Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anxiety, and intentional self-care

Yup, I was right.

I worked myself up really well today and tonight.

By the time I got to the orientation with my daughter at her school, I could hardly manage to sit in on it, I was so anxious. I was sick-to-my-stomach-anxious.

When we got home, I managed to get all the things that I think Peter will need into his back pack. All his school supplies are there already, dropped off at his open house last week. So, its just some residual paperwork that had to be signed and turned in to the teacher.

When I got home with Marina, the house was quiet, so I put in a favorite movie, and got her settled in.

Then I went and changed into my pj's and took some of my medication to help my anxiety.

I have 2 different types. One is supposed to be for panic attacks, as they are happening because it is fast acting. The other is a longer term (12 hour) medication to control generalized anxiety. I can use them in combination because sometimes I will still have a panic attack at times while on the longer lasting medication.

I started with the 12 hour med. tonight. Hmm... after about an hour I realized that I still felt like I couldn't breathe and had a tight band around my chest and I was still sick to my stomach. So I went and took half of one of the pills that is for my panic attacks. Just half a dose (the whole thing might have made me too sleepy).

I can breathe a bit better, and maybe enough now to be able to concentrate on praying and writing, as I may not have much of a chance in the morning.

It depends on how the morning plays out, and if I can get up early enough to spend some time in the Word before I have to get Peter to school.

In the summer, I have had the luxury of getting the kids to the farm, or leaving them with dad on some mornings, so that I can get to the church early... some days way earlier than I need to be. Those days I have been able to have as much as 45 minutes sometimes before I actually start work. I have curled up in the sanctuary with some hot coffee, my bible and my journal. Sometimes I have brought in worship music and played at the piano first to focus me and my thoughts.

Now I am going to have to rearrange things for this school year. There is no way that I am going to be able to get in there that early anymore. Not with dropping off either one or two kids, at two different schools before hand. Even on a good day, I might not be able to get there more than 10 minutes early when I have to drop off both kids. When I have to drop off only Peter, I might make it with 20 minutes extra.

Hey, I know I sound like I am complaining. But I have had a really hard time with getting up early in the morning. And with my house in the horrible condition it's in, I have little space to call my own to do a quiet time before I leave home. My desk isn't even a sanctuary because my laptop is on it, and it has piles of paper EVERYWHERE!!!

I need my time with God, now more than ever. I don't know how or when I will get it. But oh, do I need it.

Please pray for me in this area too.

I feel like I am sounding so selfish that the "kids are putting me out by interfering with my time with God" and though I know that the condemning thoughts aren't from God, they are hard to counter.

I have always felt selfish when caring for myself. I know getting good sleep, writing, spending time with God, and having some alone "me" time are parts of self care that I really need to work on.

But I still feel selfish when I take them.
I feel like there are people who look at me and judge me for taking that time out.
Or there are times when I feel like I am getting a cold shoulder because I have taken that time.

So then I stop.

And then I suffer.


And thus the enemy has used lies to get me to stop taking care of myself. In the process, I have spiraled down again. And I feel like I have to start over at square one. Again. And again.

So, as the school year starts, with both kids being in school, I have to seek out the times that I can carve out (even unlikely ones) to care for myself. Caring for myself physically and caring for myself spiritually as well.

I know I have to pursue this intentionally or there will be so many things that crowd in on me that I will not be able to handle it.

My medication has worked enough that I can breathe now, and I can focus enough to write. That is a plus....

....Now with an intentional decision, I am shutting down this computer, and climb into bed with my bible and journal for a bit of time with God before I completely fall asleep.

Letting go...

First thing I have to say is that this weekend's Baptismal Service was incredible.

I think I cried through the whole thing, listening to the stories these people had to tell of God's incredible grace and pursuit of them.

And now I know for sure that I was not supposed to be up there with them. After the service was done, I walked away thinking that it was a really good thing I didn't talk to anyone about it. (Well, at least at church anyway)

That part of the day was wonderful, and I was so excited for my friend and her son who were baptized together, prayed for each other up there, and had the courage to get up and share their stories. I was so thrilled for them that afterward I think I hugged them both about three times!

God is so good.

That night, we had a celebration and farewell for our associate pastor and his family. They are planting a new church in a town about 20-25 minutes north of us. Oh, it was so hard to say goodbye that night. Many people gave testimonies of how this pastor and his family have impacted their lives.

