Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Was Like....Baby, Baby, Baby...Oh!

15 weeks

It appears that it's just about that time again!  Yes, yes, that means I'm about to have another baby!  This will be baby #8 for us, folks, with 2 of them being in heaven- little saints watching over us, and hopefully praying for me.  I want so badly to meet them. I hope I get there.

I'm actually about 6 1/2 months along.  The news of us expecting again was kept a secret for quite some time.  I myself have had such a difficult time, and just didn't feel like sharing.  I'm still recovering from the mental dive I took after dealing with a horrendous relationship with a narcissist which stole much of my time, energy, and trust.  I've been spending the last year +, building myself back up from that, so finding out I was pregnant, which would ultimately detour my recovery a little bit, was kind of a shock.

But as I frequently say, new life is ALWAYS a blessing and as I face all of the difficulties I've had with this pregnancy (which, by the way are actually not that big of a deal compared to others), I'm striving really hard to view another baby as the blessing it truly is.

If you know me, you know that a big family wasn't really on my radar.  I come from a big one, yes, but I never thought I'd have one of my own.  The few times we've taken matters into our own hands and planned to not have another one (at least for a little while), the Lord worked in our hearts and convicted us otherwise.  One of the babies I lost.  Another one I had about 20 months ago, and then there is this one, little baby G whom God must have really felt was to be a very important aspect of our life.  So, this is just one of those instances where you plan, God laughs, and then He shows you HIS plan.  It might be scary.  It might be difficult.  But when your heart thirsts for the Lord, and you want SO badly to please Him and follow His will for your life, what else is there to do but say YES?  I can't wait to meet this next YES!

Please pray for me, my friends.  I always, always need it so desperately!!

6 months

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Since I've Been Gone..

In the months since I've stepped away from my blog, a lot has happened.  There are many changes on the horizon of my life, some of which I cannot talk about quite yet.  But there have also been many changes I've already undergone.

Stepping away from this blog was probably the best thing I could've done for myself.  It was a pivotal decision, listening to that whispering from the Lord to take a break, not because it was stressful or because it took too much of my time, but because it took a part of me that He wanted.  In the last few months, He has shown me many things about myself.  Things I didn't like.  Things I wanted to not be true.  Things I did like.  Things He wanted to change, whether I liked them or not.

At the same time I was being shown these things and taking a break from my blog, I was being shown some things about the blog itself that also needed to change.  Though I have always tried to maintain my blog as a place for others to gain information and insight, to find empathy and hopefully a morsel of encouragement, there have been times when I haven't really lived up to my own ideals for this blog.  And probably not God's much either.  The thing is, sometimes, I just don't know how to filter.  Sometimes, I don't know what's appropriate. Sometimes, I don't know how to follow my instincts.

So, in this time, I've been in a process.  And really, it's been a process throughout the past few years, but especially the last few months.  There have been many things that have transpired over the last year that have caused me to really think about life and who I am and what God is asking of me in this time.  The last few months of focusing more on all of that specifically has caused me to go through a pruning process.  I have learned to let go of a lot and though much of this pruning has been quite painful, it has also been fruitful.

I would like to address the nature of my blog.  Though I will continue to post about my life, particularly mothering my children, I've had a revelation about the word "mothering."  As God has called me to be the actual life-giving mother of the five I have, the one in my womb, plus however many more He blesses me with, I have also been shepherded into a new position of "mothering."  It's actually not something I sought out, and I am still very fearful of it.  But tiny little buds have been blooming over the time since I have been being pruned, and they seem to be growing in this direction.  It seems I have been asked to "mother" - or nurture - other people, more of God's children,  particularly women, girls, my age or younger, who need a bit of direction or some encouragement in their life.

So, Mothering God's Children will be about that as well.  About helping others to find their purpose, their path.  Helping them discover their soul's worth and value as God the Father has created it to be.  I once was told I can't "save" people.  Boy do I know that!  I would never even presume to think such a thing about myself.  That's not my job.  My job is to do what God asks me to do, whether I want to or not.  Right now, in the moments I am able to dedicate to it, He wants me to start down this road of helping others.  I honestly don't think it's going to be one of those well-known, big to-do ventures like other women are capable of handling.  I'm a behind-the-scenes type of girl.  Always have been.  I don't like the spot light, I shy from compliments.  I just want to do what the Lord asks me to do and I can only pray I do it well enough for Him.  Even if He sends just one or two people to me, I'm blessed and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve them, and Him, in this capacity.

