Ignorance

I am ignorant – I mean embarrassingly ignorant – of current events. Ask me about something that’s going on in the world and chances are I can’t tell you much. Even things I care deeply about, I don’t tend to follow in the news much. I’m too busy, I don’t like watching the news, I don’t get online very often… I could give all sorts of (mostly untrue) excuses. But the truth is that I just don’t follow current events very closely.

Does this make me ignorant? In many ways, yes. Does it make me a bad adult? Probably. Is it going to change? Probably not. I’ve tried many times over to become, and stay, better informed – I guess I’m just not attentive enough.

There are many people who would look down their noses at me and admonish that I need to get it together. I’m sure there are also many people who would find it ridiculous that an almost thirty-year-old doesn’t know what’s going on in the world.

But here’s the truth:

1. I do know a little about current events, and

2. I know Who wins in the end.

That second point, that’s the bottom line. I know Who wins. I know Who prevails over all of the disasters and struggles and politics and trials.

I know in Whom my hope lies.

So, should I follow the news more closely, become more educated? Of course. That is a continuous goal of mine. But regardless of if I’m ignorant about worldly things, I know the things that are the most important. I know Jesus and I know the gospel. And I will continue to find hope in the fact that Jesus Christ prevails. Because if you don’t have that hope in this messed up and fallen world, what do you have?

Blessing from Chaos

I keep seeing posts and YouTube videos detailing people’s routines: morning routines, night routines, or daily routines. The other day I stumbled across an article on the Baby Center website that outlined different daily routines based on being a stay at home versus a working mom (linked here.) So, to keep in the spirit of the fad, I thought I’d share my typical daily “routine.”

Sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 am – Baby girl (hereafter referred to as “Peanut,” a nickname she’s had since she was in the womb) and I get up, start the coffee, change her diaper, and get dressed.

Sometime between 5:00 and 7:30 am – My husband gets up and joins us, unless he’s leaving for work while we’re still sleeping.

9:00 am – 4:30 pm – Peanut and I play with her toys and read stories. When she gets fussy I try to feed her (sometimes nursing, sometimes a bottle) or change her or hold her until she is better. When she sleeps I either clean, do laundry, or sleep too, depending on the night we’ve had.

4:45 pm – My husband gets home (unless he’s working late). He plays with Peanut while I cook supper.

Around 5:30 pm – We eat.

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm – We play with Peanut. I try to straighten up the house. Peanut has a bath and generally a late evening nap from which she awakes to want to play more.

Sometime at night – We all go to sleep.

Briefly after that – Peanut fusses until I pick her up. We retreat to the nursery to sleep the rest of the night in the recliner.

Throughout the night – Peanut wakes and I nurse her back to sleep. My husband comes in to see if I want him to take a turn. We switch off sitting/sleeping in the chair with Peanut.

Morning – It starts over.

You see, we don’t have too much of a “routine” right now. When Peanut is hungry, I feed her. When she’s tired, I rock her to sleep. When she’s wet or dirty, I change her. In between we play and read stories and do tummy time and clean the house. We listen to music and I read the Bible to her. Sometimes we run errands or go to Grammy and Grampy’s house. We text Daddy and wait for him to come home. We sometimes cry and we giggle a lot.

Some days are easy, when Peanut is in a good mood and so am I; when I get the whole house clean and do laundry and we play and giggle a lot. Some days are so hard, when she is fussy or I’m struggling or things have piled up and I can’t seem to get ahead. Sometimes it feels like our days are filled with chaos. But truly, each day I stay at home with this sweet baby is a wonderful gift and I thank God every day for blessing me so much.

We don’t really have a “routine,” and that’s okay with me, because I know that these days are fleeting. We pretty much do the same things each day, but every day Peanut is growing bigger and learning more and more. I try to bask in the glow of that first smile she gives in the morning and to remember the sound of her sweet little laugh. I let her take naps sitting on my lap or laying in my arms. I cherish the fact that I get to stay home with her because my husband works so hard for our family.

In all, I really admire those families that can have a daily routine that is actually scheduled and works. But for now I think our “routine,” of just living life, is working just fine.

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.

—Anonymous.

Joy Comes in the Morning

This post has not been easy to write, and I went back and forth about whether I’d actually share it. But, although the subject isn’t easy for me to talk about, I think it’s important for me to be open and for others to know that they’re not alone.

If you read my last post, you know that I have been dealing with some postpartum depression. The truth is that I have struggled with depression to one degree or another since high school. Some times in life have been so difficult, and other times I can pretty much forget that I have struggled at all.

I used to be ashamed that I had depression, especially in high school and college. I have pretty much kept it quiet and not many people knew except for my family and a few close friends. The more I think about it now, though, the more I realize that it’s important to be open about it. First, it helps me feel less alone and reminds me that I don’t need to be ashamed. Second, who knows who I could help simply by talking about what I’ve been through?

I think depression is different for everyone who experiences it, and I can’t claim to know how others feel. For me, it’s a pervasive feeling that can sometimes fade to the background and sometimes be so overwhelming that I struggle to get out of bed. I took antidepressants for many years which helped me to feel better. However, when I started growing closer to God, I started questioning whether I was putting too much faith in medicine and not enough faith in the true Healer. I weaned off of the medication and, for the most part, did just fine.

When I got pregnant, my husband and I talked about the possibility of postpartum depression (PPD). He was pretty convinced that I would end up with it, and he was right (yes, I said it). After my little girl was born, I was so emotional that it was hard to tell if it was just hormones – baby blues, as it’s called – or something more. But as the weeks went on, it didn’t get any better. I stopped crying all the time, but I still just felt so down. I felt like I was worthless and drowning, and I felt so incredibly guilty about feeling that way because my little girl (and my husband!) didn’t deserve it. But as hard as I tried and as much as I prayed, it didn’t get better.

