A mom who likes to live outside the norm

Archive for the category “Faith”

The hardest part about yesterday

Obviously, the day you find out your grandpa died is a rough day.  When my phone chimed at 7:13am Sunday morning, I just knew.  When I saw it was from my mom, and what the message said, there wasn’t even grief yet, just relief.

And then some emotion started, but it was mostly sadness for my Grandma.

45497_618606980160_1484181410_nMy kids were a little panicked when they first found out.  They at first thought it was THEIR Grandpa, not MY Grandpa, that had died.  When I showed them a picture of who it was (you have to understand, they have my parents, Andy’s parents, both sets of my grandparents, 3 great-grandmas and 1 great-grandpa on Andy’s side…there’s lots of room for confusion!), there was a mixture of relief and grief.  What was really hard for me in this situation was realizing there may be many occasions like this over the next few years.  And I also remember being just a little older than Jeremiah when my great-grandma died.

Since it was Sunday, we decided to have a fairly normal day.  You need your church family on these occasions.  The grief really hit my while I was in the shower.  But again, it wasn’t sadness FOR my Grandpa’s passing.  It was grief over what he went through over the past few weeks.  His long stay in the hospital.  The pain he went through.  The infections.  The not eating for months.  The not drinking for a week. And my Grandma being alone.

The worst and best part for me though, was what we were talking about during Sunday School.  We are going through a video series on Jesus’s life.  Yesterday was about his testing in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  How that was a fulfillment of many Old Testament occasions. How 40 days without food or water is the very limit of human ability, and that it was only through supernatural help that Jesus was able to make it.

40 days without food or water.   I’m actually kinda amazed I didn’t start bawling openly.  My Grandpa went through several months without food.  He was not living, but surviving off of protein shakes.  He lost a ton of weight over a very short period. The surgery he had 3 weeks ago was necessary for his survival, but also had the potential to take him.  He made it, but the last time I visited my Grandpa, he said “I just want to eat something again”.

And then I remember hearing on Saturday that he hadn’t had even any ice chips in a week.  So I’m sitting in Sunday School, hearing about Jesus going 40 days without food or water and I’m just crying because I’m thinking about my Grandpa going months without food and a week without water.  Of course he was getting some hydration and nutrition via IV…

So I was going back and forth between grief, but also comfort as I realized that even in this, my Grandpa was going through something that Jesus went through first.  Let me tell you, that is some amazing relief.  Two passages of the Bible came to mind to me yesterday as I was dealing with these emotions:

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Hebrews 2:17-18 “Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted”

It was a huge feeling of comfort to know that even in a situation like this, Jesus knows what my Grandpa went through.  He experienced the insane desire for food. He knew what it meant to be thirsty.  And he was a comfort to my Grandpa, who was ready to go home to his Savior.

253735_10200784621044809_1023850809_nSo, I’ll miss my Grandpa.  But I know I’ll see him again.  And I have a Savior who has lost those close to him.  That has wept at the loss of a friend.  But He holds the power to Life.  And there’s peace in that.


My Grandpa passed late last night

There are so many thoughts as feelings going through my head and body right now. But I can honestly say that none of them are sadness for my grandpa.

IMG_3878He was born Horace Albert William Wesche on December 21, 1925 and lived to a wonderful old age of 87, passing at 11:40pm on March 16, 2013.  He was holding my grandma’s hand.

It’s been a rough few weeks for him and the whole family.

Just over 2 weeks ago I got a call from my dad, saying I needed to talk to my grandpa.  I called him and talked for awhile.  He was going in to have surgery the next day.  He hadn’t been able to eat since Christmas, his esophagus was into his stomach, and many of his internal organs were up above his diaphragm.  He was sad because he had just lost another friend.  He was ready whatever happened: he wouldn’t make it without the surgery but might not make it with.  He felt like he was one of the last of their friends, but was worried about leaving my grandma.

The surgery went amazingly well.  The were able to do it laparoscopically.  We all pictured him completely opened up on an operating table, but they were able to repair it all through 3 small incisions low and 2 high incisions.  His only real pain following was from his arthritis, not from the surgery.  I was able to be there for his first physical therapy session.  I don’t know if he wasn’t listening (or couldn’t hear) the physical therapist, but instead of using his arms to push off, he just got up out of the bed and held on to the walker.  He was determined, tired but upbeat.  He was ready to start eating again, and the ice chips were just not enough.