Please pray for me on my journey, and if you have prayer requests, please shoot me an email with them.  I'd love to pray for you. Thanks!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

GUEST POST: My Infertility Journey: A Shout Out to NaPro Technology

The following post is written by my sister, Kate Lynch.  It is an inspiring story- full of heart ache, hope and faith.  I hope you will take the time to read it.

If I have learned anything on my journey through infertility, it’s that when you say that you are going to trust God with any area of your life, fully and completely, you will be tested. 

When I married my husband in 2004, we made a commitment regarding family planning to each other and to God.   We committed that we would let God decide how many children we would have and when we would have them.   We both wanted children and we were open to whatever God wanted for us.   We agreed that we would not “try” to conceive and we would not do anything to prevent conception.  We made this commitment because we both knew, before we were married, that there was a possibility that together we would not be able to conceive a child.   In our teen years, we both had to have surgeries that directly affected our reproductive parts.   But, neither of us knew to what extent.    We both agreed, because of our personal beliefs, that we would not consider a lot of the modern methods for achieving pregnancy.  We were not open to IVF at all, and although we differed on our opinion of using medications to get pregnant, we agreed that we would not use them either.    We were open to using techniques that were natural and taught me to pay attention to the fertility signs that God gave me, but we did not want to get caught up in that being the focus of our relationship as husband and wife.  If all else failed, we would just adopt.    We thought we had it all figured out. 

After we got married we were really strong in our convictions, for a little while.  But after a year of “trusting God” our conviction on the subject didn’t feel as strong.  Disappointment, heart ache and even anger set it.   We wrestled with the belief that trusting God would grant us favor with Him and in turn, the blessing of children.   Oh, how mixed up our faith was.   In that year long period my husband asked his doctor about getting a sperm count test, but the doctor brushed him off, saying he had nothing to worry about.   We believed him, and continued to “trust God”.  

In the fall of 2005, a little over year after we were married, I found out I was pregnant.  FINALLY, proof to us, that our bodies did work, and that God was rewarding our trust in Him.    Sadly, I miscarried at 11 weeks and ultimately had to have my left ovary removed due to complications with the miscarriage.   The loss of the baby and of my left ovary was enough to plunge me into a big black sea of doubt.   My conviction about trusting God was shattered into a million pieces.   I no longer wanted to trust; I didn’t care about trust.  

But God is faithful, despite our doubt and anger and lack of faith.  In May of 2006 I was shocked to discover that I was pregnant again.   I didn’t want to believe it was true; it took us so long the first time.   I convinced myself that something bad was going to happen.   I went through the motions of a “happy pregnant woman”, but inside I held my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop.   I remember the moment in my 6th month of pregnancy that I broke down crying, finally allowing my heart to admit that I was going to have a baby.  Up to that point, I would not allow myself to get attached to the gift I was carrying inside me.   

January 20th, 2007 our son was born.  It was and is one of the best days of my life.   God has truly blessed us with Adam.   I cannot imagine my life without him.    The test, however, was just beginning.  

After Adam was born, JT and I decided that we would continue to “trust God” to plan our family.  Trusting was a little easier now, but that didn’t last very long.   We went back to not “trying” and not preventing.   

The next part of our journey has lasted almost 6 years.  During that time a lot has happened.  Shortly after Adam was born, JT decided to become self-employed and we had no insurance.   In some ways, we considered it a blessing that I did not get pregnant again.   We knew that all the “practical” reasons for not having kids were true in our situation.  We didn’t have insurance; we didn’t have any extra money; or even enough money sometimes.    But our hearts yearned for more children. We watched as our friends and family around us had one child after another.   We tried to be happy for them while our hearts felt like they were being ripped apart.    People who knew part of our struggles frequently asked why I had not gone to the doctor to find out why I was not getting pregnant.   It was easy to explain to them the part about not having insurance- that they could understand, but it was harder for them to understand when we would simply say that we are trusting God to plan our family.   Most people associate that with couples who have 10 kids and counting.   We were not the textbook “trusting God” family.   I admit, it was hard for me to comprehend also.   I didn’t expect that my commitment to “trust God” would mean 1 child.    

