When darkness comes in like a flood.

My youngest child is four months old. He is our fourth blessing and would be considered an “easy” baby. But something about this postpartum has been different. It’s been hard.

People warn you about the crazy emotions associated with postpartum. I warn new moms myself. I was as prepared as I could be. I had JUST been through it three times before. But this has been something else entirely. I’m not just battling mixed feelings of joy, sadness, frustration and exhaustion. I am battling a darkness.

I started to believe I wasn’t needed. That my husband didn’t really love me. And my kids didn’t really need me to wake up and help them. I usually am someone who can pep talk myself out of getting too low. I battled severe sickness with all my babies. I’d come to a low, cry out to God, ask friends for prayer and keep pushing forward. But this was different. I felt ashamed… I have FOUR beautiful babies, a husband who is much more helpful than most and who loves me well.

The flood of darkness was overtaking me. I came across a story of a mom who took her own life. She had a beautiful four-month old baby, a loving husband, and a community of people who cared for her. The story shook me. Although I wouldn’t label myself as suicidal. I am not immune.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11

I broke my silence slowly, I wrote a letter to my husband. It was the only way I felt comfortable enough to open up. After I told him, I shared with a few others. It helped and I could feel darkness recede. I still have bad days. The battle with darkness won’t be over until Christ returns and/or he takes me home. But I will battle.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

You’re not alone. You are loved. If you have been out of fellowship, I plead with you, get back into it. If you’re flooded and too week to swim, ask for help. ❤

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

 

This is David Augustus. My little “gus”. Our Fourth blessing.

gus

***Friends, if you need help PLEASE get it. Sometimes just sharing and being open isn’t enough and you might need medication to help balance out. That is more than okay. I wouldn’t have four babies without the intervention of modern medicine keeping them and myself from fatal dehydrated. Sharing is the first step***

 

Show me your cards.

This post is dedicated to my Mother, Jennifer Perry. She is a very Godly woman and like most Godly women, has had more than her share of suffering. I’m the 6th of 7 children. And I know I wasn’t her easiest. I was born via emergency C-section and I’ve been her special child ever since.

One thing she would tell me over, and over again was “Stephanie, you keep your cards too close to your chest.” And that would annoy me so much. I would think,

“SO, what!?”

“I’m not as chatty like some of my other siblings, no big deal!”

But it WAS a big deal. My mom could see I had a shell, a very thick shell. You see, I came to know Christ at a very young age. My father was the pastor at our little church. I was home-schooled and we were always active in ministry. But I didn’t like opening up or sharing. I wanted to do everything on my own. I secretly battled cutting for a season. And even though I was a believer I wasn’t allowing God to soften my shell. I kept my battles secret, I thought my parents had enough people to help I could take care of myself. A BIG lie the devil planted while I was young.

Getting out of my own environment helped me grow and soften. I went on several missions trips before I moved onto a ship called the Logos Hope (more on that another day.)  It was there that the Lord used hard situations and solid friends to slowly allow me to realize my need for people. My shell was starting to crack and my joy was increasing.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17

When I came home she said I had changed, and I’m so thankful. My mom is now one of my dearest friends. She’s the first one I call. She now knows all my cards and we can freely fellowship.

I don’t just want my mom to know what cards I hold. I want my family, friends and neighbors. Is it uncomfortable, absolutely. However, if I can’t share what God has done for me personally and be open, what good am I to His kingdom? How can I overcome sin, depression, and hurt?

 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  John 14:9

I as a believer am called to imitate Christ. I must be so transparent that all people see Christ. If I keep my cards to close, how can Christ use me to reach people. All they will see is a wall. It is a daily battle for me. When I am upset about something, or battling a sin, I lock up and get quiet. Just ask my husband, ha! But I will keep fighting and keep sharing.

Easter AM

This photo was taken on Easter Morning 2010 on board the Logos Hope. My parents flew to the Bahamas to see me. I was at a very low place but that visit meant a lot. ❤

The root of bitterness.

Friends, today has been rough. I’ve shed some tears, yelled at my children and despised my husband. I was so entangled with what was convenient for myself, I acted hateful and hurt. But do you know who was hurting me? It wasn’t my husband, it wasn’t my kids… it was myself. I’m a mom of four littles under four and I’m tired. Weariness is bone aching deep. There are seasons like this and that is okay. But do you know what is not okay? Weariness of the soul.. When you let yourself become so dry and detached. That is what I have been doing. Allowing the physical exhaustion to dictate the status of my heart. I read this in Hebrews 12 today and it convicted me.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?”
I HAD forgotten. I allowed myself to forget the goodness of God. His selfless acts of love and what he endured for me on the cross. My weary heart was going down a slippery slope towards becoming bitter one. But Hebrews has more!
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”
Although by His grace I am saved, and I will never be snatched out of His Hands… I hadn’t obtained His grace for today. I need it daily. I don’t want to be a bitter wife, or mother. My hope and prayer for today, and tomorrow and however long the Lord has allowed is that I will be one full of grace.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.”
*The picture was taken by me in the Island country of Malta.*