Good morning all! I was trying to fall asleep very early this morning. (Like 12:34am…that is what time my clock says right now.) And God was speaking to me about this post. I have known for over a year that I would write it. I was just waiting for His perfect timing. Now is it. It has been almost a year since God miraculously healed me of Post Partum Depression (PPD). With this powerful, life-changing anniversary in sight, I want to tell you my story.
I just wrote a few days ago about my seventh pregnancy. My son Levi. He was born the day after my birthday…and what a gift. Really! He was such an awesome baby. He was by far our easiest baby from birth until now even. He was not fussy with no hope for finding a solution. There was almost always a solution…which then we all know would end the crying. Peace. That is how our homes are supposed to be. Filled with peace. A lot of times we associate peace with quiet. And my home rarely felt quiet and calm.
**Isn’t this shot so sweet? This is Levi and our moose…correction…our ‘puppy’ Moose. The gentle giant, yet gangly and awkward. (The neighbors call him our pony.) These two pictured are only two months apart in age. Just so we are all clear…I love one of them much more than the other. And they poop equally as much as the other. Lol! Kidding.
One good thing about last year was that my oldest son, Aiden, started Kindergarten. This forced us to become more routine. Not super strict…but way more rigid than ever before. We started out with a bedtime for all of them of 8:30pm. We soon realized that Aiden, being only 5, needed more sleep because he was coming home from school very emotional.Our evenings together were no fun when he was cranky, so bedtime got pushed back until 8:00pm. After the holiday season…we moved it back even farther. The nights here in PA start shortly after 5pm it seems. Once it is dark…it is as if the bed is calling out to me. Ha-ha! Maybe that is partly because that is when the house ‘seems’ peaceful. ;)
So from 7:30pm and on…my husband and I had time to do what we wanted. And it was quiet! Lovely…just lovely. My husband plows snow…so as soon as it is quiet and he sits or lays down in the winter…he is pretty much out. So then there was me. I did enjoy my time sometimes. I would stay up late watching what I wanted. Or surfing the internet. Or reading. Or writing. Or taking a bath. Or eating ice cream. Whatever. Just me.
It was early December of 2010. A time when most people are joyful and anxiously awaiting Christmas. I realize that things with me just aren’t normal. I am getting very frustrated…very easily. I am not joyful. I am not singing. I am not writing. I am not seeking God. I am not satisfied with much of anything. I am not being a good mate. A good friend. A good caregiver. A good sister. A good daughter. A good teacher. A good farmer. A good maid. A good cook. A good example. I am struggling!
I told a friend of mine that I was in a place of complete overwhelm. I was overwhelmed at the thought of every single part, of every single day of my life. This is what one day encompassed for me… I had to shower/bathe myself and 4 kids. I had to get 3 meals a day for 6 people. I had to try to catch up on laundry whenever I could because my dryer was broken. I had to take care of our dogs (one of which was MY HUSBAND’S great dane puppy that was struggling to potty train). I had to do chores in our barn. Most days I had to drive my son to school (which meant taking all 4 kids) out in the awful snow we had last December. (If you aren’t familiar or just don’t remember, we got like 2 feet of snow in 2 or 3 days. I might be exaggerating a little. Sorry for that. Just know it was A LOT of snow in a SHORT time. I had to pick my son up from school (which meant I had to wake up my sleeping baby almost daily). I had to try to do dishes in a sink with no faucet, only a hose. (With 6 people in the house…we create a LOT of dishes. And even though I had a dishwasher…it was not hooked up.) I had to clean the house. I had to buy groceries. I had to pay bills. I had feed my infant when he needed it. At only 4 months old…he still required a lot of time from me.
That does not even count my duties at church. I was on the worship team. And we had practices Wednesday nights and early Sunday mornings. My husband, being the worship leader, would leave very early to pray and prepare himself for the service, on his own. So that left me with 4 kids to get ready by 8:15am. I was also a youth leader. I did take some time off so my son’s sleep routine wouldn’t be so messed up. But I would still go to the extra events that were scheduled. I was on an Outreach ministry team at church as well. I was passionate about planning women’s events, planning and making meals for people in need, and making baskets for people who were going through a rough time.
I don’t list these things to gain sympathy. Just to get you to see how one could become overwhelmed when staring at a mental list like that. I am sure I am forgetting things as well. Those things would bog my mind down from the time I woke up. I was in a constant state of guilt, regret, and resentment. Feeling like I was always letting someone down because of something I just couldn’t handle doing. It made me not want to do a single one of them. So some days I didn’t. Some days I did bare minimum. Some days I didn’t speak all day. If my kids asked for something, I would just do it or get it. I would walk around in silence. When my husband came home, the silence continued. I was slipping away from everyone I loved, and I was silent about it.
