Something is Coming

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sunset with erin

Something big is coming. I feel like an animal preparing for a long winter. I don’t know what exactly will happen, but an instinct or the Holy Spirit tells me that something big is about to happen and I need to be prepared. How do I prepare for something when the only thing I know about it is that it is going to happen and that it will change my life?

My first attempt was to try to figure out what was going to happen so that I could properly prepare for it. This did not work. Eight out of ten times my assumptions are wrong. This tactic usually just makes me anxious and I end up setting myself up for disappointment. When I try to figure out God’s plans I end up making my own plans and asking God to bless them. I am working really hard at being content with the unknown. I don’t know what is going to happen and that is just the way it is.

I am buzzing inside with anticipation, and yet I know I must patiently wait. Part of me is scared that what is ahead will be difficult, but I keep reminding myself that I know the end of the story. I know that the fight is already won. Jesus wins. I win. What comes in between is a journey that strengthens my bond to my God and His people. That thought alone gets me excited.

A couple months ago I had to take a break from work and spend time with God. I felt like my brain was injured. Every time I tried to use it it crashed. Thinking was like trying to run on a broken leg. I hunkered down in the spiritual hospital bed God gave me-truth, hope, love, grace, and faith. For weeks I meditated on God’s word, was still in his presence, and I prayed diligently. I’m not saying this to brag or to prove that I’m a “good Christian” (The Lord knows I fall short hourly of being good). I did these things out of desperation. Nothing else gave me rest and rejuvenation. God alone gave me healing. Don’t get me wrong, I was seeing doctors, a therapist, and I went on anti-anxiety meds. I know each of these things are gifts from God and I thanked him daily for them, but it was God’s presence in my life that grounded me. He taught me lessons through my struggles. Not one tear was wasted.

Slowly I have started to see a purpose for my struggles. God has been tearing out all the unnecessary crap from my life and rebuilding me with truth and love. I have learned that I make idols out of my health and my husband. I have learned that I strive for perfection and have unachievable expectations for myself and others. I learned that I fear I am not enough and I’m not worth it. The cool thing is that God revealed these things to me in such a gentle way, that I never questioned His love for me. He didn’t condemn me (I have already been redeemed). He is correcting me like a parent corrects a child. Each correction is oozing with love and affection.

But there is something more. God is healing me, but lately it has felt more like preparation. Something is coming. I can’t explain how I know, I just do. I can’t explain how it feels, it just is. Something is coming and God is preparing me for it. Truths I have learned are being strengthened and fortified. Just as a squirrel collects nuts for the winter or a muskrat builds thick mud walls to keep out the cold, I am reinforcing my walls of protection and storing up spiritual food for a hard winter ahead. When I start thinking about what lies ahead I start to freak out. But I can’t go there. All I can do is prepare. I focus on the task at hand – fortify, gather, grow strong.

Something is coming.

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An Unexpected Reality Slap

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I have had a rough week. The one sickness I vowed to never camp with (again) is the very thing that snuck up on me 17 hours prior to our 7 day canoe trip. Coincidence? I think not. My brother, my cousins, my husband, and I had been planning this canoe trip for 6 months: seven days on the Potomac River. I was looking forward to it, and yet part of me was terrified. I felt unstable emotionally, but not enough to keep me from going. I wanted the experience, I wanted the stories, I wanted to be a part of an adventure worth talking about, I wanted to bond with my husband over something cool. But God had other plans.

*Warning: This is about to get very personal. If you know me, then you know that I am very open about my life and it is not odd for me to share personal stories if they will benefit others in the form of laughter, advice, or just a good story. If bodily functions make you uncomfortable then proceed with caution. You have been warned.

I should start by telling you that 5 years ago, while on my honeymoon, I managed to get a UTI while backpacking in the Smoky Mountains. For those of you who haven’t had the magnificent experience of a UTI, let me paint you a picture. Imagine the fiery depths of hell- red hot, burning, and full of sharp jagged rocks. Now imagine that when you urinate (which is about every 5 minutes) that you are pushing the depths of hell out of your urethra. Add in a fever, stomach cramping, and the unrelenting sensation to urinate no matter how many times you have already urinated, and that is a UTI. Sounds great, right? Now imagine you are miles from civilization, hiking with a 20lb pack, and instead of the luxury of a toilet seat you have a shovel, the ground, and the cover of trees. After such an experience I guarantee you would also make the vow to never camp with a UTI ever again.

