Friday, December 31, 2010

faith AND hope - theme for a new year...

I think God has made it clear to me that I have a theme for this coming year.

Wednesday I talked in my post about hope, and how God seemed to impress it upon my heart.

All day yesterday and today, God rather "hit me over the head" to make sure this thick brain would get it, that I needed to focus on faith and hope (It might end up being faith, hope and love.... but right now, faith and hope are the ones that I really feel like God speaking to me about)

I love Hebrews 11:1
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

But I really like how the New Living Translation says it.
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."

I was reading between different blogs, and all of them were pointing towards faith and hope.

I think that this verse from Hebrews is going to be my anchor verse for 2011.  I am going to have it in the front of my scripture memory spiral, and make sure I keep on hanging on to it throughout the year.

Do you find God leading you to a theme for this new year, or any specific bible verses?  If so, I would love to hear yours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Yesterday was an extremely hard day.  I didn't know how hard it was going to be as I was driving in to work.

I wish I could have taken a picture of all the trees, bushes, and even weeds and grass that stuck out from under the snow.  They were covered with frost.  Every last one of them, all over them... just white and perfect as could be.

I marveled at it all the way to work, and just from that felt God speaking the word "hope" to me.  I didn't know why, but there it was. 

I had been working on a "no send" letter to this man in my past who abused me and caused me a lot of pain.  Tricia had asked me if I would write it last week at our appointment, and I almost said no to her.  I told her I didn't think I could... but by the end of the appointment, I finally agreed that I would try.

Tricia said that one of the things I should try to do is identify the anger.  Because there is anger there, but I just don't know where it is or how to get at it.  That's why she wanted me to write - because it was a healthy and safe outlet for my anger.

So I had been working on the letter on Monday, on and off as I did other work around the office.  I got to a point where it was past my normal work hours and I just sat in one of the offices, in a recliner that was in there and continued to write.  I had to stop by 6pm because I had to go and pick up my kids.

Once they were in bed that night, I sat in my bed with my computer and continued to write the letter.  It was so hard.  I found myself remembering things that I hadn't before, images were coming into my head that I was so disgusted at.  I have been feeling so dirty and ashamed.

Yesterday, I had some time at work again, because I was the only one in the office and I was waiting for some newsletter articles to be emailed to me.  I worked on the letter on and off, needing to take breaks and work on other things in the meantime, to walk away from the stress the letter was putting on me.

At about 2:30, one of my friends called me before an appointment to see how I was doing.  As I shared what I was going through as I was trying to write it, it was all I could do to keep from having a panic attack.  She could tell there was a lot of panic there, and talked with me a bit until I calmed down some.  She then asked me if the words kept flowing as I was writing.  I told her they were.  But I just wanted to stop.  It was too hard, and too ugly, and to disgusting to me.  I was nearly sick to my stomach and hadn't been able to eat anything cause it made me nauseous every time I thought about food.

She said that I knew myself better than she did, so to take what she suggested with that in mind, but she strongly suggested that I keep on writing and get it all out, purged out of my system.  She said that she would pray for me before she went in to her appointment and then that she would stop by when she was done.

In the meantime, after collapsing on the couch in the office I was working in, in tears and exhaustion, I sat back down at my computer and reluctantly started to type again.

The next time I looked up was through tears as I saw my friend walking into the building out of the corner of my eye.  When she came through the door of the office, I saved my file and closed the computer and nearly dropped it on the floor next to me.

She asked how far I had gotten and I said that I was at page 8 or 9, I don't remember now.  Then she asked how I was doing. 

I just shuddered at first.
Then I was able to start expressing how I was feeling.

I feel dirty.  Used.  Worthless.  Afraid to look anyone in the eye for fear that they will be able to read me like an open book, that they will be able to see the dirtiness that is so apparent to me.  I feel like I am covered in such filth, inside and out, and there is no getting clean.

Those feelings are still there, which is why I put them in the present tense.  Now they aren't as strong, and the feelings are more controllable.  At least today so far.

