Friday, July 12, 2013

Listen to Your Mother

You probably didn't know (because I wasn't here to tell you) that I participated in Listen to Your Mother in Indianapolis this year around Mother's Day. Listen to Your Mother is a live show featuring readings of original essays about mothers and motherhood, and it's performed in 24 cities across the country. That's 24 cities times 14-ish essays per city, so that's... *quick math* ...almost 200 different points of view. Some are funny, some are sad, some are both. Here is mine:

I'm so grateful to have met such wonderful women during the rehearsal process. Some---like Amy Magan, Heather Sokol, and Michelle McNally---I've "known" in the Indy blogging world for a few years. We've Facebooked and Tweeted, and we've even seen each other once or twice. Now I actually know them, along with several other wonderful women.

Watch the whole playlist. Please. Whether you are an adoptive mother, someone with an aging mother, someone who's lost a mother, someone's who has struggled with being a mother, or if you just are or have a mother, there is a woman here you'll connect to. Probably more than one. We really had an amazing group, and every word assures you that you are not alone in this world.

I encourage you to seek out this show in your city next year. Better yet, be a part of it and share your story of motherhood. Click the Listen to Your Mother button at the top of this post for more information.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Seasons of Love

I haven't forgotten you. I promise.

God has had me cut so many ties in the last year. With the ups and downs of postpartum depression (which I'm still wading through---thank you all for your prayers and support, bloggy pals) and trying to keep myself together while raising my little ones, I've been more than happy to put this blog and several of my other activities to the side.

That bouquet is for me, you know.
And while I'm OK with the tie-cutting, it leaves me at a bit of a loss. Now it feels like I'm flailing around, trying to grab onto things that make me feel more like me. That may be the reason for this pop-up post. And the reason that I suddenly decided to go on an audition tonight (although I've changed my mind on that). Writing and theater are two things I love---things that feel the most like me---so I feel like something must be missing if I'm not doing one of those things.

But nothing's missing, really.

I've been using the phrase, "It's not my season," lately. It's not my season to be a blogger. It's probably not my season to be gone three nights a week rehearsing for a show (although there are plenty of days I wouldn't mind the break from my kiddos!).

My current season is about caring for myself. That sounds kind of selfish, but I don't mean it in an I'm-the-most-important-person-in-the-world way. I mean it in an if-I-don't-take-care-of-myself-now-I-don't-know-what-life-will-look-like way. I've taken up running. Yes, although I've said I'd only run if someone was chasing me with an ax, I've taken up the sport. And I'm committed to two (maybe three!) 5K races in the upcoming months. I've also started Zumba, which is crazy fun. I've even taken up drawing and painting. I'm not great at it (and the first few paintings were kind of---well, kind of scary), but it's soothing. And we even got a dog! I love her to bits, and she's a great companion. She even goes running with me! It's that kind of caring for myself---emotionally and physically---that's helping keep me together right now.

I do miss my previous season. It didn't last long enough for my liking, but I'm hoping I'll experience it again. At present, God and I have a different kind of relationship. We talk constantly. Most of it is me begging for strength and stability, but that only makes me more dependent on him. I can tell he's holding my hand every day, coaxing me back to life. Some days are up, some days are down, but every day is with him. 

Oh, that face just makes me smile!
If you've got some room on your prayer list, pray for my children and my long-suffering husband. I haven't exactly been the easiest person in the world to live with for the last---well, I guess it's been almost two years, if you count the depression during my pregnancy. Holy cow! Hormones are the worst. Boo. But pray that when I suddenly burst into tears (or suddenly hug them and won't let go) my kids aren't on their way to a life of crime or intensive therapy. My husband has been wonderful and supportive, and he's proven to me that he is pretty much the greatest man on the planet (although he will humbly deny it, which further proves my point). But I'm not the only passenger on this roller coaster that never seems to end.

And last, but certainly not least, I can't say enough about seeking help if you're dealing with depression, postpartum or otherwise. I'm not ashamed to say that I've been going to therapy and that my doctor has prescribed medication for me. It shouldn't be something that Christians are ashamed to talk about. Until I experienced depression, I didn't understand it at all. I wouldn't have understood why someone wouldn't want to get out of bed or wouldn't want to see friends and family. I wouldn't have understood a flash flood of tears or a desire to escape. But now I understand. It's chemical. It's hormonal. It's nothing I did, and there's nothing I can do on my own to fix it. Medicine and therapy help the mind and body, and a healthy dose of prayer does wonders for mind, body, and soul. But don't be ashamed, and don't let anyone shame you, either.

So that's where I'm at. I'm drawn back here every once in a while just to interact with you, dear readers, and catch up on what you're doing. I miss you! So answer me this:

What do you do to care for yourself (or to let others care for you) during difficult seasons?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Alive at Last

Hi. My name is Rachel. It's been more than three months since my last blog post. 

In case you're the type who likes photo updates...
Where were you for three months? you ask. I wish I had the answer. I shared with you that I've been dealing with postpartum depression since the birth of my daughter last April. It feels like the last year or so is a fog out of which I'm just now emerging. I'm not sure how my daughter is nine months old already; I'm also not sure how most parents live through their child's fourth year. My son has suddenly lost his mind. A million dollars to the person who finds it!

I also feel like I've been in a spiritual fog. God has had to carry me through the PPD, but all I could do is let him. I couldn't talk to him, couldn't acknowledge him. The last few blog posts were pretty much a miracle, considering the state of my soul. I must have been provided a few lucid moments for those. I still have some bad days, but most of them are good right now. Praise God for that!

I don't know if it's because I was so spiritually unresponsive or in spite of it, but I am going through a season right now that has never happened in my life:

I crave time with God.

I just want to snuggle up next to him all day long. I wake up singing praises, I go to bed singing praises. I long for my quiet time with him. I'm happy to get up early to spend time with him.

Me. Up early. I'm going to have to change the name of this blog, aren't I?

My husband has asked me how this started, since he'd love to be in this season, too. I have no answer for him. Perhaps my soul went without nourishment for so long, it's starving. That's kind of what it feels like. I don't recommend the starving part, but the hunger for his company is incredible!

So that's where I'm at right now. Perhaps I'll start writing more; perhaps not. Perhaps my readership has abandoned me entirely! Perhaps you're in a season right now that has you craving time with God more than anything (even more than blogging). If so, I'm grateful you understand my heart right now.

Have you ever gone through a season like this? Do you want to? If you don't have an answer to either of these, just tell me how you've been!