But tonight, I'm ignoring the washer that just beeped, reminding me to switch the cloth diapers to the next wash cycle. I'm giving myself full permission to post this without editing it, without adding lots of pretty pictures. I have my vitamin packed electrolyte water in my Mason jar to my left and an almost-gone box of organic bunny grahams to my right, feet propped up on the couch in front of me. This is where I will stay, unless I need to run to the bathroom (again). #lifewithCrohns
Friends, I am weary and worn. My body is battered and broken. Autoimmune disease is a horrible beast. The postpartum storm continues. And ten days ago, I had abdominal surgery to remove my gallbladder & do a bit of exploratory looking at my intestines.
Chronic illness has been part of my life for roughly 14 years (basically half my life). It has been a daily battle, a continual fight, a familiar "friend" (or more appropriately, a familiar foe). I have fought and fought HARD. I have done research, gone way outside traditional Western medicine, gone straight through the traditional Western medicine route, been on huge mega drugs, felt the raging effects of steroids, tried a bajillion diets and supplements and "formulas", been on liquid diets more times than I can recall, spent days and nights and weeks in hospitals, had more colonoscopies than most people have in a lifetime, fluctuated 60 pounds in my weight, etc.
And most recently, I have grown, birthed, and breastfed a little human. It has broken me in ways I can't even put into words (and not just physically). It is the most brutal and beautiful thing I have EVER done. My Em J is six months old now and no words in the world could describe my love for her. (Note to new momma friends: we don't all feel this huge fuzzy & overwhelming love & bond right away when baby is born; sometimes it takes time...and I'm here to tell you that's okay because I wish someone would have warned me and told me it's okay. xoxoxo.)
Pre-pregnancy, I was in the best health I'd been in for YEARS. I had been rebuilding my health, thanks to my nutritional online grocery store, for years & years and could hardly believe the quality of life I was able to live. I still had Crohn's, don't get me wrong, but it did not dominate my life.
Fast forward fifteen months later, after a pregnancy & postpartum, and my body is the most broken it's been in years & years. In a moment of honesty with my sister tonight, I told her I feel like giving up.
It's hard for me to say that out loud. I am a FIGHTER, I KEEP GOING, I DON'T QUIT. My normal attitude is I will kick Crohn's in the BUTT. I am Naomi and this is what I DO.
But right now? I am so tired. I am so exhausted on every single level. I am brokenhearted over how my illness affects my little family. I am crushed that my breastfeeding journey is almost over with my precious squishy baby girl (something I didn't want to end until at LEAST age one, if not age two). I am mentally fatigued on a level I haven't felt ever before in my life... parenting, marriage, illness, surgery, finances (and the most recent addition, dealing with identity theft, starting the day after my surgery...insert angry emoji).
Why do I say all this? Am i just having a venting party? A woe-is-me fest?
No, I say this because I know I have many friends dealing with illness... Friends dealing with hard things... Friends who are weary, worn, and worked to the bone. Friends who are just so. dang. tired. Our details may be different, but I feel your brokenness, your exhaustion, your despair. I cry hot stinging tears right alongside you.
And to those friends (and to myself), let's remember...
Jesus is STRENGTH. He tells us to come to HIM with our weariness. He promises rest for our SOULS.
Jesus is VICTORIOUS. He wins every. single. time. When it feels like we're "losing" in the trials of life or to the evils of this world, He is using it for His glory and our eternal wellbeing.
Jesus is LIGHT. I am all too familiar with darkness... Sleepless hours during the night, depression, drowning in overwhelm, and the utter darkness of defeat. He is the Light of the world and the Light of our own heart. He comes in and pierces through the layers of black darkness, with His conquering light.
Jesus is JOY. In the depths of pain, the joy of His presence (however intangible) can keep our faint heart going, even if it's just for the next fifteen minutes. In daily life, I find that He sends numerous "little" joys, no matter the depth of pain. Fresh clean laundry, Christmasy essential oils in the diffuser, my favorite fuzzy snowflake pajama pants... huge smiles from my baby, a game of Farkle with the hubby, snuggles from our beautiful golden retriever. We HAVE to be joy seekers and joy finders. We MUST.
Jesus is HEALING. This one is hard for me to truly believe in the depths of my soul sometimes. But it is true. He is the Great Physician. He does not always heal the way we want, when we want, how we want.
Jesus is LIFE. He literally keeps us alive. He keeps our hearts beating, our brain wires firing, our liver detoxing. And of much greater importance, He alone gives us spiritual life. If we're honest, even after He creates a new heart within us, we can feel dead inside at times. We must fight this. We must speak the truth to our hearts extra loud during these times. We cannot live based on the feelings, we have to live based on the truth, the Living Truth, Jesus Christ and His Word. Let's preach the Gospel to ourselves daily... one of my favorite ways to do this is to have audio Bible going on my iPhone while I clean, do my makeup, drive, etc.
Jesus is ENOUGH. His presence, peace, strength, comfort, care, love, etc. are the only things we are promised we'll never lose. We may lose our health, we may lose our homes, we may lose our savings accounts, we may lose our loved ones, we may lose our reputation, we may lose our physical life. We must not be dependent on anything or anyone besides Christ Himself. He often lives, works, and loves through other humans. He often provides financially through jobs & hard work. He delights in giving us good gifts. But this life is temporal. This life is lived in a fallen world. This is probably the "point" I struggle with the most in my daily life. I jump on social media to numb my brain. I'm moody and stressed if life doesn't allow us to keep up on housework and things are a mess. I am disappointed when my husband doesn't fulfill my unspoken expectations. I get frustrated when my baby is cranky & difficult for "no reason". Anything and everything outside of Jesus will let us down and leave us longing. In both the good times and the bad, Christ alone can satisfy us and meet our needs. And He promises us that He will.