I have no idea what time it is. They have no clocks in this room. My guess is, that’s on purpose. I’ve been tossing and turning, very carefully, for what has seemed like hours now. It could be the strange room, the strange bed, the cords stuck all over my body.
Maybe it’s knowing that someone is watching me.
Whatever it is I’m exhausted and frustrated. Just as I feel like I’ve finally fallen off into the early stages of sleep the door opens, light floods the room and I hear my name. I’m told I have stopped breathing 100’s of times in the 2 hours of sleep I’ve gotten, which I hadn’t even realized I’d gotten.
A mask is placed over my nose and mouth and secured around my head in 2 places with velcro straps. I am now breathing with the assistance of a CPAP machine. The gentleman gets me set up and slips back out, closing the door behind him and leaving me in darkness.
I lay on my back, staring into nothingness, feeling claustrophobic and trying not to cry. Nevertheless tears slip out of my eyes and around the mask. How did I let myself get to this point? I feel ashamed.
As the mother of 4 children, I find myself busy from the time my feet hit the ground in the morning until they are all tucked away for the night. There is Bible study, Awana, Little League, school, all the work that goes in to a home and chasing around 2 year old twins. I am always exhausted.
What I have lost in the shuffle, is me. I am so busy making sure everyone else is taken care of that I neglect to care for myself, an all-too-familiar theme among busy mamas. What’s worse is the voice inside of me that says, “Go through the drive thru! You deserve it!” or “Buy the bag of cookies for later. It’s not going to kill you.” Then one day, you are lying in a hospital bed, breathing with a machine strapped to your face, ashamed, broken and hating yourself.
In my ongoing struggle with my weight, I have been faced with new challenges that have pushed my dreams of a healthy body ever further out of reach. From Graves disease to a surprise twin pregnancy, the curveballs seem to keep coming. I am all too aware however, that a great deal of responsibility lies within my poor choices and lack of self control.
How do we, as busy moms with so much going on around the clock, get to a place where we value ourselves enough to take care of ourselves? You hear it all the time. You have to take care of yourself so you can care for others. There are only so many hours in a day. We work, we sacrifice, we feel invisible at times. We run and run and run until we run ourselves into the ground. And we lose ourselves. We look back and feel guilty about what we didn’t do, or about those moments we weren’t perfect. Often, we don’t recognize who we see in the mirror anymore.
The good news is, none of it changes me in His eyes. The person He sees before Him is no different than who He saw when I was just a little girl singing “Jesus Loves Me” in the grocery store. Just because we may go through a time where we don’t value ourselves like we should doesn’t mean He values us any less. His love for us is unwavering, even when we are alone in the dark, loathing ourselves for whatever decisions got us to where we are. He still wraps His arms around us the same as we would our child when they are sad. To know that Love is never failing and always waiting is enough to keep me trying.