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So when I managed to come down with a UTI just hours before leaving on a seven day camping trip, there was no doubt in my mind that I was not meant to go. God knew what it would take for me to step down from such an adventure. Maybe if I wasn’t so stubborn and head strong I could have been spared the fiery depths of hell, but what’s important here is that God got my attention.

I didn’t know why God didn’t want me to go on the adventure. I spent the first two days in agony trying to figure it out. This made for an interesting beginning of the week. I was so exhausted and still running a fever that I couldn’t do much, which meant I couldn’t keep my mind busy with cleaning. This was also the first time I had been away from Dean since my onset of anxiety several months ago. To be completely candid: I was freaking out.

I felt like I kept losing everything. In the past year I had lost so much and it just kept going. Some of the things I lost were concrete, like the death of my childhood dog. Other things were more abstract; things I took for granted. like the complete mobility of my jaw, my husband’s good health, my emotional and mental stability, my dreams of being a young mother, and the list goes on. Some of these things may seem a little bizarre in the grand scheme of things, but they were all things I was living for.

This past year God has been striping me down to the bare bones. He has been removing everything from me that I have put before him. It has made me ask that frightening question, “what am I living for?” You see, I was living to be a good wife, desired by my husband, and a mother. I was living to be loved by others and looked up to. I was living to have fun, to have adventure, and to be great. These aren’t bad desires, but when I started living to achieve them instead of living for Christ, they became idols and I put them ahead of God.

This past week God removed my health and my husband, my two very biggest idols. My fears and anxiety took over. I worried about Dean being safe and if he would ever return. I worried about my health and if I would ever get better (not just my UTI, but my jaw pain and my depression/anxiety). For some reason I felt I could not continue living without any of these things. However, my body continued to live on, despite what my head thought. I know this sounds overly dramatic, and I am even a little embarrassed to be openly admitting it, but in the depths of my anxiety I cannot seem to rationalize as I normally would. Some part of me knew there was no reason to fear, but I couldn’t hold onto it long enough to find peace or comfort. But eventually God got through to me.

Philippians 3:8-9 MSG “Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant – dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.”  

When God striped me of every single thing I put ahead of him, I questioned my purpose and why I was living. I felt worthless. I felt worthless, but I was not worthless. I felt worthless because I put my worth into things that could not fully reflect my worth. God is showing me that I must live for Him only. He will never leave me nor forsake me. When I live for Him I am able to recognize my worth. My worth is not based on good deeds, accomplishments, or credentials. I am not worth more if I have better stories, go on great adventures, or produce my own offspring. I am worth something simply because I am me. The creator of the universe sent his son to die to save me from death and sin. The creator of the universe loves me that much! No one and nothing could ever show me more worth.  

Every morning I woke up and I had to make a choice. When I chose to live for God I could get out of bed and do the next right thing. Sometimes the next right thing was eating breakfast, praying, doing yoga, or cleaning. It was simple, but there were no expectations other than to just be me and sick Liz was not capable of doing much. When I chose to live for my selfish desires the pressure became too much for me to handle and I fell right back on my butt again. I couldn’t live up to my own expectations while being sick. I couldn’t do my job. I couldn’t be a good wife, a good friend, etc. I kept letting myself down because I was living “to do”. It suddenly hit me that that’s exactly what I would have been doing on that canoe trip. I just wanted to go so I could say I did it. I wanted to prove something to myself and to others. I wanted people to think of me a certain way. I wanted to be admired for what I did. But that stuff is insignificant. It is garbage compared to being in the embrace of Christ.

Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t do those things. I hope someday I will be able to be a part of an adventure, be a mom, etc. But when those days come I want to do it with a heart that is living for Christ. I want to do it because Jesus called me to do it, not because I want a good story. I want to live a life worth living. For me the only life worth living is a life dedicated to Jesus Christ.

