Saturday, January 31, 2009

Moving Forward

Things were different and I was thankful. My mind was clear and I was thoroughly enjoying Huntsville. We joined University Heights Baptist and began to make friends. Robb was relieved to have me back to normal. I really cannot imagine the fear he must have experienced the previous year. A lot of men would have said, 'You're not the person I married!' and left, but he stayed with me. He and I have gone through a lot together in a very short six years of marriage. Neither of us are perfect, but perfect for each other. I am glad to have taken this journey with him and I truly believe, had it been anyone else, it would not have worked out so well.

All in all, life was good. My health problems were very cyclical which made us question their cause. Sometimes it seemed like food triggered my problems. Other times it seemed stress related. But, then there were times when I felt great and then I would be deathly ill. The only pattern that existed was that there was no pattern. Meanwhile, my doctor had given me some hormones to take every 90 days. I reacted the same way to them: anxiety, heaviness in my chest, depression. The only exception was that I knew in 10 days it would be over. 10 days of pills, 10 days to endure! Then, I could relax for another 80 days. So, this is what I did for an entire year. We had always said that once I graduated, we were going to start a family. Graduation was here, finally! One marriage, three cities, three colleges, four majors, and 2 minors later- I graduated with a B.A. in Speech Comm and a minor in marketing. With the excitement of graduation came a lot of nervousness and anticipation about what the future might hold for us. But, we were hopeful. God had gotten me through a lot. I had learned to count on him as my Savior, my Deliverer, my Constant, and my friend through what had been a very scary and lonely time. For the first time, since I gave my life to him at six years old, I understood what Christ had truly done for me on the cross. He delivered me from all my fears. He physically transferred me from the 'kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.'

Friday, January 30, 2009

Change and Chinese Adoption

So, just in case, I started researching Chinese adoption. I was excited, despite the bad news at the doctor's office. I felt like God was possibly lining things up to fulfill that desire in my heart. In my mind, I saw rosy cheeks on a porcelain face, pig-tails, and a big smile. She was cute and there was a place in my heart specifically for her. I just had to tell Robb about all this envisioning. And I was pretty sure he would say I was getting way ahead of myself.

Meantime, we picked up our life in Dallas and moved back to Huntsville. The city that smelled like a sneaker had brought us nothing but grief. I enrolled at Sam Houston (go kats) and set out to finish my college career. My grandparents had a little 2 bedroom house in their backyard that they said we could have for a fine price. So, it was a no-brainer. Robb took a job at Willis ISD as a math teacher and baseball coach and we were all set. I changed my major for only the 3rd time to Speech Communication with a minor in Spanish. Que? I know, let's just say that the Spanish didn't quite make it to the diploma.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tales from the Crib

Laci, Seth, & Leyton are 2 1/2 now. I bought them the movie 'An American Tail' at Wal-Mart the other day. It has been a movie marathon ever since. However, tonight they finally became bored with it. Some thumps on the wall and some suspicious sounds led me to investigate. Seth was running around minus his diaper, Leyton was crying because Laci had stolen the magnadoodle he was drawing circles on, and Laci was as still as a mouse in her bed. She was pretending to be innocent... as she lay in her bed with a literal 40 pair of toddler shoes that had been confiscated from the shoe container. I just have to laugh sometimes. Life would be really boring without them.

More Pieces, Bigger Puzzle

So, the birth control was in the trash again. A few days later, I was feeling much better. Three additional trips to the doctor all ended with the same results. "Try these pills; I promise THIS time they won't make you depressed." Each round, ended the same way-bathroom floor and bathroom trash. FINALLY, I realized that NONE of these 'medicines' were for me. The only reason I had even subjected myself to such treatment was because I was told that until my ovaries were fixed (birth control being the means to get them back on track) I might not be able to have children. It was a double blow. Not only did I feel horrible every time 'conventional' treatments were used, but by not consenting to this I could possibly not be a mom. It was crushing. When you grow up healthy, you never imagine that you will have trouble conceiving a child. I always dreamed of having four children, now I might not even have one? It was a difficult thing to process. In the meantime, I continued to pray for God to intervene in my situation. I seemed to be stuck in a position with no escape. Take the depressed. Don't take the family. In addition, my stomach was NOT right. I was sick daily. Some days I missed class because I was too sick to leave the bathroom. Despite the Endocrinology problems, it was hard to believe that my GI tests were negative. How could I possibly be this ill and have a negative test? The only time I heard similar stories were when people had undiscovered cancer. And then there was Robb. He wanted to be a dad. It seemed so unfair that my body, my problem would keep him from realizing that dream. I had a lot of guilt. I know it wasn't my fault I was sick, but we all know how women can be. We feel guilt even when we should not. And I felt guilt. So, I turned my thoughts toward adoption. I have always wanted to adopt a little girl from China. As a child, I used to ask my mom if they would please just adopt a child for me. Needless to say, they said no.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sending Self-Doubt Packing

