Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 2

Welcome to our second chapter of "An Untroubled Heart" by Micca Campbell. If you want to join in the study, or read along, hop on over to Lelia's and have a visit.

As some of you might know, this past week/weekend has been interesting for me... to say the least. (See HERE and then HERE) And I have been dealing with fear too. It has been a challenging week. It has been one of trying to remember God's truth, and apply what I have learned in the last year or so.

Chapter 2: The Fear Factor

(any quotes from the book are in red)

Over the last year I have really learned that I need to be intentional about spending time with God, developing my relationship with Him.

My biggest obligation is to maintain my relationship with God. When I lean on Him, my anxieties give way to peace.

As I have been dealing with the anxieties of wondering what kind of job I should try looking for, and how we will take care of the kids, and how are we going to straighten out our finances, there have been several times where I have found myself leaning on Him. As I have, as I have pressed deeper into Him, I have been overwhelmed with His peace.

However, I don't think I am doing this enough.
(I know I'm not!)

The last day or two I have been putting a lot of questions to God, and not felt like I have heard many answers. I think I read in my P31 devotional today that if you have questioned, and haven't heard anything yet.... wait. Spend time in God's presence and He will answer you. Sit, pray and wait. Read God's word, study God's word, pray God's word.

I have been sitting, praying but in the waiting I have found myself succumbing to fear. I don't want anxiety and fear to rule my life.

Ole Smutty Face knows what we are capable of with Christ. To prevent us from walking on water, he poisons us with fear.

Over the past year or so, as I have pursued healing from past and present hurts, I have been beset with fears. Some so bad that just walking into the waiting area of my counselor's office was enough to send me into a panic attack. There were many times where we were in the middle of the session and Tricia would stop us where we were at. She would pray and bind the enemy, specifically. And surprise, surprise. Guess what? The fear would ease up enough for me to press on through.

As I have looked back at the things God has brought me through, I can see that trusting Him has helped me overcome those fears of facing them, and fears of the emotions they brought up.

Trusting God requires more than just saying the words.

Trusting God is really saying by our actions, that we rely on Him to take care of us.

Trusting God is about surrendering to God.

And surrendering to God causes me some fear and anxiety.

One of the hardest things to do is to give up control and trust someone other than ourselves. Again, we misunderstand the benefit of a surrendered life. It's not about giving up; it's about gaining the power and presence of God living His life through us.
(emphasis mine)

I have to learn that God loves and cares for me. I do know this. I do believe this. But it has to sink in more deeply. Each situation that I go through helps it become more of a part of me. Though the enemy tries to get me to fear and doubt God's love, though he tries to twist God's good and make it damaging to me, God already has the victory. As long as I cling to Him, and His truth, I know that I have the victory in the end as well.

With the recent things going on in my life, I have been having trouble remembering the truth.

The truth from my most recent scripture memory from Beth Moore's challenge.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
1 John 3:1-2

The truth from my previous scripture memory.
"Do not throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."
Hebrews 10:35-36; 39 (emphasis mine)

As a matter of fact, all of the scripture memory that I have done so far this year, all of it can be applied to the things I am facing today. Hmm. I think I am going to need to go through them all again tonight before bed.

Today was a hard day. I think everything compounded on me.

Last night I didn't sleep well. I went to bed at an OK time, however every time I closed my eyes I got dizzy, light headed and nauseous. It started me panicking. My anxiety started going up, because I wasn't in control of it. I got up and to distract myself I turned on the TV, because even though my eyes were making things look like they were jumping back and forth, at least I could look at the TV a little and listen to the stories, so that kept me distracted until I started feeling better. But the whole problem, it was after 1am before I was able to get to sleep. The I got woken twice in the night by my son, and my daughter got me up for the day by 7:30am.

I spent some time with God this morning, but it was so hard to concentrate, and every time I tried to pray, I was out of words. I felt like I couldn't worship, even with the worship music I had on to help me.

I also felt that, because of the lack of sleep last night, that my cold was starting to bother me more.

Add that to struggling with hearing from God about what to do about a job, and if I should take one or not, and I was a mess by 10am. Dave got up (he was sleeping in because he had to work 2nd shift) and I sent of a desperate email to my friend, Cindy, giving her a brief run down of what I was dealing with, and asking her to pray for me. I went into the bedroom to rest until Dave needed to get ready to go to work.

I laid down on the bed, buried my face in the pillows and burst into tears. The tears that had been threatening all morning. I cried and prayed a few bits of the Psalms back to God.

Then I cried myself to sleep.

I woke feeling a bit better.

God must have been singing over me in my sleep.

When the apprehenshions come, our faith falters. We stand guard against the Devil by remembering God's words are true: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).

As we submit to God and believer His truth instead of doubting it, the Devil will flee.

I have to keep clinging to the truth so that my faith doesn't falter.

I want to live in the freedom that Christ freed me for. When Micca said we've stepped out of the care of God.... the result has been fear, she is right.

I still feel shaken, tired and frankly, quite emotional. I feel weak and tired, and like my faith is very shaky. But I know this is an opportunity for God's strength to be shown in me again. (Do I have to keep having these opportunities God?)

I am fighting to resist the enemy even now, to give in to fear. Of course it is always the fear of the unknown. God knows everything past, present, and future. So nothing is unknown to Him. If I cling to Him, and put myself under His care, under covering, rather than trying to do things myself, or figure things out because He doesn't seem to be answering me... I have no reason to fear the unknown. Because it isn't unknown to Him. I am in Him, He is in me. He loves me and protects me and will never leave me nor forsake me, and has plans for me to give me a future and a hope.

My heart still aches with the desire to stay home with the kids and not work. My longing is to be free financially. The fears associated with where we are financially are pretty hard to look at, especially as I know I have to face the bills tonight.

Two quotes near the end of the chapter really hit me.

For you and me to live as carefree children in the care of God, we must return to living daily in His presence.

Faith in God's provision is our anchor that secures a life free from fear.

Maybe my practice of trying to start every day with God, and end it that way if I can is the start of living daily in His presence. All day. Constantly aware that He is there.

Maybe that is the start of really realizing that He provides. Everything. I can cast all my anxieties on Him because He cares for me. He provides for me. And He will. Always.

And maybe my rehearsing the truth, sharing it with you, will get it more deeply ingrained in me.

I need to sit still and listen. I need to wait on His answer now that I have asked Him questions, and stay deep in His word.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I don't want to...

I have come to the conclusion, after talking with Cindy today, that I really don't want to work.

It just kind of burst out of me when we were on the phone today. I sat and started to cry and said "I don't want to work, I really don't. I was actually looking forward to this summer."

Last summer I wasn't looking forward to, because I was just too overwhelmed with the junk I was working through. This year, I was looking forward to doing lots of stuff with the kids... lots of playing outside, swimming, going to parks, having water fights... playing in the rain. Spontaneous stuff.

If I am working, I am going to miss those opportunities.

