Tag Archives: Acceptance

To Baby #4?

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To Baby #4?

It’s been almost 3 months since I last posted…January 6th, to be exact. I know this because the post, Dear Baby #3, was a dedication to our miscarried baby who was supposed to be born on that exact date.


When I published Dear Baby #3 a few months back, I already had my next post written, planned to be sent out a few weeks later on January 29th. I am also certain of this date, exactly. It was going to be January 29th. Why? Because I was supposed to be 15 weeks pregnant.


It was my rainbow baby, my beautiful ending, the blessing I couldn’t wait to share. Unfortunately, I miscarried again, and found out about it on January 6th, the very day we chose to share the painful experience of our first miscarriage.


Coincidence? Ironic? Whatever it may be, it was CRAZY.


So it’s been awhile since I wrote because I didn’t even know where to begin. I was somewhere in between “let’s just get something on paper” and actually agonizing over it. So today my hands are up, I surrender, and I’m simply going to post it, certainly not because someone is making me, but because once again it’s all a part of the crazymaddening journey, embracing the ups and downs of life while struggling with mental health.


We found out we were pregnant unexpectedly, but we were thrilled nonetheless. I remember that first ultrasound, the anticipation (there’s just ONE this time, right?!) and that heartbeat. What a remarkable, miraculous sound. The nausea, the throwing up, the constant sickness (not just “morning” this time around) – certainly no fun. But it’s so worth it, and as I write this, I’m reminded that I would do anything to get it back if it meant I was still carrying our baby.


Things were running smoothly. Being pregnant during the holidays is quite lovely as I didn’t think twice about the extra sweets and treats, although I mostly craved all things salt and carbs. Christmas was different this year celebrating in Florida but still very special. I was getting the ultimate Christmas present and nothing could top it – another baby!


My next appointment and ultrasound was on January 6th, our 3rd baby’s original due date. I thought, “How cool are you, God? Today is a sad day, a day that we could think about death, and yet I’ll get to hear life today (in the form of the baby’s heartbeat). I was 12 weeks pregnant.


So today is the day, and I sit in the waiting room forever (don’t you always at the doctor?) Meanwhile, I’m receiving an abundance of emails and private messages from people who read the blog post and want to share their personal stories of miscarriage and suffering. I’m reading these heartfelt messages feeling honored, and yet also a little bit guilty, because they’re pouring out their hearts and also giving condolences about something that happened several months ago, and now I’m actually pregnant.


Until I’m not. Present tense to past tense, just like that. I wait forever in that room only to find out there is no heartbeat. The baby measured at 11 weeks, and had died.


WHAT? Seriously? HUH? Shock. Utter shock.


I’m still kind of shocked. Acceptance, mostly. But shocked? Yes.


This pregnancy made sense. It was different, a complete surprise, totally natural and unplanned and from God. Although I’ve never spoken of our infertility struggle on the blog, Miles and Norah received the help of science (and yet still just as much God – my infertility warriors just said “Amen”) to come into this world, as well as the pregnancy from spring of 2016.


So you see, it seemed perfect. It made sense. I had no doubts that this pregnancy wouldn’t result in a healthy baby. Chris and I were beyond excited. And then just like that, in a split second, everything can change. I leave the office with nothing except 10+ extra pounds and nothing to show for it.


Very few people knew. Some family, some close friends, a couple neighbors. I just got around to sharing with some of my new Florida friends the NIGHT BEFORE. And so I’m kicking myself and saying why couldn’t I just have waited a little longer? Why did I do this?


But wow, was I wrong. I was instantly reminded of the important of fellowship and community as that group of women provided flowers, cards, and a meal for my family every night the following week. Relatives came for appointments and sent food.


Side note: I wish I was one of those “I don’t eat when I’m sad or stressed” people, but I’m not. Quite the opposite. So the food was a blessing.