We talked some more, and she encouraged me, out of her own experiences, the way I have in the past for her.  She cried with me, knowing first hand the pain I was going through.  She encouraged me to try to find something, anything to eat.  Anything that sounded good.  To take care of myself and be gentle with myself.

Prefacing what she had to say again with the idea that I know myself better than she does, she encouraged me to stay here at the church where it was quiet and I was alone, where I felt safe, and keep on writing, as much as I could.

She prayed with me, for me, then got up and gave me a big hug.  We stood in the office facing each other and I couldn't look her in the eyes.  I tried to pull myself together a little bit, and she said to me that I was going to get through this, and that God had made me a strong woman.  I started to cry again and said that I didn't feel like it, and she said she knew, that's why she said it.

As she left she told me that she would keep on praying for me... and to call her later if I needed to.

I sat back down, cried and continued to write until some people started coming in to do some work in the building, and then I packed up and went home to get the kids and finish out my night with them.  Once they were in bed, I managed to eat a couple of eggs and some toast.  It sat very heavy, but at least it was something.

Then, reluctantly I sat back down on my bed, with my laptop and opened up the letter once again.

When I finally finished writing, I was only 400 short of 10,000 words... and came in at about 15 pages.  The exhaustion I felt was total.  I ached, my eyes burned from staring at the computer screen so long and from crying.  My head hurt and my stomach rolled... and I had run out of words finally... and many emotions had poured themselves out through those words.

I saved the letter to my hard drive, and closed up the computer.  Without moving from my bed, though it was almost 11pm, I called my friend.  She got on the phone, knowing it was me, and I just said... "I finished it."

She was so glad for me, though I couldn't be.  I still am not... though there is a bit of relief that I haven't had to open up that document today at all.

We talked a bit, I cried some more, and she just let there be long silences in the conversation as I needed it.  I was shaking and cold and sweating all at the same time.

Before we got off the phone she reminded me to treat myself gently the rest of this week, because I needed to take care of myself.  She said whether that was a bubble bath, sleeping in late, eating whatever sounded good to me, trying to get to bed early, making sure I took my meds so I didn't flip out more because of that.... whatever it took.

She also predicted that if I put on some quiet worship music, that I would probably be asleep in 15 minutes or so, because of how drained, how tapped out I was.

She was sure right about that!

I slept, and don't remember too much about my dreams, though I know I had some, and I was very restless.

Today I got into work and sat in the sanctuary.  I just sat there and cried and talked to God and cried some more.  I tried to just rest in His arms, in His love.

I finally managed to pull myself together because the secretary was coming into the building and started my day.  I worked piece by piece on the things that God laid before me for the day.  They were simple things, and things I could control, unlike my emotions or my stomach.

At some point in the day, my friend dropped off her son at church to work on a youth project, and she stopped to see me in the office before she left.  We talked for a while, and she told me that she could tell I was doing better.  I think she is right.  I feel more stable now than I was yesterday.  I had attainable goals today (including finishing and printing the newsletter - that just finished printing behind me as I type) and I was able to keep focused on those for the most part.

My emotions are still all over, and I need to spend some time with God, another way to be gentle with myself, and nurture myself a little bit.  Because right now, being close to God is scary to me, because though I know He sees everything that's going on, when I get closer, well... He sees everything that's going on.

(I know... I know)

Before I go though, I have to share what happened just before I started writing again yesterday afternoon.  I looked across the room, out the window and realized that sitting on the window ledge was a little plaque... it was just the carved out letters.... "hope"

I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture of it and got it as the background on my phone.  That way, every time I look at my phone, there it is... to remind me that there is always hope... even when I don't see it.

I would upload it here for you, but for the life of me, I don't know how to do that yet from my phone (it's new) so maybe I can add it later.

There is still hope.
Even though I remembered a bit more this morning that I have to write.

There is still hope.
Even though I am going to have to read this letter to Tricia on Monday at my appointment with her.

There is still hope.
God has healed me before, from some horrible things.  He can heal this too.

Please keep on praying for me as I continue to process this stuff.  The kids are still off of school, and I will be needing to care for them and be functional for them the next 4 days.  Pray that I won't go crazy, though I feel like I already am.

