Monday, September 26, 2011

My flowers






Welcome to my front porch garden.  Here are a few of my flowers I photographed today.  With some TLC there is some growth.  My two little helpers (2 and 4 old boys) tend to pick the flowers before I can take any good pictures.  But I got a few.  You may recognize the pink flowers I planted those about a month ago in the heat of August and they are doing really well.   

Also below is a picture of my attempts to curve any spending.  I froze my two credit cards, and it will take about 24hours to thaw, giving me plenty of time to think about any purchases prior to buying.  I'll let you know how it works...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Cover

What do you do to try to cover or appease discomfort inside your self ?  That discomfort can come from guilt, hurt, pain, sin, abuse or in my case it is shame.  Shame as defined by a packet that my counselor gave me early in my counseling is  "a painful belief in one's defectiveness as a human being.  It is more than a feeling.  It is a set of physical responses combined with predictable actions, uncomfortable thoughts and spiritual despair."  Shame is false and extremely uncomfortable; to put it lightly.  I try to appease that feeling by perfecting myself, sadly many times costing others or by picking my skin or pulling my hair.  But for this post I will address my physical attempts for perfection as a cover for my intense feelings of shame.  Some of my covers, for instance are...spending too much money on facial care to become more beautiful, expensive hair cuts and products, perfect garden, and new outfit...the list can go on and on. My attempts to deal with those painful feelings may work for a hour or two, but then they lead to lies, debt, and guilt.  I try to promise myself I won't do it again, but I do.  Maybe not as frequently as the past but it still occurs and the shame is still waiting for me when the purchase is revealed and the confession is made. 

Tonight I realize that I can't take away my shame, but I can confess it.  First to the Lord and then to those in which my attempts to cover it hurt (in this case my husband).  I don't want to lie and spend above our means.  Rather I want to take my shame and call it lies.  Truth is "For you (Lord) created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13  I confess get again that I believe lies that "I am defective, not good enough, worthless, broken."  Because yes in fact I was but (I mean BUT) Christ!!  He took my sin and shame and it got nailed to a cross so that I might be forgiven and set free. 

My developed survival skills to combat shame are buying things.  It has become my defense minimizing my immediate pain without looking at what is true.  I know that I am not strong enough to make a change but I will continue to preach the gospel to myself knowing that in Christ alone with the power that can raise the dead.  I can face the shame and not cover it with more problems.  I chose to replace shame with truth, honor, self-worth, and God's word.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cost of Mental Health

Truly mental illness is costly not just money but also relationally.  First it costs your relationships to suffer, marriage to be tested, and your spirituality to be questioned.  Nothing about depression, anxiety, etc. gives you anything (well that you are consciously aware of, but that is another post).   The costs to my life have cost me far more than the dollar amount that I have put into good health care. 

Financially seeking medical care has made us as a family sacrifice dreams and security in savings.  Now I don't bring this up as poor me, rather as a wake up call to receive good help fast instead of allowing yourself to sit in silence suffering, not being honest with how bad your struggle is.  After running with my husband yesterday he graciously informed me that he would go to all costs to get me the right care. For me I tried to find band aide after band aide to first stop the Panic attacks, lessen stress, have people take care of my children; instead of trying to deal with the root of my issues.  Not that any of the other things are bad but it wasn't until I committed to a good Psychologist care, counseling and testing did I began to see change, acknowledging I have a long way to go. 

The Clements Clinic has been my place of transformation, growth, and quality care.  This is where I did my SPECT scan a few weeks ago.  Roughly this last year I have spent over $9000 on mental health and I praise God that he has provided.  Here is the amazing news and God's hand in all of this, right when things get tight or we are making decisions based on $ instead of health God provides.  Whether it is through a financial gift from family that doesn't know we are struggling, my husbands generous heart, or our house selling in California, a gift to help with a SPECT scan, a $40 off medication coupon, or a friend offering to babysit, God has provided!!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Roman 12:12

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why weeds n flowers, not flowers n weeds...

It makes a ton of sense to get all the weeds out of the flower beds before planting new flowers. The weeds can easily choke out the existing flowers as well. I am no expert gardener, however I am enjoying working on our flower beds. Every other day I am out there pulling Bermuda grass, dandelions, and clover out of my flowers. As some of you been asking my new flower is blooming (it survived despite the summer heat of Texas). It survived because: first the weeds were removed, even down to the roots, then it was planted and tended to with care. As with my life; till I faced my various weeds (stresses, sins, boundaries, defining who I am), I couldn't even write down any of the blessings (which are my flowers). Hence weeds n flowers, not flowers and weeds.

