The words appeared to me in the middle of the night in bold capital. Not in front of my eyes, but clear none the less. Some dreams may be a mystery to us, but this was pretty clear. Whether it was direction from God, or the cry of my heart, I do not know.
But what should I write. I have a four month old baby, my sleep is interrupted, and my thoughts don’t always run in a straight line. I don’t have time to develop deep theological thoughts or have experience impacting testimonies. I have been busy surviving pregnancy and the newborn stage with child #3. So that is what I will write about.
About one year ago, we came back from our outreach to Native American communities in the US. It was an amazing experience. We were exhausted, but also encouraged by all that happened. We were ready for the next season.
I wrote a blog post upon returning about the dry season, how as the vegetation died down, it provided space for new opportunities. I felt excited about what those opportunities would be. Thankfully, I have no clue what the coming year would look like.
First we found ourselves totally broke after the outreach. We had received a lot of support, but the travel costs had left us dry. We missed a staff retreat because we couldn’t pay for it.
Then we found out that we were expecting another child. We welcomed the news, but not the pregnancy symptoms that came along with that news. I would spend the next several months so sick I could hardly walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. I couldn’t care for my kids or house, but also couldn’t afford to have anyone come in and help. Alex was buckling under the weight of carrying the ministry responsibilities and trying to keep us alive.
Even now, writing about, I can feel my throat starting to close us as those emotions come back over me. It was a dark time.
We continued to struggle financially, and more than once had to decide between buying groceries or me going to my doctor’s appointment.
Suddenly everything seemed to be building up. I found myself worried and fearful a lot of the time. My last pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage, so that fear was present from day one. Alex was dealing with conflict and threats on the ministry front. Our kids reacted to the stress we were all going through.
Before I knew it I was in the midst of postpartum anxiety and depression that was so heavy, sometimes I didn’t know if I would survive it. I had never experienced anxiety, or a panic attack before, so I had no idea how difficult they could be.
It would take too long to describe everything that I have been doing as I seek to walk about of this dark valley, and also all the factors that contributed to getting me there. But I am on the path.
This week, one morning I woke up and realized that I almost felt NORMAL, like I used to feel all the time. It was nice. (Of course, soon after that we had a small accident and spent the afternoon in the emergency room, so it was short-lived). But that was the first time in months I had felt that way. So it was kind of a big deal.
This isn’t a tale that has reached it’s “happily ever after”. I am still walking through this. There are bad days, and there are days that are worse. And then there are little patched of sunshine and during those times I feel sure that everything is going to be okay.
I will just end by encouraging you to be aware of those around you who might be going through something similar. There were moments when I felt very alone. It has been a stark reminder to me to reach out to those around me, who may be struggling silently and not know how to ask for help. There were also many people who have helped us in ways big and small, who stopped over on days when I thought I wasn’t going to survive until bedtime, or those who helped us cover costs that would have been impossible for us.
So today I tell me story, where I am now.