Wednesday, July 6

Doubting

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is James 1.  I have a lot of trouble with doubting, and in James 1:5-8 speaks to my doubt.  It says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.  Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."

These are powerful words for the doubter.  My faith is tested with regards to parenting, finances, health, and many other things.  Recently, I have experienced anxiety because of my doubting.  I like to flip things around, and see what the opposite is of someone who doubts.  If a person with divided loyalty is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind, someone who doesn't doubt is like a peaceful river.  Such people should expect to receive something from the Lord. They are 100% loyal to God, and are stable in everything they do. (my paraphrase)

It is helpful for me to see this picture, because that is what I want my life to look like.  The enemy of our souls wants for us to walk in anxiety.  He wants us to doubt God's word is true, and he wants us to question God's promises for our lives.

Thank you, God that you give wisdom GENEROUSLY,  without finding fault.  Thank you that you want us to walk in peace as your dearly loved children.

Wednesday, June 8

This morning, a friend sent me a blog address belonging to a friend's niece who is a mom with bi-polar. As I read her posts, I cried as I realized there was someone else that had a very similar experience to my own, and for the first time I realized how I have had so many emotions related to being a mother with a mental illness.

My diagnosis of bi-polar come long before I had Justin, and while it was extremely difficult and brought about a great deal of upheaval in my life, it's impact has been much more real since becoming a mother. Having a small child who is dependent on me, mixed with not knowing the future has taken so much joy out of what is supposed to be an amazing journey.   

I am sorry to say that the first year of Justin's life, I did very little connecting with other people.  On top of being lonely, since my son was adopted, I felt guilty that I wasn't a happy mother after I had pursued motherhood for so long.  There were moments when I actually thought of calling Justin's biological mother to see if she wanted to find a more suitable mom for him.  While I knew I would never do this, and am so glad that I didn't, the feelings of inadequacy were sometimes overwhelming.  

Despite my feelings of hopelessness during the first year, I continued to do the "acceptable" thing, putting on a brave smile, and telling everyone how happy I was while truthfully, I spent my time sleeping and escaping reality as much as possible. The thought of transparency was unacceptable to me, as I thought it would surely lead to more isolation.   

The second year of Justin's life has gone much better, as I have gotten together with other moms and their kids.  Some know about my illness,  and many do not.  I am conflicted when it comes to disclosure of this very private part of my life.  (I have to laugh at the irony of claiming to be a private person while at the same time posting this on the internet). 

In the blog I read this morning, Sarah wrote about how the stigma of her mental illness caused her to fear the thoughts of other mothers.  Her words echo my thoughts. Here is an excerpt from her blog.

 "Stigma. Far and away, the stigma I fear most is that which I suspect may lurk in the minds of other parents. Just about the only hesitation I’ve had in blogging about my mental illness is the worry that it will negatively impact the way the parents of my children’s friends perceive me. (My other fear is about how these disclosures may affect future employers, but I’ve chosen to cross that bridge when I come to it.) If you are one of those other moms who reads this blog and still chooses to let your children play at my house, please know how very, very much I value your continued trust in me. If you’re a parent in my circle who reads this blog and has your doubts, please know that, one, you can ask me anything anytime, and two, I have been blessed with a very reliable co-parent, and if, in his judgment, my children are safe at my house, then yours are, too. I can say this in hopes that you’ll hear it, but still the fear remains, that this illness will freight my children with the burden of living in a world that whispers about their mother." (1)

These same thoughts have been on my mind as well.  While it saddens me to read those words, it is beyond comforting that someone out there can relate to what I am going through. This is the main reason I have chosen to be open with my story.  2nd Corinthians 1:4 says "He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." (The Message) 

1).confessionsofahumanmother.blogspot.com 

fear

There have been many times I have wanted to start a new blog that would be completely anonymous so I would be able to write my honest thoughts without wondering if I was being too transparent, or if I would offend so and so, etc...One day I might, but for now I don't have time to design a new one, and I have history with this one, so I am not ready to stop adding to it.

Over the past several years as my depression has intensified, I have struggled with feeling safe in relationships with other people.  As a result of numerous hospitalizations for my disorder, I have made many friends, and have lost my share as well.  It is difficult to be in relationships, as I wonder in the back of my mind if people will stay or leave should I have another manic episode.  These thoughts have contributed to further isolation and depression.  Today has been a good day to combat some of those feelings.

I don't usually watch TV during the day, and I especially find some of the Evangelical television to be a little off putting.  Today, however I was watching a sermon on fear, and the pastor made some really good points.  Unfortunately, my memory for detail is not that great, but the gist of what he said was that God wants us to live a life without fear, and obviously the enemy wants to plant seeds of anxiety in our minds that will keep us trapped in negative thinking.  He said each negative thought we entertain releases negative chemicals into our body, eventually causing physical illness in addition to the emotional and mental ones.  If we feed our minds thoughts that are contrary to God's truth, the result will be the opposite of how God wants us to live.  So, the challenge was to meditate on the truth of the scriptures, and to challenge what we are telling ourselves.