When they are the ages of 3 and 5, and Peter is going to be in full time Kindergarten next year and soon Marina will be in school too, shouldn't I be home with them?

But there is a part of me that is concerned that my own desires, or selfishness, or thoughts will drown out what God is trying to tell me.

Is God wanting me to work?

Is He wanting me to stay home?

What if I feel that I am supposed to stay home... actually feel that God is saying that to me... and Dave isn't in agreement with me?

What then?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Working, surrender and prayer

There are so many things that I could say today. I have so many thoughts flying around in my head that I could probably (if I had the time) put up at least three different posts... don't worry, I will try to limit myself!

I know so many right now are starting to feel the pinch of things growing more expensive. I know many are worried about jobs and the future. I have been trying to keep from thinking about it at all... just trying to keep the house, the kids, and myself on a relatively even keel... at least the best I can.

On Thursday, my husband came to me and said that once I am done with my choir concert, he wants me to look for a job. I was in a bit of shock. We have pretty much been in agreement that we would wait for the kids to be in school full time before I started working outside the home.

But Dave came home with the news that the hospital he works for is putting a freeze on any overtime right now. He can't pick up overtime to fill in the gaps, and to get a bit of extra money to help pay down bills.

So he wants me to get a job, so that all my wages can go towards the debts outstanding, and try to bring them down, so that we will be in a better financial situation.

Now there is a bit of a problem with this. We are moving into the summer, when Peter and Marina will both be home with us all day, every day. Another problem is Dave works swing shift. He will sometimes work days, other times evenings, some weekends, some not.

So how could I get a steady part time job, that can adjust around his schedule, so that we don't have to rely on his family all the time to babysit, or put them in daycare (which would completely negate any earnings I could make)?

I have been trying to pray about it. God knows my heart's desire would to be able to stay home with the kids this summer and work something out in the fall, when Peter is in school 5 days a week. If I had to work, I would love to work somewhere that I am comfortable with... like the coffee shop, or a book store... something like that.

My fall back is always McDonalds.
Yes, I was a fry girl. :)

I have a lot of experience with the food chain. I have almost 11 years experience there... including being a manager at one point. But I don't necessarily want to go back there, though I think they would be the most flexible scheduling wise.

All these thoughts were running through my head on Thursday.

I was preparing the house for small group. Dave had gone with the kids out to the family farm. As I was getting things ready, I had Michael W. Smith's CD "A New Hallelujah" playing, well really blasting, throughout the house.

I was chewing all this over in my head. At the same time I was worshiping along with the CD. The song "Mighty to Save" came on, and I remember just dropping to my knees in the middle of the living room.



The offering up of myself to Him, because I can do nothing else.

As I was kneeling there, tears falling down onto my lap, my sobs drowned by the music, I felt God's presence in a deep way. His peace covered me.

His peace was so overwhelming.

I didn't stop crying. If anything I cried harder... but this time in worship more than anything else.

The ache, knowing that I helped put us in this financial position; the concern about what to do with the kids; the wondering if I would even be able to get a job; the wondering if I would have time to invest in my marriage if I start working; the wondering if there was another way around this; it's all still there.

God holds us all in His hands. He knows what we need. He knows my families needs.

  • I am very tempted to lean on my own understanding.
  • I am very tempted to worry about what to do.
  • I am very tempted to try to run ahead of God
  • I am very tempted to attempt to fix things on my own.

But I know that isn't what God wants.

He wants me to lean back into His peace and presence. He wants me to press into Him so hard that there is no way I could fall. He wants me keep surrendering it into His hands, no matter how many times a day I have to do that.

God is our very present help in times of trouble. He is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. For all I know, my prayers are already answered.

I just don't want to be out of His will.

I want it to be very obvious that God is working, that He is the one providing for us. Not me working, or our trying to decide what to do, but to seriously seek Him. Seek His will in it all, and not mull it over in our heads until we give ourselves ulcers (which is what Dave said he has been doing for the last month).

Oh God, you know my heart. You know my mind. You know my fears. You know my faith in you. You know that I really don't want to work. But you also know that I don't want to be in debt anymore.
Father I confess that materialism has become a god to me. The buying, impulsively of things I don't really need. The buying to make myself temporarily feel better. I am sorry, Lord. I know that is not in your will. I know you want me to come to you with everything.
Thank you for your forgiveness and for how much you love me. Thank you for the freedom you offer me. Oh Lord, help me to cling to you rather than to the "things" of this world that would keep me from you.
I don't want to live like this anymore. I don't want to live from pay check to pay check anymore. I don't want to find myself wondering if we are going to make it, and I know that neither does Dave.
Please help us to cling to you. Help our faith to grow. Cause us to totally rely on you, for everything. Give me the strength to do what it takes to get out of debt. Help me to not jump ahead of You and try to "fix" things on my own, and in the end just make things worse.
Oh God, I am scared. But I choose to believe You. I choose to believe that you will heal us and guide us and help us. I choose to believe that You will do what is best for us. I choose to praise Your name and lift You up. I choose to glorify You no matter what happens.
Strengthen me for the work ahead of me. Please give me the physical, mental and emotional strength I need. Please help me to...
I am out of words now God, but You know the cries of my heart. I am weak. You are strong.
Oh Spirit, help me in my weakness. I do not know what I ought to pray for, You yourself intercede for me with groans that are too deep for words. I choose to believe that you will graciously give us all things, because you did not withhold your Son from us.
I love you Jesus.
Please pray along with me as I seek God's will in this. Pray that Dave and I will be like-minded and have God's peace about whatever it might be that I do.

Thank you all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Against this granite...

This past week I received an email of encouragement. A friend said that he believes in his spirit that I am facing some really impossible circumstances.

He sent me a visual.

That rock there may look small, but it is granite. There is absolutely no way that I can even wiggle it.

That rock.

That impossible circumstance

no way of getting over it, around it, through it.


I feel bruised and broken.
Bashing myself again and again against this granite boulder.

Impossible. Immovable.

The granite stands firm against my all.

There is a way through, though it is unseen by me.

There is always a way through.
Created by God, needed by me.

Unseen until I search.

Unseen until I stoop down, and look closely.

Still an impossible situation.
Still a granite boulder that I cannot move.

But God.

My Jesus has provided a way through even this circumstance
this pain
this ache in my heart.

I haven't yet found the way through
or have I?

With no eyes to see,
certainties waver,
confidence dims.

In that dimming,
disappointments abound.

Inability to communicate.

Unwillingness to listen.

The wanting to share,
the fear of the pushing away


I'm hurt,
yet the yearning to be one, to be whole and complete
keeps me in this place,
brings me to my knees in the unknowing

The unknowing of the future
the wanting to know

the longing
for His path through
and His purification in the process,

painful though it may be.

Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."

Monday, March 23, 2009

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 1

Welcome to our "Yes to God Tuesdays" study. We are starting our new book "An Untroubled Heart," by Micca Campbell. If you want to join us, come on over to Lelia's site to sign up, or just to find the other blogs, and follow along with us, reading our posts. As Lelia says, you don't need to have a blog to do the study. Just leave comments on our blogs, or on Lelia's. Your insights are valuable to us all!

