[This is an open letter, certainly, but also a way to process for me… to write out the steps I’ve taken to see where I started and how far I’ve come. It will be too much and too little, depending on where you stand with me. Simply consider this a page from my diary. Thanks for walking with me.]
For a good while now, I have been on the verge. On the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown… it could go either way. For months I processed a little out loud and a lot quietly – but I was just inching forward. I was on the right track, certainly, and pointed in the right direction… but I was farther back than I anticipated. It was going to take more.
MORE of something.
Then I read this:
I have to fight against voices that tell me I’m wasting time, especially mine.
When God gave instructions to build the tabernacle where He would dwell, He gave people the gift of artistic design “in all kinds of crafts” — “to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” to adorn, decorate and make everything. (Ex.31:11)
Now that Jesus is here, you and I have become the tabernacle where God dwells.
We are the living temples, where Jesus lives. (2 Cor.6:16)
Each of us is created with beauty in mind, to reflect God’s artistic imprint.
[from Bonnie, over at (in)courage]
and sweet Megan’s confession yesterday…
We are over our heads right now. Like, we have to look up to see Survival Mode.
And I thought,
THIS is what I need to see. Moms, real moms, who struggle with their inner voices. Who don’t always match their blog titles. Who find themselves in the basement wondering where the last 4 months went. Who are afraid, sometimes, to take that first step. Moms who are on a similar journey and are speaking about it out loud.
I was afraid to speak it out loud.
The last few years have been bruising to both my body (GIDEON JAMES) and my spirit. Suddenly I found myself sitting at the beginning of June and completely terrified of the months ahead. No school, no schedule, no help. There were LOTS of potholes that had built up over time… some due to the exhaustion of having Littles, some from a crazy-busy work schedule for the husband, a lot from letting simple care go down the tubes.
I wasn’t reading. I wasn’t singing. I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t MOVING. I was just… surviving.
Which, and hear me here, is real and good and honest for a time… but at some point you must make an effort to move if the scenery is going to change, amen? So I sat down with Curt over email and in person and we made some plans. Specifically, some plans for me.
And with less of a mighty roar and more of tentative creep, I began to crawl out of the hole.
Because I have done it before and i will surely have to do it again.
There are some new boundaries in place.
- No gluten for 6 weeks, but it’s pretty obvious we’ll be going beyond that. Your brain is clear and you are waking up not mad at the world. Let’s stick with good, eh?
- Daily supplements (AdreneVive and NeuroCalm), which are just that: supplements to your regular medication that keeps base camp at a normal level and not in the dungeon. And I do take regular medication… let’s be clear about that.
- Regular appointments with a counselor who has objective eyes and no personal claim on my life. This started as a twice-a-month visit and has moved to once-a-month recently. Soon and very soon, this will taper off but with an open-door policy to come back and re-evaluate the tool bag if and when needed.
- Regular chiropractic appointments to fight the severe TMJ, creeping arthritis, and headaches that complicate daily life.
- A good old-fashioned check of the hormone levels to see if everything is still clicking correctly in there after three (equally beautiful and insane) children. The results of this test will help modify the supplements in #2, but the test takes a month to complete.
- Help once a week. This, perhaps, is worth more than everything listed above. Once a week, for a couple hours DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, I get to leave the house with no children and write, grocery shop, fight with phone companies, go to my regular doctor appointments, and eat. Alone.
- I asked a friend to mentor me in the fall. We have no idea what that means… either one of us… but I have loved her for years and always look forward to church softball season knowing I will see her in the bleachers. I was challenged in April to actually ask… like, verbally SPEAK [*freaking out*]… to someone about meeting and walking together for a bit. They said to consider your life at the moment and think of a woman a little older, just one or two life steps ahead that might walk alongside me (and me alongside her) for a little while. Maybe a class together or a book together and certainly food together… we haven’t figured it out yet. But I did it. I DID IT. She laughed at me, and then she said yes.
All of this?
Completely out of character for me. Do you know how many checks I’ve written this summer? A lot. Do you know how hard it is for me to say out loud that a babysitter comes once a week for me? Ridiculously hard. Because I know there are moms out there with more kids and more special-needs and more animals and more everything and yet function just fine. The reality is- I was not functioning fine. I was not healthy and I was spinning my wheels.
Thank goodness for a spreadsheet husband (Right, Megan?!) who can step into those chaotic moments and say, “Ok. Here’s what we’re going to try.” This approach doesn’t always fly with me (stop laughing), but when you are on the deep side of a hole, a sturdy, evenly-spaced ladder is exactly what you need.
What I need.
Yeah for marrying well. Go, God.
No, seriously. How amazing is it to have and know a God who begs you to have a full life?
I say all of this to simply acknowledge that I am not above or beyond help.
And, neither are you.
It is not a waste of time.
It is never a waste of time to try to make things better.
If you could change one thing right now… one little thing that might make a world of difference, what would you change?
Come on over. Let’s talk about it.
*pats picnic table*
I’ve got lemonade and brownies to help us figure it out.