Walking Through Postpartum Depression
May 28, 2015
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
“Do you want to harm yourself or your baby?”
“Okay. No Postpartum Depression then.”
That was the extent of my examination at my release from the hospital after my son was born as well as at my six week postpartum check up with my doctor.
And since that seemed to be the only question I had been asked regarding the issue, I thought I was free and clear from the dreaded PPD.
There was no way that I would fall victim to PPD anyway- I’m a Christian and I knew that Jesus died so that I could walk in TOTAL freedom from all sin, sickness, and disease, I thought.
But as the weeks went on, I began to experience behavior and emotions that did not seem normal. I was arguing with my husband (which we seriously never do) constantly over the most insignificant things and I felt like I had no support, even though that couldn’t have been further from the truth because my husband is the most supportive and selfless man I know. I would belittle him and snap at him at the drop of a hat. I was suffering continuously with anxiety attacks to the point of hyperventilation because I didn’t like who I was becoming.
My attitude went beyond the effects of the normal sleep deprivation you experience with a newborn- I felt out of control and miserable. When my son finally fell asleep, I was unable to doze off and would just stare at the ceiling until 4 AM.
I really noticed that there was a problem when I felt rage welling up inside me when my newborn would not stop crying, and I couldn’t console him whatsoever. I then began to argue with God:
“When am I supposed to read my Bible? When am I supposed to have ‘quiet’ time with You? I need Your peace because I’m disconnected from the Vine, but how, Lord? How?”
Although I felt like a failure, somehow I knew that it wasn’t my fault.
I began to research hormonal imbalances after pregnancy and PPD symptoms. I discovered that there are more issues associated with commonly known PPD, such as PPA (Postpartum anxiety). The more information I read about the symptoms of PPD and PPA, the more I was aware of my behavior and the more I could control it, instead of it controlling me. As a Christian woman, I knew to fight with prayer and focus on renewing my mind by listening to His Word day by day.
In addition to prayer, I reached out to PPD/PPA support groups and other Christian women who have walked through it. I also have been watching my diet because the food you consume also affects your endocrine system, the system that produces and releases hormones in your body, in major ways.
Everyone’s body and situation are different. Some women need to be put on medication and/or need to see a counselor. Seek medical attention if you feel as if your symptoms are severe- you want to harm yourself or your baby. You are loved. You are not a failure.
Here is some advice that I learned during my recovery process:
- Do not suffer in silence. Tell someone what you are going through. Don’t hesitate to ask for prayer or a listening ear. The enemy longs for you to stay in denial and allow your symptoms to worsen and drag you down into the pit of depression.
- Get as much sleep as you can. Your brain needs to be recharged, so try to sleep 5-6 hours a night and nap when the baby does (this is really true) – the house work can wait. Your recovery is more important.
- Avoid or limit caffeine. Try your best to cut back on your caffeine intake. I know, I know…I need my coffee! Unfortunately caffeine wreaks havoc on your endocrine system, so try to slow down or avoid how much coffee or soda you are drinking. Your body will thank you.
- Laugh! Laughing keeps your endorphins up. Find a funny movie that you enjoy or watch silly videos on YouTube. Tim Hawkins is a favorite one for me!
- Listen to the Bible or teaching. You most likely will not be able to sit down and do in-depth Bible studies or devotions like you used to and that’s okay. I have the Bible on my iPod and will plug it into some speakers and let it play throughout our house while I’m taking care of my son. Your mind must be renewed with the Truth so that you can combat the lies that the enemy tries to throw at you.
- PRAY! Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and Helper so don’t hesitate asking Him for comfort and help at all times. Sometimes all you can pray is “help” and help will come!
Like I said before, you are not a failure! Not only have you experienced a drastic change in your body, your life is forever different with the new addition to your family. Walking through these hormonal/emotional changes is all about recovery. And thankfully, as a Christian woman, you do not have to walk alone.
A version of Walking Through Postpartum Depression is also posted on theprayingwoman.com!
