Our family has been through a lot of changes. I considered writing about it for you many times, but it was easier to deal with it through journaling, praying, and just pushing forward. I don’t like posting about my struggles. I want to be positive, happy, and encouraging. Only recently have I admitted to myself that transparency with you could be encouraging and healing.
The last time that I blogged was back in the summer of 2018. That was right before I got on the ride I’m on. My mother’s health went down. She was in and out of the hospital. Did you know that in order to recover, just to your pre-hospital stay, it takes one week per day that you were in the hospital? That is crazy! After a family meeting we decided that it would be beneficial to create a generational household. My parents sold their house, we sold our house, and together we purchased a home to suite the needs of both families. That happened in late fall of 2018.
Then, my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, got married. Y’all, we had the reception at our house. We had only lived there about a month–still in boxes! Christmas right around the corner. I was so stressed out. You want everything to be perfect for your children. Kaitlyn was so sweet about it; the whole time she kept telling me that it was going to be alright. Guess what? It was beautiful. Her wedding was an intimate wedding (close family only) and the reception was terrific. Everyone worked together to make it a success.
Going into 2019, April was a hard month. My Daddy was in the hospital for about three weeks. Mom and I were back and forth checking on him and trying to keep his spirits up. Can you feel the roller coaster–down, up, down…? Oh, I almost forgot to mention that in February, before my Dad was admitted to the hospital, we found out that Kaitlyn was expecting. While he was in the hospital we received word that the baby is a girl! It was great news, hopeful and encouraging for my him to get better. He even chose a nickname for her. Cricket.
The next big event came; my daughter Jayci got engaged. The wedding planned for July. Alright, Daddy, get well so we can travel for Jayci’s wedding. Woo-hoo! God is so good! Our family is growing by leaps and bounds.
The wedding was beautiful. She also chose to have an intimate wedding. As blessed an event as it was, I was stressed. I wanted to help in anyway that I could, but the timing of things just didn’t happen the way that we wanted, and the cake topper slid off, while they were cutting the cake, and it shattered. Ugh! I was exhausted from stress. I cried. Can we redo this year?
Celebration soon followed the first part of August as we prepared for our son, our baby, to enter the Math and Science Academy (MSA). We have homeschooled all of our children. This opportunity came up and we worked hard towards it, praying for God’s will to be done. Now, Braedon’s junior and senior year will be completed through this academy and he will earn college credits while he is at it. We are so proud of him; we are excited, and thank God, that he has this opportunity.
August 31st did us in; Daddy passed away in his sleep. Braedon had just completed his first week at MSA. It was a hard week in and of itself–getting used to the arduous schedule and the new learning environment. Now, he had to cope with the loss of his grandfather at the same time. My heart grieved for the stress that he had to face. My heart was broken for my mother who lost her husband of 43 years. My heart ached because I couldn’t hang out with my Daddy and joke around with him anymore.
After several weeks of crying, working through the legal stuff, and going through Daddy’s personal possessions, I decided that I needed to focus on getting my health back. So, I started a weight-loss program and began exercising (anybody else eat their stress and anxiety away?). This is when things physically boiled over. I had been experiencing pelvic pain off and on since 2018. It became more acute starting in the spring of 2019. By fall it was becoming unbearable. The doctor had me jumping through hoops because the insurance wouldn’t allow a hysterectomy until we had exhausted everything else.
Physical pain. Emotional pain. God help me! I feel like I am drowning.
October 8th rolled around and I received a phone call from Kaitlyn. The baby is coming! My husband and I drive over and joined her at the hospital. October 9, 2019 we welcomed our little Cricket into the world. Ten fingers, ten toes, healthy, and beautiful–a gift from God.
This new life blessing to our family was a healing balm to our raw emotions. We were back up on that roller coaster.
I could continue on, but with 2020 being what it has been (COVID-19), what would be the point? We are all on that proverbial roller coaster, together, right now. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years. But, these last couple of years have taken the cake.
I write all of this not for your sympathies, but to say that I’m okay. Did you hear me? I am okay. There is a hymn that says, “it is well with my soul.” The hymn’s lyrics were penned by Horatio Spafford. This author had experienced great loss in his life, but words of comfort and hope filled his heart in spite of it, and he was able to pen one of the greatest hymns. I encourage you to look up the lyrics to this hymn, or listen to it. Listen to it with eyes open, understanding that the person who wrote it was “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” when he did.
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul”
This place of being “okay” was not easy to come by. I struggled. I poured myself out to Jesus–praying for Him to heal my broken and weary heart. I fed from His Word–filling my soul and my mind with His promises and principles for life. I fought negative thoughts, taking them captive and submitting them to Jesus. I ate healthy, nutrient dense foods, and exercised; I counseled with a trusted sister in Christ, and I went to the doctor and got help for my anxiety (medication).
You see I attacked this from a physical, spiritual, and emotional standpoint (holistically). Here’s the catch, though, in order to do this you have to humble yourself. Confess that you need help. Denial will only make you sink deeper. Many look at depression and anxiety as a sign of weakness. Therefore, they hide it. Don’t do it. It is not weakness. Depression and/or anxiety can be brought on by a poor diet and the lack of exercise; it could be due to an issue with your hormones; it could be spiritual warfare; it could be circumstantial (like loosing your livelihood, or the death of a loved one), etc. Approaching it holistically, when working out your healing, ensures that you cover all possibilities.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for hearing my cry. When I felt discouraged, depressed, or anxious you brought me up out of that horrible pit and you set my feet upon a rock. You are steadying my footsteps and establishing my path day by day. Even though our Nation is experiencing this terrible virus and many are dying, I am not anxious. I give You the glory for this. I confess self-reliance and perfectionism was a huge stumbling block to me. I don’t always lean on You like I should, and that is why I stress out. Your Word says, “It is because of the LORD’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 Amplified Version) I am so thankful for Your lovingkindness and your tender mercies. In Jesus’ name.
I welcome any prayer requests, anyone seeking scripture references or study recommendations. If you just want to tell your story I will listen. Don’t go another day feeling hopeless in the pit of despair. If I can ride this roller coaster, do battle in mind and in the spiritual realm, and still say it is well with my soul, so can you. Our Redeemer lives and is ready with your healing; He is ready with strength and grace for another day.
By His Grace,