Posts tagged ‘church’

Claiming Victory

20170524_Pink Lily

I made the drive home from church.  Making it there to serve in itself was a miracle.  I probably shouldn’t have driven home but it was the only place I wanted to be.  So I took some medicine and took deep breaths the whole way home.  See, in the parking lot as I was leaving, I felt a panic attack coming on.  I’ve been struggling with bipolar depression lately.  The deep, daunting, paranoia-filled affliction has encompassed me, debilitated me, and encumbered me from doing the simplest things, such as taking a shower or washing dishes, to my most important job, mommying.

Anytime I start to think big, I feel like Satan rallies his demonic troops and launches a full-blown attack against me.  Some might think I’m paranoid.  But this is backed by the Bible (which is my test to see if I’m being paranoid).  And this is Biblical:  Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  I’ve got some big things coming up.  At the beginning of last month, I started actively pursuing a way to get my “Think Big and Be Big” scriptural affirmation cards off the ground.  I also got the idea to start a topical small group for writers at my church.

It’s so hard to claim victory in the midst of despair.  I know God has won the war for my soul but that doesn’t mean I don’t get wounded in battle.  But it’s the little victories that lead back to the path of stability.

The other day I was too weary to get out of bed.  I had to ask my mother to keep the kids.  After sleeping for over 19 hours straight, I woke up, and prayed my simple prayer, once again, “God, please help me.”  Then, I got up and cleaned my daughter’s disaster of a room, which took about three hours of concentrated effort.  The twins came in and climbed on everything and wanted to get into big sissy’s stuff and play (which of course, I took some time to do).  Cleaning and spending time with my little ones… It was a small victory, but a victory none-the-less.

Throughout this depressive episode, I’ve tried to get out and do things even if I didn’t feel like it.  I dragged myself to a few play-dates and tried not to isolate myself, which is what I usually do, claiming that I’m sick.  I am sick but “depressed” is a more accurate description.  I hate claiming that over myself.  I’ve been deeply depressed for nearly a month now, but I’ve got some important milestones coming up that I pray will help pull me out.

I seriously considered canceling that writer’s small group, which is set to begin this Thursday (and I’m supposed to be the “leader”).  Me, in my condition, leading a small group of any kind will be, well, another miracle.  But God wouldn’t let me let go of that idea so I know that with His help and guidance, I can do it.

So I have to claim victory, not defeat!  Regardless of how I feel, I know that God’s got me and He has His purpose and plans to build me up and NOT let me down!  I believe that.  I put all my hope in that.  I have faith that He will pull me through this storm.  I claim victory now, Lord.  I have the victory in Jesus.

Double Talk Quote: “Mommy, I’ll sing a song to you so you’ll feel better.” – Bella 5/17/17

Bible Verse: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

Word that has Lost its Meaning:  defeated

Relatable Lyrics:  Victory In Jesus – the classic hymn

AND THEN I CRIED
“DEAR JESUS,
COME AND HEAL
MY BROKEN SPIRIT”
AND SOMEHOW JESUS
CAME AND BROUGHT
TO ME THE VICTORY!

20170526_funny big red chair - 5 earthquakers, Audrey

Bella (2), Baby “Rain” (4 months), Mica (9), Brooks (2), and “Hope” (8)

 

Bless your heart, little “Rain”, I know how you feel!

*Note:  Sorry if this was a “rambling” post.  At least right now, I’m able to think in full sentences!

“Psst… Are You Pregnant Again?”

I just got back from a BIG family vacation to Disney World a few weeks ago.  It was a crazy, awesome time!  But more on that at a later date.

All at Disney - Majic Kingdom

Me and the Crew at Magic Kingdom, Disney World!

 

Yesterday was Sunday.  I would like to take a moment to focus on a little question that was made to me yesterday.  I was volunteering at my church, like I usually do, teaching in the 3-5-year-olds’ class.  It was near the end of the service when an associate of mine approached me and engaged me in a short conversation.  After exchanging pleasantries, we chatted briefly about our children.  As I was returning to my room to finish up, she whispered down the hall, “Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?