May 28, 2015
“The Shemitah requires the people to release their attachment to the material realm, their possessions, their finances, their real estate, and their claims and pursuits containing such things. It is the breaking of bonds, and those who release are likewise released- no longer possessed by their possessions, but free. The Shemitah is a reminder that God is the source of all blessings, spiritual and physical alike, but when God is removed from the picture, the removal of blessings will ultimately follow. The Shemitah thus deal with the particular flaw of human nature- the tendency to divorce the blessings of life from the Giver of those blessings. To divorce the physical realm from the spiritual, it then seeks to compensate for the loss of the spiritual by increasing its claims over the physical world, pursuing more and more things- increase, gain, materialism. This increase of things further drowns out the Presence of God. The Shemitah is the antidote to all these things- the clearing away of all material attachments to allow the work and Presence of God to come in. The observance of the Shemitah is an act of submission and humility. It is the acknowledgement that every good thing comes from God and cannot ultimately be owned, only received as an entrustment. Possessions are let go, accounts are wiped out.”
From “The Mystery of the Shemitah” by Jonathan Cahn
Welcoming God in the Blissful Chaos- The Laundry Moms Guest Blog Post
May 19, 2015
In October, my first baby was born.
In February, my second baby was born…
…and by baby, I mean my book.
As I labored with the writing of my book, I was able to spend hours in prayer and worship, asking the Lord exactly what words He wanted me to birth to the world. It was a very spiritual process for me and provided a lot of inner healing. The same held true when I carried my son; I was able to enjoy my quiet-time with Jesus as I proclaimed His Word over my precious promise that grew within my womb. The Lord would give me songs to sing over him and special words of guidance from heaven that filled the pages of my journal.
I was on a spiritual high, fellowshipping with the Lord and studying His Word while receiving deep revelation on a regular basis in the secret place.
Then my first baby was born, and my spiritual high came nose-diving to the ground.
My “quiet-time” is not really quiet anymore…
Read more at thelaundrymoms.com!
Our Journey to Debt Freedom in an Upside-Down Kingdom
May 15, 2015
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)
When my husband, Paul, and I decided that I wouldn’t return to work after I had my son, and believing He would allow me to be a freelance writer while being a stay-at-home momma, we knew that we would be entering a season of trusting God like we never had before concerning our finances and the direction of my freelance writing and future career as Emily Rose Massey, a writer. We continually stood on the promises of Matthew 6: God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field, so surely He would feed and clothes us!
It has now been seven months that I have been a stay-at-home momma, and we can gladly say that God has not waivered from His promises to take care of His children’s needs. He has gone over and above time and time again, from people cooking us meals for several weeks straight to only having to buy a few packs of baby diapers so far. He even blessed us with a safe vehicle for our growing family.
We are truly thankful for all that God has provided for us, knowing that He rewards those who diligently seek Him and trust Him at His Word (Hebrews 11:6)!
A couple months ago, we realized that God was calling us to become better stewards of these blessings and get out from under the weight of debt so that we will be able to give more of ourselves for the Kingdom of God to help reach people for Jesus. We cut up all of our credit cards, like Mr. Ramsey suggests, and began the journey to debt freedom.
To many, the task seems insurmountable considering our income has been just enough to bill pays and buy groceries, but we know that God has never disappointed us when we listened and obeyed Him.
Paul’s job suddenly offered him countless hours of over-time and paid writing opportunities have been presenting themselves left and right for me. We know that our debt-free goal will take a lot of discipline, but we have chosen to keep God at the very center of every financial decision, no matter how illogical it might sound to us or anyone else around us.
Most recently, the Lord gave us another seemingly illogical financial move– literally. He’s asked us to sell our house, of which we have only “owned” for barely two years, and move into an apartment. To most, this looks like a step backward. Not many people would be willing to give up the luxury of a spacious house with a finished basement, two-car garage, and fenced in back-yard and sell (or give away) furniture that fills up that home to down-size a growing family’s life into a two-bedroom apartment.
But we will…
Because the Lord told us to and we believe in being obedient to Him, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds. Any time we have ever stepped out in faith and trusted His instruction, God has blessed us more than we could have ever imagined, and our lives turn out better than if we had tried to do things on our own and in our own strength.
Of course, those blessings aren’t the reason we obey the Lord; they are just a perk of being His children. Ultimately, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.
So as children of God, we learn to walk by faith. Faith is God’s reality of what the future looks like, but God sees it in the present and wants us to believe with Him.
To our human nature, faith isn’t always easy. We long to be able to experience life with our physical senses and when we cannot see something or if something doesn’t feel good, we tend to try to run away from the situation or take matters into our own hands and gain control of the situation. Instead of running away from the situation that God is asking you to follow and believe with Him, we must run to God’s ways which are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:9).
