Friday, November 9, 2012

Depression... Confession... JOY!

Tired. Frustrated. Totally at the end of my rope. Pulled in every direction and stretched beyond belief. Exhausted. Explosive. Depleted. Coveting the life of others. Despising my own. Lost in a world of "If only..." Drowning in the reality that is mine. I finally have to admit that this Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Bible-quoting, Bible-singing mother is depressed.

Depressed??!! YOU??!! But you always seem so happy! So bubbly! I couldn't imagine you being affected by anything! Do you think it's the hormones?  Do you need a "Mommy's Day Out"? Well, you do have 5 kids, so I can imagine it being overwhelming at times.. but certainly not depressing!

Yes. Me. And yes I am legitimately happy, even bubbly... as I thrive on the presence of others. Things do affect me, and at times I am hormonal. Yes, I do need a Mommy's Day Out. And yes, life with 5 kids is overwhelming... and at times, depressing.

P. Bunny Wilson once said, "Depression, anxiety, and frustration are all a result of an uncontrolled thought-life." I know that people will argue against that point all day long, but at the end of the day... she's right. An uncontrolled thought-life can reek havoc in the life a believer. Certainly is true for me.

The depression that I speak of is not circumstantial, or clinical, but rather a longing in my soul. A depression that results from not spending time at the Master's feet, like Mary... but rather choosing my to-do list, like Martha. A depression that starts so deep within, but naturally overflows into a sea of uncertainty, doubt, and frustration. A depression that is heightened by circumstances, which then turns into self-pity. A depression that is often confusing, because I find myself doing all the right things... so there's really nothing that I should be depressed about. But I am! And it hurts.

I immediately start crying out to the Lord in my pain... God, if these kids would act right! I get so tired of saying the same things to them every single day. When will they learn? They are stressing me out, and I'm ready to be done with this particular season of life! And if my husband would appreciate me, then I would be better equipped to handle these frustrating 5!! With our house being so small, how in the world am I supposed to begin to operate??! And Lord, if I were closer to home, at least I would have a support system! Sigh... If I could just have more "me" time... If my hair would do right... And my goodness, I just need to get my eyebrows done... THEN I would feel better! Oh, and I need some friends too!! In Jesus name... Amen.

I take aim at every soul, except my own. I increase the busyness of my schedule. I distract myself with things that don't matter. I search for joy in other areas, such as the finding complete fulfillment in this closet that I just perfectly rearranged!! All so that I would not have to deal with myself. Depressed.

At the end of the day, I still have to lay down with my own thoughts. Everyone is sleep. All work is done. That longing still exists. Lord, I know I haven't been so diligent in my quiet time. But surely, that alone  cannot be the cause of alllllllllll this mental anguish.

"Try me"... I hear the Lord say.

Confessing sin... Pouring my heart out... Laying out my requests... Giving God my dreams and desires... I had to start with prayer. Hearing from God... convicted of sin... reminded of who God is... lost in His power... comforted by His love... I had to end with the Word of God.

*Light bulb*

When I'm at the feet of Jesus, then my thoughts are in order. When my thoughts are in order, it sets the pathway for everything else.  My circumstances have not changed, but I see the difference now. And it is oh so clear. I begin to reevaluate. Is it that my kids won't act right, or that God is revealing the ugliness of my own character, as I'm dealing with them in anger? Does my husband really take me for granted? Or am I serving with impure motives, looking for applause? Am I really without a support system? Or has God taken away my comfort zone, to force me to cling to Him alone?

The pathway of uncontrolled thoughts will indeed lead me to depression., but the truth of the Word will ignite joy. I say it all the time... There is no substitute for quality time with the Lord. No song will do. No motivational speech. No "5-minute daily read". Nothing... nothing... nothing can replace the pure, inherent, awesome Word of God... and the application thereof.

If I say it, then I must live it. So today I choose the Word. I choose life. I choose JOY.

