Monday, December 31, 2012

A year in Pictures

Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in hear, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my burden is light."

















Saturday, December 29, 2012

An epic Failure... or something better?



You step out and try... it's a stretch; but you pray and it fails!  Or does it?  Do you know that feeling?  You may have prayed about it and still it doesn't come to fruition in the way you thought.  Maybe it is a book unwritten or rejected, a friendship lost, an adoption closed by politics, resumes ignored, job lost... if you are in the human race you have experienced it to one degree or another; FAILURE!!

I'm a pro thenA quote I pinned on Pinterest sums it up how I want to live my life... I don't know who wrote it but they are right. -->

So my big mistake or failure of 2012 was building a well; or truly was it a failure?  I did try and I reached a whooping 6% of funds raised to build it.  I also happened to pick the most expensive well to build out of all the wells I could choose.  I wanted to build one that did it in Jesus' name for there was then the offering of not just water but also the gift of eternal water.

 I can get down on myself and the old tapes in my head would sound something like this is... "I failed, Why do I even try?  I must of not heard from God right."  Oh how condemnation always comes in my own voice.  It would be easier to recognize these messages as lies if it sounded like some evil monster.  But no, the failure messages have been in my own voice, sounding like I am just talking to myself.

So was it a failure to not complete my goal of a well project through World Vision?  I would like to argue the idea that no it isn't a failure.  Rather it is proof of stepping out; outside of myself and trying something.  The world may look and say "ah she did indeed fail"; because "she made a goal and it didn't happen."  I will state that 6% is 6 more percent than they would have had.  I would argue that success isn't in the end result rather it is in the stepping out and doing, just taking steps toward what you believe that God is calling you to do.

I thought back on my reading earlier in the year in Genesis about Abraham and Isaac.  The Lord had promised Abraham a son and he didn't have him till he was 100 years old (Chapter 21).  Then in Chapter 22 of Genesis the Lord asked Abraham to take his one and only son and sacrifice him.   Now this is a little crazy but in faith you know what Abraham did, he got up to go and do what he was asked to do; he even got up early.  Well many of you know that Isaac was even bound on the altar when God called out!!  Do Not Lay a Hand on the Boy!  the Lord said.  Did Abraham fail?  Maybe in that he didn't end up sacrificing his son; but he did what was called of him.  Abraham was obedient in his willingness to give his one and only son in sacrifice, trusting that God would still send him home with his son after his obedience (Genesis 22:5, "He said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.  We will worship and then we will come back to you.'").

Now do I understand this story in all its significance; no, but I do know that Abraham was considered a man of faith by his obedience.  Likewise; I wonder if God just calls us to do things that may seem a little crazy, just to see if we will be obedient and trust.  God is the one that multiplies our efforts for his glory and in his timing.  I don't know, I guess that is why God is God and I am not.  I learned that I didn't build a well but that I did what I felt called to do and was obedient to my part.  Hopefully others have become more aware of the depravity and the call to love our neighbor.  That the 6% that was raised is multiplied by the Savior that took seven loaves and a few fish and fed over four thousand (Matthew 15: 29-39).  Yes we will make mistakes and even have some epic failures by our standards.  But I learned I can do something, and hopefully it was something in the direction toward God away from self.  Failed endeavor, by the worlds standards epic failure but I would say, "NO"  a great lesson in obedience and trust.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A year to review...Looking back on lessons learned

I was looking back at my past blogs from this year and it has been a wild ride.  One important life lesson I have learned is the discipline of finding gratitude; even in my darkest days.  After reading Ann Voskamp's book I started writing out my 1,000 gifts or things that I am thankful for.  Little did I know that this would become a major part of my healing.  I started my list on March 29th 2012, little did I know that my life was to turn upside down in the beginning of April.  Tension was building inside of me like a tumor in my chest;  I felt I was going to die or kill myself.

Journal entry from 4-9-12, "Almost admitted to a psych hospital.  I declined admission after seeing what it was like on the floor.  It was awful, I wouldn't have left a dog I hated in that place.  Fear flooded my senses walking around the floor.  I am mourning that my kids aren't here at home with me; they are at our good friends for a night or two.  In great hands they rest.  I didn't think I would miss the noise, giggles, kisses, and hugs so desperately.  Oh to get healthy again together with my family.  Lord may my sorrow rest at your feet."

2 days later I admitted myself into the Meier Clinic.  God had prepared my heart to find gratitude in the darkness of my situation and soul.  Hopelessness was in the process of being replaced with gratitude.
 I had just started the process of writing 1,000 gifts in my life a week ahead of this hard time.

