flying through

I wonder if the caterpillar, as she erupts from the hard shell, when her creaky wings unfold, the sun blinking in her flecks of pixie dust, does she think she might be dying? The wind sounds different now, lifts. Ah and that moment she realizes she’s been reborn.

These are my eyes, yes, the ones I used to have, but here’s new body, new perspective. I know I’ve been here before, but all I remember is that I thought I was dying.

Maybe its like this with all trauma, but when a woman births a baby, especially when she feels the pain of it all, the mind-stretch of war within, the quake of hormones, when all insecurity screams No, but then she does it, it’s like running through a brick wall and coming out the other side of it a different person. Who am I now? Erupted, a mother.

I think the brain must be rewiring itself. The body sending messages, new capabilities to nurture, to distinguish sound waves, to murder. Never are fears more confronted or heightened, scribbled or outlined.

For me postpartum depression is always a threat. I’m more prone. Even now 11 weeks later, it’s an option, but I’ve never stood this closely to it, clearly hearing the threats, the veiled invitations, without accepting them. After my first 3 babies, I simply woke in different levels of the dark place fitted with keys, all the fingerholds that fear had ever made were the keyholes locking me there.

When Titus was born, my latest, most beautiful trauma, I came out the other side of the brick wall a purified, bold-hearted mystic.

My words are wings that catch air. I don’t let my boys say things out loud that aren’t true. When I hear voiced lies, I make them voice truth. Words are swords of correction or fissuring arrows of destruction.

No one believes a thing unheard.

Just yesterday, I heard I can’t do this, too hard, too trapped.

Just as we have internal ears that hear lies, planting in us guilt or the fear of death and loss, we can also hear the voice of truth that speaks freedom and abundant life.

We can hear the voice of God. Acknowledge it. Only the fear of God is a tether of strength.

It’s one thing to never struggle and so to do well, but it’s another thing entirely to experience war and then the God who actively battles with you. I’ve never been more glad for the opportunity to hear His voice, how He comes along side me. Right there He is, giving me truth.

Even our Christian culture discounts the mystic for fear of charismania.

I’ve always referred to depression as the Dark Place. I even have a friend that asks from time to time, “How’s the DP?” Right now it’s a long hall before me. Discount me; I don’t care. I can hear God. I finally admit it, in this wind, stronghold at the nape of neck, flecks of light catching my eye.

I’m flying right through.

photo credit

Comments

  1. I have a dark place too. May God continue to walk with you, to carry you through yours.
    Erin recently posted..Perfect

  2. Oh I am so happy to have found your site. My daughter Ashley sent me here, so knowing I would SO love the way you speak truth. And though you may (or may not) hear it often, I hope you know in your heart of hearts the truth – that you touch and you bless, you illuminate and you lift, through your experience and the words you so carefully choose to express it. And we ARE grateful. Thank you many times over!
    spree

  3. a purified bold hearted mystic. yep. mabel broke open my chrysalis and that’s what came out. river is taking those roots and holding them and demanding a slow down. to think thoughts slower. to notice. slowing down brings ears up and center and hearing God whisper so loudly my ears cry.
    Arianne recently posted..River Promise

  4. “does she think she might be dying?” Doesn’t all trauma feel like a death? Coming out on the other side is thrilling and yet terrifying.

    “Just as we have internal ears that hear lies, planting in us guilt or the fear of death and loss, we can also hear the voice of truth that speaks freedom and abundant life.” — so true!

    Thanks for the blessing today : )

  5. Thank You.

  6. Oh my goodness, Amber… you have hit a spot that I am so terrified of. I went through postpartum depression with my first (now 11 months) and I honestly don’t think that I started to get much better until he was about 9 months old. Each time I’d just tell myself “I just need more sleep. That is all that it is, is lack of sleep” (for he was waking up several times a night until he was 9 months old).

    I am so terrified that with my second I will go through it again.

