Friday, October 31, 2008

A year ago...

A year ago.

A year ago today.

A year ago today.
I was sitting in the hospital.

A year ago today.
I was in the middle of my stay on the mental health unit.

A year ago today.
I was at the tail end of the toughest day I’d had there yet.

I was discharged from the hospital on Friday, November 2, 2007. My husband and I had a short lunch, and then went to my first meeting with my counselor, Tricia.

After a few moments of small talk, Tricia just came out and asked me, “So, what brings you here?”

As I wasn’t sure how much she had read up on my file from the hospital (I didn’t know if she had any of that info yet), I told her that I was just released from the hospital, because the previous weekend I had been determined to kill myself.

She asked about my past, about my family, my growing up years, college, etc. and I pretty much told her everything about myself. At the end of the session she said that she was surprised that I was that open with her in my first session. I told her at the time, that I had just come from the hospital, where really I had no choice but to be honest about everything I was thinking and feeling. I was still in that mode and it was much easier to talk to her about everything at once and get the door open.

In that short time of our first session together, I felt safe with her, and felt like I could really talk to her and she was really listening.

At the end of our session, she prayed with me. Then we stood up, and she offered me a hug. At that point, I knew that I wasn’t going to have look any further than her for a counselor.
After having several appointments with only a few days in between, I started seeing her once a week for an hour. At times when things got intense, we moved to 90 minute sessions. Through many ups and downs, steps forward and steps back (including another hospitalization), I am now seeing her once every other week, for an hour, with hopes to move out more than that…. Soon.

Through all this time, God helped me open up to her, helped me open up to Him. He used Tricia to teach me how to cope and then, not just cope, but how to actually survive and live day to day. Then not just survive and live day to day, but how to flourish and grow, in hope, love and joy.

It wasn’t easy. It took a long time. It took a lot of trust in God, and a lot of trust in Tricia to stay the course and go where they led me. I have had many times this past year where I haven’t wanted to live. Where I have just wanted to quit, to give up, to stop fighting. But God never gave up on me. He gave me everything I needed to get through, when I needed it.

I have been tired. I have been hurt. I have been depressed. I have been anxious, overwhelmed by fear…. some of this all at the same time.

I have gone through so many different emotions, from anger, fear, betrayal, rejection, despair; to peace, love, happiness, joy, excitement, amazement, freedom.

I am a different person than I was last year. I am dreaming dreams, hoping hopes, catching a whiff of God’s vision for the future. I realized that I can stand on my own without ultimately depending on anyone but God.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t need other people. I depend on my husband and kids, but they don’t define me. I can have close friends without overwhelming them, without putting them on a pedestal, without “becoming” someone I’m not, so I can be “ok.”

I may have a dependent personality, but it doesn’t have to rule my life and relationships. I can transfer that dependency to God.

I may have a melancholic personality. All that means that things touch me deeply. When I get hurt, it hurts deeply. When I love, I love deeply. When I feel any emotion, I feel it so deeply it becomes part of me.

Tricia pointed out to me at one point that King David had a melancholic personality. He felt deeply, loved deeply, sinned deeply, repented deeply, lived life to the full. (Maybe that is why I am drawn to the Psalms so much…)

The depth of feelings that I have are not a bad thing. They are good. As long as I keep my focus on God, and allow Him to help me deal with them. For me, still battling to come out from under all the lies I have believed, I have to truly live the verse from 1 Peter 1:13.

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

I need to stay prepared. Stay alert. Keep my mind focused on God. Fill my heart with His truth. When I get tired, and discouraged (as I am tonight) I need to look back and see the amazing things He has done. I need to set my hope on the grace He will give to me, the grace He has given me.

I have had to look back over this past year, and just remember where I was at this time last year. To really remember what I was thinking and feeling, the shame, hopelessness and despair… not to dwell on it, but to remind myself of where I was, so I can see where I am now.
Right now the point isn’t to think about the details of the struggles during this past year. The ups and downs of the year isn’t the focus.

Right now, I am seeing a snapshot of that terrified, exhausted, despairing, hopeless girl, ready to kill herself to get out of her misery, sitting in the office of a counselor she’d never met - baring her soul, not knowing what else to do in 2007.

Right now I am seeing a snapshot of a young woman, wife and mother, who is going to be leading the worship team in church this weekend, feeling freedom, joy, hope, even in the midst of some struggles at the moment. I see a woman who has been given some dreams by God in 2008.

I don’t know what will become of those dreams. All I know is that I have to follow God and He will take care of the rest.

When I am tired. When I feel like I don’t want to struggle anymore, and just want to give into the lies again…

Well, this was the verse that came to me tonight as I was writing this… in my fatigue, and in the struggle right now I am having with some depression that wants to steal the joy, energy, and victory from me…

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 heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Yes to God" Chapters 6&7... Cosmetics and Feelings

This week was so good going through these two chapters for our study through “Behind those Eyes” by Lisa Whittle. Thank you Lelia, for hosting this.

How in the world can I possibly cover all that hit me in these two chapters?! There was so much in each one, that I could write about 2 posts for each chapter! Especially with all that God has been teaching me this past week.

As I read Chapter 6, Cosmetics for the Soul, I was reminded so much of all the things I have gone through this past year. I have bought into the lies that Satan has been screaming at me for years. I have believe him. This past year has been all about breaking the hold those lies have had on me. Those lies have been planted because of the choices I have made. I have to own up to the responsibilities of the consequences of those… putting myself in situations that I should have never been in.

But like Lisa said,
“We must know who we are - who we really are - so that Satan’s lies cannot infiltrate our thinking and permeate our lives. We need to let go of the guilt and regrets from the past that color our opinion of our future while acknowledging mistakes we have made along the way.”

My counselor, Tricia, has helped me in identifying the lies I have been believing. God is faithfully showing me His truth about who I am, and about who He is. He has helped me memorize scripture in a way that I have never been able to before this. It has been sinking in and staying with me. The truth really is setting me free… God’s truth.

When I believed the lies of the enemy, when I felt vulnerable, there have been many times I did that dance, to cover up what I didn’t want others to see. I also tried to sew together fig leaves, to cover up the spots in my heart that were uglier than I wanted to see. I have been so afraid through counseling and healing, to look inside, see the ugliness, the selfishness, the sin, the anger and bitterness and hatred that has been there… towards myself, and others. It has been a scary and painful process.