A couple of years later in 2010 JT stopped working for himself and got a job with a regular paycheck and health insurance benefits.    Three years had passed since our son was born and our desire to have more kids was as strong as ever.   Friends and family encouraged me to go to the doctor and finally find out what was wrong with me.    It didn’t feel right to me though.  I felt like doing that would somehow prove that I didn’t really “trust God”.   But in late 2010, I started having a lot of pain and very heavy bleeding each month.   These symptoms started suddenly and since I hadn’t really been to the doctor in almost 3 years, I was worried that something was very wrong.   I saw one doctor who dismissed my symptoms and wanted to focus instead on my infertility issues.   I left that doctors office and never went back.   I found another doctor that tentatively diagnosed me with endometriosis and recommended surgery for a definitive diagnosis and treatment.  It was a relief to have a diagnosis that explained both my current symptoms and possibly the reason for my infertility.   I thought that this was God’s way of providing me with an answer without me breaking the “trust”.   In early 2011 I had the surgery which confirmed the endometriosis, but there was no other obvious reason for my inability to get pregnant.    At my 6 week follow-up visit my doctor advised that she didn’t have a lot of options for me.   Most women took birth control pills to control the endometriosis.   Something I wasn’t willing to do, not just because I wanted to get pregnant, but also because I didn’t want all those fake hormones in my body.    I left her office with nothing more than a prescription for extra strength pain killers and a heavy heart. 

I was so hopeful that the surgery would provide me with a definitive answer for my infertility issues, but it just left me with a lot of maybes.    I was thankful that the surgery took away the pain and heavy bleeding, but I was angry that I still wasn’t getting pregnant.   I figured that God was still asking me to trust Him to plan our family, so I reluctantly accepted that as my answer. 

I continued to struggle while my friends and sisters easily got pregnant and had one baby after another.   On the outside and in a small place in my heart, I smiled and was happy for them.  I love all new life and believe it should be celebrated.   But on the inside, and in private, I would scream and cry and wallow in self pity.   I begged and pleaded with God, trying to make all kinds of deals with Him, promising all kinds of things, if only He would give me another child.  Oh how thankful I am that He was so patient with me while I threw my childish temper tantrums!  

As my husband and I continued to pray together about what God wanted to do with our family, we both began to feel that having a definitive answer to what was causing the infertility was what we needed.   This was the first time in our journey that we both felt strongly that God was leading us in the direction of getting answers.   We both thought that it was so that we could close this chapter in our life and move on to the chapter that involved adopting children, something we have always felt that we would be doing in the future anyway.   

So I began my search for a doctor that could really help me.  I didn’t want to go to the highly recommended doctors in my area because I did not want to feel pressured into discussing treatment options that we did not agree with.  I didn’t even want to be in an office that performed those procedures on a regular basis.   So I knew that I would be very limited in my options.  A family member suggested that I look into the Fertility Care Centers of America because of their methods for helping women.   Up to this point I had never heard of them.    I found a website online and read a little about NaPro Technology and it sounded exactly like what we I was looking for.   A program that respected life, at all stages, focused on getting to the core of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms, and respected me, the patient.    The closest office that practiced this method was over an hour away in a different state, but I was willing to make the drive if it meant answers from doctors that would respect me and not dismiss my concerns. 

In the spring of 2012 I had my first appointment.   I was so nervous; I had so many previous bad experiences with doctors dismissing my concerns, and ignoring me as a person.    I remember meeting the doctor and her asking me what I wanted from them as a practice.  I told her that I wanted her to get me pregnant.   She laughed and said that only my husband could do that.   She then offered to help me and my husband achieve that goal.   I was instantly at ease and I knew right then that this doctor was different.  She was not going to dismiss my concerns or treat me like a number.  I knew she saw me as a person.   She explained that every patient starts with learning to track their cycles using the Creighton Model and that many of their patients are able to achieve pregnancy with that alone.   If that didn’t work then we would move onto hormone tests and go from there.   I was a little disappointed because I wanted answers right away, but I knew in my heart that this was the right path for me to be on so I tried to be patient.    She also suggested that my husband have a sperm count done.  I cringed inside because I did not think he would want to do that.  But once she explained that they encouraged husbands and wives to do this part at home, together, I was so happy.   This was another sign that their practice honored not only me as a person but also the husband/wife relationship. 

