Archive | May 2010

Past Fears to Present Confidence

Today I hosted a group of women at my home, complete with kiddie pool and sprinkler in the backyard…. a far cry from where my mindset has been in my life up until now, which was that I must protect myself from being known too well since I might be judged or rejected.  It is amazing to me the healing that the Lord has brought to my life in the past 5 years or so.  I am so deeply thankful for the women and men in my life who have pioneered this healing frontier with me, praying and listening and advising and supporting.  All in all, their safe friendship has allowed me to walk as a new person in the identity which Christ engineered from the very beginning, and which Satan has tried in so many ways to squelch and ruin.

I have come to realize that it really is true: To have a friend you must be a friend.  I have spent years trying to instill in my brain the basic questions one can ask a person whom one barely knows: Do you live near here?  Where do you work?  What’s that like?  How do you feel about that?

I have also had to learn that my responses are not nearly as important as the listening and loving part.  I might have a certain thought which I can think about sharing, but really, if I want this friendship to blossom, I can first get to know their side and what we have in common, then go from there.

For example, one woman who was here this morning seemed somewhat scared.  I took that in, and realized that I might be able to help her know she is in a friendly, safe place… so I took to asking her those safe questions and letting her responses be whatever they were… awkward or whatever… I have been that awkward girl who doesn’t know what to say, and so often have ended up saying something dumb-sounding, and have been kind of eyebrows-raised-at, and it is not exactly the best way to make me feel like I want to come back… so though there are balances to social standards, I also think that catching whatever ball someone else throws is the best way to have good improv… theatre talk, sorry…

That’s all for now… thanks for reading!  🙂

Exfoliation of the Soul

I love writing. This blog thing is really a huge source of delight for me. I like getting my thoughts outside of myself. It’s different from a journal in that here I connect with others… that is what brings the extra dimension of what I want to call “Exfoliation of the Soul.”  In putting my thoughts out before you, I become more responsible for them.  It means I spend a little more time thinking about my subject or my verbage.  I might even go deeper here, since my experiences could help someone else, if I am bold and honest enough.

So…. my thoughts for today are a little sober.

This week my husband and I took an important step, mostly preventative, yet hardly unemotional for me… we decided that I must return to taking meds for postpartum depression.

As I contemplate this decision, I realize I have a jumble of feelings about it… mostly good ones.  It has been about six months since I stopped taking meds prescribed during the second trimester of my pregnancy, when the strain and isolation I faced due to how heavily sick I was became more than I could handle.

My thoughts are akin to a Tex-Mex Stirfry… a bit of everything thrown into a slippery pot.  Where’s my margarita?  🙂

I am sad, because it discourages me that I cannot do this alone.  I want to simply make choices and have them be enough to balance this issue out of my life.  I want to receive enough prayer so that my mind and heart will have the healing or protection they need to work properly.  I have gotten extra sleep; more exercise; more time with the Lord, more time with my husband; healthier food; help with the house, finances and baby; time with friends, time to myself; more or less activity at church as I can handle it; vitamins; you name it.  But this time, it’s just not working.  Which is a bummer.

On the other hand, this is how I can make the choice with my hubby confidently.  We have done everything we can, and nothing’s working?  <waving wildly> <ding ding!> Time to put the call in.  That’s all there is to it.  I can almost shrug at this point, and just be glad I have the help!  I’ve been in far worse points than this before… at least this time I can recognize it before I’m crying all the time.  Praise the Lord!

Then there is the embarrassment part… not necessarily from the depression as much as from the symptoms.  No one I know is happy to cry and be weak and is glad when they feel like they don’t have it together and are messes.  I mean, really.  It is easy to beat myself up about this, like it’s bad to be embarrassed, but really it is.  Now, does it have to stay embarrassing?  No, I don’t think so… but there’s something about that first step, admitting it, asking for help, that is humbling to me, partly because it hurts my pride (that’s my junk — I always thought from a young age that we have to aspire to having it all together — more from church stuff than family stuff), and partly because it’s a facet of vulnerability that is at once beautiful and painful.  It’s like seeing a fracture at the heart of a diamond… which makes the diamond no less beautiful, even more attainable and colorful, and yet, it is not perfection.  Ouch.  However, the beauty of my identity comes from a far different place… which is what makes all this bearable, sharable, and shrug-offable.  My identity is only and all about my existence bringing joy to my Creator; the rest is all peripheral.