I have believed so many of the enemy’s lies.

You are too damaged.
You are unworthy of love.
You have missed it.
You’ll never have a future.
And the kicker for me;
There is nothing to hope for. All is utterly hopeless. I am nothing. I shouldn’t even be here.

By God’s grace alone am I here. It is that grace that saved me when I first turned to Him, and it is that grace that saved me and preserved my life this year.

I can’t use those cosmetics anymore. If I do, I will find myself slowly dying inside again.

In Chapter 7, The Feelings We Conceal, I was hit upside the head again.

Lisa said,
“We conceal our past. We keep our real agendas hidden. We mask our true feelings and cover up our sins. We just can’t bear the thought of someone knowing what is really going on inside our souls, so perfectly hidden by the ‘beautiful’ things they see.”

I can admit to all the emotions that Lisa said were so prevalent in all of us, and extremely detrimental to authentic relationships with other women.

Insecurity has been a big one for me. Probably because I have bought into the lies of the enemy. I would go along, and then see someone else who sang better than I did, played the piano better than me, looked thinner, more beautiful, or had what appeared to be the perfect Christian walk. I immediately wished I was that person. I envied them, and eventually became jealous of them. Even if I hid it, it affected our relationship. It wasn’t possible to be authentic in those relationships because there was that underlying current of insecurity and jealousy (maybe on both of our parts, I don’t know for sure).

I loved the four things that Jonathan and David had in their relationship. Commitment to God, letting nothing come between them, strengthening their friendship when it was tested, and remaining friends to the end.

I found that type of friendship with Gwen. We became friends when we were in college, in our twenties. She stood by me through some tough times, and I have stood by her too, during her hard times. I think there have been times where stuff has tried to come between us. There have been times where we have been insecure and allowed jealousy to take root, (at least I know I have) but at the same time, we have stuck with each other and come out the other side stronger for it. Right now she is halfway around the world, in Zambia for a year. I miss her terribly, but love her and pray for her daily. I miss the chance to interact with her and see her. Ever since she moved away after college, I have been praying for someone else to have that type of friendship with.

God answered that prayer with Cindy. We have gotten to know each other during this past year and a half, and God has truly knit our hearts together. We are committed to our individual relationships with God. We have hung together during tough times in each others lives. We haven’t experienced jealousy, or fear in our relationship with each other.

We have been able to be completely and totally open with each other, with no fear that what we have said would go any further than between us and God. We have become true sisters, lifting each other up in prayer, giving Godly counsel, providing each other with a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on, rejoicing with one another when we have had triumphs, and comforting each other in our failures.

For me, fear and loneliness are big things that throw up a red flag for me. Especially as I struggle with depression. I don’t want to let on to others that I am not doing well. I isolate myself. I find myself wandering in a crowd of people, at a mall, or even in the midst of the choir I sing in, feeling like I am in a bubble that no one can touch me through, and unable to reach out. When I hit that loneliness, I feel like I could disappear and no one would notice… and that is a bad place for me to allow my thoughts go.

Fear has been a constant companion the last few years. I live daily with anxiety, though I am getting better at controlling it. I have spikes of fear about the most ordinary things, that wouldn’t necessarily faze anyone else.

I have been fearful of losing my husband, losing my kids, having a house fire or car crash, being attacked by someone… and most of these manifest themselves in terrible nightmares. Three was a stretch there where night after night, for long months I would wake up shaking and terrified from dreams, so much so that I couldn’t get back to sleep again.

It has been hard to admit those fears to someone. My counselor and Cindy have been people to whom I have been able to open up to. Fear of rejection is huge for me, as I have been rejected throughout my life by people, used and then rejected. So, God placed me among people with whom I could be safe. Tricia, Cindy, Gwen, my small group all have become places of safety for me. If I find myself fearing to be with them, I know that there is something going on inside that is afraid of being exposed.

I have found in the past few weeks, times where I have truly been afraid to go see Tricia, and keep my appointment with her. Or I have been afraid of, or not wanting to go to, small group which is very unlike me. Each time I have gone, God has blessed me by opening something up in counseling and healing me, or by giving me the opportunity to pray for and love on someone else who opened up in our small group.

Jesus has comforted me as I have started to dare to dream of being a writer… He has shown me that if He has not spared His son, but gave Him up for me, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give me all things?

He wants to know my dreams. He wants me to pour out my heart to him, share my insecurities, jealousies, loneliness, fears… He wants me to be open with Him, others and myself… He wants me to stop the cover up, and open up and be real and authentic. I am tired of trying to conceal things. It is too exhausting. God has shown me this.

He has been stripping away my masks though this past year, and He has been stripping them away even more through the study of this book. Thank you, Lisa for your commitment to authenticity, and helping others get there too!

Things to do, places to go, people to see...

Somehow I got bit with the fall cleaning bug.

I may not be the greatest housekeeper in the world, but I do like to organize, and love living in a clean house. I just hate doing it…

Anybody with me here?!

You know its the little things I have to do:

Pick up the yard toys and store for the winter.
Clear out the other half of the garage to get the other car in there.
Wash the windows.
Empty out, wash and re-organize the kitchen cupboards.
De-cobweb the ceiling and corners.
Clean out the china cabinet.
Pack up all the things in said china cabinet.
Vacuum the stairs.
Vacuum under the couch cushions.
Vacuum the bedroom floors.
Once I can see them.
Clean out the inside of the light fixtures.

“I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan…
my wedding to arrange…
my wife to murder…
Guilder to frame for it…
I’m swamped.”

And did I mention I have to dust.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Do I dare to dream? What's in a name #11

When I said I was terrified, trapped, that I couldn’t do it,

He asked,
“Am I enough?”

I talked to Cindy about counseling and a bit more about my student teaching today, after my session with Tricia. I told her about how I felt God ask me if He was enough. I talked about how I felt I had wasted the 5 1/2 years of time and money in school with nothing to show.

In the midst of the therapy, God asked me, “Nothing?” And of course, coming to Christ at the end of my freshman year of college isn’t nothing. That’s when the “Am I enough” question came in from God.

When I relayed this stuff to Tricia, she asked me, “Ok, so is God enough?” I told her I didn’t know.