I started with being grateful:
1) Salvation
2) God
3) My husband
4) the bright moon in the sky
5) insecticides (I was really searching for things to me grateful for)

(I'll skip a few here and there to get my point across)

12) My oldest says, "Oh crackers" when he gets mad
13) Happy children
62) Grace
63) Noah- not losing him
64) Jacob- an unexpected gift
97) Job (from the bible) example of not cursing God despite his losses
102) That if you cut off the dead part of a plant it flowers again if not more

(These are things I was grateful for while in my pit trying desperately to keep my life)

107) Butterflies
110) Anger
111) That I didn't spend the night in the hospital
117) Meier Clinic
118) Brokenness- that leads me to something higher than my feelings, circumstances, finances

Though I wouldn't wish this on anyone I am truly am thankful for finding thankfulness in my depression.  My hopelessness has changed into hope and gratitude.  I wouldn't change my life for anything; I am deeply rooted in God's faithful love and secure in Him.  Not just for eternity but for today;  I fight for joy.  I thought being in my pit of depression was the hardest part; rather climbing out, changing, are the harder part.  Sitting in my hopelessness was effortless, yet more damaging.

As I end 2012 I want to reflect on the year; the blessings and the lessons I learned.  

How about you?  What have you learned in 2012?  Comment below...10th comment will win Ann Voskamp's book 1,000 gifts.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

An invitation to rest...God rest ye merry gentlemen


I think differently about this oh so familiar Christmas song now...God gives rest and asks us to not dismay...  Why?  Because Christ came as our Savior to save us from all Satan's power.  Oh how this is my prayer.  What a wonderful gift offered.  Better than anything under our tree.
Though I have allowed Satan to have power in my life; baby Jesus came to give us comfort and joy.  Satan's power has manifested in me as shame, fear, doubt, hopelessness, anxiety, depression, and anger.  But through the precious gift of redeeming grace I have been redeemed and see this working in my life.  Oh the redeeming grace I need more!!  According to Webster's dictionary redeem means "to free from distress, free from captivity, to change for the better".  Oh my heart yells Me! Me! Me!! 
All of this redemption, saving, comfort and joy is wrapped in a swaddling clothes lying in a manger 2000 plus years ago, but the gift is still available today.   I have tried to find it in perfectionism, consumerism, and people pleasing all to my demise.  John 10:10 Jesus says, "The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
May you be blessed as you read this song for yourself.  


God rest ye merry, gentlemen,Let nothing you dismay,Remember Christ our SaviorWas born on Christmas Day;To save us all from Satan's powerWhen we were gone astray.O tidings of comfort and joy,Comfort and joy,O tidings of comfort and joy!
From God our heavenly FatherA blessed angel came;And unto certain shepherdsBrought tiding of the same;How that in Bethlehem was bornThe Son of God by name.
"Fear not, then," said the angel,"Let nothing you affright;This day is born a SaviorOf a pure virgin bright,To free all those who trust in himFrom Satan's power and might."
Now to the Lord sing praises,All you within this place,And with true love and brotherhoodEach other now embrace;this holy tide of ChristmasDoth bring redeeming grace






















Romans 6: 23, "Tor the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Except the best gift this year!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Persistent Problem...grateful

From Jesus calling; I've heard this three times this week so I think I am finally getting the message and want to share...

"When you are plagued by a persistent problem- one that goes on and on- view it as a rich opportunity.  An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side.  The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable.  In faith, thank Me for your problem.  Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty.  Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down.  On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with Me.  From this perspective  your difficulty can be seen as a slight, temporary distress that is producing for you a transcendent Glory never to cease!" -Thank you  Sarah Young for sharing your insight and wisdom.

2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all."

From my 1000 gifts of gratitude journal
849) I am thankful to practice standing up for myself
850) I am thankful for the revelation that I put others perception of me stand in higher esteem that what God think of me.
851) Thankful for gratitude
852) Thankful for God's gift of a baby to save me from my sins
853) Thankful for the hope of eternal glory

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cry of a molested child



Was I hard to hear
or not worth to truly being listened to?
Did not our creator give us two ears
and one mouth.
Did my eyes not cry or
did my words fall void?
Lord give me ears to hear,
the silent cries in my heart.
Help me see the tears that fall.
May the anger I feel protect what is of
value and worth.
My words don't need to fall on deaf ears.
Listen, but listen with understanding 
or turn aside because I am worthy of being heard.


“There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” 
― G.K. Chesterton



Monday, December 17, 2012

Anger...we all have it at some point

The Lord never said don't be angry; rather don't sin in it.

That second part is hard at times; maybe because we expect something different or have been hurt; so then I tend to think "I deserve such and such..." After counseling I came to the conclusion of a new revelation for myself.

Anger by design is an indicator that I have something worthy to protect.
God has put a special thing in me to protect my children; my heart, my emotions, my dreams, my marriage, my health, my security, my mind, my life, my personality, just to name a few.  When these get threatened you can see the "mommy bear" come out and into action I go.  (You mothers know exactly what I am saying!)  I am learning that my first response to this threat is to act, but by getting on my knees to pray; to pray for wisdom, self control, and love.