    Thank you for being real. And thank you for the hope that comes both from knowing I’m not alone (even though I know I am not, it is a different feeling entirely when someone actually says “yes, I’m there, too”), and also the hope of hearing God in the midst of it. Thank you…
    Carissa recently posted..It’s Wednesday

  7. i call depression the dark place or dark times too. and now, now that i know what it’s like to really live there? even a hint and i’m terrified. i’m stopped cold. what if it takes hold again and pulls me under? how will i survive another bout? and then, those new mercies. those mornings when i feel right again are so so joyous. and i have to believe that if it comes to stay again, the dark, then god.
    kendal recently posted..after a faculty meeting

  8. I could be wrong about this, but I wonder if what makes you such a remarkable and beautifully poignant writer is how you feel so deeply. You catching every dimension and the colors others miss or leave unnamed…you’re specially gifted Amber and maybe that sometimes feels and looks dark, but you, you’re really a gift. God’s Light is strong within you, and your walking through a dark place is just illuminating the way for others to see.
    Linda recently posted..A Boy And A Dance

  9. I know the Dark Place too, all those keyholes and what it’s like to watch through blurred eyes as life happens on the other side of them. I always feel like I’m holding my breath for new mamas (even those who have traveled those halls before), and this post is like exhaling. Beautifully, courageously written.
    Bethany recently posted..Color and Light

  10. Damn, this is good.

    The “Dark Place” I know too well. A place of despair gripping me, holding me. This last trauma leaving me gripped, without, desperate.

    You inspire with words. With heart. With you.

    Thank. You.

  11. I’m nearly without words after reading this, but didn’t want that to stop me from commenting. Other commenters have said it beautifully. Thank you for allowing God to use your pain to bring light. Thank you for your honest, beautiful, heart-wrench laid bare for us to see and feel. Bless this work of your hands, Amber. I am honored to be able to visit.

  12. Oh, yes…this. Thank you for being real, thank you for being unashamed of the name ‘mystic,’ thank you for putting it down so well. Why are so many frightened by the idea of mysticism? I just don’t get it – head and heart together, that’s what faith is about. Why fear one part of our God-imaged selves? May the grace of that glorious Wind hold you steady when the tunnel gapes open.

    When I was in high school (MANY eons ago), I discovered the writing of a British author named Elizabeth Goudge. After reading several of her novels, I began to realize that this was a woman who was writing from the inside about depression. Lovely stuff, if you can find it anywhere. “The Scent of Water” was a personal favorite and “The Dean’s Watch.” But there are many – some historical fiction, some not. Now, of course almost all historical!, as they’re set in about the 1940′s I think…
    diana trautwein recently posted..When God Asks the Questions: do you want to be made well?

  13. How I needed to read this: “My words are wings that catch air. I don’t let my boys say things out loud that aren’t true. When I hear voiced lies, I make them voice truth. Words are swords of correction or fissuring arrows of destruction.” Whew, I pray that I can remember this myself, and teach my children…

  14. I have been there and sometimes still am but I have learned a very helpful tool…homeopathics. They really do help. Sometimes there are little shorts in our brain, or we are deficient in various hormones or what have you…but I do know that many times there is a simple solution. My mom rescued me with my first with a homeopathic called post partum from natural creations. If you can’t find it, message me at fortheloveofpaisley@gmail.com and I will be happy to have her ship it to you!

  15. Amber,
    Once upon a time, when Titus was still growing into birth. . I wrote to you and told you that I appreciated the silence of your blog because it was real. There was no forced “I need to do this”. . Truly the silence spoke more than words. This post, that dark place, I went there, into deepest halls, after a miscarriage.
    And now let me just say that your words. . What He has gifted you with. . Thank you Amber. .this is art.
    Danelle recently posted..Patches

  16. Amber, the word “mystic” doesn’t scare me – at least not when it is applied to you. It actually reminds me of that Van Morrison song… “as we sailed into the Mystic…” I’m sure the meaning is different, but I think of that with you . You sail into a mystical place, one that I can’t go to, and you come back and say beautiful things about it with your poetry. I have never had a child, therefore no postpartum depression. I deal with my dark depression, though, every day. And I love reading your words. Half the time the meaning eludes me – your similes and metaphors are sometimes beyond my reach – but your words are still so lyrical that I feel comforted somehow… knowing that other people understand all of the things that I could never put words to. Thank you for that.
    Carolyn Counterman recently posted..Books and Stuff

  17. It is a high price for such power-full words. Thank-you for the fruit of your labor and wrestling.

    Have you read this (?): Thornton Wilder’s one-act play “The Angel That Troubled the Waters,” based on John 5:1-4, dramatizes the power of the pool of Bethesda to heal whenever an angel stirred its waters. A physician comes periodically to the pool hoping to be the first in line and longing to be healed of his melancholy. The angel finally appears but blocks the physcian just as he is ready to step into the water. The angel tells the physician to draw back , for this moment is not for him. The physician pleads for help in his broken voice, but the angel insists that healing is not intended for him.

