I'm trying to think of the most non-dramatic way to share that this weekend I fainted, hallucinated and convulsed. Nothing is coming to me. So without further ado, I share that on Sunday I fainted. And hallucinated. And convulsed.
I saw a doctor to make sure that this exciting new chapter in my life was not entitled Seizures, but was given only the vague diagnosis of "sudden blood pressure drop, cause unknown". After asking about my life and three very young children and Joseph's various health issues, etc... the doctor suggested that this event was possibly related to stress.
Stress? I thought stress was responsible for raising a person's blood pressure, not causing it to randomly bottom out. I also thought that I was not really all that stressed out. Truly. Sure, there have been moments of intense stress - like, lots of them... such as this morning when I decided it would be a grand idea to quickly pop over to the mall for a pair of jeans with an 11 week old baby and a 22 month old toddler. Within the first ten minutes of this foolish excursion Joseph was crying so hard that he spewed pretty much everything I had gotten in him before leaving the house. I didn't quite notice the extent of the spill until the sales girl started completely freaking out that a teensy drop had landed on the bottom cuff of the pants I had been in the midst of trying on - and was still wearing. Humiliated and angry, I started cleaning it off with my one free hand, biting back the impulse to assure her that spitup is not corrosive, when Bernadette - who had been out of the stroller - quietly attempted to climb back in and pitched headfirst to the floor, toppling the heavy double stroller as she fell (Joseph, thankfully, was still in my arms). Ear piercing screams engulfed the store and spilled out into the mall. I couldn't flee until I changed back into my own jeans (both children wailing furiously all the while). There aren't really words to describe the range or intensity of emotions that followed, but suffice it to say that if moments like that aren't curing my low blood pressure, nothing ever will.
Every mother of young children has these overwhelming moments - even the stress associated with having a sick child is common to most mothers at some point in their lives. Perhaps though living in a foreign country and tending (to various degrees) to seven branches of ministry and three very young children - one of whom has mysterious health issues - while not yet three months postpartum myself is just a little bit....insane. I never wanted to be a "Supermom" or give the appearance of being one. I just want to be a mother - a good mother. And that is hard enough. The fewer distractions, pressure and demands upon me, the more present, peaceful and gentle I can be in the home. So the real announcement for today's post is that it's time for me to focus completely on the only great work to which I have truly aspired for the past five years. Motherhood....the ministry and stewardship by which the Lord has honored me most.
it's not always sweet smiles and sitting quietly,
in fact, these moments are quite rare....
Ceasing leadership of the ministry to mothers is bittersweet, but there are several women in the group who can capably take up those reins. Plus, that was always the plan - simply to start a mothers' group that eventually would be in someone else's hands.
It's much harder to let go of the two girls groups. I've been attempting to wait for another woman to whom I could pass the baton, but she has not yet appeared. I don't understand what the Lord is doing there, but I'm sure He does. Last night was another girls group which snuck up on me with no time to prepare. I thought I could wing it, but ended up instead with arms filled with a crabby newborn and a too-alert toddler - and no mental space for leading a coherent discussion on anything. These are absolutely lovely young women gathering in my home on Wednesday nights and I feel like I am letting them down as much by continuing on so haphazardly as I would be by quitting.
It's becoming clear to me that perhaps the best ministry I can do is to abstain from ministry (for the sake of the girls and for the mothers)- not because I'm a miserable failure but because I ought not perpetuate the cultural myth of the supermom who can and should do it all. I'll still be involved in these ministries but in a much smaller and less visible capacity. My most urgent prayer for the mission is for a capable and godly woman to minister to those girls as soon as possible. Please continue to pray for that.
The one thing I'm definitely not giving up (yet) is the blog. It's positively therapeutic. (Take THAT, mean, sneering, anonymous sales girl!) It's also the only record or journal I'm keeping of our time here. So unless my next twitching, hallucinating faint occurs mid-post, the blog will live on. Even if only my mother reads it. Or even if she doesn't.