I spent the summer learning the Creighton Model of charting.  I was so blessed not only to learn this method of charting but by learning other scientific things that were never mentioned in any of the other methods of charting I had studied.    In the fall I returned to the doctor with my chart in hand.  I was happy that I learned to chart but was disappointed that I was not pregnant yet.  The doctor looked at my chart and advised that everything looked normal.   She recommended that we test my hormone levels.  That meant going to the lab, every other day, to have my blood drawn.  Again, everything came back normal.   Again, I was disappointed that I was no closer to an answer.    We discussed how the pain and bleeding due to my endometriosis had returned and she suggested that I have laparoscopic surgery again.   She explained to me that the techniques they used were very effective in removing the endometriosis so that it did not grow back and also minimized scar tissue.   She recommended that while I was having surgery that I have procedures done to check on the health of my uterus and whether my tubes were open or not.    She also explained that a lot of women had success getting pregnant after the surgery.   I agreed to the surgery, not because I thought it would help me get pregnant (I had given up hope at this point) but because I didn’t want to be in pain anymore.  

This would be the 4th surgery that I would have in my life and I decided that, as much as it was up to me, it would be my last.   I no longer cared what that meant long term.  I was so tired of being cut open and dealing with the pain of healing.  I was tired of all the emotions that came along with knowing that there was something wrong with my reproductive parts.   I really thought that I would much rather have a hysterectomy at age 32, than go through any more pain and heartache.   Going into my surgery, my doctors were positive and hopeful,  I was apathetic and I had given up hope. 
On February 22, 2013 I had the surgery.  My doctor told JT that I had a lot of scar tissue and endometriosis causing the inflammation and pain.   She also said that both of my tubes had blockages in them and that they were able to mostly clear the blockages.   She couldn’t say for sure that the blockages in my tubes were the exact reason I wasn’t getting pregnant but said that it was most likely a contributing factor.   Recovery from my surgery was difficult, but within a few weeks I was feeling significantly better than I had felt in years.   

On April 9th I had a follow up appointment with my doctor to discuss what to do next regarding my infertility issues.   She encouraged me to take advantage of this time right after surgery, advising me that most women get pregnant within the 6 months immediately following surgery.    I listened to her speak and said I would be sure to follow her advice, but in my heart I was convinced that I was not going to get pregnant.  I still felt hopeless. 

On April 11th, just 2 days after my follow up appointment, I woke up in the morning and took a pregnancy test.  This was not unusual for me.  I took tests a lot.  Anytime my chart indicated that I was “late” I took a test.   It was always the same routine.  I would take a test, wait 3 minutes, see the negative results and throw it away.   The morning of the 11th I followed this routine.  I barely looked at the test as I went to toss it in the trash.  But then that second line caught my eye.   I thought I was imagining it.  I couldn’t possibly be pregnant.  After all, I had given up on the idea that I would ever carry another child inside of me.   I had to show the test to my husband and ask him what he saw.   He assured me there were two lines on the test.   PREGNANT!  It took a Costco-size box of digital tests and some blood work later to confirm and I finally started to allow myself to accept it.   I am currently 22 weeks along in my pregnancy and there is still a part of me that can’t believe that after 6 years of struggle and heart ache, I am pregnant.  

I have no explanation for why God had us waiting for 6 years, except that I needed to learn what it meant to truly trust Him.   My idea of trust at the beginning of this journey looked nothing like my idea of trust now.   I thought that trusting God meant that I would get what I wanted.   But trusting God is about believing that He knows what I need and when I need it.    

I am so thankful that I found a group of Doctors that joined me in my journey, helped to heal me, and did it in a way that respected me and my beliefs. The most wonderful thing about NaPro Technology is that it honors the way that God designed our bodies.  It supports that design and seeks to restore our bodies to that original designI would (and do) recommend them to anyone suffering from infertility.

Check out The Guiding Star Project for more information about Infertility, as well as other information related to women, families, babies, healthy relationships and more...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Taking a Break....

Earlier I was spending some time with my face buried in my blanket, as I sprawled myself across my bed, head down, praying.  I had a prayer book that my loving brother, Billy, had given to me but for the most part I was trying to leave my mind as blank as possible, hoping the Holy Spirit would whisper to me in the silence.

