Thursday, February 5, 2015

9 Days of Waiting With the Lord

On December 13th at 15 weeks pregnant, my water broke.  It was two o’clock in the morning and I thought my pregnancy was ending at that moment.  The emergency room had even scheduled a D & C before getting a hold of the OBGYN on call.

But my baby girl had a heartbeat.  The OBGYN said that as long as my baby girl was alive & there was no infection, the pregnancy could proceed.  The chance of Faith surviving until she was viable was about 5%. 

I was sent home to wait and see if my baby would live or die.

Faith lived in my womb for nine more days.  The lessons I learned during those nine days grew me more than the thirty years before them.

I learned that I don’t control anything except the way I react.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t save my baby.  I couldn’t control what happened to her.  All I could control was how I handled what was happening to my baby and to me.  I could react with anger and bitterness, letting it fester inside of me and becoming a bitter, mean human being.  I could react with depression, curling up in a ball and hiding from the world. 

Or I could react with courage and trust, knowing that whatever happens God has a plan, He has only good for me, and I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The choice is up to me.

I learned the importance of daily time with God.

When my water broke, I hadn’t been spending time reading my Bible.  I hadn’t been spending time in prayer or worship.  I’d been busy doing “Christian” things, like leading a bible study group, teaching in the toddler room, & hosting a women’s Christmas party.  None of those things are bad…but it’s not what God really wanted from me.

God desires relationship with us.  He wants us to read His book, speak to Him in prayer, and listen to Him.  I began praying and reading His Word daily.  God impressed upon my heart to memorize Luke 1:45-47, which is the Scripture I repeated to myself as I delivered my dead baby girl into the world.  God prepared my heart for what He knew was going to happen.  If I hadn’t taken the time to build that foundation with God again, losing Faith would have been much more devastating.

I learned how amazing and important my church family is.

In those nine days, our church family surrounded us with so much love and support.  They visited, prayed, signed up to provide meals, hugged me, cried with me, and laughed with me.  Finding a good church family is so important! 

I learned it is okay to tell God I’m angry.

I was upset.  This was my miracle baby, the baby that was prayed into me.  This was the baby I’d prayed and tried three years to conceive.  I was angry that God would let this happen when I’d waited so long.  A good friend reminded me that God was big enough to handle my anger.

So I talked to Him about it.  I told Him I didn’t like what was happening, that I was scared, and that I wanted my baby to live.  He already knew that.  He listened and He wrapped His arms of love around me.

I learned that prayers are answered.

Maybe not in the way I wanted.  My baby died, despite hundreds of people praying for her.  But when she did die, God was there every step of the way.  He comforted. He placed people and Scripture in my path right when I needed it.  He supplied all my needs.  He reminded me that Faith’s life has a purpose. 

Never, in all my life, have I felt closer to God than in the last two months.  My prayers were answered because He never left me and He has not forsaken me.  He has been my strength.  My help came from the Lord.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Let It Go: Why I Love This Song From Frozen

Some moms might be sick of Frozen…and some days I’d like to join them.  But Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go” will always be inspiring to me.  When I listen to it I’m reminded of the process of letting go of depression.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I'm the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!
Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know!

Depression makes you feel isolated.  It feels like a swirling storm is going on inside of you that no one can see.  You’re trying to keep it in but are afraid it will spill out.  Trying to hide depression from others is overwhelming and concealing your feelings makes you feel like you can’t feel anymore.

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!
I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

When God took over my depression and healed me inside, I knew I couldn’t keep my experiences inside anymore.  Instead I quit worrying about whether people would judge me or ridicule me when I spoke about depression and anxiety.  God had healed me and while life is still difficult sometimes, those storms aren’t going to bother me.  I know He is in charge.
Done Worrying About Others' Opinions...Being Silly With My Six Year Old!

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!

It’s true that the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.  I have spent the last two years testing the limits, breaking through, and seeing what I can do.  Now, I disagree that there’s no rules.  I live by God’s rules and by extension the rules of the land in which I abide.  But I’m no longer bound by society’s rules of what’s right or wrong.  And it’s true:  I’m never going back to the world of anxiety and depression, because the past is in the past.  The only purpose my past has served is to share my testimony of healing from God.

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!
Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

I’m rising up with God’s strength, rising up on the wings of eagles.  I’m standing in the light of day, in God’s light.  The storm is raging on around me but God is keeping me in the light.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

4 Ways to Avoid Depression after Miscarriage

When I was a child I started struggling with depression and anxiety.  I fought depression for more than twenty years before receiving healing from the Lord a couple years ago.  When Faith died I knew I couldn't go back in that pit of fear and sadness.  I knew I would grieve and have sad times but the hopeless, helpless sadness of depression was not where I needed to go.

I couldn't go back to that place because I knew God wanted better for me....couldn't because my husband and six year old daughter deserved better from me....couldn't because I wouldn't be able to honor the memory of my baby girl with my life if I wasn't living my life.

So I knew I needed to take steps to prevent falling into anxiety and depression if I was going to make it to the other side of the devastation I was feeling.  I did 4 things to help myself walk through the grief I was feeling.

1.  I walked

I had spent four months pregnant, sick and exhausted followed by an emotionally exhausting second half of December.  My body was worn out and out of shape.  I wasn't physically fit before pregnancy either.  So I started small, but I walked.  You can read about my walking here.

2. I showed up

It would've been really easy to avoid events.  People expected it and were surprised when I came to things.  I didn't miss a Sunday at church after Faith died.  It was difficult and I've shed tears every Sunday at church but they were healing tears because God was healing my heart.  I continued to attend my Sunday night bible study.  I found things to get me out of the house each day.  I planned a brunch for the women at church.  I offered to co-lead a women's bible study on Thursday mornings.  Today I started working in the Toddler room and carried on conversations with two different parents about the babies they were still expecting, due about the same time I was.  Showing up is HARD and emotionally exhausting, especially at first.  But it is worth it.

3. I talked about my baby

I talk to everyone about my baby.  I shared her hand and foot prints, showed pictures of her hands and feet, shared about how beautiful she was, talked about the ultrasound where Faith waved and smiled at us, and shared with others things that made me sad.  Faith is a part of my husband and I, the second child in our family.  We never brought her home but we will never forget her.  To honor her place in our family, we speak about her to others and keep her memory alive.

4. I clung to God

This is the most important thing I've done to avoid depression and anxiety.  I've been reading my bible daily.  I've spent hours and hours in prayer.  Two different bible studies with two different books to read each week...journaling pages and pages of notes about scripture.  If I hadn't clung to God the first three things would never have been successful in helping.  I need God so I can get out the door and walk.  I need God so I can show up to events.  I need God to talk to others about my baby.  I need God so I don't spend all day, every day curled up in bed sleeping and crying.

There have been days I've slept in after struggling with grief in the night.  There are times when I cry on my husband's shoulder.  I don't understand why this happened.  I do know that God is carrying me through this and that I've got to cling to Him and keep on walking, talking, and showing up.  My life and my family depend on it.