Five Months Of Baby Phoenix And Coping With Anxiety During A Pandemic

It’s been 5 months with this cutie and 5 months of sheltering at home. I wish I could fully express through these words how utterly exhausted AND incredibly grateful I feel

Phoenix is becoming so much more aware of the world around him. He loves his play gym, crinkly toys, and has recently started watching Sesame Street, which he loves. He’s sitting up with support from mommy and daddy. He giggles and laughs, loves silly play and dance parties. 

Although I love making special memories with him in our home, I really wish I could take him to all the places I dreamt of taking him when I had him in my belly. 

Put plainly: this sucks. Becoming a mom at the same time as a global pandemic is not what I ever expected. Especially after waiting so long for our miracle baby. In all honesty, I just feel like it’s so unfair. And I feel selfish admitting that because I know there are people in far worse situations during this time. 

I’ve dealt with the worst anxiety I’ve ever felt in my life. My thoughts have been like an endless roller coaster. And there is so much sadness in my heart. The consensus, from speaking to friends and connecting with others on social media, is that I’m not the only person dealing with this.

While I feel so blessed to have Phoenix, I also feel like he’s missing out on the best version of me (mom guilt, anyone?) I try my very best every single day. But sometimes it’s inevitable to feel worry, anxiety, sadness, and fatigue. 

Being in isolation and dealing with anxiety has taken a toll on me. As I’m sure it has for you with whatever you’re dealing with. We were not created to do life on our own.

So today it’s my true heart’s desire to offer you a space where you don’t feel so alone. Can I share somethings I’ve learned in this pandemic to cope and overcome?

CONNECT
I’ve found it so helpful during this crazy time to connect with other new moms. Listening to what they’re going through has opened my heart and perspective. I’ve been surprised by how their emotions and experiences are much like mine. The result? Not feeling as isolated and alone. While also being reassured that I am not crazy or a bad mom (and neither are you, friend).

TAKE BABY STEPS
If you’re suffering with anxiety, what has helped me is to just take baby steps. Don’t allow people’s expectations or criticism to influence your decisions. It doesn’t matter if no one understands. Trust me, I know this is extremely hard. As a 4 in the enneagram, I really hate feeling misunderstood. Just take care of yourself and do what you need to do, little by little, to move forward. 

BE CONSUMED
Finally, being consumed by God’s presence has given me a place to rest and be made new. For me, being consumed by His presence means to absorb it and give it my full attention. And I’ve practiced that by trading all the crazy things I read or hear for His truth. In order to do that, it’s meant reading his word more, staying away from social media, and having conversation that edify my faith in Him.

I wish life was different right now. I wish I could take my son to my favorite places and share his beautiful smile with the people who love him. My heart is broken that this is life right now. 

But despite all that, in my heart of hearts I know that God is a God who uses all things for our good. I know He is a God who redeems lost time. I know He is a God who mends and heals our broken hearts. And I know He is a God of restoration and nothing is wasted when we put our hope and trust in Him.

Truly, I hope you feel seen and heard through this blog today. I don’t know exactly what you’re facing. We may all be going through the same pandemic, but all our experiences are different. Styld by Grace will be here to offer you support, understanding, and the hope of Jesus.

PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father,
I surrender all the stress, heartbreak, confusion, and anxious thoughts. I ask for you to fill me anew. Lord, I humble myself and bow before you. I come under your Lordship and sovereignty. There is no better place to be. You see the bigger picture. And I trust you. I trust that you’re good and faithful even when I can’t see it. Jesus, I speak your name and declare it over my home and family. There is power in your name. There is nothing that can match it. For you defeated death. And through you we are saved. Lord, give us an extra measure of faith and grace in this season. We lift our eyes up to you. We love you and we’re thankful that in just one moment we can come before your throne and be transformed and renewed. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

IVF ONLY – Keep Fighting, Fighter

Sometimes you just gotta smile through the scary stuff. This was an exciting yet nerve wrecking day. We prayed and trusted God for his will to be done in our lives.

What a road we have been on the past few months. (Well, really the past 3.5 years. Here’s the whole story in case you haven’t read it yet). Our first IVF cycle started in April and I can’t believe we went through that and are (ALMOST) on the other side.

We have been to countless doctor appointments, lost count of all the injections I’ve had to take, cannot explain the discomfort of each pelvic ultrasound, and the ROLLERCOASTER of emotions we have experienced have been exhausting.

IVF is not easy or simple. I knew what I was getting myself into when I chose to go down this route. I knew my faith would be challenged. I knew my physical strength would be challenged. I knew my relationships would be challenged.

Sometimes I HATE that this is our story. Sometimes I CLEARLY see the blessing. And sometimes I doubt why God would choose us. Why he would think I can endure the pain, grief, happy, and elated moments, which you can experience from one moment to the next with just one simple phone call from a nurse.

I clearly remember a couple nights before our egg retrieval. I was so uncomfortable. My ovaries were so enlarged and I was in physical and emotional pain. I was waiting for results from an MRI and I was so so so scared that the results would be something that would hinder the cycle from moving forward.

That night all I could do was cry. So I got out of bed, went into my closet, put my headphones on, played some worship music and started singing to God. There was nothing else I could do. I had to remind myself that even in this process, God was still God. He was with me and was for me.

