Posts in post partum depression
We do what we do--- Because of Who we are. Who are you!?

Identity.

This word has come up quite a lot for me.. and I'm seeing the internal struggle in myself, and those around me, heading into this new season.

A season of business may lie ahead, and you wonder if you will lose parts of yourself, parts that you cherish about your family, parts of your sanity in the midst of the busy.

Or a season of wandering may be ahead, and you wonder if you'll lose your community, your umph, your desires, your passions in the midst of the everyday motions of just getting through.

Regardless the season, regardless the day, regardless the tasks and duties... our identity HAS to remain the same. And when we are desperately seeking it in other things, the things we do, our roles on this earth, we will always feel a tension inside of us.

 

Let me give you an example from my own life...

5 years ago, God honestly shot down my "dreams" of what I thought my life would look like.

It is no secret that I love Jesus, and my whole life is circled around the things that he has called me to here on this earth.

But what is a secret, or I guess something that I don't shout from the rooftops, is those years of struggle before the Nest, the years of no community for us, the years of turmoil in my heart, the years of wondering if my God, that I believed in.. had forgotten me.  The years of wondering who the HECK I was.

7 years ago, I really felt like what I was supposed to do in life was to live overseas, living in a full time missionary organization, called YWAM (Youth with a Mission). I packed my bags, planned on living there and committing for at least 3 years.. and was off....

Except for that minor detail, when (my now husband) Brandon Brown, high school best friend, told me that he was in love with me and wanted to marry me.

Uhm, worst timing in the world. I am moving across the world forever, goodbye.

Fast forward 8 months into being overseas living and stationed in Australia, dating the entire time apart from each other, and feeling the tug to come home.

Here we go, God. Yes I will follow you.

No plan.

No ambition to be there.

No desire to even live in the states.

Other than knowing I was to marry this crazy guy who kept convincing me to love him (it wasn't that hard). 

 

So Home I came.

Ohio.

And then two months later, we received the life calling.. that changed everything.

Adopting our two teenage boys (gaining full custody) who are also Brandon's half brothers.. has by far been the absolute HARDEST most humbling thing I have ever been a part of.

We were seriously like 12 years old.

(okay we were 22 and 23 (wait.. is that right?!))

In regards to Their privacy, and everyone involved, I don't share much of their story, (it's theirs to tell), but I do share my story through that season of life before the Nest came around.


I went from friends and family thinking I was this awesome missionary (or at least what I told myself.. yuck).

To my entire mission being for two people, who I wasn't even sure I liked.. and they definitely did not like me.

My life went from pretty, tons of fruit, experience, joy, deep friendships, deep meaning of life... to the most seemingly meaningless things I had ever done.

It went from talking to homeless in Africa, living on a hammock on the amazon river (I am not kidding), feeding hungry children of the world, living out of a suitcase, seeing the most amazing sights and wonders of the world...

To living in my hometown, raising two boys.. and I have never been disappointed in myself or learnt more about myself in that season.

 

One, my desire for an identity outside of Jesus.

Two, my desires for affirmation and approval from others.

Three, my desire for "Normal" even though I had convinced myself I despised "normal"

Four, how utterly, unloving... I naturally am.

 

For those of you who have biological children... even those of you who have struggled to bond with them, the bond with them/ the love for them.. is literally innate.

For those of you who have adopted/ fostered children you may or may not know what I am talking about.. but the FIGHT to love.. is something that will change you inside and out forever.

You will understand God's adoptive heart for us.

You will understand how ugly your insides truly are.

You will never feel more unmotivated or dry in your life.

And it is a journey.. that is one of the most rewarding things ever.

Not because there is a guarantee of "they grow up, love jesus, love you and are grateful for all you have done for them" uhm.. because if you know our story, you know thats not the case.

But because there is a guarantee & a focus shift that happens when you dedicate everything you do, to the one who has done it FOR YOU. Knowing there may not be anything in return to make you feel #blessed, but doing it anyways.

 

What does this have to do with identity?

 

Because if you are in a season, where you are feeling lost, lonely, confused, out of sorts, dried up.

I am taking you back to that original place in this post.

The place where I realized my identity could no longer be in WHAT I DO.. but WHOSE I AM.

I am God's.

I am adopted into his family.

He calls me his own.

He has gifted me with specific talents.

 

And then...

 

After years of the dry -est ugliest season of my life...

a near death experience, horrific trauma, Post partum depression anxiety, lack of community....

God used those talents, giftings, passions.. to create the nest.

To be honest, I dont think I could have handled this vision, this heart for The Nest & restoring family if it wasn't for these seasons of "the desert" in my life.