His ways are what I like to call “Kingdom ways,” as described in Matthew 6:33, and they are typically the opposite of the world’s ways.
Jesus tells us in Mark 8:35:
For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it (GNT).
We trusted and believed that when God told us to sell our house, He would also provide the seller and very quickly. Our house was only on the market seven days. SEVEN. DAYS. On the seventh day, we already had a contract on the house and all of the papers were signed by noon that day.
Seven is a very significant number to God.
The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 7
Used 735 times (54 times in the book of Revelation alone), the number 7 is the foundation of God’s word. If we include with this count how many times ‘sevenfold’ (6) and ‘seventh’ (119) is used, our total jumps to 860 references.
Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. According to Jewish tradition, the creation of Adam occurred on October 7th, 3761 B.C. (or the first day of Tishri, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar). The word ‘created’ is used 7 times describing God’s creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4). There are 7 days in a week and God’s Sabbath is on the 7th day.
The Bible, as a whole, was originally divided into 7 major divisions. They are 1) the Law; 2) the Prophets; 3) the Writings, or Psalms; 4) the Gospels and Acts; 5) the General Epistles; 6) the Epistles of Paul; and 7) the book of Revelation. The total number of originally inspired books was forty-nine, or 7 x 7, demonstrating the absolute perfection of the Word of God.
Knowing this, it isn’t hard for us to see God in the midst of our current financial situation. We know that He is with us in every decision and every season.
In this season, He is asking us to trust Him with our finances, even if what He is asking goes against society’s timeline and ways.
Even if selling our home and moving back into an apartment looks like we are moving backwards as a family, I don’t care one bit.
I don’t walk by sight, I walk by faith!
Enjoying my stroll on the roads of this upside-down Kingdom that God created, with heaven on my mind and eternity in my heart, ready to see what God is going to do through us next!
Sources for Our Journey to Debt Freedom in an Upside-Down Kingdom:
Our Journey to Debt Freedom in an Upside-Down Kingdom is also posted on iBelieve.com!
My 99 Second Story
May 8, 2015
Last year, I was selected to record a 99 second story on St. Louis’ top Christian radio station, 99.1 JOY FM. I had recently just finished writing my book, so I was excited to share a little of my testimony. Trying to fit all that God has done for me over the course of almost 30 years (oh man, that feels weird even seeing on the screen!), and even moreso over the last seven, into just one minute, and 39 seconds was definitely a difficult task.
Since I knew that I didn’t just want to “wing it” at the studio, my writer instincts kicked in and I began to jot down some ideas of what I could share with the listeners of this beloved radio station. The Lord impressed upon my heart to tell my story of the moment in my life when I finally chose to surrender my plans over to Him, after spending 22 years obssessing and holding onto them for dear life.
I finished the piece and recorded it in the studio one Friday afternoon. It was an exciting experience standing in front of the microphone, although it hadn’t been my first time in a radio studio. I explained to Scott, the DJ, that I had worked for Radio Disney in college and had enjoyed recording demos for the AM station. He thanked me for coming in to record and walked me to the front lobby.
I listened for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks…and well, it turned into months, on my drive home hoping to catch my radio spot. It never aired, and so I just surrendered it to God’s timing.
And what timing He has! I received an email yesterday that the story would begin airing this month, starting today!
What makes this timing so special is that in the recording I talk about a special woman who spoke a very important word in my life who I met at church when I came back to the Lord. “This word she spoke to me changed the direction of the rest of my life,” I say. Well, this woman and I became disconnected over the last three years because the enemy set a trap for offense and I took the bait. Time went on and we went on with our lives.
But God’s will is restoration.
Within the last two weeks, the Lord has been dealing with our hearts to sell our house. We felt a tugging on our hearts to reach out to this friend of ours because she is a real estate agent. She came over to our home last week to do a walk-through and it was as if time had never passed between us! We know God wanted our fellowship to be restored with her and her family and I’m so happy that they are back in our lives again!
This recording airing right now reminds me of how special this dear friend has been in my story. I’m so thankful God cares about all the details. He doesn’t miss a thing!
Thanks for listening and if you are in the St. Louis area, tune into 99.1 JOY FM to hear it play on the radio!
