Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In-between Seasons

For us "emotional melancholy" types, sometimes the only way to get out what we're feeling is by writing it down. Whether it be in a song, journal, blog, book... you get the idea. Today I am feeling a bit windy inside and I do believe it has to do with the changing seasons. So that is what I am choosing to write on in this post.

Indian Summer is what they call this lingering heat that we are experiencing here in Georgia. And as a child, I loved every second of it. I could come home from school and swim at my Papa's, or on the weekends we could play with the waterhose and pretend it was still summer break. I didn't mind the 30-plus bug bites that I ended up with on each leg and the heat certainly didn't bother me! I loved getting to wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops--my hot weather uniform, if you will, and getting to see my cousins all day was always the best. 

However, now that I am (ahem) a few pounds heavier and a bit older, I find that I don't enjoy the heat staying around as much as I did in my younger days. Part of me wonders if I'm just washed up and officially "old." But I think in my heart I know and realize, that I have a deeper appreciation for the season ahead. As a kid, summer and warm weather ending meant school was starting... then beyond that: tests, homework, activities, etc. The carefree days of being a kid on summer break were officially over and things like swimming and matinee movies were packed away neatly for the school year until next summer. 

As I have grown older I have actually come to appreciate all four seasons for each thing they bring. As a young girl I really did not like winter. Don't get me wrong, it's still hard for me sometimes to appreciate the cold. But I am learning to see the beauty in it all, especially if we are lucky enough to get snow. It is lovely, awe inspiring, and can stop a southern city right in its tracks. Spring was always a lovely tease of summer. But in "Dixie Alley" it often brings dangerous weather which always makes me nervous. But, there is nothing like that first warm day (you know what I'm talking about) where you walk outside, after having dressed in your awkward layered winter-spring outfit, and realize that you don't need your sweater, the sun is warm when shining on your face and you feel energized! My mother-in-law calls the sun "healing" and I couldn't agree more. 

And here we are back to summer and fall. Summer flies a banner of freedom and fun, concerts, baseball, fireworks, vacations, and barbeques. But then you feel that first fall breeze. And you are so done with summer. At least that's how it works for me! But it requires patience, because the heat doesn't go away without a fight here in the south. In fact, today it is in the 80's and that sun is HOT. So no matter how badly I want fall to arrive, it will only do it in its own time and I am caught in-between seasons, feeling windy and in limbo, pining for football, cool nights, firepits, candy corn, and soup for dinner.

But now for the cool part... Life is just like that! Ecclesiastes 3:1 literally says "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." And I think most of us know that this is how God guides us (in seasons.) But sometimes we forget, because we are silly, distracted humans who plan and try to make our own way. But when we (and I'm preaching to my own heart here) do remember that there are seasons to things, it is so refreshing. And often, like my current summer-fall limbo, we are caught in between seasons and feel frustrated and eager. But the One who formed us knows all about seasons and knows exactly what each one of us needs. Are you eager for a new season today friend? Or are you relishing the season you're in? Perhaps, like me, you are in-between seasons and waiting for what's next. Praise God for where you are and ask Him to open the doors to where you want to go. We may not end up where we intended to go, but we'll end up where He intends us to be and Lord willing, we'll be better because of it!  

Pictures from our last visit to Little Sand Mountain. My husband's grandfather grew up on this farm. It was a beautiful hot day with cool breezes! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One Year After Birth Confessional

I have a confession to make…

A year ago I…
    Had an induced labor,               
    Gave birth in a hospital,           
    Had an epidural,           
    Had an episiotomy           
    Only breastfed for 6 weeks,           
    And suffered from postpartum depression. 

Honestly… these things didn’t bother me until… I got on the internet seeking support. Do you know what I found instead? Hate… Shame… Ridicule... Judgment… Pride... to name a few. These bloggers (who are mamas, just like you and me) had me questioning if my birth was in any way God-honoring or brave. They had me feeling about as worthless as a piece of garbage and questioning my purpose and ability as a mother.

But can I say something here… Violet (my daughter) and I went through all those “medical/ hospital/ unnatural” experiences together… and one year later? We are doing really well! And you know what else? We chose to vaccinate too. The truth is, I am thankful to God for the medical profession and hospitals. I know they are only human, but we had a scare with Vi’s heart rate in the hospital right after birth (and a week later that resulted in an overnight PICU stay) and without those nurses, doctors, and pediatric cardiologists we wouldn’t have learned about her bradycardia (that, praise God, she grew out of!)

So… there it is… I put it out there. Go ahead… judge me. Because let me tell you… you can’t possibly shame or judge me any worse than I have been shaming and judging myself. It has been a year since this all happened yet everyday IG, blogs, FB, etc. have reminded me of what a “failure” I was and have been. The good news, however, is that I don’t serve the standards of this world. And I have to believe that the Lord guided our steps and knew exactly how He was leading us. I’m tired of feeling depressed and regretful. Aren’t you? “THIS is the day that the Lord has made. We will REJOICE and be GLAD in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

And to make sure that I am properly understood… I think however God led you to birth or feed your baby is WONDERFUL. I really do! My purpose is to support, in addition to sharing my raw heart.Can I say one more thing? Mama, sister, grandma, aunt, god mama… You ARE doing a good job.  Look at the fruit of your labor! In my heart I feel that if you are following the Lord’s guidance and your babies are happy and healthy, then you are doing a pretty terrific job. 

Proverbs 3:5-6…
“Trust  in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” 

Violet and I when she was 3 months old.