Through the 8 years of working on, or through my depression; (with lots of help both paid and not) I am thankful I have begun to weed through life with honesty and see some flowers that where always there while cultivating new ones. All during which I am learning to surrender my self completely to the "master garden" who is the only one who can truly make something beautiful out of the weeds of our lives.

So may you rid your life of some of your weeds so that you can bloom. All with the help of the "Master Gardener" which is the Lord Jesus Christ.   

Ezekiel 36:26-27 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." No matter where we are right now God offers us an opportunity for a new heart and praise God.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Colicky Babies...God's gift

In reflection today I came to the relization that my oldest was a strong willed cry all night baby by God's grace. For a long time I thought I was just "meant to not have babies." My husband and I didn't sleep through the night for months; 11 to be exact. My precious baby cried and cried and cried. I took him to the doctor, chiropractor, tried acid reflux medicine; without any avail. I began thinking "poor me, dealt a hard hand." Boy was I wrong and sadly four years later I have come to the realization that I was truly blessed. I can look back and still see the weeds of early parenthood, but in hind sight it was full of many flowers. God gave a depressed underserving mother a strong willed - intense personality. This situation was God's gift to get me out of bed, go interact with other moms (at MOPS), get dressed for a walk, go back to work, find wonderful life long friends; all of which I wouldn't have done if I had just stayed in bed to sulk through my "hardship." I was forced to get up and love that baby, wear him in a sling, walk with him, and learn to attend to somone else's needs, not just my own. God's gift was that though I hit many low times during the last four years (and longer), my first born was truly a gift, screaming and all. The sometimes, begrudging snuggles and hugs, night walks, and rocking back and forth; has helped contribute to a delightful little person. He is full of joy, intensity, energy, perservance, and love, thanks be to God that his depressed mother didn't squelch who God made him to be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Confessions

I had major epiphany this last Friday night, while we were on vacation as a family at the lake.  I was laying in bed and I felt a conviction like I have never had.  Through that conviction I came to the realization that much of my thinking about who I am, is lies and is sinful! For example "I am a terrible mother" is one such thought is not true and actually breaks Gods heart to think such lies.  Where in reality I am a mother who's not perfect doing my best to raise children that are loved, confident, and obedient.  And most importantly hopefully come to know that they to are loved by God; just as I am.  Part of this process is knowing what is true.  I was first convicted of what is not true and how in reality it is a sin to believe such lies. 

John 10:10 has been the verse of memory for the week.  "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."  Amen

Friday, September 2, 2011

A new flower

So in the spirit of hope I went to Lowe's and found one of a few lone flowers for sale in over 100 degree heat.  It said $8.95.  It looked a little sad, but had glimmers of life in the form of a few buds.  So I took it up to the register and asked the lady about the standard Lowe's guarantee.  Well no such year guarantee on flowers bought this time of year in Texas, but the lady said it is 50% off.  I was already resolved to buy it but this made it all the more sweeter.  So into the ground this flowering plant went, while I am dripping with sweat even though it takes no more that 5 minutes for the whole process. 

  What does this have to do with depression you might ask?  I am going to chose to have faith that this journey I am on will produce a beautiful flower, just like this plant.  With some tlc, water and sun this plant will hopefully grow.  I too will grow and experience greater joy in this life and some freedom from depression. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mental Illness

mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_illness

Above is wikipedia's definition of mental illness, though it is accurate it is incomplete.  For me mental illness has defined something so much more complicated and heart breaking. 

It is the thing that robs joy from my heart, forcing a smile that is fake.  It try's to rob my family of joy, love and security in that their wife and mom can't always be counted on.  It is something that can sneak up and come out as anger toward those who don't deserve its wrath.  In my life it has received more attacks ie. pray more, seek Christ, eat healthy, run, confess your sins, etc.  Trust me I have tried it all.  I find myself on my knees for God's mercy and in his word daily.  No such relief but for a season (sometimes as little as a week of relief).  Thankfully mental illness hasn't robbed me of my marriage and children, and most importantly my life.  I am working to redefine what I am...