Lord, I don’t know. Are You enough? I want you to be. I long for Jesus alone, and nothing else, so I suppose that means that You are starting to be… Oh how I want to believe You are enough, really know it and believe it!

Tricia asked me if I’d had opportunities to take any English classes. I told her I did take some literature classes.

“Where you had to do some reading and writing?”

“Yes, we had to write some 30 page papers and stuff, and inside I was all excited, while everyone else was groaning.”

Maybe part of college was about writing, and learning to write better, that was Tricia’s thought. Maybe part of the thing of being in college was not only coming to Christ, but get more exposure to writing.

When I told this to Cindy, she just about died when something clicked for her. She said that as painful and hurtful as it was, maybe God stopped my student teaching to stop me from going in a direction He didn’t want me to go.

Because I hadn’t ever really asked Him about where He wanted me to go. I just assumed music was it and never thought anything else was possible.

I mean, the most I ever thought my writing would be was for me in my journals. The most I ever hoped, secretly in my heart, is that someday my family would want to look back, after I was gone, and want to read about my journey of faith, with it’s ups and downs. That’s one of the only reasons I have kept all my journals.

Never would I have dreamed to blog, except a friend was going overseas and started a blog to keep in touch, and so I did too. Now here I am writing my thoughts out for the world to see!
I wouldn’t have had my love for writing reawakened (at least from my perspective) without going through depression and trying to express myself somehow, and this blog turned into that medium.

So, can I embrace that?

Is He enough, even when He may have slammed that door in my face?

And another question.
Do I dare to dream?

Having a door slammed in my face, like that, especially with something I was so excited to do, and sank so much time and money into, and dreamed about for years and years… it killed something in me. It killed a dream but it also killed the desire to dream any other dreams. I think I started to believe a lie that I couldn’t dream. Or that my dreams weren’t worth anything. Or that God maybe didn’t want me to dream, or didn’t want to fulfill my dreams.
Before today, I believed that I could never have a dream again. I would get hurt if I did.
Before today, I said that it was my supervisor who slapped me in the face and slammed the door and made me give up.

He didn’t. He didn’t make me do anything. God shut that door. If God hadn’t, no one could have.

So do I say that God killed something in me?
Yeah, maybe He did.

Killed something in me so that something better could grow?
I hope so.

I know that after that time of losing my dream, I really didn’t dream big anymore. I would have fantasies once in a while… daydreams really… of what might be, of what relationships I might have with others, or once in a while, some way I could be used of God… But I dismissed them as pipe dreams, not grounded in reality, and certainly nothing that could really happen.
I haven’t dared to dream about something real. Something realistic. Something that God could really do. (Yes, I know, He could really do some of those other things if they were in His will… but I don’t think think that being a lead singer for a top Christian band or worship team is quite what He has in His mind for me…..)

But what about things that I know would be in His will… such as a stronger, healthier, deeper relationship with my husband… a better, more loving home for my kids… being a better mom and wife… I have been afraid to dream for the better or best for me and my family. Even afraid, or hesitant at least, to pray for them.

Anything deeper was way more than I could ask of God.

To dream for anything for myself….
It takes my breath away to even think about it…

Something that God might want for me… for me to do, or be, or become.


Today, something started to break through to me today, in counseling. I started to realize that there might have been a reason that I went to college after all. Yes, becoming a Christian was a big part of that.

When Tricia talked about my writing… (gasp… did I just call it MY writing? Nope, no lightning bolts yet…) I started to see something. Cindy followed it up, and helped clarify it.
Tricia admitted she has the desire to write, but felt envious of me, because I have a knack for it that she feels she doesn’t. Cindy told me that she has been so impressed with my writing too. She said there is something about how I say things, and express my thoughts backed up with knowledge, experience, etc. that speaks to readers.

I couldn’t take a compliment. When they both complimented me on my writing, I looked away, dismissed it immediately, without a thought.

Cindy built on what Tricia said about college giving me an opportunity to test my wings in writing. Maybe God shut the door on my student teaching, maybe He was saving me for something better.

I would have settled for something good.
He had better, best in mind for me.

She said that maybe God has saved me for writing. Whether that is on a blog, editing others writing, writing my own articles/books/whatever. She even went so far as to say, giving book tours, needing to speak on those tours, and who knows, once I have spoken, help lead in worship!!! (good grief)

I was getting scared even hearing her verbalize all these things.

Seriously. I was scared.
Because I couldn’t verbalize them.
I couldn’t even think them.

I have recently started think that maybe God has given me the gift of writing, and have been afraid to acknowledge it. Scared to death. I have been afraid to ask God about it. Afraid to ask God for a dream. I have been afraid to let this dream take root in my heart so that I won’t be hurt if it never happens.

So, the question again.
Do I dare to dream? And dream big?

Oh God, can I dare to trust You with my heart and the dreams that are planted there? And are You still going to be enough if not one of those dreams ever come to fruition? Please give me the courage I need to take the leap You are asking me to - to trust You with my heart and dreams again - to surrender them to you and let You plant them and grow them as You will. Oh to have God-authored dreams and hopes! Help me to step out and let You have it all. Oh Lord, Tricia took it one step, Cindy took it the next, and though I tried, You didn’t allow me to block out their powerful words of encouragement. Please God, I want to be in the very center of Your will. Even if that means taking the risk to dream again. I love you, Jesus. Thank you so much for these revelations today. Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Yes to God" Chapter 5... Ms. Spirituality

“In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?” When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.” Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.” When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed. Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!’ “
Luke 8:43-48, The Message

This passage, this story in scripture has come to me again and again this past week. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to escape it. It was the scripture passage for my devotional on Sunday morning. Someone told me about how it had encouraged them through the past week, on Sunday night. Monday night I read our chapter, and then the study questions and there it was again.

Like I said, I can’t escape it!

I had no idea what to write this week. None. No clue. I read the chapter. I saw so many ways to go, I just didn’t know what to do. I read some of the others posts, saw how some of them took the chapter and applied it to their lives.

Last night, I had no words.
This morning, no words.

Then I remembered this scripture passage.

That woman had suffered so much at the hands of the doctors to whom she went. In Mark 5, the Message said that the doctors took advantage of her and left her worse off than before.
She had gone for secular help and received none.

The nature of her illness caused her to be rejected and shunned by her community and by the religious leaders of the day.