And that He did.

I was convicted to take a break from my blog.  There are many reasons for this, some of which I don't even understand, but I have to obey.

Occasionally, I'll post a guest blog post from someone else but other than that, I am going to spend some time doing other important things and clinging ever more to my Father as I wade through all that is going on right now in my life.  Perhaps I will be back with something inspiring to share.  

I'm not sure when I'll be back, or IF I'll be back, but for now, I'll say 'ta ta!'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

I have never in my life felt the anxiety I have over the past few months or so.  It's painful.  My chest hurts.  I can't seem to shake it. I wake up in the morning and it's there, looming with the sun.  I go to bed at night and lay wide-eyed and sleepless for hours.  A zillion things racing through my mind.

In the last week, more has been added to the on-going heartache with extended family.  But we already made the decision to make a huge effort to put it aside. After everything hubby has been through with them in his life, after all the hurt I have felt from them, it just has to be over.  It has to be that we pick up the pieces and move on because there are more pressing issues to face, things I can't even go into.

But what I can go into is this-

Through my anxiety and through the weight of the desires of our hearts concerning our business and home, I have tried to obtain humility and to remember to be thankful.  I have tried to glorify God in our sufferings and to also reach out to others in His name.  I am failing a lot.  But I go on.  One foot in front of the other.  I hope for a time when I can praise Him to people, glorify Him still, but for bringing about something amazing through all the suffering, and not just for the suffering itself.

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day for me, and the painful anxiety I have felt searing in my chest was high.  I couldn't get away from it and spent much of the day crying.  It was hard to do anything.  In fact, aside from a little summer school work with the kids, I don't think I really did much else.  But I knew, in my heart, I need to work past this. I need to continue to put one foot in front of the other.  My mother always tells me "just do the next thing; you've got to rise above this and do the next thing."  Sometimes this is hard to hear. And it's even harder to do. But I do need to both hear and do it.

This morning wasn't a whole lot better. I woke before the kids, which is a rare thing these days, but I just couldn't seem to get up and take advantage of the time.  I did end up getting out of bed before a few of them were awake.  When I did get up, I was greeted with the usual anxious feelings as I fumbled around trying to make coffee.  As I began the day, I realized that I needed to work extra hard to overcome my anxiety and try to enjoy the day and make it productive.

This became more apparent as I watched my husband work hard in our yard. I had climbed the broken steps up our small hill in the back and surveyed our property below.  Freshly mowed and everything put where it belongs, it looked wonderful. The colors of all the different flowers popped.  Even the messy pond seemed to not be such an eyesore. I thought about our desire to move. I thought about everything this place has been for us.  Three of our babies were born here.  This is where we truly fell in love for the first time.  This is where our marriage was saved.  This is where we started our business.  This has been our shelter in so many storms - figurative and real. We have chickens happily munching in their run who give us fresh eggs daily, three fruit trees we've been trying to keep alive, many beautiful plants my husband has planted for me over the years, and a garden which will hopefully be producing tomatoes, cukes and peppers soon. And even though I felt in that instant so  grateful and so appreciative of this place, I still felt like I am ready to move on.  I sat on the steps and cried.

And it was then that I realized how desperately I needed to just DO something.  Get my mind off of everything we're facing and everything we want.  Put one foot in front of the other and just do the next thing.  I spent an hour cleaning out the kids' pool. I started a load of laundry and put the ingredients for fresh bread dough in my bread maker.  I made plans to make butter out of the cream I separated from raw milk yesterday.  I played a game with my daughter and held my four year old tight.  I spent a lot of time journaling and reading the Bible. I sent an email to a friend to make plans for us to visit.

I am so blessed.  I am so blessed and I want to be a blessing to others but I'm not sure how to do that. I'm not sure how to allow God to use me as He wants.  I believe that every Christian is called by God; but that there are many who aren't willing to do what He wants them to do for Him.  I definitely used to be afraid of that.  I have had to remind myself over and over throughout the years that the Holy Spirit once specifically told my mom "the Lord will do great things through each of your children."  I had to whisper those words every time I found out I was pregnant again, fearful of allowing another life to be placed in my imperfect care.  I am so convicted of God's call that I don't seem to be able to move out of my paralyzed state in order to answer it often enough.

