It feels so weird/good to be back on here writing a post. But mostly, so GOOD! Now grab a coffee and get cozy, because this is a long one!
Some of you may have caught my post back in May, where I said I would be taking some time off from blogging to focus on my family/life at home. I honestly wasn’t sure if this was going to be a temporary leave, or if I was closing the door on this part of my life for good. All I knew for sure was that God had been pulling me back home (to my marriage/Shiloh/responsibilities) for awhile, and it was finally time for me to submit. Even though I didn’t understand why He was pulling me away from nearly my only hobby/creative outlet, I decided to be obedient to His call and follow His direction. I knew from day one that whether I would return to blogging or not, that one day I would be sharing my story with all of you (something I had been wanting to do for years, but knew it wasn’t time yet). Little did I know, there was so much more to be written in this “story,” and that I was about to endure the single hardest season of my life. My life story is long and some parts are pretty heavy. But 5 years ago my friend Jesus met me exactly where I was at (super distant from Him!!), and turned my life around completely! I’ve still experienced many hard seasons since, but the hope & peace I have knowing that I am fully loved, fully forgiven, and fully redeemed by His grace are some things that make everything different. He has been SO faithful through the good and the bad, and the blessings I’ve seen in my life through fully relying on Him are nothing short of miracles. So keep reading for just a taste of my story from only the past 2 years (someday I’ll share all of it & my full testimony), and how God is using the worst days of my life to work in my favor, and how He promises to do the same for you. ♡
*nail color linked below & in shade ‘Don’t Bossa Nova Me Around’*
Getting off of social media and my work back in May was amazing pretty much right off the bat. I noticed a major difference in Shiloh, my marriage was thriving, I was getting tons done around the house & felt like I was just really doing exactly what I was called to do.
Many of you who are close to me IRL know that I have struggled with anxiety & depression for most of my adult life. I had been on medication for some time, but weaned off shortly after getting married. I was able to somewhat hang in there during my pregnancy, but after Shiloh was born, both my depression & anxiety started to rear their ugly heads. I developed social anxiety, which I had NEVER dealt with in my entire life. I could not walk to the mailbox, or let alone open the door to get a package off our doorstep without being overcome with extreme paranoia and panic. I started to hate being in my own body because of those constant feelings, and became much more depressed. I wasn’t eating pretty much at all, and lost 20+ pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight (I was 128 when I got pregnant, 152 when Shiloh was born, and got all the way down to 107 – my “healthy” weight is around 120-125, for reference). I wasn’t trying to get skinny at all, but between breastfeeding and the depression, the weight just seemed to keep falling off. When Shiloh was almost 7 months old, I completely lost my milk from being so underweight. This absolutely crushed me. Once we were completely done with breastfeeding, my hormones were, of course, thrown off again, and my mental health finally hit rock bottom. For 2 weeks I couldn’t get out of bed because I was so weak & depressed, and needed constant help with Shiloh. I finally gave in and decided that I probably did need to be back on medication. I fought it for so long, but it was costing me everything I had and it just wasn’t worth it anymore. (Side note/disclaimer: Everyone has a different opinion on mental health & medication. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with being on medication if your body needs it. Some people’s bodies do not produce sufficient amounts of certain essential chemicals, and just need the extra added boost in order to function. I am not a professional, but I know what works for my body after lots of trial & error, and seeking multiple medical & natural opinions. I am not trying to persuade you either way, but want to say, please don’t be ashamed if you are struggling with ANY sort of mental strongholds, or pass judgement on those who are. Seeking help, whether wise counsel, therapy, medication, a friend, etc, is the strong & smart thing to do. You deserve a life you enjoy, and no matter where you are today, it IS possible!!)
What’s ironic is that during this time, I know I looked so happy on social media. I was posting cute new outfits every day & had quickly lost all of my baby weight & more. I had heard through the grapevine that people were discussing my weight behind my back, some worried, some jealous, and some thought I looked amazing. And because people were looking solely at my Instagram, I was also hearing all the time (and still do, which is honestly my BIGGEST pet peeve EVER!), “Wow, Jordan’s so young and she has her whole life together.” “I can’t be friends with her because she makes me feel bad about myself because her life is so perfect.” “She’s only 26 and has a perfect baby and a perfect marriage and a perfect body and perfect clothes etc etc etc.” All I can think when I hear that is, “You have NO idea dude!!!!!” It literally makes me want to scream. And I’m not sharing any of those quotes to toot my own horn. Trust me, I don’t believe a single word of them myself. I have insecurities, mental strongholds, occasional tension in my marriage, comparison to other bloggers that I have to battle, you know, NORMAL human things!! Just like everyone else does! This is 2018, have we not learned by now that social media is NOT an accurate depiction of someone’s life?? That we are ALL fighting different battles?? That the word “perfect” should never be used to describe anyone, but our God?! And when we learn that someone who’s life we assumed was perfect, is indeed NOT perfect, it brings us comfort. Why is that? We are not meant to be perfect, as humans. And this comparission/assumption epedemic has got to come to an end! Let’s all do our best to build each other up, to be on each other’s teams, and to be happy when others are blessed!