 

A phrase I have repeated a gazillion times from Jen Hatmaker's book "Seven" (obsessed: read it now), is

"as a culture we are so much more obsessed with the feast and not the fast. There is so much beauty in the fast"

 

Jesus chose to fast before he started his ministry.

I mean.. not just skip a meal and say some awesome prayers.

But legit go in the desert, fast for 40 days and nights, not eat a single thing, submit himself to temptation, loneliness, isolation, cold, heat, sun... 

 

Uhm. Hello humbling.

I don't like to go 4 hours without food, let alone 40 days.

 

So here I pose the question

While, Jesus is fasting... Satan attacks his identity.

He says "if you are the son of God..."

meaning... did God really say that about you? prove yourself to me? Show me your good works.

 

My oldest, Bryce said this not to long ago praying over one of our friends in our living room...

"The very first thing that Satan always attacks is your identity"

 

He did it in the garden of eden: "truly if you eat this fruit you will be like God (because who God made you isn't good enough?)"

He did it in the desert with Jesus: "if you are truly the son of God..."

He definitely does it to us all the time.

 

and this is why, now more than ever, we have to be firm in who our identity is in.

From the day our kiddos are 3 we are asking them "what do you want to be when you grow up" ... equating that to a profession, a dream. Not "WHO" do you want to be with you grow up.

Kind?

Compassionate?

Giving?

Receiving?

 

Nope. A fireman.

 

It's innate in us to equate our worth to the things we do.

But from the beginning of time, God has been telling us that no matter what we do.. we will never find our identity in any place but him.

He is the only place where we are whole.

He is the only place where "who I am" makes sense.

 

 

So my friend, if you are in that season. That waiting season, that dry dry dry season. If you are in the desert, waiting for the test to be over, the sea to part, the promise land.

Take heart, it took the Israelites 40 years to get to the promised land when they were actually in hours of reaching it. (BLESSINGS WHY AM I JUST LIKE THEM).

And the majority of the stories reflected that God WANTS to tell us about are about their journey, their hardships, their FAST.

Because isn't that where the beauty lies anyways?

Where things in us die.

We die to ourselves & our desires.

And new things are born.

 

As fall comes, you tell me fellow Ohioans. Can new things be born, if old things do not die?

So as you enter into your season of fasting, know that you're not alone. you are not absent from where you are supposed to be.

You are not enough, no ... you are not.

But he is.

And he will show you that during this time.

 

LOVE YOU SO MUCH 

-Jenna Brown

Founder & Executive Director of The Nest

 

"We do what we do because of who we are. Being proceeds Doing" - Saturate

 

Heaven Touching Earth-- No Small Loss

I cant help but feel like we are going to be a part of Heaven Touching Earth tonight.

Our No Small Loss event, held at the Tuscarawas Shelter of Firestone Metro Park from 6:30-8:00PM is a self led time of reflection, candle lighting, reflecting and remembering the little lives that have been lost through miscarriage, still birth, infant loss, and abortion for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

 

We, at The Mother's Nest have called this initiative no small loss, becuase we believe just that… there is NO small loss. That the grief of an unborn child, a child taken at all, is one that shouldn’t be swept under the rug, it shouldn’t be forgotten, it shouldn’t be silenced. It should be remembered, honored, and cherished.

 

 

Tonight we will see over a hundred families come together in one thread that they hold in common. Grief, suffering, pain, loss unimaginable, and pain that can only be described as someone’s worst nightmare.

 

But at the same time, we will also see over a hundred families take steps towards healing that maybe they never had, Rejoice in their suffering in ways only one who knows true brokenness could , and embrace the realness & reality that their loss has brought to their lives.

 

we will see people stronger than we could only ever imagine to be, and strength beyond what they could have even imagined was possible.

 

In our society we say that strength, lies within being balanced, controlled, in charge, having power over our emotions.

 

 

We say the opposite.

 

 

Actually, God says the opposite.

"Romans 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

 

Holiness comes when we rely on Christ.

 

If I had a nickel for every time I heard the saying “God only gives us what we can handle”... well, lets just say, I wouldn’t be asking for nickels anymore.

 

Saying that to a grieving person… is pretty much like spitting in their face.

 

Grief IS too much for us to handle.

Grief IS too hard for us to take on.

LOSS of an infant, a child, no matter the way, the process, the age… it absolutely 100% unbearable, unimaginable, and unfathomably “not something that one can handle.”

 

So this is where we step in.

 

As a voice that says something different.

 

That you were never meant to carry that grief on your own.

 

That sometimes, many things do NOT make sense until retrospect, and just being blatantly honest, that retrospect perspective may or may not happen for many on this side of heaven.

Nothing has grieved my heart more than to see grieving people, suffering people, told that they should have it all together. That they should be strong. That they should be fighting. Or reliable for their other children.