Robin Williams, LOTR, and Depression

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It’s hard to not be affected by the death of a beloved comedian and actor. Especially someone who has been such an integral part of my movie memories as a kid. Sometimes it seems weird to mourn over someone you never actually met. But the death of Robin Williams has stirred up more than just grief and sadness in me:

Several months ago a close family friend died. He was very young, too young to die, in his twenties. He struggled with depression. He was found in his room; the cause of his death was inconclusive. It is a tragedy and a heartbreak when someone you love dies, but it messes with you when you don’t know for sure if it was planned. 

It’s hard for me to collect my thoughts on this issue. If you have been following my blog you might have suspected that I struggle with anxiety and depression myself. I never felt strong enough to confess this outright. But these recent deaths have, in a bizarre way, given me strength (after facing a lot of weakness and fear) to come forward.

 I, Lizzy, a believer in Jesus Christ, a child of God, struggle with anxiety and depression.

As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, the news of suicide/possible suicide/suicide attempt stirs up a mountain of unresolved fears. I am suddenly forced to look at my own battle with depression and wonder, “could that be me someday?” “Will it get that bad for me?” “Will this battle ever end?” It is terrifying. 

You see, I feel like I have a special connection with others that struggle with anxiety and depression. We are warriors fighting the same battle side by side. We are Gimli and Legolas tallying up our victories over Orcs and Uruk-hai (yea, I went there…)

Somehow knowing that others are fighting the same battle by my side gives me extra strength. Hearing their victories over depression encourages me to keep fighting.

But in the same way, seeing others fall during battle can leave me feeling defeated. I see my fellow warriors falling and dying all around me and our numbers are dwindling. This week I have felt overwhelmed with fear and grief as I dwell on the death of an old family friend and Robin Williams.

Those of us that struggle with depression don’t often talk about it. Although it’s not something to be ashamed of, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel shame about it. Talking about it is hard, people judge, and it’s difficult to understand. But when we don’t talk about it, when we don’t share, then all we hear about are the deaths and tragedies. Even though I am alive and able to fight, I feel like Theoden at the Battle of Helm’s Deep when the Orcs and Uruk-hai are about to break through the gate (I can’t hold back the nerd, it fits so well). Suddenly the battle seems unmanageable: “The fortress is taken, it is over…so much death; what can men do against such reckless hate?”

But it doesn’t have to end there! There are loads of us fighting this battle! Aragorn urged Theoden to keep fighting. He reminded Theoden why they were fighting in the first place. Aragorn didn’t tell Theoden to retreat, but instead he urged Theoden to face his enemy with Aragorn at his side. 

The problem is that a lot of times we don’t find out someone was fighting the same battle until it is too late. That’s why I am coming forward. I have victories over depression. I want to share them. I want to remind people why they are fighting and I want others to do the same for me.  

But it gets better, it doesn’t even have to be a battle only fought by those struggling with depression. This may seem sacrilegious but, when Gandalf comes charging down into the battle with a thousand men behind him I think of Jesus leading a charge with all my friends and family following Him. What a glorious site.

This post was a little scattered, because in the midst of all this sadnessam a little scattered, but my point is this: Depression is not a battle that should be fought alone. We do not have to accept darkness and despair as our future. We need to help each other fight, and the first step is coming forward. The only way I made it through my rock bottom was because I had friends who talked about their struggle years ago, before I struggled with it. I called on these friends because I knew they would understand. Hearing their personal story gave me enough hope to keep pushing forward. Don’t hide behind fear…

RIDE OUT WITH ME!

The Fox, The Hawk, and The Sinner

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Some people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that God speaks to me in my dreams. This is one of those rare times that my confidence isn’t shaken by the opinion of others. I know God speaks to me, just as he spoke to Daniel and Joseph*. It’s easier for me to weed out my regular dreams from the dreams that God has placed there. My dreams jump around, they don’t make sense, and they are easily forgotten. When God gives me a dream I wake up and I cannot shake the images from my head. I remember every detail, every feeling, and every dialogue. I feel well rested afterwards, unlike those “I have to get this done” dreams that go on and on and you can never complete a task. But most of all I just know; it is a feeling in my soul that can’t be shaken: “That was of God”.

The other night I had such a dream.

