Thursday, March 29, 2012

Suicide...an end of pain

So here is my Ebenezer Rock Jar! 
(Maybe not as professional as the picture that I posted from pinterest.)


. My first rock in the jar has inscribed "I've been free of suicidal thoughts for three months!" and then the date on the back.   This is the longest I have ever gone without suicidal thoughts.  Before, I struggled weekly; sometimes daily.  In my memory I have 4 distinct times in the last 8 years that I actually thought about it, planned it, and praise God that I didn't go through with it.  Suicide has been a word I haven't really used, mostly because of the Christian stigma; that "real Christian's don't feel this way."  Well that is a lie that can be thrown right back at Satan.
To bring someone to such a hopeless place that would lead them to even thinking about suicide is real and sadly an increasing reality in our world.  For me it is coming to a place of emotional pain that it becomes unbearable.  You hear stories of people in war that have been so badly injured that they beg someone to kill them, for if they could they would.  Look at the end of King Saul's life in 1 Samuel 31, "3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it."  The pain was so fierce that he killed himself.
In my experience as a Registered Nurse of cancer patients and as a person that has struggled with depression, I have seen pain that can lead to such desperation.  It may be physical, spiritual or emotional.  For me I would have so much emotional distress that I couldn't deal with, at those particular seasons that I felt like it truly was my best option.  The pain is so intense; hopelessness sets in and it is hard to think past stopping the intense ache.  The ache is in my heart; and it sometimes feels like 200lbs on my chest, and a chill that is all the way in my soul. 

On tuesday of this week I had one of those terrible; I can't take care of myself days.  The thought of taking care of my children seemed impossible.  But in feeling those same strong, terrible feelings I realized that I have started to learn to be okay with intense pain.  In learning this lesson, I have been able to deal with a lot of life better. 

How do you learn to deal with pain?  Well for me it has been through intense, uncomfortable, sometimes I feel like puking physical exercise.  Exercising of course has great benefits such as releasing endorphins (which fight off depression), regulating blood sugar levels, and keeping body fat low. 


Try holding a yoga move called a "Plank" for lets say two minutes...no really get down and try it.  Even if you are in the best of shape you begin to feel your arms, abs, and legs begin to burn.  Now if you are physically able to hold "plank" for two minutes you are in pain, true physical pain.  In addition to just the exercises of yoga, you learn to breath through it and talk to your self in positive ways.  ie: "this will only last 1 more minute or 30 more seconds," in turn I have learned to talk to myself and become more comfortable with pain.
I went running today. My left knee was sore and my abdomen was cramping.  Instead of quiting while feeling bad for myself, I pushed through and survived to write about it.  I don't know what you are struggling with, but I do know that even if the circumstances or feelings don't change there is hope for learning to lean on Christ and learn some new skills. 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring cleaning to tent making...letting go of perfectionism

One of the flowers that I've enjoyed lately is my boys. But this day in particular started with a major undertaking.

I was spring cleaning probably for the first time in my life. I've never had the energy or will power to take on such as a task. (I have in the past hired house cleaners behind my husbands back, don't worry I have confessed this to Tyler already). I committed to the living room and half bathroom to start. The boys were racing their shake go cars, as I scrubbed the floors; even under the couch, TV, side board, rugs.

Just as I was finishing dusting the blinds with my husbands socks (mind the fact you can't plan on returning socks to the drawer after this undertaking); the boys started constructing a tent in my newly cleaned living room!!!!  This room which I had spent the last three hours scrubbing, vacuuming, dusting, polishing, etc. 

Well thankfully my new thought process quickly quieted my old perfectionist way of thinking. So I joined in to make perhaps our best tent yet. It had three rooms, with plenty of space for a two year old, four year old, and a 31 year old mama. And the best part, it was a blast!

I completely shocked myself to allow for a goldfish snack in "the worlds best tent;" according to a four year old. The joy I would have missed if hadn't laid down my fear that I might have to vacuum again or just let it go.

When we sat down for dinner Noah and Jacob listed tent making as one of their favorite activities of the day. Praise God for the new flowers in my life. I truly feel that I now stop and smell the roses (sorry for the cliche but it is true).

 Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why now?

I don't know if God has healed me, but I have had the longest consistent time of no signs of depression in my life. My last suicidal thought was back in December. Honestly it is hard for me to even write about this...because I am afraid that this season will end. Just a break from a tortuous existence? Or a healing? A right combination of medications, supplements, exercise and diet? Maybe it is a little of all of these.

But why now did God allow me to be healthy and not 9 years ago, or 4 years ago? Why now? I've been asking God that question for a few days now. I know he is OK with his people asking him, but he doesn't always answer our questions in our timing.

Genesis 25:22 we see God answer Rebekah right away (verse 23). But then back in exodus you see the Israelites asking for someone to rescue them for many years prior to sending Moses to deliver the people from slavery. So why sometimes does He answer quickly and other times his answer is so delayed?

