Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful for depression


Crazy to be thankful for depression ha?  Especially if you read the posts back in September.  I have come a long way and have found joy even in the hardship, bad days, and set backs.  Through headaches, major weight gain, hair loss this last month; my heart has changed. Why am I thankful; or what specifically am I thankful for about my depression:
  • That I developed a strong desire and pursuit in my relationship with God, especially in my dependence on Him through my darkest days.
  • I can look and see God's hand of provision through the worst.
  • I am thankful for the Medicine that helps (doesn't fix), but gets me to a place to be intentional about changes of thought.
  • The platform to help and share my story with others in hope that they too can be encouraged.
  • Good Doctor that have wisdom to not give up (Dr Todd Clements).
  • A counselor (Cheryl LaMastra) that has walked with me through the thick of my past and helping me find tools to enjoy the future.
  • That my depression brought me to Steps at the Village church; that enlightened me to the lies I believed about the power of God in my life. 
  • The friends that God has provided.
  • Truly I am thankful for the journey that I am on, and the belief that it is making me into a better person, able to reflect God's grace, be a better wife and mother. 
Romans 8:18-19 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vision Board- Growing affection for Christ


 I lost a lot of who I am in being "depressed." I have for so long just survived and not thrived...  Stayed alive but not really lived.  So I took some time to make a vision board of who I am and want to be. It was my counselors idea.  So many mornings in the past, I have written things down to do for the day; i.e. park with kids, groceries, call a friend, paint with kids... Now this is different. It is a visual reminder to who I am and want to be that I will hang on my bathroom door.  I want to be purposeful in living a blessed life that I have been gifted with.

 In the previous season I spent a lot of time pulling weeds; now it is time to spend cultivating me.  More importantly cultivating my affection for God and who he has created me to be.  At my steps study at the Village Church, they stress that you can't just rid yourself of sin, but you have to fill it with things that cultivate your affection for Christ and furthering his kingdom. Matthew 12: 43-45 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.  And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.  That is how it will be with this wicked generation."  So here I go...filling my house intentionally with good so evil won't reside in my heart. 


Some the things pictured are nursing into my old age (especially in other countries), growing fresh fruit and veggies, enjoying cooking, loving on my kids, become a NP, take more pictures, have more fun (i.e. let that silly child come out), plant more flowers (hydrangeas are my next goal),


...stay global minded, have a family that thrives, exercises, dance with my husband, grow in faith through God's word, cultivate a home to be used for ministry, sail, stay healthy, running, and enjoy the journey I am on.  All of these I want to do with the mindset of growing in my affection for Christ and ministry. 


Someone asked if I am doing this blog for greater attention...Well it has received attention but my heart is to share my struggles and learning's in hopes to minister to someone else; even if it is only one person outside of the benefit it has been to me.  Blogging has helped me focus on the truth and provided accountability to continue growing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Suffer Well

I have been suffering with headaches every day since I started the higher dose of Lamictal.  I had one good week in three... And I kept hearing this little voice in my head that continued to say, "Suffer Well."  Maybe once in my past I have heard that, but I wondered what it meant.  Suffer well?  Who wants that?  Suffering?  Well I began examining what the Lord says to me and what he says about suffering. 

  • James 1: 2 " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." 
  • Jeremiah 17:8 "He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes..."
  • Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."
  • John 6:33 " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Again and again through scripture God says that trials will come, not that they might come; rather they will come!! 
Where is that message that I grew up believing; that in Christ' life will be easier?  Here is where my prayer and heart is changing; from grumbling and discontentment to humbly accepting each day as it is.  Knowing that God knows that I struggle with depression and now daily with headaches;  my prayer is to learn to be content in all circumstances!!  Lord change my heart to be content even in my struggle (that you are enough.)  Though I have pleaded again and again for you to take my struggle away, you haven't.  Maybe not on this side of heaven will I find healing.  Till then Lord help me Suffer Well for your grace is sufficient; may I learn to me content whatever the circumstance. 

  • 2 Corinthians 12: 8-9 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, For when I am weak, then I am strong."

This quote from Charles Spurgeon is how I see this weeds in my life.  (worth reading- even through the "old English").

“Ill weeds grow apace. Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us."
  • Philippians 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, I can do everything in him who gives me strength."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Hands

JJ Heller- Your Hands-song played below

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands       

Change

In all the change around us; Jesus never changes.  What confidence is this for me, when change is imenent.  Medicine changes, mood changes, days change, seasons change, children change, I could go on forever; But God doesn't change.  It that promise I will rest in today.

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Malachi 3:6a "I the Lord do not change..."

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What do you all think

Well I know that there are readers out there...  What is your thoughts on change?  (whether good or bad).  Post below under comments.

How to leave a comments...

















Some of you have had trouble leaving comments so here is how; straight from blogger:





 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Seasons


There is an air of change here in Texas.  From cooler mornings, pansies and mums everywhere, trees leaves changing colors, change is upon us; a new season.  Birds are flying south in anticipation to colder days and move toward warmer (not that a good trip to the Caribbean isn't healthy for all of us).  Stores are full of all the fixings for Thanksgiving, decorations for Christmas (yes already).  I used to dread new, it meant change...  However I am learning to embrace it.

