Saturday Summary

So this week…..

Monday: Reviewed Thunderhead

Wednesday: Went on a Family Trip

Thursday: Shared My Experience with Postpartum Anxiety

Friday: Discussed Different Types of Bible Study

Also, if you missed my announcement of the arrival of our son, you can find it here.

How was your week?

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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.

Our Family Trip

Last week, we traveled for the first time with a baby.  The ride there was pretty uneventful.  He slept the entire way.  And throughout the visit, he was sleeping and eating at regular intervals, despite being completely off of his schedule.

The reason we traveled with Sam so early was that we wanted him to meet Michael’s dad.  His dad has Alzheimer’s disease which has progressed to the point that he can no longer travel and needs full-time care.  I didn’t really know what to expect.

Honestly, both he and Sam slept through their introductions.  But he seems to be happy and well taken care of where he is, which I am very thankful for the people who love on him on a daily basis.

The rest of the trip was spent with Michael’s mom, his brother and his wife and their daughter.  It was really a great time.  We walked around the local college campus.  We chatted about raising our kids and all the ups and downs.  We watched the two cousins interact (well, as much as a two-month-old and an almost one-year-old interact).

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Michael’s mom’s church threw a baby shower for Sam.  And there were lots of ladies there who cooed and snuggled Sam.  We are so thankful for the love and prayers from that church.  They have become a part of our amazing extended family these past several years.  I am so thankful for such a wonderful visit with family and friends!

Thunderhead: A Review

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Thunderhead
by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will try to write this review without any spoilers. I really enjoyed this book, the second in the Arc of the Scythe series, The Thunderhead. It picks up about one year after the first book ended. I felt like the first book was more focused on how the Scythes interacted with civilians and gleaned (killed) to curb population growth since death and illness had been conquered on Earth. The second book was more focused on political intrigue, the inner workings of the Scythedom as well as a closer look at the computer system, The Thunderhead, that managed, cared for and protected civilians, but is separate and apart from the Scythe world.
The continued world building in this book is fascinating. One thing the author does in a lot of his series is included journal entries or letters between chapters. In the first book, they were the entries of Scythes, but this time, it was primarily entries from the Thunderhead, itself. The Thunderhead was pretty quiet in the first book, so this was really fascinating. Also, we are introduced to Greyson Tolliver, who also gives more insight into the Thunderhead as well.
The book moves pretty fast and was pretty plot driven. I enjoyed all of the new settings and how they fit in and interacted with the rest of the world. And some of the plot twists I did not see coming.

I don’t remember there being any profanity in this series. There really wasn’t much sexual content in the book either, other than one person ogling another person. There is one scene where a character throws themselves at another character in a very vulnerable way, but there isn’t anything graphic. But the violence is pretty substantial. The books are, after all, about a group of people who kill people to help curb the population growth. So, keep that in mind.

Even though the premise is morbid, I still recommend the series. And the second book is even better than the first. I am looking forward to the third book in the series!
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Continuing the Conversation

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

How Infertility Feels – The Struggle To Conceive – A beautiful blog about a woman on her IVF journey.  It’s uplifting and positive, but also honest.

‘To my baby that never made it earthside’– An article by a mommy blogger about her 6-week pregnancy loss.  Again, it’s beautiful and open.

Joanna Gaines Helped a Friend Through Infertility Struggles and Got a Sweet Tribute in Return – I love this story about Joanna’s friend and the rose bush.  It’s all about prayer and encouraging others going through struggles.  She had an article in her magazine last year about a friend who experienced pregnancy loss that was so wonderful that I ended up buying a copy at the grocery store (which I never do).  I love how supportive she has been to the pregnancy loss community in her own way.

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?