I love the encouragement of 2 Peter 3:8-9, "but don't forget this one thing dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone come to repentance." So the Lord's timing is not like ours, perhaps he is out of time or at least out of the way we define it.   He will keep his promises concerning you and me!  I don't want to live in fear for only God knows what tomorrow will bring.

I will praise the Lord that:
I don't walk in depression now
I am a better mom, wife, friend
I live in a place with Godly community
I have the resources to have a healthier life
I can share a story of God's good work in my life

 And even if tomorrow brings trouble, Lord may I remember where I have been, just enough to rejoice in in you daily.

Why now? I am going to settle with the fact that God's timing is beyond my understanding but I want to rejoice in him and praise Him all the more. May I take clues from 1 Samuel 7:12, " then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, thus far has the Lord helped us."  I am setting up an Ebenezer jar to remember what god has done thus far.  I am going to write down on rocks what God has done in my life to remember. Pictures to follow...

What do you do to remember the wonderful things God has done in your life?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The DTR

Do you remember that first kiss; the one that took your breath away and then your heart skips a beat?  I do!!  We just had just had the talk.  You know the DTR or Defining the Relationship talk.  We were over-looking Summerland Beach, near Santa Barbara, CA; eating burgers and enjoying the view.  At that point we both agreed to take it slow and just enjoy dating and see where the Lord leads.  Well I think that sparked a greater love in Tyler because within the next week he planned this romantic date which ended up with us breaking into a Montecito Community pool to enjoy their hot tub.  Sorry parents, yes we broke in to something!!  Well anyhow Tyler later confessed that he had planned our first kiss that night.   We had been dating for several months and just enjoyed riding bikes, surviving city college classes, working multiple jobs and then was this moment...   A moment that most girls dream of...where he so politely asked if he could kiss me.  Ahhh!!  If you know that feeling... you can almost feel it.  My heart was beating so hard and I felt it skip a beat.  And then he kissed me!!  Little did I know that my life was to change forever after that.  I had experienced loves kiss and knew that if he asked; I desired to spend the rest of my life with him.  A birth of a new deep love; that makes you want to sacrifice your old dreams for new ones. 

Genesis 1:28, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him male and female he created them."  So this love that we began one evening, well it was in the works for some time; was all part of God's creation.  In the Old Testament; God's love is weaved within the pages.  I used to equate the Old Testament with Law and Judgement.  But love is there!!  Setting up the greatest love story of all time.  Though I would argue that Tyler and My love story is phenomenal; God's Love story with us is even greater.

Moses speaks of God's love for the Israelites even after their idolatry in Exodus 34:6..."The LORD, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness..."  God remained faithful to the covenant he made with his people to love them despite their unfaithfulness.  The book of Judges is full of God's love...his people rebel, commit adultery, they call back to God, and He in His love answers them, rescuing them again and again.  I don't think if  in our love story (as in Ty and mine) had adultery and idolatry that we could still define our relationship as a great love Story.   Rather our story might be a sad tragedy of revoked love.

You may be asking how does this relate to Tyler's and my love and that DTR moment with God?  Well, God Determined his Relationship with us in the very beginning.  In the Garden of Eden man and woman walked without shame in perfect relationship with God. That was the Relationship that God designed, perfect love, community; with God, others and nature.   And his people way back in the Old Testament and even people today rebel against the greatest relationship ever offered.  The love story that God offers is a love that can never be revoked;  and is extended to all of us.  God's love is much like my experience with my first kiss!!  He is passionately in love with us asking us to fall deeply in love with him.  A deep love that asks us to lay down our own dreams and ambitions with the promise of a joy filled life. 

John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."  If this is the greatest love then Rejoice!! Christ did this for me and you and I desire to fall more in love with him daily. My prayer is that you too find a deeper love in Christ.


Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." 

Friday, March 9, 2012

God loves Broken People



I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Sheila Walsh speak this week in Plano, TX.  A month ago a friend recommended to me to listen to her story on Focus on the Family, and I was so blessed to hear that out of her terrible depression and brokenness God used her story to bless other.  All of this happened once she was honest with her own brokenness.

So many times I still try to pretend I am not broken; trying to cover it with perfectionism, following rules, and "holding it together."  This week for example I began and frankly felt exhausted, fatigued and on the edge of a break down.  Instead of confessing it I pushed on and on.  Trying to keep the front that I am a great mother, doing great, with no hint of depression.  Well that got me it trouble, yesterday I had to spend 14 hours in bed recovering.  I should have just admitted my brokenness to my husband and mother and law;  and asked for the help I so desperately needed.

I have this mentality that if I "keep it together" others will love me more, think I am a better person... But the amazing truth is that God loves me even in my brokenness.  In fact he couldn't love me any more even if I was a perfect as humanly possible.  Oh the joy of unconditional perfect love that asks for no performance from me.  I can just rest in his love today and always.  

