Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Uncertainity of the Moment

The last few days, with the exception of most of the day yesterday, and so far this morning (I've only been awake for an hour) have been a bit rough in the rocky sea of postpartum OCD. My brain felt like it was taking a landslide back into the pit and panic that arises when I allow OCD to cause fear.

It's hard for me to post in the midst of that; and outwardly all appears fine. We all wear masks, some more disguising than others. Behind my mask were moments of a quickly arising panic that if left unchecked would have gone into a full blown panic attack.

I thought about what I had been doing differently, to see if any "triggers" were making my OCD "louder". I realized after going through a few checklists that I:

1. Have not been eating enough.
2. Have not been drinking enough fluids.
3. Have not been getting enough sleep.

If my basic physical needs are not being met consistently, my mental health is going to suffer. Chronic dehydration has been shown to contribute to anxiety. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to elevating postpartum illness.

I also had not been waking up as consistently to read the Word and pray. The last week or so I had been averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night. For me, that is just not enough. I was going to bed later to take care of "Christmas stuff" (really what is there to "take care of"?) So, the last two nights I have been putting myself to bed early and attempting to get up before the kids to have my time in solitude with Jesus. Thankfully, this morning I was able to do that.

My appetite is suppressed early to mid day due to some of the medication I take, so the nutrition I needed is not there. My fluid intake was well below the recommended amount (I just learned that you are supposed to take your body weight and divide by half, and that is the number of ounces that your body needs to consume on a daily basis!).

We are complex beings, with multiple aspects of our bodies intertwined. The state of wellness that we seek to achieve cannot be found if there isn't a balance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. I cannot achieve that balance without the help of Jesus; and boy if there isn't a balance things get rough. I might be able to go a day or two on full speed but after that everything crashes.

God has used "glitches" in my mental health (the term I use when OCD threatens to consume me again) to point me back to him.

I feel like these are elementary thoughts. If you find yourself feeling uncertain, out of sorts, fatigued, or a "spike" in your postpartum illness, consider the above and see where you are and do what you can to make the necessary changes to enhance your wellness.

Whether it's a postpartum illness you are battling, or some other equally unnerving battle, take heart. God's word says,

"Have mercy on me, O God, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. "
Psalm 57:1

Monday, December 12, 2011

My child, the redeemed sinner

Over the weekend I came upon the realization that my children are sinners. I have known this intellectually, but had not experienced it spiritually and emotionally until now. My oldest sinned against me and it left me dumbfounded and wounded when my eyes were opened to what his words meant. I won't go into detail about what was spoken, but it was the first bit of "true" sin that I had experienced from my child. This has not to say he has never sinned before. His words revealed a selfish and ungrateful heart and I was just stunned. The kicker of it all was that he had no idea. I stumbled through a response to him, trying to lovingly correct him, all the while not knowing what to say.

As parents we all think highly of our children. Sometimes we put them upon pedestals they don't belong on. We can't imagine that they would ever do anything "wrong". We are blinded by our love for them.

This "revelation" of sorts came upon me while I was driving to get blizzards from Dairy Queen for my husband and me. (The Candy Cane Chill is AWESOME!) I was hurt by his words and took them personally. I couldn't imagine that he had any bit of selfishness is him, and wondered where I had gone wrong as a parent. It then dawned on me that I hadn't neglected some major parenting responsibility, but that he, like all of us, is a sinner. It is just starting to manifest itself in a more obvious manner as his mind grows and his capacity for understanding expands.

Tears streamed down my face as I experienced the first bit of hurt from my child, despite his lack of intention. Then I grieved for the sins I committed against my parents. I recalled the many times I sinned against them in various ways and felt the pang of regret and sadness that I couldn't undo anything. (Love you Mom...)

This pondering spiraled into the next set of thoughts about how God must have felt when Adam and Eve ate the apple in Eden. How we stab the heart of God when we aren't walking in His ways. If I, a mere human being, felt the way I did at the words of preschooler, how God must feel when I sin against Him (which is daily, I might add).

What did my Jesus feel like on that cross when His father turned His back for that moment of agony when He took upon all the sin of the world?

I am humbled as a parent and as a Christian, ever so thankful for the grace that has been bestowed upon me so that my sins are washed away. I am even more aware of what it means to be a parent. So much more then providing clothing, safety, and food. What a responsibility. I praise Him that my oldest has recently asked Jesus to be in His heart, to forgive His sins. That God has given him the ability to understand what sin is, and that I never have to worry about His spiritual destination.

I didn't know it was possible, but my love for my oldest grew even more after coming to the understanding of all of this. While He is in God's hands, I have become a more fierce momma, determined to hold up a shield (or at least try) against the arrows of Satan and temptation before them. Unfortunately, I don't have that power (but thankfully God does) but I do have the ability to teach them.

Father God, I am ever so humbled before you. Thank you for using my son to teach to me a valuable lesson. Thank you for entrusting him to me. Please guide me in my words to direct them to You. Thank you for choosing me to be part of your family. Thank you for the birth of Jesus, who as an infant would one day be nailed to a cross for me. Help me to remember that my children are sinners and in need of your grace. When I feel the pain of their sin, or when sin brings pain to themselves or others, may your Holy Spirit work in our lives to correct it and grow closer to You.

"..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Romans 3:23-24