At my six-week checkup, the doctor asked me how I was doing and I just started crying. I told him that I had really been struggling. He asked if I’d had a history with depression and told me that this makes it so much more likely to end up with PPD. He was quick to explain that there is PPD that is more like “regular” depression, and there’s PPD that involves having weird/scary thoughts and ideas. I have the former.

My doctor then suggested that I use antidepressants. At this point I had been thinking for a while about asking for medication, and my husband and I had talked – and prayed – a lot about it. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t relying on the medicine too much and on God too little. My husband’s doubts prompted me to ask myself – had I been praying enough about this? Had I truly handed it over to God to take care of?

Because I could respond “yes” to these questions, I felt okay telling my doctor that I wanted the medication. If I had not been able to say “yes” to both questions, I don’t think I would have have been at a point where medication could even help.

It has been over a month now that I’ve been taking medication for PPD, and I do feel like it’s helping. However, I also firmly believe that it is helping because of God – because I have put my faith in Him to heal me. Some days are still really hard. Most of the time it gets better once I get up and doing things. It seems to get a lot better once I open my Bible and read (funny how that works). I have also found that if I’m open about it, especially with my husband, and if I pray and put it in God’s hands, those hard days are so bearable.

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:5, 11-12 NKJV

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5 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) From Being a Mom

I’m a new mom. My daughter is two months old (seriously? how is she already two months old?!). I really have no idea what I’m doing in many ways, and we live a lot of our lives through trial and error. Somehow, my little girl is still thriving, so I guess we are figuring things out. Sometimes it feels like I’m a total failure, like I’m drowning and have no idea which way to swim for air. Most of the time, things are wonderful because I can look at this precious girl and she makes everything okay.

In these past two months, I have learned so much. I’ve learned about myself and about my husband. I’ve learned about the people around me, and about God and His goodness. Here are five big things I’ve learned (so far) from being a mom.

5 Things

  1. Everyone has an opinion, but they aren’t the ones raising your kid.

Before having my baby, I kind of realized this. People gave me advice about everything during pregnancy, from what to name her to whether or not I should have an epidural. I had no idea that it would get so much worse after she was born! Everyone has something to say about how you should parent your child. Random people in the grocery store will tell me what I should do. People at church have opinions. My family members give me advice. There is so much information flying at a new parent, it’s difficult to know what to do.

I will say, one of the most helpful pieces of advice came from our pediatrician, who said, “Listen to all of the different opinions and then do whatever works for you.” Once we started doing that, I felt so much better! As a new parent, it’s easy to fall into the trap of hearing everyone’s advice and trying to do it all perfectly. Well guess what? No one is perfect, and you are going to mess up! (I’m still coming to terms with this.) So I have learned to take everyone’s advice and input, as well-meaning (or not) as it may be, and do whatever I darn well please!

2. When you have a baby, the amount of love you can have for someone will shock you.

I loved my daughter when I was pregnant with her. I would talk to her and think about her all of the time, and I dreamed of the day when I could finally hold her in my arms. But let me tell you, when they put that tiny baby on my chest for the first time, I felt a love like I had never known could exist. How could my heart be so full? It felt like it would burst with all of the love I had for this little girl.

This is both a beautiful and terrifying thing. A mother’s love is honestly the most powerful emotion I have ever felt, but with it comes so much fear – fear for her health and safety, fear about whether I’m doing things right, fear over the future… the list goes on. But I have learned to cling to God and find solace in the fact that before I ever knew my baby, He knew her and He holds her.

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.”
Psalm 39:13-14

3. Time passes so quickly.

People always told me to savor the little moments with my baby, because they don’t last. I never knew how true this really was until she was here. How in the world is she already two months old? She has changed and grown so much in these two short months, and I wish it would all just slow down! The first few weeks having her home were so hard, but now I wouldn’t trade that for the word. The hard times may not have passed as quickly as I would have liked at the time, but I learned that both difficult and wonderful times are gone in the blink of an eye. It’s important to stop and savor them before it’s too late.

4. You can be nostalgic about things that haven’t even happened.

I often think about what my little girl’s life might be like, and what ours as parents will be like in connection to this. I pray for her health and safety and happiness every day, and I find myself getting nostalgic about her growing up – which hasn’t even happened yet! I just feel like time is so fleeting, and even though she hasn’t done this or that yet, I know I will miss it once it’s over. I think about her not being a baby anymore and I get so sad, even though she will still be a baby for some time. I find myself pre-reminiscing (a new word I just made up; you’re welcome) about her taking her first steps or crawling into our bed at night or being able to hold her on my lap while we read stories. I am already missing these things that haven’t even happened. I just want each moment to last forever, but as we already learned, time passes by too fast

5. You will gain a new understanding of God and His might.

This is probably the biggest lesson for me so far in motherhood. I have truly seen the work of God’s hands in a very real way. He somehow saw fit to give my husband and I this tiny baby as our own, and what a miracle she is! Just looking at her, I am filled with wonder at the awesomeness of God and His plan for us. It makes me think, how can anyone look at a new life, let alone experience it coming into the world, and not be awestruck by it?

I have also been amazed at the depth of God’s love for us as humans. How in the world could He possibly love me enough to make me this little girl’s mom? And then when I think about the fact that he somehow loves me even more than I love her, I am sometimes moved to tears (okay, I cry pretty easily these days, but it’s still pretty amazing). Our God is truly a god of goodness and love, and I have seen that more than ever since I became a mom.