The Book Event That Comes to You! {Book Club}

You guys, book club just keeps getting better and better this month. Not only did FIVE people win copies of our September book Cracking_Up_cover(Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton), but this is THE month where a book event comes to you.

That’s right.

One aspect of cross-cultural living that is hard for me is not being able to attend book events with others who I can then later talk about the event with. Where we all HEAR the same person speak at the same time. The internet is great for bringing information to us, letting us hear people speak or read their words. The tension for me is I have heard or read this inspiring, challenging, or annoying and have no one but the voices in my head (or the unfortunate people I force to get up to speed by my retelling them what I experienced) to share with.

I am thrilled Kimberlee is going to be popping in here throughout the month. Have the book finished by September 23rd because Kimberlee is going to join us and allow us to have a Q and A with her!

If you didn’t win a copy, you might be wondering if this is worth the $8 (USD). To wet your whistle, I’ve been given permission by Michelle DeRusha to share part of an interview she did with Kimberlee. You can read the whole thing here.

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Q. Kimberlee, this book reads like a journal to me – like we are peeling back the pages of your heart and reading the deepest part of you. Did you have a journal-style approach in mind when you wrote the book? And was it difficult to write so transparently?

 A. True confession: this book is comprised in large part of entries from my journal from that year. I edited them down a lot because I wrote the same things over and over and over again to the point that even I was bored when I typed them into my computer. So no, the transparency wasn’t difficult—it was already present in the journal entries, which were written from a place of desperation. I just had to figure out how to make them less redundant and more concrete.

Q. Postpartum depression, and depression in general, isn’t talked about very much – there is still a stigma that goes along with it. Did you have any reservations or fears about writing about such a difficult topic? And if so, how did you overcome those fears to write so authentically and honestly?

A. In my first book, I mention my postpartum depression after my oldest was born, and one reader reamed me for that, basically saying that he didn’t believe that PPD was real and that I just needed to grow up. No one likes getting reamed; I think I like it less than anyone else in the world. 🙂 So yes, there was some fear.

But one of the things I hoped my book would do is help other women who struggle with PPD (or depression or anxiety, all of which have neurological and hormonal roots) to be kinder to themselves, to stop seeing themselves as failures, to stop telling themselves what that guy told me: that they just need to grow up or be strong or trust Jesus or whatever.

I wanted to write the book that I needed to read during my depression, one that assured me I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t a Bad Mother or a Bad Christian because I couldn’t cope with my life, that I wasn’t the only person who had experienced this, and that it was going to be okay.

Q. At one point in your book you quote another author, who said, “Fear is the fleeing ahead.” As a chronic worrier, this statement really resonated with me! What concrete steps have you taken to prevent yourself from getting caught in the cycle of “fleeing ahead?”

A. Oh Michelle, how long do you have? :)

I strongly recommend fresh air and exercise. A long walk outdoors does wonders for reducing my anxiety level. Especially if I couple it with my practice of taking grace notes, a  practice of noticing moments of beauty or joy or wonder or laughter or the goodness of life that I ordinarily take for granted.

When I realize I am fleeing ahead in fear of the Next Bad Thing, I take a deep breath (or four). I say the Jesus Prayer in rhythm with my breathing. I look around and notice something good that is right here, right now. I thank God for that thing—whether it’s a beautiful fall leaf or my daughter’s smile or the heat pouring from the registers. Then I rinse and repeat until I have returned to the present.

It’s definitely a discipline, and it was a lot harder at first than it is now. But after four or so years of this practice, I am happier and more emotionally healthy than I’ve ever been. The little blue pills help, too, of course, but they can only do so much, you know? Practicing thankfulness or gratitude or jotting down grace notes when I become aware that I’m anxious—this is probably the biggest change I’ve made that has brought me to this place of equilibrium and joy.

