Meet Kathryn! One of my best friends from college! Kathryn always inspires me with our honest, hold-nothing-back friendship. Life is messy, being a mom is hard, it’s not easy, but it’s always worth it. Make sure you read the very end for Kathryn’s note she wishes she could tell all moms. Meet one of my friends who is a great mama, working on her fitness and nutrition, and depends on Jesus to help her through the day.
This is the first semester that I haven’t been in a Women’s Bible study at my church due to a scheduling conflict with my daughter’s ballet lessons. I’m really missing the consistency that a structured study provides and the accountability of meeting with a group of women. We have an amazing life group that has filled in that gap for me for the time being and I plan to return to my church bible study in the fall. God really speaks to me through my friendships with other women. The past several years, I have had the privilege to form very deep friendships with a handful of women. Friendships that allow you to share your vulnerabilities and speak truth in each other’s lives.
Some days I have more time than others to do a quiet time. Sometimes, I really only have 5 minutes until one of my kids interrupts me and needs something. Something I love about the Bible app on my iPhone, is that I can access the Bible anytime. So if I want to read while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I can just pull it up on my phone. The app also has reading plans and devotionals that you can follow which I have found really helpful to use until I’m back in a more formal Bible study.
I also love listening to Christian music as I’m getting ready in the morning and driving in the car with the girls. Lyrics that speak truth help encourage me and allow me to focus my mind on Jesus. Also, I find that as a busy mom, sometimes my prayers for the day happen as I’m driving my kids to school or headed to the grocery store. When a friend texts me asking for prayer, I try to stop what I’m doing and pray right away.
Ultimately, I am so thankful for the grace God shows me during this season of life. He shows me daily little ways that my mothering is having an impact on my children. My almost 5 year old daughter is starting to ask more questions about God, what happens after death, sin, etc. I am so thankful to be able share God’s truth with her and that she can be assured of her salvation if she puts her faith in Jesus Christ. She really wants to know Jesus and I can see God working in her tender little heart.
In August of 2015 I started a great new fitness program called Camp Gladiator! My friend had been doing it for several months so I decided to give it a try! CG’s mission statement is to: Positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible.
I immediately fell in love with the group fitness atmosphere! (CG Better together video)
It’s always fun and everyone is so encouraging, no matter your fitness level. Every camp is 4 weeks and you can go an unlimited number of times to any trainer. I work out early mornings 5/5:30 am before my husband goes to work – typically 4-5 times a week. It’s an awesome full body workout! Not only has it improved my physical health -more energy, muscle tone, endurance, but it has really helped my mental health as well. It has been a great stress reliever and mood booster! I like it so much, that I’m going to compete in the CG Games in August! I’ll be on a team with 3 other friends from my camp. Nothing bonds people like sweating together and working towards a common goal!
Hannah will be turning 5 and starting kindergarten in the fall and Hope is almost 2 ½. My girls are as “girly girl” as they come. They love everything princess, pink and purple, and sparkly. They typically rotate between playing dress up, with babies, and pretend play in the kitchen. Hannah and I do simple reading lessons together and practice writing numbers and letters. We love to play outside and go to the park. We take long walks together and go on family bike rides on the weekends. The girls love riding in the bike trailer. My husband put a playhouse up on a platform in the trees in our backyard and it’s the perfect “castle” for my girls to play in and let their imaginations run wild.
Some days are so exhausting and feel like they will never end. Dealing with the high energy and intense emotions of my girls can be draining. When their dad comes home he gets some quality play time while I cook dinner and take a mental break. I always try to wrap up the day spending a little one on one time with each girl. We like to cuddle on the couch and read books and talk about our day. Ending the day like this is a sweet conclusion to a sometimes chaotic day!
On a more serious note, God has used my children to put me through a refining fire. I wouldn’t change anything about what I’ve been through. I’ve grown closer to God through all the struggles and God has revealed in me a strength I didn’t know I had.
After the birth of my first daughter, I didn’t feel the rush of love and happiness that I thought I would. It was devastating. I always wanted to be a mother and suddenly I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted or if I was even capable of the job. Faced with a colicky, unhappy baby, my unhappiness and despair grew. I cried every day, all day. I felt like my life was over and the dark hole of depression and anxiety was swallowing me up. I had intense anxiety that would cause my heart to race and getting any decent sleep was impossible. Thankfully, my husband recognized that I was in need of help. He encouraged me to see my doctor and she determined that an antidepressant and therapy could help me get better. It did help, but the struggle is not over. After my second child, I experienced more depression than anxiety and had to readjust medications and do more intense counseling.
Postpartum Progress is an excellent resource for moms struggling with anxiety and depression. They have wonderful resources and online communities.
To all the mamas struggling with depression and anxiety – reach out to someone. You are NOT alone. I know it feels like you are the only one feeling this way, but it’s a lie. Surround yourself with other moms who will love you and your babies. Friends to wipe away your tears when you’re down and laugh with you on a good day. Your doctor is there to help you. Medication isn’t for everyone, but if you need to take it for a short while or a long while it could save your life! Counseling is healthy – they can give you tools to manage your depression and anxiety. God has not abandoned you, He’s not angry with you, He’s not disappointed in you. A dear friend of mine told me to memorize a verse that spoke about fear, so that when I was feeling afraid or anxious I could repeat it in my mind.
My verse is Isaiah 41:10 –
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand