anesthesiologist said, “Well, I guess you don’t need me anymore”, and left.  All of that craziness and pain and screaming and just like that, my sweet Willow was here.

Here’s what’s so awesome about this story.  I had always wanted to attempt a natural birth with no meds.  I tried with the boys and caved in.  With this pregnancy I had prayed about it and really felt like I wasn’t even supposed to try, but to plan on the epidural.  I don’t know why exactly, but I really felt strongly that I was just supposed to get it and not plan on natural.  Partly, because I had some pride with going natural.  I felt like I would think I was “better” or stronger than other women who didn’t go natural and I didn’t want to feel that way.  I know that every woman who delivers a baby is amazing and strong no matter how they deliver. And I know that many women have great reasons and motives to go natural.  But I was feeling that my motives were not great.  It was really just so I can say I did it and feel set a part.  I didn’t feel that I had the right heart in it.  I didn’t want it to make me have pride.

When it was all over and I was replaying everything in my mind I felt like the Lord told me that my labor and delivery was part of the gift that Willow was promised to be.  From the day the Lord spoke to me to try for another baby, He kept saying it was a gift.  Having a daughter was part of my gift.  And God knew the desires of my heart and gave them to me by allowing the epidural not to work.  And let me also say that I was only in pain from about 6:45 to 7:09 when she came out which is also a gift!

I was reminded of how good God is and how He delights in giving us the desires of our heart.  He loves to love on us and lavish His grace and gifts on us.  He loves so perfectly.  I am so grateful for this baby and for the gift of her arrival.

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My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week…

It’s Sunday.  I don’t usually write on Sundays but this week has just been too much and I want tomorrow to start fresh.  So, I’m writing today to conclude this crappy week I’ve had.  Forewarning… if you get squeamish about vaginal infections- don’t read on.  If you only like when I write deep meaningful posts- stop here.  If you’re looking for some inspiration or hope this week- you may be disappointed.  If you are gonna judge me at all- go away.

This week’s post is really just me venting and showing you my less glamorous side.  Some will laugh, some will roll their eyes, some will look at me differently… I don’t care.  If you follow me, you see a common trend to my writing.  I usually have some sort of self-realization lesson and a coming to terms with the truth about my attitude or perspective.  I like to leave in a positive way, hoping that you’ll be inspired to be a better you.  That girl will return, I promise.

This blog in general promises to be “Real, Honest, Hope-filled words…”  Today, I will be real and honest.  That’s about all I’ve got.  I realize this one might not be shared on social media, that’s probably for the best.  If nothing else, you’ll get to feel like you’re not the only one getting slapped in the face by life.

Let’s start by saying that I am pregnant.  37 weeks, 3 days, and 14 hours pregnant and I have hit that point of no return.  I am big.  I am swollen.  I am exhausted and I am cranky.  Everything hurts.  My hips, my back, my neck, my butt, my pelvis area…. all the things. I feel that I should have had this baby 4 weeks ago already.  So really, that right there is enough to be in a bit of a bad mood.

But no, on Monday I started feeling a cold coming on.  Swollen glands, sore throat, sneezing.  You know, no biggie. Try to rest.  Drink a lot of fluids… blah blah.  But by Wednesday, it is a full-blown sinus infection.  Throbbing face, extreme exhaustion, terrible headache. I know I need to see the Dr so I can get some meds, which I will do first thing tomorrow morning. But for that night, I took Benadryl and Tylenol, went to bed early and hoped for the best.

At about 2 am that night I wake up to pee as usual and realize, our house is hot.  Like swampy hot. Sure enough I figure out that our air conditioner is broken.  That’s really great news since I already can’t sleep and sweat when the air is set on 68 in our house.  So as you can imagine, the rest of the night is a very congested, very sweaty, very irritating cycle of switching sides, and praying that I fall asleep.  To which I really didn’t sleep much the rest of the night.

Long story short with the AC…we call our home warranty people, they can’t send guy out until Friday afternoon.  It’s 95 degrees with 90% humidity out.  I’ve had it.  So we pack up and head to mom and dad’s so I can get some relief.  End up staying there until Saturday because it can’t be fixed until sometime this upcoming week, that’s if they will cover it.  That is yet to be determined.  (Which, please Lord, let them cover it.)  We’ll probably have to move back into the rent’s house this week as St. Louis humidity is gonna creep back in. Neat.