Chapter 1: When the Unthinkable Happens

I don't know about you, but one of the things that I have been fighting in my life is fear. I always have. Whether it was fear of rejection by loved ones or peers; fear of failure; fear of being alone; fear of intimacy; fear of fear itself (!!); fear has been a companion. I never really realized just how strong it was. At least not until more recently.

I have found that as I have tried to deal with depression, I also have a generalized anxiety that is almost a constant companion. There are times when I can push it to the back of my head. There are times when it doesn't trouble me at all, or that I am able to identify it, and rather than ignore it, deal with it, or use some of the techniques my counselor gave me to combat its effects and calm myself. There are times though when it does plague me. Anxiety build to fear, and becomes if not overwhelming, at least the main focus, rather than God.

There have been times in this past year that have overwhelmed me with fear. Times where I could barely function. Those have been pretty terrible, but usually I could identify what I was afraid of, whether it was dealing with a situation in my present, or dealing with the emotions of something from my past.

But I think the time that I can identify as being the most afraid and alone was the summer of 2007. I had been struggling with depression, but it was getting more and more severe... to the point of finally giving in and starting to try anti-depressants.

The days just got darker. I felt more isolated from others and God. It didn't help me to know that there were others who struggled with depression too. I didn't feel any better to know that there were a few people close to me who knew what I was struggling with. I was going through it, and there was no real way for someone else to join me in it.

By the end of that summer I was living in such pain.

I was so lonely.
I was so afraid.

I was so deep into the darkness.

I felt like nothing touched me; no words could reach me; no light could penetrate the suffocating blackness around me.

I had never felt such complete isolation before. I had never been so cold, and so alone, and so terrified.

My life was shredding at the seams and I didn't know how to stop it. I was losing my husband, my children, my family and my friends, and there was nothing I could do.

Looking back now, I can see God's hands all over me. I didn't see Him then. I couldn't see Him then. I couldn't hear His voice calling to me. I couldn't hear His words flooding over me. Someone would pray with me, for me, and I would briefly feel a release of peace over me, and a release of tears emotionally, but then I would be back in the deep, watching the waters close over my head. I would sink back down to the depths and just long for death to take me.

God took me instead.

Through a series of circumstances, I ended up in counseling. Early on, one of the things my counselor challenged me to do was read Psalm 139. I ended up memorizing it.

She wanted me to see my value and worth. How well known by God I was, and that if He knit me together, I was made the way He wanted me, and all His works are wonderful.

But she also wanted me to see just what Micca said here.
"No matter what our emotions or circumstances may say, the truth is there is nowhere we can go to escape God's presence. Though it might not feel like it or look like it, God is always near."

It took a long time for that to sink into me.


Even now I am tempted to look at my hard places, and start to feel that fear, the "alone-ness" of it all, and start to despair. The problems, the pain, the disappointments, the frustrations, the anger all mount up. As they mount up, I knuckle under. I falter. I fail. I fall.

Many times I end up on my face. Too many of those times I am on my face in the dirt, wallowing in depression and despair. Too many times I won't look up, even that inch, to see the tips of His fingers in my field of vision.

The tips of His fingers.
His hand.
Reaching out.

Reaching out to me, to lift me up and to carry my load.

If only in the very beginning, when the problems are starting to weigh heavy on my shoulders, I would drop everything at His feet. If only I would be able to not only know with my head, but believe in my heart that He is there. That He always will be.

It is starting to sink in, but oh, is it a slow process. I must have a thick skull, because I seem to have to keep learning the same lessons over and over and over again!

Micca said,
"It calms my uncertainties to know that God's help is at hand immediately. It isn't a future help, nor is it available only when I'm worthy of God's help. No, it is a present help. God's help is available the moment we humble ourselves and cry out to Him."

And that's it right there. My pride gets in the way. My "self" finds it very hard to ask for help, to look to assistance from someone. And when I am "forced" to, I find it so much easier to go to a friend, rather than God. Why is that?

Maybe because I have seen enough pain in my relationship with Him... (pain, by the way, caused by my own straying or the straying of others, not caused by Him, though allowed by Him) ...that pain has caused me to be less trusting of Him. I am more likely to trust someone I haven't been hurt by, so therefore I turn to someone I can see, a friend, instead.

But how backwards is that? It's another sign of the lies the enemy has been planting in my head for so long. The enemy hasn't wanted me to see that it was my sin, or the sin of others, and my bitterness that was causing me pain. He wanted me to believe it was God causing me the pain.

Slowly, a little bit at a time, I have been rooting out that lie, and many others this year or so.

A little bit at a time, I have found it easier to trust Him. A little bit at a time, I have been learning that there is a purpose for painful trials, and that I can rejoice at their eventual outcome. A purification process for me, my faith, and a deeper dependence on my God.

With Micca I am learning "that joy can be found in the midst of heartache and fearful times."

That doesn't mean that it is always easy or fun. It isn't
That doesn't mean that it will never hurt. It does.
That doesn't mean that I will be happy every day. I won't.

It does mean that if I put my focus on the right thing, I can find joy. If I stop focusing on the terrible circumstances I may be in, and instead fix my gaze on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith, there will be a difference in how I handle things.

I may still weep about the things that cause me pain. I may still find myself treading those dark waters. But instead of despairing, and fearing I will never get out of the pain; instead of taking the easy way and let the dark waters suck me down to the depths; instead I need to look to Him.

I have some choices to make, even in the midst of great pain, fear, and "alone-ness."

  1. I have to make a conscious decision to focus on God, not the circumstances or my emotions.
  2. I have to make a conscious decision to see the end result, rather than the painful beginnings.
  3. I have to make a conscious decision to cooperate with the purification process rather than hinder it.
And also very important:
  1. I have to want to be healed more than I want to live in the pit.
  2. I have to want to be mature and complete more than I want to live the easy life.

The easy life will leave me with limp arms, weak legs, and the ability of child to handle traumatic circumstances.

If I continue to choose God's path, it won't be the easy life. Look at the life Jesus led.

But, it will be a rewarding one. Even in the face of incredible loss, pain, and fear Jesus continued His terrible path to Calvary. In the end He has been glorified with His Father

I had a choice to make when I went into counseling. Was I going to work at it? Was I willing to do what it took to face the pain, to get through it so that God could help me grow and mature?

I did make that choice, and I did persevere through counseling.

Now in my daily life I need to make that choice again and again. Am I going to "do" this thing? Am I going to face the painful trials even now, the things that can hurt and wound deeply?

I think part of my scripture memory verse from 3-1-09 says it all.

Hebrews 10:36
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

I will close with one last quote from Micca.
"When you and I can look to the end result of what our testing is accomplishing, then we can find joy in the midst of it. Ultimately, when adversity has its way, we mature. we change from victim to victor! That, my friend, is a huge gain." (emphasis mine)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Welcome one and all!!

