Postpartum hormones are interesting things. Despite our beautiful heart-shaped placenta in convenient encapsulated form, I’ve had many moments over the last couple of weeks. Moments where I am reminded I am not super-woman. Moments where my humanity smacks me smartly on the cheek, and leaves me a crying, shaking mess.
All my life I’ve resisted this weakness. Somewhere along the line I heard and believed the lie that your life has to be perfect for anyone to love you. Or, look as close to perfect as you can muster. This lie has hit me hard in the last two weeks. I’ve realized how deeply rooted it is in my being; how tenderly I hold onto it, as if it gives my life identity.
Because in the last two weeks, more than any other time in my life, there have been moments where I just did not think I could make it five more minutes without everything around me collapsing in a pile of rubble – myself and my children included.
And I thought, Is this what it’s going to be now? Am I going to be grasping for air the rest of my life, just trying to keep my head above water?
Baby blues? Probably. But the Holy Spirit has been doing a number on my heart through this emotional roller coaster.
Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
Five weeks postpartum I decided I was finally up for Sunday evening potluck and worship with our sweet, growing church. I’d made it for morning worship a week earlier, and I nearly fell asleep to my husband’s sermon, but that week had been even harder, and I knew more than my body needed rest, I needed to worship with others.
As I prepared to go to church Sunday evening I felt Satan pulling me back; trying to hinder me from worship. I was juggling an antsy toddler, who needed cleaned and dressed; and an over-hungry newborn choking on and crying over the over-abundance of milk my body is still convinced he needs. I nearly burnt our contribution to the potluck, and didn’t have time to finish all I had planned to bring. Daniel arrived home fifteen minutes late to drive us to church, and I told him to just leave me. I wanted to burrow under the covers and cry myself to sleep. I most certainly wasn’t ready to walk out the door, and most definitely wasn’t ready to walk into church. At least my heart didn’t feel ready.
My heart didn’t feel ready for worship, or praise.
Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.
I went anyway. Not cheerfully, not easily, but because I knew I needed to.
There is something deeply beautiful amongst a circle of true friends: the awareness that you are not alone.
As I sat in my chair and looked around at the familiar and beloved faces of our church family the life stories of many of them came to mind. I recognized that no matter how burdened and empty as I felt in that moment there were others dealing with heavier, even darker burdens. My heart quickly softened.
And as we sang, and worshipped together, and then gathered for communion, grace drowned me like a flood of water. That perfection I had been striving for all week – all my life long? was drenched in a depth of love I could not even wrap my mind around.
Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.
No matter how hard I try life will never be perfect. Having two babies has rocked my world in great ways. I have felt my heart love deeper than I knew possible. Yet, it has rocked my world in tough ways, too. I do not have it all together. I don’t even have a daily routine yet. I probably won’t for a good month or two more. I’m sleep deprived. I’m behind on everything.
And slowly, the grace of the gospel is showing me that that is ok. Life here isn’t perfect, and I don’t have to pretend it is. The love Jesus offers is deeper, richer, fuller than any wimpy satisfaction I gain from trying my hardest; and when my heart feels dry and heavy, his love satisfies.
After all, of all the burdens any have had to bear is not the weight of the darkness and death in this world the heaviest? If any heart should feel dry, should it not be His. Nailed to a cross, mocked and beaten, forsaken by all, betrayed by one of his best friends, and sold for thirty pieces of silver. And when He cried out to God in heaven the sky only grew darker, and the silence more deafening. Because life isn’t perfect, and He knew it. So He died to make all right again, and He calls to us, sometimes softly and quietly, sometimes like thunder: Beloved, I know the pain you’re feeling. I know the burden you carry. Give it up: I paid the price for your freedom. Just trust me. I will make all things new.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.