After 3 nights of sleeping more terrible than usual, I am at a new level of tired.  First night no air, second night sinus issues and new bed, third night new bed same congestion problems.  Don’t forget, very pregnant still.   Also, this week, our 2 boys decide that waking up sometime in the 5:00 hour is a good idea.  This is not their usual, 7:00/7:30 is typical wake up time.  But, no.  This week they wanted to give us the gift of their presence 2 hours early every morning.  Thanks boys.  Thanks.

And then we land on last night.  I’m lying in bed and I start to feel a little itchy “down there”.  Hmmm, maybe it’s nothing.  Maybe I’m just due for a shower, even though I had just taken one several hours earlier.   Or maybe I wake up this morning to throbbing and very angry lady parts.  I’m sure the antibiotic, the pregnancy, and the swampy house was the perfect storm for a yeast infection.  Oh yeah, no doubt about it, I have a gnarly yeast infection. That just puts me over the top.  I want to cry, I kind of have to laugh.  I want to sleep for 12 days.

But like a champ, cause I’m a woman and a mom, I have to just deal with it.  I go through my day and try to act as if I’m not completely miserable.  I google what I can do to get relief, not much.  I text my crunchy friends to see if there’s “an oil for that”.  To which there is, to which I apply, to which makes it burn a little worse.  So I get in a cold shower to try to help things out, and just cry and pray and then laugh and decide, oh I must blog about this.

If you are man reading this, I’m sorry.  But I’m not.  I warned you.  And also get over it.  Your mom, sister, wife, and that hot girl at the office have all had a vag infection.  If it grosses you out, take it up with God.  It ain’t our fault that we get them… trust me, if we could never get them again, we would.

So, that’s been my week.  I know, I know, it could always be worse. I have so much to be grateful for.  I prayed last night and thanked God for all our blessings.  But you know what, at this point, it could be better too.  I’m not a cussing woman, but there have definitely been some choice words going through my mind during this week’s shenanigans.

I guess I needed to just get it all out.  I laughed as wrote about it and that makes it easier to deal with somehow. Maybe it will just make some of you feel better to know that you aren’t the only person with the crap of life piling on.  Maybe it will provoke some of you to pray for me, I’ll take it.  I’m not too proud to say, I could use a little prayer right about now.

I’m real and there’s no use putting up a facade like my life is so beautifully perfect.  It’s not, and that’s ok.  Here’s to hoping this week is much better.  Deep sleep, cool days, low humidity, neutral lady parts, and clear breathing are my wish.  Oh, and to HAVE THIS BABY!!!  Have a great week everyone. :)

Living in the present

I haven’t written in a while.  I don’t really have an excuse other than I’ve been crabby and don’t feel like writing.  There it is.  The truth.  For any of you who have been pregnant you can probably relate to where I am in my life right now.  I’m 4 weeks away from my due date and life feels like it’s at a standstill.  I am big and uncomfortable.  Moving is a task, much less leaving the house.  I am tired and puffy and cranky.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for my life to begin again.  It is such a strange feeling.  Just kinda floundering and waiting.  If you’ve ever been in a job transition or moving transition, it feels kind of the same way.  Or maybe waiting for your future spouse to finally come on the scene.  You are waiting to “begin” again.  That’s what I’ve been feeling the last month and I had a moment this week where I realized that I need to be happy in my “current”.

To be honest, Paul and I are both in a season of transition and waiting.  Not just the baby, but a lot of other things as well.  I have grumbled and complained and cried my way through this season.  I have wished it gone and wanted it to be a year from now.  I have thought maybe we should move away just to have a fresh start.  I am wasting my days with discontentment and anxiety and I felt God speaking to me this week saying, “Enjoy your present.”

I have found in my life, because I am such a dreamer and a planner, I am always looking ahead.  I am always planning for the future, I’m packing for my trips 2 months in advance, I’m wishing my present would go faster.  And it hit me that I’m wasting my life by  doing that.

And sometimes in transitions that are testing and stretching me, I become a fixer and I think of all the ways I could have, would have, should have, done things differently.  I look to the past.  I stay there and my mind reminds me of my mistakes.  It replays conversations and decisions and haunts me with regret.  It keeps me wallowing in the past. And it has me wondering if I would have done things differently that my current season wouldn’t be so hard.

But looking behind and looking too far ahead just leaves me discontent and dormant.  If I just could have this baby…  I if just can lose these last 15 pounds…. If I just could make a little more money and get ahead in life…. If I just could feel totally healed of my hurt….. If I just could see that our future is ok…  and on and on and on.  It is just not trusting God with where I am, right now, right here, today.  My uncomfortable, messy, exhausted, hurting, scared, unsure, unplanned today.