I stood on my backyard deck after the sun had gone down. The Hawk perched high in a pine tree and guarded the yard (If you aren’t familiar with my Hawk experiences and its significance, you can read about it HERE).

To the right of my vision I saw movement in the shadows. As I turned my gaze toward the place of movement, a fox came trotting into my yard. Although I was intrigued by the fox and excited by its appearance, I knew it should not be in my yard. I fixed my gaze back on the Hawk and saw that the Hawk was not pleased with the fox. The Hawk’s sharp eyes followed the fox as the fox continued to trot toward me.

Then suddenly The Hawk swooped from his guard post in the pine and struck the fox. Several hawk feathers fell to the grass and I thought to myself, “I will go pick up the feathers later.”

I wanted a hawk feather more than anything. They were reddish-brown and striped with white. They were large, strong, yet soft to the touch. Yes, I wanted one of those hawk feathers.

The fox faught back, snarling and baring its teeth. With each attack, The Hawk dropped more feathers. There were so many feathers on the grass, I thought The Hawk must be balding and bare, but its plumage was as full and as beautiful as ever. The Hawk continued to swoop and attack the fox until finally the fox clamped his jaws around the neck of The Hawk. The fox turned and trotted toward me with a mouth full of feathers. “Well done fox!” I thought, then quickly realized “No, I wanted The Hawk to win!” and with that thought I saw that although the fox had a mouth full of feathers, it was not The Hawk in its mouth. The Hawk was back in His perch high in the Pine tree, watching. The Hawk watched as the fox spit the feathers out of its mouth and approached me.

I was excited. The fox was so cute and fluffy.

He looked so jolly and playful, wagging his bushy tail. I stood on the lower portion of my deck and reached my hand toward the oncoming fox. The fox quickly approached my hand and began to nuzzle it. At my side were two children, who started to reach their hands toward the fox too. Their mother stopped them with a guiding voice, “Do not go near that fox. Don’t you dare touch it. It is a sly creature who hides its biting teeth with cuteness and playfulness.”

I woke up and immediately began to pray about it. It needed interpretation. I usually run to my dream dictionary for help, I love looking up my dreams and trying to interpret them (I love doing this for other people as well), but not for my God given dreams. I rely on good old-fashioned prayer for interpretation. I don’t want to muffle God’s voice with the voices of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung (Freud’s interpretations turn anything into a phallus anyway).

God spoke.

The Hawk – In my waking life, the hawk has been an answer to prayer and a sign of God’s presence. The hawk in my dream represented God, my guardian and protector. Psalm 121:7 The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life

My Yard – The boundaries of my yard represent the boundaries I try to keep in my waking life. From the very beginning of the dream I knew the fox was not supposed to be in my yard, and yet my curiosity and intrigue prevented me from driving it out myself. Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

The Fox – The fox is a sly creature and represents many things that try to slip their way into my thoughts and life that shouldn’t be there. These are the things that lure me in with an attractive appearance only to bite me later. Things like getting my identity from anything other than God, seeking affirmation from people, trying to fix and understand everything, and following my own selfish desires instead of where God is calling me. 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

The Attack – The hawk attacked the fox to protect me and show me that the fox did not belong in my yard. When I am unable to fight God fights for me, even when my inability comes from ignorance and curiosity. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. 

The Feathers – The feathers are the promises and blessings that God freely gives during every attack. As he fought off my enemy for me, he left me with strong and beautiful blessings to remind me of his faithfulness and presence. And although he gives out many blessings, he never runs out or grows weary, he always has more to give. James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

The Hawk in the Foxes Jaws– The hawk looked to be defeated in the jaws of the fox, and then it was suddenly back in the pine tree. This is the most shameful part of my dream. I could not believe even for a split second that I rejoiced with the fox instead of The Hawk. This represents Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is my sin that put Jesus on the cross but it also reminds me that even death could not defeat Jesus. There maybe times when it looks like there is no hope, but Jesus is not defeated. It is at these times that I must choose whether or not I believe that the grace of God has saved me and that his son has died for my sins. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit

The Approach of the Fox– Again I am given a choice whether I will allow something to enter into my boundaries. The Hawk sat perched in the Pine continuing to guard me, even though I chose the fox. The Hawk did not abandon me, but allowed the fox to approach me. Sometimes God allows the devil to tempt me because I learn and grow from it. Again, I must choose whether I will resist the devil, or allow him in. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The mother and her children – This represents the guidance I can receive from those that I trust. The mother cares deeply for her children and will guide them with lessons she has learned; they trust her guidance. The Hawk showed me that the fox was not good, but I didn’t understand why. The mother was wiser than me and was able to articulate why the fox was not good. “[The fox] is a sly creature who hides its biting teeth with cuteness and playfulness.” Who do I trust to go to for guidance when I struggle to understand God’s ways? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

This dream was a warning from God. Dream Liz was so easily swayed to follow the fox. Upon waking I was ashamed that I went against everything I knew with such ease. The metaphorical foxes of my life are just a sly as the fluffy orange fox in my dream. God was also encouraging me to go to the people I trust for guidance. Sometimes I don’t understand God’s ways and it’s important for me to surround myself with Godly people I trust and listen to them when I am rejecting God’s ways.

I know I will return to this imagery for the rest of my life. What a blessing God has given me! I have already been applying it to my life, and I am so thankful for the warning, because I have already had to actively resist the devil.  

(*If you aren’t familiar with the stories of Daniel and Joseph, check them out in a bible: Daniel 2, Genesis 37 & 41)

7 Ways to Cope with Anxiety During the Two Week Wait

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My anxiety is always heightened during my Two Week Wait (TWW) and it doesn’t help that my TWW sometimes becomes a Four Week Wait due to my PCOS. I find myself wasting a lot of mental energy on trying to figure out whether or not I am pregnant. I mentally log my current symptoms: light cramping, breast tenderness, chin acne, fatigue, etc. Then I google early signs of pregnancy and somehow try to mold my symptoms into a definite pregnant or not pregnant result. Sound familiar?

Why do I do this to myself? Month after month, I rack my brain and my nerves trying to figure out and understand something that I know I can’t possibly know for sure until I have waited those full two weeks (or more). The more I try to figure out and understand, the more anxious I become, until I am so tightly wound, I become short with people, I have back pain, neck pain, and headaches. One moment I’m convinced I’m pregnant, but in the very next moment I try to convince myself I am not pregnant so I can spare myself the pain of disappointment. The constant flip flopping and up and down roller coaster of emotion leaves me exhausted and irritated, which is not something you want to pile on top of the already present PMS irritation, anger, and fatigue (or possible mood swing due to a surge of hormones needed to support an embryo).

So how can I turn this Two Week Wait into a Trust While Waiting? I know my problem lies in my inability to keep a tight rein on my thoughts: I allow my mind to play out all the scenarios of every symptom, I release my mind to wander as it wills through dangerous fantasies, and I try to dissect and understand every little pain and ache. I have tried to distract myself by keeping busy. My thought was that if I packed my days full of activities and work, I wouldn’t have time to think about it. I have found it is not good enough for me to simply “keep busy”. Keeping busy doesn’t keep me from letting my mind and thoughts wander and with the added activity I realized I was more anxious and exhausted than ever. I needed something that would refocus my thoughts where they needed to be.

After many months of trying new things, falling back into old habits, and one very large emotional breakdown, I realized that what I needed was rest. Not necessarily sleep, but rest from my toxic thoughts. I needed to learn how to turn my mind off and just be present in the now. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, my inability to remain in the present reflected my inability to trust God.

It was so hard for me to just be, because there was so much to worry about. There was so much to do and so many things to figure out. But when I actually sat down and reflected on this, I realized that I wasn’t trusting God with my future. I felt like I had to figure everything out for myself. I was so uncomfortable being in a state of the unknown because I didn’t trust that God already had it figured out for me.