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Check out the rest of the interview. To think Kimberlee will be joining us. I’m looking forward to it. I don’t like over-hyping in our modern world and how everything is SPECTACULAR and you don’t want to miss out! But this is one time in book club, I really don’t want you to miss out. It’s easy to join. All you need to do is get the book, read along, and comment as you want.

Got your copy of Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton yet? Do you? Do you? Ok, I’ll stop pestering =)

Where have you found your fear fleeing ahead this week?

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

Photo Credit: just.Luc via Compfight cc

13 Comments

  1. Beth Everett September 1, 2014

    Have my copy and looking forward to the discussion this month.
    I like her practice of taking grace notes. In our home, especially during the grey, dreary days of winter, we look for ‘God’s surprises’ in our days … often an especially brilliant sunset over our city, surprising blue skies, puffy white clouds (these last two are rare in our city any time of year), a splash of colour in an unexpected place … taking the time to notice things around us helps us (me!) put the day into perspective. And snapping a picture of it when I remember to helps me recall it later on!

    1. Amy Young September 1, 2014

      I’ve enjoyed reading Kimberlee’s grace notes! (and just wait for future book clubs :))!. But I love the idea of adding photos too it! Just today I took a picture of sunflowers I have been waiting ALL SUMMER to bloom!!

  2. Amy Young September 1, 2014

    One place last week that I found my fear fleeing ahead was in regards to my wrists. I’ve recently switched computers and the new keyboard is oriented just differently enough that it triggered a flare up in my back, neck and therefore my wrists making typing painful. Very painful. This all stems for a car accident I was in (thank you Beijing traffic and drivers!!!) about 12 years ago. It took about 7 years ago to piece together that all of my wrist pain (and typing pain) is caused from the neck (I hate to tell you how much time, money, and medical attention this took. SIGH). Anyway, I haven’t been in pain for the last few years and thought I was “healed” — well, who knew that I was healed, but mainly though having a keyboard that was “just right baby bear” for my body. Having just bought a new computer and now this flare up it has been discouraging to think I may be stuck with this pain until this computer wears out. I hate feeling trapped by a new item that was supposed to be a good thing!

    Let’s just say fear was fleeing WAY ahead — as years ahead until I can get a new computer. The last few days has been a bit better (but as I sit here typing, I can tell it’s not something to take lightly, I really need to faithfully use an external keyboard. No more sitting wherever I want). So, this is what I’ve been thinking about this week when it comes to fleeing.

    Next :)?

    1. Kimberlee Conway Ireton September 2, 2014

      Amy, I am so sorry you are dealing with wrist pain, especially after thinking that was a thing of the past. I know that feeling of fear when the present pain seems to expand to fill your entire future and all you can think about is how will I cope with that?

      We are currently looking for a house. We sold ours in July. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I am facing impending homelessness with four children, and I can feel the anxiety rising in me as the days pass and we still haven’t found a place to live. Last night, I was nearly hysterical with worry. I am increasingly convinced that this is the Accuser’s primary ploy: to get us to focus on something other than God so that our vision fills up with fear or guilt or anger or envy (or whatever) and there is no room for anything else.

      When I can step back and breathe–this seems like it would be easy, but it is so hard!–and remind myself of God’s goodness and provision (i.e., take some grace notes), then I remember that we won’t actually be homeless. We have friends with basements 🙂 Not ideal, but not the end of the world, either.

      I will be praying for your wrists, that the pain really would be a thing of the past.

       

      1. Amy Young September 3, 2014

        Kimberlee, I think you’re spot on — the more I focus on other things (especially those that are prone to have me worked up over), the farther God seems to be. But when I focus on him, the problems don’t disappear, but they don’t seem as HUGE either.

  3. Brittany September 3, 2014

    I am so excited about reading this book.  I love the way it reads and and the topic meets me where I’m at.  I could barely even get past the George MacDonald poem at the beginning of the book (at the beginning of Advent).  That spoke to my heart as much as the rest of it has!

