Following Him & Loving Them When You Feel Blah.

1621I hope you know by now, that it’s not just all cute blog posts and rainbows over here. I mean, sometimes it is, but I hope you hear with great transparency that life, ministry, adoption, etc. is hard. The REALLY GOOD kind of hard. But still hard.

Toward the end of this summer, an innocent comment from Joel triggered a category 10 meltdown and I realized that the hardness of it all had done a number on my heart. He was home for the first time in weeks (he was renovating the house we now call home) and I had asked him, “Do you think this is the craziness of this whole transition or do you think I am depressed?” He sweetly replied, “Babe, we just gotta get through this crazy season.” Cue Hurricane Hurdle. I simply could not just keep pulling myself up by my bootstraps and “get through”. That night, God opened my eyes to how disconnected I was from myself and my soul.

Granted, you can only go so many sleepless nights and deal with so many traumatic and sometimes violent and destructive, fits of rage until the euphoric adrenaline of “getting the kids” begins to subside. After hearing my heart, a friend texted me some info about grief and “Post Adoption Depression”. It seemed the reality of “adopted baby blues” was what had been seeping in since the beginning of the year…I didn’t notice my anger every time a friend or family member left me a voice mail that I knew I would need to try and squeak out the time to return. I dismissed my lack of desire to get out of bed or my ever-shortening fuse with my kids. I sort of noticed it odd that I cried through an entire women’s retreat weekend in February, but I just blamed it on being tired. Oh and I even ignored the flashing red light at that conference when I submitted a question to a panel of staff women and an amazing staff woman whom I deeply respect, answered my anonymous question with, “Whomever you are, it sounds like you are depressed and need to get some help.” Right.

I could write a dozen blog posts trying to share how I think I got here, but I felt extremely known and understood by these two posts: When Hope Seeps In and The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later. I felt safe emailing them to the awesome woman who counsels women on staff with CRU and another great counselor at our church here in Oxford. Both of their responses confirmed my suspicions.

I have always known depression is a legit physical, spiritual, emotional and circumstantial struggle, one that that is so consuming and real.  It didn’t seem to be one that would be a part of my story. I don’t know why, but it just didn’t seem to fit. Anxiety, sure. I’ve have spent the majority of my life being wound as tight as a top knot. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Fillmore, told me she’d give me $20 if I quit chewing my nails by the end of the year!! I continued to chew until I got engaged b/c dang it, I would have good looking nails on my wedding day. Lame, I know. After marrying Joel, who is as cool as a cucumber, I’ve relaxed. A LOT. But it seems the pendulum of anxiety and depression has swung the other way recently. I think for me, this bout of blah was what I ended up with because I was simply too weary to get wound back up.

So, yeah, I feel the freedom to say I have  struggled with depression recently, especially this spring/summer. And I might struggle continually. Or I might not. And that’s fine.

I did begin to feel some warmth and connection to myself when I began to name the struggle and bring it into the light with others. Getting away for 4 days in September was really good for my soul. I booked an early arrival and a late departure and spent good time in the word, in community and worshipping. Note: I am not typically a big feeler who gets into experiential worship…it’s great if you are, it’s just not typically the place I feel the most connected to Christ…but it was in the middle of that night of worship after seeing a mom worshipping while wearing a Moby wrap with a sweet little one that grief bubbled to the surface.

Grief from wayyy down deep. Gutteral really. In the darkness of that hotel ballroom, similar to the one when I surrendered my life fully to the Lordship of Christ, I was okay with coming undone. There was safety and freedom in journaling and snotting and listening to women worship at the top of their lungs. It had never occured to me that I had not fully grieved the loss of those years with my little ones. The years of Moby wearing, the years of attaching and nurturing. The years the locusts ate. The years the psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians repeatedly ask about and I just shake my head and shrug my shoulders because I don’t know anything. The developmental stages that even my kids ask about when they see a baby and are curious if they ever had a paci. So I wept. Freely and openly. I journaled and just sat in my sadness (and all those other negatives emotions that I tend to avoid) and was really good with it. It was almost a tangible sense of relief. I spent the entire next day in the hotel room all a.l.o.n.e. fasting, praying, journaling and debriefing what I’d learned that weekend. It was the balm for the soul that was needed. A seminar called “Making Things Happen” was an strong challenge to evaluate the mission, vision and values of MY life and then “put on my awesome pants and get to living it.” This time to eval and re-focus really was what I needed for this season of blah.

Bonding and attaching with two children takes time. Learning how to be a parent takes time. Transitioning to a new town takes time. Grieving losses takes time. And it all takes a huge heaping dose of grace.

Since being here for a few months I/we have begun to find our way. That’s my only aim right now. “Finding our way.” Elizabeth Elliot say, “do the next thing.” My friend Aimee says “find healthy rhythms.” Both these women challenged me to find rhythms that would work for our family and make them so routine that I didn’t even have to think about the “next thing.”  Like how you don’t even have to think about brushing your teeth or locking the door as you leave. Not a “do more and try harder” legalistic, humanistic mentality. Healthy rhythms.

Asking people to pray, simply getting out of bed and making it up nice and neat, starting each day with a tall glass of ice water, blogging, cooking, EXER-freaking-CISING and getting consistent time with the Lord, these small, yet monumental tasks have really created rhythm for all four of us. October was seriously awesome. The crisp air cut straight through the static in my heart and mind. I am feeling more “normal” (whatever that means) and I am praying that God is allowing me to turn the corner and live my life.

How about you? Do you experience seasons of depression physically, spiritually, circumstantially and/or all of the above? (Welcome to humanity, right?) I’d love to hear how you have seen God be tender to you during these times.

