Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Too Long

I know it's been a while since I posted last. Life has been terribly crazy and yet very lonely and boring all at the same time over the last couple of years.

I began working at Bay Area First Baptist Church in League City a little over 5 years ago. I absolutely LOVED it and everyone I worked with. It was the best job I have ever had the experience of working. I would not trade my years there for anything! 

However, the entire time I was there, I knew that was not what I was called to do with my life. So, I kept looking for the "next thing". Namely, a husband. In 2007, the day before Thanksgiving, November 21, I met a wonderful man who talked nonstop about the things God was teaching him. We talked day and night about all of our favorites - movies, music, food, books, etc - but what we talked about most was God. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was a man who would seek God's face before he made ANY decision. I hadn't experienced that before, except in my father. 

A year and one day later we were married - November 22, 2008. I had a terrible photographer so the few documented memories I have of that day are blurry or dark. I had it videoed, but it's still on the video camera tape so I have never seen it. It doesn't matter though. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember being nervous and excited at the same time. I remember freezing and sweating at the same time. I remember pacing up and down the hallway while waiting for "my turn" to enter. I even squatted down and rested my head on my knees to calm the butterflies - or jumbo jets as my dad used to describe the feeling before he preached - in my stomach. I remember Cherie, my boss and wedding coordinator, being by my side trying to keep me from freaking out. 

I also vividly remember my reaction after we walked out the back of the sanctuary. See, the groom deals with the "forever-ness" of the relationship long before the wedding day. He deals with it before he even purchases the ring. The bride, on the other hand, is waiting so excitedly for the ring to come to her that she doesn't think about it as much. At least, I didn't. I mean, I had thoughts about wanting to spend forever with him. But the reality of "til death do us part" had not been grasped - until the moment in the foyer as soon as the ceremony ended. My exact words? "What the heck did we just do?" My exact thought? "I can NEVER get out of this!" I didn't regret my decision. I still don't. And I don't want to "get out of this"!!! It was just the forever-ness that was finally hitting.

Unfortunately, my "looking forward to the next thing" didn't end once I got married. Now, I desperately wanted children. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long. Nine months and 2 weeks later we had our first baby girl - Elizabeth Ann Rampy, August 31, 2009, 4:47 PM, 6 lbs, 18 inches, 5 days early. I had to work after Elizabeth was born, and I was NOT happy about it. I lived in guilt the majority of the time. I felt that I was neglecting her and that someone else was raising my baby. It affected my parenting. There are a lot of things I would do different if I could go back. But I can't. I can only do things differently now.

Though she was, and still is, our entire world, she now has to share time! See, we knew our family wasn't finished. We just didn't know how quickly it would grow. 14 months later she got a little sister - Jennifer Bryce Rampy, November 4, 2010, 11:48 AM, 5 lbs, 15 oz, 18 inches, 4 weeks early. After a 10 day stay in the NICU, she came home and has been a load of enjoyable work ever since!!! I only had 14 days of maternity leave - including the weekends - after she was born. With her in the NICU for 10 of those, I only got 4 days at home with my new baby girl. To this day, I still feel that I never bonded with her like I did her big sister. More guilt. We did get a new pastor, a wonderful and sympathetic man, that allowed me to bring my baby to work with me through the end of the year. However, I wanted to give my job my full attention while I was there so I ended up propping up her bottle when she ate. She didn't get held often. It would have been better had I just left her with her grandmother. More guilt.

