“Bah Humbug” Allowed Here

At least three of my friends have mentioned/posted about feeling joyless, sad, or grieving at Christmastime today. I just wanted to share the following thoughts.

If your Christmas is a hurtful time, I would like to say, you are NOT expected to be happy — at least around me! Go on with your bad Bah Humbug. Seriously. What if you lost someone important at this time of year? What if you are estranged from people you love? What if your dreams have been dashed to the ground and run over in the mud? What if your spirit feels broken? What if you don’t have a penny to give anyone else, or the energy to brighten up your home? Or worst of all — what if you feel God has abandoned you or cannot salvage your heart?

The truth is, that is what Christmas is all about. No, I am not kidding.  Read on.

The truth is, the very first Christmas was all about humble circumstances: primarily of the world itself, but also that of a new-born king meant to be glorified.

Think of the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  It speaks hauntingly of the captive people Israel, in need of redemption, in need of hope. “Rejoice, rejoice, O Israel” — because they were hurting!  They needed to be rescued.  They had been robbed of all peace and joy.

Here came their king; his own world capsized… born into a dingy stable instead of a palace.  How backwards!  That was an odd representation of any real hope…. yet, what a clarified picture of God, mingling with those of us in lowly circumstances.

If you feel alone, if you feel scared, if you feel naked and abused, or if you feel stricken and needy…. you are in good company. Christ himself, a naked and needy babe, shares your sorrow. Yet, “this little Babe so few days old, has come to rifle Satan’s fold.”

Satan is the celebrator of our pain and the enemy of your very life breath. God himself weeps with you and works to comfort you in your suffering, to be with you.  He is the truest friend we have in the midst of weeping.

God himself cherishes you.

God himself is your very help in time of need. He understands it well. Do not let false cheer, hurried well-wishes, or stale hope become the acceptable standard for Christmas. If you need Christ, he has come, and that is our source of joy, meant to be heralded most especially by hurting hearts.

If you are hurting, I send you these words with a hug and a sisterly kiss. God bless you with comfort for your pain this Christmas.

Thanks for reading, Friends.

Waiting For A Hurting Heart to Heal

I have thought about writing several times in the past few months.

But my heart said, No.

I’m not ready.

It’s been too long, my “Editor” side said.  Get busy.

No.  I’m not ready.

There’s been a lot going on!!!  What great source material.  You might forget it all.  Wouldn’t want that! That’s my author-side calling.

No, my heart said.  I’m just not ready.

SIGH, my fingers wiggled, anxious to type again.

No, my heart said.  It’s not time.

Much like the Song of Solomon croons, “Wait, do not awaken love until it so desires,” my heart cried out for more waiting. My heart did not desire to go there: to think, to recover, to feel… Recovery is arduous.  It needs a foundation of good rest and healing.

So I did not pick up my journal.  I laid down my pen.  I put them away where they could get dusty.

I did not open the writing programs on my computer.

I had to wait, because if I poured out my heart before God met me there, it would seem almost false… as though I am putting a tiny bandaid on a perforation the inner self.

“For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, says: Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved; in quietness and confidence is your strength…”  Isaiah 30:15 (TLB)

I did not desire to indulge those wretched emotions, but in humanity and trust I instead shared my broken weeping with Christ alone.  My own rugged and arduous garden of wretched sweat and prayer.

And there, have I been met by none other than our very Lord.  Meeting my faithlessness with a comforting embrace.  Receiving my tears in a precious vial.  Mingling them with His, in that very holy fountain of His own sorrow.  Sharing each stab of pain.  Meeting and teaching me as only He can.  Giving me new hope, new dreams, new understandings of things.  And what is this?  Joy?  Wow…

Thank you, Lord, for stripping our relationship down to the bare roots of Your unconditional love.  What a gift it has truly been!

In my personal experience… there are a couple parts of hurting.  One is waiting to hear from God.  Will He speak?  Does He care?  I have failed!  It’s my fault! Or, It’s not my fault!  This is terrible and God allowed this.  Will He change these circumstances?

The second part of hurting is the vulnerability we experience when we step away from that tiny space of intense communion with God before we are healed up (which sometimes must happen due to the demands of life –jobs, children, you name it).  Oh, how painful!  Perhaps we just want to curl up and be loved… Perhaps we have nothing to give.  Or, perhaps the outside world is untrustworthy.

When our wounds are openly bleeding, they need a safe, tranquil, supportive, and clean place to heal… it is better to avoid whatever slime or sewage the world can thoughtlessly throw at you without even realizing it.  It’s good to take a break.  God is so good, to be a safe place.  A thin space… where our sorrow can be soothed by His utter compassion and fathomless hope.  Only those most trusted friends are allowed to visit us there, and then, I find quick visits are best.  Sometimes, even they might fail, and it is God alone who sits quietly by our side.

So now — I find a slow dawn melting my frosty landscape.  On this dark morning, I find a quiet glow.  My heart is ready.  I might need a warm blanket and some fuzzy socks, but I am ready.  It’s not excruciating to think of relating to anyone else what treasures I see in my life after all the mess.  My ponderings can be released, from being between God and me, in that most sacred inner place…  to being shared openly.

