If any word could describe me in my post-partum days and months with my sweet baby #3 it would be weak. I understand fully that my body had accomplished a remarkable task. I had just come off a 9 month journey of growing, nurturing and changing. I had also come out of that pregnancy so happy to not be pregnant anymore. That pregnancy was hard on my body and my mind. When she was born, my body screamed, ‘HALLELUJAH!’. I was up walking around and felt amazing. My midwife commented saying, ‘It doesn’t even look like you had a baby.’ I went home 20 hours after her delivery. I had rest. I had time to transition into our new family normal.
What came after left me weak. Drained and trying to grasp for stability. I’ve said it a million times but post partum hormones are a force. The fog. The anxiety. The mood swings. The absolute craziness of keeping tiny humans alive left me feeling weak. Thrown into that mix is the post partum looming flare ups that I’ve experienced in the past.
I came up with excuses for everything. I never had enough time for exercise. I never had enough time for peace and quiet. I never had enough time to pray (or when I did, I’d fall asleep). I never had enough in me.
In 2017 I began walking in the morning. My initial reason behind walking before the sun came up was to exercise the dog. I wasn’t walking her enough and, when I was, it was with the three kids in tow which was exhausting.
What I found was a new rhythm. A new way to start my day. What I gained were amazing sunrises over the lake. I found myself timing it perfectly so I would be able to catch that first peek as it rose over the lake. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my morning walk stories. My number one reason for doing that was to document to myself that I actually did it and keep myself accountable.
I realized that the quiet, the stillness and the ability to spend time in prayer as I walked my route was bringing me back stability.
Since my first morning walk, I have witnessed over 200 sunrises. I stood watching the lake one morning and received word that a close friend from college had passed away. I’ve cried in that spot just remembering that day. I have been able to pause on the frozen lake in below zero weather and give thanks (and I hate the cold). I have taken many deep breaths to prepare myself for a day of craziness. I have prayed. So much prayer for so many people.
As the year drew to a close and a new year began I decided to choose a word to motivate myself in the new year. I’ve never been one for ‘resolutions’ but this was an easy way to motivate without the pressure of failing.
Strength was my word. Strength in body. Strength in mind. Strength spiritually.
There was no magical formula for this other than to be more intentional. To clear the clutter in my heart and mind, make room for the important things, take care of my body and press into the Word. I also needed to give myself a hefty dose of grace on the days that it really just wasn’t going to go the way I planned.
How did I do this? I woke up early. I have to purposefully get myself out of bed before the house is awake in order to accomplish most of this. Is it fun? Nope. Do I do it with a smile? Nope. I say that I am not a morning person nor a night owl. I force myself to start my day with intention in mind. After a full year of attempting to grow in strength here’s where I stand…
- I am more self motivated to get myself up and moving. With my illnesses, I typically feel like I got hit by a truck in the morning. Getting up early, stretching, focusing and getting my body moving has been powerful. I feel like I’ve defeated the prior thoughts of ‘my body can’t do this today.’
- I have regained physical strength and stamina by incorporating things that are free and easy to do. Walking, pilates and HIIT/Tabata have given me back strength that I really haven’t seen since I was a high school athlete. I actually think I’m stronger than I was back then.
- I am much quicker to defeat the thoughts and lies that so easily crushed me. I find myself repeating God’s truth and promises about who I am instead of dwelling on negativity and lies.
- I find myself praying more intentionally and doing that FIRST
Obviously, I am human and not perfect so I definitely do not do all of these and pat myself on the back because I am perfect. It’s about growth. It’s about grace. It’s about seeing imperfections, giving thanks and praying for grace.
As the year winds down, I’m already trying to come up with a word to motivate me in the new year. The thing is, I think I’m very attached to strength so I may just make it my every year mantra but that seems like a lazy path.