320109_10151494972217230_548394307_nBut then just over a week ago, impatient to get up and use the restroom, he fell and broke his hip.  With a combination of the medications and pain, he pulled out his feeding tube the following day.  They were able to do surgery to repair his hip, but his white blood cell counts were bad and he was moved back to ICU.

Yesterday I got the message that his kidneys were failing.

When I heard my phone this morning, I just knew.

I wish now I hadn’t gone to the conference I was at and had spent some last time with my grandpa instead of waiting to go today.  Thankfully my grandma was there. And my dad was able to visit before going in to work.

My grandpa’s arrangements are as follows:
Visitation Thursday (3/21) from 3-8pm at Baumann Funeral Home at 2504 Woodson Rd, 63114
Visitation Friday (3/22) from 9-10am at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 9135 Shelley ave 63114
Funeral following the visitation at 10am
Burial following the funeral at Laurel Hill Cemetery at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave 63133

IMGPlease be praying for my family, that this brings everyone closer together.

Pray for my grandma, I don’t want her to be alone.  I’m hoping we can find a way for someone to live with her.  I hope that she can stay in the house that Grandpa built for her around 50 years ago.  Thankfully, I think my cousin is living with her now.

I’m thankful that his pain is over, and that it was quick.  I just wish he could have been at home.  I wish he would not have been in such pain over these last few months.   I wish my grandma wasn’t alone.  I’m thankful we all get to see him again.

I’m going to let you into my head a little bit

I’ve decided to get really personal with this post, on mental illness.

I’m a person who has struggled for years with mild mental illness (mostly depression and mild anxiety).  I’ve lived my whole life surrounded by people who have dealt with differing forms of mental illness: Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar/Manic Depression, Depression, PTSD, Addiction, etc.  I’ve lived in terror over the last decade of triggering some benign, evil, major mental illness, just waiting to rear it’s ugly head and attack my family.

I’ve heard Christians minimize these diseases, saying things like: Christians don’t get mental illness, they just need to pray harder, or medication is not necessary.  To them I give the examples of David, possibly Paul (the unexplained “thorn in his flesh”), and of Jesus driving out demons (While I do think many were actual demon possession, I can definitely characterize a schizophrenic episode as dealing with a demon).

I’ve had a doctor want to prescribe me medication for my (at that time) mild, seasonal depression.  To him I said “not now”, as I had seen the long term effects of the body tolerating medication and needing ever increasing doses, horrible side effects, and even rejecting the medication altogether (I also didn’t think I had a problem).

So I write this for several reasons: to try to reduce the stigma, to stop hiding, and to help others feel “normal”.  So while this is very personal, if it helped you in any way or you know of someone who it might help, feel free to share it.  These afflictions are a lot more common than most people realize, and yet no one wants to talk about them like they do with cancer or other diseases.   I’m also going to do my best to keep it personal and focus on what I’ve dealt with.

Growing Up

I grew up with a grandmother with Schizophrenia and another relative with Bipolar Disorder (then called Manic Depression).  I would hear stories from my mom about what her mother went through.  I would occasionally hear my grandma say some odd things, or see her deal with medication changes, or dosage adjustments.  I would hear about my relative going days without sleep, and see the massive projects she would undertake.  Let me tell you, I have total respect and awe at what my mother and grandfather went through, dealing with this a few decades ago. Many men would have walked away, and many children would not have been able to bear the added responsibility my mother took on.

I have suspicions that I have other family members that deal with other forms of mental illness, but it was either never diagnosed or never open in the family.

So while this area has always been a “normal” part of my life, I had constant fear, especially in my late teens and early twenties, that I would do something to trigger some horrible gene hiding inside me and I would turn into my grandma or one of my other relatives.  Let me tell you, it is a horrible thing to deal with.  I remember at one point opening up to my dad about this fear I was living with.  I knew that it was when they were in their early twenties, my grandma just starting her family and the other in college, that their illnesses were triggered.

And when I would hear friends say things minimizing these diseases or saying things like “this is something Christians don’t deal with”, I would do my best to not get angry and just share what I had experienced growing up.  I know that their faith and a wonderful walk with their Savior was the only thing that kept my family “together”, along with necessary medication.

I Survived

When I turned 30, I remember this feeling that I’d survived breaking.  My risks of triggering the inner monster were minuscule now.

But did I really?

I’ve always dealt with “down” feelings, being overwhelmed, or being overly stressed. I realize now that I dealt with Post-Partum Depression with my first two children.  I know that when my daughter was a toddler, my doctor offered me medication for my depression, but I shrugged it off because I knew what mental illness really looked like.

