I turned 35 this year. Maybe 35 is a pivotal year? Maybe I'm just growing up?
But, this year has been amazing. I feel the need to share my journey this year - both to give praise to God where it is due, and to process many of these things for myself.
January brought the death of a little boy named Noah, who changed my life.
I had the honor of meeting Noah once. His mom, Adrienne, and I have a mutual friend - I'll call her Goodlady. I met Noah at Goodlady's daughter's birthday party. That party was the beginning of the acute awareness that something was not right with Noah. Goodlady is a nurse, and she spent most of the evening listening to Noah's breathing. He was little bitty, adorable, and, as we now know - he was sick.
During his illness, I felt my heart could not take reading the blog his mother wrote. I feel things pretty deeply, and I have a tendency to let things "consume" me. So, I kept up only through Goodlady. But, of course, as the days came closer to them letting Noah go, my interest was very high - and Goodlady was supporting Adrienne and I was not able to get information about how Noah and his family were.
So, I visited Noah's blog.
And if you have visited, you know I was captured. I eventually went back and read every word. And somehow I was changed.
Here is how I described how I felt about a month after Noah's homegoing:
I feel like I'm on the top of a mountain in a huge wind storm, and I know it's not a safe place - but I have no idea what to do about it. Am I supposed to climb back down, fly, wait to be rescued? I'm just standing here, waiting.... for something big. But, I have no idea what.I've reflected often on what shifted in me. And how and why the death of a little precious baby would cause me to seek God, to be closer to God. There is something on the surface of that that is just wrong - there should not be good from the death of a child. There should not be any silver linings of that kind of pain - and definitely not for me, basically a stranger. And yet, somehow, seeing how their family relied on God made Him more real to me. More trustworthy. More knowable. My heart finally realized what my head has known for years - God is worth the effort of knowing. And He will never let me down.
For the first time in my entire life, reading the scripture and praying was easy. It wasn't just something I knew I should be doing, that I knew I should be hungry for - it was something I was hungry for. And I think that Adrienne would love that I feel like it would be disrespectful to Noah's life and their pain to ever allow that feeling to fade.
So, there's Change #1 - I'm actually reading my bible and having focused prayer time almost every single day.
I honestly believe that change has brought about the rest.
Change #2 - Fear no longer controls my life.
Two things have allowed me to be free from fear. One, the realization that it did, and that this was sinful. I look back and wonder how I missed it. How did I not know that fear had control of me? I knew that I was afraid, but I somehow did not connect this with the fact that fear controlled me.
The second thing was a tool from a wonderful book called Loving God with all your Mind by Elizabeth George. Many things in the book helped me, but the major thing was focused on Phillippians 4:8.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.She recommends asking yourself, "Is this thought true?" (in my case - did this horrible thing actually happen, or am I thinking of what ifs?) If it is not true, then God has not asked me to deal with it. And I'm not expected to, and I don't have to. And IF God DOES ask me to deal with it, THEN He will grant me the grace and strength I need to deal with it.
I would say that this is still a demon that I have to conquer daily. But, oh, the beautiful freedom that comes from conquering it. The freedom that comes from knowing that God has given me what to need so that I CAN conquer it.
I feel like I can breathe deeply. I feel like I can focus on the moment. I feel ... there are really are no words to describe freedom, are there? To continue my standing on the mountain visual -
I feel like I jumped off that mountain, and landed on God's back. He is a huge eagle. He won't drop me, but I'm much more comfortable on his back rather than in his talons when he has to catch me. I have to hang on to stay on his back. But, oh, when I'm hanging on - I'm soaring through the clouds and wind is in my hair, and I'm laughing. My laughter is carried on the breeze. And, soaring with God, I am free, oh so free.Change #3. My youngest child turned 3 years old. I can't start to explain why this makes a difference, but - trust me, it does. I recently said that maybe it's because you only have to know where they are every other second instead of every second - so I got half my time and energy back. :) But, it feels as though the "mom fog" is lifting.
Change #4. My thyroid levels are finally where they should be. I have hypothyroidism, which is basically like having a low battery. The main symptoms are dry skin, being cold all the time, trouble losing weight, fatigue. It's an odd fatigue - your mind is not necessarily tired, but when you try to get your body to cooperate, it just doesn't. Other symptoms of mine are my hair falls out and I have a lot of anxiety and darkness. I am so, so grateful to live in a generation where there is a medication that replaces the thyroid hormones. I have to take medicine daily, but as long as I remember to take it, I am blissfully unaware that my body has any health issues at all.
I was first diagnosed 11 years ago and for many years was on the same dose. When I quit nursing SnugBug, I had a huge hormone fall-out, and it damaged my already sick thyroid. It took 18 months for me to finally get on the proper dosage of medicine so that I feel normal again.
Of course, considering that it was 18 months and I was pregnant or nursing for 4 -5 years before that, it's been so long since I've felt "normal" - normal is a novel, beautiful experience. I'm experiencing things I didn't realize were missing. I can smell more. I can taste more. Because I'm not so tired, I'm more aware of what is going on around me. I can mow the yard and still have energy to play with the kids. I can clean up the kitchen and not have to sit down to rest.
It is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Change #5. I read Getting Things Done. More about that in Multi-Tasking Moms post here. But because of the ideas in this book - I'm more organized. In a very real, practical way, not just a "look-fancy" way. I know what I'm trying to accomplish, and I make choices about what to do and what not to do. This means that, at least more so than before, the urgent is not crowding out the important.
And, that is also a beautiful thing.
So, here I am. Somehow I'm 35 years old. Somehow I'm in a better place in my life than I have ever been before. Somehow, I am this woman that I hardly recognize. I'm happy. I have a inner sense that I'm exactly where God wants me to be, and that I'm on the path to becoming the woman that God intends me to be. And WOW, what a place to be.
But, I gotta tell ya, it's more than a little odd. The change is very intense and I feel very different. But, from the outside everything is the same as it was a couple of years ago. So, I walk into a room very aware of it and everyone in it, but of course, I'm the only one.
Someone asks me how I feel about something, and I have no answer. I don't know how I feel about it. I'm not sure what my favorite color is. I'm not sure what my fashion "style" is. Not that those things make me who I am, but I'm just not sure who I am right now.
But, I have to say, I am looking forward to finding out.
Praise God! And thank you Noah.