 

Becuase I completely disagree.

 

 

I say cry.

 

I say mourn and wail.

I say ask hard questions.

I say question God and his motives (I promise he can handle it)

I say walk through the healing process.

I say share your story.

I say acknowledge your loss, even if it makes others uncomfortable.

 

Because you weren’t meant to carry this burden on your own, and yes it IS too much for you to handle. You need community, you need healing, but most of all, you need Jesus.

 

There is nothing I find comfort in more, when I am overwhelmed by the little lives lost from this side of heaven.. that when they awoke, they awoke in the arms of Jesus. With his soft eyes (I imagine), his never ending comfort, his undening peace… and so much love that we cannot even imagine.

 

Nothing comforts me more than to know that in Revelation, we are promised that those who do believe and give their lives to Jesus, will be comforted in Heaven. Jesus will wipe our tears. He will cry with us. We will finally understand. The purpose, the meaning, the perspective.. that we have so many days longed for.

 

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

And tonight, we get to be a part of heaven touching earth.

 

 

we get to see healing.

 

we get to see grace.

we get to see raw pain.

But we get to see the way that things can come together again,

the way that people can walk forward in healing & wholeness.

And no, that little piece of “them” will never be back… but in that hole, in that space missing, there will be a constant reminder of something, somewhere that is greater. That there is a little life waiting for us on the other side, on the blink of what life is. That through our grief and suffering, Jesus is waiting to wipe our tears. That through our “what ifs” and “why me's” God has been answering us this whole time.

With silence at times, hugs through others, and events like no small loss.

We have no idea why God allowed you specifically to suffer in the ways that he has.

All I can say is that we know for a fact that nothing goes without purpose to him.

Nothing is beyond his reach.

Nothing is beyond his comfort and his healing.

 

And no, healing will never look easy.

It will always require work, time, effort, pain.

But in the end...

 

We are stronger than we were before.

 

Not because we can hold it together,

But because we know, that we are completely broken apart.

 

A part of heaven touching earth.

In our weakness, we are found.

 

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
 

Momma.. Get grounded.

I think this is as good a time as any.. with the "change" in the air

To talk about being grounded.

 

No momma, not the kind where you are sent to your room alone..

Although.. the longer I ponder that, the more appealing it sounds ;)

 

The type of grounding that brings you back to your center.

The center of WHO YOU ARE.

The here. and the NOW.

This week I was asked, "what grounds you? What brings you back to YOU.. back to reality, back to the here and now?"

I was asked this by my counselor who is specialized in PTSD therapy.. which I suffered from after my son's birth, and still suffer from. 

PTSD re-hardwires your brain into fight mode.. and causes you to constantly be anywhere but HERE. So my mind can be triggered in one moment to either be back into the hospital room birthing my son 2 years ago.. or it can be in my imaginary made up future of the worst case scenario PTSD tells me to create.

 

So getting back to the here and now?

 

The reality?

 

I need grounded.

 

So yes, maybe that would be for some being alone.

 

But for me... its spending time with my little guy.

He is my reality. He is my now. Nothing brings me back to the present like he does.

 

When he was an infant, and I was in my hardest, darkest moments of my life suffering from PTSD, Post partum Depression & anxiety... I would get so scared to look him in the eye.

Why ,you ask?

Because he knew me. He had been inside of me.. in my inmost being.

He had heard my voice from the inside.

He knew the pattern of my heartbeat.

He knew my movements, what I feel like when I have anxiety laden on me, when I have fear protruding my soul.

He knew my bodies response.

 

So if he were to look me in the eye... I felt that could see right through me.

My son is also extremely intuitive. Discerning. Its actually quite cool. I was this way as a child, but through the years have been jaded by oh so many things... But the way he sees through people, and senses the spirit of the room, or just the spirit of people. it amazes me.

 

So of course... my highly sensive child... senses when I am stressed.

When I am not in the now.

and almost always demands more of me, begging me to come back to the "now" 

Its like God's Safety mechanism to bring me to reality.. built into my child.

I am so grateful for that.

 

 

I come back to being grounded because He sees the real me.

He knows me... better than I know myself.

But yet, still sees the purest version of me.

Perhaps this is what it means to have "child like faith" . Faith not only abandoned and pure in Jesus... But faith abandoned and pure in others.

My son. Has taught me that.

Through the way he has faith in me.

Last week, we had a really hard time as a family, getting news that wasn't the best to hear.

A week of random hateful letters in the mail.

Hard learnings of possibilities in the future.

And we (mostly I because my husband is a natural optimist) were struggling.

In one moment I went from being in the now. to completely checking out

 

But hylan?

yeah.. he doesn't let me do that for long.