This new season is an opportunity to move forward for good change;
  • I am running a lot (not quite enough for my relay marathon on December4th, but don't tell my team)
  • I am cooking (thanks to thepioneerwoman.com)
  • I donated my hair for making wigs for women who have lost their hair (might as well donate it before mine falls out : )
Most importantly I am beginning to look forward and Just Live, rather than just Survive to Live!



Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."


 

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Weeds and the Master Gardener


I don't know about the weeds in your garden, but mine tend to congregate along the fences.  They tend to seep in from the neighbors (so I thought), until I looked over the fence and saw that their yard was remarkably weed free.  Ahhh...my theory was incorrect, humbly I began to look for other explanations...  I once was accused by someone who lives with me (I won't tell you who),  that instead of pre-emergent weed killer I threw out weed seed.  Now that is preposterous!!  I wouldn't even think of it!  Rather, it seems to be just like the areas at the corners of our heart where no one sees; unconfessed sin, resentment, anger, abuse, etc.   

There seems to be a pattern in my backyard that the weeds are the worst around the edges.  I probably didn't get close enough with the pre-emergent and the weed whacker.  I am doing a bible study (steps) at the Village Church.  It is messy and yet wonderful at the same time.  You dig around deep in your heart to see where you have put other things above God.  Most of my things tend to be in the corners of my heart where I haven't examined or let God examine.  My God is no longer the God that wants us to wear our "Sunday best" and look "neat and tidy" on the outside.  He wants my deep weeds that can so deeply invade my heart and choke out what God wants to do in my life.  My weeds rob my life of purpose and freedom in Christ.  God the Master Gardener isn't just cutting them down he is pulling them out and setting me free, painfully at times . 

Galatians 5:1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aly's Husband

Aly asked me to be a guest blogger occasionally.  She asked that I write about my experience with depression.  I was waiting for the right thing to write about and today seems to be the day.  Earlier today my son stubbed his toe.  The skin on the end of the toe was sticking out, it wasn't that bloody and he didn't even complain about it that much...until we tried to put socks on.  The skin was sticking out and it caught on things and hurt him.   I'm sure its happened to you.  The skin gets caught on something like a sock, or under the sheets and hurts all the time.  It even hurts when the wind blows on it.  Tonight at bath time I figured I would cut off that dead skin so it wouldn't hurt tonight under the covers.  I wanted to help my son...but he wasn't interested.  After crying, yelling, fighting, and pleading I got some of that dead skin off.  Mom even had to help by holding him down.  It wasn't fun for him or for me.  A few minutes later he said that I wasn't nice.  He made it clear that he didn't want me to do that anymore because it hurt. 

How do you explain to a 4 year old, that I was trying to cause a little pain now so that he could have a lot less pain later?  Then it hit me.  Or should I say God hit me with his word: "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen."  2 Corinthians 4:17. 

Living with a wife who has depression can be troubling.  I often feel helpless, frustrated, weak, and most of all, wondering what God is doing in all of this.  At times it does seem like an affliction.  However, these things are temporary.  Even if Aly struggles with depression for her whole life, it is temporary. 

Do I hurt when she hurts?  Yes.  Do I want to do anything I can to take the pain away?  Yes.  But that's not up to me. Today, tomorrow, or in the future we are going to encounter affliction.  Can I explain the reason for it?  Not necessarily.  Can I find absolute purpose in it?  Not always.  I can however see that God has made it clear that whatever we face in this world, it's temporary.  Therefore, I want to go into today knowing that these afflictions, troubles, and trials are just a drop of water in the ocean of eternity.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My journey didn't just begin

I should have seen it coming.  Dark thoughts about how awful I am as a person haunted my mind since before I can remember.  I thought it was just normal to think that I am not worth anything, faulty, and not important.  All of which predisposed my big D (depression).  Some call this low self esteem I would argue that I felt shame. 

Shame is that awful feeling of an ice cold wool blanket draped around your shoulders; a chill you just can't shake that goes all the way to the bones.  It is more than a emotion rather it is a state of who I thought I was.  I made a lot of assumptions about my self based on others struggles around me.  I don't know where I heard it but the word "assume" make "asses out of u and me."  At a very early age I took upon myself a burden I wasn't suppose to carry and if my attempts of perfection failed my shame increased all the more.  To off set the deep feeling of shame and  failed perfectionism I began to numb my feelings by hair pulling and picking at my skin for hours.  All of which would plummet me deeper into my own shameful feelings of ugliness and defectiveness. 

A skit my youth group (at Grace Christan Church in Long Beach CA in the 1990's) did for evangelism involved a man caring a heavy burden in the form of a back pack.  He  carried around in deep distress, while looking for anyone to take it away.  Ultimately Jesus after his Crucifixion carried this mans burden and he ran around free.  And then he went back to praise Jesus.  I hope I explained the skill well enough for you to get a vision. 

Anyhow the skit illustrates part of my shame.  My shame was and still is my heavy backpack that is still on my back.  I have been saved (John 3:16), however I give him some of the things in my back back, but I have developed such a habit of putting shame back on usually from assumptions and failed attempts of perfectionism.  Some times I set the backpack down for a few hours or just take a few things out.  My prayer is to take it all out and rather lay my shame down in exchange for God's truth daily, hourly, and maybe even every moment during the day.  My windows, mirrors are starting to be adorned by scriptures of God's faithfulness and promises.