Though I had a wonderful job, the best second-mother-boss I could ask for, and wonderful co-workers, my dream was still to be home with my babies. I know it affected my job. I couldn't give them 100% when my heart was somewhere else. More guilt. It didn't last long though. My husband joined the management program at work, and March 31, 2011 was my last day of work at Bay Area First Baptist Church. However, I was so looking forward to the "next thing" that I didn't fully count the cost. I wanted so badly to be a stay-at-home mom that I didn't prepare myself fully for it. I wouldn't change it now. I still love being home. I just wish I had prepared myself better. See, shortly after I stopped working, we moved to Waco. I knew no one. I had 2 babies. My husband's truck broke down so he took my car to work every day. I couldn't go anywhere. I was stuck. My husband worked 13 hours a day. I tried meeting neighbors but there was no where to "hang out" except standing in the parking lot, so people didn't go out much. There was no playground for the kids, and it was WAY too stressful to get to the pool with 2 babies. I did meet a neighbor. She didn't speak English. I didn't speak Turkish. We found a church but I couldn't get very involved without a vehicle and a very high heart rate and being out of breath just standing up, I couldn't serve in the nursery. My introduction to loneliness. Then? God expanded our family again! Jennifer was 15 months old and Elizabeth was 2 1/2 years old when we added our third child. Oh. Back up some. We could not afford healthcare. So, I could not see a doctor during the entire pregnancy. I told myself it didn't matter. People have had babies MANY times without a doctor! I've given birth before. The baby was coming whether I had a doctor or not. No biggie. I did have a friend in League City who was an ultrasound tech and needed practice so she asked to do one for me. This was how we learned the gender. Another little girl. I was HIGHLY disappointed. I tried not to cry. I tried to be happy. A baby is a blessing no matter what the gender is. I know that. I just desperately wanted a son. I knew I should be happy she was healthy, and not sad she was a she. But I wasn't. More guilt. I felt like a terrible mom and person.  I did learn to love her for who she was LONG before she made her appearance, and I wouldn't trade her for all the boys in the world. She is the perfect fit for our family. I still want a son eventually, but I'm thankful for my girl - Samantha Brooke Rampy, February 18, 2012, 12:52 AM, 6 lbs,1 oz, 17.5 inches, 3 1/2 weeks early. 

Another NICU stay. This one only lasted 7 days, but no matter how short it is, leaving the hospital without your new baby is a heart-wrenching thing. And trying to balance time at the hospital with time at home with the older siblings who are just babies themselves? It's impossible. I spent a lot of time in tears! More guilt. Then the doctor told us that my body is just too tired. I need to wait a year before getting pregnant again. A doctor could have told me I was too tired and put me on semi bed rest had I gone to the doctor. I didn't. It's was my fault my baby was in the NICU. More guilt

When Samantha was 2 weeks old, we learned we were moving again. To Terrell. Um, where???? So we packed up. With a 2 1/2 year old, a 15 month old, a 2 week old, and a husband gone to work for 13 hours a day, I packed us up. And when Samantha was 5 weeks old, March 30, we moved even farther from family than we had been. An hour farther to be (almost) exact! More loneliness.

One of his co-workers fixed Chase's truck shortly before we moved, so when we got here we had two vehicles. I could explore our new town. God had other plans. My car broke down the day after Easter. I can't drive Chase's truck. It's a standard, and though my first car was standard, I've never learned to drive one - and I HAVE tried!!! This time I was truly stuck. More loneliness. I decided to meet neighbors. Apparently that would be the only way to make friends. They don't speak English. They sit at the playground watching their kids play while laughing and talking to each other in Spanish while I stand there by myself watching my girls. More loneliness

We still haven't found a church to be involved in. I haven't bonded with my newest baby because I'm so exhausted and lonely and busy with her independent oldest sister and her Houdini older sister. On top of that, she cries all the time. She wont eat when I hold her so I have to prop up the bottle. That all just adds to the guilt. My husband still works 13 hours a day. And while I don't blame him, when he gets home from work he has used up all his words with co-workers and customers, while I have used maybe 1/4 of mine saying "no!" and "stop it" and "get out of that" and "quit fighting"!!!! I wanna talk and he wants to veg! More loneliness. And then, though I understand, I get angry at him for not spending time with me. My love language is quality time after all. Then I feel bad because he has worked hard and I'm not letting him rest. More guilt.

Thankfully, some wonderful cousins, that I discovered only live about 15 minutes from me, fixed our car for us. I now have wheels again and can get out of the house. They have even offered for me to hang out with them. But I feel guilty "butting" in. I know that's not what it is since they offered. I just feel like it because I feel so needy right now. 

