Thursday, January 25

MIA

It’s been 578 days since my last blog post.  I knew it had been a lengthy stent, but when I saw that number pop up in the Google search bar, I was a little ashamed.  Yes, I Googled how many days it’s been since June 23rd, 2016…  I teach Pre-K, math isn’t my strong suit. 

An entire lifetime has passed since my last post, it feels like. 

We’ve experienced so many life altering changes in the past two years, beginning with a shift in our church home as well as my school home.  In May of 2016 we followed God’s calling and left our church of 6 years to pour into our community where we immediately found a family at our new church.  We have been strengthened as a family, and I have been stretched both as an individual and as a worship leader.  Not three months later, I left my school of 5 years as I began my new job as a full day Pre-K teacher at my new school.  As much as I’ve missed my coworkers from my last elementary school, this has definitely been an answered prayer in my life.  God has blessed me with an incredible partner to work with as well as coworkers whom I consider family.  Not to mention, I’ve discovered that Pre-K is my jam!

In November of 2016, we put our home on the market, and in less than 24 hours, signed a contract selling it to a wonderful family.  We packed up everything we owned, shoved it all into a tiny storage unit, and the 4 of us moved in with my mom over Thanksgiving break.


Our plan was to move into the home we were preparing to build by Summer of 2017.  This was the same time that we discovered I was expecting our third miracle baby.  His due date was set for June 14th, perfect for our estimated move in date!



Case Ellison Morgan was born at 35 weeks, on May 12th, 2017 after nearly 9 weeks of bed rest.  After having my third preemie It seems that pregnancy is just NOT my jam.  However, God has surely blessed us!  Case spent 10 very long days in the NICU, and today, he is a thriving, incredibly strong, incredibly happy 8 month old!  And yes, our family is complete! 



Fast forward to present time.  The now 5 of us are still living with my mom.  All of our belongings still packed up in the tiny storage unit.  We’ve gone from a family of 4 to a family of 5.  Callie has completed pre-k and is now more than half way through her Kindergarten year.  Kellan celebrated his 3rd birthday there, and will celebrate his 4th there as well in just two short months. 




I am so very thankful that we’ve had the blessing of a rent free home to live in.  I am so thankful for the roof over our heads and family close by.  With all of that being said, these past 15 months have been the hardest of my life.

During my time of bedrest with Case, I fell into a great depression.  A very deep one.  One that if I let it grow enough in my head, actually scared me.  I was having to be away from a job I absolutely loved, isolated from my class and the coworkers that had become family.  I struggled with anger that came from nowhere (well, it most definitely came from my crazy pregnancy hormones but no excuses here…), and a lot of that anger was directed toward the building of our home.  I had these hopes, these wishes and dreams.  And they were all just that, hopes.  Things didn’t go as we had planned, with no fault to our builder.  Our city was just so overwhelmed by all of the new developments, everything took much longer than anyone had anticipated.  During that time of bed rest my depression grew and it became the wedge that separated me from the ones I loved, and quite honestly, the people I needed.
 
Case entered our lives and we were immediately thrust into a NICU environment, for the 3rd time.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like it was all my fault.  And this time, the visits from friends and family were drastically fewer.  With both Callie and Kellan, we had multiple visitors a day, so I think it hurt my heart when I found myself often alone, holding our newest miracle in the field of incubated babies.   We did have visitors, don’t get me wrong! Josh and the kids were up there daily, despite having work and school. I think the insane hormone fluctuations and the situations from the months leading up made it that much harder on my emotional state.  I felt alone. 



The past 8 months have been filled with new life and beautiful moments, but all of these have been shadowed by the lingering depression I just haven’t been able to kick.  I think it morphed from straight up depression, to postpartum.  I’ve been battling this ugly monster privately, with the exception of a couple close friends, and of course Josh, whom I confided in.  I tried my best to keep the ugly thoughts, feelings and comments from social media.  I put on my smile when we left the house, and when I couldn’t muster the smile, I just stayed home.   When this current school year began it was an enormous challenge.  I was thrilled to be back at work, but it was so incredibly overwhelming.  I was dropping off my two youngest with family, Case for the first time, my oldest started Kindergarten, and I was going from a few months at home to a classroom full of 4 year olds and a very, demanding schedule as a full time working mom.  I was commuting from another city, still living with my mom, and ground still hadn’t been broken on our home.  Needless to say my emotional state was not a healthy one.  Every little thing got me worked up.  When I got home, I wanted to hide in our room and completely disappear, and on most days I did just that.  My fuse was short with the people I loved most and I am so ashamed of the time I missed out on during these months. 

