Pregnancy, Depression & Jesus

What is happening to me? I feel CRAZY,” I thought. I’d heard of depression in pregnancy before but naively thought, “That doesn’t happen to people who love Jesus.”  If you love Jesus and have been pregnant you may have felt like this at one point or another during pregnancy. Like me, maybe you tried to reach out and you got a response like “Oh you're just pregnant!” or “You’ve got 13 times the amount of hormones in your body now than you do on your period. You probably feel like you are on a roller coaster!” At some level, a sense of normalcy can help you get through the day but it certainly doesn’t take away lonely & sad feelings or give you a lasting hope.
                  For a good part of my pregnancy, I felt depressed. I cried and slept often. When my husband wasn’t home, TV and the couch were more than familiar to me. I’d never experienced the heaviness of depression. So I didn’t have a clue on what Jesus had to do with any of it.
                  One thing I was sure of: my sin. It seemed during this time that it was being magnified. All my “small” heart issues seemed to explode. If somebody said or did something that offended me, I didn’t just hide it away in the depths of my heart, no I cried about it, got mad about it, I was critical and rotten about it. During that time, my sin seemed greater than ever. And it was. My emotions took over and my sin soon looked bigger than Jesus. Occasionally I’d send up a shallow prayer of repentance but I still held back from His scary goodness. I felt like Elyse Fitzpatrick describes in one of her devotions* I ran in and out out of the Lord’s presence, asking for cleansing but not really wanting to know what this particular sin meant about me.
                  By God’s grace, He slowly brought me back to Him. One way was through my husband. When I told him things I thought I needed (deeper friendships, being out of the house, etc), James would graciously hold me, pray with me and remind me that Jesus is better, and He is what I need.  Another grace was the book “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands” by Paul Tripp** he addresses emotions in a way I’d never heard before. His words started to soften my hard heart:
                  “My emotions are one of the ways my heart expresses what I crave, treasure and serve….(they) reflect what we worship…God gave us emotions as he made us in His image; they are intended to help us live in communion with him. They are a key indicator of whether we are living in joyful covenantal communion with him or in the service of something else.”
Just reading something about God and emotions made me cry. It was a breath of fresh air to see what God intended with all these emotions. After all, it wasn’t an accident that pregnant women are loaded with hormones during pregnancy. God knows-He ordained it.
                  God continued to soften my heart through a sermon by our pastor.  As Pastor Tim preached on Psalm 22 (where David cries out My God, my God why have you forsaken me?) This whole time I was ashamed of the things I felt but Tim validated through the sermon that our feelings are real. In Psalm 22, David really felt forsaken at that point in his life just like I really felt lonely. Tim explained how emotions can be real & strong without being true. The truth is, that though David deserved to be forsaken-just like me- I won’t ever have to be forsaken because Christ was forsaken on my behalf so that I could be accepted. So though I may feel lonely-that is NOT ultimately true. I am not alone-Christ is with me, he promises never to leave me.
                  Maybe you are pregnant and depressed, or maybe you are just depressed. Let this be a beautiful time to commune with God. Lift up your emotions to Him. Let God show you your heart, but not just that-His great kindness. At the cross, we see the perfect Jesus who not only felt forsaken but WAS forsaken so that we could be accepted. Jesus knows the heaviness of what you feel he felt it even heavier. There’s no hope during this time, but Jesus.

*Comforts from the Cross by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick p84
** Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp p196


The Holocaust & Abortion-not THAT different

Today was the premiere of "180" a documentary by Ray Comfort. It's 33 minutes long and in it he attempts to have intelligent conversations with people to connect the Holocaust with Abortion. It comes down to a discussion on the value of human life, and if you valued the 11 million human lives that were lost during the Holocaust, wouldn't those morals roll over to your view of abortion? Watch the free documentary here.


Jesus: better than chocolate cookies

This wasn't the first time he was throwing fit. Last time he was waiting in anticipation as he was sure his name was going to be called to be next week's superstar. When it was a different name, his body went limp and fell to the floor. It wasn't so much a tantrum as it was a I-didn't-get-what-my-heart-prized-and-I-can't-let-it-go kind of fit. What does this kid need? We may say: He needs to be taught patience. He needs to be taught that in life you don't always get what you want. He needs to be taught that at school we take turns.  There are so many different behavioral and social avenues to take with this one. Or is there something deeper? He needs his heart addressed. He needs Jesus.

If we all need to hear about Jesus? Isn't it the same for kids? If we are all sinners? Isn't it the same for kids? They are sinners too, and the idols that hold their sinful hearts need to be addressed just like ours.