So… there you have it.  The truth is that some of the frustration I face is from desiring openness in this area, but needing to guard who, when, or how much I tell someone else since my reaction to their reaction is one more thing I have to balance.  In the past, friends have said I am not clinging to God enough, or that I am not taking care of myself right.  For me, those things were symptoms and not factors, and the hurt of being misjudged was excruciating.  Since I have learned that about myself, I have to then forgive others whose response is less than perfect.  And lean on that ever-constant Creator who loves me.

Okay… that’s enough for today.  God bless you, dear readers.  🙂

“You Have To Know How To Cope”

The newest phase of my healing… I am reading an old 80s YA fiction on astronaut kids.  I love it.  It’s right out of that genre of Space Camp, etc., triggering kids to feel like they could all become astronauts.  I believed that, when I was a kid.  My math and science ended up not being so great… really lost a lot of steam there.  Haha.  But I hope that one day I will still be able to visit space.  I think that will be possible, in my lifetime… and affordable.  🙂

So, in one of the chapters, there is an emergency procedure being run through where the kids learn they “need to know how to cope with problems” that may come up.   I felt like the Lord told me this is something for me, too!  Last night my small group Bible Study had a worship night… great stuff… during which I felt the Lord nudge me to “renounce depression.”  Depression is a classic response of mine to issues, frustrations, blocks or dislikes.  I might curl up in a ball before I even realize it… just to “cope” with the hurt that I feel, or the anger or frustration….

So, instead of just allowing the depression to hang out, I am learning to denounce it.  To say, “Get outta here!  You don’t belong!”  And turn to the Lord for a better way of coping with whatever is going on in my life.

Right now, I’m the Mom of a 7-month-old and a teenager, in a blended family, and a stay-at-home-wife without a car, and any one of those things could come with major emotional taxes…. put them together, and you have me staying inside and not wanting to get dressed, simply because it all seems too much to deal with.  And, by the way, where’s the food?  Let me eat.  And what’s on TV, or better yet, Netflix?

Maybe I’m beating myself up just a little too much… another issue.  Ugh.  It’s just possible that I am coping by resting and doing these things that I *do* enjoy.  And I don’t do them all day, I don’t have laundry piling up and dishes in the sink from a month ago (been there, done that, don’t like coming out of it).  I am doing what I can, as I can.

Anyway… the coping part is the trick.  We can’t avoid the problems or the frustrations or even the hurt… can we!  No, but we have a safe God who loves us, and loves us even when we just lay there in our PJs, eating instead of working out or watching TV instead of going outside.  But, let’s try to do something a little healthier once in a while, huh?  Yeah, baby.  You and me.  Let’s go.  🙂

A Question of Conscience

I have concluded that my conscience is untrustworthy.  Or, at the very best, it does not have the “True North” that I thought it did.  In fact, I often am overly sensitive about things that I should not feel bad about at all, at least not by counsel of those in my life I trust.  Other times I realize that I am being careless about things I should think twice about.

For example, I can beat myself up for doing something silly or embarrassing (not wrong), but then I fail at other times to realize that a pattern of behavior is completely wrong.  I might worry about the way my hair or makeup looks as though I am not living up to a social standard, but then I won’t think twice about being thoughtless toward my husband or children and can really hurt their feelings.  Not cool!

I think a lot of things flavor this cup of tea.  My family of origin shows a similar pattern, and can actually be prideful about taking care of others well… but then drop the ball on being compassionate toward each other.  And my history of involvement in the church shows a definite trend toward honoring the legalistic Christian.  Moreover, just this morning I realized I had adopted (or at least, reinforced) a mindset about not apologizing from a movie.  I don’t think we can help these things any more than we can help living in this world, and it’s a life worth living — that goes without arguing, at least in this entry.  🙂

Suffice it to say that I am enjoying the process of stepping back from my values and beliefs to reexamine them as the Lord prompts me to… to make decisions and responses and not reactions, to the situations I face.  It’s a new way of living for me.

Sometimes I feel a strain, as my brain goes, “No, I should respond this way, now!”  But I have consistently found that it helps to occasionally wait a few moments, and look at my default patterns of response.  Or, if the situation passes and becomes old news, I can usually bet that I will likely find myself in that situation again at some point… this time better armed with a response bathed in prayer and thoughtful reflection.  It makes for a much more peaceful existence.

That’s all for now….. just thought I’d share!