I told her—the nurse with the purple headband and the sparkly eyes—that she was nutty.
I. Was. Not. Getting. Up.
Our fourth child was less than 12 hours old, and I was quite content to stay horizontal in the hospital bed. After enduring my first C-section, I was finally settled into my room with the baby nestled to my breast. I wanted to rest. But that dang nurse had other plans for me. God bless her, she had no idea how charming I could be—especially with Percocet pulsating through my veins.
She insisted I get up, but I batted my eyelashes and smiled big. “Ma’am, thank you very much for your help, but I am still quite numb in my left leg, and I am quite content.”
She grunted. And then had the nerve to pull back my hospital blanket and gently remove my baby from my arms. She handed Annabelle to my husband and reached for my hand to pull me up, saying, “I'm sorry, my friend, but you have no choice. You must get up. It’s for your own good.”
Oh. No. She. Didn't.
Getting up after labor and delivery had been uncomfortable after the birth of my other children but nothing as excruciating as this. As the nurse placed a pillow on my sore stomach and urged me to sit up, the pain that shot down my chest and into my abdomen was so intense that it took my breath away. If I made the slightest movement, I was convinced that my staples would bust wide open. The pain was just simply too unbearable. Getting up was impossible.
And so I did what any (mature) postpartum woman would do: I made some very convincing excuses as to why I couldn't move, and then I started to cry. Like, all out ugly-cry.
My husband, witnessing all this, gently asked the nurse if she would give us a minute alone, and then he left the room to get me some ice chips. I steadied my nerves and reached for my phone to call the one person who would understand. My sweet friend Anne, who I had met through my Walking with Purpose small group at our parish, had endured six C-sections. Surely she would confirm my suspicion that my nurse was an imposter. Certainly Anne fared so well because she got to lay in bed for a few days after a human baby was cut out of her stomach. She would give me permission to wait a bit longer before I was forced to get up.
Anne listened to me cry, and then quietly said, “Jodi, I know this is hard. I felt the same way as you do, but the longer you wait, the worse it will be. Get. Up. Now. You can do it.” And then her parting words flooded my heart with encouragement: “Ask God for the courage to simply get up. Just focus on that next step.”
During that short conversation, something shifted in my attitude. Anne had done it, she had endured this, and so could I. I thanked God for this beautiful baby, and then asked Him to wrap His strong arms around my tired, sore body and lift me up. I begged Him for the courage to help me get up. Just this one time.
DJ walked back into the room to find me smiling; my entire countenance had changed. “Call the nurse, baby,” I told him. “It's time for me to get up.”
Annabelle is now 8 years old. The alarm buzzes early this morning, and I hesitate before I rise because the kids are all still asleep. I would love one more hour of sleep. I don't “feel” like getting up early today to continue my habit of giving God the first hour of my day. I want to stay in bed.
But I made that easier choice yesterday. I hit snooze, neglected my sacred alone time with Jesus, and the entire day felt like a disaster. I was short-tempered and impatient with my children. Every decision I needed to make felt overwhelming. And by lunch time, I was plain out of fumes. Because I neglected giving God my sole attention at first light, all day I felt like I was fumbling through a dark room.
When I turn down God’s invitation to spend time alone with Him, my entire day takes a downturn.
Faithfully getting up to spend time with our Lord in prayer and reading His Holy Scripture is not easy, and I am a work in progress. I often make excuses and hit snooze far too often. But the best things are not the easy things. The best things are hard things. Hard things take decisive action. I want to be a woman who doesn’t run from the hard things, but who embraces them. I want my heart to change to become more like the heart of Jesus. I want to answer “yes” to God’s invitation to grow closer to Him.
“Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” (Mark 10:49)
As fall approaches, with St. Mark’s inspiring words echoing in my head, I want to prioritize my personal relationship with Jesus above all else. Each day, I want to get up and gaze on His face first before I gaze on the faces of my family members or tackle my to-do list.
Want to join me? Let’s ask God for just enough strength tomorrow to get up and spend time with Him. Let’s focus on that next step.
“If you have time for television but not for personal time with the Father, then you don’t understand the value of your relationship with Him. If you spend hours on the Internet each week but rarely open your Bible, you are not committed to the honor of knowing and listening to Him.”
 Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (Tyndale Momentum, 2014), quoted on Goodreads, “Own Your Life Quotes,” https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/42321305-own-your-life-how-to-grow-a-legacy-of-faith-love-and-spiritual-influe.