A little while later, I was taking Justin for a ride, which is how I get him to sleep, and was listening to a program on the radio.  The topic was disappointment in relationships.  I think the book being discussed was by Gary Smalley, and he made several good points.  The one I came away with was how so many times we place far too much pressure on people to fill the void only God can fill.  While we need relationships in our lives, we can't expect to find our identity in other people, and we must have realistic expectations, or else we set ourselves up for being hurt.  This wasn't the first time I have heard what was preached in the sermon, as well as hearing this on the radio, but it came at a good time, as I have been dealing with both anxiety and loneliness.    






    

Hello again

I just decided to look up my blog after what seems like forever.  So much has happened over these past years and months.  My Dad lost his battle with cancer, my father in law died suddenly of a heart attack, and I spent two and a half months in the hospital trying to make sense of everything.  As with every manic episode I experience, what followed was a deep depression lasting almost a year.  I am just now starting to feel somewhat positive after ten months, so I am ahead of schedule.

 It is so difficult to be a good mom when I am depressed.  All I have wanted to do was sleep in order to escape  reality. Thankfully, Justin has had preschool, so I have been able to rest.  Part of the reason I am tired is due to medication as well.  I have been trying to find anyone who could relate with what I have been going through.  I joined a support group for people with bipolar disorder, but I found it was too hard to separate myself from them.  If someone in the group said they were suicidal, I felt suicidal.  So, I stopped going to that group.  I have had a hard time connecting with other Christians during this time, as I have felt like I am not "together" enough to be a good Christian.  So, I have been isolating quite a bit.

The one group of people I can't isolate from is other moms, as I have done my best to get Justin on regular playdates with his friends.  This has been a saving grace, as I have had to stay connected.  It is so different recovering as a mom than it was when I just had myself and Brent to think about.  I have a huge responsibility,  and just knowing that is intense.

For now, life is good.  I hope this wasn't too much of a downer.  This is just what has been going on with my life.




Tuesday, September 24

Florida

I am so glad that my livelihood does not depend on me writing regularly.  I spent two weeks in Florida, and had more than enough time to post,  yet I didn't.

Brent kept Justin in Seattle for the first week, so I was able to spend time with my parents, then they joined me, and the three of us rented a house on the beach for the last week. My Dad didn't feel sick, just weak and tired at times.  We all enjoyed going on walks every night after dinner.














Justin loved finding new places to explore.  He didn't like the beach much, but we found an outdoor pool that he enjoyed.

I'm so thankful for these memories.

Monday, September 23

Fall

I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone, and how it seems the weather has changed literally overnight.  I love the way the sun shines through the leaves as they are turning into stunning shades of red and yellow. I look forward to the smell of pumpkin lattes at Starbucks, and everything else that is a reminder of this season.  The air is crisp, and life feels "cozy." Finally being able to pull out sweaters, snuggling with the cats as they warm my lap, and reading to Justin on the big stuffed chair in my bedroom are all things that I enjoy about the fall.

More than anything, I love the this time of year because Justin's Birthday is in September.  He turns two this month, and I have the pleasure of celebrating him!  His Birthday is later this week, but we just celebrated with our family and one of his little friends.  It is so much fun to see him eat his cake, and open his presents.  Before his party, he went to a farm in Bellevue where he was able to see real animals and tractors.


Afterwards, we had pizza and cake to finish off the celebration.  He listens to Old Mac Donald daily, so we went with the barnyard theme for his party.


I can't believe he is 2!  I am so proud to be his Mom, and it is such a treat to watch him grow. Having a son, and growing in love with him everyday feels like a tangible way that God is teaching me about his love for me.  It is the closest thing I have to compare it to. His love is perfect, though, and even deeper than my love for Justin.


I want Justin to know the love of God who "rejoices over him with singing and dancing." (Zephaniah 3:17)  When my love falls short, and it will, my prayer is that he will know God's perfect love.

Happy Fall!




Monday, August 19

Update

Life has been hard lately. Besides my Dad's cancer, which thankfully we found out was stable for now, I have a close friend who's brother also has melanoma. He is a young husband in his thirties, and father of four.  I have been following his blog, and have been inspired at how he continues to find grace despite the way this unwelcome disease is stealing so much from him. I feel deeply for my friend, her brother, and his family.

Brent's Grandpa is on the verge of dying, but has been hanging on for days.  He just turned 97, and has also inspired many people. There have been some beautiful moments during these final days where he has seen angels. The day before, he was singing some hymns from a CD my mother in law recorded. He will leave a beautiful legacy, as I see many of his traits in my father in law, and in Brent.

As I get older, the more I realize I will live to see more of these losses.  Sometimes it's difficult to look forward to each new day with that realization.

Mixed with the hard emotions coming from these situations, I also experience daily joy with Justin learning new words, discovering and celebrating his little belly button, and loving his companionship throughout the day.  As he approaches two, his favorite word is "no," even though I was convinced at one time that no child of mine would ever tell me "no" all day long, it is happening, and I actually welcome it, as I know it is a stage he has go through as he becomes more independent.

He is learning lots of words right now, and it has been amazing to see him develop. He loves to chase the cats, and sometimes I think he believes he is one of them.  He does spend lots of time around them.  The other day, we had a play date with his friend Mattia.  I looked over at them, and Justin was trying to put his forehead against Mattia's, and was petting the top of his head like he would our cat, Luna.  It was very cute...

So much to process, and so much to embrace right now.



Maui

Maui
flower

Memories

Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!