Well, I just wanted to say Hi, and welcome to my new blog address.

It was a hard decision to leave WordPress, but I knew that I really liked a lot of the features that blogger provided, so here I am.

I hope that you are comfortable here...

(Picture yourself seated in my livingroom...)
If I seem to flutter around a bit, it is just trying to get used to a few things that are just a bit out of place, and once I get accustomed to it, I will settle down. :)

In the meantime, I just wanted you to see that I did bring with me all (or almost all) of my posts from my other blog.... dating all the way back into last year (and let me tell you that took a long time this weekend!!!!)

May God bless you today, and every day.
I hope to be back here, ready to go with my "Yes to God" post on Tuesday... if not before!

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Self talk, Soul talk," Chap. 11; Praise the Lord...

On Sunday at church, though things were better, I was still reeling from my experiences on Friday.

There was nothing I could do.
I was still stumbling in darkness.

I went to church.

The kids were sick, so they stayed home with Dave.

Our associate pastor, Brad, came up to me and asked me how I was doing. He is one of those people who, especially since he has seen me through some of these past few years, won’t take “I’m fine,” for an answer. So, I managed to express that it was really tough, and that I really felt like I was floundering… and had been hit big time with depression over the weekend.

He gave me a quick squeeze and a warm smile, and then moved on rapidly, as the service was about to start. As I sat in the service, I felt like I was sitting alone, apart and separated from those around me. Until the worship started. When the music started, I could feel my heart start to quicken.

The first couple of songs were just a good “warm up” for me, and started to let in a little light. Then Brad prayed, asking God to lighten the hearts of those of us who were feeling heavily burdened, and praising God that darkness was as light to Him.

My heart shook and trembled at that.

Then later in the service a new song was introduced. Over and over the words reminded me. Reminded me of who God is.

• my Shield
• my Strength
• my Portion
• my Deliverer
• my Shelter
• my Strong Tower
• my very present Help in time of need

Then my heart really started taking notice.

Later in the day I came back to the church for a prayer meeting. As we prayed for our leadership, for our church, and for anything else on our hearts;

God spoke.
In the quiet.

I wasn’t able to pray out loud then.
That came later.

But I had this impression that God really wanted me to surrender. Everything. Let Him have the burden I was carrying. And to confess. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew He was calling to me, and asking me to do it soon.

As soon as the prayer meeting was over, Pastor Brad leaned over and said that as he was walking from his home to church for the meeting, he was praying for me… and then was blown away when he saw me drive right by him. I thanked him for his prayers on my behalf, and asked God in my head, “What are You doing?”

People scattered from the room, and through the church to other meetings, or heading home for the rest of the day.

Instead of going outside and to a park to enjoy the beautiful weather before my choir practice, I hung around talking to a friend until the lobby had cleared, then slipped into the sanctuary before someone saw me.

I walked to the front, and sat down on the floor,

near the piano,
near the altar,
near the cross.

It was cool and quiet.

I turned to Psalm 139, and read some of it. The parts of never being able to flee from Him, escape His presence… and that even if I wanted darkness to hide me, the darkness was as light to Him.

It took on a whole new meaning in the light of the pain I had been in over the weekend, on Friday… and maybe longer, as it just poured out of seemingly nowhere…

He never left me. Even when I was crying and raging. Even when I couldn’t feel Him. Even when I didn’t want to do anything but run. I couldn’t run from Him. I can’t.

Even though I was/am surrounded by darkness, He can see. He can see through it. Though my soul feels like it is floundering, He is holding me, seeing the rocks I am tripping on and trying to guide me, if only…

…if only.

If only I would look up at Him.
If I would lift Him up.

It took the praise earlier in the day, and the opportunity to pray later on, to soften my heart enough to hear His voice.

I spent time in confession.

One of the things: allowing my gaze to be wrenched off of Him, and onto my problems, my self, my pain. I needed to spend time seeking His forgiveness for not letting Him be my all in all.

I spent time in surrender.

I cried out to Him how much I hurt. I cried out about how things were so hard. How I just wanted to run away. But this time, I left it with Him. I was on my face sobbing. But I was surrendering.

Then I was sobbing, but praising Him. I spent time in the Word. I spent time reading again and again about who He is… and I praised Him for it. I sang back through the song we sang at church that morning.

As Jennifer said in our final chapter of our book, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,”
“…lift up God. As He grows bigger in your thought closet, you grow smaller.”

“When He becomes the center of our attention, we no longer take that spot.”

I forced my gaze back onto Him on Sunday afternoon. I confessed, I surrendered, and I lifted Him up. I praised Him while I was in the sanctuary of my church.

And I left the building with peace.

I still am struggling with depression. I suppose I have written that so many times in different posts it comes as no surprise. But right now I am at peace with it. I am at peace with God. I have my eyes focused on Him, and I pray that I will be able to continue to do that.

When I start focusing on “my” depression, I become the center of my attention, and that is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants me to focus on me, my problems, my anxieties… never on God.

But when I focus my gaze on the author and perfecter of my faith, I am looking up, and lifting up my soul.

“The Bible tells us that God takes pleasure in our praise. But when we set aside worries about our habitats and lose ourselves in the life-shaping, darkness-chasing, happiness-enhancing experience of pure praise, the pleasure is all ours.”

Here is the song that our worship team introduced in our worship time on Sunday. It was a powerful reminder of who God is, and that He has delivered me and set my feet upon a rock, so I will not be moved.

As icing on the cake… to top off my day, my God overwhelmed me. He blessed me beyond measure. Last week, I auditioned for a solo in my choir. I have tried out for years. Never thought I would get one… even this time.

But God.

I will be singing a solo in my choir concert at the end of April. The icing part of it? The song is “Be Thou My Vision.” (yes, the hymn, but different melody)

But how appropriate… He is my vision. I will lift Him up!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thorn in the flesh...

What is it with me?

What is wrong with me?

Why am I going through this again??

Will this always be my thorn in the flesh?

Will it ever get better?

(I feel almost embarrassed posting this because I know what a dear friend and her family are going through right now, I know there are others out there with worse things happening that I have been praying for… but if there is one thing I learned in this last year, and through even our last book study by Lisa Whittle, I need to be transparent… so here it is.)

Last night, I got home from my small group, and all the way home I wanted to cry. By the time I reached my home town (a 20 min. drive) I wanted to keep going. I don’t know where; just keep going. I was more peaceful in my car, I was concentrating on driving, was able to pray some and was watching a beautiful moonrise through the hazy clouds.

I restrained the urge to keep driving south.

As I pulled into my driveway, it was all I could do to keep from backing out again. I hit the garage door opener so that my husband would know I was there, and so I would keep pulling the car in the garage.

I walked in, and just felt like I was going to bawl again. But my husband was here, and so was our neighbor, so I couldn’t just let loose. I don’t think I could have if I had wanted to, or felt free to.