As Lisa said, “Church is the one place we should feel the safest from judgment by our peers, yet it’s the very place we often experience the most rejection and legalism. Sadly, in many churches, grace is not always on the agenda.”

So many times through my life, from the time I became a Christian, I watched others around me, and learned to speak the right Christian phrases, and do the right Christian things, so I wouldn’t experience rejection or judgment from those around me. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be seen as a good Christian. Because I didn’t see anyone else struggling around me, for the most part, then I couldn’t possibly share any struggles I was having.

When there was a time that I couldn’t help but be real with a few people about some things going on in my life… the very people who had been instrumental in leading me to Christ became my judge, jury, and executioner. I never felt welcome in that fellowship again, even after I had dealt with my sin with God. I never felt welcome in the church I was in during that time either.

What I so loved about this story of the woman who was bleeding, suffering long term, is that it was instrumental in bringing me to Christ. It showed me that He would and could bless and accept anyone.

Now it is powerful for me because it has taken on new meaning as I have been healing. He desires to help those who are suffering long term. He really wants to see those who are hurting, who have been trying to hide inside what has been going on for such a long time. He want to see them, and wants them, us, to see Him. He wants us to be open with Him and pour out our hearts to Him. Just as the woman told Jesus everything that had happened to her.
Lisa asked a question about why it was so important for her to be open and vulnerable before him. I think it was for the very reason I referred to before.

Lisa said, “The power of an honest Christian, struggling as he or she may be in life, can break down some of the emotional walls people construct out of fear of rejection by sharing their own personal truth.”

That dear woman, who had been suffering terribly for years, fell before her Savior’s feet, and in front of that huge crowd, told her story. Who knows who was there who needed to hear her testimony? And she needed to hear that because she took a chance at trusting in Jesus, she could live whole and blessed.

I have struggled with the fear of rejection for so long, especially after having such a bad experience before when I was dealing with a very real sin and needed help not judgement. I needed someone to have the courage to come alongside and not tell me that the sin was ok, but to share their struggles, failures, and victories with me. To show me some hope.

I can tell you, through this whole process the past few years of my masks being pulled down, I have had people come alongside me and share their struggles with me. They were willing to be real with me, and not put up the perfect Christian front.

And that is what I want. I want to be able to be real with others. I want to be able to come alongside others with not only words of encouragement (which can feel like very empty platitudes unless backed up by something real) but also show them that I have been in tough places as well, that I can understand their troubles, and that I want to help as I can.

But more than anything, I want more of Jesus. I don’t want to put up a Ms. Spirituality front, because when I do, I am not being real with Jesus. I want to come before Him with fear and trembling, on my face before Him.

Even if I have had the faith that a touch of His robe would heal me; that there was more than enough power in Him to heal me as well as others; I have needed to come before Him and tell Him all about my problems and struggles, and I have had to do it in front of others as well. Because God knows who else can benefit from my testimony.

Laying at Jesus’ feet, I have needed to hear that my faith and trust in Him were well placed. I have needed to hear that I can walk away living whole and blessed. My life can be one that is all about the relationship with Him that is growing deeper day by day. I can have a true relationship with my Healer, with the Lover of my soul.

Lisa said, “He is seeking today what He had always been interested in getting from us: a relationship with Him that is pure of heart and motive, the only goal in mind being to honor Him by doing His will.”
“True spirituality is about the awesome power of God showing up in a person’s life to the point that people around her notice a difference.”
Oh God, I want my relationship with You to be all about Your love for me, and me doing Your with with a pure heart and motive. I want to be real with You and real with others, but I don’t want it to be about me. I don’t want my life to be about “doing things” for you, but all about my relationship with you. I want a purpose to come out of all the pain I have endured. But even if I never see it, see something tangible, it doesn’t matter. More than wanting to see a purpose I want more of You, Jesus. I want my heart to be pure, my motives to be pure. Oh Lord, I don’t want to bring attention to myself for the things I have gone through, or the things that I do. Please show me when I am using the gifts You have given me with the wrong motives. Show me and break me when I use anything I do, or anything I say to make myself look better. Bring me to repentance right away and humble me, Lord. I want all I do and say to bring glory and honor to You and You alone. Amen.


For those of you who want to read more post, visit Lelia’s blog. Or visit Lisa Whittle, the author of our book, “Behind Those Eyes.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Standing stones...

My friend and I have been talking about looking to our past to find times when God has done an amazing work in our lives, to use as an encouragement to keep going. Keep trusting. Keep holding on.

Those times that are like standing stones.

You know, in the old testament where someone set up a pile of stones in a place where God met them. They were reminders of what God had done in the past. They were visual reminders of God’s faithfulness to them. Of His love. Of His involvement.

Sometimes we need visual reminders of what God has done in our lives. When we don’t have visual reminders, we have our memories.

When we are down and discouraged, feeling faint and weary, can we focus our thoughts back to when God has done something amazing? Even if it is a “small” thing compared to a burning bush, or the parting of the sea.

Can we, can I, look back and see the times when God has parted something that has been an impassable sea to me? Can I look to the past and see the promises fulfilled? Can I find hope in the victories of the past, when I am in the midst of hurt and despair?

I have been struggling this past week. I have been dealing with a few issues that have cropped up recently to haunt me. I wrote the other day as I was doing my devotional that I desperately want rest… I am so weary.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
My Savior and my God.”

“My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon - from Mount Mizar.”
Psalm 42:5

That is me. My soul has been downcast. My soul has been disturbed. When David wrote this, so was he. But he made a choice to remember God. To remember what God had done for him in the past. It was a call for his soul to trust in God, to trust that He would continue what He had started in David’s life.

So, I am trying to look back and see today how God has worked.

The standing stones I have set up are really contained in this blog. The posts show my transitions from captivity to freedom. The times God has led be with a pillar of fire by night, and a pillar of cloud by day.

I was thinking earlier today that if I had to rely on my own memory, it is faulty. I can easily be led to believe that really everything that happened is a coincidence. I find that I discount so easily what God has done. My mind, my memory are fickle, so is my heart and it easily gives in to despair.

But, I have visual reminders. I have posts here on my blog, comments and emails from others.
It is a matter of refocusing my mind. Hopefully that will help me refocus my heart as well.
One of the things I read in a devotional the other morning talked about how God desires us to pour out our hearts to Him. He knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and He wants us to verbalize them to Him. He wants us to ask, because He delights in giving us good things.

