Monday, September 27, 2010

A Healing Heart

As some of you remember from my birthday post, I have set some goals for my 30th (which is actually my 31st) year of life. I want to do some things that I've never done and a fitness boot camp was one of them...notice I said WAS.

That's right! I've finished my 9-week challenge and I've seen some amazing results -which will be revealed later this week. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

I started the Fitness Boot Camp for several reasons:

1. I've never done it before and it's on my list.
2. I wanted to be in better shape.
3. I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

After losing our baby I went through a period of pretty rough depression. I have two young boys that I needed to care for daily, and I did that. I got up in the morning and I cared for them. But I did that while I was in my pajamas all day. I did that while crying at the drop of a hat. I did that with an open wound. I did that while questioning God's reason for my loss and wondering if it was my fault. I did it with guilt over my responsibility (if there was any) in losing my baby. I cared for my boys with all the strength that I had - which wasn't much. I'm so thankful that I have a wonderful husband who supported me through all of this (by cooking, cleaning, showing me grace, loving me in such a special way). And it's hard to admit that the days were so dark.

A few weeks before my birthday my husband asked me if I'd like to join a fitness boot camp. He'd heard me talk about my birthday list and wanted to encourage me in that. I told him that I needed to think about it. Then I talked to some friends at church that had done Goals In Motion. I gave them lots of excuses of why I wouldn't be able to join the 9-week challenge but I think I was just scared.

It had been a long time since I had really done something for myself. As mothers we are so used to sacrificing our time, our schedules, our comfort, our sleep, our bodies, our minds, our hearts to our children and not take time for ourselves. I felt guilty for the cost of the program and didn't think that I was worth that. We had money saved up and my husband wanted to give this to me as a gift. So I accepted the challenge and knew that the cost of the program alone would keep me feeling guilty motivated enough to keep going.

I'd say the hardest parts of the program were getting up at 4:30a to be at the gym by 5a, eating enough throughout the day, and not eating carbs after 3p. And I can't say that I was very disciplined with my eating. I was really strict at the beginning and got a little more relaxed at the end - which isn't a good idea.

I started seeing results and noticed my clothes fitting looser and that I was losing my double chin and gaining a neck. ;) I was happy with the changes but thought I would feel better. I thought that seeing my body change would make me happy. I thought it would make me feel good again, but I wasn't and it didn't.

I was still sad. Still mourning. Still questioning. My body may have started to look better, but my heart was still bleeding and I was still nursing an open painful wound. All the kick-boxing and beating that bag was not helping my heart like I thought it would. All the weight-lifting and doing things that I never thought I'd be able to do was exciting and encouraging but it wasn't healing.

I think that it's important to realize that making yourself get out of bed, that working out regularly, that smiling and holding your tongue, are all ways to survive grief and make it through a whole, albeit changed, person. But that's not what was healing to me. Being on my blog talking about my loss, humbling myself enough to ask for prayer, reaching out to friends and family to tell them where my heart is at. Being real with people and sharing my thoughts and feelings was what I found to be healing to me. And it's not easy.

I learned quickly whom I could trust. I learned that some people are better listeners and some are better talkers. I learned that you will get burned in the process and not everyone is understanding. I learned that the people who had gone through this type of loss (even if they were strangers) were the only ones who really understood, who really had advice and stories that I wanted to hear, who I could really listen to talk about God's promises and God's love. I couldn't stand to hear someone compare my baby's death to the death of a grandparent or an elderly parent. I couldn't stand to hear people quote Scripture about God's plans and His promises for His children. So in the process of healing there is a fine line - learning how to guard my heart but not isolate myself. But when I wasn't talking about my loss, when I wasn't asking for prayer that's when my heart and mind took it's deepest dive into the valley.

All this is to say that I did survive fitness boot camp and it was a great encouragement (and success) but it's not the thing that healed my heart. Being with the people of God and humbling myself enough to talk about my loss and ask for prayer is what is healing my heart.

1 comment:

Heather said...

THanking Jesus with you Jess for the work of healing He IS doing. I am grateful He knows exactly what and who you need and is faithful. Continuing to pray for you friend that you will feel the hold of His hand in even the darkest moment. Thanking God also for that great man of yours. Excited for how He has provided for Florida!!! Can't wait to give you a hug!