When the garden is gone

I must admit I’m sad to see our garden now gone.

I miss the garden even though it didn’t yield much in the way of produce. Our backyard seems so barren and drab now with the garden dead and the left over plants brown and brittle and crushed under the weight of the snow and frost.

For awhile this Fall we had unseasonably warm weather. That warm weather meant the grass was greener longer, which was welcome, but not normal and I don’t like when things are abnormal when it comes to my routine and environment.

 The days became shorter, nights and mornings cooler and I knew soon there would be less sun. Because things had been so weird in the world the past several months, I was actually yearning for the normalcy of warm weather fading into cool weather and cool weather slipping into cold weather. I wanted, in some ways even, for it to get darker earlier, though it meant less sunlight and time to play outside with the kids. Yet, even as I yearned for the normal cold of winter, in the pit of my stomach I felt dread because weird things seem to happen in my world when the days are shorter and the sunlight is less. Most years it’s is depression that sets in and invades everything in my life.

Last year it was depression but it was also sickness and the loss of our dog and then for three months straight I vibrated inside like I was sitting 24/7 on an engine.

No one could figure the vibrating out – not my family, not doctors.  A couple blood tests were off but nothing pointed to a medical cause of what I could only describe as internal vibrating. Not being able to pinpoint a reason for it scared me and the more fear set in, the more I vibrated, night and day. 

When it started I thought it was my ears. They had been stuffed and full all winter and my balance was off. No one else thought it was my ears. They thought it was all in my head. Soon I began to think the same thing and even now, I still wonder. The only people who could relate were two friends – one who had something slightly similar during panic attacks and another who said a friend who had recently lost her brother told her she had been vibrating inside for weeks and felt it was from extreme stress. 

I hadn’t faced any trauma, though, so what was wrong with me, I wondered. Losing a pet who had been part of our family for 14 years wasn’t the same as losing a brother, even if the loss of the dog was intertwined with overwhelming guilt for me since I believed, and still believe, I could have reduced my little dog’s suffering if I’d only focused more on his needs and less on my own.

The vibrating wasn’t a symptom of any medical conditions, a doctor told me. It was much more likely my physical symptoms were stemming from mental anguish, anxiety and a complete loss of normalcy and security in my life, she said. In other words – I was suffering a near mental breakdown, or at least that’s how I understood what the doctor said.

In the next month heart palpitations and nighttime waking caused by feeling like I had stopped breathing kept me awake most nights. I felt like my body was turning on me, trying to kill me. I soon  realized it wasn’t my body that was trying to kill me but my mind. And even more than my mind it was spiritual forces influencing my mind and driving me further into panic, fear and sheer terror.

 Were my symptoms real?

Honestly, there are days I still wonder. 

I stepped up my electrolytes and started to stretch muscles and do lymph node massages to try to drain the ears. I listened to sermons day and night about fear and rebuking evil. Slowly the vibrating stopped and one morning I woke up and it was gone completely.

Even now I can’t be sure what combination helped the most, or what was really going on, but I know prayer was the only thing that got me through.

Trusting Christ, using His words to fight a battle waging around me in the spiritual realm was what I needed most. This is not the first time I’ve found myself battling demons and knowing things were moving against me spiritually.

Before the battle was against the very fabric of my family. This time it was my health and like before I only saw the physical battle. Even more during this battle than the last, I was spun out of mental control. This battle told me I was going to die and leave my children alone. These thoughts didn’t just tell me my family would fall apart but I would lose Nmy life.

There are times I still feel the dread that it will all happen again but I know I now have weapons I didn’t quite understand how to access before. And I’m still learning.

A sermon by Joseph Prince about the battle for our mind is something I have listened to on repeat for almost a year now.  

Prince talks about our mind being where the main battles are waged in our life. And those battles are launched in the spiritual realm, not the physical one. 

The battles we often see as physical- the health concerns, the financial worries, the tension within our families- are being waged in the spiritual realms and we can’t fight them the way we would in the physical world. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons and our main weapon is fervent, focused prayer.  

Speaker Priscilla Shirer saysin her book “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer”:

“If I were your enemy, I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation. I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you, leaving you indecisive, clinging to safety and sameness, always on the defensive because of what might happen. When you hear the word faith, all I’d want you to hear is “unnecessary risk.” 

And that is what happened to me – I was crippled mentally. I couldn’t fathom anything positive coming from what was happening to me and I lost interest in everything I loved. I clung to my house and my bed and yes, I felt having faith was a risk to me, to have my hopes and dreams shattered around me.

When I find my thoughts drifting back to last year, to the darkness and the fear, I try to remember what finally pulled me through – placing my focus not on my enemies of Fear and Dread and Infirmity but on Christ and my knowledge of Him wanting the best for us, even when we feel like our lives are totally out of control.
 

We may not always understand why we are in the midst of our trials but we always know who is the author of our story and He was there when our story began and He will be there when our story ends.