When I know that His plans are good for me, even in this season, I can live and breathe for today.  I can smile and laugh and then cry and then exhale today.  I can let go of regret, I can let go of anxiety, I can let go of uncertainty today.  Because I know that my God loves me today and He will take care of today.  And that is a good good realization.  My encouragement to you is to let go of the past, quit getting too far ahead in your future and open your eyes to the life around you today.  You may only have today, don’t waste it with wishing it away.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God….and the peace of God which we can’t understand,  will guard your heart and your minds.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Season of healing

This is gonna be a really raw post.  Being vulnerable and open and exposed right now is the last thing that I want to do.  But, I know that God is gently pushing me to do it.  Again, like most of my posts, it could be for some of you or all of you, but most likely it’s for just me.  God is taking me through a season of healing and it doesn’t look and feel like I would have thought.  It is also not as comforting and sweet as I had imagined.  I’ve heard my whole life to let God heal you.  That only God can truly mend your broken heart.  It’s a promise He gives us that He’ll bind up our wounds.  What an awesome promise.

However, the healing process He’s taking me through is the opposite of how I want Him to do it.  I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to heal and restore the fragile pieces of my broken heart.  My plan was to retreat, close off relationships and learn how to toughen up.  To learn how to guard my heart better.  To vow to myself that I wouldn’t let this happen again.  Ever.  I wouldn’t trust so easily again, I’d learn how to not give a crap anymore.  And I’d let God into my plan and He could come in with his magic salve and fix me.  He could sing over me and hold me and change everything that makes me feel.  He could just erase it all if I only let Him in.  I could put up a wall with everyone else and only crack the door enough for God to come in halfway and follow my instructions on how I can begin the healing process….

Yeah.  That’s not what has happened.  My plan wasn’t working.  I was alone and felt lonely.  I shut people out and felt abandoned.  I was putting up walls and felt isolated.  I was vowing to be tough and was becoming hard and bitter.  I was making a mess out of my broken heart and telling God He couldn’t have His way with it.  I didn’t trust Him with it but was quickly realizing I couldn’t trust myself with it either.  I had snatched it from His hands and held it tightly, afraid to melt into submission to His will and His plan of restoration for me. What if it hurt more?  What if the plan failed?  What if it got worse before it got better?

Well, about a week ago I was put on modified bed rest by my doctor.  I’m having some heart stuff and am supposed to take it easy.  Sounds so lovely right… however, I have 2 rowdy boys who want to play and go and eat ALL day and they need me.  And I have a husband who works 2 jobs and is our sole provider who can’t wait on me hand and foot.  You know what that means?  I need help.

“I need help”  Such simple words.  Not offensive to anyone.  Totally justified in my life right now.  No one thinks I’m being a baby.  But the hardest words to say when my plan of healing involves no one but me, hidden away in my house.  It means I need other people, and I need to let them in and I need to trust them to love me.

Whenever the people in my life have heard that I’m in need, they’ve come running.  They’ve texted and called and picked up my boys and bought me dinners and have come to my aid.  And it is breaking down every wall and every bitter plan and every defensive mechanism I’ve picked up the last few months.

It has started the healing process.  It has made me surrender my plan because I have no other option.  God has stripped me of my last ounce of pride and resentment.  He’s required me to be vulnerable again.  He’s asked me to trust again.  He is asking me to come out from behind the wall and look around.  To take it all in.  To cry when I need to.  To stay soft and pliable.  To give Him my heart again.  To feel and to let people see me.  He’s using people to remind me of love.  To show me grace and put their arm around me.  To walk with me.  To carry me.

You see, God isn’t only in Heaven far far away on a cloud.  He is in you and He is in me.  He is in my sons and my husband.  He is in the friend that says, I’m taking your kids today and bringing you ice cream.  He’s in the couple that call in a restaurant and order your dinner and pay for it so you don’t have to cook tonight.  He is in people, so shutting out people is also shutting out God.  He lives and breathes through us and we know Him through one another’s love.  We see Him in our relationships with each other.

So, thinking that healing comes when I learn how to protect myself better is so wrong.  Loving deeply and knowing love requires great vulnerability and great courage.  So, here is my vulnerable, scared, scarred heart.  I am being brave.  I am being raw.  I am handing my heart back to the creator of it and I am letting you all back in… I’m stepping into my season of healing.