So listen to that amazing, God given indicator; anger, that you were given but take heed; your anger can lead you into sin or into a prayerful response.

Proverbs 4: 23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Ephesians 4: 25-26, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

Psalm 4:4, "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grace




"Grace is God loving, 
God stooping, 
God coming to the rescue, 
God giving himself generously in and through 
Jesus Christ, " -John Stott

Grace is the perfect gift that came down...Jesus Christ

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You are lovable...Not defined by what happened...



Recently written by a dear brave sojourner and friend...


"Rain drips down and settles in pebble-shaped designs on my car windows.  I am glad for it.  It obstructs the view from the outside looking in and hides me from the world.  I sit, cradling my hot latte’ taking in its warmth and comfort.  In a few minutes I must leave this place to continue on with life but for now, this is my fortress of solitude.
The conversation I just had with my counselor is settling into my brain and I am trying to recall all his words.  The words are like gold to me and yet in my jumble of thoughts and emotions I struggle to grasp at the truths he offered:  “What you went through is a form of molestation”  “You are not defined by what happened.”  “You are lovable.”
Even more precious to me is what my heavenly Father spoke: “ I love you”  “You are clean and pure because of Jesus’ blood.”  
I pause to wave at a friend who walks by and I realize I am not actually hidden from the world.  I am brought back to the reality of the day.  Grateful that my heavenly Father walks every step with me, I pull myself out of my sanctuary and into the rain of life."

Sadly the statistics are startling: As many as one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood.(Briere, J., Eliot, D.M. Prevalence and Psychological Sequence of Self-Reported Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse in General Population: Child Abuse and Neglecti, 2003, 27 10.) Many studies think that the stats are actually higher due to the secrecy of such abuses.  

Well my brave friend isn't alone nor am I, we are both survivors and made new by our loving heavenly father.  I also know we aren't alone...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What does it look like to be deeply loved?



Oh to be deeply loved and not just know it but live in it; and with an Everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).  Though the world will say you aren't lovable or good enough to be loved, there is a Savior who loves me. While I still was lost in sin (missing the mark), took my punishment on the cross.  He was born on Christmas day as the perfect gift of Everlasting love; will you receive it?.  What does it look like to know and live like you are loved?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just when I thought I would die...

Maybe as early as elementary worry has been a part of my life: "will people like me," "am I smart enough, pretty, likable".  I worried about my mom and her own life issues, friends and their home life etc.  I then began pulling hair and picking at my skin.  These two activities eased a deep ache or anxious thought in me; though only temporarily.  Hair pulling and picking followed me into my adulthood as habits that follow like a shadow.  Now as an adult I realize this struggle of worry was a symptom of my wiring as a "type A" person.  I have always been driven toward excellence...that then lead toward perfectionism, ingraining deep anxiety to fulfill an unfill-able expectation for myself and others.

It didn't just stop here; rather in my early twenties I experienced something that pushed me to the edge of myself; I thought I was going to die!!!

Some of you have felt this...heart beating so hard that you actually feel pain, followed by sweating, light headed, fearful, followed by irrational feelings, rapid breathing that finally spurs many to seek emergency care. In my case I tried to just deal with it and move on; but the "episodes" continued.   My first episode attack was at the Movie "Sea Biscuit," with some of Tyler's friends from PA school.  I had to leave, embarrassment followed.  Many other attacks forced me to get out of our 650 square foot apartment.  Air! Air!  was all I thought as I took the frequent jog down the 4 stories to get outside and just wait till my newly married husband got home from school.

Impending doom set in, shadowing over any hope that was present at the time; I was in my one year nursing program after moving across country, worked full time for the first time, and newly married.  What a messy start.

Other symptoms I've read about or heard others experience are: dizziness, nausea, feeling of choking, numbness, tingling, shortness of breath, tunneled vision, shaking, chills, or many other symptoms. Do you relate?  This is a panic attack!  It is the worst feeling I have ever experienced.  All I thought was that I was going to die or go crazy!! Finally after intermittent episodes I literally ran out of one of my nursing classes to the clinic to get help.

I knew this had to stop or I was going to kill myself.  "I am losing my mind and going crazy,"  I thought.  But God had another plan...


Thankfully this was almost 9 years ago now and I am happy to say that by God's grace Tyler and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this July.  Without being married to a man committed to his vows; to love in sickness and in health we wouldn't have made it.  I have struggled on and off through out our marriage, sadly more on than off through the years.  But we have grown and I am thankful for:

814) A loving marriage
815) Healthier cooping skills with stress
816) Deeper love  and intimacy with my Savior
817) Joy in life- after I have seen death
818) Ability to see the blessings that depression blinded me from
819) Depression- keeping me fully dependent on God