Ordinary Moments in Ordinary Days Oct. 6, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8

This is part of a new project called Ordinary Moments in Ordinary Days where I capture ordinary moments in our days for the month of October. Those ordinary moments often make up very extraordinary lives. We may not all be famous or save lives on a global scale or make a national or international impact, but each of us have the opportunity to touch others, show them light, and speak life. Each of us have moments, the small moments, the little details of our day, that mean something to us, even if they don’t mean anything to anyone else.

 

Oct. 6, 2017 | We picked you up from your overnight sleep over today. Little Miss couldn’t wait to pick up “my boy” as she calls you. You were excited to show my the cabin you and your classmates stayed in, the kitchen cabin where you ate, and the places you hiked. You also showed me the scrapes on your face from when you ran into that tree and told me you’d broke your glasses when a ball hit you in the face, but you were able to fix them. You were happy, excited and I was glad neither of us let our fear keep you from having fun.

Oct. 7, 2017 | We went to a painting party for one of our niece’s birthday and Little Miss decided she needed to paint as well, including on my canvas. In the end it ended up being a joint effort after two of the nieces took over to finish the project so I could take out the toddler who needed a nap. Little Miss loves art and I love that she loves art. I do, however, wish she wouldn’t try to create on my art.

Oct. 8, 2017 | A little bit of croquette with The Boy in my parents’ yard as the sun had already set. On the other side of the house Little Miss and Daddy were raking up leaves to jump in. We ended up abandoning the one pile because of a large field spider that ran out of the leaves and then ran back in when we tried to remove it. 

10 on 10 for June

Suddenly 10 on 10 is here! This is a post to share ten photos from the previous month on the tenth day of the month, or ten photos from the same day posted on the tenth day of the month. Follow the  circle around. (which I think is only two of us this month!) by continuing to Anna Hurley.

Field trip with his class.

Field trip with his class.

Messy days.

Messy days.

Exploring.

Exploring.

Weed blowing.

Weed blowing.

Puddles.

Puddles.

Golden.

Golden.

More weed blowing.

More weed blowing.

Garden.

Garden.

More puddles.

More puddles.

playground  

playground  

The worm is not a pet and no, he can’t come inside

The rain clouds had turned the sky dark an hour and a half ago and a shower rushed through and dampened the ground. Still, we soldiered on and decided to plant some seeds in our garden space.

Miss G wasn’t interested in planting, but she did enjoy digging. 

I can still hear the little gasp she made when I found the first worm. She’s already fascinated with ants and roly polies and any insects that makes its way across the sidewalk.

The other day Miss G looked at me and said she saw a roly polie but now he was gone.

“Oh no,” I said. “Where is he?”

Her expression became very serious, but not sad, and in a strict, matter of fact tone she said “he’s dead.”

I said, “dead? Are you sure? Sometimes they just flip over on their backs and can’t get up again.”

“No,” she said, a little firmer this time. “He’s dead.”

My heart ached a little that already at 2 she understands that a bug not moving means he is indeed dead.

But on this day she had a new fascination. Worms.

I started it, I guess. 

“Oh! Look at this worm! He’s huge!” I said that day.

And so we looked at him. And then we put him on her wooden spoon I’d let her use for digging. 

“I want to keep him,” she told me, holding the spoon with the worm on it. “I want to take him inside with me.”

“No. Honey, he would be happier out here in the dirt. The dirt is his home.”

“No. He come inside with me. In the house.”

“Honey, you can’t bring a worm in the house. He needs to stay outside with his family. We have pets. Smokey and Pixel are our pets.”

Smokey and Pixel are our cats. 

I shouldn’t have mentioned the word “pet.”

“He can be my pet.”

“Honey, I’m afraid Pixel will eat him.”

She was indignant and saw right through my attempt.

“Pixel won’t eat him! He huge!”

I tried again.

“But she might think he’s a toy.”

She kept looking at the worm and said, “He not a toy! He a worm!”

In the middle of the conversation “he” becomes a “she” and now she’s mama worm.

“Mama worm happy here.”

“Honey, I don’t think she’s happy on a wooden spoon.”

She places the worm on her plastic slide.

“She happy on the slide. See?”

I point out the worm is crawling off the slide.

“She needs to be in the dirt with her family.”

“She happy on the slide.”

She thoughtfully pauses while laying the worm on the edge of the plastic slide. 

“I worry about her.” She said, her head hanging down a little and her lower lip pushing out.

“I know but she is used to living in the dirt. That’s her home. She can take care of herself there.”

She watched her and moved her a bit. She let out a heavy sigh.

“Bye mama worm.”

“Are you going to leave her here? Maybe we should put her back in the garden?”

She carried her back to the garden, set her in a hole and covered her with dirt.

She looked at the dirt a few seconds “bye, mama worm.”

She walked away, head hanging down. She ran to me and hugged my legs. 

“I hope mama worm okay,” she said.

“She’ll be okay. Do you want a popsicle?I think I have grape.”

“Pospicle! Yeah!”

Inside with her popsicle she says again “I hope mama worm okay.”

She is, honey, but she’s lucky to have someone who cares for her as much as I care for you.