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BitterSweet Symphony

Day 35 of quarantine.

My tired bones awakened to another Saturday morning in quarantine. “I’M NOT DOING IT AGAIN,” my thoughts screamed back at me, as I stood firm in my proposition. Cooking was the last thing I wanted to do, and the first thing I knew, as a mother, would be the task at hand to start the day. I pulled my 8-day unwashed hair back into a bun, dressed in whatever was on the bathroom floor from the night before, and exasperatingly exclaimed, “I am going to get donuts!”

But, for me, the same repetitive song each day has led to feeling that quarantine fatigue.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The curveball this season has thrown at us has scriptural beauty written all over it. For the first time, our thoughts must choose, “don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…”(Matthew 6:34) AND ONLY because the tomorrows are unknown. Life as we know it took an instant turn, and we are forced to slow down and take in what’s right in front of us. Even so, I choose to trust God is sovereign over the why’s in which we have watched what once was slip away. In the coming and going of the day, eternal glories seem more evident. Our eyes have been opened to what He might be teaching us through the heartache of what we’ve lost, and the hidden hurt we’ve silenced with busyness.

But, if we come back and we’re broken

Unworthy and ashamed

Give us something to believe in

And you know we’ll go your way…

Guiding Light – Mumford & Sons

If this is the first blog post you’ve read from me, I’ve battled a disease called Dystonia for over 20 years. In the past two years, my treatment has been steady and in the hands of doctors at Baylor Medical in Houston every three months. On April 14th was an appointment I made months in advance, and I had been steady praying over it since the word quarantine crept into our regular vocabulary.

We hadn’t been outside Panola County in a month, and this new normal still felt like a bad dream you try run in, but your legs are paralyzed. I slept a good 45 minutes right before my alarm went off as anxiety took hold of me throughout the night as we usually leave the night before to get a hotel to eliminate extra stress. However, with the unknowns of the virus and our safety looming, we made the call to drive there and back in one day. We got on the road around 5:00 a.m. and arrived at our first destination in Lufkin, Texas. Now, at this point, we had only eaten drive-thru food twice since mid-March and anything would have been heaven for our fried-food loving souls, but the angels called us to Chick-Fil-A. And with no kids in tow, we enjoyed every bite. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way, and we arrived in Houston with a few minutes to spare before I was supposed to be on the 9th floor of the hospital.

I walked into the hospital, and my breathing instantly became heavy. I had every intention of finding joy in the midst of the situation, yet it was during this reality check that I realized our masks for protection hindered the ability to convey a smile. Suddenly, Satan’s presence felt oddly close to the meaning behind it all. A nurse greeted me whose behavior seemed robotic as she went through the same repetitive list of questions. I was in the clear after a couple of precautionary measures, and I began to walk with haste, as I had to enter in a way I had not known before. I made my way past the checkpoint and a lady stretched out her neck to make sure I was told, “Have a good day, honey!” She did that to every single person that walked in those doors, and it seemed to be a security blanket for the lost. It was in that moment, that small act of kindness felt like the hand of God defeated every ounce of darkness in that place.

“Rather than trying to do something grand for God,

perhaps we need to embrace the obscure instead.

To stop trying to be profound or important

and instead just be obedient.

To quickly and humbly obey when we feel God calling us

to engage with another or cheer and hearten a weary soul.”

Listen Love Repeat” by Karen Ehman

Today, if you are struggling with something that is beyond your control (especially in quarantine), I want to be that lady for you. Quarantine is not a time to add a “to do” on how to live your best life within the walls of our home. It’s a time to reflect and be the help…

I have anxiety, which I’m certain worked its way into my life after the emotional drain of postpartum depression. It can be crippling at times when staggering waves of emotions take root without warning. Stay-at-home mom life has been the joy of my heart, but, like quarantine, it can feel isolating and very mundane. At times, my children have played happily around me as I could barely breathe. In 2018, I set aside my pride and decided it was time to talk to my doctor about why my thoughts couldn’t connect with my heart. After much prayer and consulting with my husband who saw the battle first-hand, I decided it was time to see if medication would help my symptoms. Not realizing the difficulties we would face in 2019, I believe God’s hand was even in my need to take the plunge to ask for help.

I had every intention for this blog post to be about something else. I MEAN, FOR THE LOVE, LORD! I won’t be on a stage winning awards for this, nor do I want to give the impression that anxiety can’t be handled in healthy ways without medication. I weaned myself off this past fall and was so proud of how I had improved. But, I’ve recently had a set back, and I’m here to tell you that is ok. Ever since that day, there has been a passion to be honest, to be the same woman on social media as I am within the walls of my home. I don’t display it on a banner proudly, but there have been “me too…” moments in conversations that have flourished into friendships ordained by His hand. There is something heavenly about listening with no judgment. God has gifted me with the ability to relate with a list of heartaches this side of heaven, and if my instrument is out of tune, that doesn’t mean my symphony can’t be used.

“For He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,

For my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly BOAST about my weaknesses

So that Christ power may reside in me.”

2 Corinthians 12:19

As I steer forward, and press on in days with toddlers and battling chronic pain, I know it is something I need. I’ve wrestled with whether I would be judged for writing out my story, but I work hard to improve each day with His Word and prayer as my guide. I’m thankful there will never be a façade that says, “I’m the perfect Christian girl,” but rather I am a very weak sinner in desperate NEED of a Savior…that’s what keeps me grounded.

Vulnerability is the most powerful tool, friends, and in these days of uncertainty, I’m learning it’s ok to embrace flaws if it means we can extend more grace to others who may need a “me too” moment. I will continue to allow Him to do the fine-tuning in this bittersweet symphony.

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