A year or so later it all came to a screaming head.  On the outside I had it all together.  I was running a restaurant in a nationwide fast food chain.  I was working 50-60 hours a week.  My bosses praised me, my employees appreciated me (okay, some walked all over me), and my customers loved me.  But I was stretched so thin, barely holding it all together.

I wasn’t sleeping.  I barely saw my kids.  My husband was bottom priority to me.  I was missing a lot of church.  I didn’t have any real friends.  I was smoking.  In hindsight, I think I was even trying to sabotage my marriage.  Everyone important in my life could see how stretched thin and depressed I was.  I was only hiding it from myself.

I finally woke up to it when I realized I was emotionally cheating on my husband and was barely keeping myself from physically cheating on him.  It really hurts to say all this!  We knew something had to give.  So I gave up managing the restaurant.  I tried at first to just go down to part-time, but the environment was not healthy for me.

So I stopped working to stay home with my family.  While finding ways to stretch my family’s budget and naturally help with depression, I stepped into this wonderful world of natural living!

Life Now

I wish I could say all is wonderful.  With my youngest; a wonderful, healing VBA2C, I had my first post-partum period in which I didn’t deal with PPD.  But now that he’s 10 months old, I realize that with all the stressors around me, I’ve recently been experiencing some depression and anxiety.  It seems that even though I’ve found some of my triggers and tried to eliminate them, there are more that I have yet to discover.  Plus, I know that when life seems to be going well, Satan likes to try to make it all fall apart.  So I’m doing my best to try to view these stressors as God pulling me back to Him.

And in the last few years, I’ve seen my grandma (and my family) go through a really tough time.  Her body has completely rejected the medication that has worked for her for years.  It exhibited itself by allergies to foods and clothing that had never been present before.  I see her spiraling deeper into a scary world where she feels she can’t trust the people who love her.  I see my family try to get her help.  I feel my lurking monster inside, trying to resurrect the fear that I could become that.

I understand what she’s going through, afraid of how medication makes her feel. But I also know that she doesn’t understand what her family is going through.  She can’t see how she is when she gets lost inside who she is.  When her biggest enemy is my grandpa, who loves her and just wants to get her real help.  All she can think about in these times is the horror stories of others being institutionalized, or being “doped up”, two things that my grandpa has never done to her.

So I’m thankful I only deal with a minor mental illness.  That can be managed through prayer, diet, elimination of triggers.  I respect anyone who deals with a major illness that tries to make it work through the same mechanisms.  But I also know that in many cases, medication is the only way to effectively deal with it (though prayer and diet definitely helps!).

This is also why I try to make so many things from scratch.  Why I try to eliminate, or at least minimize, as many chemicals in my life as I can.  Why I’ve decided to no longer vaccinate my children.  Why I try to live as naturally as possible.  A small part of it is because I feel like I’m a ticking bomb waiting to be triggered.  But that is also biggest part part of it!  I know that the world around us is a huge factor in all the illnesses that people deal with.  Why should I, when I know first hand what can happen, be willing to let my family be continually exposed to toxins, chemicals, and other triggers that can cause so many issues, many that we don’t even know about, and many that can’t be reversed!

Sorry for the long ramble inside my head.  It’s something that’s been building for awhile.  It’s something that hopefully helps someone see another side to the reasons why I live the way that I do.  And ultimately, helps someone else feel less alone. Because I know that I often do.

God definitely changes your writing plans.

After a few months of crazy schedules and minimal writing, I had a growing list of topics I was going to blog about.  I have some wonderful topics I want to write about, I had started scheduling when I wanted to write, ideas for research, etc.  And then these last few days happened and that all went out the window.

For background, last week had a lot of special events and such which made it really easy to slip up in what I ate and drank.  I did fairly well in controlling the splurges, but then with some major stress this weekend, I drank a ton of soda (and it’s been a year since I’ve had any).  So the mild depression which I’ve dealt with for years but have managed well through diet and exercise came on strong, along with all kinds of additional stressors.

Our church is dealing with some events that haven’t been handled well.  Hopefully what was brought to light will awaken more brotherhood and a put a stop to dissension.  General prayer is appreciated there.

There are little personal things that have been building that I’ve been trying to deal with, and that my husband has been great about trying to address for me.  But that area doesn’t seem to be going well and I’ve been trying to gain wisdom in how to handle it.

