just myself transplanted and still blooming cinthia milner

No, I’m Not Crazy; I’m Just Not You

When I was pregnant, I felt like superwoman. I thought I could conquer the world. I was creating a life. Step back. My hormones were in perfect sync. (Please don’t hate me. It’s the only time they ever were.) I am one of those women that was happier pregnant than not. I wish I could be pregnant all the time, but without the arrival a baby in 9 months. While I was pregnant, something clicked inside of me, and it was a click I’d been waiting on my whole life.

I knew my brain was short one screw (or several) toward normal. I felt I lacked clarity, sureness of self, confidence, social skills, and worst of all, decision-making abilities. Then I got pregnant. and felt like really, what’s the big deal? When my husband called me at work and asked if I’d stop by the grocery store on the way home (and it was quite literally on the way home), I didn’t want to weep. I went to the store. It was so simple.

I was able to keep this oh-so-not-a-big-deal attitude going straight through breast feeding. But then, I quit breastfeeding, and I was back to weeping at the grocery store.

Does anyone know what I’m talking about or is it just me? Why would a trip to the grocery store make a grown woman weep?

I felt the same way when I took Prozac for a day. A psychiatrist prescribed it for me and he said, “It’ll take six weeks for you to notice a difference. For it to get into your system.” Heck no. It took all of 24 hours. And again, I felt that click. Only this time, I was not pregnant, and the kids were 5 and 1.

Here’s what happened:

My then-5-year old asked if we could stop on the way home (from work and day-care), and get a video (back in the day). His brother was under 1. Which meant, you already know this, getting the baby out of the car seat, and keeping up with the 5-year-old in the video store, while jiggling the baby that wanted to go to sleep but could not, or it would mess up the night’s sleep routine. (And every mother knows, you don’t mess with the sleep routine.) And, this with dinner still to be made, baths given, and monster checks done (a billion times), and the hope (the desperate hope) that somehow I might-maybe, just might-maybe, get 5 minutes to myself after the kids were in bed.

Here’s the take-away: I said yes to the 5-year-old that wanted to stop at the video store. I felt like, I can do this. So, we got the baby out of the car seat, and got our video, and got back in the car, and then I had a 10 on a 1-10 scale anxiety attack, and had to sit there deep breathing with the car door open, and the children screaming. It seems Prozac can cause massive anxiety attacks in certain people, especially people who react to it as quickly as I did.

I handed my prescription back to the psychiatrist, and wondered, is there anything else? No more breastfeeding. No more Prozac. What was going to make my brain click and me normal?

Normal being a mom (or anybody) who could go to a grocery store and not consider it a death sentence, or pick up videos for the night and not contemplate leaving for Utah or Idaho, or wherever Sundance is, in hopes of becoming one of the privileged people who have other people buy their groceries.

Though, let’s face it. I’m not an adventurous girl. If I can’t get to the grocery store, chances are slim I’m heading out at sundown for Sundance.

But I wondered. So, what was that click?

Or, why am I not the Mom who loves being in charge of the booster club? Surely, she grew up with a clicked brain.

Then, I met a man at The Cove (the Billy Graham Training Center) this past fall. He was a Coastie like my son, and so we spoke through-out the weekend. I do not remember his name (it rhymed with crouton), but he said something wonderful. He explained that he believed communication was messed up along with creation, and mankind, and the universe when sin entered the world. “Think of it,” he said, “Communication in the garden was perfect. They weren’t comparing themselves to anyone or feeling misunderstood, because communication was such that they could completely understand each other. And, in that understanding, completely love each other.”

I wanted to kiss Mr. Crouton because my brain clicked for the third time in my adult life, and without benefit of hormones or Prozac to force it. I knew the problem. It was communication. That’s what was missing.

My ability to say, no, I can’t be you. I really can’t. But, I can be me.

Comparing myself to others had created what I thought was the missing part of my brain. The only gauge a kid has is what others are doing and how they are doing it. And, in the world I lived in, people showed confidence and go-get-em attitudes, exactly how I felt while pregnant or during the 12 hours Prozac was my friend.

Pregnancy hormones super-charged me and for 9 months I had more energy than I’ve had the other 642 months of my life. Prozac boosted me, and for 1 day I wasn’t overwhelmed by life’s overwhelming nature. The rest of the time? I was just me. And, I’m beginning to understand that me is okay. Click.

 

 

cinthia milner transplanted and still blooming tea cup on wooden table studying scripture

How to Do Your Own Bible Study

Every morning it’s the same. Well, pretty much. Some mornings, life interferes.

But, mostly, I wake up, let the dog out, open the blinds, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down to do my Bible Study. I’ve wondered if I do this every morning because of my really cool journal. My College Son’s girlfriend and I have the same obsession: new pencils, fresh paper, pretty pens. All the fun things needed to organize a project, but not always the follow through. For reasons I can only attribute to God, and his kindness toward me, I have followed through on this since I was 32.