Everyone is different, but once you experience grief you have a better idea of what to do when someone else is mourning. The “Tell me what I can do to help” or “I’m hear to listen” is great, don’t get me wrong. But it was the “I’m making a meal and bringing it over ______ day” or the “I’m picking up the kids to play one day this week – what day works for you?” that was wonderful. Also the random cards/flowers/pictures mailed. Those things helped. No one wants to ask for help. Sometimes we don’t even realize we need help, so that proactive, assertive hand was much appreciated.


I immediately went back on my Lexapro preparing for the hormone drops to come. I’ve wondered if it’s going to be enough but for right now it is. It’s so crazy to think that just over a year ago I had 4 or more meds to take regularly just to get through each day. I truly believe living in the Sunshine State over the last 8 months has done wonders for my mental health.


So in the end, to the people who messaged and emailed and sent their love on January 6th, the day of the “Dear Baby #3 post”…there are no words. Because you see, although you thought you were sharing and giving and sending love because of a painful miscarriage months ago, you were giving me exactly what I needed since another one happened that very day. Whether you knew it or not, you were being used by God. And I thank you. I thank you very much.


So, that’s that. Will we every have another child? I don’t know. Our family doesn’t feel totally complete, but yet I’m at peace with the wonderful gifts we already have in the form of Miles and Norah. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my mental well-being for another child (and in turn jeopardizing our family) so fertility help is out of the question (because it’s probably part of why I went to the hospital in the first place, a post for another day). We will just have to live life as its meant to be, adjusting our expectations but staying humble and grateful all the same.


2017 has not been easy. I’ve been at the dentist and specialist at least a total of 10 times already. They know me well. Thankfully my teeth are fixed and we’re good to go. On a more serious note, my dad started off the year sick and continues to struggle. I was in Chicago for a couple weeks in Feburary while he was in the hospital, and unfortunately he’s back there now. He has been on a challenging uphill climb, facing battle after battle, but the Lord is by his side. I see this so clearly.


I’d like to blame all of this on President Trump, but I try to keep politics out of it.


There are exciting things happening in the next month. We are headed to Disney this weekend for the first time with the kids. Some of my previous students will be there from Illinois for their band trip so I can’t wait to see faces from home! Our first vacationers arrive to visit the first week of April, we get to see Chris’ brother and awesome girlfriend in Orlando the weekend after, and then we head to Chicago to see friends and family!


There’s lots of positivity on the horizon. God is good. He is faithful. We will march on. And do us a favor – keep my father in your prayers.


I’ll end with a verse my brother reminded me of today:


“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” Psalm 40:1-3

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Sunday Evening Blues

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Sunday Evening Blues

 

 

It’s been awhile since I posted. I have stories, and I’ve even written some of them; I just haven’t gotten around to transferring them from paper/Microsoft Word/random napkins to WordPress. 


In the meantime, it’s 8:00 on a Sunday, and Chris goes back to work tomorrow, and I’m reminded of the Sunday Blues.


As a kid, you get the blues because the weekend is over and school is the next day (unless you were one of those type-A-goodie-goodies who finished your schoolwork before Friday supper and usually looked forward to school..but who is like that, really? I don’t know anyone like that…stop looking at me! Seriously). As an adult, you get the blues because you have to go to work. This was especially true as a teacher (or any job that you have to take home), finishing up the grading you neglected, planning for the week, etc.


Point is, as a kid, you dread Sunday nights. As an an adult, you dread Sunday nights. You realize what’s coming (Monday – oh no!) and you have zero control and you start to feel all pissy.


Prime example: A friend texts to say “What a lovely day it was! I hope you were able to go outside and enjoy it. Have a great night.”


That’s nice, huh? I’m lucky to have a friend like that. Yet, I can’t even respond like a normal person because the Sunday Blues already took over my psyche. I’ve been caught. So I say,


“Well it was waaaaaaay to windy here and I can’t even talk about this weather because it just ticks me off and it’s the Windy City; even when it tries to be nice it can’t be. Glad you enjoyed it though.”


Or something along those lines.


