January 30, 2018

I’m Not Enough

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It’s been a hard day, but before those kinks even started, I was just feeling like I wasn’t enough. Not a good enough mom or wife lately and not good enough to do what I want professionally. The feelings of inadequacy have enveloped me as goals are not being crossed off as quickly as I want and I see my stress affecting my family. And you know what I realized? I’m not enough. I’m not.

That’s not the popular thing to say right now. We are in a culture promoting self-love. And I think that’s a great thing. But, you know why I realized I wasn’t enough? It’s not because I don’t love myself, it’s because I’m not designed to be.

Instead, I was designed to need the One who made me. I was also designed to need those He put in my path.

I’ve been studying God, but I haven’t felt Him, lately. I’ve wanted to reach out to those who can offer guidance, but haven’t had the courage. On my path to self-betterment, I’ve been walking in a way that’s self-reliant.

It’s not enough because I’m not enough. I wasn’t meant to do this on my own. We are not meant to do this on our own. You, me, we are not enough.

The background of this post: 
A lot is brewing over here in my corner of the world. More to come on the changes, but right now, just know that January has been busy and tough. I’m having a hard time finding my new groove with all I want to accomplish. I read a devotional by Rick Warren today titled, “Only God Can Provide”. I have to admit, this is a tough concept for me, maybe even the toughest in my faith walk. I think all good things come from above, but I also know He calls us to act. Often I find the balance of relying on Him and relying on myself to make the move a difficult notion for me. What I do know upon reflecting today, is that I haven’t relied on Him enough lately. I haven’t invited him into my day throughout the day. I’ve been doing this transition largely by myself and it needs to change.

December 13, 2017

Dealing with Disappointment

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When I was pregnant earlier this year with our son, the pregnancy was incredibly complicated. He was diagnosed with a lower urinary tract obstruction—a very serious and sometimes fatal condition. A little more than halfway through the pregnancy, a large collection of urine started forming around his right kidney and his abdomen was very distended.

If you’ve been following our story, you know how this turned out: better than we could have ever hoped for. Doctors drained the urinoma while I was in labor and Preston had a few precautionary and exploratory procedures, but the diagnosis did not affect him like we originally anticipated. He has one fully functioning kidney, which is all you need.

But his abdomen was stretched. In fact, some doctors questioned whether or not he actually had prune belly syndrome. He didn’t. But, his abdomen gives off a less extreme appearance of that condition. We knew his abdominal muscle was thinned out and in my heart I knew we would end up here—in Physical Therapy.

I didn’t want him to need it, but because we have a son with Down syndrome who has been in PT every week since turning 6-weeks-old, I’ve been exposed to this world and I knew it was just a matter of time.

But, when Preston started his twice a week sessions, I was moody about the whole thing.

Why? The sessions could not be easier. We have private in-home therapy for Anderson. Preston’s session is right after. My Monday and Wednesday mornings were already taken over, this really didn’t change much.

I realized it was because I didn’t want to have to worry about his development.

I just wanted him to progress on his own like our first child. We went through such a tough pregnancy and such an incredibly stressful first few months of Preston’s life; I wanted rest. It seemed unfair to have this worry added to my already full plate.

My, how fast I forget. Earlier this year I was begging for Preston’s life, now I was complaining about the extra attention he required.

When dealing with small disappointments we have two choices: we can look around or look up.

I was only looking around. I looked at the other moms at preschool pick-up; the moms who got to run errands or arrange play dates for their little ones—they didn’t have to deal with back-to-back appointments twice a week, plus medical appointments. I looked back at my life for the last three years—always seemingly the odd mom out.

The fog of self-pity only lifted when I started looking up again; when I remembered to look at our situation through lenses of gratitude.

I was thankful that we were at PT appointments instead of dialysis appointments. I was thankful that God not only preserved Preston’s life but gave him the gift of good health. I was thankful that we already had a therapist who we knew and trusted.

We can’t gloss over disappointments. We can’t pretend they don’t exist. But, when they come we can admit what they are, take a deep breath and then look up. 

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December 6, 2017

My Marriage Hasn’t Been the Happiest Years of My Life

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It was a normal evening. We’ve decided since becoming a family of five, that after the kids go to bed, we give ourselves 30 minutes to re-set the house for the next day and when the time is up, we stop and leave whatever mess is left behind.

We were in the final sweep, picking up random objects our two-year-old re-distributed on the living room floor, when my husband Andy said to me, “I saw a friend post on Facebook about his anniversary. He said the last eight years have been the happiest of his life. Our married years have not been the happiest of our lives.”

You may think this was a start to a gut-wrenching marital discussion. That may even be the opening line of someone broaching the subject of divorce. That’s not where he was heading.

Our eight years of marriage have often times been tough. The first four years were spent with him in dental school and me working a fast-paced TV job with odd hours for little pay. There was no time to do the things that typical young married couples do. While our friends were spending their weekends at big city concerts and festivals, Andy was studying and I was working. The years were defined by work and working out the beginning marital kinks.

If you follow this blog, you know what the last three years have held for us: a Down syndrome diagnosis, an open-heart-surgery, a miscarriage, a lower urinary tract obstruction diagnosis, a clubbed feet diagnosis, a month of living at Ronald McDonald House, a high-risk delivery, a NICU stay in a city far from home, a severe casting injury and on-going health issues for our youngest.

These years have not been the happiest of our lives. And yet.

Our marriage is a happy one.

I think we’ve taken the word hard and likened it with bad. 

We live in a world marked by instant gratification. Every indulgence can be satisfied in a timely manner with the latest apps and services. Don’t like something you ordered? Fine, there are hassle-free returns.

We can placate most of our desires easier than ever, but it doesn’t work that way with matters of the heart.

In western culture, we often assume, maybe even unknowingly, that our lives should be without hardship. We are told if we work hard, we will get where we want to go. In America, this can work when it comes to career goals, but not always life goals.

We can confuse our right to “a money back guarantee” with our marriage vows. We mistake the ease of acquiring things that have no real value, to the things that actually do.

Our married years have not been that happiest of our lives. So far. And that’s okay.

We have found joy among the hard and among the sad. When those hard and sad times were at their darkest, that’s when we held each other the tightest. And when the clouds lifted, our bond was stronger than it was before the rain started to fall.

 

Midweek Moral Wrap-up. So, why did I write this piece? Because I realized that after Andy said this, his statement would have crushed me years back. I didn’t understand that your life can be good even when times aren’t the happiest. I wonder how many of us throw relationships (not just marriages) because we feel that things should be better? I worry that we actually believe when we walk down the aisle that life will be “happily every after” and when it doesn’t work out that way, we think something is wrong with our relationship- that our relationship should be so happy that it should mask whatever else is going wrong? I think I may have told myself this lie when I was younger. Despite the hardships and maybe even because of them at times, we have a really good life and a really good relationship. 

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