I am now off to take some time to remind myself that there is still hope - and then go and lead worship practice tonight yet before I go home.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Darkness has brightened....

Yesterday found me struggling.  Missing my parents and our Christmas Eve traditions.  I was experiencing a deep exhaustion, depression, and a pressure of deeper darkness than I have had for a while.

I struggled to hang in there and just breathe.  I curled up under the blankets after having cleaned a friends driveway, trying to warm up and trying to regain my composure.  Trying to prepare for celebrating with Dave's family.

I called a friend and we talked on the phone for a little bit and she shared with me and asked some questions, and then told me she was going to lift me up in prayer.

I grabbed my heating pad, bible and journal and curled back up under the covers, still trying to get warm.  I spent some time in prayer and slowly relaxed as I warmed up.  I spent some time in tears as I tried to pray.  Finally I was able to settle my heart, and read through a Psalm.  Then I set my alarm and succumbed to what I really had wanted to do in the first place.

I curled up, under the covers, pulled them over my head and was finally able to sleep for just a little bit.

I got ready, Dave picked me up and we headed to the farm to spend time with his family.  I was able to relax and converse and just have a good time catching up with his relatives.

I wasn't able to spend any time in the Word last night, but this morning I woke up and didn't have to rush too much, as the kids were at the farm and had their stockings to keep them occupied for a little bit.

Before I even stepped foot out of bed, I had the chance to pray, read through parts of Luke 1 and 2, journal, just rest in His presence.

God rested me, held me, comforted my heart.
He renewed me.

I am still tired, and struggling some with my mood, and the sense of depression, but the deep exhaustion has lifted some, the darkness has brightened, just like a candle flame brightens a dark room.....

.... and I am reminded.

You, O Lord keep my lamp burning, my God turns my darkness to light.  (Psalm 18:28)

God is good my friends.  Sing praises to Him today.  He is the lifter of my head.  May you experience His love, joy and peace this day and every day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Traditions Interrupted

Well my dad is home.  The doctor really didn't know what caused the pain or inflammation.  They had him on antibiotics and his high blood count seemed to come down some, so they sent him home.  So he is home and supposed to follow up with his doctor... He was very tired tonight so I didn't talk directly to him, he was in bed when I called.  Keep on praying for him, that they would be able to figure out what it was, so that he can avoid it again.  Thank you!!!


Our family traditions with my side of the family got interrupted this year.

Last night I got a call from my brother that my dad had been having abdominal pain all day, cramping, etc.  He was thinking it was something that he ate.  By the end of the day he had called my mom to come home and take him to the hospital.

When my mom arrived home, he was in such a bad way that she called 911.

Once they heard a little more, my brother called me back and said that all his blood work was good and the EKG was fine too, and that there was nothing wrong with his heart.  They had to wait for a while for a CT scan.  Once the results of that came back, my brother called me back again.

The CT scan seemed to show inflammation in his lower small intestine.  The word they were throwing around was diverticulitis.  My hubby, the nurse, said that didn't seem to make sense as diverticulitis usually is in the large intestine.  They admitted him to the hospital overnight last night.

Right now, that's still where things stand.  We don't know anymore this morning than we did last night.  My mom finally got home from the hospital to get some food and sleep at midnight last night.

We were all supposed to head for Madison today to connect with my family there and celebrate Christmas.  However my mom and dad and brother will not be traveling.  I hope to hear more soon about my dad, but for now we are staying home.

Also, my daughter woke me up this morning and ended up getting sick to her stomach.  So, even if my dad weren't in the hospital, we probably wouldn't be traveling.  I don't know when we will gather with my family, but at least we will be home with my hubby who had to work today and tomorrow.  We can spend tonight and tomorrow morning with him.

Please do pray for my dad, that the doctors would figure out what is going on, so that they can treat him properly and he can get home soon.

Thanks so much, God bless and have a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Telling the truth

My appointment last week was successful in that by the end of it, I was in enough a better state from when I went in.  Tricia talked with me for the hour, just walking me through the memories, thoughts and lies I was struggling with.

