Lightning Faith

I wish I could say that the truth behind this title is that I have faith like lightning – strong, bright, powerful – but unfortunately I’m referring to the speed of lightning which is the best description for how quickly I lose (or abandon) my faith when times get tough, even just a little bit. It’s gone in a flash. Quick like lightning.

Case in point: Elly was up at 4:30am this morning, pretty much for good since she didn’t really go back to sleep until I got up at 5:30 and rocked her for a good hour and she may have dozed on and off for another 30-45 minutes or so until Michael was up getting ready for work and Dozer found something he absolutely had to howl about. Within that time, my mind went from being worried and lovingly concerned about whatever was plaguing Elly preventing her from sleeping to frustration and fear of what the day would be like after such a start to the morning. I was in a full blown meltdown by the time I took her downstairs for breakfast, vowing how much I hate Saturdays and how this one would be just as awful as many others.

Michael works Saturdays. EVERY Saturday. And a regular 5-day work week. So by the time Saturday rolls around, I’m pretty spent and would much rather be able to spend it with my family, like normal people, not having to treat it like another Monday or Wednesday. It just sucks and I hope that changes soon. And this week, because Memorial Day weekend is a huge weekend in the car business, he will be working Sunday too. Lovely, right? With my regular angst for Saturdays already in full swing, plus the way this day had started, I felt entitled to a meltdown, claiming that things must have just been going too well for my “normal” week to continue. I was mad. Mad at the circumstances, mad at myself for allowing my thoughts to control me, mad that yet again, I ultimately flung my faith out the window at the slightest bit of difficulty.

SO. WEAK.

For justification’s sake, I would like to think that this morning’s meltdown was a result of several troubling events/issues this week that I just ‘pushed through’ and that this morning was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. And while I’m sure that’s partially true, to me, it’s a rather puny excuse for immediately jumping to the worst possible scenario – that today was just following suit as a horrible Saturday where Michael wouldn’t get home until after 10pm, that Elly wouldn’t nap AT ALL, that I wouldn’t be able to get anything done, and that the world might in fact end as a result of all these things and I just couldn’t handle it. Defeated before I even give anything a chance. Shameful.

I’m constantly wrestling with this internal back-and-forth, willing myself to allow God to strengthen me, even in the small things, but I still fail too often. I’m hoping all these failures will eventually teach me something or grow me in some way and that the time lapse for me to stay calm will somehow lengthen.

My college roommate sent this to me a couple of weeks ago, and it’s all too appropriate for us, and I’m sure if I were ever a superhero, this would be my identity:

anxiety-girl-header2

Except my costume would have a giant lightning bolt on the front. More appropriate.

Reality

I struggle with how to write about the stuff of life. Even in my own private journal, it’s hard to admit how I really feel because I know there are situations, circumstances, lives, so much WORSE. And while that is true, everyone’s reality is their own, complete with all it’s pain, joy, trials, and triumphs. I can accept that about everyone else’s lives, but I have a hard time accepting it about my own. Plus, as a Christian, I feel held to a certain standard that I’m not ‘allowed’ to talk negatively, that I’m supposed to only think, speak, or believe good things. And while there is some truth to that, the honest truth is that right now our reality is bleak.

I woke up to a flood of media updates of friends running in the various marathons in nearby cities this morning. It devastated me. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t run to the mailbox and back without likely collapsing. I’ve been sick and housebound for a week, struggling with a respiratory and throat infection that should have been better in a few days, but evidently thanks to low iron and other deficiencies, I can’t recover as quickly as I should. At least that’s what I’m assuming to be the case, because there seems to be no other reason I have continually felt like dirt for 3 months now.

I’ve done everything I know how to improve – supplements, exercise, water, rest, more supplements, tests…nothing. And for someone who always needs and wants to know WHY, I’m not getting any answers there either. This anomaly has been blamed on childbirth – 8 months ago? That answer only spawns more questions, namely what do I need to do from here since I thought I was doing a good job ‘taking care’ of myself before? It’s so frustrating. And frustration with my health is the last thing I need.

We’re still waiting. Waiting for an answer to an almost 3-year problem. STILL waiting. I recently read that a Russian woman was imprisoned for 13 years (six of which was in solitary confinement) under Stalin’s reign, all for being a teacher. However, she makes the statement that the most difficult time in her life was NOT the horrendous suffering during years of imprisonment, but the three weeks of waiting prior to her arrest – that the uncertainty and anxiety such waiting poured over her heart while she waited for the “unknown” was pure torture. She said that “perhaps waiting for an inevitable disaster is worse than the disaster itself.”