"The good news is that no matter what we've suffered in the past or no matter how dark the valley we find ourselves in today- whether our brokenness results from what others have done to us or what we have done to ourselves- we have a heavenly Shepherd who cares for us deeply and loves us fiercely."  excerpt from Sheila's book.

Isaiah 40:11
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Waiting room part 2

So for years I asked God to take my depression away; quite frankly pleaded many times.  But I waited; sometimes in anger against God, thinking. "why don't you answer me!!."  Other times I have waited in joyful anticipation that he would fulfill his promises in my life; if not on this side of heaven then in heaven.

I did learn a lot through waiting...  I learned who is going to continue to stand with me while darkness engulfs me.  My husband, could have walked away from an angry wife, suicidal wife, deep in shame, guilt and sadness.  But not only did he stick with me, but learned to thrive despite of me.  I have friends that have heard me speak lies about myself, only to love me all the more.  Blessed with family that prayed with us instead of judged us.  God gave me enough to make it.

I wanted to talk more about the Israelites waiting for God to fulfill his promise of leading his people into the promise land, but Paul has been more on my heart.  Here is a man that turned full circle from killing followers of Christ -- to becoming foundational in establishing the early Christan Church and writing many of the books of the New Testament. 

2 Corinthians 12 : 7-10 Paul writes, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh,  a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  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, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

The bible doesn't specify what Paul's thorn was; but can you hear his anguish in his description of his experience; torment, pleading.  I don't know how long he pleaded; but scripture is clear that God didn't take his 'thorn' away.  Rather the Lord points him to His grace and His power.  So Paul couldn't boast in his work, rather only boast in what Christ was doing through him in despite his struggles. 

When I started blogging I was still begging Christ to free me, and release me from the torment of living in depression.  For years God never took my depression away in my waiting.  But I have now seen him work in my weakness.  Looking back, I have learned lessens in the agony of despair that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.  Even in some of my darkest moments; God worked for my story to minister to others.  Today I am experiencing and walking in joy and hope.  However depression, shame and guilt are always there reminding me that I need Christ.  Through his Grace I am entrusted with the power of Christ, and am learning to delight in my weakness; so when I am weak, God will be strong. May God be made much of...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The waiting room

We've all been in them... some times much longer than we would ever want; they are waiting rooms.  Whether at a doctors appointment, dentists, hospitals, interview, etc.  Some are nice and comfy (like at my dentist office they had kuerg coffee and Internet) making the hour wait less torturous, and others have been sterile, hard and cold; like an Emergency department; where you will be lucky to get a drink of water and find a clean bathroom.   None the less we've all been them. 

The last 15 years with my depression has been like sitting in a waiting room. A season of waiting for health, healing from the darkness of suicidal thoughts, waiting for hope, to find joy, wanting so desperately to be freed from bondage.  Is 15 years a long time? yes and no.  I could continue to mourn the loss of years, joy of having babies, and depleted years of joyful marriage.  But I would be missing out on the joy of today and God's timing and the new season I am in. 

I was encouraged by a quote by Chuck Swindoll- "God is in no hurry. Compared to the works of mankind, He is extremely deliberate. God is not a slave to the human clock."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Love this from Patsy Clairmont- Women of Faith

Pruning by Patsy Clairmont

Some years ago my husband bought a super duper riding lawn mower. Les could hardly wait to try out his new toy, excuse me, his new equipment. He even bought a spiffy hat for his maiden voyage, so Les was looking good. He revved up the powerful motor, careened out the garage door, onto the grass, where he lowered the mower, shifted into high gear, and proceeded to barrel right through my flower bed.

That was not what Les meant to do. That was not what I wanted him to do. By the time Les lifted the mower and made his way out of the flowers my hydrangea bush looked like a handful of pickup sticks, my roses were potpourri, and my butterfly bush was not fit for a gnat. This was not purposeful pruning at its best.

Even so would you believe the following year those bushes came back with gusto. They were full of gorgeous blossoms. And the year after that they were show stoppers. Folks were actually stopping to take pictures of them.

It’s really a reminder that what others do accidentally or spitefully can be used to cause us to flourish. Doesn’t that remind you of Joseph from Genesis? If you remember his life looked like nothing but hardship and injustice. From sibling jealousy, to female revenge, to ingratitude, Joseph’s story looked like he had been mowed down and discarded. But God used it all as pruning to cause Joseph to grow into a wise leader.

None of us would volunteer for family rejection, slavery, imprisonment, or injustice. When Joseph was young and still full of innocent dreams he never imagined as the favored child of his father he would live such a rootless existence. But God grafted him into the Egyptian world for holy purposes of position and provision. Joseph after being cut down like a sapling grew to become an oak of righteousness. His management of the fruit of the fields flourished the people through a world famine.

We can observe growth in a petrie dish, a preschool, and a seniors vocational center. We were born to grow until our fruit falls to earth for the last time and we blossom into eternal life.

Excerpted from Nothing is Impossible. © 2010 by Women of Faith. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.