I had a flashback the other day. Oddly enough, I have this one a lot. It was back to a time when my 3 kids were 5 and under and every other week my husband had to travel 3-4 days for work. My oldest had begun pre-school (late birthday) and I spent most days at home with the two boys. As much as my daughter loved her pre-school, and I was grateful for having one less child’s needs to juggle, I DID NOT enjoy the 7 straight months of various sickness that followed.
Ear infections, flu, stomach bugs, bronchitis, pneumonia, and hand, foot and mouth disease all cycled through our family of five and the pediatrician’s consistent reasoning for this crippling season of chronic sickness- pre-school. It was very hard for me to accept that simply because my oldest was hanging out in a classroom for 5 hours a day, that our entire family’s immune system was shot. And the day that I found myself hurling with the stomach bug AND coughing at the same time due to my active case of pneumonia, I knew that something had to change.
Now let’s flash even further back to high school. In those days, I was a dedicated athlete. I loved training, and seeing progress. I went on to play field hockey in college with hopes of becoming a sport psychologist. I loved the passion, mental perseverance and discipline that sports and fitness desired from an individual. I wanted to be a part of helping people overcome obstacles in their way of reaching their full potential. I earned my B.S in Psychology and Sports Coaching and my M.S in Exercise Science. I had the privilege of working as a high school field hockey coach, a college field hockey coach, a sports performance coach at Velocity Sports Performance and PerformFit, a personal fitness trainer, a group fitness trainer, and even a strength and conditioning coach for athletes and teams.
Around the 5th year of my career, just when I began to feel the part, an old college neck and back injury reared its ugly head. My ability to train others and myself began to dwindle and my career felt like it was ending just when it was taking off. Interestingly enough, my personal faith crossed paths with my professional journey and the intersection brought me from a job in sports performance to a job in sports ministry. In hindsight, the transition made perfect sense. I was drawn to the psychological element of training people, this explained why when I trained clients, it often felt a lot more like a counseling session.
6 years later, married with 3 children, our family transitioned into a career in the field of world missions. We partnered with a global sports company and moved to South Asia. Now before you get the wrong idea, and imagine I am this devout Christian who is peaceful, pious, fit and psychologically sound, hear me…
It was exactly 11 months and 29 days postpartum after my 3rd child that I walked into my OB and said “I think I have postpartum depression and anxiety.” I am almost positive that my confession was probably 3 years late, but even so, thank God. My life would be forever changed by that day. Following that OB appointment came diagnosis, prescription and counseling. These tools provided me with understanding, proper brain chemistry, and coping skills. With my counselor, I walked through stages of my life that left memories, regrets, pain and fears trapped in my brain and my body. And I mean, literally trapped in my body. You heard my background. I was an athlete, a fitness trainer. But at this point in my life it had been 3 to 4 years since I was able to exercise at all without ending up with debilitating back spasms. I was angry and overwhelmed ALL of the time. The freedom from recognizing and treating my anxiety allowed me to begin experiencing breath, life, and victory in areas where anxiety held me captive.
And the Lord did not stop there. It was then that I was introduced to the world of Essential Oils. Like I said, we had experienced chronic illness in our family for an extended period of time. Over the counter medications and antibiotics had become all too familiar in our daily routine. Prescription medicine was imperative in some areas of health, but even so, I was desperate for healing inside and out. I wanted the same thing for my family. My best friend shared some of the Young Living essential oil products that had a tremendous impact on her family. Essential oil blends like Stress Away, Valor, Vetiver and Peace and Calming became my secret weapons. And not just for me, but for my kids!
At the same time, it was also becoming evident our middle son was battling SPD/ADHD. Being too early for medication and diagnosis, oils like vetiver became instrumental in assisting his body chemistry. Over the next couple years all 3 kids began school and the EO’S that support our immune system were crucial in the game of “which sickness will they come home with next?” The products, education and community that Young Living offered provided my family with physical and emotional support. It also provided me with an outlet! As a stay at home mom, I found solace, as well as an avenue for utilizing my gifts. I loved creating roller blends and DIY gifts for friends and family. I loved being able to create something that I would later be able to offer my children when they needed help settling down, focusing, or even falling asleep.
When I reflect on my background, it makes sense why I am passionate about health, wellness and fitness. When I think about my body chemistry and family dynamic, it affirms my need for emotional support. But My God continues to weave my life into a story. He continues to affirm that no matter what season of life, whatever strength or weakness, whichever state or country, He sees me, He knows my yesterday and tomorrow and he is not done with me yet. He plans to use me for good. Be it through, motherhood, health, fitness, ministry, or natural living, I plan to be useful, to share my struggles and victories with others, and to be there for those seeking victory too.