Let me set the scene for you on one day that was particularly bad for me. It was bitter cold winter. None of us had clean underwear. The laundry piles were huge because of our dryer being broken. I had been washing my son’s school uniforms in the bathtub at night, and laying them over a heating vent to dry overnight. I called up my aunt and asked if she could watch my kids for a while so that I could go do some laundry at the Laundromat. She agreed and off I went. Packing baskets of dirty clothes wherever there wasn’t a child. I spent all day, and lots of quarters, on doing all of these loads. Tired and hungry, I picked up my kids and headed home. I attempted to get up my driveway (which happened a lot last winter…’the attempt’) in my minivan. I was not successful. My husband was so busy plowing out all of his customers…that our driveway was over a foot and a half deep. Over and over again I would back down, and try to race to the top. Each time getting more and more frustrated. At one point I remember yelling, “I can’t freakin’ handle this!” (Later on my 2 year old began to say that phrase when he was frustrated. *sigh* I was to blame.)
Finally, I gave up. I carried each child up the drive way. (Which is pretty long, and uphill.) Four trips in very deep snow, in the dark. Remember though, I now had load after load of laundry to get as well. So I made many more trips. I finally was on my last trip inside. I opened the door and what did I see? My children were playing in the baskets of laundry. Throwing my clean, sorted, folded laundry on my floor.
If you have ever heard of ‘the boiling point’ to a person’s anger…I so get that. I could literally feel the anger rising up within me. I screamed like an idiot at my children. Their innocent playing turned into fear and sadness. I promise that I did not lay a hand on them. I just made my anger known with words. Hurtful, bitter, undeserving words. I mean really…it was laundry. How ridiculous it is now that I am on the other side!
The looks on my children’s faces told me I needed help. The following days when I was in the barn doing chores, a thought would flash through my head. “What if, while I was cutting through this bail of hay…I accidentally stabbed myself?” As quickly as the picture unfolded in my mind…I would dismiss it. It was not intentionally thought out. It was a random thought that was not of me, or of God.
No sooner did I say out loud the words ‘unintentional thoughts’…then the thoughts became intentional. I was now entertaining thoughts of hurting myself. I would reason…’if I was hurt, someone would see that I was desperate for help. Someone would have no choice but to help.’ I confided in a couple of close friends, and they encouraged me to seek help and they kept me accountable.
I made an appointment to see my lovely doctor. She is a wonderful woman and she is exactly the type of doctor that you would want to see in a situation like this. All of these lies that satan had been feeding me though…they continued. The enemy was whispering to me that my doctor was going to think I was an awful mother. That when I told her the above story…or anyone for that matter…they would think I was crazy. They would think I was an unfit mother. I had promised my friends though that I would go…so I went.
I sat down and slowly started to speak. She made it very easy. She started to ask me questions that I could answer with a yes or no. She said, do you feel overwhelmed? “YES!” That word described my days perfectly. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to take care of my family and responsibilities. It was that I was overwhelmed at even the thought of them. I told her about my thoughts of hurting myself and assured her that I was not suicidal. So what do you think was the next attack of the enemy? We will get to that.
God had my doctor say the most perfect words to me that day. “You are a good mom.” (I blogged about it one day. Click here if you want to read it. It is a post called ‘Feeling Grateful’ from May 11th of last year. Her response to my words of gratefulness in the office that day, May 11th, was unforgettable. I received a card from her in the mail that I will treasure and re-read for life. Written words are a powerful tool. You see how they are used for good…and I am getting to how the enemy uses the written word as well.) After all of the crap I had just told her about me going crazy…she still sincerely said those precious words to me. I agreed that I would go on an anti-depressant medication to help me handle my emotional rollercoaster.
After this point…God sent me to 4 more women. I had already spoken with 2 about my post partum. The next people that God asked me to tell…I was a bit resistant about at first. Some of these women I barely knew. But, I was obedient because I trusted God’s leading more than my knowledge. Each of the women played a specific role. Each time God would say…”Tell her what you are going through because she has something for you.” And to my surprise each time, He was right. They had something specific that I needed to help me get to my end result…which was healing.
Christmas came and went. The New Year came and went. Now there was nothing to look forward to…and still so much winter ahead. Depressing. January 8th rolled around and I was still not feeling like myself. I remember that date because Eric was going to help some friends of ours move into a their new house. It was just up the road from us, and I agreed to bring dinner up to them that evening so they wouldn’t have to worry about it.
As I was driving to drop Eric off…we had a heated discussion. We both said things that we later regretted. I left him there…and drove off with my kids. I was fuming mad. I turned on the music because I couldn’t speak. I had to fight with everything in me to not call Eric on his cell phone and tell him this…
“When you get home, you will find me dead. And you will have 4 very upset children because they will be the ones who find me.”
Sick! Those are not my thoughts. Those are not my words. Those are not of me…because I am a daughter of the KING! What would have been the outcome of that spiritual battle I was warring…had I not spoken to those women of God about my depression? I can’t even think about it. I can just thank God that His strategy was at work. That He knew that this day was coming…and He prepared us for the battle.