On and off I felt like crying all night. Right before I went to bed, I checked my Facebook account one more time, and my friend Lee, was on, and we chatted briefly and prayed together. That was good. So was small group earlier in the evening. So I don’t know what was going on.
Then I went to bed, next to my snoring husband. It was one of those nights, that though I was listening to music through my headphones of my mp3 player, his snoring was drowning it out. I got up again, out of frustration. I sat in the living room for a bit longer (maybe an hour) then went back to bed when I was so exhausted that I knew I would fall asleep right away.

Got up and registered my boy for kindergarten next year. Went to the coffee shop briefly… for me anyway… only about 1 1/2 hours. Even that wasn’t much of a comfort today. I was able to journal some, but it only seemed to stir things up more.

Came home to a quiet house.

The kids were still gone, and I didn’t expect them for about another hour. My husband called shortly after I got home, checked in on my, and how my day was going. After we got off the phone, I was almost ready to cry, then Grandpa called and said he was bringing the kids home in about a half hour.

I went into my room to make the bed. I started throwing pillows around. Yelled at God. Sobbed. Frustrated beyond belief.

I. Can’t. Do. This.

Pretty much my thoughts. I know that I can’t, that only God can, etc. I KNOW!!!! I KNOW THE RIGHT ANSWERS!!!!!!!

it’s not enough today

I got done throwing the pillows around and collapsed sobbing on the bed. Sobbed. Wailed.
I don’t know all that I said to God. Not sure what words were used. All I know is that I am tired. I am tired of dealing with depression. I am sick of feeling like this. I am sick of finding myself struggling…. with waking up in the morning and not wanting to get out of the bed.

I am tired of hurting, and not knowing why. I have so many blessings. There are so many good things going on in my life right now. Where is this coming from?! I can look outside and see the sun, lay on my bed as I was crying out to God and feel it on my back. I know I have a warm house, and enough food, and more than enough clothes, family blessings, church family that loves us, loves me….

and yet there is the empty ache in me that nothing can fill.
it is all temporary fixes.
temporary medication

whether its

  • food
  • friends
  • fellowship
  • reading
  • blogging
  • sleeping
  • shopping
  • driving

it doesn’t matter

anything good can become a medication if it is being used to numb away, ignore, or mask pain for a little while.

and then the question enters my mind; if something is being used to run and hide and mask pain, is that becoming my god?


when I was leaving the coffee shop this morning, lunch time, and heading home, I knew I was going to be getting the kids back soon. I toyed with the idea of throwing them in the car and driving. I don’t know where. Just driving. Then I thought about how fun it would be to just hop in the car myself. Throw some clothes in a bag, get into the car and drive till I found warm weather and a beach to sit on.

Seriously. Just. Go. Anywhere.

I know it wouldn’t help any depression or hurt or anything I am feeling right now. I know that it probably wouldn’t even temporarily fix anything going on…. probably make some things worse. But I just need something. Some change.

I would give anything to drive away from here for a bit. Drive somewhere warm. Forget about responsibilities here for a while…. even if that means needing to take the kids with me, so be it. But just GO.

I won’t.
I am too responsible for that.

but this is the strongest a thought like this that has crossed my mind in a long time.

i guess when it feels like depression is controlling your life, you try to do anything you can to try to control something yourself…

if that means daydreaming about driving somewhere away for a while…. then I guess that’s what it will take.

No, I will go on. I will plug away at this next week. I will do what I need to. I will fulfill my responsibilities to my family, my church, and try to press on. I am too much afraid of what people would think if I just up and ran away. I am too much a resp0nsible person to just leave. There is too big a part of me that would just rebel at leaving, or stopping right now.

After that storm of weeping this morning, I was just cleaning up my face when I heard the kids come in the door. Grandpa dropped them off and left pretty quickly. I took Marina into her room to change her diaper. She settled down with me on her bed for a “rest.”

Peter came in and settled on his bed, and as Marina was still flipping and flopping, I went over to him and snuggled him for a few minutes. Within a minute of my going over there, I looked at her, and she was asleep, and within 2 more minutes, Peter was asleep.

Minor blessing, Major miracle.
So I have had this time here.

I don’t know that writing anything out here has helped me, or helped anyone else.

I do remember now one of the things that I raged at God about. I begged Him to take away this depression… it nearly debilitates be at times, and it takes everything I have to move, much less function.

God, I don’t want this! I don’t want this to be my “thorn in the flesh” no matter how you may be shown in and through it! I know that your strength can be made perfect in my weakness, that you can show yourself more than enough through anything…. but God, I can’t do this! Yeah, I know the answer is that You will do it. I feel stupid and dumb and weak. I feel like people are going to look at me and say, “what is the deal with you? What do you have going on so bad that you can’t stand it, that you can’t be satisfied, that you can’t be happy?” I don’t know! I can site so many things as being the reason; hormones, chemical imbalance, heredity, my past (which I thought I have pretty much dealt with major stuff this past year, isn’t that done yet???), current stressors…. but none of them help me. It doesn’t matter if it is defined, if I know why it is happening. All I know, God is what I am feeling. Whether that is based on lies that I am believing right now, I don’t know. I can’t even identify what I was thinking that might have started this off!

Lord, Jennifer said in her book, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,” that I need to starve the feelings of failure and defeat, the dark feelings or they will grow. I didn’t think that I was feeding them. Maybe I am. Please show me if I am and how to stop. I don’t want to keep going through this. I need Your help! You gave me this little blessing of the kids sleeping, which they never do for me in the afternoon. You gave me this time here to pour out my heart. Oh God I am hurting so much. I don’t know why. I don’t have any answers. I read your word this morning and felt dry. I tried to pray and all I could do was cry, and essentially scream at you. It may be a bright sunny day today, but right now it feels pitch black in here. I know it’s not the truth, but its what I am feeling. I know that you will never leave me or forsake me. I could really use the strength to cling onto that, and the ability to see what you are doing for me, no matter what I feel, and not just discount it.

Please help me through this hour, this afternoon, supper, this night, until I can go to sleep. Bring comfort to my soul, Lord. Nothing I can do, no one I can talk to, nothing anyone else can do (but pray) will be able to stop this. I am trying to claim your truth Lord. I am trying to cling to you, but I feel broadsided this week, after I feel like I had just caught my breath. Be my strength, satisfy me with your unfailing love, be my salvation in this distress. I NEED something… i NEED YOU JESUS.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Self talk, Soul talk," Chap. 10; Press On...

If you want to read any other posts about our chapter, visit Lelia and check them out.

I recently have been writing on and off about how tired I have been and how much I feel like giving up. Those feelings have lessened somewhat since I spent time a week ago with God and just allowed Him to fill me up. They have come back from time to time, depending on what I have been doing, and how tired I have gotten. If I have stressed myself out, emotionally/spiritually fatiguing myself, I have, of course gotten more tired, and felt like giving up.

I tried to remember our last chapter in our book, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,” and speak rest to my soul, which worked pretty well.

For my LPM Scripture Memory verse for March 1, I picked from Hebrews.