I need to put one foot in front of the other and just keep doing the next thing.  I pray that God can use each step I take.  I pray that I can always be convicted of His call to be His servant and glorify Him.  Through my suffering.  Through my anxiety.  Through all the blessings He places in my life. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Joy In Life Comes From Trusting God

When we started our business 5 seasons ago, people thought we were crazy.  The economy had just taken its big downturn shortly before that and we knew very little about owning a business.  But the fact remained that Hubby had been laid off twice in one year due to the economy and as we prayed about our path, we felt the Lord calling us to take a big leap of Faith and trust that He would sustain us in our business venture.

And so it was that New Growth Landscaping was born.

To say that it has seemed to be all Joy would be an untruth.  There were many moments where we failed to even look for the Joy much less acknowledge it.  But, more and more lately, as James 1:2* encourages, we have been attempting to consider all aspects of our journey joyful, even the trials.

The truth is, we've seen more dark times than anything.  I'm not going to lie, even through the light of Joy and the knowledge that God is indeed taking care of us, there is the reality that it has been quite difficult.  But that is okay.  God has never promised that this life would not be difficult.  He has, however, promised us His deep abiding love that is enough to sustain us and allow the strength to get through the difficulties.  He's also promised the availability of the fruits of the Spirit which are obtainable through trials, through suffering, through His grace.  Those, too, are the nourishment to our souls when we are weak.

And there is indeed much Joy to be found.  I find it when my husband comes home after a long day of working in the world.  I see it on his skin- the sunshine saturating to the bone, and in his tired eyes- a day's hard work etched in the iris.  I sense it in his embrace- his aching body leaning into mine for support when he walks in the door.  I smell it on his hands- the earthen scent permeating.  I know it's there in his willingness to break his back working to make someone else happy, to give them the beauty they desire in their landscape.  It's there in his creativity, working into the late hours of the night to get a design perfect for a client.  And in the daily reminder that every cent he makes is a testament to our Faith in God's unending Love, whether we make a lot or just a little.

I have no idea if our business will ever take on a status that will afford us pretty much anything we want. I actually hope it doesn't.  With wealth comes much responsibility and one must be very wise in order to handle having that luxury.  Just because one has the means to obtain almost anything one wants doesn't mean one should obtain it.  Many people we know and love live in excess and their focus is on "success" and money.  It's a terrible tragedy because especially for some of them, it seems to blot out the truly important things in life: Faith. Unconditional Love. Time with Family. Service.  That's some food for thought as I think about where our business is going and if we will ever be at the point where we can pay our bills and have something extra.  We both want what God wants. If it's to have the ability to just pay our bills and live each day in service to Him through the workings of our business, then that's fine.  One of my most favorite quotes by Mother Teresa is "God does not call me to be successful.  He has called me to be faithful."   We try to live by that, however difficult it is in this material world.

When I think about the saints, and especially about St. Joseph and also Christ's mother, Mary, I think about how poor they all were in the monetary sense.  Some even gave up their wealth to follow Christ.  And they are now saints.  How marvelous!!  Even though it's difficult to live in this world and not want so much, the deep longing of our hearts is to be humble, to live simply, and to lead others to Christ. I hope that the Lord will use our meager business to bless others, to shower His graces upon those whom we meet, and to spread the Truth of His Love.  That is the true joy of owning a business.

*"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials," James 1:2 NAB

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pep Talk

I always know when I'm on the right track with my journey because the people in my life who are on the completely wrong track are getting to me - whether it's by purposeful and outright attacks on me for my lifestyle or family, behavior they display that I notice, or, like with hubby's family and all the pain they've caused me, it's sometimes just my inability to refocus myself away from the hurt people cause me.  But my experience as of late serves as yet another blessing.  

Thank the Lord that He has blessed me with the ability to realize how badly I need Him.  Anyone who thinks they can get along in life just fine without Him as the center really has some serious problems.  I know because I've been there.

I have a sticky note on my computer that says "YOU ARE OKAY."  I need it.  Daily.

I need that pep talk and every ounce of grace that the Lord wishes to bestow upon me, so I can continue my path.
Sometimes I give myself this type of Pep Talk..bad
The anxiety I have felt as of late has been paramount.  I don't understand it.  I want to believe that it's just more proof that I'm on the right path.  There is so much I am facing.  My battle with PPD has been dwindling, which I am so thankful for.  I have, however, phased into this weird almost bi-polar state which kind of scares me.  I have had some extra physical health issues that point to the possibility that perhaps my mood issues are part of a larger problem, and not a different phase of the depression I am facing.  Doctor appointment has been scheduled.