At the end, she looked a little bit relieved and said that I seemed to be doing better than when I came in.  She asked if that was wishful thinking, and I said no, I did feel better.

I went back to work this week, after a VERY snowy and cold weekend, and got through the first two days relatively well.  It feels like the memories have faded some to the background.  Not maybe that they have faded, but that I have been allowed to ignore them and live above them for the time being.

However, yesterday, I started having my anxiety ramp up.  It started with trying to help our pastor with a computer problem, then solving other problems, and by the end of the day, I was so frustrated.  As I was coming home, my anxiety was going higher.  I had to take the kids to their Wednesday night church activities, and by the time they were dropped off, I had to get out of the town, over the bridge to the nearest McDonald's.  Sounds weird, but I just needed a spot to park and breathe, and as I needed to eat, that was the first place I thought of.

I grabbed my phone and tried calling Cindy D. first, but we were able to talk for only a few minutes, long enough for me to tell her about the anxiety attacking me right then.  Then I tried calling my best friend, Cindy, but she was so sick, she wasn't even able to answer her phone.

I realized that God just wanted me. 

So I grabbed my bag and went inside McDonald's, got some food, and then settled down to eat, read and journal.  I had gotten a book from a friend, so I read through some of that and made notes about what hit me and what I felt like God was saying to me.

I am much more stable than I was last week.  Partially because, well, because I am being a better girl than I was last week.

You see, I had my appointment with Tricia last Monday, but the week before that I started fighting with myself about taking my anti-depressant.  I don't really know why, but I didn't want to take it.  I thought I was doing better, and as I had a counseling appointment coming up, I wanted to be able to "feel" the emotions (not that I can't now... but I think they can be much more intense - and painful as I learned) as I was going through the appointment.

So, I started slacking off on taking it.  Like skipping two days, taking it one, skipping 3 days and then having my Monday appointment.  Then I don't really remember when I took the next one, maybe Tuesday night after I got home from my friends house... after my day full of panic attacks. 

When I talked with Tricia on Thursday at my added in appointment, she said that she had brought up my case in her collaberation that morning because she was concerned that I was going backwards rather than forwards.  She said that two different people had asked if she knew if I was taking all my medications.  She told me she would have never thought to ask that, so asked me if I had been taking them all.  I said that I had missed a "couple" of the anti-depressant.  When she asked why, I froze, and then blurted that I had lapsed between refills.  When she asked again how many I had missed, I told her 2-3.

I out and out lied to her.

Why would I lie to someone that I profess to trust, who has walked with me through so much?  I have never lied to her that blatantly before!  I don't get it.

Once I started taking my meds again and started to think more clearly, I started asking myself this, but shying away from God just yet.

Yesterday, it really came to a head as I talked with a friend again on the phone.  No one knew about my not taking my medication, except for one friend and his wife whom I told through an email.  At one point, she asked me why I was having a hard time doing something else Tricia had asked me to do, and if I was going to tell her.  When I said I wasn't sure, she asked me why, because she knew that I was pretty brutally honest with her.

Then I just spit it out and told her that it was because I hadn't been honest about some other things.  There was some silence on the other end of the phone as she thought a minute and then she said that she wasn't going to ask if I didn't want to tell her.  So, I blurted it out about how much of the meds I had missed, and that I had purposely done it.

It was hard to say, but good I think, because I needed to say it to someone real, someone who knows me in real life, who can get right up to me, in my face, and find out if I am taking them or not... or at least, she won't mother me, but is someone I can go to if I am struggling with it.

Now though, she made me realize that I have to tell Tricia.
and I don't want to.
I don't want to disappoint her.

She asked me if I was punishing myself.  We had talked the previous day about the little things, like not eating well, or staying up too late, or not taking care of my hand well enough - and as random comments popped out of my mouth, it became apparent that I really didn't think highly enough of myself to take care of myself the way I should.  It's way better than it used to be, but still, not where it should be.... still lies there to be uncovered and dealt with.