So these two areas, which normally wouldn’t have been too bad, were pretty escalated for me along with goofy family stuff this weekend due to my depression and anxiety rearing it’s angry head.  What made it worse, was before leaving my house Monday morning I checked my email and received a message letting me know about something that was said about a dress I wore to church (which I felt was modest and my husband has had no issues with me wearing).  On my drive I had a very tearful conversation with my husband.  I thought I was doing a good job being discreet during the conversation with my kids in the car (though I of course was crying), but when it was over my sweet daughter was so worried that someone said something that was not nice about me.

Thankfully I have a good friend who let me come over that afternoon and talk it all out.  She helped put things into perspective.  When I got home later, I was so emotionally exhausted.  My wonderful husband let me take a rest and took care of the kids, and when another friend texted me, he encouraged me to spend some time with her.

And then the bombshell hit.  My dad vaguely mentioned over the weekend that my grandpa (his dad) was having surgery.  Well, my dad called me to say that I needed to either call or visit my grandpa, because he was going to have some pretty serious surgery the next day.  So of course, I started crying again.

After dinner, I headed out to my friend’s house and called my grandpa on the way. Basically, my grandpa has not been able to eat since Christmas.  He’s been on a liquid diet for around 6 weeks.  It was discovered that his internal organs are jumbled somehow, and his stomach is up in his ribs.  He’s lost 20 pounds since Christmas, and my once vibrant and active grandfather is now below 100 pounds. His doctor was clear that he will not last long without this surgery, but he has 2 strikes against him with his advanced age and his physical weakness.  My grandpa is tired and weak, and has lost many friends over the last few years, another one yesterday morning.  He feels like he’s one of the last ones left, but is also worried about my grandma being alone.  But he’s at peace with whatever happens.  And he made sure to tell me that he loved me.

This whole conversation happened as light hearted as we could make it, but we were both working hard to keep it together.  I totally lost it when I hung up the phone.  I arrived at my friend’s house in tears.  Her sweet little boy was so concerned for me and gave me a wonderful hug.

She let me just talk it all out.  She gave me some wonderful advice and encouraged me.  Her little boy gave me another great hug.

And then I found out this morning that my maternal grandma, who deals with some severe mental illness, is in a downward spiral.  She does not want to take her medication, is arguing with family, doesn’t really want help, and is giving my grandpa a VERY hard time.  I love my grandma and am trying to figure out what to do.  I’ve noticed that I’m one of the few people that she’ll open up and talk to, but I’m not sure I’m emotionally able to have this kind of conversation right now.  Plus it’s just really hard to see someone you love like this.

So pray for me.  Pray for my (paternal) grandpa. Pray for my (maternal) grandma. Pray for all sides of my family.  Pray for my church.  Thank God for good friends. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.  Hug your kids.  Hug your friends.  Give any grandparents you have a huge hug and let them know you love them.

Our God is in control.  I’m using all this as a sign that I need to rely on Him more, that He wants to draw me to Himself, and that Satan doesn’t like it when things go well, but God can use it for our good.  I had such a good week last week.

This week has been interesting

I thought I’d share some follow-up on my progress with trying to take care of myself (emotionally, physically, spiritually) from: Do you ever find yourself stretched too thin?

I identified a few areas I can cut back (or out) to spend more time either in church or with my family.  Deciding to step out of helping in the 2’s & 3’s classroom was fairly easy since I have no kids in that class (and I think I help in every other classroom!).  I think we will also stop serving in the infants nursery during the church service since that is one of the most popular service areas and won’t feel our absence too greatly.

Thankfully at the end of this school year the boys I babysit will be moving, so that one takes care of itself.  What’s hard with this one, is my family does depend on the income from this, so I’m debating on finding another child or two to babysit part-time.  One thing I will do next time though, is charge a fair price.  I WAY undercharge for watching these boys, mostly because it’s a single-mom friend who is doing her best to take care of her boys.  While I don’t regret the decision and would do it again in a similar situation, if I ever babysit again I will make sure I make more than $5-10 a day!

While the absence of these things (starting in the summer) will greatly help my stress levels, I still probably need to identify 1-2 other things to cut back on.  This area is really hard for me!

On Monday, I wrote down everything that had been running through my head that needed to be done around the house.  This one really helped.  I found myself so much more productive around the house when I saw listed out what I wanted to get done.  It also helped me get a few things done this week that I’ve either procrastinated on, or forgot when I had the time!  I’m not sure if a daily list will become a regular thing, but a weekly list is definitely planned!