As Psalm 62:5-8 says;
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
For God is our refuge. Selah.”

He is my rock, my salvation, my hope, my refuge. David’s psalm is a call to his own heart, and to the hearts of those who hear it, to constantly trust in God. No matter what is going on around me, no matter what else I might be tempted to put my trust in; no matter where I might run to try to hide from my pain; ONLY GOD is my refuge. Only with God am I safe.
He is enough. His power is enough to answer ALL our desires, all our prayers, all our needs, no matter how trivial they might seem.

My biggest heart’s desire is that the truth of what I know in my head… of who He is, what He’s done, how much He loves me, how I am the apple of His eye, that He is more than enough for me in everything no matter what happens… I want these things I know in my head to be worked into the very fiber of my being.

Though I feel like this will never happen, I look back and see what He has done, and how He has worked some of these truths a bit deeper. Each time I work on something else, the truth works in more deeply.

So even though my heart is bruised and wounded by some things that have happened this week; even though it is discouraged, downcast, disturbed; I know in my head that He will continue to do what He has started.

I am choosing for this moment to believe it.

Because I have these standing stones; these places of remembrance; these promises that God will continue to heal me.

“By day the Lord directs His love,
at night His song is with me -
a prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 42:8

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Yes to God" Chapter 4... Ms. Happiness

Isn’t interesting. Every week I have started to write this post, read the week’s chapter, thinking that there is nothing in it that applies to me.

Yeah, right.

God always proves me wrong. You think that after 4 weeks of this, I would get the point. Maybe I will eventually. Though, it really is kinda cool to watch how God blows my skepticism out of the water each week… and you know when He usually does it? When I start going through the bible study questions at the back of the book! (thank you Lisa for putting those in there!!!)

This week’s study has been a great joy for me. I mean it. JOY!!!

I can say that I have fallen into the categories of trying to make myself happy, looking for someone I love to make me happy, and to derive happiness from the things I have or do. None of it worked, though I could pretend at times that they did.


Lisa wrote: “Though often well concealed, depression is a very real problem in many seemingly happy homes across the country. No one is immune to this problem no matter how happy she may seem on the outside.”


That is what I have done for years. I have pretended I was perfect. I have pretended I was confident and assured walking into different situations. I have pretended I was happy. For years. Slowly the perfection and confidence masks started slipping off, even if it was only in the privacy of my small group, or close friends. But even with my friends, I kept up that mask of happiness.

I have struggled with depression for years. About 15-20 years of my life. I am only 35. That is a long time to struggle. That is a long time to keep up that mask.

It took a lot to get that mask to fall into pieces.

Even in a small group that I trusted and a very close friend of mine didn’t get me to drop the mask. Until a particularly bad day of trying to keep going when all I had nothing left. That night my best friend and I were talking on the phone. When there was a lull in the conversation, she asked me how I was doing. I told her fine. Things were going good. She paused for a minute, and then said again, “How are things really going?”

At which point I told her to hang on for a minute, I got up off the couch and locked myself in my bedroom, and completely broke down. I lost it and couldn’t keep the mask up, not with her. Gwen let me cry, and then held me accountable to getting help… at least talking to my small group leader who could do some non-professional counseling.

That was the beginning of the road to recovery for me. A lot of the journey you can see from my blog here. Before I started my blog there was about 2 years of slow progress full of many very low times.

Lisa asked the questions, “Stories such as this often leave me to wonder if… we act happy on the outside to please others, silently leaving us to hurt on the inside? Do we mask the way we truly feel with medications and facades, hoping that no one will dip deeper to find out what’s really going on with us?”

I can answer those questions with a resounding YES!!! I know that I did. I didn’t want my husband to see how much I was hurting, and have him know that he wasn’t enough for me. I didn’t want my friends to see what a mess I really was. I didn’t want people to know that I was depressed… because Christians were supposed to be “filled with joy if they were filled with the Spirit.” At least, that was my impression. There were Christians I knew who were struggling with depression, and I didn’t find any fault with them. I was able to give them grace and understanding, but I wasn’t able to extend the same to myself.

I didn’t mask what I was really feeling with medications until quite a bit later. But I did put up the facade, and at times when things were way too painful and I just wanted to forget them for a while, I would turn to a couple of stiff drinks to numb away the pain. Later that only added to my depression because I beat myself up for using alcohol as a numbing agent.

When I finally did get some medication and started trying different anti-depressants… well, that just made things worse, not only because they weren’t helping, but they gave me access to medication that would give me a way out.

In October 2007, I sank so low I didn’t any options but suicide. I was prepared to take all my medication at once, along with some alcohol, just to make sure that I never woke up. I even had the day planned, because I had to do it when no one would find me until it was too late.

It was only by God’s grace that I mentioned it to a friend. Within 48 hours I had been convinced to talk to my doctor who was prescribing my anti-depressants, and within 12 hours of that, I had been admitted to the hospital, on the mental health unit, basically under a suicide watch.

I was so ashamed to be there, that all I could think about was getting out, getting at my meds and doing what I had planned on in the first place. Eventually as I was put on the right medication, and as I was shown by the staff there that there was still hope, the shame didn’t leave, but the strength of the suicidal thoughts started to ease.

Looking back now, I can see so many positives resulting from my stay in the hospital. I finally was connected to a psychiatrist who actually could help me get on the right medications for me. I was connected with a very gifted Christian counselor, Tricia. This past year has been one of amazing recovery and healing for me. It hasn’t been easy. It has been incredibly healing.

The point of sharing this is to tell you I have found the source of joy. I had Him all along, I just didn’t see the joy that was supposed to be there. Even when friends encouraged me with scripture or anything else, I would discount it, I wouldn’t believe them.

Even in the last few weeks God has broken some tight suffocating chains. He has set me free in new ways. God has done some amazing things, and now I am confident that He will do more and more as I continue to follow Him.

The verses that really hit me, that really spoke to me where I am at right now in my life…
“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
Psalm 30:11

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him, and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:8-9

I am finding moments in my life now to rejoice over. To dance because God has given me such a gift of joy. I love Him and believe in Him. He has changed me from the inside out. I am a different person than I was a year ago, than I was even 4 months ago.