So she asked me if I was punishing myself.  If I thought that I didn't deserve love (or I would insert here peace, joy or freedom) enough so I was delaying the healing process by not taking my medication correctly.

Honestly, I don't know.  I guess maybe I have been in a way.  I think I knew that my body/emotions were going to react that way because of not taking the meds.  And I didn't care.  It isn't too hard for me to do something that will inflict emotional pain on myself.  Leave some issue unresolved, and then stop taking medications, and self sabotage.

At one point yesterday I said to myself, and to God that I really didn't want to live with that 19-20 year old that did those things, and that was subjected to those things back in college.  I blurted out (I was alone in the sanctuary) that she really should just die. 

I heard those words echo through the sanctuary, and I looked to the front, at the cross. 
Then said, "She really doesn't deserve to die, because neither does anyone else I have talked to, that I know who have been abused or made bad decisions."

Then I left a question hanging in the air and walked out of the sanctuary.

"Now that we are all forgiven and covered by Your blood, do we still deserve to die, anyway?"

The obvious answer is that by God's mercy and grace, He wants to heal us from those things in our past that have hurt us so.  I know that.  But there is part of me that just wants to crush that girl who was, and grind her out of existence so I don't have to think about her anymore.

What God really wants me to do is to embrace her... go back to her as the adult I am now and embrace her and give her the love that she wasn't getting from another human being, and through that, point her to God.  Point her to the truth.  In so doing, I will open the door (with God's help) to Him coming in and healing her, healing me and there will be no more "her" and "me" but there will be "I."  I will be more whole, more integrated, more healed, and more able to deal with other pains, or resolve other conflicts and grow up some more.

One of the most effective ways for me to go back and embrace that little girl that needs love so much is through the process of EMDR, as Tricia guides me through it.  God has healed me so much, and so quickly many times, and so effectively, using that process. 

But from experience, I have learned that it doesn't work very well when there are barriers between you and your therapist.  Whether she knows of it or not.  I have had times where we have gotten blocked and when God finally led me to tell her something, as we started the EMDR God met me in a powerful way.

If I want to have Tricia help me and guide me through the process of EMDR dealing with these past memories that have become so current and fresh, I need to be honest with her.  Which means, I have to tell her about the medication and how I purposely stopped taking it.  I need to be able to let go and let down all the barriers.  If something is keeping me from telling her the full truth, then it means I don't trust her fully for one reason or another.

At least, I think so.  I don't know.  Maybe it isn't that I don't trust her fully.  Maybe it's that I am afraid that she is going to be disappointed with me.  I look up to her.  I don't want to disappoint her, or cause disapproval.  I think I'm afraid that she is going to just dismiss last week as all about the lack of medication.  I know the lack of medication intensified everything, every emotion, but there was more behind it than that.  I couldn't think very clearly or claim the truth for myself, but I was experiencing (probably too closely) the things that had happened in my past and I wasn't able to shut it down, I didn't have control.  The inability to control what was going on emotionally, or to think clearly was from the medication.

Maybe the desire I have to not take the anti-depressant is because I am scared of what this time from January to March will look like if I were more healed and whole and on my meds and more stable.  I mean, that's whole new territory for me.  And it's scary.  This is my familiar.  This is what I know.  The ups and downs, the anxiety and depression, the fear and darkness.  To have a possibility of walking in the light again is scary.

But as I read in Psalm 139 today, even if I want the darkness to cover me and the light to become night around me, even the darkness is like light to God, and it shines like the noonday.  No matter what I do, God sees, He knows the motives of my heart, He understands, and He still loves.  Even this fearful, trembling girl who's afraid to walk forward and this fearful, angry adult who wants to crush out the past.

He still loves.

Oh God, help me cling to Your truth!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Decision made

Well, I made my decision.

After how hard yesterday was, I went to bed.  I was freezing cold by the time I got there and it took a long time for me to warm up, but I finally did and fell asleep.



I woke up out of a dead sleep, drenched with sweat and with my heart racing.  I don't remember what the dream was that woke me up, I know there was something there as I fought to wake up, but am grateful not to remember it.

I had to get up and completely change clothes and sit for a bit to calm down.