Wow. I guess the joyful heart from this morning’s sermon stayed in the church when we left. I did apologize and give my excuses for my irrational response and even went on to say that I should LOVE Chicago and it should LOVE me because we’re both totally acting menstrual, and in my defense, quite literally.


And she’s hasn’t responded yet but she will because she loves me and that’s what unconditional friendship is. Maybe she’ll see this post first. Hi, _________! Cheers to you!


But today is the Sunday after Easter Sunday. For many of us, our students, kids, families, teachers (woo hoo!) were on Spring Break this past week. Some of you lucky ones are just getting started, but many of are done, which is what makes this particular Sunday more bluesy than normal. Except for parents of school-aged children – I’m pretty sure you’re having quite a celebration right now, hands in the air, thankful the end of break is upon you, shouting, “PTL!! We survived the longest week everrrrrrrr!”


So if you’re feeling blue on this Sunday, choose a mission. You can’t control that Monday is around the corner, so find something positive you can control. A mission.


You can see from these pics below, Miles was on a mission, a mission for candy-filled eggs. And I loved it. It’s like he just knows his Mama’s heart; he understands my love and my need and my close-knit relationship with candy.

My mission for tonight? To NOT finish the Easter candy. I thought I was doing so well until I realized I left it all at my parents’ house, so I have no choice. It’s a good thing as I’m trying to break up with candy (and most sugar in general) right now, but break-ups suck.


Mom, if you’re reading this, the candy is hidden in my bathroom closet in a white bag. Please throw it away! I repeat – THROW IT AWAY. 


So now my mission is to see the positive. Candy not here means I can’t fail my original mission! Chris having work to do means the TV is free (we own one, I know, GASP) and therefore I can binge-watch more Grey’s! And I got this time to say hello to you. Take that, Sunday Blues.


I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Here are a few more pictures from the beautiful day. Yes, even beautiful in Chicago.

(All but two photos below are professional photographs taken from our church (Amazing Love Lutheran) Easter egg hunt, courtesy of a member who happens to be a photographer. He is awesome! Looking for a photographer in the area? Check out Lucas Benjamin Photography).

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just as i am

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just as i am

As we ring in 2016, there are no pressure-fused resolutions and unrealistic goals this year. The ability to dream, aspire, and live a life full of possibilities and opportunity is not only extraordinary, but something we often take for granted in our Western culture and specifically America.


So just because I’m avoiding the pressure that comes with my own personal resolutions doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming or believing.


Journey is in your head now, right?


Anyway, I found the words of one of my faves, Glennon Doyle, quite refreshing yesterday.


“I don’t want a new, better life in 2016. I just want new eyes to see that my life is already staggeringly beautiful.

I don’t want to be a better mom in 2016. I just want new eyes to see that the miracle is not good better best — the miracle is that these people are mine and I am theirs. Full stop.

And I don’t want to be a BETTER ME in 2016. Screw that. I don’t want to chase after some imaginary more fabulous version of myself. I AM what the people I love need. I already AM. And when we are always BECOMING we have no room to BE. So I’m done striving. I’m fine, thanks. I’m showing up to love my people and you and the world this year JUST AS I AM.

Don’t try to be better. Just notice that it’s all good enough already.”


Thanks lil G. Yes, yes and YES. I love it. This piece flows nicely in cadence with the last post, “Just Breathe.”


Just as I am is a hard idea. Won’t be easy. My first attempt at this will be in 2 weeks when I run my first (and probably last!) half-marathon. Rather than focusing on competition, time and perfection, my hope is to just breathe at MY pace, refusing to feel shame for its slow but steady characteristics (perhaps more slow than steady), and just BE at the race.


I’ll remember why I signed up in the first place – to accomplish something I never thought possible. I’ll run side by side with my dad – a mentor, incredible father, and friend – and create a memory that will last forever, finishing the race arm-in-arm, whatever time it may be, embracing the walking breaks and moving forward, one step at a time, just as I am.


Just breathe. Just as I am. A couple mantras for 2016.


Remind me, will ya?

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Happy New Year!