When I get into my lows, I rehash the problems I have faced lately and trouble myself with wondering what I could have done differently.  Analyzing past behaviors with the desire to change future ones is usually a good thing.  I'm not so sure in this case it really is.  I have realized, however, that the one main thing I could have done all along (and this seems to be a recurrent theme in my life because I'm just so darned blunt about things), is to just keep my mouth shut.  WHY do I always fail at this?  WHY does God's grace come AFTER the fact and not before?

When I look at the pain I've been in over specific things, namely the issues with hubby's family, I am still in a raw state.  I try so hard to move past it.  But the bi-polar type symptoms I have experienced seem to govern my ability (or lack thereof) to heal from it.  And therein lies my problem.  HOW can I let such a broken, hurtful family get to me SO easily and SO deeply?  I have realized that on my path to become a better person in Christ, I am more susceptible to pitfalls.  I am more susceptible to the devil's hand in all things.  I am more of a failure.

So what does all this mean? What does carrying on as a Christian witness, finding the ability to heal and forgive, as well as uncover the ability to move on look like?

Silence.  Prayer.

That's right.  Silence and prayer.  I can no longer make attempts to reach out and understand and try and lay myself out there on the line just to get stomped all over, and run the risk of retaliating harshly. So I have to keep silent and let God do the work.  I have to be still and know that He is GOD.

And I must pray.

My most fervent prayer lately is that I stop failing so much and recognize..and more importantly accept the fact that I CAN'T do anything else.  All my attempts have been in vain.  And the seeming fruitlessness of them has left me in the near occasion of sin.  There's only so much hurt I can take before I lash out in terrible ways.  Speaking truths with harshness on my tongue has been the worst of it this time.  But next time?

That's why there cannot be a next time.  I am just too fragile right now.  The level of anxiety I feel and the other things I face at this point in time are just too much for me.  I do not want to act like they have. I just can't do it.  As easy as it would be for me, I just don't want to go there.

It's been difficult enough watching my husband struggle through his own pain in this.  He is so broken and it's all their fault, and as his wife, I want to "go ghetto" as my friend would say and give them a taste of their own horrible medicine.  See if I can get them to feel as awful, low, stepped on, unloved as they have made him feel.  But I know I can't.  Even the thought in my head of such an action isn't right.  Sometimes my flesh is so very very weak.

Lord, forgive me.

So, this wrestling I've been engaging in, between the weakness of my flesh and the knowledge of what I should do, how I should act, has got to come to an end, no matter how I feel.  AND I have to get to a point of not feeling the way I have.  Everyone of us is broken, everyone is imperfect.  Everyone needs the Lord.  Some just don't understand that yet.  Some pretend that what they do is right, not really realizing how very wrong it is.  Some people will never change.

It's a give and take, this letting go.  I have to keep the faith that regardless of how I feel on any given day, I am in fact working (even if at a micro-crawl many days) toward the goal of a deeper relationship with Christ, and the means to live my life as a witness to that relationship, and as a sinner.  I fall short of His glory just like everyone else.  I, too, need His precious blood to save me from my sins.  I cannot allow others to throw me from this path.  I am so thankful for the people in my life who are constantly reminding me of this through their love and friendship. I am so grateful to God for placing so many amazing people in my path to guide me, sustain me and remind me what my purpose is and what His expectations of me are. I'm in awe of the conviction He places in my heart to do better, to keep trying, to be that person and fulfill that purpose which He planned for me as He lovingly knit me in my mother's womb. And I'm thankful for all the people who have admonished me in love, and the ones who have told me that I have inspired, helped, encouraged them, for I am humbled by their words and grateful to the Lord for using me as an instrument of His love and peace through my own sufferings.  I only hope that I can always remember to give Him the glory and never ever take it for myself.

I am continuing to record the things I am thankful for, the little and big blessings I have uncovered in my daily life, through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.  It's made an enormous difference and I am so blessed by the two women in my life who prompted me to take part in this challenge.  I want to again encourage anyone reading this to do the same. I promise you won't regret it.