On Motherhood and Hydrotherapy

I walked timidly into the chiropractor’s office. I don’t like chiropractors. Allowing someone to grab my head and twist it until my neck pops like a roll of bubble wrap makes my stomach get all twisty. I know these people are trained, and I’ve never actually heard of a chiropractor twisting someone’s head right off their body.

But what if it happened, and I was the one on the table?!

I went yesterday, though, because the day before I threw out my back. Because apparently I am an old lady now, and that’s what happens to old ladies who bend over and try to pick up a heavy baby.

Lift with the legs, not with the back!

So I think it was obvious to the people in the office that I was feeling a little nervous. I’m guessing the tip off came when I told the assistant, “I’m super nervous about this.”

She led me to a nearby room and had me lay on a water bed. But this was no ordinary water bed. It was a hydrotherapy water bed, heated to 100 degrees, then turned on to pulsate every bit of nervousness straight out of my body.

For twenty minutes I laid in the dark room while the water beat my muscles into submission, and I think I met Jesus there. When she walked back in and flipped on the lights, I felt momentarily offended. Why would anyone ever tell you to stop laying on a hydrotherapy bed?!

I’m kind of holding out hope that heaven will be equipped with hydrotherapy beds.

By the time I saw the doctor, I was ready to let him pull and pop and crack and maneuver everything around until I felt the tension lessen on my lower back, and I walked out having experienced both the good and the bad of an adjustment. And together they worked to free me of the pain that had threatened to push me down.

As I drove home, all relaxed and happy, I thought about those twenty minutes on the hydro bed and how utterly at peace I felt. My back didn’t hurt, there were no sounds of children or phone messages begging for my attention. It was quiet, save for the hum of the machine that coaxed out all the knots.


It dawned on me that I haven’t had enough of those moments lately. I haven’t taken enough time to sit still, to close my eyes, to simply relax. Yes, it would help me slip away and recharge if I had my own hydrotherapy bed (and don’t think I haven’t already priced them), but since that’s not an option, I need to come up with another solution.

I’ve felt creatively parched lately. A traveling husband, busy schedules, and little time alone to sit and think left me all knotted up. I sit down to write and the words feel locked, the characters muddled, the stories choppy and incomplete. I try to remember the most basic of tasks, and it’s like someone turns a jack hammer on in my head.

And don’t even get me started on the assignments that teachers are sending home right now. Torture, pure torture. The kids bring home the same predictable homework all year long, and then the last month of school we change it up and play Spelling Bingo, and Living History projects are due?

*bangs head against wall*

But isn’t that the nature of motherhood? It’s like walking into the unknown, your back all tied in knots. And you have to take all the stress and the frustration to the Lord, surrendering control so that He can loosen a few joints. 

Sometimes the loosening feels like a hydrotherapy bed with the Lord offering refreshment through a quick nap, an unexpected play date, or a few moments alone to clear your head.

And other days, you’re not afforded the opportunity to slip away, so you surrender your control to Him, and He loosens the joints for you. You trust that He knows what’s best, and you try to resist pushing back against Him as He makes the necessary adjustments in your heart.

It’s a loose metaphor, I know. But it’s working for me today, and maybe it’ll work for you? Maybe you’re tired, weary as the end of the year push threatens to undo you. Maybe you can’t step away, so you simply need to lean into the Lord and let Him adjust the frustration and fatigue out of your spirit.

Or maybe you just need to buy yourself a hydrotherapy bed.

Happy weekend, everyone! I’m praying it’s a relaxing and sweet time for you all!


Living to Live: Thoughts on Building a Platform

I sat on the bench and marveled at the birds splashing in the puddle in front of me. Sitting high on a hill overlooking Kiev, Ukraine, I reveled in the warmth of the midday sun. Winter was fast approaching, but one last Indian Summer (or Baba Leta as it’s known in Russian) pushed off the impending cold, filling the sky with that warm fall glow that sits nicely inside your soul.

It was the fall of 1998, and I had been in Kiev for just a few weeks. I’d finally learned my way around the city enough that I felt confident exploring on my own, and I’d stumbled upon a lovely little grassy area on the hill overlooking the Dnieper River. On this particular day, I struggled with a serious bout of homesickness, and I just needed to sit in the warm sun and remember why I’d chosen to take this adventure.

This was back before Twitter and Facebook let you remain active in the lives of your loved ones far away. I had just learned how to use email, but I had to track down a smokey internet cafe to sign on, and even then the connection was slow and unstable. Calling internationally was expensive, so I had to rely on once a week phone calls to my parents that were short and sweet.

Basically I was living in the dark ages. HOW DID WE EVEN SURVIVE BACK THEN?!

No one knew who I was during those four months in Kiev. I didn’t have a “platform” on which to share my adventures, or my stupidity depending on who you ask.

(It truly is a miracle that I survived some of the situations I put myself in. God’s grace is real, my friends, and it is sufficient even for a 20 year old who chooses to traverse the world on her own without fear of consequence.)

I lived that semester in relative anonymity, choosing to relish life not for the stories that I could chronicle, but simply because life is short and we must live while we’re here.

Living to live

Blogging and social media have changed the way we live our lives. In some ways this is a good change. We can see one another and remain connected like never before. My parents are living abroad now, and yet I can still send daily texts through an app on my phone, which kind of weirds me out a little bit.

I hit send on a text and the words float through the air, ACROSS THE OCEAN and land on their phone in a split second. WHAT?!

We are officially living in the future.

In other ways, however, this social media thing has had a negative impact. Instead of simply living for the sake of the adventure, we get caught up in living for the sake of the next great post.

We don’t share the messy as much as we should, but instead life has become a perfectly edited, overly filtered Instagram shot. We share the happy moments, which can almost make it seem as though our lives are filled with rainbows and puppies and all things nice.

I don’t have a problem with this, by the way. There is a lot of talk about “honest blogging,” and “being real” online. I agree with those sentiments, but I think we should be careful that our honesty isn’t at the expense of the ones closest to us.

The platform building aspect of social media has become a bit of a rat race to the top. It’s a necessary evil for those of us who are working toward publication, and who are making a career out of our creative pursuits. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t exhausting.

There are days when I long for the anonymity of that Ukrainian hilltop. I want to do a better job of living to live, rather than living to be seen. There was nothing significant about that moment in the sun. No one around knew who I was, nor did they really care. It was just a moment of peace that I didn’t share with anyone but a few birds splashing in a puddle.

May we all strive for those quiet moments whenever we can.

Do any of you get exhausted with the perceived need to build a platform? For those of you who, like me, need to have platform in order to best do your job, do you seek out quiet moments that are yours alone, not to be shared with the online world? How do you strike this balance?

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