This time the fit wasn't about being the superstar... A plate of cookies was given to our class. All kinds of cookies. There were sugar cookies with frosting, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and of course only one chocolate flavored cookie with chocolate chips. Now any teacher knows, that if there is one of something, it's best to avoid giving it out-because if everybody wants it, that could be a real problem. This little boy already saw that chocolate cookie though, and that was THE ONE he wanted. When he didn't get it, he wouldn't accept the cookie that everyone else got, because it wasn't the one that he wanted. He hid and sulked. He couldn't stop thinking about it. He thought so much about it, that he wouldn't even play at outside time. Instead he just sat there with tears welling up in his eyes.

What a silly situation to us adults right? But we too base our emotions on our idols. This little boy's idol was a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie and when he didn't get it, his world turned upside down. It's the same for us. When we don't receive the praise that we desire, our world turns upside down too. When we don't have the relationship we want, we are sad and depressed. Of course when we do get what we want, we are as happy as can be. My pastor talks about it a lot: we can see what we idolize by our response when we don't get it.

So I tried to address his little sinful heart: "You really wanted that cookie didn't you? And you got really sad when you didn't get it. I get really upset when I don't get something I want too. Let me ask you something. Even though cookies are really good, can you pray to cookies? (No.) Can cookies talk to you? (No.) Can cookies be with you all the time? (No.) Can cookies make a whole world? (No.) Did you know that there is something better than cookies? (What?) Jesus is better than cookies. Eating a yummy cookie is only good for a little bit, but Jesus is with us wherever we go and even forever if we want. If you'd like we can pray and ask Jesus that he would show you that he is better than cookies."

Well, that's as far as it went. He was not interested in praying, he still wanted his cookie more. But that little guy is no different than me. So often I want THINGS more than Jesus. Oh, how often it is that I don't believe HE IS better. But He is. Things that adults want and things that children want are NOT better than a Savior that satisfied the wrath of God on a cross for our sins. Jesus is better-a message for preschoolers and adults.

*Please understand I'm not saying that we shouldn't teach children patience or taking turns. Those are good things. Sometimes we forget to address their little hearts though and they need it just as much as we do.

Slugs N Bugs

I'm sure I've mentioned Slugs & Bugs before. Our class loves their songs. Here are a couple that the kids have really been enjoying the past few weeks. I wish I could videotape how well they've got the song down-even the fast parts.

God Made Me

Tractor, Tractor


How babies come out....according to preschoolers

Since I found out I'm pregnant things like sleeping, resting, being emotional and nesting have come before my blog. Sorry about that. I do have a list of posts I'd like to complete before Rosie (Yes, we are having a girl and her name will be Rosie Noella) comes. No promises. But I'll try.

Anyways, being visibly pregnant sure has stirred up lots of questions about how babies are born. Mrs. Wimberly and I like to keep it simple in our responses or turn the questions around on them. For example, when asked "How will the baby get out?" We like to respond by saying "Through a small opening in the body." Usually that's enough for their curious little minds and they run off to something new. 

But recently that WAS NOT the case with one of our little girls. I gave her my usual answer, and she was quiet for second. Then she asked "But where is the opening?" I said, "That's a good question that you should ask your mommy." Still not satisfied, she questioned further, "But do you know where it is?" Smiling at her consistency, I answered "Yes I do." "Is it the same as my mommy's?" "Yes, it's the same for all mommies." And then motioning her hands in circles she said, "Well can you just tell me what area of your body it is?" I was very impressed but told her she had to ask her mommy. Normally, I don't get the 2nd degree about how babies come out (from this age group) but this preschooler was something else.

Here are some my favorite answers when it comes to me turning the question on them:

"I think she's just going to crawl out of your throat"
"She will come through here (points to knee)"
"The doctor will just cut your tummy and take the baby out and then sew you back up" (Yea, easy for you c-section moms to explain!)
"The doctor will unzip your back and then take the baby out and zip you back up"
"She will come through your belly button"

Today one of the preschoolers was seriously concerned for my life when he said: 
"But Ms. Heather I don't want you to die."
"Why do you think I will die?"
"Well if the baby comes out through your eye, then you will die."
"Don't worry. She will not come out through my eye. God will take care of me. He always does what's best for His children."

If it were my own preschooler asking, I may respond with a bit more specificity. That would of course accompany a conversation about how that's "special" information that not all mommies and daddy's want their kids to know-so for now-it's only something to talk about at home. Since they are not my kids, I go about it this way, and at the end of the day let their parents know that they are interested in how babies come out. Seems the safest way to me so far. 

It's been fun being pregnant with the kids. Since Rosie has been kicking more frequently throughout the day, some of the kids have been really excited when they feel her move. I love explaining how God is growing her in my tummy and how she'll come when God makes her ready. Well, stop by again if you all haven't left already. I hope to have some more posts up soon!