To read more in this series of “Following Him & Loving Them” click here! 


13 thoughts on “Following Him & Loving Them When You Feel Blah.”

  1. Love this, love you – you helped me so much through my seasons of similar emotions (albeit different circumstances), and I hope you can see now how valuable you were & are to me! Love this times a million. Love you more.

  2. I cried reading this post. In the Aldi parking lot. I love and pray for you often. One day at time, one step at time, one breath at a time…He is there in that mind and heart mess and He is healing and loving and building a reality of grace in you. You will be changed in all the right ways having walked through the darkness and seeing His loving, tender and compassionate Light.

  3. I met you a few times at Wingate and it looks like we have mutual friends (Summer? Laura DeBruhl?). I found your blog months ago and have rejoiced (and cried) with you in your journey of adoption. The Lord knows our frame, each of us, so intimately, and His work in the life He has called you to is so evident. Praying for you regularly, even though you don’t know me!

  4. This was seriously the best thing for me to read today. I’m struggling right now with so much of what you’ve shared, and it’s so good to know others that have gone thru the same. Thank your for being so open and real.

  5. After a long day teaching angsty high schoolers, I was h-e-double-hockey-sticks bent on vegetating watching Jeopardy and Modern Family. I got on Instagram and started reading your blog. So incredibly beautiful how God works everything together. Your blog touches and encourages more than you know.

  6. I well remember the early years (especially the first two years). I well remember daily (more like 5 times a day) tantrums…the full blown, dangerous meltdowns. I well remember not having physical or emotional or spiritual energy …wondering if I could handle the next day (particularly on days hubby was traveling). I wrote this during that time:
    I also sang a song many days (a song I wrote about a totally different situation but yet it still applied)–
    And I learned the truths that it takes a year for every year the child is old at the time of adoption to unlearn past behaviors, habits, issues, and adjust and adapt and learn the new.

    Blessings to you and your family on this journey! Praying Psalm 23 for you today!

  7. yes, thank you for sharing Kitty! Love you so much, miss you and wish we could all come sit with you and hug you and look you in the eye and tell you we love you!!!!

  8. Love you all.
    Love your brutal honesty.

    There is SO MUCH encouragement that comes from the “I’m not alone”. It’s so stinkin’ easy to look at others and think everything is perfect. You FINALLY “got” your kids. Easy. Perfect. You moved close to grandparents. Easy. Perfect. Blah, blah, blah.

    Such GOOD stuff for sure but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. I so appreciate you and your heart.

  9. Kitty,
    I’ve enjoyed reading about your family and all that comes with it. As I want to adopt one day, this helps tremendously to know what I’m truly getting into. I would never picture you as someone having depression, so thank you so much for sharing. The whole “you’re not alone” thing really does help. It’s been a hard couple of years, but it wasn’t until this past year that this sadness turned into depression. Seeing a counselor helped me see the difference. Being sad is OK. Being depressed- where you no longer are motivated to do things you need to do, or do things you used to enjoy, is not OK. For anyone who is depressed, this is what keeps me above water:
    -Pray. On your face. If you’re at work/out, go into the bathroom and lift your hands to God. If you’re honest with Him and tell Him you’re upset and don’t feel like reciting Psalm 23 one more daggone time, that you need to hear He’s there….. He’ll be there. I can’t tell you how many times He’s spoken to me through license plates this year. And that’s just because I’m that desperate while driving that I can’t even wait to pull out His word when I get home. If you seek Him, He. is. there. If you are desperate, don’t know how you’ll make it another hour- all you have to do is have enough strength to tell Him that. You don’t know what to pray? Pray through the Psalms.
    -Find a counselor/mentor/pastor. I found a christian counseling center where you pay based on what you make. Some churches are great and offer services for free. Having a regular time set up to meet someone wiser and talk about issues is important.
    -Exercise- like you said. It doesn’t cost money to climb the stairs in your house or do sit-ups, etc. Endorphins make you happy, and “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
    -Count your blessings/be thankful. I heard a Ted Talk that you can train your brain to do a 180 in your outlook on life. Think of three NEW things to be thankful for every day. You can’t ever use something twice. You’ll start to program your brain to always be looking out for the positive.
    -This goes along with the above. Watch what you put in your head. It’s amazing how much a difference the corny christian radio station makes, but… when I have heard the same Mandisa song three times too many I look for new music on my own. Here’s a link to playlists I’ve made:
    -I make fun of reciting Psalm 23, but honestly…..there is something “magical” about memorizing and reciting scripture. Jesus used it to shut up Satan in the desert. He didn’t have to recite scripture. He was God. I think he did it as an example for us and it truly has worked in my life. When sinful thoughts creep in, let out some scripture. I can’t even remember what I was thinking about before.
    This quickly turned into a mini blog post, but I can’t not share what’s helped me. Reading blogs by Biblical believers has also been super encouraging. I look forward to your next post ma’am!

  10. Oh girl, I feel you. I do not know the hardness of adoption and grieving the missing years, so I won’t claim that. But, I have struggled with depression for nearly 20 years and I KNOW that pain-and I am in a hard, painful season too. I love your honesty-thanks for sharing vulnerably. I wish we could grab some coffee and chat this weekend! We sure do miss ya’ll in the Midsouth.

  11. THank you for writing a heart -felt and candid post! As an adoptive mom of an almost 2 month old, I found relief and personal insight as you wrote some of these exact same things I have said in my head. Thank you being brave enough to write this to normalize the process for the rest of us. I am able to take in more grace after reading through this post.
    Many thanks!
    1 Cor 2:1-5

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