For those who want to read, maybe these thoughts will be a warm balm to your heart, if you are also hurting.  I believe, and trust, and celebrate, that God has encouragement for you, too.

Anyway…. May God himself be your comfort, if you are hurting… you have my prayers right now for God’s rich comfort and tangible embrace.

Thanks for reading, Friends.

1-23-14 Update

Just FYI, for those who are praying, my recent blood test results showed a real improvement.  I am praising the Lord.  Some things still need to improve, but I am thrilled and motivated to keep going.
 
Please pray for the doctor who is skeptical, that she will work with me and lend her expertise in the process.  
 
Please pray for protection of my mind and heart in the process.

“Nutrition will not cure you.”

“Nutrition will not cure you.”

My endocrinologist interrupted me twice to say this.  It has been three months since I started my new diet and lifestyle, and I usually feel like a million bucks compared to the zombie I was before (I need bloodwork to confirm things).  I waited, then restated: “What I am trying to say is that I feel better.”  He chided me and then said, “We’ll DO the bloodwork, and then you can come in and we’ll chat some more about this.”  I got off the phone as quickly as possible.

In frustration, I then asked my OBGYN group for a referral for a brand new endocrinologist, hoping to get a little more of a listening ear from the new doctor.  I requested the bloodwork I need along with a second opinion on my case.  This doctor was as bad as the first.  She scoffed before I was done with my inital sentence: “I was supposed to have surgery but was told I could try nutrition to see if it would help.”

What is the deal?  I cannot ask questions, cannot look at options, cannot try the least invasive method first?  I must roll over and let you cut out my entire adrenal gland?

I am beginning to realize just how skewed even the most well-meaning doctors can be.  I MUST manage them managing me.  We’re not in Little House on the Prairie here, with the doctor that cares so much they’ll explain, or their efforts are totally vested in your best options.  I trusted these doctors, and they used me to pay their bills with their preferences over my body and the rest of my life.  I will forgive them — but I will not hesitate to challenge them ever again.  Poor doctors.  I know, they truly think they are right.  I pity them.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” — Nelson Mandela

A Zombie Story

I have been working for a while on this other blog… I have been sick a lot this year, and we finally found out I have a tumor.  Yikes.  But it turns out I will be able to avoid surgery.  Hooray!

For anyone who is interested, please follow the link below to my quirky, fun-loving, authentic blog on the subject.  Thank you for reading friends.

HelloTumor.wordpress.com

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15 Photos of The Loveliness of Nursing

I would like to thank my husband for his support of me nursing, as well as sharing these photographs.   From 2009 to 2013, a range of the loveliness I have experienced in nursing my children until they were ready to wean.

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Beauty & BF

Happy World Breastfeeding Month!  I am inspired by the events this week at The Leaky B@@B and am planning three upcoming posts in the spirit of supporting the beauty, health and importance of breastfeeding.  Welcome all who need encouragement and/or are curious!

To start off, today I just want to reminisce….

Twenty Places I Have Nursed My Children

(listed in order of the impact they had on me to be more confident)

20. In the rank bathroom at a restaurant.
19. Sweating under a light sheet covering in a meeting at church — the cover was ripped off by my unhappy nursling and I pretty much flashed another leader guy, who was AWESOME and didn’t even blink twice.
18. On the couch, sweating under a light sheet covering at a Bible study full of single guys (all of whom are either about to be married, are now happily married, or even expecting kids… kinda nice to realize I didn’t scar them forever).
17. Around the corner on the stairs without a cover, at #18.
16. Discreetly but without a cover, sitting fourth row back from the front of church, because I finally realized my church is AWESOME.
15. Discreetly but without a cover, at Starbucks at an outside table.
14. Metro bus (babies don’t wait)
13. At the hospital after C-section birth and VBAC (same hospital for both)
12. In the car after a funeral in the country (dirt roads are bumpy… see #14)
11. In bed while simultaneously cuddling with husband
10. In a living room with other moms and their nurslings
09. At the zoo, with a bunch of nursing moms, surrounded by a bunch of other mammals nursing
08. In a cozy armchair in my pastor’s living room, bought specifically for nursing moms who might visit
07. On the couch, with my almost two-year-old toddler on one side and my newborn on the other (a.k.a. Tandem Nursing)
06. In mixed company, at my house, because it’s hard to get out with a nursling
05. At my Doula (now a Midwife)’s house because she’s awesome and has parties for her Mamas and their families
04. At my in-law’s house, where it has become the supported norm for me to nurse my speaking & walking toddler
03. In the church nursery while helping care for other kids
02. At Young-N-Restless Resale store, where there are chairs just for nursing in
01. In the brand-new rocking chair bought for me by a friend shortly before my daughter was born

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Thank you to those of you who have supported me nursing along the way.  I hope to help others down the line, for the rest of my life!  It has truly been a lovely, wonderful, life-changing, life-giving experience.  I am grateful to everyone who has said “Go ahead!”