I wholeheartedly agree. Torture.

Remember last March 2? We were expecting some pretty terrible storms – the weather genius Greg Forbes had issued an unprecedented Tor-Con index of a 10 for most of Kentucky and The Weather Channel was deploying their finest reporters to hotspots around the state. The anxiety of what was to come was stifling. Businesses were closing and shelters were being put in place. Preparation for the unknown was difficult, but the unpredictability of waiting for what Mother Nature was going to dole out was far worse. It was exhausting. Try as you will to trust God at all cost, but your human flesh won’t let you forget what could happen.

Now imagine that’s your reality every day, except instead of a devastating storm, it’s one small piece of mail that may or may not appear in your mailbox that day could spell either financial ruin or a chance to end what seems like a never-ending nightmare. That’s our reality. Every. Single. Day.

We don’t know what’s going to happen, what options we’re going to be given. We don’t know WHEN. And worst of all, we don’t know WHY – why we’re being put through another season of difficult waiting and what we’re supposed to learn from it. We cling to what happened the last time we waited: for four long years, we were led to begin thinking children were not part of God’s plan for us. Instead, we were eventually blessed with an unbelievable miracle in our baby girl. It’s all I can do to wrestle away the lies that threaten to take over my thoughts and cling to that sweet tangible promise I hold every day.

It doesn’t get any more literal than saying that psalms are only born out of the qualms of life, so that’s where we are. I’m praying for the day when I can write with abandon how we were delivered through this, whatever the outcome.

Until then, I’m likely to continue writing about TV shows and fantasies and other nonsense because I need some nonsense in all this reality to make me smile.

Something’s Gotta Give

So, I haven’t been able to think straight for about a month now. Maybe longer. I truthfully thought it was just part of being a new mom. (Can I still have the title “new mom” now that she’s over 6 months old?) I had convinced myself that I was just not feeling well with all the changes we recently dealt with and suffering through this half-winter we’ve had. Not to mention I managed to give myself a vicious cold after irritating my nose from disinfecting everything with bleach water. Read: I made myself sick trying to prevent illness. It’s a gift.

Anyway, in the midst of all my justifying, I realized: I’m 32 years old. I shouldn’t feel like I’m 92.

Talking with Michael one night, I recalled that I’ve cried going to bed every night for the past several weeks just because I “felt bad.” Achy. Not flu achy, just achy. I actually physically hurt. Pain medicine was useless. The pain hadn’t gotten better – it actually may have been getting worse. I realized I have had ZERO energy and was staying so tired despite the blessing of a baby who sleeps all night. But I had no explanation why any of this was happening.

I must be going crazy.

Then I started having dizzy spells that made me feel like I spent all day on the teacup ride at Disneyworld. Taking care of Elly became a real chore – trekking up and down the stairs with her was taxing. I started losing things, forgetting if I had paid bills, getting confused easily – none of which is normal for Mrs. Type A. It all started to weigh me down not only physically, but mentally too. I was more depressed than I could remember being in a long time. I was so frustrated and disheartened – despite everything I was trying to do, nothing helped.

I continued my justification that I was crazy because there was nothing specific I could go to a doctor and say, “this is what is wrong – fix THIS.” With no definitive symptoms, I could just imagine that I would get the same response from doctors that I’m used to getting which is a shaking head and shrugged shoulders. I didn’t want to face that again.

And then I blacked out.

So, a couple of doctor visits later (forced to go with no choice at this point) I’ve been told I’m severely anemic. An answer! And hopefully something to treat that will make me feel better.

So I’m not crazy?

Thankful and relieved that my physical symptoms were real and not something I was causing, I could immediately think clearer – and start praying like a madwoman because this year hasn’t had the best start.

I’m hoping that the less-than-desirable happenings (a rash of migraines, dad being in the hospital for 11 days, Michael’s erratic work schedule, and now this surprising diagnosis) of the last two months are not the standard for 2013, and that with the turn of a month tomorrow, maybe even the turn of the seasons on the 20th, that things will begin to bloom happy for us. We need some good news this month, some answers to a four year battle. I’m praying that the “sun shines brightest after the storm” cliche holds true for us.  I need some bright, bright sun.

And maybe I can get through this month without convincing myself I am in fact crazy.