Where to begin?
So much is going on and at the same time, I have a feeling of stagnation and disconnect. I find that I’m frequently in one of two places: Either just about to head into one of life’s storms, or just coming out of one. So much of the last year is just a blur… I moved to a new state, found a job, quit that job, moved again, had a baby, became a zombie… you know.. typical parenthood things. I was so busy that I didn’t have a chance to process the postpartum anxiety I was experiencing until my child was 6 months old! I feel that business robbed me of feeling connected to my life.
There is a lot of “junk” I have had to study and learn for my RYT 200 test coming up. But I think the most valuable piece of philosophical information (probably the only valuable piece of philosophical information I encountered) was the concept of mindfulness. In the book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, the author talks about doing the dishes. Not just doing the dishes because they need to get done so the sink is clean so mold doesn’t grow on that stuck-on bit of mac ‘n’ cheese left in the bowl. But actually doing the dishes for the sake of having the experience of doing the dishes. I first said, “Hogwash!” I hate and have always hated washing dishes. I hate stuck on food, I hate dirty dish water, I hate the smell of hot water on food mess… ugh… But the idea of being mindfully aware of every moment you encounter in life is quite a new concept to me.
In the early months of my son’s life and my time as his mother, I (unknowingly) battled postpartum anxiety and depression. I would frequently feel overwhelmed by simple tasks like taking my dogs outside to potty. Or I would have negative thoughts and images of crashing the car into the guardrails or of my kid being the antichrist (Note to self: watching Rosemary’s Baby while pregnant was not the best choice.) I’ve always struggled with hormonal imbalance so birth and recovery just really amplified it. But the whole time I felt so ridiculous and I have such a “quit whining and put on your big girl pants” mentality that I was embarrassed by my struggle, ashamed that I was struggling, and afraid to admit it to anyone, especially my husband who was trusting me with the life of his son each day. Let me first say, there is no shame in asking for help. I once walked blindfolded in a giant circle in a group trust exercise for about an hour because of being too proud to ask for help. Get help. Take care of yourself. You cannot expect to care for others if you cannot adequately care for yourself. I think a lot of Christians, especially women, get caught up in sacrificial service to the detriment of ourselves because it’s in our nature to want to nurture our loved ones (some more than others, I’m not particularly motherly, but I’m learning.) That’s not to negate the fact that it is noble to put the needs of others ahead of ourselves, but you can’t very well expect to care for a struggling brother or sister in Christ if you’re ill, be it mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. But scripture tells us the story of Peter’s mother-in-law being very sick in bed, near death, and then Jesus came and healed her [Matthew 8:14-15] . What was her first response? Grateful service. She immediately got up and began to serve them. In my sanctified imagination, I hear her sounding much like my maternal grandmother, “Oh good grief, where’s my housecoat? are you hungry? do you want something to eat? I just need to wipe and swipe the table and get the house picked up a little bit… You want something to drink? I’m hot, are you hot? I’ll turn on the air…” Busy. busy. busy. Just constantly moving. There was probably 1) a sense of duty to serve the men of her household in biblical submission, but also extreme gratitude and awe to Jesus for healing her and her service became an act of worship.
I have a hard time making folding cloth diapers or scraping clean dirty pots and pans an act of worship. But that’s exactly what it should be. The Bible tells us that in everything we do, whether in word or deed, we are to do it to the glory of God. [Colossians 3:17] The times I fail to remember this scripture are the times I feel the most disconnected, alone, forgotten, unloved, detached… I’m not an unloved, miserable housewife. No, I don’t get out much because of my husband’s schedule and only having one vehicle. No, there are days I don’t change out of pajamas or yoga clothes. No, I don’t have many close female friends in my new town because I don’t get out much and I’ve always found it difficult to connect with other women. But I do have Jesus Christ as my sure foundation. And when all else feels stagnant, or disconnected around me, I can rest on his unchanging faithfulness and eternal love. How can that not make you say, “Hallelujah, what a Savior!?”
FOR THE LADIES:
I want to invite any of you like-minded ladies to pray for connection within your spiritual lives, relationship with Jesus, relationships with spouses and family, connection within the Church, and connection to the beautiful life with which God has gifted you. Each breath is a gift from God, the creator and sustainer of life. I will be specifically lifting up my sisters in Christ in intentional prayer this week. If you would like to send me a specific request to pray over, please do not hesitate to email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I assure you, anything shared will remain in confidence.
May God bless each one of you.