My husband made a DVD of pictures put to songs, as a digital scrapbook for them. We showed that at the end, and it helped lighten the mood a little bit. There were many tears shed that night though.

Yesterday morning, as a staff we got together with Pastor Brad, one last time as part of our weekly staff meeting. We were just able to share and talk and enjoy our time together, and it was just good time together.

Once we got back to the office, it was like a normal day, as we were all running about our business and he had a meeting in the morning, and had to run out for some others during the day.

Today is something totally different. He is here with his family cleaning out his office.

He was our associate pastor, but also our youth pastor. He had tons of pictures, posters, books, files, and many other things all over his office. Of all the offices here, it seemed the most "homey" and the most comfortable and inviting. It was a restful, peaceful place that many were invited into during the course of his 12 years here in official ministry.

Now, most of the things are moved out of Pastor Brad's office.

He only has a few more things to go, one of them being his personal desk that has a glass top, under which are many pictures, quotes, bible verses and cards.

His girls and wife are carting things out one at a time. The walls are bare, and he is patching up the holes.

That's the external activity going on. But let me tell you, the internal turmoil in me is matching the level of external turmoil.

I had a doctor's appointment for the kids this morning, early. I was told one thing by their doctor about my son's bee allergy and his need for close access to his EpiPen (he is 6 and a half). He recommended that it be with him all the time. When I talked to the school nurse, she said that he should have a fanny pack that can have one in it in the classroom for him, and then when he heads to gym or the library or recess, he can just take that with him. I left the EpiPens with her, and told her I would get a fanny pack.

When I had the chance to talk to my husband (he's a nurse by profession) he strongly disagreed that Peter needed to carry it on him at all times. He didn't want him having to hang onto it all the time. He felt carrying it to gym, etc was just "too much." We didn't get to talk about it too much as we were both at work, and I hope to discuss it with him later.

I see both sides. Yes, we want Peter to have one within quick reach, in case he gets stung by a bee. We don't know if he will have another systemic allergic reaction again or not. We have to be prepared. However, my son has a tendency towards fear and worry. I don't want him to be constantly consumed with concerns and worries about if he has the EpiPen with him or not.

Over the summer, he has come to trust that we will carry one with us, so that when he is with us he is fine - the same with his grandparents. I really don't want that to change, so I am not sure how to balance what his doctor said with my son and his reactions to things and the reality of how quickly an allergic reaction could happen.

And I have just realized that I am really having a hard time with letting Peter go back to school without knowing what is going to happen to him, and having to trust that God will take care of him when he isn't with me.

I have trusted that to a certain extent this summer, because for the most part Peter has been near me or someone else who will remember the EpiPen. But what about when he is in school? What about the lunch room, or recess, or the gym class going out the the football field (too far away from an EpiPen if it's left behind) and he gets stung?

I have to let go of control.
A letting go.
Letting God.

And my pastor is moving out of his office.
Planning on not being here tomorrow.

Did I mention that I really don't like this?

It hurts to see him go. It's going to be really quiet around here... and we are going to be missing a key person in our church. There is something about this man of God that breathes life into a room when he walks in.

A loss to grieve.

Though he really is no more than about a half hour from our church, in reality, I know that I won't be seeing much of him anymore. At least not for a while as he establishes his ministry and his own church.

I don't like the idea of walking out of here at the end of the day and having to say goodbye to him.

Another letting go.

I have re-read this post, and it is such a mix of concerns and worries and topics. I am sorry, but this post, much like my head, is a jumble of things. I have no time to slow down between now and bed to even think about these things, much less process them and work through them.

I feel overwhelmed and not able to deal with it all because I am working as well, so I don't know HOW to! I can't be there all the time, and I don't have the down time to work it all out, and somehow I have to come home tonight and get Peter ready for school tomorrow, and have something ready to tell his teacher about the EpiPen, if he isn't going to be carrying it around with him all the time.

Then I have to come to work tomorrow morning, knowing that Pastor Brad's office will be empty. I may not even be able to pull away a whole lot tomorrow morning because I will be dropping off Peter at school, so I will be getting to work maybe only 15 minutes early, rather than the 35-40 minutes that I have been used to. I won't get my time in the sanctuary with God the way I want.

