“I’m not in a hurry when it comes to your spirit, when it comes to your presence, when it comes to your voice. I’m learning to listen, just to rest in your nearness, I’m starting to notice you are speaking.” – Will Regan
What a journey it is to slow down, to rest, to notice – in every area of life: physically post-injury, post-baby or just during day-to-day busyness; mentally with over-stimulated minds; spiritually as we are often distracted on all fronts. But this last weekend I had the chance – and at times was forced – to slow down and take it all in, and when I stumbled upon this song to which the lyrics above belong, it’s got me thinking about slowing down and listening to God spiritually too. (Isn’t it interesting how one area of learning in life bleeds over into others?)
A year ago, Mikey and I sat in a small hut on Christmas Eve eating our backcountry “Christmas Dinner” meal after several days of some of the best backcountry skiing of our lives. We were pumped up and tired – the good kind after physical exertion and fun outdoors – but also felt hollow inside, still trying to process what the doctors had said: “You have a 0% chance of conceiving naturally.” I remember Mikey saying he would give up all that skiing to have a different kind of Christmas, a different kind of adventure, and the tears were close to flowing for both of us in the midst of the fun.
(Check out last year’s ski video – we DID have a ton of fun, but there was an underlying sadness as we tried to accept our situation.)
One year later, we adventured with friends to the same hut at the Ripple Ridge Cabin recreation area in Kootenay Pass in BC, but this time with a little stow-away. God writes the best stories!
It was an amazing weekend filled with great friends and community, honest conversations, lots of laughter, great food, and good turns, of course! We are truly blessed with incredible friends who love our little girl, offer helping hands and non-judgemental advice, who love to get outside and who we can do life with.
The skiing was some of the best we’ve ever had (the quality of the powder beating out last year!), but it was still a learning curve of not allowing my identity get wrapped up in what I can do as I skied much less than usual. I’m used to being the girl who gets out there, hikes hard, and keeps up with the boys (or my husband, at least!). I’m used to leaving these weekends feeling physically exhausted and content after going hard. I’m used to working out in the gym, sweating, getting my heart rate up; swinging kettlebells, doing pull ups and cranking out one burpee after another. …but all that changes with a kid! Back to those lyrics, I’m learning to slow down and listen – to my body, to my baby, to my new priorities. Was it hard to come in after only one run on our second day? You bet! But the blowing snow and whipping wind made it a no-brainer decision out there with Abby. Was it still hard when the others returned whopping and hollering and sharing videos of their epic turns? Yeah, it was! But parenthood brings a new set of priorities and a new death to the self. Isn’t that such an incredible (and hard!) thing? Skiing is just a small example of this death to self as you prioritize another person, and it may seem selfish or simple to mourn the loss of that, but it represents a carefree, active life – carefree in the sense that I could always get out and active in that I could always move and go hard without thinking much about it.
Now? Not so much! Partly because of this little wonderful human whom we prayed for after many years, partly because my body won’t allow me. I’m still recovering from birth at almost 4 months postpartum, and again trying to put aside any identity issues as being the active, fit girl-turned-mom. I might look fairly normal on the outside, but my herniated belly button, grade 1 prolapse and grade 1 diasatis recti tell another story of an improperly trained core, too much intra abdominal pressure and a not fully functioning pelvic floor and core. Much of this, by the way, is normal after birth! So if you’re experiencing some of these things, just know that about 50% of women will after birth, and that those muscles are injured after pushing a baby out – but of course there are smart ways to go about training afterwards! On that note, I’m learning so much about the pelvic floor and alignment and movement, and I recommend you check out Katy Bowman for all things movement-related (male or female, core issues or not, athlete or non-exerciser!) and her recent podcast with Shawn Stevenson on the Model Health Show! I also need to share this recent post from Brianna Battles on Instagram:
A shift in mindset and considerations for our *actual* “fit pregnancy goals” is worth acknowledging. It’s not about having a pregnancy that maintains levels of fitness, abilities and self-worth as an athlete. Birth is unpredictable, no matter the level of fitness of a woman. There’s SO much more to that process and outcome than what your #fitpregnancy looked like/didn’t look like. Training during pregnancy is about the rest of your life, baby and athleticism, controlling what you can with big picture awareness, knowledge, intention and approach. *This quote was taken from my free ebook I released a few weeks ago, “Timeline: for the pregnant and postpartum athlete.” It’s linked under Timeline in my profile. . #pregnancyandpostpartumathleticism
Again. The lesson to rest and reset. To play with Abby in the hut and pass her around with friends and STILL get outside and be in the backcountry, regardless of powder turns missed or legs still feeling fresh at the end of the weekend? Wow – that’s a MAJOR win!
Why are we often in such a hurry to see change? 21 or 30 day challenges, trying to skip ahead of injuries or bodily changes, wanting to be in relationships or see changes in finances immediately. We know that’s not how real change works. I’m learning to slow down and embrace my postpartum body and also to slow down and not be in a hurry when it comes to watching Abby grow and learn, to listening to my husband when he shares about work and his dreams, to knowing God’s Spirit and noticing when He speaks. I continue to learn these lesson of selfishness, of identity, of priorities again and again, deeper and deeper as I grow and God entrusts me with new responsibilities and changes my status quo. What incredible things to be learning!
Whether it comes to your ever-changing body, your busy mind, or your restless heart, here’s your reminder to slow down, to take it all in, to be okay with stillness, quiet and slow progressions. Let’s learn to listen to those around us, to recognize God’s voice, to take joy in the little moments, to focus on bouncing FORWARD and not “bouncing back,” to trust and rest and be. I know that’s what Abigail’s doing every day, and I’m so, so grateful to be her mom and learn this lesson daily. Let’s not be in a hurry when it comes to these things and take every day as they come.
I hope you can be encouraged by this reminder as much as I was over the weekend! The baby snuggles, laughs with friends, late-night chocolate and fresh air sure didn’t hurt either. 😉
Live well & be well, friends!