I had a panic attack in my sleep a few nights ago. In my SLEEP. I'm getting used to the panic attacks now, but having one wake me up from a deep sleep was just too much. My husband was still awake, but I didn't tell him what was going on because, honestly? I'm just sick of them at this point. I don't want to drag anyone else into it if I don't have to. That's probably not a great attitude or strategy, but that's where I'm at now. So I gasped for air, ran to the bathroom, calmed myself down, and then crawled back in bed to a restless sleep.
That night, I dreamt there was a snake in my house, but I couldn't find it. In my dream, I wanted to go to sleep, but I couldn't because I knew there was snake somewhere and I couldn't go to sleep and risk the snake crawling in bed with me. I looked everywhere. I looked under mattresses, in closets, pillowcases, bathtubs, toilets. Everywhere I looked, I expected to find the snake and every time I didn't, I was both relieved and frustrated because I knew I couldn't rest until I found and killed the snake. If you know me at all, you know that snakes are my number one fear. Not even like in a funny way. I once almost threw the carseat I was holding, with my baby buckled inside, because I saw a garter snake 20 feet in front of me. So you can imagine how much fun this dream was for me. It was the worst night of sleep I've had in a long time. Maybe ever.
I woke up about 30 minutes before everyone else in my house. I decided to go downstairs and make myself a cup of tea before my children woke up screaming and demanding that I feed them. (Why do they always have to eat in the morning??) When I walked into the kitchen, I looked out of the window and rolled my eyes because of course the outside reflected what I'd battled in my mind all night long. It was raining and foggy and cold. Just as I was about to let my thoughts defeat me and define my day, God gently reminded me that the rain is proof that Spring is coming. The fog will lift, the sun will shine, and new life will grow and replace all that winter killed.
The same is true for all created things. Trial is as crucial to the believer as the rain is to nature. He is making all things new. Through rain and through struggle, we are being made new. For the first time in my life, I'm on a journey where I can see the change even before the journey is over. Usually you can only see how far you've come once you're far enough to look back, but I can see how far I've come and how far I'm going with every step. Every step is a choice and every choice has immediate consequences, so right now, I'm choosing to live. I'm choosing to believe that through this trial of postpartum depression and anxiety and identity loss, I am being made new. I'm an being refined and perfected and new life is growing from the weeds that have threatened to destroy who I am.
After I'd spent some time with Jesus that morning, I got up from my chair, threw away my tea bag, put my cup in the sink, and made my family french toast. I cut up fresh strawberries and made homemade whipped cream and even though all three of my kids refused to eat it and asked for store brand cheerios (not even the honey kind!) instead, I chose to have joy and we had a great day. In spite of the fog and the rain and the worry that cripples me sometimes, I choose to live and walk in the freedom of knowing that I am being made new.
I hope this encourages you to do the same.