Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's almost been a year in my new hometown; here are the struggles I've had:

*More running thoughts. That picture is actually from one of my jogs. Isn't it beautiful scenery?

We’re getting close to it being almost a year since we moved to Idaho, because of this I’ve been deeply reflecting on everything that has happened since we decided to move here. My “deep thoughts” that I have had along the way include thoughts like “holy crap, holy crap, holy crap” “What the F?!?” and “Oh thank God!” (that last one I always mean in the literal sense, in that God should indeed be thanked.) In addition, I think the state of Idaho and the town of Saint Maries deserve a great bit of my gratitude and appreciation as well. No doubt I will explain why in my hot mess ramblings to follow.

My trip to Idaho involved me, my hubs, and my four children, including one very fresh newborn, packing up and moving across the country. Kent pretty much worked right up until we left and planning on my part was not as graceful as I would have hoped for. We had only visited Saint Maries the one time and I couldn’t even remember what the house we bought looked like or the town that we were going to be living in. My husband started working pretty quickly since we were in between jobs and thus paychecks. My husband’s career is not one in which he gets to be home a lot. I was fat and exhausted all the time. I felt like I was that mom on Malcom in the Middle that is always yelling at her kids “BOYS!” Does anyone else remember that show? Anyway, I sounded exactly like her all the time and I just hated it. As we went into the winter it got really dark. Literally. It gets freaking dark up here. This is prime vampire real estate if they really existed. Anyway The winter here was the hardest time for me in my life. That’s really saying something because I’ve had some crazy rough experiences in my past but for some reason emotionally speaking, the move, the four kids, and the new baby was the hardest. So why was it the hardest over all the other chaos in my past?

 I think of it this way, (and theologians feel free to correct me as I know my theology much like mankind, will be imperfect and in need of correction at times.) My year in New York was a time of peace and awesome fellowship with encouraging members of the body of Christ. I was in Community Bible Study and studying God’s word every day. I was being fortified and strengthened by God. But the devil does not relent when you get a little fortified people. I mean, look at Jesus Christ, he was as spiritually strong as possible and did the devil give up and say “Ohp, he’s got a good relationship with God, I better just give up!”? No. He upped the ante. Desert, starvation, thirsting, he got him to a complete state of hangry and exhaustion beyond what any other human will ever know and then tried to play mind games with him by tempting him with everything he could possibly think of. The more fortified you get, the harder satan has got to try and he will most certainly try new things too because the old things did not work.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Obviously my trials and tribulations are so much less severe than what was put on Jesus Christ. It’s almost laughable that moving to a great state, in a great town, to a new job, and a new house we bought was actually the hardest time mentally for me in my life. What a wuss I am! But none the less it really was the hardest time for me mentally & emotionally. I don’t know if it’s the age I’m at, or the burden of responsibility I feel, past things that got dredged up, or all the news constantly streaming sad horrible stories and terrible politicians, I feel so cynical and so angry, and so tired with this world. Well the devil pounced all over that. What a stinker.

This winter was also figuratively dark. Yes, I probably should have gone and talked to someone but guess how many psychiatrists Saint Maries, ID has. Zero. Guess how much time a mom of 4 tiny kids with a husband who always works has. Negative time. Yep. I’m saying there can be negative time for moms. The rules of time and space are bent when you’re a mom. I owed time to my uncompleted tasks. “talking to someone” is always easier said than done, if it was easy, I would have done it immediately!

Post-partum depression is very real.. My thoughts were not like thoughts I have ever had before. I was vulnerable and Satan saw an excellent angle of attack. I had to constantly decide to reject thoughts that were so negative and so despairing it was mentally exhausting. I don’t want to get all Strong Sad here though.  I’ve got it all sorted out and I cannot stress enough that my intent is that sharing this may help out anyone who has felt this way or feels this way currently. It's only for a season and there is hope. Providentially, about four years ago when I was trying to fortify myself, I read Guarding Your Child’s Heart by Dr. Gary Smalley. He stated “Most people have twenty thousand to sixty thousand thoughts per day. And as Americans, over half those thoughts are negativeEvery thought reinforces already created negative or positive beliefs in the heart of each person. Our beliefs are the main controllers of our thoughts, words, and actions. And those three form our emotions. So the key to a high quality life is to create beliefs within your heart that control your behavior. We can think whatever thoughts we want, but what would happen if we mainly thought about the words Jesus told us about over 2,000 years ago?” So for every sad thought I had, I tried to replace it with something to be thankful for and that usually included something from God’s word. I worked so hard to retrain my thoughts which altered my beliefs and therefore my behavior. It wasn’t just me, or sheer will power, or the vitamin D or happy light that I self-medicated with. It was God. In addition to everything else I was working on God sent some amazing Idaho people into my life. This is the first time I have ever mentioned all this so they did not even know the struggles that I was going through but their encouragement and support helped me in ways they cannot even imagine. All the sweet people from church who would constantly ask me how I was doing and would genuinely care, the sweet mothers from Classical Conversations who offered me so much grace when I showed up late with children screaming, the godly women and MOPs moms who did not pretend everything is perfect and I was a failure for not having it all figured out. People who did not sugar coat things were perhaps the most helpful actually; one person I was venting to about how marriage is really hard and they said very nonchalantly, “Yeah, and few marriages survive.” Immediately I thought “Oh $#@%! She’s right! I have to work hard to keep it!” 
( There’s a sad light bulb, that was the realization I needed to work to keep a good marriage.) People just have different realizations at different points in life. I’m so grateful for the people who are patient with me. Life is hard. It doesn’t get easier. We have work hard at it. God is with us and he gives us what we need.

So big thanks to all the Idahoians and Saint Mariesians who offered me grace, love, and advice during struggles they did not even know I was having. It was a good humbling reminder that you do not know what everyone is going through and sometimes just a single nice and encouraging word, phrase, or action can change someone’s train of thought into something more hopeful that glorifies God. What a beautiful gift to give someone.
 Did you happen to read the context around 1 peter 5:8?
 (*Fun advice from Kent: Always read the context when people give you bible quotes ;) his favorite example of this is using Proverbs 9:17 "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!" just going off of that, once could argue the bible advocates stealing wine and food. Context. Context. Context. Always read the context.)


1 Peter 5: 6-10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
From my personal experience, if you do not humble yourself, God will do it for you. Either way get yourself under God’s mighty Hand “that he may lift you up in due time..”
And Here is another favorite words of encouragement that helped me:

1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

So that's my introspection from the past year. I have faith and hope that every day is going to be another adventure lived that will glorify God. Not easy, but adventurous nonetheless. Thanks to everyone for all the help along the way. I pray God will use me to help others along as well.

All my love and gratitude from Idaho 

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