30 weeks

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”Psalm 51:6. (Why didn’t I know this verse existed until now?!)
As I’ve shared before, my past few seasons of life have been hard ones, riddled with deceptive emotions manifested as paralyzing anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD. Like, stuff so intense I couldn’t leave the house. The root of it all, I believe, was issues from my childhood that taught me to believe lies – the world is not safe, and I need to build my own safe world. That means I must be in control, and if my safety is threatened, I responded physiologically in a way I thought might protect it.  A coping mechanism developed by a scared child, somehow both sophisticated and primal. A heavy weapon I lugged around with me everywhere so I could always be ready to defend. As I grew up it was as simple as a snarky, sarcastic comment or “just one more cocktail” to regain control of a situation that felt too vulnerable.  The deeper wounds showed themselves through more extraordinary measures to maintain my “safe world,” which is where the OCD came in.  I wasted so much time and so much energy creating hiding places for myself that always seemed to collapse. I was absolutely desperate for healing.
These behaviors were obviously unhealthy but I wasn’t forced to deal with them, to tear them out at the roots, until some of the crazy symptoms or behaviors surfaced. It was painful, but I really believe it was God’s grace to inflame some wounded parts of me so we could work on them together.  I had tried medication and counseling and books and spiritual direction and discipleship and charismatic churches and Calvinist retreats and vitamins and supplements and more exercise and changes in diet and more sleep. Those things are all awesome and helpful resources, but what I really needed was to sit face to face with God and forgive people who have hurt me, walk through some difficult moments in the past and let Him tell me He was there and those hard things I experienced weren’t okay with Him. I learned He wanted to set those things right and teach me a new way of thinking based on actual truth. I had to walk through the crap to get out of it. The only way out was through.
My mind was renewed day by day as I chose to sit with Him and hash it out. I grew and learned the most about myself and God’s character through inner healing prayer. I went to several prayer clinics at a church where prayer ministers facilitated a helpful, gentle, wise conversation about what God might be zoning in on in my heart. Also beneficial were extended times with Him in my own house, reinforcing the truths I was fighting to believe with times in the word or prayer or worship. Or simply inviting Him into my day when those “extended times” weren’t possible, choosing life-giving music and books and conversations. There isn’t a formula, but I believe sowing good seeds in my heart, denying my deceptive emotions and the grace to say “yes” to Him even in my weakest moments are the catalysts to breakthrough.
I want to emphasize that I certainly was not the faithful one in that season. He was. He was faithful to draw me in, giving me daily grace to follow Him through the dark places.  My freedom wasn’t something I just woke up with. It was a gradual process like any other growth, requiring nurturing and attentiveness which often felt like hard work. I’m not done with it yet, but I am walking in a place where I can see the beauty again and my hope feels renewed.
I want to encourage friends looking for freedom to keep walking through your tough spot. He who called you is faithful. He can’t deny Himself; He must finish what He starts. He sees you and is eager to shepherd you to the Father’s loving presence. He desires you to be thoroughly redeemed and wants to touch parts of your heart no one else can see.
He is a master gardener, tilling the soil in our hearts, planting good seeds of truth that will reap a bountiful harvest if we will partner with Him in the waiting (even when we can’t see His hands, will we trust His heart?)
He is the rain, watering and refreshing us in the dry seasons, reminding us of His nourishing presence when we think we can’t take one more step.
And He is the sun, ripening us to beauty, from one degree of glory to the next.

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How far along? 30 weeks! CRAZY to think I’m only 10 weeks away (hopefully). I mean, think about 10 weeks ago…that’s when I found out Ollie’s gender. Seems like freakin’ yesterday.
Baby is the size of a: Winter squash! What even is that? He’s 15″ long and weighs 3 lbs.
Total weight gain: 20 lbs! It’s coming on quickly and suddenly.  Baby’s gotta have his donuts.
Maternity clothes? Same pants every day.  My shirts are all too short. Need to invest in a few new things. Can’t button my winter jacket which leaves my poor belly exposed all the time, but luckily I’m not outside that much and when I am I like people to notice I’m pregs. :)
Sleep:  Not so hot. Between the dog tip-toeing on our new wood floors and my pee trips and just general discomfort, I probably get 4-5 hours a night, even though I go to bed disgustingly early.
Best moment this week: Lots of good moments so far. What I anticipated to be a difficult beginning of the week turned out to be really fruitful and encouraging. I am so thankful to have friends who are after the same things I am and who remind me what’s important.
Movement: All the time! Most days I can see my shirt/dress move because he’s rolling around so much. And I’m learning how to “belly map,” or figure out how he’s positioned in my belly. It seems like he’s upside down now because I’m feeling jabs down below (which are usually hands/arms) and slow, rolling movements above my belly button (usually legs). I also feel a hard spot usually above my belly button, which I think is his butt/back. The midwife finds his heartbeat every appointment on my lower right quadrant, which could be coincidence. Hope he stays upside down, but I know I can’t control it. I’m sitting on an exercise ball at work, getting regular chiro adjustments, and doing some pretty specific stretches/yoga poses to encourage him. He’s smart. He’ll do it.
Food cravings: Sweets after meals, unfortunately. Girl scout cookies (’tis the season). Sour candy. I got some Also, lots of lemon water. I got a Camelbak bottle & those things are miraculous. I drink 10x more water. The straw thing on it is so satisfying!! I can sit the bottle on my belly and get after it. Keeping that uterus hydrated!!
Miss Anything? Probably being able to bend over.
Symptoms:  Just that my uterus is bigger than a loaf of bread. Seriously. How does something so little (I think the size of my fist normally?) stretch so far? I can feel it from my pubic bone all the way beneath my breast bone. Extra creepy when the guy kicks up there by my rib cage. I’m surprisingly not having any back pain or hip pain like I expected. All in all I feel pretty good. I really think my water intake, fish oil, and chiropractic, and attention to posture/stretching have been super helpful.
Mood? A little wound up. I had some caffeine late in the day. (Got a terrible iced coffee (half caf, before you judge me) from an anonymous skyway coffee establishment and it took me all day to not even finish it. I think I’m experiencing some residual effects from those last 3pm sips.)
Looking forward to: BABY SHOWERS!!! My first one is this weekend, and I have another one toward the end of the month. I’m thinking March will go by extra fast! And then I’m really, really close to seeing this baby’s face!! I am astounded how quickly my pregnancy has passed–totally God’s grace.

Almost 31-week-bump
Almost 31-week-bump.
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