How should I feel?  Should I be shocked, dismayed, angry, annoyed, criticized, self-conscious, disgraced, scored and/or maybe embarrassed?  Doesn’t everyone know not to ask that question unless they are absolutely sure that the answer is “yes”?  Am I so big that I look pregnant?

“No, I’m done with all that,” was my simple reply and off I ran, back to my classroom.

Now, just before Christmas, with the approval of my doctor, I had slowly decreased a few of my medications and even cut one out altogether.  I did have some difficulties with the transition, including some moderate depression and fluctuating moods.  One pleasant side-effect (for me anyway) was that I lost a few pounds, without even trying (my dear husband likes me on the bigger side, however, so he wasn’t as thrilled with the change)!  The weight-loss wasn’t significant and my weight tends to fluctuate anyway, so it wasn’t a very big deal.  I really didn’t think anyone even noticed except for me and my husband.

A couple of weeks before we left to go on the vacation, I knew I needed to pull myself together so I’d be stable for what turned out to be a very unstable trip.  So, again, with the doc’s permission, I upped my doses of mood-stabilizers.  And with that increase, I regained some of those previously lost pounds.  “No biggie,” I punned to myself.  After all, I’ve been eating healthy foods, drinking tons of water and getting plenty of exercise.  The only change has been with my meds.  Some medications just have weight gain as a side-effect and it’s really, really hard to beat.

This past week, my sister and her two-year-old son were in town visiting and my now 9-year-old daughter had her birthday party at our house.  We had a great time, but some things were left undone.  For example, in the morning, as I was getting ready for church, I realized that I hadn’t done my laundry in over a week!  Really the only clean, decent thing I had to wear was an extra large tank top or a tiny tube top.  I decided that the tube top might be indecent for church, because for pants, of course, I was going to wear leggings. But then again, the large tank top was so loose that my cleavage would show.  So, I wore both; the tube underneath to cover my boobage and the tank over it to cover the tube’s tightness.   I wasn’t worried about how big the shirt was, it was long enough to cover my bum, plus I was going to wear an accentuating sweater to tie the ensemble together anyway.

My thought process while actually getting ready was really not that sophisticated.  I mean, who am I there to impress?  God loves me no matter what.  And three, four, and five-year-olds don’t care what you wear.  So I went to church and did my service.  While singing and dancing with the kiddies, I got hot, so hot, in fact, that I took my sweater off. The only thing I felt slightly self-conscious about was the large scar I have on my back, part of which was partially exposed because my hair was up.  It was shortly after that, that the comment was made…

Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?”

How should I feel?  Insulted.  I should feel insulted; throw that tank top away, go on a strict diet, starve myself, and quit taking my stupid medications that cause the stupid side-effect!

But the more I thought about it, the less insulted I felt.  I began to have a fresh perspective.  I decided not to accept it as an insult.  And here’s why:

  1. Someone thought I was enough of a Super Mommy to actually handle another kid, (especially another baby).
  2. I’m no spring chicken.  I’m not old but at age 35, the ob-gyn docs start considering you as a “high risk” patient.  I could take the comment as a compliment, even.  I look young enough to want to have more children!
  3. I’ve heard this same woman talk before.  I don’t think she tries to be mean or insulting.  I think she’s just insensitive.  And maybe she doesn’t even realize she’s saying something that others may find offensive.
  4. I really just don’t care that much about what other people think about me anymore.  Why should I let one comment bash my self-esteem when I know I’m trying my best?
  5. I don’t think I look pregnant.  Why should I care if one other person on this planet does?

20170308_Pretty Mommy 2

A very recent picture of my (not-pregnant) self!

 

So after this post, I’m going to “Let It Go;” like water off a duck’s back.

water off donald duck's back

 

Double Talk Quote: (And this is a coincidence…) “Mommy, can you give me some insults?” – Mica, after our first day at Disney World.  She was trying to say “insoles” for her shoes because her feet hurt from walking so much.

