Sustaining: Finding Rest

Last week, I talked about the different types of Bible study that I have done in the last few years.  They change up as the rhythms and seasons of my life change.  Right now, I’m in a sustaining season.

This week, I’ve been using a devotional from a Bible app about finding rest.  I figured in this period of anxiety, focusing a few minutes of my day resting in God’s arms and promises could only be beneficial to me.

In this study, a particular verse has remained in my thoughts throughout my week.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  – Psalm 63:1

This resonated with me because lately, I’ve been really thirsty.  Between this incredibly hot summer and breastfeeding, I’m longing for a cool drink of water just about all day.  Especially after my morning walks with the boy.  The temperatures this week are in the triple digits, and although I tend to get out early before the heat really settles in, it’s still pretty warm during those walks.  While Sam is in his cool, shaded stroller, I am walking in the direct sunlight with only the clothes on my back and the sunscreen on my skin to protect me.

When I arrive back home, the first thing I do is reach for a water bottle in the fridge.  The iced water replenishes me and cools down my inner temperature.  And while it’s nice to have a cold cloth on the neck or to stand in front of a fan, nothing compares to a glass of cold water.  Because it works from the inside out.  Just like God.  The writer of the Psalm longs to drink in God’s spirit so that it can replenish from the inside out.  And nothing compares to that renewal.

What is sustaining you lately?

 

Advertisements

Continuing the Conversation

I want to continue sharing other people’s stories or articles from around the internet, so here are three new voices to share.

Miscarriage: Expert gives tips on how to cope with it – A straightforward article out of India about things not to say to a couple going through a miscarriage

Please Stop Saying This To Women Who Can’t Have Any More Babies – An authentic (with profanity) blog post from a mom of three who wanted to have more children but biologically can’t.  This is a part of the community that, at times, I struggled to empathize with because I didn’t have any children, but articles like this broaden my awareness and shed an honest light on secondary infertility.  And some of the things she lists are things that resonate with my situation as well, as well as other parts of the community.

‘Opening the grief of miscarriage’ – BBC article that interviews one woman who shared her miscarriage experiences online and found a community of support.  It has some neat statistics of how the internet has helped and hurt women struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss.

If you have never experienced pregnancy loss or infertility, I can guarantee there is someone in your life who has.  While the above stories may not be the same experiences for everyone, they can definitely open that window to more understanding and empathy for what everyone goes through.  And for those of you who are in the midst of these unknowns or losses, you are not alone.  May these words uplift and encourage you today.

Do you have any posts or articles that have touched you or compelled you to share?

The Farmer’s Market

I love going to the Farmer’s Market.  I hadn’t been yet this spring or summer because of the baby, but I finally went last weekend.  And I took the little boy with me. Granted, it was during the normal time of the day that I take him for a walk in the stroller, so he slept through this experience as he does most stroller rides, but I see this as only the beginning to a fun tradition.

20180714_095323

It seems bigger, which I think is great.  And it’s so much more than vegetables.  There were people selling jewelry, apparel, lotions, hot foods, even a bookseller (which I managed to resist this time, but I don’t know about next time.  They were children’s books, though any book tends to be my kryptonite).

20180714_095506

But there were a lot of vegetables and fruit.  And the fruit was aromatic.  After making one trip around the entire market, I settled for the biggest fruits and vegetable booth, mostly because they were selling okra.  But the fruit smelled so good, I ended up buying some of them as well.

20180714_111307

This was my haul.  I also purchased a cranberry raisin walnut bread and a pain au chocolat from a bakery booth.  The bread was a perfect balance and excellent warmed up with a little butter.  And the pain au chocolat was ridiculously delicious.  The croissant part was buttery and the chocolate center was perfect.  Plus, the fruit was perfectly ripe.

Michael wasn’t able to go with us this time, so I know we will be back again at least one more time this year (though it’s open every Saturday until November, so it will probably be more than just one more time).  I’m so grateful to have access to these food options, and I look forward to my next visit!

Ember In The Ashes: A Review

814xg3ckbpl

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since the third book is coming out in June, there was a lot of hype around this series. So, I thought I would check it out. I really enjoyed this first book and look forward to the rest of the series. It’s a YA fantasy series written by Sabaa Tahir that has a lot of Roman Empire influences.
It’s told from two different perspectives. Laia is a Scholar, a group who have been conquered and mostly enslaved by the Martials. Laia has tried to keep a low profile, but when her brother is taken to prison, she finds herself involved with a Rebel group and became a spy in hopes to rescue her brother. Elias is a Martial, the oppressive ruling group. He is a student at a harsh, dangerous school for elite soldiers and plans to escape. But events change his plans and fate brings these two perspectives together.
The plot was fast-paced. And it’s pretty dark. I like the theme of faith, not just believing in yourself, but believing in a bigger part of a story you can’t see. Faith is something personally important to me. It’s how to function through dark or tough times.

There is some light profanity. They used “hells” and “bleeding” as curse words. Also, as far as sexual content, there are a couple of kissing scenes which imply more graphic sexual desire. Also, there are some threats of rape or sexual assault. And there are a lot of instances of violent content. There are fights to the death throughout the story, some to answer the question what would you sacrifice for the greater good?