Clearly I did not take my life. I did not even attempt. I did something much more dangerous. I started scream praying. If you have never done it…try it sometime. If you are feeling attacked by the enemy. If you are allowing sin in your life and want to conquer it. If you are struggling with thoughts that are not of you or God…scream pray. I yelled at my attacker. I screamed about the power of God that would be unleashed on satan because he dared to mess with God’s little girl. I cried as I realized that this prayer was the first time I was interceding on my own behalf.
Soon after this…I got a message that just broke me. Words that stung. Words that were hurtful. Words that couldn’t be taken back because I could read them…and re-read them. (I told you the written word has power. Both ways. Commit to using your writing for a purpose worthy of re-reading over and over.) If this woman had known that I was fighting for my life, I don’t think she would have ever sent that message. But, if she had not sent that message…who knows how much longer this battle in me would have gone on. Who knows how much longer I could have held on.
You see that letter made me so upset…that I knew I had to fight. I didn’t want to fight flesh and blood. I wanted to fight the powers of darkness. I wanted to fight the author of these lies of overwhelm I was believing. A warrior had been awakened in me…and I was livid with the enemy. How quickly that enemy forgets the Words he once believed. “God uses all things together for the good of those who love Him.” I believe it. How could I not? God has used my miscarriages for my good and to aide others in their healing of losing a baby. (Our babies are safely in His care!) God has used this whole trial for His glory and for my good…and for someone else’s good. (I will get to that later too.)
That letter that caused me start the fight…was the reason I started this blog. That night I wrote a letter from God. It was one of the most powerful things I have written for myself. I recorded it on my blog as well. Click here to read it if you want. It is titled, “This may be God’s letter to you”, blogged on Feb 4th of last year.
Since that time I have gone through seasons of plentiful writing…and seasons of drought. I am in a frenzy right now with God. So excited to be writing whatever He is teaching me. I am praying that this season doesn’t end. That it will be a constant flow from Him to me…and me to you…whoever you are. =) I love writing. I love new revelations that quickly and easily cover over generations of clouded, weak, doubtful thinking.
Oh, and those anti-depressants I was on…gone. I quit taking them the night I wrote that letter from God. It was my proof from God that I was healed. Praise God!!! During my time with one of those six women, God told me He was going to give me a new song. And when He did, I knew it would be a powerful one. I just sang it this past Sunday at my church. It is called ‘Stronger’. Soon enough I will be confident and bold enough to share it with you all.
Remember that scripture I listed above? So far I have listed a few ‘good’ things that God did with me through my circumstance. He completely healed me. He restored my passion for writing. He helped me start this blog. He gave me a new song. He helps me to be a better mother, wife, friend, daughter, etc… He has given me several chances to speak in front of groups of people and share this testimony of His faithfulness and strategy. His miraculous healing has made me realize and accept many more healings in my own body and to pray for those around me.
A few weeks ago was the ultimate! A chance to pray for a dear friend struggling with PPD. I was worshipping and praying that she would come down to the alter because God had told me that morning that this was her day. I opened my eye several times and didn’t see her. What would have happened if I had given up? Don’t care…because I didn’t. =) I prayed harder. And I promised God that as soon as I saw her…I would leave the stage…and I would immediately pray with her. We hugged and prayed. She was in agreement. This harsh exterior that she had put up…was softened. She was receptive. She was warm. She was loving. She was a new creation in Christ. And I am overjoyed that I got to be used and witness the immediate transformation. She is a delight to me. And now she has her own testimony. Now she will have her own ripple effect in the people that surround her. Now she is a source of encouragement to me and my family. God replaced what the enemy meant to destroy her…with all good things.
How does this testimony sit in your spirit? Is it just a story with a luckily happy ending? Or does it speak to your core? Do you have something that is a mountain staring you down…that you want to conquer. It doesn’t have to be PPD. It doesn’t have to be depression. It could be finances. Or a relationship that needs new life. Whatever it is that comes to your mind…I would love to know about it. I am here as a willing servant for you. To pray for you. To intercede on your behalf. Even if you aren’t praying yourself. I would love to see the ripple of God throughout this city, state, country, world. I would love to be encouraged that sharing this testimony was part of your plan of healing. Don’t stop the ripple if you can hear God whispering that it is your time. This is all to show His glory!
God sees you where you are. He is reaching out to you right now. Look up and know that you are not alone. The enemy wants you to feel alone. He wants you to think that no one else will understand…because when you are silent about your struggles…he can keep silently torturing you. Will you continue to allow it? I serve a Mighty God. I serve a God that cares so much about me…that He sent His Son to die for my sinful nature. Let the warrior in you be awakened! Start fighting the true enemy. And if God is telling you to use me to help begin the fight…know that I am so in love with Him…that I will absolutely do it. I don’t care if I know you or not…I love you and I want to help you…so you can start your own ripple effect. Ha-ha! I told you I was a dangerous daughter of the King! =)
Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.