“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:35-36; 39

I was given much encouragement from my friend, Cindy, to keep on going. To keep doing the next right thing. To keep taking the next step.

Then I read this chapter. Again, like last week, I just about fell over in shock!

God must really like to do this to me, to many of us, hey?!

All week I have been getting the input from almost every source to persevere. My pastor’s sermon, Cindy, this book, the scripture verse God led me to… everything pointed to needing to persevere.

I guess I need to pay attention!

I can totally identify with Jennifer when she said,
“Running the race makes us weary, and sometimes we want to just sit it out for a while.”

Another section of the chapter that I could practically re-write here is the section she titled, “Affirm Your True Identity.”

One of the biggest things I have learned these past few years is who I am in Christ. I mean, before I knew I was God’s child, but really didn’t know what that meant. I think I am starting to get it now… at least, a little bit better grasp, though I don’t always remember. I tend to act out of my feelings rather than my identity, which is just what Jennifer was talking about here.

No matter what I feel, it is who I am that is important, and more than that, WHOSE I am.

“Don’t let feelings define you; let who you are define your feelings…. Don’t let the struggle define you; use your true identity to properly define your struggle.”

As I have walked step by step through this week, I suppose I have done just that.

I have felt depressed and insignificant and incompetent. I have struggled with weakness and tiredness and anxiety. I had to lead worship rehearsal on Wednesday night, and then, I had to lead the worship team, and worship in front of the whole church on Sunday.

I was at church an hour early or so for rehearsal on Wednesday. I worked on the music, prayed through it, and when the team came, though I was feeling overly anxious, I hid it and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to get through the rehearsal.

I came home absolutely exhausted. And the next day felt like giving up and throwing in the towel and just sitting still and doing absolutely nothing.

I got through the weekend, only because I had a lot of things going on over the weekend, and some things to process through.

Then came Sunday.

I got to church and was able to pray over the service, music, the building itself, and we did our run-through rehearsal. After the rehearsal was done, I sat down with Cindy to wait for the service to start (we were singing together on the team). I sat there for a few minutes and wanted to curl up under the chairs in front of me. I looked over at her, and she had her bible open to Ephesians 6, the armor of God verses; she was praying through them. I leaned over and told her I thought I was going to be sick I was so anxious. I think right then and there she started to pray for both of us.

I took a page from her book, opened my bible and prayed… I worked my way through my memory verses, also Romans 8, the part about nothing can separate us from the love of God… and just tried to spend the time committing the service, and myself to God, asking Him to speak His words through me. I started to feel His peace before we had to get up and sing.

Once I got up to sing, I was ok. Not great, but ok. I eventually was able to relax enough that I was able to truly worship and feel a bit of connection with God.

Just leaving the seats to get up there was the next step I had to take, because doing the whole service seemed beyond me at the time. I just took each section of the service, a step at a time.

I kept feeling like I was incompetent for the tasks set out before me. I kept feeling like I was a failure and I should give up. I kept feeling so depressed and anxious that I thought I shouldn’t even be attempting to lead the worship team, much less leading the church in worship.


I know who I am. I am a daughter of the King. I am adopted by God. I am loved by Him. I am accepted by Him. I am loved by Him. I am blessed by Him. I am redeemed by Him.

I don’t know that I specifically thought of those things either.

I just did the next thing I was expected to do.

It isn’t going to be easy.
It isn’t going to be fun.
At least not all the time.

But looking back, I can see how faithful God was to get me through the weekend. He gave me strength when I didn’t have it. He gave me words when I didn’t have any. He gave me strength when I was weak. He helped me keep going when I really didn’t want to. He showed me when to draw back and rest, and when not to draw back but reach out to others and ask for prayer.

My God is everything for me. My God is everything TO me. He is my all… He is more than enough for me.

Though I stayed up late last night, He has sustained me through this day. He helped me do what I needed to, and helped me hold onto Him. He filled in where I felt weak.

This is going to be a week or so of really learning what it means to persevere. I think I have slowly been learning that, but for some reason, I feel like I have entered the “perseverance boot camp.”

Anyone else with me?

“Sometimes rest is more important that revving up, and sometimes pressing on is more important that pulling back.”

I am praying that God shows me when it is time to rest, and when it is time to press on… press on with His strength running through me, through my weakness… so that His glory is shown to all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Peace in trouble...

Something that really spoke to me today in church… coming out of our pastor’s sermon…

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1Pe 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

What better encouragement than the word of God. I am clinging to these verses. I don’t know if depression will ever cease for me. But Jesus told us about Himself, His Father, and His promises so that we would have peace in knowing that though we have troubles here, we are in Christ, and He has overcome the world… we can live in that authority and victory everyday… no matter our feelings.

I may suffer the painful trial of depression all my life. But I shouldn’t consider that strange, because Christ suffered. I can rejoice that I am participating in His sufferings, because that means that I am walking with Him. And OH when His glory is revealed… think of the joy on that day when He wipes away all our tears!

There is so much more that I could share here… but let these verses soak into you and see what God speaks to you through them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nip it in the bud...

Thursday night, I hosted our small group.

After the formal gathering had broken up, I was in the kitchen talking with our leader, Peter, and his wife Donna. I shared with them earlier, in an email, some of my struggles from earlier in the week.

I shared with them how I had to deal with some unwanted thoughts that dredged up old lies and junk from the past… but that I wasn’t able to catch them until quite a bit after the fact.

Peter talked to me about needing to nip those thoughts in the bud, so that they didn’t take me down a path, and attach to old memories and draw all those things to the surface again. Because if I don’t nip those things in the bud, I end up having to take out a chain saw and do major surgery (if I can mix metaphors like that… forgive me…) to extract the lies and unwanted thoughts.

He is right. There are still things I dealt with at the end of counseling I need to be much more aware of. Especially how they affect me in daily life. With some of the earlier things in counseling, as things happened that made those same feelings re-occur, I was able to reprocess them with Tricia. The later things, well, I don’t have that opportunity to reprocess with Tricia, so I have to learn to do it on my own.

That’s fine by me. It’s just an awareness of something I need to work on.

While we were talking, Peter said that I needed to make the Lord my strength. To turn to Him for strength and support.

I agree with that 100%.

But he said that I go from person to person, whether that be Cindy, or our small group, or his wife Donna, or Sandy (the gal who just finished with chemo) to get strength and support from them. He said that I need to go to God for that strength.

I agree with him.

However, my mind was struggling with what he was saying and it was hard to keep on focus.

At the time I didn’t really realize why.
Now I think I do.

When he said that, the enemy came in with many feelings of condemnation. (Yeah, I know, obviously God wouldn’t condemn, only convict and encourage me with hope and a way out…)
I felt Peter was saying that I still do that now; that I go from person to person for strength. I felt I had probably spent too much time with Cindy the past weekend on the phone and by email. I felt probably I was being too needy and too dependent on her, rather than on God.