Soon after becoming a Christian, I started doing a Bible study on Wednesdays with a group called Bible Study Fellowship International, an organization that developed a daily discipline in me to study Scripture, and gave me the tools to do it with. I truly believe most of us believers want to study Scripture, but it’s a bit like joining CrossFit. It sounds good, but it’s expensive, and you could end up looking really stupid.

Studying Scripture can seem very intimidating.

But, I promise, this method is easy, so I’ll share.

And this way, if Beth Moore ever gets slack on writing Bible Studies, you still have an option. Pull out your Bible, and do your own Bible Study.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • A journal. I use this one because it’s the same size as my Bible and refillable.
  • Pens.
  • I use a lap board desk because I sit in a chair not at a table.
  • I have a billion Bible translations downloaded onto my IPad, so I can cross-reference between Bible translations. I use the Bible Gateway app for all the translations. (This is not NECESSARY for any of you who just panicked, thinking, BUT I DON’T HAVE AN IPAD, AND I HATE TECHNOLOGY.)
  • No commentaries please.
  • A Bible. (Don’t get too picky about the translation, just get one you like, and in follow-up to  the Bible Gateway app above, one translation is truly plenty.)
  • Grab some hot coffee (or beverage of your choice).
  • Put it all in one spot where it will live. Now, you’re prepared for each day. I have a chair in my bedroom with a small table beside it, and my stuff stacked there. The only time I sit in the chair is to do my Bible study. It’s a cozy spot.

Mornings are best for my Bible Study. If I wait, or decide to throw in a load of laundry, I get busy with a billion things, and it doesn’t happen. So, I do it before anyone or anything can really mess with me. (Time frame: 6-6:45)

Here’s how it works:

I put my OCD-get-an-A-in-the-class self on the shelf because I’m not tearing through Scripture. I’m not trying to do it in a year, or on any kind of a deadline. My goal is to spend time with God in his word daily. So, I do one small paragraph a day, out of one book of the Bible. (I generally work through one book at a time, and it takes me months.) I don’t do more than 5-8 verses a day, because otherwise I feel rushed, and I forget what I’ve studied.

Here’s what I do:

  • Read God’s Word
  • List the facts. (What does God’s Word say?)
  • Learn the Lessons. (What does God’s Word mean?)
  • Listen to His Voice. (What does God’s Word mean to me? Asked in question format to myself.)

Here’s an example using one verse from today’s a.m. study. Today, I did 1 Corinthians 14:26-31 but, we’re only going to look at verse 31 for this exercise. Here goes.

Read God’s Word

For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. NIV 1 Corinthians 14:31 (For those who aren’t sure, NIV stands for New International Version translation.)

List the facts (What does God’s Word say?)

Each person can take a turn speaking (prophesying), so that all are instructed and encouraged.

Learn the lessons (What does God’s Word mean?)

Instruction, encouragement and order are appropriate when we gather to worship.

Listen to His voice (What does God’s Word mean to me? Asked in question format to myself.)

Am I helpful in creating order in worship or am I disruptive with my attitude?

You can stop here, but I find it cements the day’s verses in my mind if I summarize my morning’s study with two more steps. Here they are.

Listening in Response: Application (This is a small paragraph on the application of all the verses I studied. Again, this is from this morning, 1 Corinthians 14:26-33.)

Encouraging, Instruction and Order. God desires this when his people gather. Worship is not a one-man show, or a chaotic-filled drama event. It is a time to teach, encourage and build each other up in an orderly fashion. Communication, inclusion and order are key. No one left out, no one dominating. 

How Will I Respond: Obedience (I keep this to one sentence.)

I will participate in worship to encourage and instruct, not lecture, gossip or shame. Jan 22, 2015

That’s it. It takes me about 30-40 minutes depending on the time I have, whether I can be leisurely, or it’s a work morning and I need to stay on schedule.

A Reminder: I pray asking for God to reveal himself to me through his word. He always does.

Okay, talk to me. Is this hard? Do-able for you? Do you have a method you use that you’d like to share? (Because we all need some help here, please.) Do you have questions regarding this method? Is this the worst possible time in your life to even consider doing Bible study? (Work, life, spouses, children, aging parents, and on and on.) Talk and share away. I’d love to hear what you do. Or don’t. This isn’t about frustrating people, this is about encouraging, instructing and instituting some order. (Yeah, right.:)

Cinthia

P.S I didn’t invent this method, lest you think me so clever. I learned at it Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF for short), and Anne Graham Lotz teaches it to me again when I go to her conferences, which I do once a year at The Cove, with my darling roommate from college. The refresher is always good. (FYI: AGL used to be a teaching leader for BSF, hence her using the same method.) I’m actually using AGL’s outline here.