I can’t describe the joy I feel this day!

That isn’t to say that there aren’t bad days, or that I don’t struggle with depression. I have bad days. I hurt in response to circumstances around me. I get depressed. There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed. But I still have a joy lingering deep down inside.

What has changed? I have been able to set my hope fully on God. I have been able to get my eyes off my self, and onto Him. Even when I am overwhelmed by negative thoughts, and the lies I have believed for so long, I have hidden His word in my heart. I keep craving His word, and have found it easier and easier to memorize it. When the negative thoughts come, when the enemy tries to convince me that I am worthless, nothing, useless, shameful, usually I am able to counteract that with scripture. Not to say that I do this all the time. There are days that I suffer defeat, but each day is a chance to start over, refocus, and even if I am depressed, to cling to the truth of who God is and who He says I am.

No matter how I feel, I know and believe that God is good. He is in control. He already has the victory, and I am in Him, so I have the victory too. Even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

I have found true one of the very last things Lisa says in this chapter.
“When we go to the real Source of joy, we find the answers we need to secure our contentment in life forever. This joy cannot be revoked, and it won’t be changed accoring to our circumstances.” [emphasis mine]

I hope and pray that you will find this true as well.

The first three verses of Psalm 30 contain an incredible promise. If you are not able to say these words now with any certainty, you will be able to in the future. It is a promise you can hold onto. I have. Even when I didn’t see it or believe it. And I can say that now I do see it, and I can say these words with a full heart.

I will leave you with the best parting gift I can. God’s word to you.

“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
O Lord you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.
(NASB says in the last line: “You have kept me alive, that I would not go down into the pit.”)
Psalm 30:1-3

(Please join us for more posts about this book “Behind Those Eyes” by Lisa Whittle at Leila’s blog)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The song in my heart...

I discovered the song in my heart when I was in junior high…

…when I started singing in the school choir…

I didn’t realize at the time it had been placed there by God.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a choir director who was absolutely amazing. I fell in love with her, and how she had such a passion for music. She was able to get us to do things that we never thought we could do. As a sophomore in high school, and she had me sing a solo for the Christmas concert. I never thought I could do that before. She inspired me.

The next year, I had another wonderful choir director, who became my voice teacher later on, and who is now a dear friend. Again, she had a passion for music, for musicianship, and for teaching and leading others to learn and love music as much as she did.

Between the influence of those two teachers, I determined that I wanted to be like them, and use music to inspire and influence others. I wanted to be in a high school setting where I could inspire others to find the gifts that were hidden in them, just as much as my singing voice had been hidden in me. I never realized that was a gift I had until they helped reveal it to me.

So, I went to UW-Steven’s Point, where one of the teachers had gone. I was accepted into the music education program, and pursued that degree with enthusiasm.

In the process of coming to that campus, I learned about Christ.

A non-Christian friend of mine invited me to a off campus musical rehearsal. It ended up being hosted by a nearby church, and was about the life of Jesus. I was thrown by the devotion of some of these students to God, to each other in love, to seeking His will in their lives. Jesus was so evident in them, and as I learned more, I wanted what they had. I made the choice to accept the grace of God so evident in their lives.

I continued through my courses and classes, and filled my requirements. There were times I burned out (a side effect of classes that had few credits but lots of requirements) and just coasted the best I could to get through them.

I had some setbacks in my 4th year of classes in my personal life, and was struggling with a major load of insecurity and feelings of worthlessness. But I came to the end of my classroom work, and went ahead with my semester of student teaching.

At the time, I was scared, but I headed into it. I really liked the teacher I was going to be under for the high school portion of my student teaching. She had the same passion I remembered from my teachers in high school.

There was only one problem. As soon as I walked into the classroom, and had to get up in front of the class to run warm ups, or start rehearsing songs, I panicked. You wouldn’t have seen it from the outside, but in the way I handled myself looking back, I can see I never gave myself a chance. I was too scared. I didn’t hold myself with confidence.

Just like animals can tell you are afraid, so can kids. It doesn’t matter what front you put up. They can sense it. Even if they didn’t take advantage of it, and these kids NEVER did, they also were aware, I think, that I just didn’t know what the heck I was doing up in front of them.

When my university supervisor came in for the first time to observe me at the high school level, I had run a full class period rehearsal only once.

The day before.

The rehearsal didn’t run smoothly. Later that week, the teacher made some comment to me that she wanted to smooth over and straighten out the kids on a couple of songs that I had run with them.

That immediately showed me I had done nothing right.

The next time my supervisor came in to observe me, I hadn’t run a full rehearsal at all between the two times he came in. I had no chance to get the feel for a 45 minute class period, much less have the time and opportunity to be in front of the kids, and “hear” what was going on. It took lots of listening and practice, things I just didn’t get there.

When he came in, he brought a video recorder, and put it in the middle of the risers the kids were on, so that it would video me as I directed. It was a teaching tool for me, so I could see what the kids saw, from their perspective. (I have to admit, I watched it once, and only about 10 minutes of it… that’s all I could handle)

To give the kids their credit, they knew what he was there for, and they were on their best (and I mean BEST) behavior. Not because I asked them to, but because they liked me and wanted me to succeed. But when we all could hear a problem in the song, and I wasn’t able to get them to correct it no matter what, they got frustrated and so did I. So I did a no-no and moved on to the next song, leaving the former problem unresolved, because nothing I did seemed to fix it.

Needless to say, my supervisor (and cooperating teacher) weren’t thrilled with my performance. Nor can I blame them.

I headed into my elementary portion completely defeated. I ended up getting dropped in feet first into boiling water. It was swim or drown.

I swam…

…and did relatively well

…to my own shock…

My elementary teacher was sick and out of school for my whole second week with her. She basically told me to do what teaching I felt comfortable with, and to play musical games with the classes I wasn’t comfortable with.

I ended up teaching full classes for grades 1-4 and told the 5th and 6th graders that if they cooperated with me and stayed with me through 15 minute lessons that week, I would give them 15 minutes of “musical bingo” complete with candy prizes for the winners. The week went really well, and after that I gained confidence.

I was nervous, but fairly confident in my skills when my supervisor came in to observe me with my second graders.