Oh please pray for this mother's heart.
Pray for me as again, I have to let things go.

I can't control it all - I know that - but I am a control freak I guess.

Oh God, take control. Help me let go. To trust my children to you. To trust my husband to you. To trust my job to you. To trust my friends to you. And to truly hand them over to you... not yanking them back again. Help me in the letting go, to have peace.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For the most part...

This week has been pretty good.

For the most part.

I have pushed back the depression.

For the most part.

I have written in my journal and expressed my emotions to God.

For the most part.

I have worked on trying to enjoy the pleasant moments that come to me.

For the most part.

But today, though it's sunny out and there is a warm gentle breeze in the air, I'm tired.

I have laundry to do, and somehow come up with a dinner plan with what I have in the house. I'm too tired to go out and buy something, anything to make the meal plan easier or better.

This weekend we have a special Sunday. There is going to be a baptism. Not just of one person, but of about 6 or 7. Four of them are new believers within this past year or so. One couple is a mother and her son.

I am so excited for them!

We are centering our whole church service around them. Our pastor might say a little bit as a reflection, but their testimonies are going to be our sermon really. I mean, who can refute what God has done in their lives? What else could possibly convict us more of any sins or encourage those of us who are discouraged?

I know that God is going to work and it's going to be a special weekend and I celebrate with them.

For the most part.

I think part of me is jealous a little bit. I mean, I was baptized as an adult believer. At this church. I did it back in November of 2002. My husband had already been baptized not long after he had become a Christian. I never had. I felt that my public confession of faith was when I was confirmed in front of the church that Dave and I were eventually married at.

I never saw the need to be baptized as an adult. I was baptized as a baby, and I knew that wasn't right, or enough. I knew after I became a believer that there had to be more, a public confession. So, I was discipled by a Lutheran pastor and he did a special confirmation service for me, in front of that whole church, with my family in attendance.

The reason I was baptized at this church was because it was a requirement to become a member.

I agreed with that.

For the most part.

The other part of me was, well, not exactly happy. I didn't think that because I wasn't baptized as a believing adult, but instead did a public confession through confirmation as a believing adult, that I should be "barred" from membership in the church.

I did it, as I look back on it, because it was a requirement to become a member of the church. Something I had to do. To me then if felt like a hoop made by man to "jump through" to qualify. It was something that I had to do so that I could become part of this family that I so wanted to be a part of. To be accepted.

I was reflecting on this the other day, and realized that I wish I could be baptized again. But this time with the right attitude behind it. I think the wish behind it was that I really would make it a public confession. To my family. To Dave's family. When I was baptized in 2002, I didn't tell any of them. I kept it quiet, because to me it was just a requirement for membership at the time.

I won't be baptized again, because that isn't what adult baptism is about. It is about a public confession that someone has turned away from their old life, and given their hearts and lives to Christ. I have already publicly confessed that.

I guess what I want is a special touch. From God.

For the most part.

I need something tangible. I want something tangible. I want something public(ish). Not to get attention, but to finally get to the point of laying down some things. Some things that I have been carrying and not really told anyone about - it's just been me and God - and my counselor with some of it.

Our church doesn't do alter calls. It used have times during one service a month where people could come forward for special prayer. It is an option (not widely known, I don't think) that people can have the Overseers of our church come and anoint them with oil and lay hands on them and pray for/over them.

I don't really know how to express what I desire in my heart, or what I need. I don't know what else to say.

I am still struggling with finding this depression coming back down on me so hard... even though I am not in the same place I was before, it still feels the same... that suffocating darkness.

I struggle with letting things get between me and God. I turn away from them, then go back to them, then turn away from them again. And I feel guilty

I would love to have those things "washed away" though I know that baptism really won't do that.

I guess I would really love to have someone else to pray over me, for me. My small group leader and his wife are more than overwhelmed, with Henry's death, with their own problems, with the different needs and hard times all of us have gone through individually. Besides, we haven't met for a month.

I don't really know how to put things into words well right now.

I am so thankful that God knows my heart. I am so grateful that He can redeem anything - including my attitude and interior motives when I was baptized. I am so glad He can redeem the bad things out of my past. Redeem and buy back and restore the things that depression takes away from me.

