Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The phrase ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ used to be very abstract, but it now has flesh and bones in my little daughter.

She’s now over three months old, and is becoming even more of a delight. She can interact with people around her, she smiles with a face that would melt steel, and is starting to even make little vocalisations as if she’s trying to have a conversation.

From my point of view, it’s like she’s gone from being a helpless little baby that sleeps all the time to a real little person. It’s a very cool time.

Which brings me to the title of this post – ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’

To put that into context, it comes from a Psalm written by King David, the full verse of which goes like this:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.

(Psalm 139:14, New International Version)

As my little girl continues to grow, I see just how awesomely and wonderfully made she is.

Her little eyes are wide open as saucers, taking in all sorts of data about the world around her. Without realising it, she’s already setting up core memories of how to relate to the world around her. She has long known who mum and dad are, and she certainly interacts more closely with us than with other people.

There is an absolute purity about her. She hasn’t yet learned about divisions between people, she doesn’t understand the messed up world of politics, and she doesn’t have too stress about much, apart from when she can’t stick her hand in her mouth.

Of course, there are times where she isn’t so wonderful too. Like when she is over-tired and won’t go down for a nap. Or she grizzles and cannot be soothed, which can be embarrassing in some circumstances.

But that doesn’t detract from her wonder and awe, which comes from being created.

And we’re all in that boat. We all start out as innocent, wonderful little babies that have innate worth, created for relationship and full of all sorts of potential.

Yes, we also face all kinds of challenges, and will go through all sorts of rubbish over our lifetimes. We deal with all kinds of suffering and evil, both on the receiving end and dishing it out. We’re all deeply broken and wounded, relating to other people who have the same problem. It is the human condition.

But, no matter our circumstance, we are still created with awe and wonder. And I believe that the God that spoke to David and created him is still working in this world to redeem it and bring out the awe and wonder that He created.

Fearfully and wonderfully made? You betcha.

First Father’s Day

Thank you to everyone who reached out with messages of support after my last post. It means so much to me that people engaged with that, and a special thanks to those who have shared it around. My hope and prayer is that it starts other conversations, and that will make it easier for people who are struggling.

Sunday was my first Father’s Day with the baby outside of the womb. And, if I’m honest, it didn’t go to plan.

I had a pretty sleepless night before, which set me into a pretty rough mood. In large part, that was due to a funny belly which felt like an angle grinder going through my guts.

When I did get up (much later than planned), I had to brave the presents.

I’m not a gift person. At all.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good, practical gift that meets a need that I have. But I don’t do well with the public opening of a gift, it just feels awkward to me. My wife keeps on reminding me that it’s not really for my benefit, but for those that are giving it to me.

And so, surrounded by my family, I had to accept the presents that my three month old procured for me: a new tie and a picture in a frame with foot and hand prints.

That one, I do genuinely love.

The tie? I guess it will be useful to have another one for the few days a year I wear one. Or at least stop my colleagues ribbing me for wearing the same tie whenever I do TV interviews.

Having survived that, we didn’t have much planned for the day, and feeling pretty tired and still with a funny belly, I was happy to not do much.

But at the same time, I wasn’t in a great mood. Although my medications have been bringing my ‘baseline’ mood back to normal, I found myself turning heading back into the black hole of emotions that I had been feeling beforehand.

I was being short with my wife, which she took personally. I had to explain that it wasn’t anything that she had done, but it was me and my moods.

I found that I couldn’t process or express my feelings. For me, my depression seems to take my emotions and leave them in a fog, where I can’t understand what is coming out. I felt sad, angry, frustrated and unable to give or receive love, and just wanting to be alone. I didn’t want to be cheered up, even though I knew that it was bad.

It wasn’t pleasant for me, and even worse for my wife.

I wanted to be loving towards her, but it was like I didn’t know how.

That seems to be how depression works. It seems to rob you of what you know you would usually feel or think, and just leaves you in a place where you feel unable to move the emotions.

I felt like I was in that pit most of the evening. Later on, I was able to open up a bit about a few things, and that helped. By the next morning, I was feeling much better, and the rest of the following day was completely fine.

So what does that mean? At this stage, I’m not too sure. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t slept well that I was already feeling a bit anxious, and that triggered off that episode. Or I may need to get a higher dose of antidepressant.

At this stage, I’m keeping a watching brief on these episodes. This one was the first since I started on my medications, and given that I’m just over a fortnight in, it could be that their action is not at full strength yet. It could be that I need some other help to process my emotions when I am in that pit. Usually I am pretty good at that, but the fog of depression just makes that impossible.

Prior to that episode, I had been making great strides. For now, this is a bit of a setback, and while I’m hoping to learn from it, I’m not going to let it derail my progress.

So here’s to having a better week ahead, and many much better Father’s Days.