Healing Touch: How God Used Co-Sleeping in My Recovery from PPD
May 4, 2015
A Love Encounter
April 27, 2015
Interview on The Debbie Chavez Show- How Women Can End Bondage to Sexual Sin (podcast)
April 27, 2015
I had a wonderful time chatting with Debbie Chavez on her show today about my new book Yielded in His Hands: Becoming a Vessel for God’s Glory! I was able to share pieces of my testimony that I pray will help women who are struggling with sexual sin or women who have been wounded by sexual sin in their past and need to find healing. Click the link above to listen!
An Engraved Heart
April 24, 2015
My little sister just celebrated her seventeenth birthday. Considering I used to change her diapers and clean Cheerios out of her baby rolls, this statement definitely makes me feel old.
Like most girls, she seemed to always go through phases of collecting things. Several years ago, she went through a snow-globe phase, so for her birthday, my husband and I bought her one with a cross on the inside of it. I wanted this gift to stand out among the rest of her ‘globe collection, so I decided to give it a personalized touch with an engraved message from me. Engraving that message will last much longer than if I would have written on a card to her.
This special memory reminds me of a scripture in Proverbs that has been on my mind lately.
“Let not mercy and kindness [shutting out all hatred and selfishness] and truth [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood] forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3 AMP)
The Hebrew word for “write” is katab which means “to write, engrave (on stone tablets)” (The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary, pg 3773).
Just like that message that is engraved upon my sister’s snow-globe.
How do we do that?
Well, I believe it is work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, Proverbs 3:3 tells us that we must “shut out all hatred and selfishness” before we can allow mercy and kindness to be imprinted upon our heart.
Because of the fall of Adam, we are born selfish. We are not prone to God’s mercy nor kindness, so those traits from our Heavenly Father are something we learn to develop over time spending time with Him.
Studying His Word and fellowshipping with Him in prayer are two wonderful ways we can cultivate a merciful and kind heart towards ourselves and towards others.
Lately, as a new mom, I have struggled with finding time for those two things. I used to spend hours alone with the Lord during my quiet time. My fellow moms out there can attest to the rarity of quiet when we have children to raise. Also, being a stay-at-home mom, I am not given as many opportunities for interaction with people as I did when I worked outside of the home.
Understanding that I am in a new season, I can appreciate the time that I can spend with the Lord, no matter if it is short increments during nap-time or in the middle of the night. I can also look for other ways to encourage people or witness to the people God has surrounded me with, starting with my husband and son. The idea is to stay stirred up with a passion for God.
Although my role has changed, I do realize that the time sown in years past have not vanished or have gone in vain. The Lord engraved messages upon my heart during those years and they are not going anywhere.
Kindness, mercy, love, faithfulness, joy (and pretty much all of the fruit of the Spirit) are all universal engravings upon a disciple of Christ’s heart. In addition to those traits, I believe there are specific messages that the Lord has written within us that comes alive in us when we are given a chance to release it, whether that is through prayer or giving an encouraging word to someone. The Bible tells us that out of the abundance of our heart, the mouth will speak it clearly (Luke 6:45b).
I experienced that Sunday night at church when I was asked to pray for this generation.
Remember how I said I was struggling with my time with the Lord?
Most people who haven’t had the abundance of fellowship with God would be left speechless, and I didn’t think I would have the words to say in front of our congregation.
But God filled my mouth with the words He has engraved upon my heart over the last few years regarding prodigals and the identity crisis this generation is facing.
I surrendered my mind and mouth to the Lord in that moment and He spoke through me. It was so powerful. Scripture was just coming to the surface and declarations were released as I prayed with the desire to let God use me in that moment.
It was freeing.
It was exhilarating.
It was a reminder to me that the messages the Lord has impressed upon my heart have not disappeared. They are still as fresh as the day they were written in those hours of prayer and seeking the Lord with a holy passion and fervor.
Those passionate prayers burn within me still and I’m grateful to be able to share with this generation in a couple weeks at a girls’ conference where I have been asked to speak.
What messages has God engraved upon your heart?
They are meant to be released.
Don’t let condemnation keep your mouth from letting them out.
God has written them on your heart as a reminder to you and as a declaration to the world.
Be His voice to today.
He wants to use you to help Him engrave His mercy and kindness upon someone else’s heart that will stand the test of time.