It has been a while since I have sat down and put words on paper (or computer screen in this case) but I am really feeling that I need to get out all of what I have been experiencing. The idea of having a bit of catharsis feels very needed. The month of October was a doozy to say the least. I remember a couple of months ago I was really disappointed in myself for the lack of time I was spending with my bible and in the word- it was next to nothing and I knew I could do better. I prayed that God would help me be more diligent and put my bible at the top of my list of priorities. I had no idea he would answer my prayers in the way that he did-breaking me down until I have felt like I was "one more thing" away from losing my marbles, and leaving me in a state of such panic and feeling so out of control that the ONLY thing that could "save" me was Him. Even though in the last week I have succumbed to living in anxiety more than not- and only after my study today did I have the realization that God has me exactly where he wants me. The peace I have felt after finally coming to this conclusion has felt like a big gulp of fresh water after weeks of thirst. Let me get out of my metaphors and explain.
It all started on October 1st when our city experienced horrible tragedy. I think that shook all of us here in Las Vegas pretty deeply. A few days later we received a call from a program we had signed up for through our church- called Safe Families, and they needed placement for a newborn baby boy. I just knew the second we got the phone call and I heard the background of the family that we were going to take this baby. After talking to my husband and agreeing that we would take him we found ourselves rushing for the next 24 hours buying everything under the sun. Formula, bottles, diapers, clothes, etc. We cleaned out all of our old baby things and before we knew it I was in the backseat of my husbands truck holding the teeny tiny hand of the sweetest little baby boy I could have imagined. I will call him Baby D for the rest of this post. Baby D fit into our family like a missing puzzle piece. He was sweet natured, calm and adorable. Our oldest daughter loved him immediately and our youngest son had some trouble adjusting, but liked him too. I was smitten the first day. I knew with my personality something like this would be very difficult for me, but ever since working in the foster system while receiving my Masters degree- I knew it wasn't something I wanted to do but something I HAD to do. It was something I was called to on such a level that all of the doubt (and there was A LOT) about my ability to let kids go could not squash. I have been blessed a lot in my life- but the biggest blessing I have ever received is my husband. When you see my ex-offensive lineman, towering husband- you wouldn't think underneath his stature you would find a man with the most tender and loving heart of anyone I have ever met. He was very hesitant about the path of fostering, but we talked about it for years. We talked about it years before we even had our own kids! He eventually not only came around to the idea- but felt deeply moved to help others in this way as well. So there we were. Three kids three and under. The nights were long with a newborn and there were a fair share of challenges, but my parents stepped up and helped us more than anyone would ever expect grandparents to help. My church family and MOPs group showered us with meals and unwavering support. My friends showed up with coffee and even came over to hold Baby D so I could shower. As the time we had with Baby D was growing smaller- my heart was slowly breaking. I was able to hold it together fine on the outside but the as the date got closer I became more of a mess on the inside. We approached our last week with Baby D when our youngest son got very sick, and thats the second part of the story.
Our son had been running a fever for over a week. Visits to the doctor left us with "its a virus" and just wait it out. This past weekend symptoms got bad enough that we found ourselves in the ER for the longest 11 hours of our lives. Through a battery of tests we were left with more unanswered questions than we had when we went in and more anxiety than I have ever felt in my life. At one point we had to wait for blood work to rule out some pretty horrible things for TWO HOURS. Two hours of the most excruciating mental and emotional pain I have ever felt. We had to let Safe Families know we couldn't take the baby for the last week. I wasn't able to say goodbye. We couldn't risk him getting sick. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were pure torture for me. We were waiting for a pediatrician appointment Wednesday morning. My mind was FILLED with worse case scenarios. I found myself thinking horrible things like, "Maybe this is our last Halloween as a family of four". When I don't get sleep (which was scarce for me in the month of October) and when I don't get to work out (again, haven't been to the gym in a month) my anxiety goes through the roof. Add a newborn baby who I didn't get to hug before he left home for good and a sick baby boy who we feared some of the worst things you can fear- and that makes for one anxious ball of anxiety and a shell of a human that sort of resembles me. I cried for those three days probably more than I have cried the entire year all added together. I walked around in a fog. After our pediatrician appointment I felt A LOT better. We have repeat blood work in 10 days that I am praying will come back normal which will 100% put my mind at ease.