Letter to a Stranger

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To the high school student in the pharmacy drive through, dropping off various scripts with your friends, crying over how you’ll explain why you’ve missed school for the last few weeks due to a mental hospitalization…


You’re not alone. It’s no one’s business even though people talk. People will think what they want to think. You could’ve traveled to Mexico, and without a tan, rumors would still fly. When I left work for almost a month, the rumor mill rolled. Most people assumed I had a miscarriage. I didn’t agree, but I didn’t correct. Better that than the looney bin, right?! ………….. Too soon? Sorry.


Taking the time for YOU and gaining the tools and coping skills necessary to live your best life is priceless. One day you’ll look back and realize it was one of the tipping points, one of those valley experiences that got you back up the mountain again. 


So tell them what you want. Someone has cancer. Someone died. You went on a mission trip. Didn’t you know I sing/act/perform in a traveling circus on the side? You were personally selected for a medical trial because of your special genes and it’s very hush-hush. People believe the craziest shiitake, really.


Or, tell the TRUTH. Say you needed some time to yourself to figure things out. (You can go with the traveling circus line; I didn’t tell the truth, either, at least not until the blog came out).


Although I’m almost double your age, when people hear of my experience, it’s not weird, or pity-filled, and there’s usually no elephant crowding some tension-filled room. Sure, sometimes it’s awkward, but do you want to know a secret?


I think a lot of people are actually envious. The concept of exiting your current life and responsibilities to “figure you out” is very hard to imagine, but something I know more people wish they could do. It seems impossible. Unimaginable. 


Heck, when I was told the hospital had been called for my “exit from society” and “entrance into the unknown,” I calmly explained (it was a true “calm before the storm”) my 7th graders had research papers due and I was in charge of the current food drive at school. “Let’s just push it back a month,” I said, plain as day. “Surely there is a better time for this.”


But there is no better time.


(There were lots of ugly tears and angry words before I ever believed that statement, so it’s okay if it takes awhile).


Now, if y’all really know me, you know I couldn’t listen to this desperate teen’s brokenness and drive away while I’m in the lane next to her waiting my turn. So truth is, I did talk to her. Right there. It was quick, and I wish I could’ve listened more, but I told her what I thought.


I’m proud of you. I’m so proud of you for taking the time to work it out. There’s the scared ones, the ones in denial, the cynics, and many more. But you, my dear friend – you are one of the BRAVE ones. It’s takes courage to look deep inside yourself, strength to get help. Screw the gossip and the people who will use your absence to become the latest story. Keep your head up high and your smile wide. You go girl.


And when I drove away, I cried, grateful for that opportunity, and hopeful for that girl. And I knew in my heart – that was no coincidence right there.


 Almighty God, even in the drive-thru, Your presence is so alive.

Christopher Columbus Day Reflection

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I was ambushed. 


Disclaimer: I’m not a history buff. I don’t teach Social Studies. My first year of teaching I embarrassingly confused World War I and the Revolutionary War. True story. During research papers I also called Chris in the middle of class to ask who won the Vietnam War in an attempt to help a student write his paper. He conveniently switched topics after it was clear I still couldn’t help him. Bless those first year guinea pigs. Bless them.


Anyway, what I want to say has nothing to do with Columbus Day, really. I mean absolutely nothing. But, in my crazy-randomness of thinking, I made a far-fetched connection and decided to tie-in this day that teachers and students love (Yesss to long weekends! Sorry to working parents!)


Here it goes. Christopher Columbus/discovering America/interaction with the Natives – it’s controversial, I’m aware. We’re taught to celebrate this man and the day he sailed the blue in 1492. You know the story; a story, like all stories, that has more than one side.


Good educators teach both sides to the story, that although we are thrilled as Americans to have a United States of America, this exploration led to the destruction of American Indians who were happily settled in this territory before Columbus and whoever else took over. Again, not a history buff.


Whether we should thank Columbus for his ambush and celebrate the day, or boycott the National holiday altogether, I have zero opinion. In fact, a small, arrogant part of me thinks that people who have huge problems with this issue should get some new problems, because please people, there’s worse things. Syria? Human trafficking? Unclean water for the majority of people on this planet?