Depression is an ugly thing that I had shed many years prior to this.  God released me from a depression that strangled me prior to my dad’s own suicide in 2010. Looking back, in 2016, I was thriving and happy and most importantly, my relationship with Christ was growing by the day.  Through all of these changes; a new church, new school, moving out of our first home, living with family, the process of building our new home, pregnancy, bedrest, premature birth, NICU life, and postpartum recovery… I’d lost myself.  I let that dark cloud of depression creep its way back into my life and pull me away from the One I loved most, Christ. 

I know some of you are probably reading this thinking, I had no clue…  I realize how things can appear through the eyes of social media.  Please, don’t ever rely on technology alone to keep up with your friends… I’m ashamed to say I fell into that trap and I am doing everything I can to try and change it. Also, know that what is on my accounts is far from fake.  I use Facebook and Instagram as an outlet, a way of documenting the happy things, the good things in my life.  It brings me joy to take beautiful photos of my babies, and share about the things that happen in our lives that are uplifting.  None of that is fake, or generated.  I simply have chosen to keep the dark, choking thoughts in my head, away from social media.  Isn't there enough of that out there these days anyway?

I was recently awakened during a sermon at our church.  The pastor asked, have you been living your life or simply existing?  My answer was obvious, I’ve been existing.  I’ve been spending time in the Word seeking God’s voice, asking him the same question over and over… but my focus has been off.  My focus has been on myself.  During a time of prayer, through closed eyes, I saw a fog.  It began to part and through it was a man seated on a throne.  He looked at me with gentle eyes, full of wisdom, and simply said, “I’ve been right here.”  It was then I realized, I’ve been searching for God and answers, but for things that really don’t matter in His kingdom.  When my focus shifted to His purpose for my life, it was eye opening to see how it changed things. 

Through all of this, I’ve decided it’s time to claim victory over my depression.  For the sake of my children, my wonderful husband, friends, family, and for myself… It’s time.  I am giving praise to God for what He will do in my life over the coming months.  I believe He will heal me of this, as He has done in the past.  And I will do my part to help by continuing to make healthy choices and through this; sharing what’s really been going on, and why I’ve been MIA. 

Looking back, I can vividly see the beacons of light in my life, and they are the ones that have brought me through this time of merely existing.  Josh has been my anchor.  He carries the weight of my depression by listening, praying with and encouraging me.  If he sees a glimmer of hope, he finds it and shares it with me. Our marriage is stronger than ever, despite the circumstances, and I am thankful beyond description for him. My children, though often a source of stress and anxiety, have shown me Christ’s love over and over.  Callie prays every night, “And God, help Mommy sleep tonight, help Case not wake her up…”  She knows I’ve not been myself and she’s been praying, in her own way, for God to carry me through it.


For those of you who’ve been placed on my back burner, I pray you can find forgiveness in your hearts for me.  Extend the grace that I don’t deserve to show you that I am learning.  I am discovering, through the gift of some pretty beautiful friendships, that it’s totally okay to be broken, it’s totally okay to not be okay and we HAVE to lean on one another for support and prayer during those times.  If you see me and I look happy, I am!  I have joy.  I know my joy is found in Christ alone… but it’s okay to ask me out for coffee and say, hey… How are you really?  You’d be surprised how seldom we ask one another that question.  Maybe because we are afraid of the answer?  Either way, I am thankful for you.  I’m thankful you are reading this and my prayer is that through sharing my journey it might shake someone else who’s in my shoes and show them, it’s okay.  You cannot do it alone. But we can do it together, and Christ will carry us through it.  I know that, with all of my heart.



So here’s to a new beginning.  To living life with purpose, not my own, but His.  Will you walk with me?

4 comments:

Darlene said...

Nicki, my heart aches for you as I have gone through it too. The devil wants us to dwell on our disappointments, sorrows and heartaches because it robs us of our JOY. Count your many blessings and call on Jesus when you start thinking of the others.
I am so thankful you are a Christian, that you have such a loving and kind husband in Josh, a Mother that puts her family above her own needs, plus three of the most incredible children that are so loving. I Love You

Elena Noemi Maldonado said...

Twinkle twinkle little star
What a wonderful child of God you are.
With bright eyes and rosey cheeks
Talented person from head to feet.
Twinkle twinkle little star. What a wonderful child of God you are.
❤️ Elena

Nicki Morgan said...

Elena, this warmed my Pre-K teacher heart. Thank you so much. You’re loved!!!

Nicki Morgan said...

I love you so very much. Thank you for being such an encourager. For your steadfast love and for always calling to check in on me. We are blessed to have you and I pray someday I can be the woman of God you have grown to be!