Bible Verse: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

Word that has Lost its meaning: insulted

Relatable Lyrics:  “Let It Go” – Disney’s Frozen

“Let it go, let it go… I don’t care, what they’re going to say…”

Disney - Epcot - Me Mommy Belle at Epcot with the girls, Bella, Micaela, and Grace; Elsa and Anna

Me and my girls at Epcot

 

 

 

Upside Down

upside down TP toilet paper

Despite toggling among 6 different psychiatric medications, I still have up and down days.

It was Sunday (the day Satan loves to attack the most) and I got up early to prepare my lesson for the Church’s kid’s ministry.  I felt fine, energetic even.  After reading the lesson plan, I had all kind of supplemental ideas and gathered the material I’d need for it along with everything else I’d have to take to church that morning.

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I started feeling tired.  At the same time, the babies started to wake up.  I went and laid down to cuddle them.  For some reason, tears started pouring out of my eyes.  I didn’t feel sad, just heavy and tired and overwhelmed.  My back was hurting too.  So, after much mental debate, (and the realization that I was running out of time), I sent a message to let the church know I wouldn’t be able to make it.  I needed a “down day.”  Amor and Grandma took care of the kids all morning until around nap time.

The last time I was this “sick” (Ok, yes, let’s call it like it is – “depressed”), I had come out of it only to find myself extremely frustrated by the house being upside down and things not having been done “my way.”  I was angry at Amor for not doing things more thoroughly, but mostly I was mad at myself for not being able to handle it all.  I thought about that.  

I was so down, though and isolating, that I didn’t want to get up to go to the bathroom or leave the comfort of my room to grab a soda.  I kept the babies in my room watching Curious George II from about 3 – 5:30pm.  Their sweetness brightened me, but I was still very tired.  So I sent them outside with Amor.  Grandma was in her room.  I hurriedly threw pizzas in the oven and microwaved veggies and set them up for dinner.  I did my nightly “side work” and went to bed at 6:45pm.

I woke up at 6:45am in a rush to do devotions with Mica and Hope and get them ready for school only to discover the following:  

  • Kitchen table with yesterday’s dinner not put away, covered in ants
  • Cat vomit on the floor
  • Dishes piled up in the sink
  • Toothpaste still on the toddlers’ toothbrushes (they hadn’t brushed day or night)
  • Crackers smushed into the carpet that I’d just vacuumed
  • Every trash can in the house full to the brim
  • Pointy toys littered the floor, out of place, just begging to be stepped on
  • (later:  daughter and neighbor T.P.ed the backyard!)

I shook it all off and tried to stay calm about it, but Amor sensed my irritation.  I had an appointment with my therapist but no one to watch the babies.  I really needed to get to that session!  I contacted six people before I finally got something worked out (Grandma and Mica to the rescue)!   

I spent some time turning the house right-side up again.  And it feels good for me to be right-side up again today, even though I’m still struggling.  At least I’ve got my family and they’ve got my back, and that’s what really matters.  And God’s got this.  I know.

(Written Monday 6/6/16, Twins 23 months, Mica 8, Hope 7)

upside down - Mommy Belle, Bella Brooks

Double Talk Quote: “Oh my goodness, this place is upside-down” – Amor upon coming home early to a bit of mess (ok, a lot of a mess) in the living room.  6/10/16

Bible Verse: ”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Term that has Lost its meaning: sick leave

Relatable Lyrics: “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson

“Who’s to say
I can’t do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren’t always just what they seem
I want to turn the whole thing upside down.”

A Grateful Heart

The Earthquakers 2

I’ve written before about the way God changed my heart about asking for and accepting help from others. (See the article “Pleas and Thank Yous” https://theearthquakers.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/pleas-thank-yous/).

Since I was a little girl, I have always believed in tithing. At least ten percent of any money I’ve ever made has gone directly toward a Godly cause. Amor agrees with me on this and no matter how tough things have gotten, neither of us have ever even considered not tithing. It just was not an option.

