struggle

Because the Sh*t Will (Eventually) Hit the Fan

I'm so worn out by the way we do motherhood. 

And I'm realizing that there should've been a tenth chapter in my book (I already published). 

If I could go back, I would call it "Embracing One Another".

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You see, there's this huge burden on my heart lately. An old elementary school friend of mine has been in the hospital for the entirety of 2017. With her son. Who has only ever known hospital walls. 

And this son of hers, precious, beautiful, perfect child, has an extremely rare form of epilepsy that could, honestly, be terminal for this little guy. 

And yet, all around me, I see mothers go about bashing and critiquing and correcting and chastising and beating one another down. 

Oh, not so much in person, but "cowardly-style", behind our thumbs and screens. 

(There's probably some of you that are still hung up over my almost use of the "s" word in my title. Some "hypocrite Christian she is".)

We're cruel. We're brutal. We're about making sure that everyone knows that this motherhood thing can't be done any better than the way we're doing it. 

(I should know. I used to be one of them. But with experience, comes wisdom.)

And then this world has women, mothers that are literally going through hell on earth, and they'd do just about anything to get out of it. 

We seem to be so consumed about one-upping those Pinterest Darlings, that we forget that we are all human beings, with real trials, and challenges, and, yes, even feelings. 

There aren't any "safe spaces" for motherhood. (Although, a lot of you may say that Target counts).

Because aren't we all trying here? 

Isn't this gig hard enough? 

I mean, maybe we aren't trying our best all of the time. Maybe, in fact, we are barely ever trying our best. I know I don't.

Maybe our best is just in the trying. And maybe that mother that feels completely guilty for not being as blog-worthy as the next mom, just needs you to say to her that it's just right. She's doing motherhood just right. 

The sh*t always will hit the fan. It just will. There's an endless supply, if you haven't noticed yet. (Story of your life, eh?)

And maybe the walls are covered in the room you're standing in. Maybe you feel like you're the only one that can clean this mess up, but in reality, it's too much for one person. 

We need to be cleaning one another's walls. Lifting each other up. Embracing one another. Showing up and doing. Encouraging. Loving. Being. Looking. 

Looking for opportunities to pray for, come alongside, give breaks, love on, and listen to other mothers. 

Just think of one thing. 

Just one. 

And do it. Words. Deeds. Living and Breathing together. 

Because it's all hard. It's so hard by itself. Life adds the extra. 

So, be the extra-takers. 

Love, ae.

Life:Beyond the Giant

"Think about what your life would be like if your 'giant' wasn't in the way?" 

(That line is from an online sermon from my church.)

I've been pondering that question over and over the past several hours. What would my life look like if I defeated the giant of anxiety, panic, and depression? What would my life be like if my health issue was treated effectively? 

I suppose, first off, I wouldn't be writing about my struggle after a medium-sized meltdown in the middle of the day. Why did I melt down? Good question. Sometimes I'm fine, and then other times I'll just lose it completely.  

I see myself dreaming once more. I used to be a HUGE dreamer. I haven't dreamed in a while, actually. I miss that. 

I would be a better wife, mother, daughter, aunt, friend, etc.  

I wouldn't be afraid to drive, take risks, or be surrounded by people without feeling like my world is imploding.  

That's my short list. I'm sure I could keep going.  

We all have a giant. Some are bigger and more intimidating than others. Whatever your giant is, I hope you know that you aren't able to slay it alone. I've quickly come to understand this one recently. My giant appears as massive as Mt.Everest most days. Maybe yours does too. But we are not meant to slay giants.

Don't be afraid to fight it. It's not doing you any good staring at your every moment, taunting you, and sucking the very life from you. If we seek to move ahead and grow and become free again, we must deal with our giants.  

I am thankful that I know the Giant-Slayer.  

He is never too preoccupied, too overworked, or too great to take on my giants. Nor is He for yours. 

Picture your life. Picture it once that giant is out of the way and you can run forward across that valley...that chasm. I'm picturing my own right now. And I'm going to keep fighting because God, the one who specializes in giant-slaying is behind me encouraging me, strengthening me, and pushing me to keep fighting.  

We must keep fighting.  

I Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 

 

Dear Mystery Illness (You've robbed me)

Six months ago, (represented in the picture above) it began. Innocent enough, I suppose. I started getting randomly dizzy and lightheaded.  

I chalked it up to my shoulder/neck pain that appeared one fine autumn afternoon in mid-November. 

Then, right before my least favorite month ran it's course, the incident occurred. On January 30th of this year, I had my first bonafide panic attack in our local Michael's craft store with all five of my little ones as witnesses.

I didn't know at the time that it was a panic attack. I had never had one before. I didn't know that one's heart could spiral so far out of control without willing it so. Without completely recalling the incident detail for detail, let's just say that I came home from that four days later and I was completely wrecked.  

And up until a few days ago, I thought I was just in a downward spiral towards a life ridden by anxiety and PTSD. Oh, with a brand new heart diagnosis. Which, I might add, is what I believed landed me in the hospital in the first place. Come to find out, that wasn't exactly the case.  

So now, almost four months later, I am faced with a somewhat "unofficially" diagnosed thyroid issue.  

This diagnosis that I am waiting for this week, has completely stolen every bit of what I knew of myself. 

As my husband, (oh, my sweet, sweet husband, I will spare you just how wonderful that man is)  played music tonight for the children to dance to he asked me what song Emma would like to hear. Our nine month old absolutely adores music and dance and she always "sings" along to songs she recognizes. While he played the song that I hadn't played in literally two months or more, I saw her face light up like a firework. She remembered the song and began her adorable little baby dance. 

I started to tear up. Then I proceeded to semi-ugly cry. You see, I used to be a really fun mommy. We used to have nightly dance parties after supper and would read stories and have snuggles and laughs afterward. And I realized, tonight, that I haven't done that in months. I have no energy. 

"Mommy, you dance!" little four year old Avery shouted tonight. I looked at her with wet eyes and said, "I would love to, but I don't have any energy right now."  

Used to, I would toss them all into our van and we would just GO! The only thing stopping us would be a vehicle on "E". (I'm not a huge fan of going to the gas station). We would drive sometimes two hours to just explore a new place, a new museum, a new something. We would figure out logistics later. I never wanted my "outnumbered-ness" to keep me from experiencing new and exciting places with my children. But now, I equate a six minute drive behind our house to the nearest AWANA program as a grand accomplishment. What a change from what once was. I can't remember the last field trip I took them on.  

This ailment has stolen so much from me. It's stolen my confidence. It's given me fear, anxiety, panic, and sheer dread of waking up every morning with nothing to look forward to except that I'm going to feel horrible. When I say horrible, I mean there are moments when I can barely catch my breath.  

It's made me think, at first, that something awesome was finally working for me to lose all of this weight I've acquired as a mother. But as the weight came off a little too easily, I became a bit suspicious. And then when the weight kept falling off and I wasn't even trying anymore, that's when I got nervous. It's still coming off. I've lost three pounds this week alone. I am still eating normally...I don't want to lose anymore.  

I've lost my joy. I've lost my faith. I've lost my hope. I've lost my sanity. And right when I thought I had a handle on my anxiety, I land in the ER last Tuesday unexpectedly. Set back. And then the past two days I've felt the worst I've ever felt in my entire life. Scared to be alone? That doesn't even touch what I feel. More like "terrified".  

I don't know what God is trying to teach me or show me or reveal to me/us during this time. It's been such a long, trying season. One thing after another. We have five young children, blessed by God, but unable to enjoy them like I once did. I find myself wishing away baby days and toddler days and hoping that I can just manage one more day of motherhood.

"Just do this one day, Alicia. This one moment."  

I've thought about myself more than I ever cared to. If you've ever suffered from anxiety, you know how it's near impossible to see past your struggle. I've been a lousy friend. I've disappointed my children because "mommy doesn't feel good again." I just want to be well. To not wish any of this precious time away because only today is here and tomorrow may never come.  

I just want to feel like I'm alive again. I want to feel well. And most of all, I want to feel His perfect peace. I miss that.  

Please, don't take anything else from me. And if you're feeling apologetic, please give me back everything you've stolen.  

Sincerely, Alicia