My Mom is an incredible woman. She is a total inspiration to me and is the bravest woman I know. I titled this post “My Mom Made me Write this Blog Post”, but this post is not going to be all about my mom. In fact, it really doesn’t have anything to do with her at all.
But I’m writing it because of her bravery. Her influence on my life. One of the amazing things about Mom is her knack for giving advice and guidance in the most perfect ways. No pressure, no nagging, just absolute confidence in me to make the right decision with some (extremely) gentle nudging. Last weekend, my mom mentioned my blog (or lack thereof), and without pushing or really saying all that much about it, she motivated me to get back on the horse.
I could give a million reasons why I haven’t written since April. We have been incredibly busy: we began house-hunting, went to church camp twice, took a couple mini-vacations, bought a house for the first time, Micah started preschool, and I began working outside the home again. But all those convenient excuses are not the reason I’ve been neglecting my blog.
The truth is, since April, I have known exactly what my next article would be. I have felt an enormous conviction to share this story, my story, and I’ve been running from that. Because I am terrified. Even now, as I begin typing, my heart is pounding with the fear of allowing myself to be so vulnerable with so many. To share a secret part of my life that literally no one but James and Jesus know anything about.
But here goes nothing.
After Isaiah was born, James and I were having a really rough time. We never saw each other, we were both working so much, struggling with our finances, and juggling two kids including a very colicky newborn. Most people know it was hard. I discussed most of this in a previous post, Real Love. However, I was having a much harder time than I was letting on. I was in an extremely dark place and feeling very hopeless about our situation ever getting better. And so, in the Spring of 2015, I decided to end my life.
I had lost focus on everything important in my life. I began going through the motions, but only to keep up appearances. I stopped reading my bible, stopped praying, stopped doing anything that I enjoyed. All I could really focus on was what a failure I was. I was failing as a Christian, a wife, a mother. And the more I focused on those things that were slipping through the cracks, the more I began to truly believe that my loved ones would be much better off without me. Sure, they would miss me, they would mourn. But they would move on and even thrive without me. I had plenty of pumped milk in the freezer so Isaiah would be set for a while during his transition to formula, James could move closer to my parents or his so he’d have plenty of help, and they’d be happy without my sad and distant presence in their lives. I made plans to steal away in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping soundly and kill myself. (I know that is stating it very baldly, but as I wrote and erased many euphemisms, I realized that no matter how I phrase it, that is the reality of what I intended to do.)
And as asinine as that all sounds in retrospect, it all made perfect sense at the time.
But one night (or very early morning), while nursing Isaiah for what I thought was going to be the last time, something happened. A tiny, insignificant occurrence that brought me back to reality and forced me to focus on what my decision actually meant and how it would effect those around me.
Micah stirred in his bed.
That’s it. That tiny moment that changed my life forever. He didn’t even wake up. Just moved slightly and made a little sound in his sleep. And all of a sudden, the enormity of what I was planning came crashing down on me. James would be forced to try and explain to our not-quite-two year old that Mommy was never coming home. He would not be able to understand. He would cry for me and not realize why I wasn’t coming to him. And that made me think about how James wouldn’t really understand either. Like a coward, I had not planned to leave a note or any word of explanation. I can’t believe now that I ever considered doing such a thing.
And in that little moment, in the dead of night, I began to cry. Sob. And as I watched my toddler sleep and held close my tiny, now sleeping baby, I began to pray for the first time in a long time. To seek forgiveness for the selfishness that hadn’t seemed selfish at the time, but that I now realize was the most selfish solution to my problems. To ask God for strength to get through what I knew would be a long road back to where I needed to be.
I stayed in their room for quite a long time, praying and thanking God that I hadn’t gone through with it. And when I finally set Isaiah down, I went back to bed and slept with peace for the first time in quite a long time. The next day, I talked to James (although I was too scared to tell him the whole truth-I didn’t admit to my plan for suicide for over a year later) but he prayed with me, led me to scripture that he thought would help, and reminded me that he loves me and prays for me daily. He is a much better man than I deserve.
Within a few short months from that night, we finally fully surrendered to the ministry we had been running from and were candidating at our first church. Now, barely two years after that night, I am sitting in the dining room of the home that we own, and listening to a sweet baby girl and that precious colicky baby who is now a source of enormous joy in my life, playing in the floor next to me. I got to walk my oldest son into his first day of school. I have an incredible husband and we just celebrated 8 years of marriage this summer. I have a job that I really enjoy. I watched Isaiah take his first steps. I got to see the look of joy on James’ face when we found out we were having a baby girl. I still cannot believe I almost gave all of that up because of a rough few months.
Two and a half years have passed and I’ve had lots of time to reflect on that time in my life. To evaluate what I did to allow myself to get to such a hopeless point. To make sure I never get there again. And the problem was that while I serve an Almighty, all-powerful God, I ignored His power in my life completely and began to focus on every problem I encountered. No matter how trivial a problem was, it became enormous to me. I began to focus only on how I was failing, on how I would never be able to get any better, about how I was weak. And that hasn’t changed. I still fail, I still have many weaknesses. But one of the magnificent things about my God is that he loves me and wants to use me in spite of those failures and weaknesses. Those weaknesses are good, because the power of God shines through more brightly through those weaknesses.
I Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Here, Paul has asked God to remove some “thorn in the flesh” from him. Though he asked repeatedly for deliverance, God said ‘no’. And you see Paul’s amazing faith in his response, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Though it probably didn’t make sense to Paul that he should retain his infirmity, he trusted God absolutely. So no matter my circumstance, I will keep my eyes on the God who loves me. Who sometimes uses unfortunate circumstances, tragedy, and even depression to allow me to become more dependent on Him.
I’ve discovered a new favorite song this year, MercyMe’s “Even If“. If you haven’t listened to it, click the link right now. It is a beautiful reminder to trust and rely on God during any circumstance on our life. Even if God allows us to continue in whatever circumstance that we want out of, we can trust a God who is good. I trust Him to know what is best for me, even if I cannot make any sense out of it. I couldn’t make sense out of a colicky baby, I couldn’t understand our continued financial problems despite continually working so hard to better our situation. But through all of it, I’ve been able to become more trusting of God.
I kept quiet about this for so long. But if God can use my story to help someone else, I want to share it. You are not alone. If you are feeling hopeless, or desperate, or like you can’t make it another day, just hold on. Get help. Find someone who you trust and open up to them. Call me, or message me, or text me, but don’t give up. God has a plan for you, even if you can’t see it right now.
I hate sharing my weaknesses. I am such a perfectionist and I want to be perceived as perfect all the time. But God doesn’t want me because I’m perfect. He wants to use my weaknesses, my faults, and my flaws. So I am choosing to share this in hopes that it brings others to Christ.
I’ll end with Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” I hope that this can be a light to others. That sharing my story will bring others to a deeper understanding of God’s love for them. Thanks for reading.