With this new realization, I have started some practices to help me remain in the present and relax my body during my TWW. When I start to get anxious, catch myself analyzing my symptoms, or I drift off into baby La La land, I stop everything I am doing and do one of the following:

  1. Pray – This is my first go to. I pray for focus, the ability to trust God, and that God would help me with my doubts and unbelief. Sometimes I have a hard time focusing my thoughts even enough to pray, so I have to do something lower on the list to empty my brain and come back to prayer.  
  2. Yoga – Focusing on the breath and flow of yoga helps me empty my head of worries and it allows me to be fully present in the moment. Here is a great PMS yoga practice to help with aching back and legs.
  3. Hot Bath with Lavender Essential Oil and Netflix – The hot bath and lavender helps sooth my tense muscles and I love to get lost for a short while in a story. I set my laptop up on the top of the toilet, put on a lighthearted show, light some candles, and relax.
  4. Hot herbal tea and a good book – When I get anxious and stressed I clench my teeth. My jaw muscles get really tight and that’s when the headaches start. Hot tea helps relax my jaw muscles and the good book helps me take the focus off of my symptoms and worries.
  5. A Hike – When I hike I get lost in the sights and sounds of nature. I allow myself to take as much time as I want exploring different areas without a calorie burn or mileage goal in mind – Hiking for the sake of enjoying the beautiful world God created. IMG_5858
  6. Making/Reading Encouragement Cards – I have found a lot of comfort in these little cards. When I read an encouraging verse or two from the bible, I write it down on an index card accompanied with an application to my life. I carry the cards with me and spend time reading through my cards and memorizing the scripture. This one is especially helpful if I am in need of a more discrete option. It also helps me to focus on something worth focusing on: the truth of God’s word.
  7. Art– I allow my mind to create instead of analyze. Sometimes I will blast some good tunes while I create and allow myself to lose track of time.IMG_6824

These practices are specific to me and what I have found keep me in the present. I encourage anyone struggling with anxiety or a wandering mind to discover the activities that work best for them. I know it’s not always possible to do these things because of work and other activities, but I try to set aside a little bit of “me” time each day during my TWW. I know ahead of time that these weeks are hard on me, so I plan accordingly and allow myself some grace and mercy. I wish you a joyful Trusting While Waiting!

He Loved Me When I Was Unlovable

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 me and Dean

I didn’t know my husband truly loved me until there was nothing left in me worth loving. That sounds crazy, because it is, but it’s true. My husband has loved me for many years and for some reason I couldn’t completely see it. It made sense when I felt lovable. When I felt pretty, skinny, beautiful. When I worked hard and accomplished a lot. When I measured up to the goals I set for myself, I would catch glimpses of why he loved me. But most days I didn’t measure up.

Most days he sees me disheveled and in yoga pants. Most days I mess up dinner, scratch the floor, or forget to dust the fans. Most days I feel fat, bloated, or ugly. Most days I can’t play sports, or understand sports, or like to watch sports. Most days I can’t see why this amazing man would love this mess of a woman.messy me

Then one day this mess of a woman got messier. I cracked. I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t make coffee, I couldn’t clean the house, and worst of all I couldn’t shower. If you have never experienced anxiety or depression before, then this probably just sounds lazy. You might be thinking “just suck it up and do it already!” I was you once. I thought that way, until it happened to me. If you suffer from anxiety and depression than you know exactly what I am talking about. I see you nodding your head and thinking, “girl, I am smelling ripe these 5 days since my last shower.” It’s ok ripe smelling reader, your friends and family love you despite the smell.

It was during these days that I truly started to understand why my husband loved me. The mornings were the worst. lonely leopardLife was too hard to handle, the weight of the world rested on my shoulders and I thought if I just laid in bed I wouldn’t have to face it. But even while lying in my bed my anxieties would slowly creep into the corners of my mind and take my thoughts captive. They would attack me from every angle. Every fear and weakness was wrestled with until I was the weeping, snotty, hyperventilating shell of the woman I once was. It was at that moment that my husband would gently pick me up off the floor and hold me tight. He said nothing except the occasional “it’s going to be ok”. He didn’t have to say anything, his presence alone was comforting. 

 I was nothing and yet I was loved. I could give nothing and yet he gave everything he could. I wasn’t loved by my husband because of my beauty, deeds, or skills. There I was: five days since my last shower, puffy-red eyes, tear streaks, snot all over the sleeves of my baggy sweatshirt, crying because I had nothing left, and yet, he loved me.