I had at least 2 more panic attacks at work today, and finally after talking with a good friend on the phone, and then my friend from last night in person, they both urged me to do the same thing.  They suggested I make a call to my counselor's office and leave a message for her to call me back when she could. 

Within the hour, she called back and I told her about yesterday, the memories and their vividness and pain, and the panic attacks, and the dream last night.  When she had heard it all and found that I wasn't scheduled to see her until nearly 2 weeks from now, she started looking for another appointment for me.  There were two next week, but as we talked she had a cancellation for 3pm tomorrow.

So I am off to see Tricia tomorrow afternoon. 

I am frustrated because I feel like I am disappointing people.  I am also afraid I am blowing things out of proportion and am making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I am afraid it's all nothing, and afraid that it is something.  Hmm.  Seems like fear is ruling here... and in reality, perfect love drives out fear.... Boy God, do I need to cling to Your love right now!!!!

Please pray for me tomorrow, that my anxiety and fear won't kick in so bad that I am paralyzed as I try to talk to Tricia.  Pray also for my son.  He wasn't feeling good tonight, and if he stays home sick from school tomorrow, it is going to complicate things to say the least!  I am just praying for health for Peter and that this night's sleep will work a miracle for him, because he was running a fever when he went to bed.

Pray for peace for me, and just the ability to trust God through yet another thing I have to work through. 

So, yesterday I didn't know what to do about calling Tricia and trying to get another appointment, and today, because of how I was reacting to things and what my condition was, the decision was almost made for me. 

I guess it becomes one less thing to worry about and stress about cause it is now out of my hands.  Praying for a more restful night than last night, and for a day with a bit of peace somewhere in the middle of it, time with God before I have to go to my appointment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The unexpected

God unexpectedly blessed me with an incredible friend tonight.  A friend who was willing to pour out, even out of her own brokenness and pain.

She saw where I was at by the end of my day, and even in her own pain, responded out of care and concern.  Come to find out we couldn't be more on the same page and in the same place if we tried.  And God put us there at the same time to walk together.

I had a break down today at church when she got there to see how I was doing.  I had a panic attack as I tried to talk to her there.  We spent time in the sanctuary, for privacy so we could talk, and she could help me calm down. 

All through the day, as memories have come to the forefront, I have been freezing cold.  So she invited me over to her house to hang with her and her son, and I got to snuggle up with various cats (she has 7, five of which I actually saw) and huddle close to her pellet burner till I warmed up.  She used the idea of the pellet burner to lure me over, because she knows I am a sucker for a fire! 

It worked.  The fire warmed me up as did the company that I was given.

Tears were shed, silent prayers prayed, and she gave me the benefit of a listening ear when I needed it, light-hearted conversation as it seemed appropriate, and the space to just have quiet and peace. 

This was only the second time I can ever remember going over to someone's house for the first time and not feeling uncomfortable, but rather, feeling safe and that it was where God wanted me.

I am still broken and hurting inside.  I let go today and accepted God's forgiveness and forgave myself.  And then God allowed a memory (one I rememebered but it was always on the "outskirts" of my mind) to come into full focus and full living color.  It was really hard, really painful and nearly shattered me today.

I don't know what to do yet.  What decisions I need to make, if any, about going to see Tricia sooner, or if I can hang on for 2 weeks until my next appointment. 

But tonight, God has given me a measure of peace.  More than I anticipated having.  My friend talked to me as I had at least one more panic attack at her house, not counting the one at church.  Now it's time for bed, and I am praying for sleep.  A nice peaceful, dreamless sleep.

I am just overwhelmed by God's goodness to me through this friend.... even as I am overwhelmed by the pain and fear and fallout of these memories.

This time this evening of relaxing, talking, laughing, listening, crying and praying was a needed break at the end of a long painful day.  It was healing.  It was given to me by God, through a friend who was willing to listen to His promptings..... and for once I didn't hinder what He was doing, but accepted her invitation of company for a while.  If I hadn't, I probably would have come home alone, and kicked myself all night for not going over.

