Have you ever felt crazy?
Have you felt depressed?
Even if you are very blessed
Have you struggled with a mental illness?
Hoping for just a little stillness
Have you felt ugly on the inside and out?
Do compliments cause you to doubt?
Have you struggled with hating yourself?
Feeling like you are beyond help
No matter what you’re going through
There’s a God who loves you
Remember to have self-compassion
You are truly beauty from ashes
A couple weeks ago in church we sang the song Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham. There’s a line in there that I really liked: “When all I see are the ashes, You see the beauty.” This reminded me that even when I am struggling God loves me. It hurts God to see us struggle, but we can learn so much from the different trials we struggle with. Struggling with motherhood has given me the strength to be an encouragement to other mothers. Struggling with Depression and Anxiety has given me the ability to be empathetic to people who are going through similar struggles. Struggling with OCD has hopefully helped me raise awareness about the different types of OCD. Struggling with suicidal ideation has hopefully helped other people who may have gone through something similar. Going through a hard time is not fun, but I’ve realized it has helped me grow closer in my walk with God. I have also realized going through bad times make the good times even better.
If you are struggling with motherhood you are not alone. Many people don’t talk about how hard parenting is because they don’t want to seem like a bad parent. You are not a bad mom for talking about your struggles. Of course, there are things I will confide to my mom friends that I don’t think would be appropriate to say in front of my kid. But it is okay to vent. It’s okay to get frustrated with the tiny humans who depend on you for everything. It’s okay to take a break from your kids sometimes. I think moms especially have a lot of pressure; some of it we put on ourselves, but a lot of it is influenced by society. We see famous people looking super skinny after they have a baby. Of course, we could probably look like that if we had access to everything they have access to. In the book, I Thought It Was Just Me Brene Brown was talking about how her mom was a Stay-at-Home Mom. Since her mom was Stay-at-Home Mom she was very involved in the school, the school activities, etc. Brown says in her book after she had her first child that she assumed she would do everything her mom did, plus work and go to grad school. This just made me think about the ridiculous expectations we put on ourselves as mothers. We will think, I need to be good at crafts, I need to be a good cook, my kids need to be clean and well-behaved, I need to work out, I need to be skinny, my house needs to be spotless, I need to go to work, I need to play with my kids every day, my kids shouldn’t have too much screen time, etc. This is impossible! No mom can be all these things. I’m sure you know some moms who are one of these things, maybe even two of these things, but it is not realistic to expect perfection. You are a flawed human; you will make mistakes. Your kids are flawed humans; they will make mistakes. This is okay. Always remember to have grace with yourself.
If you struggle with Depression or Anxiety, I want to remind you that you are not alone. I think a lot of people’s Anxiety and Depression have increased with Covid. 2020 was a difficult year. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Mood disorders are real things. Mental health is physical health, too. If you are feeling suicidal don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family would NOT be better off without you. I also know if you’re really struggling, it can be hard to ask for help. Remember to check on your friends and ask them how they’re doing. If you are struggling with any mood disorder there is help. I hope you are able to go to therapy and get medication (if you need it), but if you aren’t I hope you can find things that help you. Some things that help me in addition to therapy and medication are writing, a therapy lamp, getting fresh air, yoga, prayer, and Bible reading. A lot of people also find coloring helpful. Some people find crafting or baking helpful. Find something that helps you, but also remember it’s okay if you could only move from your bed to the couch. Do make yourself get out of your bed, though. I know it’s difficult, but if you can accomplish that one task, it can help you feel better. If anyone needs to talk, I am here. Also, if anyone has anything else that works for them feel free to share.
“When all I see are the ashes, You see the beauty, Thank you, God. When all I see is a cross, You see the empty tomb.”- Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham
As I’ve already mentioned, I really like the line in this song. It especially reminds me of the difficult time I went through in 2019. While I was struggling with extremely distressing intrusive thoughts, I didn’t think any good could ever come from it. I was so afraid I was going to hurt someone I thought I should kill myself. I didn’t want to die, but I felt like I didn’t deserve to live. I definitely felt that I didn’t deserve anyone’s love. Especially not my husband’s or son’s. But I also felt like I didn’t even deserve God’s love. It was a difficult time and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I feel that it eventually helped me tremendously. I am no longer suicidal and I find my OCD much easier to deal with. I don’t like having OCD, but I’m glad I was diagnosed so I can have a reason for my scary thoughts. Of course, it is still difficult sometimes. I will still obsess over things sometimes, but it has gotten a lot easier. I’m also glad I go to a church and have Christian friends who recognize mental illnesses are real. I would like all churches to recognize this. I am hoping to spread awareness by sharing my story. Being a Christian does not take away the chemical imbalance in your brain. Struggling with a mood disorder does not make you less of a Christian. We all have struggles. Don’t be afraid to talk about them. You are loved. You are worthy. You are beautiful.
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 NLT