I found myself thinking I just needed to pull back from her some, give her some breathing room. I felt probably I was just vying for her attention, and using little things in my life to keep her “concerned for me” or whatever, rather than our relationship being a two way street. I found myself thinking I should just pull back from everyone so I don’t risk getting called dependent, yet again, by someone else. (Hmm, dredging up the past, anyone?!)


Pretty much everything I just said there is based on lies. And I know it.

First of all, I wasn’t just going to Cindy to get attention. I was seeking help in discerning where the depression I was feeling was coming from. I didn’t feel at the time I was leaning on her… but that she was helping me to focus on God and hear His voice, and to remember His truth when I was having trouble re-focusing myself on my own.

Second of all, yes, I did send several emails to her. I was on the phone with her a couple of times, and sat with her at church. We were in contact with each other pretty much every day.

But I also know Cindy enough to know she would tell me if she needed some time alone. I know she would have not answered an email that I sent, if she wanted some space. I know she didn’t have to open up time for us to talk on the phone. I know she wouldn’t have spent her last evening, before her husband came home from a mission trip, with me unless she wanted to.

I really had to work through some of that stuff today.

Because again, the enemy slipped into a crack in my armor and told me that I was too dependent on people. He told me I have a dependent personality and that I will always end up driving people away because I am too “needy.”

What a pack of lies!!!!

The enemy even brought in my counseling relationship with Tricia and told me I was too dependent on her. Well, duh!! Of course I was! That was what it was all about. I needed to depend on her as she helped me sort things out. I needed to lean on her till I was strong enough to stand on my own, outside of counseling.

Before I left counseling I read to Tricia something I had written. Somewhere in there I wrote about knowing I had a dependent personality. Tricia stopped me and told me she didn’t agree with that. She said I had a tendency towards dependence on others. To me, there was a difference between the two. I felt like I had a less “severe” case of dependency. Does that make any sense at all?

Though it doesn’t seem big, it made a huge difference to me. It made me feel like dependence, or should I say, over dependence on others could be managed, and dealt with, and conquered.
Because aren’t we all supposed to depend on one another?

I mean if we were all “independent” we wouldn’t be working together very well as the body of Christ. We wouldn’t be real with each other, we wouldn’t be transparent with each other. We wouldn’t share prayer requests or admit to our fears or failures with each other. We would never be authentic with each other.

God put us together because we need each other, to encourage one another on in the faith.
We are brothers and sisters on the journey together.

God designed us that way.

As long as we continually point one another to Christ as our ultimate source of strength, peace, love, joy… aren’t we doing the right thing? Aren’t we trusting in God and leaning fully on Him, but also lifting up, encouraging and helping to comfort and heal one another?
All of this ran through my head today. Last night, and again this morning when I had time to really think through it, I was tempted to just pull away. Then I couldn’t be accused of being too “dependent” on anyone.

But, if I did that, the enemy would have what he wanted. I would be isolated and alone and easy pickings. I would be rendered ineffective, because I can only be effective and have an impact on the kingdom of God through relationships and being connected to the body of Christ.

I have to nip these lies in the bud, or I will become isolated again. God has given me many people I can turn to for prayer and support, I don’t want to lose them by pushing them away.

I have to ask God if there is a grain of truth in there somewhere, something I need to keep in mind, keep an eye on, then throw out the rest.

The enemy just wants to use the rest to hold me in bondage, to recapture me, and keep me muzzled.

All I have to say is, with God’s help, that IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

It doesn’t matter how tired I get. When I am tired, I have people to come alongside me and hold up my arms until I have strength to do it myself again.

I have been incredibly blessed by people here in bloggy land who love me and pray for me. I have been blessed by people in my church family who love me and pray for me… who can be physical arms to hug me and hold me when I need it.

I am loved by God and by others.
God will lead me in His paths of righteousness.
If He has taken hold of me and led me this far, He won’t let me fall now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Self talk, Soul talk," Chap. 9; Be at rest...

I opened up this book on Sunday afternoon, after crying all morning at church.

And when I say crying… I mean more like sobbing next to my friend Cindy. I didn’t dare look at her, because if she had given me a hug right then, I would have dissolved.

Over the weekend I wrote in an email to her, and then later talked on the phone about how tired and empty I was feeling. Done in, burned out, nothing left to give.


Without even words to write here… and that is rare for me.

I managed to squeeze a couple of posts out in the last couple of days, out of desperation and need for prayer from others. They were short posts, but at least let people know where I was at.

In church Sunday, I got a distinct impression of sitting in Jesus’ lap and seeing Him wanting to take that piece out of the box and heal it back into my heart. I just remember shying away from Him, hiding my face against His chest, not really wanting to submit.

Afraid of the pain.

After the service was done, I really wanted to go up to the front of the church, walk the aisle and fall on my face before God right then and there. Our associate pastor said that some of us had some work to do with God this afternoon, and I was thinking in my head, “no, I know that He wants me to do it now… I shouldn’t wait.” But the moment was over, and I walked out of the sanctuary without doing any “business” with God.

[Side note: I later found out that our associate pastor almost gave an alter call for anyone needing to do business with God right then and there...]

That was when I went to the coffee shop after church, and started to read this chapter in “Self Talk, Soul Talk.”

Like Laura said, I just about burst into laughter, if it weren’t for the tears that were stuck in my throat. I was struck…. in awe and amazement at how our God orchestrates things.

I read most of the chapter, and then I had to go home to get a bit of rest and go to my choir rehearsal. But as I did, I realized that God had used the time of the coffee shop to start my time away from “stuff” to start to still and settle my soul.

On the way home from choir, I took a long way home, country roads, rather than through town or on the highway. I prayed some, thought about Tricia a lot, and tried to figure out a way that I could get alone with God, in private to work through this somewhat. At least to start the process of mourning.

God provided the time.

Dave didn’t have to work on yesterday, so once he was done with his errands and goals for the day, he let me out of the house. He told me to take the rest of the day (bless his dear heart!!!)

I headed for our church. I knew of no where else that I would be able to get away without phones, kids, or anyone else interrupting me.

When I got there, Cindy helped me get set up in the library of our church, near a fireplace, and prayed for me and then gave me something to read that would help jump start me in my time with God.

I ended up on my knees on the floor in front of the fireplace, in front of God. Not exactly on my face, but finally allowing Him to start to minster to me. I really finally surrendered to Him.

I cried out to Him. I told him just how much I missed Tricia. Just how much I hurt, how much I really needed His help, because I was so empty.

I cried.
Used a lot of Kleenex.

I finally was able to just rest before Him and receive.

I was able to do exactly what Jennifer talked about. I was able to take the time away with God and rest before Him. I do tend to try to take some time with Him each day, or try to do something to unplug a bit, but I must have been pushing myself the past few weeks, and not realized it.

At some point during that time our Associate Pastor, Brad came in and talked with me a bit. Cindy (with my permission) had shared some of what was going on with me at a staff meeting where they pray for each other and members of the congregation who request it, so he knew a bit of what was going on. I was just sobbing when he walked into the library. I couldn’t hide it and didn’t try.