It’s a well-written book that I really enjoyed. It’s not very in depth, but I felt like it hit the theme points pretty well. I’m hoping I will enjoy the rest of the series just as much! It’s a recommend from me!

Bible Study

In this season of my life, Bible study looks completely different than it did a year ago.

At first, I felt a little guilty.  My Bible study didn’t look like what I thought it was supposed to look like.  But then I realized that it doesn’t have to be the Instagram picture in my head of the early morning time, with a cup of tea or coffee, an open Bible along with a pen and notebook.

While it still includes some prayer journal time at night, my mornings include a verse or two of scripture on my own, and then some kids worship songs with the boy (he is loving Father Abraham).  Last year, I dug in deep on some of my favorite women of the Bible which then led to some more digging into genealogy and wherever my curiosity took me.  But right now, with the unpredictable nature of my day, that just isn’t feasible.

That’s when I realized Bible study can be all the above things, but it can also be other things.  My time in the Word has changed depending on my circumstances over the last five years, and they seem to fall into three categories.

Challenging

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:1

This is the digging deep time.  It’s diving into the stories of men and women in the Bible, allowing my curiosities to guide me.  It may lead to studying a particular book or workbook that will challenge me, not just mentally but spiritually as well.  It’s the stretching and reaching part of a study that I love to do, and when I do, I get obsessed.

Comforting

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

Right after I lost my daughter, I needed God.  I needed his comfort.  I spent more time journaling than I read during this time, but I did lean on verses and stories in the Bible that bring me that comfort.  When I find a verse that soothes my soul, I write it down for these particular moments.

But also, I would listen to music.  I feel like God’s Word and his promise can play out in music.  I would ball up on the floor, crying my eyes out, just playing the same songs over and over.  Songs that remind me that God hasn’t forsaken me.

Sustaining

“Behold, God is my helper. The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.” Psalm 55:4

This is where I am now.  There are times I don’t even know what day it is.  Everything is just running together as I am caring for this little boy in my arms.  I don’t have the time for challenging study, but I still need something to sustain.  So, if it’s just a verse or two, that’s okay.  And if I find an interesting curiosity, I write it down for later when I have more time to follow up.

I no longer feel guilty if I don’t have 30 minutes every day to devote to Bible study or prayer or worship.  Someday I will have that time to dig deep.  Someday I may need those moments of comfort.  But for now, I do what I need to sustain my relationship with God, even if it’s only for a few moments today.

I know that I’m not the only one who has felt this way.  And I’m also wanting a little accountability.  So, on Fridays, the plan is to share something I read or listened to that week from one of these categories (to be honest, it will probably being the sustaining category for a while).  I’m excited to try this, and I encourage you to share a verse or song that’s speaking to you as well!

My Experience with PostPartum Anxiety

I waited five long years.  Through miscarriage and stillbirth, I finally gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  I crossed the finish line.

Or so I had thought.

When I reached that finish line, I looked up and saw I had several more laps to go.  And, guys, I was exhausted.  Emotionally.  Physically.  Mentally.  Not even considering the following weeks of sleep deprivation and hormonal letdown.  Anxiety was still present.

But I chalked it up to the baby blues.  I waited until the hormones leveled out more or less.  Michael took the night shift so I could get more sleep.  Even after that, I still had those nights when those thoughts wouldn’t leave me.  The thought that wouldn’t let me sleep.

“Your baby is going to die tonight.”

It was terrifying.  I would be up every hour checking on the baby, even if I woke him up.  And we knew that this wasn’t sustainable.  Even during the daytime naps, I was constantly checking to see if he was breathing.  In those moments, it was as if he knew because he always seemed to kick or sigh in his sleep when I looked over at him.

There were other issues as well.  I didn’t trust my intuition.  I was convinced that I was going to hurt him in some way.  Was I feeding him enough?  If his head fell forward or fell backward unexpectedly, was I forever damaging him?  I felt like he was safer in other people’s arms than in my own.  And I wasn’t bonding with him at all.

So, I talked to my therapist.  She told me that all of these things were quite common in a lot of pregnancies.  Bonding with the baby wasn’t going to be instantaneous, just like falling in love with someone happens slowly over time.  However, my PTSD from losing my girls was definitely playing a part, and after I talked to my OB, I got some medication to help.

And it has helped.  It doesn’t make everything perfect, but it quiets the thoughts and gives me a chance to learn to trust my gut.  And I’m bonding with the little guy more and more each day.

There is this pressure to enjoy motherhood.  To soak up every second of every day because it goes by so fast.  And because I have waited so long for these moments, the pressure feels even greater to appreciate every second.  I love my son.  And I look forward to the snuggles every day.  I even think some of his cries are adorable (and when he sticks out that lip, I just want to snuggle him).

But I have to take care of myself.  I need to make sure I’m as healthy as I can be so that I can take care of him.  Post-partum anxiety is real and nothing to be ashamed of.  And it’s not forever, so for now, I will just take each day as it comes, giving myself grace, and be grateful for the support and love that surrounds me.