Three years ago, just after Sam was born, I remember sitting in the keeping room off of my kitchen, warm sunlight pouring in the bank of windows behind me, watching my mother hold and snuggle Sam…feeling nothing but anxiety and fear.
That is the day my mother told me that she knew God was going to do a mighty work in my life. I heard her words and thought, “I certainly hope so.” However, in my 37 years of living up to that point, I had yet to acknowledge God’s hand or presence in my life in any substantial way. I had just enough of a “relationship” with Him to check the box, but I was finding out quickly that it wasn’t enough to sustain me during one of the darkest times in my life.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at the age of 5. I grew up in the church. And…I have had control and perfection issues as far back as I can remember. I did not need anyone’s help and certainly did not trust that my Heavenly Father would order my life in the way I wanted, so I had set about to put it in order all by myself. I had a wonderful husband, a very lucrative career in the financial and real estate industry, a comfortable lifestyle supported by two incomes and no kids, and my dream house. My personal quest for perfection and control in every area of my life seemed to be on track.
- My parents divorced after 37 years of marriage.
- I found out that I was pregnant at age 37.
- I had been working in a high stress career, plus I had worked from home in the last year of my career and during my pregnancy, which caused me to feel lonely, isolated and out of the loop of office politics.
- My husband became unemployed right around the time we were trying to decide whether I would leave the workforce and become a stay at home mom.
- I was sleep deprived and developed PUPPP during my 3rd trimester.
- A body memory of sexual abuse by an older neighborhood kid surfaced during a routine prenatal exam.
- My perfectly planned natural labor/delivery did not go according to plan and Sam was delivered by C-section.
- I was further sleep deprived postpartum and experienced breastfeeding challenges.
- Until we overcame the breastfeeding challenges and sleeping arrangements, Sam was a colicky baby and had issues with reflux.
- I was grieving the end of a lucrative career and the loss of my childless friends and social circle.
- After a visit to a functional medicine doctor, I discovered that I had severe nutritional deficiencies and health issues, including adrenal fatigue and an autoimmune disorder.
- I have a family history of depression and anxiety.
- Throughout most of my adult life, my glass was always half empty, and I realized that I was likely depressed before becoming pregnant.
- I was in a spiritual malaise.
- In 2010, we moved away from our family, friends, church and dream home in Tennessee to begin a new chapter in coastal Georgia.
My dominoes, as they fell, culminated in a diagnosis and ongoing treatment of depression and, as a result, the start of my new life. I underwent medical treatment for postpartum depression and counseling for grief and loss, but felt something was missing. At my mom’s suggestion, I started a gratitude journal, turned to the book of Psalms, and found much comfort in the God who loves me:
6 I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
7 Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue
those who seek refuge from their enemies.
8 Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
I love the imagery of hiding in the shadow His wings. What a safe place to be!
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday
I often joke that Sara Groves has written the soundtrack for my life. One of my favorite songs is Sara’s “Less Like Scars”**. The words are so true for me…
What I am just discovering at the age of 40 is that if I will ASK God for help, INVITE Him to order my every step and GET OUT OF MY OWN WAY, He will do exceedingly more than I could ask or imagine.
Today I can say with certainty…
My God is for me, He’s not against me.
Because of this, I need fear no one and no circumstances.
HE has prepared for me great works He’ll help me to complete.
I now have a hope…THIS hope: “…that he who began a good work in [ME] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV) (Thanks, Momma!)
I want to share that hope with other women and mothers.
Welcome to Velveteen Mom…