I’m pretty sure that 99.9% of the American moms love Moana. I was a little late to join the Moana Fan Club, but from the first time I watched it, I was absolutely hooked.
(no pun intended)
The first time I actually watched Moana was right after our son, Deacon, was born. I was just a few months postpartum and I was having a hard time describing to my husband just how I felt in my trapped, postpartum mind. But from the moment I saw Moana standing at the edge of the parted waters allowing the fiery, screaming Te Ka to come to her, that was it for me.
I started crying and couldn’t stop. I knew that she was me.
I was Te Ka.
Angry. Fiery. Burned. Resentful. Charred. Soulless.
And lost. So lost with out my heart.
I ran and grabbed my husband who was in the other room and rewound the movie. “This.” I said. “This is how I feel.” And we watched Te Ka scream and claw her way across the ocean floor and stand in front of Moana. “My heart is gone,” I told him.
He stood there and looked at me for a minute and gave a chuckle, but his laughter quickly was silenced as he saw the tears streaming down my face and he realized I was serious. And in the moments that followed, I stood and watched in awe as Te Ka’s heart was restored and she transformed back into Te Fiti. It was redemption, and I wanted it so desperately.
The difference between me and Te Ka is that my heart couldn’t be restored immediately. Someone couldn’t just put my heart back into place and have me return to who I was before postpartum depression. It would take time, months, before the charred pieces of my soul would begin to break off and give way to lush beauty again. It’s taken hard conversations, pulling myself up off the closet floor and into the nursery to pick the baby up, finding the courage to walk into a room full of faces and not shut down, and 8 months worth of medication to help clear my mind.
It’s taken time for Jesus to restore my heart. No longer to I stand in front of the TV screen and silently sob as I see a fiery version of myself on the screen. Now… now I sit on the couch and cuddle with my baby and cry when I see Te Fiti.
Because now I’m her.
I have crossed the horizon to find you.
I know your name.
They have stolen the heart from inside you.
But this does not define you.
This is not who you are.
You know who you are.
He chased me down. My name has been called. He met me in my disparity. He reminded me of who I am – that postpartum depression does not define me, He does. I can finally say that I feel like my heart has been restored; put back in into place. I can finally say that I feel like a mother again. I can finally say that I feel like a wife again. I can finally say that I don’t feel distant from the Lord. I can finally say that I feel more like Te Fiti more than Te Ka.
My heart will never be fully restored this side of Heaven, friends. I still have days when I struggle and moments where my mind takes over my heart. But what Jesus has done in my mind, in my heart, and in my family… it’s redemption.
And today I know who I am. I am Te Fiti.