    The dialogue continues – and then comes the prophetic word from the angel: “Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.”
    Erika recently posted..It Takes A Village

    • wow – Erika – thanks for the quote… I often think of those now who want God, Jesus an angel to appear and then they’ll believe. But it isn’t so – never has been. Many, many encounters with Jesus did not convince most of the people of his time. But somehow a fellow sufferer, a wounded warrior is understood.

    • erika, this is priceless.
      rain recently posted..soul walking on water

  18. stacey neal says:

    i call it the dark place too. i can feel myself going there….like i’m being pulled against my will and my begging God not to let me go is my fingernails digging into the ground. thankfully i haven’t been in that hopeless pit since will….but the threat is there.
    i am thinking about you so often. thank you for this post. i loved everything about it :) missyou

  19. Amber, your posts gut punch me with their honest beauty. Just wow. You write and the world I’ve trudged through sings.

  20. stacey neal says:

    i call it the dark place too. i can feel myself going there….like i’m being pulled against my will and my begging God not to let me go is my fingernails digging into the ground. it’s a hopeless, lonely place where you feel totally and completely worthless and incapable. it’s a place full of nothing but lies and you don’t have the ability to rationalize past them.
    i remember you reaching out to me when i was there after charley kate….but i didn’t think you could possibly understand. i was ashamed and i’m so sorry. please let me reach out to you….humbly. if ever you get a hankerin’ please call! chances are, i need to talk to you more than you need me. :)
    i am thinking about you so often. thank you for this post. i loved everything about it missyou

  21. Powerful words, great imagery. I am shifted in my perspective. Thank you.

  22. I entered a deathly dark place after my first-born. The pressures of a job not yet ready for me to go on leave, where replacement staff messed up every possible aspect, and the pressures of being a mother wrapped me up tight in a dark cocoon and threatened to never let go. I am so incredibly thankful that the dark place left me alone after the birth of my second child this year.
    Your words still bring healing with them to a heart that has been bruised by it all. Thank you.
    Bekka recently posted..Missing Pieces

  23. Winston Churchill (though not post-partum) but depressed – called it the ‘black dog.’ The last nasty bout I had left me with this picture. Deep under the covers for several days, numb, tearful, fearful, shaky… with Jesus curled up beside me.
    I saw the ‘road’ we travel as believers…life, the journey from here to there… and I could not take even one more step, could not, in fact stay on the path. Sat down, collapsed really, on the side of the road, unable to rise, unable to walk or crawl or engage in any thought of the next move. Yet Jesus did not stand above me, urging me on; did not go ahead and call out to me to catch up; did not scold or shame me for my weakness; did not tap His foot impatiently waiting for me to ‘get it together’. Instead He quietly sat down beside me and waited. Never leaving or forsaking me… waited quietly in my space, His very presence giving me rest, healing and comfort, able to wait as long as it takes. There is a different view from the side of the road and I was never alone in my ditch and never will be alone there or in any pit, fire or flood that may come. Halleluyah… His faithfulness astounds me, His gentleness heals and assures me, His love > unspeakable.

  24. wow…..i can really relate, in so many ways. especially about the dark place. i’ve come to believe that whenever our lives seem darkest, that means God is covering us the most, and we are buried deep and safe within the shadow of the Most High.

    blessings to you.
    rain recently posted..soul walking on water

  25. “Erupted, a mother.”
    That is the truth of it – explosion – unprepared and yet there. he. is.
    Mercy. For all we can do is walk into the wall. Accepting. Dying. Living. Amen.
    Beautiful Amber, really beautiful.

  26. “It’s one thing to never struggle and so to do well, but it’s another thing entirely to experience war and then the God who actively battles with you. I’ve never been more glad for the opportunity to hear His voice, how He comes along side me. Right there He is, giving me truth.”

    This sprung stinging tears to my eyes. I’m battling, but I had forgotten that God’s there along side us even when we don’t want to look him the eye, don’t want him there seeing us in our weakest, darkest places.
    Elizabeth recently posted..full

  27. This writing of yours takes my words, my breath away.
    Jo@Mylestones recently posted..A Quiet Harvest

  28. Hi Amber, I am speechless… You really hit me straight into my heart. I am sometimes into this dark place and the only thing that makes me out of a terrible depression is my faith with God. Everything, I know I can surpass if I surrender it all with the Lord our God.
    Marquitta recently posted..How To Get Rid of Cellulite On Back of Thighs

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  1. [...] The Run a Muck. There isn’t much to say about this blog other than that I love her heart. This post about postpartum depression was the one that got me hooked on reading her [...]

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