It’s hard to be real. Real is risky and leaves me wondering what others will think of me when they know that I’m not the perfect wife and mom. What will they think if I share my doubts and struggles? Well, a couple of years ago I decided it was time to share my journey through dating, marriage, postpartum depression and anxiety because I long to see the “unfreezing” of women everywhere.
Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You released August 28th as a Kindle Bestseller in multiple categories! I want to share with you the prologue, the moment just before everything changed for this wife and mom of two little kids.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Aaron sighed. We were nearly home from spending Thanksgiving weekend with family.
As we prepared to pull off the interstate, I looked out the window at the Nebraska prairie whizzing past. He always had work to do. I’d spent the past three years taking care of our kids while Aaron attempted to dig out of the paperwork hole he’d fallen into as a small business owner. It wasn’t something we could do anything about and I felt bad for him, but…. How will I ever get myself out of this hole as long as he is in his?
“What are we going to do when we get home, Mom? Can we play with friends?” I glanced back at our 6-year-old Amelia. Her intense need to have our schedule planned out in her head made it difficult for me to feel like I was ever on top of things.
“No. Today isn’t a friend day.”
“Well, what fun thing are we going to do?!”
My muscles wound tight as she spoke, and then I glanced at Grant. His little body looked as tired as I felt. Grant spent the first four years of his life waking up at 4:00 a.m. Chronic sleep deprivation threatened to strangle the life out of me. I probably looked like it. Thankfully, we were at a point in Grant’s life when I didn’t have to wake up with him every morning, but I was still tired. Oh, so tired.
The truth was, I was also angry. It seemed like my kids, my husband, our dogs and even God were in on this conspiracy to keep me awake and on edge. I simply couldn’t catch up. Just as soon as I began to feel rested, someone would have a bad dream or need me when I went to sleep. I didn’t like having to fight for my sanity, but what choice did I have? If I didn’t, I was utterly defeated on most days by 7 AM.
My consolation was that we could afford a few distractions. “I think I’ll take the kids to the new Disney movie this afternoon while you work.” The thought of theater popcorn and a large Coke took the edge off the disappointment of another lonely Sunday.
“OK.” He looked at me apologetically and then pulled into our garage.
Leaving the kids in the car, I slipped into the house, through the laundry room and into our kitchen. I opened the pantry door to grab our popcorn bucket, but it was full of mismatched lids and containers. Dumping it out onto the shelf, I shut the door and sighed. I’ll get them later.
I shook away the acknowledgement that I had no intention of cleaning up my mess. Looking around our expansive kitchen, I mused again at how empty it felt…about as empty as I was.
“We’ll be back in a couple of hours,” Tears threatened to spill out as Aaron kissed me goodbye. I felt like a shell of the vibrant woman who married him 8 years before. While I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t happy either. I wasn’t sure what I was.
A few minutes later, I shooed Amelia and Grant into the crowded concession line at the movie theater. Glancing down, I saw Grant lying on the ground. “Grant! Stand up!”
No matter how early he’d gotten up that morning, I didn’t want to have to hold him while we stood in line for popcorn.
I looked at my adorable kids and shook my head. A couple days before Amelia told me she was tired because Grant was waking her up at 5:00 a.m. every morning. I was incredulous. “Why?!”
“He just wants to play,” she told me.
No wonder they are fighting by 11:00 a.m. every day! If only there were a simple way to get more sleep…
“Mo-om!” Amelia insisted I come out of my head and back into the concession line. “What time is it?” She was the most time-aware 6-year-old child I knew. “What time does the movie start?! We’re going to be late!”
“Shhh. We’ll be fine.” I scowled. Having my thoughts interrupted irritated me, and I had no intention of going into this movie without popcorn.
There had been a time when I watched grown-up movies to stimulate creativity and intellectual analyzing. Now I went to children’s movies with the kids, hoping I wouldn’t poke my eyes out with boredom. And that’s why we’re not skipping the popcorn.
A few minutes later, we found seats in the front of the theater and started stuffing kernels into our mouths by the handful. I heaved a big sigh, wondering what the movie was going to be about. Based on the trailer, I expected Disney’s Frozen to be nothing but a fluffy children’s movie about a cute snowman and a reindeer.
The movie began and my disgruntled musings about my sleep-woes were interrupted by ethereal vocal sounds. I looked up to see Cinderella’s castle transitioning into the snowy dark of night and one big, bright, beautifully complicated snowflake.
Cocking my head to the side, I squinted. The dark mountainous landscape developing before my eyes seemed anything but fluffy. Out of nowhere, wide-toothed saws ripped through the mountain lake ice, and a chorus of men’s voices declared the dangers of a frozen heart.
I hadn’t anticipated a musical. I love musicals.
Soon, a castle near the mouth of a fjord appeared. Inside the castle, Anna jumped on her sister Elsa, as Elsa lay sleeping in bed. And then little Anna asked Elsa if she wanted to build a snowman. The girls, Anna and Elsa, appeared to be the same ages as Grant and Amelia.
Playful, early morning innocence cut through my icy exterior as violently as the sawing in the first scene. How did they know?
Quiet sobs escaped, and the eyes of my heart opened wide as Elsa created a magical winter wonderland experience for Anna. By the end of the “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” montage, enough tears had flowed to thaw the edges of my frozen heart.
Somewhere in my spirit, I sensed a voice whispering, “This movie is a gift to you, Andrea. Receive it.” So for the next two hours, my heart opened, and I wept as I watched my life unfold before my eyes in a beautiful metaphor on the screen.
~Excerpt “Prologue” from the book Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You
Reach Chapter 1 by clicking on this button.
UNFROZEN is on sale at a special price of $2.99 (paperback $15.99).
The Kindle and paperback versions of the book are available through Amazon.com. Come find me on Facebook and let me know you downloaded and don’t miss the free bonus: “Unfrozen Video Discussion Guide” in the menu above this post. It’s perfect for friends or mother-daughter conversations.
What others are saying…
This book will leave you feeling brave, encouraged, entertained and inspired. The great storytelling will make you want to read “just one more chapter” while the depth and wisdom offered will make you slow down and think about how it applies to your own story. Unfrozen will challenge and encourage you to not shrink away from who you were created to be. If you’ve ever felt frozen by your circumstances or stage of life or felt like you have to hold back a big part of who you are, this book is for you.
Susan Manes, Owner of Mathnasium, former Community Engagement Manger at Creative Trust Media
How refreshing! An imperfect author! Andrea’s raw reveal gives integrity to her infectious invitation. It turns out that God has chosen, loved, and released only the truly flawed, but uniquely fascinating, image-bearers to give voice to his love!
Neal Brower, MDiv, LLD
Pastor, Author, EFCA District Superintendent
Unfrozen would be a fantastic read for both adults and teenagers alike, and a great resource for parents and youth leaders to utilize with teens and young adults as well as women’s ministry programs.
Christina Klausen, MA
Recource Center Coordinator, Community Church Fond du Lac
Few books have the authenticity to change one’s perceptions of life or move one to action. This one does! I feel inspired, energized to become “unfrozen.” Through beautiful, descriptive prose, the author shares her own experiences and ways of overcoming fear, anger, resentment, confusion and so many other emotions that can hamper living life to the fullest, or as she says, “becoming unfrozen.” The stories are compelling and entertaining reading in themselves, but they also offer inspiring insights into how to make life changing decisions. It’s a great read for women of all ages.