Moments like that have happened more than I’d like to admit. Fear, anxiety, worry, and just plain sadness are things I have wrestled with through this process. What I’ve learned through it all is that no matter how long you’ve known Jesus or how deep of a prayer life you have, there are somethings that will rock our faith. It’s battles like these that make you realize just how much you need Jesus. More than you ever thought. And you desperately seek Him because, truly, he’s the only person who can get it.

I believe God doesn’t expect us to have it all together. I believe that he knows when our faith needs to be elevated and expanded. Even though we are unaware of our need, he knows exactly how much we need him. He knows that at times, we will feel defeated. He knows that at times, our faith will need to be encouraged. He knows that at times, we’ll need a good cry. And he actually holds space for us to be exactly who we are in those difficult moments of life.

Do I regret making the choice of doing IVF? NEVER. There may be really bad days but the promise of life and hope is so much greater. God has used this to bless us in ways we thought would never be possible. He has shown us a grace that seems impossible for him to give. We have felt cared for and loved by Him through the people in our life. He has shown his great love and faithfulness for us.

If you’re going through a battle right now, I just want to say I’m sorry you’re facing this difficulty. I won’t say I understand exactly what you’re going through because I don’t. But can I encourage you today with something I’ve learned along my journey with infertility?

Fight your battle with an army of people who can pray for you, uplift you, and let you be yourself. Be sensitive to God’s voice as he tells you who that army of people will be. There are very few people who can get in the nitty gritty of tough battles, but God does provide those relationships if we are open to them. I know it’s hard to let people in when you’re at your weakest, but do it anyway. The right people will stick around and will be used by God to help you through it.

This is my closing encouragement to you and to me: KEEP FIGHTING, FIGHTER! Even on the darkest days, when your hope seems very weak and fragile, and your body and heart are faltering. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Please don’t give up. God is for you. God is on your side. Let your fight be hinged on his grace, his promises, and his unending love for you.

Mesmerizing Pottery by the Master Potter

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I’m a bit obsessed with videos of pottery being molded on a wheel. They are just so mesmerizing! When I need a little break from work or need to clear my mind, I go on Instagram to see these beautiful videos. (Check out some of my fave accounts: @tortus_copenhagen & @shopmazama).

When I was in school I took a pottery wheel class and it was one of the most therapeutic things I’ve ever done in my life. It was like being transported to another time and place. And my mind was solely focused on making the piece of clay into a piece of art. If you haven’t ever tried it, you should!

As I watch these videos, I’m reminded of what God’s word says about His role in our lives. He is the potter and we are the clay.

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we are all the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

The clay is made of minerals, soil, and sometimes metal. At first sight, it seems like a bunch of junk. Insignificant and without purpose. Sometimes that clay can be underestimated and even seen as ugly. I have to admit that when I look at the pieces of my life, my past, my dreams, my home, they seem so insignificant and like a bunch of mumble-jumble.

It’s our tendency to forget who we are in God’s hands. And what He does with the fractured, dirty, muddy parts of our lives. He digs deep into our hearts, mold us, and uses even the worst of who we are to make a masterpiece of our lives.

Being in the handmade business has made me realize that every piece is unique. Every piece takes time to print, cut, trim, package, and deliver. And somehow each piece has its beautiful imperfections.

We may not be perfect or perfectly crafted (both physically and spiritually), but God is constantly putting His hand of grace over every single piece and making into a “good work” for His glory.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart…” (Psalm 139:23)

Would you trust God today and let him search the depth of your heart and scummy parts of your life? Can you place your faith in Him, knowing that the work of His hand is good?

Even if at first it seems like nothing, like junk, and you’re uncertain of what the result will be. The work that He can do in your life will create a perfect and mesmerizing piece of art.


What can you do today to allow God to mold the different parts of your life?

 

Anchored by God-Hope

Written by Jenny Ortega. Follow her blog at anchoredbyhispromise.com!


When Theresa asked me to write about being anchored in God, I immediately doubted myself. I felt intimated. I felt like I wasn’t worthy.

As my mind was drowning in negative thoughts, God reminded me of who I am IN Him!

  • I am a daughter of the Most High God.
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
  • I am redeemed.
  • I am precious.
  • I am chosen.
  • I am loved!

This is why God is my anchor! When I doubt myself, when the raging waves surround me, and I am in the midst of a storm seeing no way out, I cling onto Him.

My Anchor holds me in place despite what surrounds me.

But in order to be anchored in God I need to know who He is and who I am IN Him.

When God created Adam and Eve, He walked with them daily. From the very beginning, God created humans to have an intimate relationship with Him. In order to know Him intimately, He provides us with:

His Word
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG)

Prayer
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace… This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” – Matthew 6:6,8 (MSG)

I encourage you to spend time reading His Word and in prayer! It takes a lot of discipline to become consistent, but you will see how God starts working in you as you learn more about who He is!

As a first year teacher, I constantly doubted every move I made. Due to my insecurity, I tried to mimic every teacher around me. I didn’t know who I was and because of that I became everyone else.

When we don’t know who we are, it’s so easy to be swayed by the waves of this world. Our family, society and the world are constantly telling us who we are. But when we are secure in our identity in Christ, in who He called us to be, we are no longer tossed back and forth by the waves. Instead, we stand firm in who God created us to be!

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14 MSG)

I pray that you will allow God to become your anchor! When the storms of life come, remember who He is and who you are IN Him!

For IN Him, we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

I’ll leave you with this:

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5)

We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)

Cling onto Hope!