I had prepared the lesson plan, and had 2 classes I was to teach before he would critique me. The first class, halfway through, I realized I had too much material. So I cut things and managed to get the kids to a point where they learned the basic theme and point of my lesson plan. As I was making quick notes to myself for the next class, the first class was leaving, and the second class was coming down the hall.

After both classes were done, I got the impression from my supervisor that I did well with modifying my lesson plan on the fly. And though there were some things that were weak, I overall did pretty well.

A week later, I was called by the supervisor for a meeting with him and my music education chair. When I got to the office, my supervisor told me I had 3 choices.

  1. Drop out of the education program and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.
  2. Drop out of the student teaching, take a few more classes the following semester and try student teaching the following fall.
  3. Continue student teaching, and attempt to improve my musical skills. I would not be recommended for secondary music ed. (no surprise there) and he might not recommend me for elementary music ed, unless I markedly improved.

I cried through the whole meeting. I managed to get myself to the car, and back to the elementary school, held together through the end of the day, and then cried as I told my teacher what had happened. She gave me the weekend to think about it, and asked me to let her know on Monday.

I was told my musical skills were not strong enough. I already spent many late nights in the Fine Arts building practice rooms, working on my lesson plans and the music. I couldn’t add any more hours there. If that wasn’t enough, and didn’t guarantee a recommendation for at least elementary music certification, what was the point of keeping going?

I ended up dropping out, graduating, and working at McDonald’s and an insurance company to keep the bills paid.

And I hurt.

I had no home church at the time, and didn’t for a long time. I eventually started using my music again. A little at a time. But I shied away from any leadership or teaching positions, and if I got into one, I was petrified every time.

That is what is behind all my insecurities about any musical skill I may have. A dream I had of being a music teacher was crushed. Partially it was my own bad choices, and other things that distracted me from my goal while I was in college, and partially a supervisor who didn’t handle things as well as he could have.

I thank him now for his honesty with me, because I don’t think I would have fit in the classroom the way I had hoped.

But I am very hurt by how he showed me that.

It wasn’t gentle correction, it was a slap in the face.

There was no tact involved, there was no concern about how this might affect me, or how he could help me overcome my obstacles.

It was quit or keep going and maybe not ever reach my goal. I was left feeling that he didn’t know me, he never tried to, never cared to try, that he didn’t care if I succeeded or failed, and didn’t care what his words did to me.

I was never treated with such coldness before, and when it related so directly to a deep love of my heart, for music and the joy it brought me…

…well, it stilled the song in my heart.

It made me fear that I had been wrong all along, and that I had only been chasing a pipe dream. It made me believe that I had no skills in music, that I was fooling myself, and others were only being kind when they complimented me.

Ever since, I’ve wondered deep down if I really had a song in my heart…

…or if it was all just a dream…


But I know in my head that God did give me that song in my heart…

…that He never took it away…
…and I pray that I will believe that one day…

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Yes to God" chapter 3, Ms. Confidence

When I first started reading this chapter on confidence, I really wasn’t identifying with it. I mean, I feel so insecure most of the time, that I don’t feel that I can really pull off a view of confidence. But as I read further, I realized where I do cover up, at least the major area.

As I performed more, especially with singing, and with music of any sort up front, whether that is at church now, or when I going to school for music education, I had to put up a front of confidence as I walked on the stage. It didn’t matter how much my knees were knocking together.

I remember back to being a freshman in high school and entering Solo-Ensemble competitions, and though I felt very insecure, I had the “front” of being put together, perfectly groomed, well practiced, and completely confident. But inside I was a mess. I had to “research” what was going to happen. I had to know what I was expected to do, and have it all planned out in my head, along with all the possible variations, so that I could anticipate what was going to happen and not be thrown by something unexpected.

One of the only things I felt reasonably confident in all my life was my vocal skills… my singing. When I went through student teaching, I was told my musical skills weren’t strong enough.

That just about killed me.

I didn’t want to use any of my musical skills for anything. I didn’t do much singing at church, or anything for a long time. When Dave and I finally settled down in the church we are at now, I was asked by the pastor to sing a solo for the Good Friday service. I was extremely nervous, but as I didn’t know many people at the church, I figured I could risk it. I was able to stand up there and sing in front of the whole church.

Then they asked me to lead the music portion of the Vacation Bible School for that summer. I was terrified! I couldn’t get up there and be responsible for teaching the kids songs, opening and closing the VBS for the day… I couldn’t teach, remember?! My skills weren’t strong enough!

I learned the songs really well. I learned the sign language and other movements to the songs. When the kids got there, I got them on their feet and learning the songs.

Everyone out in the church saw a confident, vibrant young woman, leading their children in learning songs about Jesus. They saw someone talented in music, joyfully sing and worshiping God with their children.

What I felt was completely different. I was terrified, afraid the kids wouldn’t respond. I picked apart all the mistakes I made. When I was home each night, I would practice and practice the songs until my husband could sing them with me. (Poor man, he’s a nurse not a musician… I think I drove him nuts!!!) :) I figured that if I could learn the songs, and be prepared for every possible outcome, mistake, or whatever, then I would be ok.

I was a nervous wreck all week.

I ended up doing the same for the next 4 years or so that our church did VBS. I even was leading the music at another church in the area (I had been doing that church for probably 6-7 years by the end) for their VBS. The more I did it, and practiced, in reality, the better I did. I could appear more confident.

But it was a face I put on each time I got up there in front of everyone. A lot of times, either on the way to the church, or on the way home, I would cry the whole time I was in the car. But no one else saw that. They couldn’t. I couldn’t let anyone know where I was at.

Lisa said in her book “Behind Those Eyes,”
“Confidence can’t be layered on with our clothes for the day, and it can’t be taken off or removed by anyone else when it is truly present.”
During my VBS experiences, and any of my other “performing” opportunities, I have layered on confidence. I have practiced, I have thought about every angle of the situation I was walking in to, and I prepared myself the best I could for every possibility so I wouldn’t be surprised, and I would be able to handle any change thrown at me with apparent ease and confidence.

Lisa also said,
“We are disillusioned into thinking that what we do is what makes us confident and strong.”

I have continually done that. I have thought that if I get out there and perform more, if I work at a different job, if I weren’t a stay at home mom, that I would be confident. I have worried about how to help my kids have confidence enough to go out among their peers (yes, I know, they are only 2 and 4) and not be scared about relating to them, as I have been scared about relating to my peers.