Thank you Jesus for how you unexpectedly bless me so much.  You are so good.  You are so loving.  Please help me cling to that truth, and to how You revealed it to me through this precious time with You and my friend tonight.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I'm still feeling numb.

It seems to happen from time to time after counseling.  Last time, I was so exhausted I collapsed in the nearby bathroom sobbing.  This time, I bypassed the bathroom and went down to my car right away.  I sat there for a bit, then moved my car to a more remote part of the parking lot, and sat in a daze for a bit, and actually fell asleep for about a half hour.

When I woke, I started the car and drove to the farm to get the kids.  I pulled into the yard, and as no one was out there, turned off the car and sat in the dark, the quiet enveloping me.  I'm not sure how long I sat there till the tears started rolling down my cheeks.

Tricia had prayed at the end of the session that though she had talked a lot, that I would remember what I would need to and forget the things I didn't or that weren't God's words for me to remember. 

She asked me to work on letting go of the curtains (an image in my head) that I hanging on to, to cover myself and hide myself in.  She wants me to work on, and get myself to the point that I will forgive myself for the things that I did in this relationship.  To accept God's forgiveness and to claim the truth of His word as my own, and to call the truth, the truth and a lie, a lie.  Whether my feelings follow right away or not, I need to believe the truth, to choose it and hang onto it, no matter what.

I know that is what I need to do and she is right.

But as I sat in the car at the farm, crying, all I could think of was how tired I was.  So exhausted.  So sick of fighting.  It's so hard, and all I want is to stop.  I don't want to think about anything, this relationship, this struggle for truth, taking captive my thoughts.  It's so overwhelming.  It's too much at once, and I don't know how to handle it.

I have stuffed it pretty well this past week.  Yes, emotions have popped out from time to time, but for the most part, I haven't felt either really good, or excited about anything, or really too depressed either.  I felt very "flatline" for lack of anything better.  I know I don't have to be super up or down, or have major swings to be "ok" or anything like that, nor do I want that, but it would be nice to be able to enjoy things, or grieve things if I need to.

I have to grieve the loss that I put on myself by the choices I made.  I was able to grieve the losses of other things, where I was a victim.  I was able to work through the anger there, and finally forgive the offenders.  I have been able to go through so much and find God's strength through it all.

Now, I don't have any strength of my own, and I don't feel like I have God's either.  Where is the stubbornness and determination I have had in the past?  Where is the gumption and backbone I had in the face of what I knew were enemy attacks?  I know the enemy wants to keep me bound, stuck and stalled out here.  So why am I so reluctant to fight back with the truth?

I'm not sure that I have the answer to those questions.  I'm not sure we answered those in counseling, though we might have today, I just feel so befuddled that I really don't know right now.

As we talked, Tricia reminded me one of the phrases I had used to describe myself in light of this situation was that I was filthy.

Later on, I got this image of a glass bottle - almost a jug.  Dark green, at least what you could see through the filthiness on the outside of it.  Inside were packed all my emotions.  Hate, rage and anger at this guy, at myself, I think even at God.  Grief, loss, failure, pain, shame, disgust, guilt.  It had a rubber cork in it, and I was leaning all my weight on it to keep it corked up.  I was afraid to open it, because I was afraid of all the emotions that would spill out.

At first, Tricia asked me to allow that bottle to be opened during the next two weeks, not to dump it out, but just let it open, so that the pressure wouldn't build.  But by the end, she suggested that I just work on the part of letting go of the curtain that I was hiding in, and work on the accepting God's forgiveness and love, and forgiving myself.  She "gave me permission" to leave that bottle alone until we see each other again.

I feel so numb and exhausted right now, I don't even know what to do.

I have taken my anti-anxiety meds, but still feel that pit of fear in my stomach, the one that gives me heartburn and leaves me all jumpy.  I really can't take any more of anything medication wise, and I can't really take much more emotionally either.

I don't want to work.  I don't want to think.  I don't want to do anything but curl up in bed and pull the covers over my head and stay there.  I don't want to pray, and it's been like pulling teeth to write here even.  How can I be in one place, where I am able to encourage a friend going through a rough time, and the next minute not want to do anything?  Even the things I know are good for me, that will help me and will cause me to walk closer with God?