I digress.


Today I write you to say I am very thankful for a takeover. No one sailed their ship to my house, obviously. And, it’s not really a takeover when you ask for it…which, by the way, is a blog all on its own. When you need help, YOU have to do something about it. Don’t WAIT for someone to figure it out. Don’t ASSUME someone will notice. ASK.


So…yesterday. Chris had a school commitment (district golf outing – difficult work, I’m sure) and although the kids are teething and not sleeping as well, I was determined as ever to get to church on my own with both of them.


No one could have guessed our morning was chaotic based on our matching outfits and big smiles entering the building. Granted, 2 against 1 is never easy, so some people may have assumed it wasn’t easy getting out the door.


Who am I kidding? We bring the circus everywhere we go.


Anyway, I managed to get myself ready and the kids ready and got to church on time. I did text someone in advance to see if there would be an extra hand or two if need be.


Well, it was need be. No, the kids weren’t awful. Yes, we ended up in the cry room. But it was me – call it my exhaustion, slight mental instability, whatever. As my church friend/childcare helper/earthly savior of the day helped me put the crying kids in their car seats, the rest of the day seemed daunting and impossible. And it was only 10:30 in the morning.


“Do yall have lunch plans?” I asked.


When they didn’t, I took a deep breath as the tears welled up and went for it. “Can you come by and help me get the kids out of the car and give me a chance to get their lunch ready?”


Now, I do this most days on my own. Getting them in and out of the car, preparing lunch, putting them down for nap – this is second nature. I know how to do this on my own, and so does Chris. I don’t actually need someone to help me do this, but yesterday, I did. I needed someone to takeover.


I knew my limits. I knew I felt off. So I set my guilt and shame to the side for a hot minute and simply asked.


Next thing I know, we’re in my bedroom talking/processing/deep breathing while her 8 or 9? and 13-year old sons are feeding Miles and Norah lunch. Bless them. Bless her. Thank you Lord for community. They left and I never even fed them. I mean, whoa. Are these not the kind of people we all desperately need in our lives???


This ambush to my normal routine wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable. People, we were made for one another! Love God, Love People. If we can get this right, all the other stuff can go to the wayside (I’ll add “for the most part” because I’m not looking to start theological discussions).


Yesterday I was shown immense grace and love. I was embarrassed at first, but later empowered by my willingness to be vulnerable. It’s in our brokenness that God can truly work in us. Only then can we experience his full power and healing.


It didn’t matter if the kids and I “looked” the part at church. Gotta love cheesy moms who do the matching outfits and don’t even attempt to deny it was completely intentional.


On the inside, I was hurting. I needed an ambush of love. And I got it.


What does this have to do with Columbus? Pretty much nothing. I
 said it was far-fetched. Nonetheless, enjoy the holiday if you’re off. Yay for my hubby being home!


Have a great week.

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Worries be gone! & Brotherly Love

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We said our goodbyes to the southeast and are back home in Illinois! Thankfully we’ve been welcomed to sunshine and 80’s, making the transition much smoother this time around for me (compared to leaving Florida in January with the inevitable snow and harsh cold temps ahead).


My family has vacationed in St. Augustine, FL since I was a baby. I may have mentioned this previously, but St. Augustine has always symbolized peace and strong family ties. Despite every move as a child, St. Augustine was the one predictable thing my brother and I could rely on; therefore, it’s a special place. And now that my parents are retiring there, it’s not just the vacation spot anymore; it’s home.


Dad still works in Chicago and there’s no telling when he’ll retire. It’s funny, because even 5 years ago I cried and cried about my parents’ impending move to Florida. Part of it was because I was still relying on them too heavily for my emotional well-being, part of it was because I never thought I’d actually end up in the Midwest and I was already jealous of their destined nice weather. Mostly it was because I knew I would miss them terribly.