I just want to make something clear here — this was not a romantic movie cry scene. It wasn’t one single, beautiful tear running down my cheek.cute crying gif There was nothing cute or attractive about it. I am an ugly crier.Ugly Cry FaceAnd did I mention the snot? There was snot!!! Lots and lots of snot! But it didn’t matter, he did the same thing every day for two weeks straight! TWO WEEKS!!! The only thing that changed was the location of my breakdown: kitchen floor, bedroom, couch, bedroom floor, etc.

It was the first time in our nearly 5 years of marriage that I have ever openly sobbed in front of my husband. I completely let my guard down. I couldn’t pretend I had it all together anymore. I could no longer hide my tears just because I knew how uncomfortable it made him. So, I let it all go. I let go of everything I thought was keeping him with me and he stayed anyway. It suddenly dawned on me, that even when I felt completely unlovable, I was loved.

Oh, did I mention today is our five year anniversary? Here’s to my amazing husband! May he someday fully understand how amazing he is and how blessed I am to call him mine. 

me and dean wedding

He Loved Me When I Was Unlovable

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 me and Dean

I didn’t know my husband truly loved me until there was nothing left in me worth loving. That sounds crazy, because it is, but it’s true. My husband has loved me for many years and for some reason I couldn’t completely see it. It made sense when I felt lovable. When I felt pretty, skinny, beautiful. When I worked hard and accomplished a lot. When I measured up to the goals I set for myself, I would catch glimpses of why he loved me. But most days I didn’t measure up.

Most days he sees me disheveled and in yoga pants. Most days I mess up dinner, scratch the floor, or forget to dust the fans. Most days I feel fat, bloated, or ugly. Most days I can’t play sports, or understand sports, or like to watch sports. Most days I can’t see why this amazing man would love this mess of a woman.messy me

Then one day this mess of a woman got messier. I cracked. I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t make coffee, I couldn’t clean the house, and worst of all I couldn’t shower. If you have never experienced anxiety or depression before, then this probably just sounds lazy. You might be thinking “just suck it up and do it already!” I was you once. I thought that way, until it happened to me. If you suffer from anxiety and depression than you know exactly what I am talking about. I see you nodding your head and thinking, “girl, I am smelling ripe these 5 days since my last shower.” It’s ok ripe smelling reader, your friends and family love you despite the smell.

It was during these days that I truly started to understand why my husband loved me. The mornings were the worst.lonely leopardLife was too hard to handle, the weight of the world rested on my shoulders and I thought if I just laid in bed I wouldn’t have to face it. But even while lying in my bed my anxieties would slowly creep into the corners of my mind and take my thoughts captive. They would attack me from every angle. Every fear and weakness was wrestled with until I was the weeping, snotty, hyperventilating shell of the woman I once was. It was at that moment that my husband would gently pick me up off the floor and hold me tight. He said nothing except the occasional “it’s going to be ok”. He didn’t have to say anything, his presence alone was comforting. 

 I was nothing and yet I was loved. I could give nothing and yet he gave everything he could. I wasn’t loved by my husband because of my beauty, deeds, or skills. There I was: five days since my last shower, puffy-red eyes, tear streaks, snot all over the sleeves of my baggy sweatshirt, crying because I had nothing left, and yet, he loved me.

I just want to make something clear here — this was not a romantic movie cry scene. It wasn’t one single, beautiful tear running down my cheek.cute crying gif There was nothing cute or attractive about it. I am an ugly crier.Ugly Cry FaceAnd did I mention the snot? There was snot!!! Lots and lots of snot! But it didn’t matter, he did the same thing every day for two weeks straight! TWO WEEKS!!! The only thing that changed was the location of my breakdown: kitchen floor, bedroom, couch, bedroom floor, etc.

It was the first time in our nearly 5 years of marriage that I have ever openly sobbed in front of my husband. I completely let my guard down. I couldn’t pretend I had it all together anymore. I could no longer hide my tears just because I knew how uncomfortable it made him. So, I let it all go. I let go of everything I thought was keeping him with me and he stayed anyway. It suddenly dawned on me, that even when I felt completely unlovable, I was loved.

Oh, did I mention today is our five year anniversary? Here’s to my amazing husband! May he someday fully understand how amazing he is and how blessed I am to call him mine. 

me and dean wedding