In talking to friends, family, and others about my life I have found a commonality that women tend to share in tribulation-self doubt. Why is it that we always think there is something 'wrong with us'? It's' like we have been told so many times that we are 'emotional' or that we 'overanalyze' things that we don't trust ourselves with ourselves. Throughout that entire year, I knew that some 'thing,' some problem was occurring inside of me. I did not have the information I needed to find a solution to the problem, but I knew deep in my heart that this was not me. Some common things I heard from others were: 'She's not adjusting to married life', 'she's homesick for her family,' 'quit worrying,' 'maybe you could just stop thinking about it,' and 'cheer up your life is great.' It hurt. It hurt that no one believed me about me. Sometimes God uses people to speak the truth over us. On the flip side, there are times when we need to dismiss the opinions of others' and pray for God to intervene in our situation. There are several verses that I carried around with me that year. I wrote them on note cards and took them with me to class, to the grocery store, and posted them around the house. Sometimes reciting these scriptures out loud was the only thing that kept me moving forward. If you're struggling today, here's some verses to ponder.

'For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

'And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.' John 8:32

But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Isaiah 43: 1-4

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the Lord, who is my refuge--
then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation. Psalm 91

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 13-16

'He who began the good work in you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.' Philippians 1:6

'For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind' 2 Timothy 1:7

'And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.' Revelation 12:11

Monday, January 26, 2009

Puzzling Pieces

I was me again. My brain wasn't foggy. My chest wasn't heavy. The rest of my body was reeling, however, from a year of stress and illness. My body ached all over. My stomach hurt. My ovaries had cysts all over them. Yes, I said ovaries on a blog. Sorry! Ovary dialogue just comes with the territory! Anyhow, I was in pieces. But, the pieces were rather puzzling. One specialist at a time, I needed to check out all these symptoms. Were they connected? Separate illnesses altogether? I wasn't sure. All I knew is that birth control put me here and I wanted to get all of this behind me as soon as I could. I had not been sick as a child or teenager. Now, my body had decided to do its' own thing. A trip to the gastroenterologist would reveal that nothing was wrong with me, despite my daily illness. He said 'Maybe you're just stressed.' Stressed I had been, so I thought that over time I would begin to feel better. Trip to GI doctor...check. Next, I went back to my OBGYN to find that my ovaries had cysts all over them. Golf balls...that is what they looked like now (they should look like cute little pearls not something you hit off of a tee box). So, he prescribed more birth control pills. I KNOW! Are you kidding me? I wondered how he even could suggest such a thing after everything I had been through. BUT, he assured me that he would give me the kind that would not cause depression or mood swings - YAZ for you ladies out there. So, VERY reluctantly and only because he said it would fix my ovaries did I consent. Three days later I was crying on the bathroom floor and the YAZ was chunked into the bathroom trash.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Into the Light

When I was a student at Baylor, I had a wonderful Christian boss that I worked for in the Marketing Department. We shared a special bond that I still hold dear to me today. We talked about our faith, our struggles, the future, and the mail (this was one of my TOP priorities as her student worker). She had shared with me her struggle with depression at different times in her life. Specifically, she had shared that at one point in time she felt so horrible that she told her husband to go ahead and drive her to the mental hospital. After a lot of prayer and some examination, the culprit behind her depression was discovered to be her birth control pills. When she discontinued their use, her depression lifted and she was normal again. Several times over the course of the year, my friends story crossed my mind. I would contemplate the possibility, but would dismiss it and trudge on.

One day, in late May I was having severe anxiety that would not stop. I was so very tired, but I could not stop thinking of the testimony that was shared with me. I went to my bathroom and flipped over my birth control pills: WARNING: can cause severe mental depression. I wondered what the odds were that this problem could be as simple as tossing those stupid pills in the trash. I thought of the millions of women around the world that take them every day with no problems. But, I remembered the one that could not. So, I threw them in the trash and made an appointment with my doctor. Two days later- the fog was gone. The darkness was replaced with light and an old friend began to surface- ME! I explained to my doctor what I had been going through and he lightheartedly said, 'Oh yeah, I get this complaint all the time!'

When my friend had shared her story with me two years earlier, I had never felt the sting of depression. But thanks to her willingness to talk about her struggles - she literally gave me my life back. I am so grateful that she was not too ashamed to share those stories with me. God did answer my prayers. He did not leave me. He carried me and used the story of a fellow sister in Christ to help lead me out of the darkness and into the light.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In The Night

It had been 9 months. I was barely making it to the mere 6 hours of college courses that I was registered for. And I was crying...ALOT! I cried when people won on Wheel of Fortune, I cried when a new baby was born on TLC, I cried alone, and I cried to Robb. Yes, I would like to now give a shout-out to my dear husband who also had no idea what was going on. Since he worked long hours, he was only around to witness pieces of my unraveling. He was distraught as well, but had no idea how to help me. Together, our fears about my situation made most of our time together highly combustible. Men are fixers. They fix things. I was like Humpty Dumpty and no one could figure out how to put me back together again, not even a well-meaning husband. I was a mess and my chest was beginning to hurt. Physically, hurt. That night, a heavy pressure settled over the top of me like a blanket. With that heaviness, came one of the worst nightmares I have ever had. These two new friends decided to stick around for the next 3 months. The blanket got heavier and the nightmares got worse. And I cried some more...

