Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In quietness and rest...

so many people out there - in my case, new moms - are familiar with that force of our fallen nature called 'exhaustion'. you know, that inescapable companion that seems take up residence in every fiber of your being in those early days of caring for a new sweet babe? the antidote called 'rest' seems an illusive dream to keep running after in between feedings, diaper changes, phone calls, the endless pile of laundry that comes with having a new little one, cleaning up poop on the carpet from a recent blow-out or pee on your white duvet cover (that was JUST cleaned by your MIL last week! lol!) that the pee pads i bought yesterday on sale @ Babies R Us didn't seem to quite soak up due to little girl's location on it (too high up, i suppose?).

anyway, my brain is kinda mush right now since it's late and I seriously need to follow that age-old advice to...let's all say it together now...SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS!! Just got her changed, fed, comforted, oh she's fussy again, hmmm, another wet diaper, oh no! it's on the bed, time to clean it up and change her again, she wants to be cuddled, i need cuddling time, i turn on my lullabies (more on that below) and sit alone in the living room as my parents and Luke slumber peacefully in their respective rooms. Kathryn and I listen quietly to the lilting tunes and soak up in our tender consciousness the life-giving lyrics. I slump and just begin to cry. She looks at me inquisitively with those sweet eyes i swear were made from the same mold up in heaven that God used for Luke ;) I can't help but lean down and kiss her through my tears.

yup, been doing a lot of that these days...crying, that is. why? most of the time, i have no idea!!'s been getting better for sure. the first two weeks were indeed a challenge. no, my baby is not high maintenance. she's actually a very content, happy little gal (thank you, Lord!) what's been 'high maintenance' can be chalked up to my own heart and mind. physically, i battled a few symptoms of losing so much blood post-delivery (breathlessnes, dizziness, extreme fatigue, feeling faint) but overall, i've been healing nicely. it's basically my emotions/thoughts that have taken me on a roller coaster and back again. and still that spirit of despondency*, depression*, even despair* rears its ugly head (for what reason? i have none!)

i'll be real. there are times when i just feel so BLAH. can anyone else out there relate?? here i am with a precious gift from God. a gift i pleaded on my knees for through (surprise!) tears. a gift i carried for nine months through sickness, fatigue, and other lovely symptoms that come with pregnancy. a gift i excitedly anticipated for so long. a gift i read up on, prepared for, prayed over, and loved on even through the sheath of skin and womb. a gift that changed my life forever with one glance into her perfect almond-shaped eyes laced with snowy white eyelashes just like her daddy's. i have no reason to be sad, to feel fearful/anxious, depressed, 'down'. and because of that, then i am tempted to feel guilty for feeling those things! aahh!! anyway, enough of that. what it comes down to are a couple things that i've been lovingly reassured by close friends and my dear sisters who are moms themselves: 1) fatigue 2) hormones 3) adjustment to a major life change 4) more fatigue ;)

but i also think the Lord is allowing me to walk this road to be real with anyone reading this who might be fighting the same issues. maybe you're a new mommy, too. maybe you're not. but the fact is, you desire joy. you fight for it and come up bruised and battered in the ring. take heart, dear one. Someone's fought the battle for you. and - i have to keep reminding myself of this - for me, too.

I am learning to REST. to fight and then to lay it down. I have to fight to take my thoughts captive in the name of Jesus. I have to bind the lies of the enemy that seem so real in my mind, made more vulnerable by lack of sleep and plummeting pregnancy hormones as my body adjusts. I have to fight to speak TRUTH over myself and over my precious baby. one dear friend said to speak verbally over Kathryn words of love and affection during our nursing times. Another treasured friend (who also happens to be one of my sisters!) recommended what she does: play worship music. that has helped me tremendously. i also keep my little Bible (versus my 10 lb Study Bible!) on my nightstand for a quick peek in the wee hours of the night when a certain little person needs nourishment. the other night, i was feeling particularly weak and this is what my Bible fell open to:

Isaiah 43

Israel’s Only Savior
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
[a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
9 All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.
13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?”

no lie. that's what it 'randomly' fell open to. hardly random, come to think of it.

i am also loving this much-needed break from being on fb. yes, i occasionally check it but not nearly as much as before. i think i'll 'take a break' indefinitely! it's been GREAT!! :D plus, i'm loving this return to blogging. wrapping up my second 'blog book' and can't wait for it to be published so i can start on my 3rd one! for me, blogging is an outlet to archive precious memories, life events, and to share with anyone out there reading what God's doing in my life. I hope it encourages anyone reading it. but even if no one reads it, that's okay too.

it's been WONDERFUL having my MIL here for 9 days and now my parents for 9 days. it's going to be a tearful goodbye when they have to leave early Saturday morning. i think i've forgotten how to do laundry, cook, and keep house! not kidding!! i've been one SPOILED, pampered, LOVED ON mama and I couldn't be more grateful for their sacrifice on our behalf. and i'm also aware that even though i've temporarily taken a huge step back from many things right now, i can't afford to step back from friendships and being with people. especially during the day when Luke's at work. i think it's easy for me to become a hermit and 'hole up' at home. and many times, that's good, right, and appropriate. especially with a new little one. i love being at home. it's my favorite place to be and i am thoroughly enjoying this 'cocooning' season. but for me at least, when i battle loneliness/depression/anxiety the natural thing, the easiest thing, and the WORST thing to do is to pull back from being with people. people i call dear friends. people who love me and will point me to the TRUTH of God's word. so with that said, if you are a local friend, please hold me accountable to that and ask to come by! ;) we would love it. really. i am trying to have at least one friend come over every week. or get out and take a walk with my neighbors who also have little ones. it's great to get fresh air, sunshine, and reach out to other people when i'm tempted to give myself over to fear, anxiety, guilt, depression, etc. REACHING OUT is such a source of joy. getting my eyes off of myself and onto other people. and I would like to thank all of my dear friends and family - near and far - for continuing to reach out to me. it's been life to my soul. I feel Jesus' LOVE so strongly through you. Thank you.