I can’t tell you how many countless times “the move” has been brought up in therapy. It’s hilarious, really, when I think about how much wasted energy has gone into this one-day-this-is-going-to-happen-what-will-I-do fear and anxiety. It’s also very sad.


Consuming your thoughts with the world of “what-if’s” is not only anxiety-provoking, it’s debilitating, and it shows a lack of trust and faith.


We can’t control our thoughts. Period. Try to tell yourself NOT to think something, and that thing will be the only thing you CAN think about. But allow your thoughts to simply be thoughts, nothing more, and they lose their power. Better yet, give them over to God, and then they’re really in the best hands.


One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 10:5.

It states, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”


When I’m worrying about the future, focusing on the what-ifs, I’m taken away from the present, missing out on what’s happening now. Christ says “I know the plans I have for you” in the book of Jeremiah. There is no reason for me to allow endless worry into my thoughts. But when it starts to happen, I let God capture them and turn my mind towards good. Rather than continuing the cycle of fear and doubt, I put my faith in Him out of obedience. That’s what that verse means to me. And let me tell you, it’s become quite the life verse through this CrazyMAD journey. Does that happen all the time? No. But it’s the goal.


Transitions have never been easy for me. They’re fun and exciting, but challenging, too. In the past, coming home from a trip (especially one where I am blessed to see lots of family) could take me 3 days or more to get out of a seeping depression, wishing to be back, struggling to move forward with reality.


I am so thankful that this time it didn’t even take 24 hours. Rather than staying under the covers, pity-partying my way through the post-travel days, I’m happy to be home with my family of 4. Even as I write, Miles and Norah are chasing each other through the house (yet again), with full-on smiles and squeals of glee. Thank you, Lord, that I’m not missing this precious moment.


Well, this was going to be a post about our family vacation, but it turned into this instead. Hopefully the message is exactly what one of you needs to hear, and if not, maybe there’s a family member or friend who could benefit from the words instead.


More to come,

Rachel


Side-note: When I reflect on how or why I’m doing better emotionally right now, there are variables to consider. I see doctors less frequently and dosages have lowered, yet I’m feeling stable at this time. There’s no doubt that sunshine and warm weather plays a huge role in my treatment, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s partly accepting my weaknesses. I know worrying about the future is a place of feebleness and vulnerability for me. Rather than fighting it, trying to make it better on my own, I’m letting it be, so Someone stronger and more powerful can combat it instead.


Once again, does this happen all the time? Heck no! But it’s the goal.


Double side-note: Thanks to my brother, Brad, who I realize now most likely inspired this post. One thing I love about our relationship is the openness and honesty we have with one another. One night on vacation we were out along with our spouses and a random conversation suddenly turned intense, resulting in some harsh words and hurt feelings. However, through this discussion, Brad reminded me that living the Christian life isn’t about looking the part and following the rules. It’s a heart matter. And the more we see our need for God, the more we can be used and live our best life for His glory.

I love that I not only have an earthly brother, but a brother-in-Christ. Let me tell you – only a spiritual connection like that could turn our heated debate into all four of us bowing our heads in prayer and hugging it out. Were people looking at us like we were crazy? You betcha. But who cares? Now that’s some cool God stuff right there.

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2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Independence

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Less than 2 weeks ago, millions of Americans celebrated Independence Day, a time to gather with friends and family and appreciate the freedoms of this great nation.

Independence….such a loaded word. We pride ourselves on being independent – self-sufficient, self-governing, fully autonomous – yet we were built for relationships and community, made to love and rely on one another.


This idea does not come easy for many of us, myself included. We like the feeling of independence…less vulnerability, smaller chance to be disappointed by others. (I mean, who can forget Destiny’s Child? All the women, who are independent, throw your hands up at me…) 


I seriously just YouTubed the video and took a dance break, a tribute to my high school years.


Anyway…behold below, a reflection on my journey from independence, to dependence, and back again.


When I originally recognized some of my “struggles” for what they really were – not just a weakness or character flaw, but a true CrazyMad medical issue – you would think I would naturally feel better. “Yay! It’s not me; it’s the chemical imbalance, a mental battle that will not resolve with the mind over matter concept.” Relief, right?


Sort of YES, but mostly NO. Accepting my anxiety to be more than a personal error meant I had to depend on something bigger than myself to get better.


As a Christian, you would think this idea of dependence would be easy. I know God is great and powerful and my need for Him is unquestionable. There is nothing we can do as human beings to be truly fulfilled apart from Christ; this is the foundation of my faith. In various seasons of my last 29 years (yes…the 3-0 is coming!) I’ve wrestled with God, stubbornly refusing to let Him into situations where I needed Him the most. But however cheesy the mantra “Let Go, Let God,” it rings truth. When I surrender and depend on Him in the day-to-day, life isn’t necessarily easier (it’s not supposed to be), but it sure is more peaceful.


I digress. My whole point is that the idea of dependence should have felt somewhat familiar because of my faith. So I have to depend on a counselor or a medicine to be “normal;” who cares, right?


Wrong. I cared.


At least at first. Although I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a solid decade, I’ve only embraced it in the last couple of years (and honestly finally accepted it when I outed myself with CrazyMaddening World this past fall), and for a lot of that time, it only made me feel more dependent and less fully…me.


Then 2014 comes kids. Immediately any independence I had left flies out the door with a big smack in the face. Nursing twins and simply keeping them alive was a full time job. I felt chained to my house and literally imprisoned, sometimes crying in jealousy when Chris got to leave and go to work. Even if I wanted to go somewhere, I had to be back in time for a feeding or pump while I was away.


On a sidenote, I’m aware the breastfeeding was my choice, but it was one way I could feel a little less dependent on Chris. For the first time in my life I wasn’t working (or getting paid at least) and nursing was a way to save money and contribute.


You would think the fact that Miles and Norah were solely dependent on me would bring some sort of validation, but it rarely did. For the most part I felt completely dependent on everything, all independence gone, and It. Was. Terrifying.


With all this talk of dependency, where does the independence and freedom come in?


Well, fast forward to the last 6 months. Nursing is complete. The kids are able to do more on their own. I’ve made a “working at home/stay at home” life for myself through the gym, bible study, library activities, play dates and church opportunities. I resigned from my job, albeit hesitantly, having full faith in the Lord and my husband that with sacrifices we could make it work together.


The thing is, I used to judge myself based on my career and schedule. The busier I was, the more important I must be. Watch me knock off this to-do list! These lesson plans rock! Look at all the people who need me! I could go on and on and on.


Part of me used to feel more independent then. Stronger. Really needed. Very “important.”


Truth is, I was suffocating. And it made me more sick. And I certainly wasn’t my best self.


So today, I’m here to share that although I have reasons to feel more dependent than ever (especially considering I make no income), I actually feel more independent than I have in awhile. I can actually breathe!


Allowing breathing room in my life has transformed me. Yes, I have to get over the fact that I’m not as busy. I have to shake off the feeling that people think I must have it soooo easy (stay-at-home mom, what do you do all day anyway?) even if no one is thinking that. I have to rely on God and things that truly matter for my self-esteem.


No, I don’t make money. I don’t delegate duties or run any committees. I have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees that aren’t being used at the moment.


BUT. I can play with my kids whenever I want. I can go to the gym whenever I want. I can plan my day however I want. I can take a nap any day I want (provided they nap well that day). If that’s not independence, what is? It’s pretty awesome, and sometimes, I feel guilty.


Well, today I’m exchanging the guilt for grateful and thanking God for my independence!


For those of you feeling the exhaustion and monotony of the daily grind, I feel you. I hear you. Sometimes it seems like you’re stuck and there’s no way out, but there are choices. Do what you can to take care of yourself. Don’t get pressured by the idea that more is better. Do something kind for someone else. Give yourself breathing room.


Turns out, my full resignation and complete dependence on what (and Who) matters most during this season has given me more independence than I’ve experienced in a long time.


And I am grateful.