Posts tagged ‘God’

Stuck in Molasses Swamp

20170718_Candy Land Spread Out

I’ve been in a stuck in a swamp of major Bipolar depression for nearly three months now.  When I first felt myself falling in, I reached out to my counselor, with whom I had fallen out of contact.  I patiently awaited my psychiatrist appointment, which wasn’t until in mid-July.  My counselor didn’t want me to wait until then, however, suggesting that I “get evaluated” at a mental health institution.  That was NOT going to happen.  I have a “fear of commitment,” especially considering what happened the last time I was there.  Anyway, I saw my Psychiatrist a few days ago and she adjusted my medication quite a bit.  Of course, it’s too early to have taken effect but I am hopeful.

Everyone has ups and downs in their lives.  It is just so much more extreme for people with Bipolar disorder.  But God promises to be there every step of the way, even when our burden gets too heavy for us to bear.  Of all the symptoms a depressed person experiences, “hopelessness” has not been one of them for me.  Hope is the one thing I have been able to hold on to, to get me through this valley.  It’s a “Footprints” in the sand sort of situation:

Footprints in the Sand

If you’re unfamiliar with this poem, it’s worth the read!

 

The twins’ birthday was at the end of June, I now have two threes!

20170701_Birthday Blowout - Brooks

Though they bring me lots of joy, they are about three handfuls nowadays, stretching borders and testing limits.  I have implemented a “Stop Light” behavioral system.  Each morning they start out on green and if they stay on green they get a reward at the end of the day.  But if they misbehave, they get a warning and move to yellow, then red, then it’s Time Out.  If their behavior improves, they can move back down the color chart.  Bella often ends the day on green, but Brooks (my rough-&-tumble, all-boy, mischief maker) is usually up at the top on red.

20170718_Stop light Chart - Right thing to do

But the other night, they both ended their day on green and as a reward, I offered to play a special game with them.  I pulled out “Candy Land” and explained how to play.  They were so excited at first, but Brooks quickly became bored with the board game (pun intended) and wandered off to play something else on his own.  Bella and I continued and she got “Queen Frostine” rather quickly, which put her way ahead of me, which made me happy because I wanted her to win the game her first time playing.  But then I drew “Princess Lolly,” then got double blues which put me ahead of her.  She was cool about it, though.  As we both approached “Gloppy at Molasses Swamp” I warned her, jokingly, “Now don’t draw a red, don’t draw a red card, if you do, you’ll get stuck until you get another red card!”  The tension built as we both got closer and closer to the red game piece with the black dot on it, when low and behold, she got a purple, just past the red.  And low and behold, I drew a red and got stuck in “Molasses Swamp.”

20170718_Molasses swamp

As Bella got closer and closer to the end of the game, and I kept drawing cards that weren’t red, she started to get visibly concerned.  Finally, when she was just two colors away from winning, she took her pawn’s hand and used it to grab my pawn’s hand and pulled mine up with hers.  “I saved you, mommy, Now we both winneded!” she exclaimed as she put both pieces on “Candy Castle.”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I tried my best not to cry.  Little moments like that do save me.  In those moments no one loses.  And even the smallest of victories count.  We can’t always save ourselves but God can use others to pull us out of the swamp.

(Mica 9, Hope 8, Brooks & Bella 3, Asher 2, Audrey 5 mo)

Double Talk Quote: “Oh my gosh, I never seen that in the world!” – Brooks 6/17 (in awe at Mica’s super-long Chinese noodle)

Bible Verse: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Word that has Lost its Meaning:  stuck

Relatable Lyrics:  “Quiet you with my Love” By Rebecca St. James

“Come to Me, all who are weary
And take My yoke upon you
My burden is easy and light

Lay your head down on My shoulders
Be still my child, rest a while

And I’ll quiet you with My love
Rejoice over you with My song”

I See Two Heads!

twins sleeping

“You can’t sleep here, ma’am.” Leaning back on a couch at the thrift store, I was hoisted back into consciousness by the sale’s lady.  “Sorry, I’m pregnant.  I started feeling very dizzy, so I just sat here.”  “Oh, My manager thought you were another wine-o.” She brought me some ice water and I sat there a few more minutes until I felt well enough to drive.  I had to pick up my first-grader from school.

I knew then that I needed to see the doctor, insurance or not.  My morning sickness combined with withdrawal from bipolar medication had made me bedridden for weeks already and I was only 9 weeks along.  I had applied for coverage, but hadn’t been seen yet, due to a back-up in their system.  I went in the next day and they listened for the tiny heartbeat.  They said the baby was fine and my blood pressure was just a little low.