Tuesday was a crazy blur, I don’t really remember how that day went.

On Wednesday, I went out with some girlfriends for karaoke after the kids were in bed!  It was so fun to just go out with the girls and laugh and sing and dance and lose track of time.  Though when I did get home 2 hours later than I planned on, I was met at the door with an upset baby and stressed husband.  Why is it that the only time the baby wakes during the night is when mom isn’t there?!? Poor dad had texted me a few times, but due to a combination of a new phone and a loud room I had no idea!

On Thursday, not only was I wiped out from a late night, but we also had a big snowstorm.  So our usual homeschool class was cancelled which freed up the day.  I also had the 2 boys I babysit, but their mom was back after a few hours.  I also had my husband home with me, and since our internet went out he was able to help me with a few projects since he couldn’t work!

The biggest thing we did this week (on Thursday) that I think will really help me long-term is move the baby out of our room and in with his big brother and sister.  While him going to bed last night was a little rough, it will get much better once he’s used to it.  Last night was the first night in over 18 months that I’ve slept without a baby in the room with me (yes my son is 10 months, but we had a foster baby before that)!  I slept great!  Even though most of those 18 months had a baby that slept through the night, there’s something about those baby noises and rolling around that keeps a mommy awake.

And I’ve made some progress in Bible reading this week.  Monday I spent a full hour.  Tuesday I realized in the afternoon that I never found the time in the crazy day, so for next week I’ll have to find a time to schedule it since that’s one of my crazy days.  Wednesday I forgot.  Thursday I got 10 minutes in with everything that was going on, but that wasn’t a normal day and I foresee there being issues just like on Tuesdays, so I’ll have to schedule that too.  And I spent 30 minutes today.  I need to make this a regular thing!!!

I ate fairly well (with a few splurges).  I still need to find (okay, MAKE) time to exercise.  We need to figure out a good bedtime routine so that evenings with my husband are more relaxing.  Tonight we have a sweetheart banquet and tomorrow is a trivia night, we love these!

And the biggest thing this week that hopefully helps is I got a new phone (replacing my 5 year old phone that I loved but was starting to malfunction).  It’s my first smartphone, and hopefully I can use the calendar and organizer to stay on top of things.  I’m using today to update everything from my 2 paper calendars into there.  I also plan to use the organizer to keep track of projects and such.

So yay!  Last week was horrible, this week has been pretty good.

Restore to me the JOY

I’m going to admit something.  I was not really looking forward to the sermon today at church.  Our senior pastor is retiring soon and is slowly stepping back, and he hasn’t been preaching these last few weeks.  Today was part 2 of a sermon series led by one of our elders.

But today’s message was what I needed to hear, especially after my last entry: Do you ever find yourself stretched too thin?

Last week he preached on the first half of Psalm 51, and today he continued from verse 10.  This is a group of verses I’ve known my whole life.  I grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and this is a part of one of the orders of worship.

“10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

This is one of the psalms that David wrote after his affair with Bathsheeba and the death of their firstborn.  While I’m not going to go into all the differences in application from the Old vs. New Testaments, there are a few things that really stood out to me for personal application.

I want God to create in me a clean heart.  I can’t do it myself, and there’s no point in fixing the one I’ve got.  He’s got to create it in me.

I want him to renew a right spirit in me.  He’ll do that through me reading His Word and spending time in prayer.  I really need to desire this and spend daily time!

I’ve spent enough time away from God’s presence by not creating the time to read His Word, I want to feel His presence.

And the biggest application, I want the JOY of my salvation restored to me.  I know what I believe, I can back it up, I can hold a doctrinal conversation, I can find all the books of the Bible and even recite a good number of verses.  But I’m missing the JOY.

12102010184I think that’s one of the downsides of always having faith since childhood.  I don’t remember life before.  Of course there’s been bad stages in my life, decisions I regret, restoration, etc, but I’ve never really felt that joy from salvation.

So that’s my prayer for this week.  That God restores that joy in my salvation.  That I receive a new heart.

Then will I be able to do the next part of the passage: Psalm 51:13 – “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”  It’s not that I couldn’t before, but without joy in your own salvation there’s no drive to tell others!  It’s not that I’ll have it perfect or have the right words to say.  But I need a desire, a drive to tell others!

Here’s another prayer: Psalm 51:15 – “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”

Today’s sermon gave fuel to the conviction I felt last week over being stretched and the desire to spend more time in the Word.  Let’s see how tomorrow goes.

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