    Right now, I am in the tears.  “Jesus meets us in our tears, weeps with us, as he wept with Mary over the death of Lazarus.  I supposed that should be comforting, and it is, but I’m tired of crying.  I’m tired of aching.  I’m tired of being met in brokenness and need.  I’d like a little resurrection, thanks.”  I could have written that.  It’s exactly the way I feel right now.

    My fear has been fleeing ahead as I relive the pain of the miscarriage and the scary experience of hemorrhaging in a foreign country without quality health care.  We want more children so badly (we have to wait a few months to try again) and the fear of walking through this experience again is almost too much to bear!  I’m not even pregnant yet, but my mind wants to play through all the “what ifs”.  Jesus has been working on this in my heart, and I’m gaining strength resting in Him, but the memories and fear like to try and knock me down.

    1. Kimberlee Conway Ireton September 3, 2014

      Oh Brittany, I am so sorry you are in that place of fear and uncertainty and fleeing ahead. I pray for you today as you wrestle those demons–and they are demons, sent from the pit of Hell to separate us from God. I pray Romans 8:38-39 over you today.

    2. Amy Young September 3, 2014

      Brittany, you have named out loud a fear many of us have (or will have) — inadequate medical care for ourselves or family members. I join with Kimberlee in standing against this fear in prayer! And I’m glad this book in a small help in this healing journey!

    3. Karin September 4, 2014

      Hi Brittany,

      I feel your pain.  I was where you are  a year and half ago.  The grief of the miscarriage, the  fear and relief at being ok.  May you meet Jesus in a new way in your place of fear and grief.   He is “a man of pain and familiar with suffering”. May you find his healing touch.   Remember God is so faithful.  He can be trusted.  Trust the new mercies for today.

      1. Brittany September 7, 2014

        Thank you, lades, for your prayers.  Karin, the Truth that has been in my mind over and over since it happened is that He knows my grief and carries my sorrows.  We named our little baby Jada which means “God knows”.  That has been such a comfort to me that He knows this pain.  He knows that even though He is certain in all things, I am certain only of Him.

  4. Karin September 4, 2014

    I have been enjoying this book as I hear echos of my thoughts as I read.  It has been encouraging to me to know that I am not alone.  I like how she organized it around the church year.  My first daughter was born right before Christmas and it made for a especially meaningful advent.  My second daughter was born in May, only 10 months after my dad passed away.  Making it a difficult and deeply moving Lenten season. These two different pregnancies experienced in two different seasons God used to deepen my understanding and trust in his love.

    My fear is of being in this suffering place forever.  The lie is “That these emotions, anxiety, circumstances will not change and I am stuck.”  The truth is that God is in this place.  He is working in this difficult season of my life.  He holds my heart and it will not be destroyed.  I can not hold on to these wounds, tiredness and grief, but surrender to Jesus for healing.  I know I need times of silence to sit, wait, and pray, but those times are fleeting with two little ones to care for.  So I find creative ways to bring my focus back to Jesus.  “Lord, Have Mercy” each time I sit down to nurse.  Singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” as a lullaby and a reminder to my heart.  And saying thank you for the little joys that find their way into each day.  I trust that this suffering is a season not an identity.  He will make a way.  My prayer is that I will not be left the same, that my soul would be enlarged.

    1. Amy Young September 4, 2014

      Karin, I like the phrase you use, “may suffering be for a season and not my identity.” I know (and I don’t think this is what you’re saying), suffering is going to be a part of all of our journeys, but there is a world of difference between “normal” suffering and a season of deep and horrible suffering.

       

      Isn’t it a joy to hear echoes of our thoughts?! Love that about the written word.

    2. Kimberlee Conway Ireton September 7, 2014

      Karin,

      I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” to my daughter and my twins for months as I rocked them to sleep. I sang it more for myself than for them. Sometimes even now (my twins are four; my daughter, ten) they want me to sing it to them. I pray you would know in those moments of fear and anxiety that God is with you. Sometimes that is so hard to hold onto, so I also pray for your community, that they will hold onto your faith for you.

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