It's just where I'm at right now, like it or not. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Darkness. Struggles. Truth. Lies.

One of my dear friends just got told some hard news from her doctor.  Last night, I was the first person she told.  Like she said, it was like a punch in the gut.  No conclusions, no answers yet, but suspicions and the mind goes immediately to the worst case scenario, even as you are praying for the best.

For me, there are no tears yet.  Those will come.  Right now, only questions.

Why her?
Why now?
After all she's been through the last couple of years or so?

Really God?

Another very good friend of mine is dealing with some very hard things.  Things in her life that are surfacing for the first time.  She is dealing with them fresh and new, and the backlash of emotions as a result.  Rage, depression, despair, reliving the experiences, the senses, smells, sounds, sights, nightmares, fear.

Her words came yesterday as we were on the phone briefly...

"it's either keep on going... or kill myself....
But, I'm too stubborn... too stubborn to give up now.
wait, I like the word determined better...

I'll keep on going.
But I feel like I am drowning."

I know she is safe.  I double checked that.  I know she is keeping on trying to hang onto God.

But the depth of where she is right now, the darkness that is overwhelming her, surrounding her, blinding her.  I recognize it.  I have been there, and my friend Cindy walked with me through it all.  She was there, even when she didn't have the words to say.  She prayed.  She listened.  She prayed some more.

So that is what I am doing.  I have been allowed into this friend's inner circle, one of the few people she is turning to when she needs to talk, and she is allowing me to call her, and check in and see how things are going.  I am privileged to be allowed to walk alongside her through this dark time.

Just like my Cindy was for me.  I don't have the words all the time, but I am more than willing to listen and pray and hang in there with her for the long haul.

I look at these two situations.  Vastly different, but just as painful and dark and hard.  I look at myself and what I am going through and it seems so insignificant.

It makes me think that in reality, I don't need to see Tricia anymore.  She has much bigger things to deal with than me.  I keep thinking that I am blowing out of proportion the things I am dealing with because they seem so unimportant in comparison.

This situation I am dealing with - the first guy that I ever gave myself away to, that started off a chain reaction of poor relationships - seems so small now.

Yes, I did deal with some of it in my past counseling with Tricia, at least a little bit.  However, the way things surfaced in my counseling with her, it seemed it all led to this relationship and the things that happened there.  So, that's where we went.

The self hate, the anger at the guy, at myself, disgust, worthlessness, feeling so dirty, like I was just a number in a long list..... as they surfaced, they surprised me with their intensity, and scared me too.  I felt kind of like I was floating out to sea without a sail, without oars, and nothing to steer with.

The emotions have surfaced from time to time, in short bursts this week.  For the most part though, they have been shut down.  Closed off.  Maybe this is God's way of protecting me and keeping me safe until I see Tricia again this coming Monday.  Maybe it's my way of protecting myself.  I'm not sure anymore.

In the meantime, I feel like I should just cancel and not see her anymore, because there are so many others who are hurting so much more, and I am just wasting time and money.

Lies most likely.

Because I am having hard time pinning down my emotions or thoughts about the relationship, I am having a hard time believing the truth.  What "sounds" like logic to me says that I am just making up reasons to keep on seeing Tricia.

I don't know what to think.

The way I collapsed on the floor of the bathroom, after my last session with Tricia, makes me think that I need to keep on going until I get some of this resolved at least.  The way I feel now tells me I was dumb to extend my Monday appointment with her from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.  Another part of me is scared to go into January and February without having the chance to touch bases with her every couple of weeks, because my emotions tanked so badly after Christmas last year.

Please pray for my two friends and the extreme difficulties they are going through right now.

Pray for me as well, that the truth would break through the lies, and that I would be willing to first submit to God and let go of my resistance against Him that I'm sensing.... and secondly that I would then stand and resist the enemy.

I want to trade the lies for truth, the fears for dependence on God, the worries for intentional praises of Him who is our Jehovah-Rapha.  The God who Heals.