But really I have been learning that “the opinion of anyone else pales in comparison to what He thinks of us… (and) what we accomplish on this earth can be gratifying but does not make us who we are.”

For so many years I have hidden how I feel on the inside about going up in front of others. So many people come up to me and say that they could never do what I do. Little do they know I force myself to do it each time. I force myself because I don’t think that I can really do it well, but people would be disappointed if I didn’t do it. Who would I be, if I didn’t perform? People recognize me as the singer, and so “singer” is what I am.

But “singer” is what other people identify me as. It isn’t how God identifies me, my real identity and real person-hood come from Christ. Like Lisa said, the things that I do aren’t what define me. I am slowly learning that, but it is incredibly hard.

I can’t tell (usually) others what I am feeling. I am afraid to let people know that I am apprehensive at best, and fearful at worst of getting up to sing, specifically when I am in a leadership or teaching position. A lot of times, when I try to express those thoughts and feelings to someone, they dismiss them, because they have seen me doing it before, with confidence. They just don’t really believe that I could be that fearful and insecure about something that is in my area of gifting.

So, I find myself doing much of what Lisa quoted Paula Reinhart as saying,
“You can’t shut down on the inside without quelling the very passion that makes the journey worthwhile.”

I hide my feelings of fear and insecurity… I ignore them, build walls around them, and instead put up the mask of confidence. And the very thing that gives me joy; music, singing, piano playing; has the passion taken out of it. If I am singing at home for myself, I find great joy in it, especially when I am worshiping God. If I am trying to appear confident in leading the church in worship, I am so concerned about the appearance, and the technical details, that I don’t get any joy out of it, and worst of all, am unable to let go and worship my God.

I know that isn’t what God wants, but as of yet, I don’t know how to change it. I try to be open with a few people around me, but because I have done some sort of music for so long, and helped with music in the church since I started going there, most of the time, they don’t understand how I could be so afraid of it, lacking in confidence, and so afraid of rejection.

I didn’t realize that I would be so touched by this chapter… I wasn’t looking at it from an area of my gifting and expertise until the end when I was doing the study questions. It is going to be a challenge for me to be open about this, and to try to figure out a way to really let someone know that this is an area that is so full of fear of rejection for me. To help them really understand where I am coming from.

If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Confidence from others reading the book “Behind Those Eyes,” by Lisa Whittle, please join us at Lelia’s blog to read her post and see who else is involved. I pray that you will be blessed like I was!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A couple of thoughts... standing firm...

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”
Isaiah 7:9

I need to stand firm in my faith. I find that when I don’t, I end up falling. I end up giving in to despair, pain, hurt, depression. I wallow in self-pity, and darkness from the past rather than look at the present. My daughter playing next to my on my desk, my sweet son who loves his school so much that when faced with not going today, because we got up too late, MADE me take him, even if he walked in late (!!!), my family and the love and grace they show me, my friends and their faithful prayers for me, and so many more things than I could ever name.

I look at standing firm… I think that there is no way I can do that. I am struggling so much that the thought of trying to stand, much less stand firm, is too hard, and impossible to do. In that I think I might be right. It is impossible to do. In and of my own strength.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you to stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

How can I argue with that? God set me free, to be free and not in bondage to the fear and despair that I have had for so long. I have to focus the things that God has done for me. I have to see that He is the One who makes me to stand firm. It is hard to see all the time. I so easily get stuck in the “I have to do it on my own” mentality. It has been so hard to think otherwise. Because for so long I have done it on my own, and in my own strength. I can’t allow my thoughts to go back to those despairing thoughts, because I will lay down and give up.

I have felt a lot like giving up this week. The thought running through my head has been, “I am done. I can’t do this anymore. I am too tired. I don’t want to do anything but curl up under the covers and ignore the day.” I have felt like it is too hard. That I am not going to be able to stay the course. I have felt that I have never stayed the course in anything. I look back and my life and wonder how many times I have given up at something, when God has really wanted me to hang on and keep going. I wonder what would have happened if I had kept going. Those thoughts have plagued me this week, because I found the lies flooding in that I couldn’t keep going. That there was no point. I might be getting through one thing, but there was always something else to get through. Maybe if I just stopped now, stopped counseling, my meds, everything, then life would be easier, better for everyone around me… I wouldn’t have to keep having someone watch the kids for me during doctor and counseling appointments. I would just be able to focus on the kids and Dave and leave it at that.

But those are the feelings. I know that they and I wouldn’t be better off if I did that stuff. I would never be able to keep up, and I would end up crashing and burning, and I wouldn’t be able to raise my kids in good mental, emotional, spiritual health, and I wouldn’t be able to love and serve my husband, and I would end up turning from God in the end.

So that takes care of the feelings.

The thoughts are so much harder to battle. Because I know that the feelings I was having were based on thoughts that were all lies. I am still having some of those thoughts and feelings. I know they are lies. I don’t know what all the lies are yet.

But I do know that the closer I get to full freedom, and get stronger in the ability to recognize the lies and deceptions, the more the enemy is going to try to get me to give up, hold back, let go, lay down. I don’t want to give in and give the enemy the victory. Because only in Christ can I have victory. He is the winner already, and because I am in Christ and Christ is in me, I am victorious too.

“Therefore (I will) put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes (and it will!!!), I will be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:13


(I will) “stand firm in all the will of God, (and I will be) mature and fully assured.”
Colossians 4:12b

God will make me mature and fully assured, in Him, for He loves me, and works together everything for the good of those who love Him. In all these trials, griefs, and sorrows, I will greatly rejoice, because I know that they are proving my faith genuine, just like gold refined by fire.

Like Pastor Kim suggested this weekend, I am going to daily do the following.

I will set my hope fully on the grace to be giving me when Christ is revealed.
I will be holy in all I do, because He who called me is holy.
I will live in fear, (a reverent fear) of God, my Father and impartial Judge.
I will love others deeply from my heart.
(taken from 1 Peter 1)

These are some foundational principles for living in God’s will and way.

May God bless my intentions and enable me to follow them! I am heading in for counseling this afternoon, and I choose to go, because I know it’s what God wants me to do, to keep on the path of healing He has set me on.

Thank you all for your prayers, kind emails and comments. I love you all.