But I was not fine.  Over the next three months, I suffered severe nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, mood swings, and deep depression.  It was all I could do to get out of bed long enough to get Mica ready for school.  The change took a toll on my marriage.  We had been doing so well!  Well enough to think we could handle another child yet within a matter of weeks, I was wondering if we would survive this.  Had we made a mistake in getting pregnant?  Oh, then the guilt that goes along with that question…

Here’s what I wrote in my prayer journal Feb 6, 2014, at 18 weeks (about half way through my pregnancy):

“Dear God,  I’m freaking going crazy!  I cry every day.  I can’t take it back.  I should be feeling grateful and excited, I have my first ultrasound today.  But I’m afraid.  Something just doesn’t feel right.  I’m in a bad place emotionally and I’m scared it’s affecting the baby.  I feel like I’m drowning.  I am in so far over my head.  I can’t even take care of myself, much less two kids.  What the heck was I thinking?  I feel completely inadequate…  I want to see this a a gift, a miracle from You.  Lord, please make my baby healthy and help me be a good mother.  I need help, Amen.”

My entire family attended that first ultrasound.  They had told us we’d have a good chance of learning the baby’s gender. They were so excited.  I was ambivalent, though I didn’t let it show.  I wanted to be excited.  I wanted to be happy.  But the depression was so heavy it hurt.  They started the ultrasound.

“I see two heads!” the technician exclaimed.

What?  That had to be a joke, right?  We’ve just got a “funny” technician, right?  “I don’t joke about things like that,”  she said cheerfully.

Two tears swelled up in my eyes, and I felt God’s presence.  A peace swept over me, and suddenly the heaviness was lifted.  The fear dissipated.  A supernatural calm soothed my soul.  A still small voice whispered within my heart, “Everything’s going to be okay.”

Learning I was having twins explained so much:  the exaggerated pregnancy symptoms, feeling early movement, rapid weight gain, the feeling that something was “off.”  It also made me see clearly:  this was two gifts, two miracles from God, and He chose to give them to me.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

(written June 17, 2015 –  twins 11 1/2 months)

twins fight asleep

Double Talk Quote: “Do you understand what she said?  Mommy has 2 babies inside of her.” – Me to Mica.  “Yeah, I know.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted a brother or a sister so I prayed for both.”

Bible Verse: Psalm 127:3

psalms_127_3- children are a gift, reward

Word that has Lost its meaning:  fear

Relatable Lyrics: “1,000 years” by Christina Perri – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ayN39xmsI “All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow… Every breath, every hour has come to this”

Think Big and Be Big

you're just like me2 twins

Just before putting his foot in his mouth, Fred Flintstone tells himself “Think big and be big, think big and be big, think big and be big.” Although the episode ends in him feeling pretty small, it’s because his “think big” attitude is based in pride and pretension.

I love the quote, however, because when used in a healthy way, it can promote confidence and positive mental health.

In 2007, I began writing affirmation cards for myself.  They include 3-4 positive, encouraging and self-affirming sentences.  Over the years, as my faith in God has increased and the realization that all the powers I hold within are from Him, I have revised them extensively to incorporate scriptures and Biblical principals in them.  I call them my “Think Big” cards.

These cards were inspired by the Lord, as I would do my devotions in the morning.  I’ve never tried to write one.  In the beginning, I wrote them for the sole purpose of motivating myself.  But after seeing both Grandma and my sister, Sarah struggling with depression, I started lending them out.  I even typed a few samples and put them on “to-go” rings for their keys.  I believe these revelations could be helpful to anyone but could especially benefit people of faith who struggle with low self-esteem,  or mental illness, or have problems with life direction.

Over the years, as I’ve struggled for freedom, I believe (at least I hope) that I’ve grown in the Lord.  I’ve written 3 rounds of the cards over time.  I guess you could equate the messages with strategies to manage money.

1.  “Think Big” cards focus on getting out of emotional debt.  Sometimes, especially with mood disorders in particular, it feels like you’re drowning.  These affirmation + scripture combinations focus on adjusting your life view and actually seeing the positive aspects of your life.

2.  “Think Bigger” cards focus on managing day-to-day life and increase capacity to take care of yourself while incorporating God as the number one priority.

3.  “Think Biggest” cards focus on building emotional wealth.  They are about going a step beyond yourself and reaching out to others to bring God glory.

I know I’m not the only one who could benefit from this.  It needs to be shared.  One day these cards will be published and they will be a life-changing blessing to someone who is in emotional need.  My hope is that they will bless many people.  I can see them in print and on peoples’ key chains.  I can see them as a phone app that people read and reread 3-5 times a day.  I can see them meaning something to someone.  Not just me.  I am not alone.  This.  This could would should will happen.  Amen?

 

Double Talk Quote: “That cat roared at me.” – my 5-year-old, bilingual niece, Hope

Verse:  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

Word that has Lost its meaning: pride and pretension (hopefully)

Relatable Episode: summery here: http://www.tv.com/shows/the-flintstones/the-masquerade-ball-59978/

(March 10, 2015 –  twins 8 months)

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