Let me just preface this by saying that this turned into such a long post covering more that one subject, that I'll finish this post in a second part later :) Second part here is here ---> part 2
Well, as I was talking about in my last post, summer is upon us and in full swing, at least as far as the weather in concerned. Every day this next week is in the mid 80's sometimes hitting 90* and the humidity level is, as always, just off the charts down here. This is all fine and wonderful, I do love the warmth! But it brings attention more and more with each hotter day to my weight.
Since having Caleb (my 3rd baby) I have had a very uphill struggle with losing the baby weight.
5 years ago after the birth of my first daughter, I had gained quite a bit of weight (45 pounds!) Part of it was pregnancy itself, indulging in my pregnancy cravings, and still in the "newlywed" phase of our marriage I was cooking large, rich meals. But, after giving birth I lost all but 13 of the 45 pounds in the first 4 months. That was such a great start that I just planned on continuing to work out when I could and drop the rest of the weight and tone up!
Of course, most of you know that at only 4 months post pardum I became pregnant with my second daughter. It was such an exciting time! I gained another 30 pounds on top of that 13 though. Then, after the birth of Ellie, post pardum depression hit me, hard.
I have dealt with depression on and off a lot of my life. Thankfully, I know Jesus Christ as my own, personal Savior. As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I'm safe, happy, content, and joy filled. He fills my heart with joy and is a shelter from any storm that is happening on the outside. When I can feel the waves of depression coming on, I go to the one source of true comfort, my God. And the one place where I can get 100% good advice and wise words, the Bible. These two put my life into perspective. God's word banishes fear from my mind, gives peace to my heart and instills a joy so complete this world can't take it away!
The problem is when I start to try to figure out problems on my own.... when I don't run to God but run to Google, when I don't focus on His word, but my own problems. When my heart feels so heavy I reach down inside myself, instead of up towards God for strength. Of course, my strength fails every time, so I only get more depressed, more withdrawn, and deeper into places where I don't want to go.
Anyway, my old enemy depression hit me full force, literally hours after Ellie was born. The first day home from the hospital, I spent almost the entire night (when not nursing a baby) in my closet, door shut, bawling my eyes out.
At this same time, Daniel's hours at work were cut dramatically, we fell behind with bills, money became extremely tight and Daniel was fighting his own battle feeling incredibly home sick for Texas and missing his family.
Up until this point in our marriage, I would go to Daniel to help my feel better. Not only my best friend, but he himself is so close to God he always just gave the best advice and could make me feel better. But, with us both struggling and hurting on the inside, with nothing left to give the other, we both felt let down and alone. As you can imagine, fights ensued and the newlywed stage came to an abrupt end.
I knew the answer to my depression was to run to God, but it was like I had fallen so deep so quick, I felt enveloped by my depression and was to weak to fight for joy.
I felt pretty hopeless, despite knowing where my hope was found. I felt like I had tried to reach out to God.... but just couldn't do any more than I was doing, and just really gave up. The thing about God though, is if you're His, He's yours forever. And even when we let go of Him, He never let's go of us. He might allow us to go through things, but He's never really left us. He finds ways to bring us back to Him and spring new life in the winter that our hearts are in.
God used one of my very dearest and closet best friends Becky to do just that. Becky and I have been friends now for 21 years(!) Going through phases where we saw each other often and not so often. We hadn't gotten together very recently, but here I was with 2 little children and she was pregnant with her third, so we were both busy. But, she reached out and reached out to me inviting us over. Of course anyone dealing with depression knows that getting together with anyone and trying to muster up a happy facade just sounds like just the most monumentous task, so you refuse.
But finally, I had run out of reasons not to go... so packed up the kids and came over for a visit.
That one afternoon at Becky's house was like a ray of a warm sunshine after a dark and horrible storm. I wasn't completely over my struggle, but getting together with my beautiful friend left me feeling energized, hopeful, and not so alone.
That afternoon, Becky's peaceful joy was so evident, that I couldn't help but be inspired. I think she would think it's funny that I would describe an afternoon at her house as "peaceful." But the funny thing about peace is that it can take many forms, and doesn't always need to be noiseless! Despite the craziness and chaos of having all of our littles together, she has such a beautiful and quite spirit, that God really used her to reach me.
We started getting together more often. We would share stories, recipes, ideas, ect. We could share and lift each other up as we confided about struggles with children, being good wives, and family things. The thing about Becky that I love is that she can be happy and share her love of her family, but can also be transparent about what's going on her life and share her frustrations. She is just real!
The weeks went by and turned into months, and I started to let go of things and God picked them up, took care of them and restored my peace and my joy. I recommitted my life to Him, and found myself turning back into the joyful, happy woman that I like to be. With me not so invested on my self, my relationship with my children, and especially my husband once again flourished. Joy abounded in our home and peace was restored to even better than it was before!
Remember, this joy wasn't due to anything I knew or did, it was simply letting God take the life I so feebly was trying to hold onto. I was a christian and knew God already, but sometimes we fall or slip, because we're human and that happens. No one is immune from heart ache and sin. But the difference between doing it alone and having God; is that God will gladly take your burdens and tears, and trade you for joy and peace. If you want joy, real joy, all you have to do is ask God. That's it. Just tell God that you're tired of doing it on your own and want Him in your life. He'll guide you through the rest.
How do I know God is real and that He exists? Because He has shown me. He has restored me. He has saved me. If you have never asked God into your life, I would encourage you to do it today... do it now! He is real, He knows you, He loves you, and He wants to help you. But God doesn't go where He's not invited. So won't you invite Him? If you want more information on becoming saved, I would encourage you to go here -------> Becoming Saved
Have a joyful day friends!