So, why do I share all of this?
1.) To remind myself of all the wonderful blessings God has given me. I truly have a blessed life. I just have trouble seeing it through all the craziness of my emotions. 
2.) To explain why I haven't continued with my post recently. See, with all the guilt and loneliness, I have sunk into depression. 
3.) To let people know that depression is real and that it's nothing to be embarrassed about.
4.) To encourage my readers to look at the people around you and not just in your regular circles. Make sure there isn't someone needing to be "found". Include EVERYONE even if they seem high maintenance. That may not be their real personality. It may their "starving" personality just needing someone. Don't just include them. Make them important to you and let them know they aren't in the way. 
5.) To show myself that the majority of the things I have guilt over are out of my control or are not things to feel guilty about. They are life. That is all. 
6.) To remind myself that I CANNOT do this life without God. I have been so down that I only want to stay in bed everyday. I get up because I have people that need me. If they weren't here I wouldn't get up (another of God's blessings). However, I stay in bed until they wake me up. I don't get up and spend time with God before they start begging for my attention. Then, when they take a nap, if they all do at the same time, I'm so exhausted that I nap too instead of spending time with God. I have neglected Him recently. That adds to my guilt, but I am trying to learn that I just need to change it instead of feeling guilty about it. 
7.) To remind myself that, as much as my husband loves me, he cannot fix my loneliness. Only God can do that. I NEED to spend time with Him. 
8.) And last, to tell my readers, if you're dealing with depression, speak out. To someone. To anyone. And when you have cousins or friends that try to "take you in", don't run from it. It's easier to stay in bed with the covers over your head. But it's not wise and you'll never get better. Let people befriend you. Don't be afraid you're going to get on their nerves. They wouldn't reach out if they felt that way. 

Please pray for me. I'm sharing my heart here, asking, - no, pleading - for nothing more than your prayers. That I would turn to God to fill my loneliness and to send friends and a church to be involved in. That I would let go of guilt and ask God to help me change in the areas I need to and just accept as "life" the things I cannot change. I know this is long. So, thank you for sticking with me to the end!

***Some sections are highlighted in white. I have tried numerous times to remove them without success! If you have any suggestions on this, please share!!!***


  1. I love you dear sister! I am in tears because I want so badly for you to be happy. In some ways I can relate. I am a stay at home wife with no children. I do NOTHING. Cleaning and organizing is not a long hard task if there are only two people. I got a dog thinking that she would keep me company, but- she doesn't talk! Because of lack of money and job I get to choose to spend my days (doing nothing) with either of our families at their home. It does make it a little better because I have someone to talk to during the day, however I feel guilty for being there doing nothing while Carson is working his butt off for me. He pays for EVERYTHING- even school. I don't know how he hasn't smacked the brat out of me yet. I am seeking a job but I haven't found one yet. It is easy to lay on the couch and cry and watch a movie and be sad about my life, but it IS better to get up, get out, and spend time with God finding out what you need to be doing with yourself. Melissa, you love your girls and I want you to get the feeling of guilt and neglect out of your head completely. KNOW that what you are doing is the best for them under the circumstances that GOD is giving you (moving, working) and have some fun with them. Don't worry and stress over messes and chores and schedules. Try to loosen up around the house (even if it's just every other day) and just have some fun with them. Share some experiences together. You can do it!

  2. Ok I want us to get together! Pick a day and we will come to Terrell, we have a van now so we can fit ALL of us in it if we want to get out and do something together.
    I am going to be calling you in the next 72 hours so look at your calendar! :D
    I understand the loneliness and guilt though mine comes from slightly different things. I understand needing quality time and not getting as much as you feel you need.
    I have a book I'd love to give you WHEN we get together that has so blessed my life and my perspective. It's not a fix all, easy answer book but it's a hard look and a new set of eyes at what Joy really is and how to find it again.

    Praying for you friend. Know you are not alone even though there is distance. You are lifted up and loved.

    Start your timer now and be watching your phone. ;)

  3. Melissa, your transparency is great. I know we all struggle with things, but so many of us pretend it's all ok. If we all showed how our lives really are, I think we'd stop comparing ourselves to others (and inevitably falling short of their "perfect" lives) Thanks for the honesty!