In The Darkness

I had now been a newlywed for approximately six months. At this point in time, I was simply trying to keep things together. I attended my husbands coaching events and smiled like every good wife would do, but inside I was in a million pieces. Confusion over my situation plagued me daily. 'What is wrong with me?' I constantly asked myself. I did not know. I just knew that something within me had gone very wrong and I did not know how to fix it. I had resolved that this must be a spiritual attack like nothing I had ever experienced. So, I prayed for deliverance. I prayed for healing. I prayed that God would do a miracle in my mind. I memorized scriptures on fear, hope, light, and God's love. I was starring in my own version of Survivor, but there was no cash prize waiting for me. I poured over my Bible. I was desperate. Weeks, turned to months and still I heard no answer. Where was God? I knew the verse: 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'. So, if He hadn't left me, then me must be mad at me. I needed Him to rescue me and pull me out of this pit! It seemed like a VERY inopportune time to give me the cold shoulder. So, I confessed. And confessed. And confessed some more. I confessed every sin from birth to adulthood and then confessed the ones that I might have left out. Still, I felt no different. Feeling forsaken, I sunk a little deeper into my nicely decorated pit. It was beginning to feel like I would be here for awhile.

In The Fog

The fog had settled in and it was magnificently disguised. I find that depression itself is an odd illness. It seems to be able to hide its' identity unlike any other illness that I have dealt with. When we are sick, we can usually point to our culprit with ease. Runny Nose = Cold. Vomit= Virus. Red Dots = Chicken Pox. For me, my depression began as a vague feeling of being disjointed. I could not put my finger on it, but I felt odd. About three months into our marriage, I was not happy. I am sure some people thought I was having a hard time adjusting to married life (and some would remark to indicate so later on). I knew differently, but I did not know enough. It began to feel like I left my body and some stranger had taken over. 'Where have I gone?' I would often wonder. Normal activities that I had enjoyed became check marks on a to do list. Life became very puzzling to me and did not feel like any life I had lived up to that point. I felt like my personality had been erased. I remember having this silent conversation in my mind, "This has to be worse than real insanity. Atleast insane people don't know their insane. They don't know that they have lost their mind, they just lose it. And what reason do I have to feel this way? There is no reason." I had a great life, but I was unable to enjoy it all of a sudden. Like a broken record, I contemplated and questioned this new me over and over and over again. I hated the new me that stole my identity. The new me made no sense. It was a total contradiction to the first 20 years of my life. I was laid back. I was happy and fun. I was social and loved to entertain. This person could get nothing done. This person could not keep her mind from racing out of control with fear. I despised this new me and the old me felt powerless to stop this brutal takeover.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In the Beginning

I am twenty-seven years old, wife to one, sister to two, and mother to three. If you would have asked me ten years ago what my life would look like at twenty-seven, I would have never been able to concoct a story that remotely resembles the reality in which I find myself. I really have to just sit back and laugh at how I am NOT in control of some things. God truly must have a sense of humor. The past six years of my life have been a roller coaster for lack of a better term. There have been many ups and downs, twists and turns. Let's just say our wedding vows have gotten a workout.

In the beginning, there was an old woman who lived in a shoe. Okay, well actually she was only twenty and it was a city called Dallas that smelled kind of like a gym sneaker. She lived with her husband in a third story apartment with their chocolate lab named Scout who shed on the white carpet. Little did she know, that one day she would actually have so many kids she really wouldn't know what to do. The real problem was not the stinky city or the three flights of stairs that took their breath away as they climbed to their newlywed lair, but the new wife who could not for the life of her figure out why her brain felt foggy. What crept in like a morning fog would within a year become a vice that slowly squeezed her into a mental prison. This fog was depression and the wife was me. At the time, there was no Earthly reason for this uninvited visitor to come into my life. But, the reality of my tragic foe was very real and seemed to take more ground with each passing day. Everything I knew about life, love, and myself was challenged. Depression had its' clutches around every inch of my heart and mind and was not going to give me up without a fight.

In The Details

Welcome to my blog!  It has been said that 'God is in the details', but I know how hard it is to believe that old adage when circumstances tell us otherwise.  I hope that by reading about the details in my life, you can know that an old saying is a present-day fact that you can cling to through the darkest of life's storms.  I have been a Christian since I was six years old.  Maybe like you, I have often questioned God's activity in my daily life - in the details.  Does He care what my career is? Has he hand-picked a husband specifically for me?  Does He really know the number of hairs on my head?  The thoughts and questions can be relentless!  Throughout my life, God has continued to pour proof of His existence, His love, His care, and His visibility into my life.  All I have to offer you is my testimony; what God has done for me and in me.  Through a personal relationship with Jesus, God has taught me that he longs to be in the details of my life as well as yours.