Pregnancy was more expensive than I had anticipated. Because I was carrying twins, I needed an ultrasound every week (sometimes more if they didn’t catch each baby moving with the first ultrasound). I had some insurance, but it only covered basic stuff and had a high co-pay, so those doctor’s visits really added up. Plus our trips to the grocery store were pricy as well. High quality food comes at a premium and I was determined to grow my little babies as big as they could get in the womb regardless of the cost. At about 32 weeks, I was so big that everyday tasks became very difficult. Keeping up with Mica and Hope was pretty near impossible. By 36 weeks, I was bedridden. It was all I could do to get up to pee! So Amor asked for time off work as a restaurant server and was quickly terminated leaving us pretty much penniless. We got by though, by God’s grace.

My whole life, I’ve worried about finances. My family was not well-off growing up and my parents’ fights often had a monetary undertone that kept me wondering, “Are we going to be alright?” No matter how tight things got, we always were. But I think the mentality always stuck with me. That is, until the day Amor got fired. Looking at it from a carnal perspective, this is the one time during my adult life that I should have been the most concerned about money. But I wasn’t. God took that burden from me and replaced it with a reminder, a scripture that both my parents had always stood upon and one that I’ve always heard but never really put my full faith upon: God feeds the birds that are much less significant than I. He clothes the lilies, which are here today and dead tomorrow, with such splendor and glory, not even the wisest, wealthiest man in history, Solomon, was as well adorned (Matthew 6:25-34).

Shortly after the birth of the babies, I joined a mommy’s group at our church. It was incredibly refreshing to have the emotional and moral support of other mothers, at least one of whom has twins herself. During prayer requests, I would often ask for prayer regarding our financial situation. Around mid-November, my sister Sarah and I were running a little late to one of our meetings. When we got downstairs, I noticed a few boxes of “stuff” but didn’t think anything of it, since we were collecting for “Operation Christmas Child” by Samaritan’s Purse to make shoe boxes for children overseas. But at the end of the meeting, the group leader revealed that God had put on their hearts to do an extra service project. They announced that they planned to “adopt” our family for Christmas. In addition, some of the other mommies had gotten together and collected clothes for our babies (which is what happened to be in the boxes). I was overcome with emotion. Tears flooded my cheeks. I don’t remember exactly what I said, except to try to convey how incredibly grateful I was.

Since then, other moms have brought by food, clothes, toys, supplies, and all kinds of gently used goods that have been such a blessing to us. We recently had a huge expense arise with our vehicle, an older model van, which needed some extensive work to pass inspection. We had no problems getting it fixed because so many of our every day needs have been met. Almost all of the twin’s entire winter wardrobe was donated to us. I haven’t needed to buy diapers in over a month! We’ve been given household goods and personal items such as bathroom tissue, laundry detergent, and lipstick. Christmas gifts for my 6-year old have been dropped off or sent in the mail. People from our church brought oatmeal for us nursing moms, breast milk storage bags, nursing pads, and I was even given a breast pump (BEFORE my old one broke down completely)! It just goes to show me that God knows what I need before I do and puts a plan into action.

I am so thankful and grateful to all those who have helped and continue to help. At first, I tried to keep track of who gave what so that I could write thank you cards or send thanks in a message, but with so much variety, and so much given anonymously, that has become impossible.

So I give thanks to God, who is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Thank You, Father, for blessing me with a wonderful little family, and for my extended family who offers so much love and support, especially in a time of need. Thank You for my church and for friends with open hearts who allow You to work through them. What a blessing it is to have a friend in Jesus.

Double Talk Story: Even as I end this article, I see a car in our driveway, someone else from our church to lend a helping hand. Praise God!

Bible Verse: My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Word that has Lost its meaning: worry

Relatable Lyrics: “Thank you for giving to the Lord” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j_YpZQi-I4

December 8, 2014 ( Mica 6 years, twins 5 months old)

the earthquakers - Micaela

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