(this is part 2 of a 3 part post. please go HERE to read the first part. that way this blog post stays in context with the first part. thanks)
I was 4 months pregnant with my son when my 4 year old daughter had a major accident that required a plastic surgeon to sew one side of her face back together. I was an emotional wreck. Dealing with her accident head on was difficult beyond words can express. If it were not for my husband, who kept me from becoming hysterical, I would have lost it at the hospital.
The leg press machine was no where to be found, and even if I had one at my disposal it would have done absolutely nothing to add to the strength I needed to handle my daughter’s accident. I can look back now….10 years this month to be exact…and see that God…and only God…..provided the strength I needed to endure the aftermath of her accident.
3 months after my daughters accident and 7 months pregnant with my son I was placed on mandatory bed rest due to early contractions. The week I gave birth, the doctors discovered a blood clot that had formed in my left leg due to bed rest. The thought of a blood clot in my leg gave me severe anxiety. Having my first son after 3 daughters gave me severe anxiety. Being re-married and living in a new state, gave me severe anxiety. Dealing with my husband’s previous wife and all the drama that came with it, gave me severe anxiety.
I could not and did not handle life well without the comfort I relied on for years. The comfort of working out and feeling physically strong.
All those years of keeping my body fat levels low, muscles toned, did absolutely nothing for my anxiety. I could not hide behind a facade of outward physical strength….and I was failing at real life miserably.
I bought a gym membership and attempted to re-gain the comfort of what working out used to do for me…give me solace, clear my mind, give me outer physical strength, release the stress of dealing with outward external chaos.
Leaving my son in the hands of gym day care workers was hard. I felt guilty and discovered that I could no longer enjoy or get lost in my workouts like I used to when I was not a Christian. When God saved me and gave me a new heart and new desires, one of those desires was a heart inclined to being a mom. Many times I would leave in the middle of exercise class because the guilt of leaving my son got the best of me. Many times I would get dizzy with anxiety while lifting weights and start to feel panic rise. I would often cut short my workouts because my brain and my body was just not cooperating with trying to “get back into the swing of things”.
As a new Christ follower, I grew confused as to why my life overall was on the verge of a total melt down. I knew I was saved…but could not understand why my now saved life was causing me so much distress.
Like the Israelites who missed certain aspects of their lives as slaves after God called them, saved them, led them out of Egyptian slavery and into the desert, I also looked back at my former, non-saved life and missed what I no longer had – the need to “get away to tone and strengthen my muscles, endurance to run 5 miles in 45 minutes and low body fat.
I missed the golden calf that was my body and thought that if I could just get it back, my life would miraculously be more manageable.
Before my son was 2 years old, we moved to a real desert in Texas and my ability to workout was dampened even more by severe shortness of breath that lasted then entire time we lived in Texas.
By this time, my anxiety turned into full blown panic attacks that led me to the emergency room several times with real physical manifestations of heart attack symptoms – tight chest, left arm numbness, sweating, whole body tingling, dizziness, heart racing.
After extensive tests were performed, the final diagnosis – anxiety and panic attacks.
I was told to relax and exercise or take meds. I avoided meds like the plague and the idea of trying exercise was a joke.
I eventually gave up trying to get my previous physically strong body back. I stayed inside my home as much as possible. I begrudgingly became friends with the softness and pudge that replaced my former fit and toned body.
I felt broken.
I felt weak.
I felt……defeat…and depressed.
As I look back on that time in Texas, I can see clearly that God had me right where He needed me to be.
Broken and weak….desperately depending on Him.
to be continued….