I have felt like all of this was "too much". I kept telling my husband "I can't do this- it is just too much. I can't handle it". And I was right. It was too much. A month falling in love with a baby that was now gone and then adding the stress of a sick baby that we didn't know what was wrong with him and the thought of him having a horrible disease- it was TOO much. I couldn't handle it, and I fell apart at the seams. I walked around in a crying daze- feeling like I was drowning in anxiety and I could not find my way up for a breath of air. I was suffocating under the stress of it all. Every time I started to pull myself towards the surface- we would get a text about the state of Baby D from his family- who still needed our help so badly- and I would be drug back down. My Mom was a saving grace. There at the hospital awaiting the news on my son with us. There cleaning my house, watching my kids- keeping my life together for me when I couldn't. And my husband- oh my sweet, wonderful husband. I don't talk a lot about him on here because I don't like to embarrass him and I like to keep our marriage private. But he was there trying everything he could to help and finally two nights ago we sat down together and he told me, "Aubs. I know I can't fix this- but God is in control. Everything that has happened and is going to happen- he knows it all and its his plan. You can't keep living in constant fear- you need to trust him." That hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was trying my damnedest to shoulder ALL of it, even when I KNEW I couldn't- when all I had to do was just give it to him. Instead of praying for outcomes I wanted, or for more control over situations- I just needed to LET IT GO and GIVE IT TO HIM. No matter what the outcome was- it was HIS plan, and I could do anything- but only with HIS help.
That was the way I was saved three years ago. I was suffering from post partum depression and anxiety. And it was too much for me to handle. I couldn't shoulder it- and then I was saved. And the world was lifted off of my weak shoulders. Months ago when I was praying for a renewed relationship with Jesus, praying for my priorities to shift to Him- I had no idea he would answer those prayers by breaking me back down again. God knows I am stubborn and hard headed. He knows I like to have it all under control and that I like to take on a lot of things. He must have known the only way to draw me back to Him was to flip my otherwise nice and calm life upside down. He knew the only way to get my attention was to tear me down, and then slowly build me back up again. He knows me so well. This month of October my bible has seen more action than it has all year. My pages of the new bible I got MONTHS ago are finally looking less crisp and it is looking used. Today I sat down and opened up my study to find this:
1 John 4:19-20; "And by this we know that we are of the truth, and we will set our hearts at ease before him, whenever our hearts condemn us, for GOD IS GREATER than our hearts, and KNOWS ALL THINGS"
This next 10 days as we wait to go in for final blood work- I will not live in fear or anxiety. I will not let my heart condemn me. I will rest in peace knowing that God is greater and that he knows all things. Whatever the outcome is- he can handle it. My bible study today asked what Jesus name means to you- and I answered he is my Savior. That word Savior gained a deeper meaning for me this month. He saved me when he died on that cross- but he also shown up and SAVED me over and over again. Then I flipped back to this verse:
John 15:5; "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing".
Apart from me you can do nothing. A concept I need to remember always.5 I need to stay attached to the vine in the GOOD and easy times of life, because when the hard times come along it won't be as hard. Although this month has been hard- God used its to bring me back to him. I have to remain in him and he will remain in me. Finding that even in the tough times God is working on my heart- has been a realization that has brought me more peace than I can describe. My hope for anyone reading this is that no matter what season of life you are in- the GOOD or the BAD- you will stay attached to the vine and you will stay in His word daily. I think God has finally taught my stubborn heart that lesson- I am nothing without him.