This past week has been all about change for me. I'm so grateful for the responses, advice, and words of encouragement I received from family and friends after last Thursday's post. I felt a change come over me as soon as I wrote it and hit that "publish" button, but it wasn't until reading all your emails and posts that I truly let go and let all the emotions and stress come out in a really good cry.
I have been pulling patience from every corner of my body this week while taking care of Parker. I have surprised even myself that I've done as well as I have because he has been needier and crankier than ever! He went four days in a row without a good nap. Jake's parents took him on Friday night for us, but the timing was difficult and I tried to give him an early nap but it didn't work. We ended up leaving for their place around his usual nap time and he had a little cat nap on the way to their place, but that was it. Saturday he wouldn't nap for Jake's folks, but he at least got some quiet time in his crib. Sunday we visited my friend Christine in San Bernardino, and Monday I had a doctor's appointment during his usual nap time (again, an early quite /nap time didn't go over so well). While he did surprisingly well during those days, going to bed early wasn't cutting it and he was starting to wake up earlier and earlier every day. By Tuesday, I was dealing with a very tired boy. His eyes even had dark circles under them. We didn't go anywhere that day (except on a little walk around our neighborhood) and he took a much needed solid two hour nap. Yesterday he went down for his nap late because we got caught in the rain and it made everything take longer, but at least he eventually slept, even though it was very apparent when he woke that he needed more sleep and I think he would have slept more if I let him. I didn't though because it was already 4:15 PM.
I mention all of this because considering it, if all of this had happened a few weeks ago, I would have been stressed to the max about Parker not getting enough sleep. But this week, while I have worried about it a little (I'm not going to lie) I didn't really feel anxious or stressed about it like I normally would. I just put it in my head that sometimes we'll have busy weeks like this and there's not much we can do about it and as long as I didn't try to put him through it every day, we would eventually get past this hump. At least I do know for sure now that he is not ready to give up his nap /quiet time as I feared. He definitely still needs quiet time every day and a nap on at least some of those days.
Going back to Monday's doctor appointment, I'm also very grateful to have been referred to this new endocrinologist. At first I thought it was silly of my doctor to refer me since my Graves disease has been treated in the past already and all that really has to be done now is monitor my thyroid levels and change medication levels as necessary. But now I realize it was a blessing. The endocrinologist seemed to know more about how thyroid dysfunction could be affecting other things in my body and that the symptoms I've been having were probably not solely a result of my medication levels being off. He had me do some more blood work a few weeks ago and I got the results on Monday. It turns out I have a mild case of iron deficiency anemia, which I discovered through WebMD can be brought on by hypothyroidism. It can cause fatigue, insomnia, and racing heart (all of which I've had but thought it was solely thyroid related). I also have a vitamin D deficiency, which does not 'cause any real immediate side effects, but can lead not only to your body not absorbing calcium, but potentially lead to heart problems and auto immune disorders (mostly diabetes). I think he mostly just checked that because studies lately have shown that over half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, and younger women are especially at risk since we tend to wear sunscreen more than men. In any case, both of those things are fairly easy to fix and even just after a few days of taking iron supplements I've noticed I've been feeling better and have had less heart symptoms and have been sleeping better (when I do sleep, that is). I also had the energy to exercise a couple of times this week (although my back protested a little).
The other major thing I'm grateful for this week is an ever increasing closeness to God. I have gone through quite a few years without the same faith I used to have. In the beginning of college, I was very spiritual. I hung out with other Christians and studied the Bible a lot. Then I met people (good people) who were not Christians who started planting seeds of doubt in me. I mean, it is hard for me to believe that so many good people who do not believe in God will not go to Heaven. I still can't really accept that idea. Then there are the judgments and wars and overall terrible things that people have done in the name of God that just turned me off. The final thing that turned me away from Church and organized religion was the hypocrisy of the church members. The last time I went to a church service, a couple of women behind me spent the entire service talking, just about every day things, like it was no big deal. I was so upset I never went back. I never really stopped believing in God, but not reading my Bible, praying and spending time with other Christians has led to some serious lack of spirituality and balance.
I realize now how unhappy I've been without that spirituality. What has changed? Most of you will probably be very surprised. It's kind of a long story, but one day I let in a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses who had been coming to my door frequently with pamphlets and showing me passages from the Bible. I treated them at first as many people do. I avoided them like the plague. But when they did catch me, they were very nice and pretty soon these women wore down my shield and I asked them to come in. What I've discovered since then has really surprised me. I had always thought that Jehovah's Witnesses were like a weird cult with strange beliefs that didn't follow Christianity. What I've discovered is that they are not like that at all. In fact, I had many difficult questions for them and they had an answer for all of them, directly from the Bible. They seem to have a huge knowledge of the Bible. They study it and try to pass the message along. Here are some things that are different from other Christian groups: 1) They do not believe in praying to a cross or using a cross as a symbol. It is actually a pagan symbol (anyone who's read The Da Vinci Code knows this) and it is almost like worshiping an idol. 2) They call God Jehovah because it is the most ancient Biblical name that was given to God. 3) They believe Jesus is God's son and appointed king, but they don't believe Jesus is God or at the same level as God and showed me Bible passages where Jesus has stated this himself. After learning all of this about them, my original judgment has been altered. So now, every Tuesday, a couple of women drop by and we study the Bible. These women are normal, caring, loving people. I was surprised by their warmth and friendliness and I feel like I've finally come across some "real" people. It is especially surprising knowing all the rejection they face all the time.
I have been hesitant to admit all of this to many people because I know the stigma that's attached to Jehovah's Witnesses (and even my dear hubby gives me a really hard time about it), but I thought since I'm getting free Bible study from them and encouragement to read my Bible again, it would only be fair to give them credit and let people know that they aren't the freaks people make them out to be (I guess anyone who doesn't believe in God would still consider them freaks, but anyone who does should know that they're not bad cult-like people!) This seemed like really good timing because I've been considering joining MOPS for awhile (which is a Bible study / talk group for "Mothers of Preschoolers"), but the cost to attend was surprisingly high. I have a renewed peace in my heart feeling like I have found a treasure again that I lost long ago.