I can't check out with him.

 

So what better way for me to practice being "grounded" today... then to spend time with the person who knows me best. In my purest form... and grounds my very soul.

So momma, chances are.. you aren't suffering from PTSD (at least my prayer for you is that you are not)... but regardless.. as the anxiety shifts of the changing seasons, or the "whats to comes" or the kids in school... where do you find your grounding?


Is it in God or your religion?

Is it in alone time?

In time with your community?

 

Or seeing yourself purely in the eyes of your child?

 

Whatever it is. Pursue that.

"Seek peace and pursue it."

Psalm 34:14

 




Faith--- Can I get some of that??

THIS song, has been on repeat in my head since yesterday... and I have officially coined it as "my song" for the next 6 months until this baby is born.

"Give me Faith- Elevation Worship"

The lyrics that my soul clings to are:

"Give me faith, 

To trust what you say.

That you're good, 

and you're love is great.---

I may be weak,

but your spirit's strong in me

My flesh may fail,

But my God you never will."

 

For those of you who know my personal story & journey of having Hylan (our son who is now two) know that I went through a near-death experience after birthing him, and suffered from PTSD, Post Partum Depression & Anxiety. Those are just words to some, but to me they still hold residual effects & so.much.pain. attached to them.

Through those 2 years of healing with counseling, medication & so much prayer, love & support from those around me.. I was in a great place of understanding the inevitable questions of "why?" and "how?" and "why me?"

... and then we got pregnant again.

I personally didn't expect and of those questions, or flashbacks, or re-traumatization to happen until closer to birth.. and even after birth with this one.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks in the beginning of this pregnancy.

 

The feelings of fear that were crippling.

The feelings of doubt in myself.

The questions I hadn't asked in a long time were playing on repeat.. "Is God actually Good? Does he actually give good gifts to his children? Or do they come wrapped in packages of suffering & turmoil?"

I always promised to be honest with you.... ;)

 

So thats been my journey of the past 12 weeks.

Not necessarily knowing the answer, or the outcome for this birth & baby.

Hearing all around me "it will be different, and it will be GREAT!"

which makes a part of my heart hurt because yes, no matter what it WILL be different.

BUT NO, no one can ever guarantee the outcome. If i learned anything the first time.. it was that I am very much inside God's will. and ONLY HE can know the future.

 

So heres my song.

"give me faith

to TRUST what you say.

That youre GOOD 

and Youre love is GREAT. 

MY FLESH MAY FAIL

but MY GOD YOU NEVER WILL."

 

Here's the reality of being a Christian, for those of you who are.. or maybe who aren't & are in the sea swarming of wondering about the Christian faith when there are so many BLOGS and churches saying and doing different things. preaching & never following up with their actions.

 

Our faith. Doesn't come from within ourselves.

There is a point... where it is only received from God alone.

and if you haven't hit that point in your life yet.

YOU WILL.

 

 

I have been at that point.

I didn't need supernatural faith when I wasn't pregnant to believe that I was going to be alive & healed & grateful.

BUT I DO need that supernatural faith right now.

In the very midst of my journey 13 weeks pregnant.

To believe that God is GOOD.

That he gives GOOD GIFTS to his children.

THAT EVEN IF MY FLESH FAILS, he is still good.

And his purpose is always going to prevail.

 

So it brings me to the practicality of this. HOW DO WE WORK OUT OUR FAITH TO REMAIN FULL OF FAITH When we feel we have none?

 

WE PRACTICE GRATITUDE.

 

So I started off this morning with my "grateful" list.

I encourage you to start yours off the same way.

"God,

Thank you for allowing me to be alive

Thank you for giving us Bryce & Logan and all they have taught us

Thank you for my amazing husband

Thank you for my precious Son

Thank you for rescuing me from the darkness of depression so many times

Thank you for The Mother's Nest & allowing me to work where my heart thrives

Thank you for this baby. This baby who is unknown to me & the entire future wrapped with it... but known & foretold by you.

Thank you for being a redeemer.

Thank you for going before me.

Thank you for putting a longing in my heart for eternity with you.

Thank you for loving me".

 

What's your list this morning?

Would you start off this "Open Monday" with me by counting & NAMING the things you are grateful for?

The things that have impacted your life forever?

 

FOR THOSE OF YOU....

For those of you today who are struggling to have faith.. for whatever that journey may look like.

I just want you to know, that you are not alone.

We can always tap into the infinite amount of Faith that God allows his children to have... we only need to ask for it, and believe that he will answer us, in HIS timing.

The struggle is real & it is the working out of our salvation... and you are not alone in it.

FAITH is not something that we are born with. Its something that we learn to cultivate & grow in through all the trials & seasons of life.