Tuesday, August 12, 2014

choosing joy

Honesty hurts, but it's cathartic and releases healing. 

Yesterday I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and PTSD. No big surprises there, considering what has happened to me and my family in these past weeks. It's not easy in this culture to come out as someone with a mental disease, but I have seen the support and love that I have access to and believe that I will be able to make it through this with the help of those who love me and whom I love.

I spent some time journaling yesterday, and I asked the Lord why this happened to me. Why did I have to go through this? Why was my heart chosen to bear the pain?

He showed me my open hands, filling up with small rocks.  

"That's the pain," he said. I clenched my hands around the rocks and cried.

"Why did you give me these?" I wept. He then showed my hands releasing the rocks, but remaining in their wide-stretched position. He filled them with the softest flowers, and said,  

"There's room for the joy now. Give me your pain and I'll give you joy."

"How do I give you my pain, God?" I asked. Growing up Christian, this was a concept that I had heard for years but never quite understood how to practically execute.

"Look at your hands. Is there room for both the rocks and the flowers?"

"No," I answered.

"Choose to pick up the flowers and I will take the rocks that fall. Take the joy I offer and I will take your pain."

I immediately started listing joys, in the same way that Ann Voskamp lists her thanks. I felt my heart lift off the ground where it has been for days. I looked at my daughter, my sweet Everly Joy, and began to list the joys of the brief time we've known each other.

- wrinkly knobby knees
- long toes curling
- thick red hair
- squeaky little sounds

I woke up this morning after a night full of growth-spurt feedings with a smile on my face and direction in my heart. I'm not fully healed yet, but this is a great first step towards the promises he has for me.


(second photo provided by Ben Roberts)

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