I began to finally feel normal again right around Shiloh’s 1st birthday (October 2017). We decided we wanted to start trying to get pregnant again this spring, so once again, I went off of medication. I was great for a few months, but then my anxiety started to slowly creep back in way worse than I had ever experienced before. Finally one morning in June, I woke up feeling really lightheaded and my heart was pounding. I wasn’t necessarily anxious about anything specifically, but I think the panic and anxiety had been building up for a while. I tried to get Shiloh out of her crib and the feeling just kept getting worse. Christian was at work, so I decided to put Shiloh back in bed and call my in laws who live just a couple minutes away. I couldn’t make it down the stairs to grab myself some water/food (thinking it might be dehydration or low blood sugar), and nearly fainted while on the stairs. I decided to call 911 because I didn’t even feel like I could make it to the car to get to the emergency room I was so weak. (My heart is racing & palms are sweating as I write this – literally the scariest day of my life) By the time the paramedics had arrived, I had managed to crawl back up the stairs and get into my bed, and my father in law was taking care of Shiloh. I was completely blacked out and couldn’t sit up for the paramedics to carry me downstairs, so they had to roll me into a bodybag type thing, out of bed, down the stairs & into the ambulance. I was “conscious” this whole time, but couldn’t speak or move my body. I could hear everything the paramedics were saying, and my thoughts were working, but my body & physical functions were not. The entire time I was in the ambulance I was praying. I honestly thought I was having a heart-attack or dying. This was such a long day, so I’ll try to spare most of the details and keep this short..
My resting heart rate remained in the 150s the entire day through to the early evening. I continued to go in and out of fainting the whole time as well. Luckily, my mom was able to arrive at the ER shortly after I got there, and Christian came a bit later once he was able to leave work. They ran every test under the sun and all came back clear & healthy. So that was good news! They determined that I had experienced a major panic attack, and have a condition basically where my heart beats so fast that I faint when I’m anxious. After spending a night in the hospital, I was released to return home. They gave me a new prescription and so began a whole new really really difficult season of life for all of us.
I should also mention that the night before my ‘episode,’ Christian & I started serving as Youth Pastors at our church. I don’t think the timing of any of this was coincidental. In fact, while in the hospital, I came across the below excerpt on Instagram (I’ve since ordered a hard copy of this devotional for myself & many others, and it is LIFE CHANGING!). The big bold title reading “THIS IS A TEST” immediately caught my attention & tugged at my spirit. Tears came to my eyes as I read the scripture and devotional. It was like God was talking directly to me! I couldn’t shake the thought that this message essentially just fell into my lap, and especially the part about “We don’t get promoted in ministry because we have our Bible underlined in two colors but because we have been tested and tried, and we dug in and we passed the tests even though it was hard” – Joyce Meyer (emphasis mine). I can’t even begin to explain the amount of peace & comfort that overcame me after reading this page. I showed it to Christian at the same time and he too was in awe. God is so good and is willing and able to take our pain and turn it around for our good. 3 scriptures that really helped get me through this season were the 2 mentioned below (Deuteronomy 8:2 & James 1:12), and Romans 8:28. I also listen to Joyce Meyer pretty consistently. She has sooo much wisdom and is a true testimony to God’s love and faithfulness when it comes to overcoming emotional pain.
As I mentioned, the “test” wasn’t over after getting released from the hospital. Not even a little bit! Every day for the next 2 months, I would hear Shiloh wake up in the morning and immediately feel like I was going to pass out. I think this was a trigger for my anxiety because of what happened the morning I went to the hospital. I was also on a new medication, and I had every. single. side effect from it. For 8 weeks. Every day. Including increased anxiety – go figure – nausea, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea (sorry 😖), intense migraines, etc. So for those 2 months, I had help. Lots and lots and lots and lots of help. Between my in-laws & parents & Christian, I had to always have somebody over not just to take care of Shiloh, but because I was convinced that if I was left alone again, the same thing would happen and I would faint and be rushed to the hospital. My mind was a complete mess. I honestly don’t know how I did it, but I somehow managed to push through at least going to our weekly youth meetings at church, but had to battle my anxiety every minute. Christian & I both agree that this was the single hardest thing either of us had ever gone through both separately & together.
Those 2 months were LONG & excruciatingly hard and painful. Not being able to care for my own baby was heartbreaking and something I pray I never have to go through again. I’ve slowly gotten better each day since, but it’s been something I have to work at intentionally to this day. My days have certainly gotten MUCH easier and the anxiety attacks are less frequent, and easier to catch early on/talk myself out of. I’m weirdly very grateful for these really difficult past 2 years. I’ve learned SO much, become so much stronger and more mature, and most importantly my relationship with the Lord has grown so much more than I think it ever would have had I not had to rely so intensely on Him, and had no choice but to trust Him with everything I have. God has completely delivered me from my clinical depression, which is something I suffered from for over 10 years, and fully overcome my social anxiety. Though the general anxiety is more current, I have no doubt that I will see full deliverance in this area someday as well. It’s funny because once I was mentally able to care for Shiloh on my own again, I ended up with a reallyyy bad uti that actually came on before the hospital scenario, and lasted until about a month ago (it was like 3 months long), and a sinus infection after that. Talk about being tested!! These are things that would have really held me back in the past, and after the whole anxiety season, none of it even phased me. I was just SO grateful to not be feeling like I was going to faint constantly, and finally being able to care for my baby. This whole experience completely changed my perspective in the best way. I know that none of these events occurred by coincidence, and I feel very strongly that God will continue to use my struggles/victories for his ultimate glory in helping others fighting similar battles. I’ve been working on a mini message to share with our youth next week, and it really fits right in with this post. I hope that you, too, can be encouraged by this truth:
God does not ever CAUSE our pain,
but sometimes allows us to walk through difficult seasons
to build us up for our future.
Trust Him during these tests/trials,
don’t try to figure them all out on your own.
The battle has already been won & He is in control,
whether you feel it or not.
There will always be “seasons” of hardship,
but take heart – they are referred to as seasons
because they always come to an end.
Your season may not be a few months long,
like spring, winter, summer or fall,
but it WILL pass & you WILL receive your blessing
if you keep your trust in the Lord!
Thank you for reading my story & allowing to be raw & honest through this platform. It really is so therapeutic to be able to pour your heart out sometimes, and I feel so blessed to be able to share this way! I love you all! Xoxo
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