REST. something i've never been that great at. i love doing, going, to do lists, schedules, errands, cleaning, working out, crafts/projects/goals/challenges to meet and overcome, etc. even when i'm at home all day, i NEVER sit down during the day. i always find something to do. i find it more restful to 'get things done' than curl up with a good book and my favorite blanket and just RELAX. but now things are different. i'm actually FORCED to sit down during the day to feed my little one. I think God designed it that way for a reason. at least for me, I think He did. I am learning to humble myself and allow others to do things for me. that's hard for me. i always feel like i am undeserving of other's care or help. I feel uncomfortable with the thought of being waited upon. Lately, the Lord's been gently showing me that that's called pride and He wants to weed it out of me. ouch. painful but it's a "good pain" because He's only showing me the ugliness of my sin and my desperation for Him because He loves me and wants to form & fashion me more after His own beautiful likeness.

I am learning to rest. to rest my mind. my heart. my body.

it hasn't been easy, these past three weeks, but it's been a crucible of change brought on by my God who loves me enough to bring me through these crazy emotions, lack of sleep, sinful temptations. He's showing me that He's more than enough. my ultimate Joy. my highest Hope. my greatest Love.

and please don't get me wrong. when i list the challenges above, i am just being honest with where i'm at right now. I am one THANKFUL woman. God has heard my cries for a child and has graciously granted me beyond what I could ever ask or imagine in my sweet Kathryn. despite the challenges the Lord is leading me through personally right now, this is also one of the most precious, most joyous times of my life - caring for a little soul entrusted to Luke & me by a holy God to raise for Him. I'm soaking up her sweet cheeks, little noises, firm grasp of fingers wrapped around mine, her soft pink skin. this sweet baby called my daughter, my precious Kathryn Sophia. She has indeed stolen my heart. She's brought life to our home that wasn't there before and we don't know what we did without her. She's such an observant, peaceful little creature. I just love watching her take in her new world. I really can't put into words how I feel about her. I'm crying at the thought of it. I will have to ponder it in my heart a little longer before attempting to doing so. I just love her with this kind of love that is so new to my heart that I have yet to find the words to describe it.

*i don't feel these things 24/7. just waves or bouts of them :) ...and God is my helper and strength!!


here are some promises i've recently been clinging to:

"My grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Cor. 12:9

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." Is. 30:15

"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves." Psalm 127:2

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Heb. 13:5

"He gently leads those that have young." Is. 40:11

"A bruised reed, I will not break. A smoldering wick, I will not snuff out." Is. 42:3

"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Is. 40:31

I've also been listening to both of these a lot:

click HERE to purchase/download. you won't regret it.

HERE and HERE are two articles that my mom & my dear friend Barbara sent me that may encourage you, too.

and finally, here are a few pics. because, really. what's a blog post without pics, right?! hee hee ;)

Mommy & Kathryn (1 week old)

Can't get enough of her!

Thank you, Lord, for your sweet gift to me.
I stand amazed at your kindness and LOVE
embodied in this little being named Kathryn Sophia.

Kathryn's Grampa Grant had these made in her honor.
aren't they awesome?! Thank you, Grampa!! xoxo

love the 'mfd by Liz & Luke Grant' part! haha!!!

from my sweet friend, Mel.
thank you for your honest sharing and loving encouragement.
love you, friend.


Christy said...

Hang in there, girl! I'm praying for you and I've been there. And yet now, just this morning, I was thinking about how fast time is flying and how I wish i could slow it down. You are wise to have this down time and you will cherish those moments for the rest of your life!

J9 said...

You describe the mystery of new motherhood so well! And that part about trying to put the love you have for your daughter into words? I can totally relate. So many times I wanted to tell the world about this amazing love I have for my babies, and just ended up crying at the computer screen. :) And the feeling is just as powerful after the second, or third baby! So happy for you!

To God be the Glory! said...

So blessed by our blog! :)

Callie said...

thanks for sharing Liz, and being so honest about where you're at. I totally went through the exact same thing after I had Annie. It feels completely weird and yes, I felt guilt as well. But God is so kind to bring us through it, and I pray for you that the cloud will lift soon and you will feel just like your old self again. I remember feeling like I'd never feel the same again, but after a few short weeks (which felt like eternity) I was back to normal and able to encourage another friend just entering into that phase. I know God will be faithful to use you to encourage others. Congrats on the sweet baby girl, she is such a doll!

Jessica said...

What a precious birth story! Kathryn is just beautiful! I can very much relate to what you are going through...I think many moms feel the same way, more than others. I love the Hidden in my Heart CD's too. My toddler loves them and we listen to them ALL the time! I've learned a lot about balancing hormones both from school and through my recent miscarriage. If you would like to talk to me about some natural, herbal remedies that can help, I would be more than happy to share them with you. You can reach me at