My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word... My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:25, 28

Thursday, November 1, 2012


In December 2006, I embarked upon a journey of motherhood that was (in hindsight) relatively simple. Sure my newborn arrived 6 weeks premature, and had a 2-week stay in the NICU... but he was the only one who demanded my attention. When he cried, I could tend to him. When he was wet, I could change him. When he was hungry, I could feed him. And when he slept... oh how I joined him! The adults out-numbered the children 2-1, and life was glorious! Well, about as glorious as 10 weeks of sleepless nights could get.

By February 2008, I now had a 14-month old who was not yet walking, who had just been diagnosed with asthma, who had severe food allergies (including milk, soy, wheat, eggs, corn, and peanut) ...and I was 41 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child.  Unlike most women in those final few weeks and beyond, I was in no hurry to deliver. Quite frankly, with the medical needs of our oldest, I didn't think I could handle another child. So to me, the best thing for our 2nd child was to remain safe and sound in the nice, comfy womb, while I tended to our oldest. Baby #2 was just going to have to... wait.

But it didn't work that way. The doctor scheduled an induction date for me. I guess everyone seemed to believe this child needed to be out in the hustle and bustle of it all. So there I was... thrust into the life of managing 2 children, 14 months apart, both demanding my attention, and usually simultaneously.

Where were all the visitors now? The meals?? The people checking in on me?? The offers to help? I knew I wasn't a "new" mom, but when it comes to dividing my attention, I was new indeed! I needed more help than ever before, but I didn't want to impose on anyone - including my own husband and father of our children. After all, he was putting in 14 hours of work, while I was "just at home". (Believe me, I have since learned differently!) And silently, I chose to work it out on my own. Baptism by fire, some say. But somehow I managed to juggle this new life. But I had to learn the art of making them... wait.

When there are 2 children crying, one is going to wait. When there are 2 children hungry, one will wait. And when there are multiple diapers to be changed? Yes, in the midst of the sour smell, one is still going to wait. Because as much as I would like to do everything at the same time, I just couldn't. Thus, I would have to accept the fact that there would be a child (or perhaps 2 children) crying, or rather screaming. I would have to repeatedly tell myself that these children are in fact okay. Then I would have to release the guilt that I felt every time this happened.

Making these babies wait... was the best thing I could do for me. In the frustration of, "Ahhh!!! I can't do it all!!"... I can actually hear myself say, "I can't do it all."  Which then reminds me that, "I can't do it all." And ultimately causes me to turn to the One who can do it all. God, Almighty God.

What was I trying to gain in this ridiculous quest of "got it all togetherness"? Ultimate Mother of the Year!!  She meets all demands, and never has a child in tears! Nice, not reality.  This gift of motherhood is not about me. It's about building character in the lives that God has entrusted to me.  Whether it is one child or 10, this "on demand" mothering mentality must change. There's a character building opportunity here. So I must capitalize. Now.

And now... almost 6 years in to this journey, I still make them wait. Admittedly, I am usually motivated to make them to wait simply to allow myself the chance to get to everything. (Still trying to do it all!) But then I realized that I am doing them a great disservice by not teaching them to wait. I'm actually hindering them by always being available to meet their needs at the snap of a finger. I would even go so far as to say that I am unintentionally encouraging a sense of entitlement, or a "spoiled brat", even without buying one extravagant gift.

So now they are being taught to look at my hands, before making a request. They are being taught that I cannot do everything at once. They are being taught to consider others, even above their own request. They are being taught that real life is NOT "on demand." They are being taught to wait... and dare I say it... patiently.

Have they mastered it? Absolutely not. Is it a struggle? Every day. All day. (Remember we are talking about a nearly 6, 5, 3, 2... along with a 6 month old!) Do I want to give up and just let everybody wallow in their own selfish demands?? ALL. THE. TIME.

Wait. It's the 4-letter word that causes most children to cringe. It's that awful feeling of not getting what I want when I want it. And if I'm honest, it does its devastating work in my own impatient heart as well.  So I'm trusting that such an exercise as this will produce an amazing result - not only in them, but in me.

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4