Brad shared with me some of what he had gone through a few weeks ago, where he too was at a place of emptiness and fatigue, with nothing left to give. He shared how God met him in a place of peace and withdrawal… a vacation with his family. Hmm. Sound familiar? (Abandon Annually??) He prayed with me before he left me alone again, that I would receive a word from God, and that I would find the rest that I needed.

Oh girlfriends, God is so good.

I was speaking to my soul, without realizing it. Between my time off at the coffee shop on Sunday, and my time at church yesterday afternoon, and dinner with Cindy afterward.

“We must choose for our wills to take a break from striving, for our minds to quiet the noise of thought, and for our emotions to detangle our knotted feelings.”

I choose to get away, and take a break. I voiced that desire to Dave, and God made it happen.
The enemy was having his way with me.

“When we are physically and emotionally spent and worn, we become susceptible to the enemy’s attack. We become easy targets, sitting ducks. Our enemy attacks us with despair, depression, illness, impatience, and myriad other maladies…all results of a fatiged soul and body.”

Jennifer is right that speaking rest to our souls is critical. There is no other way around it. If we don’t allow ourselves to rest… more than just physical rest, and tell our souls to, not just hope it happens; well, we are going to find ourselves in dire straights. There is no other way around it.

We need to be still and know that He is God.

I learned that yesterday. Though I didn’t think I was being “quiet” before God, I guess I really was settling my soul down before Him. Everything that was in me poured out before Him. I left nothing unchecked (at least as much as I could at that point in time).

I woke this morning exhausted.

However, I also woke knowing that God was with me.

Knowing that God was faithful and that God would keep His promises towards me.

Still physically and emotionally tired and drained, I know that I am experiencing more peace today than I have in a while. I still feel a bit on the edge emotionally, yet still have more peace than I have had in about 3 weeks or so. I am still struggling with depression, and struggling with motivating myself to get some things done around the house that need doing, or even doing things for myself to make myself feel better. But I have peace.

I truly don’t know how to explain it other than I still am depressed. I still am tired. I still am aching and hurting (and yes even crying right now) over losing the relationship with Tricia. But I still have this PEACE.

Maybe it comes back to Philippians 4:7
“And the peace of God which transcends all understanding shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

There is no other explanation.
I am going to continue to tell my soul to find rest in God alone.
Nothing else will do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

this is where I am...

I am writing right now with the extreme background noise of 2 kids half playing, half fighting.

Please forgive me if this post becomes rather disjointed.

Where I am today…. I am not sure. I am much calmer than this weekend. Still dealing with depression for sure.

My friend Cindy, helped me talk through things some this weekend (and did a couple of incredible posts yesterday). As we talked and emailed back and forth, she made a few comments and asked some questions that helped me start to pinpoint something that has been bothering, niggling at the back of my mind, that I just didn’t realize consciously until now.

I feel dumb saying it even.

But I am dealing with losing my counselor, Tricia.

I mean, she didn’t die or anything, but I feel like it almost.

We went through so much together during our time of counseling. I prayed for her, I know she prayed for me. She asked questions that prompted me to press on into greater healing. But it was more than that, to me at least.

She really became a friend. By the end of our time together, I really did consider her a friend. As much as I consider Cindy a dear friend and sister, Tricia was my friend and sister as well. A sister in Christ, a friend who would listen and help me and encourage me, and push me to do what God wanted me to. She has great wisdom, I know given to her by God, great passion for helping see people come into freedom, healing and wholeness. She has a great love for God, a passion to follow Him, and it shows in her every interaction. She has a big heart, filled with compassion.

She wouldn’t be a good counselor without these things.
These things also won her a place in my heart as a friend.

I understand, intellectually that there has to be a break so that I don’t “depend” on her when I need to learn to stand on my own with God. But just as Cindy has come alongside me during this time, and also given great wisdom, counsel and love, so did Tricia. My heart says that Tricia is as much of a friend to me as Cindy is.

With Cindy I am able to call her and share some insights that I have learned or struggles I am having, and give and receive help. I can encourage Cindy and get together for a cup of coffee or a meal, and enjoy fellowship with her. We can share things that we have been learning from God, from books we are reading, anything like that.

I used to be able to do that with Tricia. I used to make note of something that I read, or that I felt God telling me, and save it to share with her. I can’t do that anymore. That avenue has been cut off to me.

I feel like there has been a death.

I guess there has been. The death, however long or short it might be till I see her again, of my friendship with Tricia.

Cindy told me of some things that happened with her and her husband after her husband’s mother died. It sounded familiar to me.

They would find out good or bad news and realize they couldn’t just pick up the phone.
They missed her and realized they couldn’t get in the car and drive to see her.
They would read something, or want her prayers.
They would want to pray for her.
They would just want to connect, even briefly.
But she was gone, out of their reach. Though they will see her in heaven, they can’t see her anymore on this earth.

That’s what it feels like to me. Because we have to stay separate, for a time at least now that counseling is finished, Tricia and I can have no real contact… not talking together type of contact. And God reminded me of something yesterday afternoon. What is the guarantee that we will even see each other once that time frame is over? God could call one of us home before then. Or call us to a different city, state, whatever, and we might never get in contact with each other.

I am grieving.

I can’t help it. By stuffing it, I have been causing myself more depression and hurt.

I also was fighting God on it. I felt Him speaking directly to my heart yesterday.

I could see myself back in His lap, in the lap of Jesus. And He reached His nail-scarred hands into that box and pulled out a big jagged piece of my heart. I cringed as I saw He meant to put it, heal it, into the living flesh of my heart. I knew how raw skin against that piece would feel. I didn’t want it.

I turned my face away, in my heart telling Him no. I pressed my face against His chest, ashamed at my fear, ashamed at my refusal.

He gently reminded me that healing comes with a price. There is pain in healing. But there is relief from pain. He reminded me of when I had my c-section with my daughter. The pain I had after that surgery. The pain reminded me that my body was doing what it needed to, to heal, and reminded me of something else. Something much more precious. I had my daughter in my arms, not in my womb anymore. I could see her, hold her, touch her, and rejoice in the relationship I could now have with her.

But it took pain to get there.

So, am I willing to face that pain now?

I am going to try.

I am heading up to the church, hopefully within the next half hour, to spend some time with God and try to allow Him to heal that piece into place in my heart… to allow myself to really grieve through the loss of a friendship. I know that it will be a long process, not a one time thing, but I need this one time thing to get me started.

Please pray for me that I will be able to let go and let God.

And then I will have a precious treasure, something that I can rejoice over. I can rejoice in the relationship that I had with Tricia. Maybe soon I will be able to rejoice that I will see her again, hopefully in this life, but if not, in the one to come.

Right now, I am still filled with tears and sadness.

I know that no one can say what is ok to grieve and what isn’t, or if anything is too little to grieve over. I still feel like some won’t understand why this is such a big thing for me…

But there it is.

And I know that I need to be on my face before God and surrender to His healing hands.

Pain, and hopefully healing.