And oh, His forgiveness and patience with me. Though I find myself clinging to worthless idols. When I cling to God, His grace covers me.

I know Jesus is more than enough for me. I know that He can take so many things that are bothering me in my life right now, things that are struggles and love me through them and keep me in His arms and that He can cover it all. He is more than enough for all my mistakes.

This weekend I will see and hear the testimonies to those very things. In the lives of people that I care about, and those I am just starting to get to know.

So, I will rejoice with them.

For the most part.

Because that other part of me still wishes for that chance to "do over" my baptism. That other part of me wants to be up there with them.

But this is their story.
Mine is different.

But God has authored them all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Redeem this....

This title was borrowed from someone else.... actually from her post.

I have been reading her blog for a while now. Many of her posts stand out to me for many different reasons, and I keep going back.

I wouldn't have Lyla's job for all the world. Assessing other people's damages, losses to fires, storms, etc... to figure out how much it is all worth in dollars, and having to separate herself from the incalculable losses of things that can't be replaced......

Things that can't be redeemed....

Except by God.

Please do take a moment to read her post,

"Redeem This"

It's well worth the time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pleasant happenings...

So Tricia asked me to take note of pleasant things that happened....

I have labeled them before as "joy moments."

One of my friends from college caught this phrase.... and reminded me of it in her comment in my last post....

"another joy moment: a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. :) "

She was referencing a post I made on Facebook about the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Start your griddle or frying pan to heat on medium. Butter a piece of bread on one side, place it butter side down. Put down your cheddar cheese (note: Velveeta WILL NOT DUE) and sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder. Then cut up a nice big ole slice of garden fresh tomato (I used a golden one, just picked today) and lay that on top of the cheese. Put down the other piece of bread, butter side up, and grill (both sides) till the cheese is gooey, or till you can't stand to wait any more.


That's making me hungry again.

Another joy moment tonight.
I had three right in a row!!!

First it was that grilled cheese sandwich.
Then I got to sit next to my hubby on the couch and watch Mythbusters on Discovery Channel.

Then I got to walk my friend's dog. My friend is staying with us for a while, and since she is gone overnight, I got to walk her dog tonight. Let me tell you, I think I tired both of us out. I haven't kept up that pace of a walk in a long time! :)

It was really great. A brisk walk, cool night air, a perfect breeze.... and the pooch actually decided to listen to me tonight and heeled the whole way!!!

So, three great things.

Three pleasant happenings.

All in one night.

I'm sure there are more, like my daughter snuggling me this afternoon when she wasn't feeling well. An unknown man stopping to assist me when my lawn mower would start but not keep running (he spent over an hour fixing it for me!!!) Never got his name, but am eternally grateful. What a blessing he was! My son made it through getting his six yr. old molars sealed, and 2 bad cavities filled. And he was so brave about it, he didn't even need me in the room with him... and there are still more.

I can't pass over these pleasant happenings.

These joy moments.

God is good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What I walked away with today....

I walked out of my appointment with Tricia today, feeling by far much better than I have in a long time.

I didn't hold anything back from her that I could think of, not knowingly anyway. I told her how frustrated I had been in our last session and going back to work out of it. She nodded and said that she had been able to tell.

When I shared how I had exploded more or less once the church was empty that night, she also said that she was pretty sure she had left me in a fragile state when I walked out of the office, but she didn't want to say that in case she planted a thought that wasn't really there. Boy, I'm glad things didn't get worse than they did last week, or there would have been some pieces to be picked up!

We talked about what God has done this week. How He has worked, and just how He used that frustrating session last week to get me just out there enough to talk to Sandy about it, a little, after a lot of prying on her part. Her persistence and her verbally forgiving me, and reminding me that Henry wouldn't want me to beat myself up either, and that I was by far more important than anything else.... that changed me, though I didn't know or recognize it at the time.

I didn't recognize it until I was sharing the things of the week with Tricia and she started praising God right there in the middle of it. She got so excited she nearly jumped up and down! Slapped her clipboard down on the footstool between us, and out loud praised God for how He works all things together.

Because, as I now realize it, He did. He worked this past week - the pain - the hurt - the guilt - the frustration from my session - my conversation with Sandy - my tiredness - my lowered defenses - into a healing for me. Not fully, but a lightening of the load.

Maybe that's part of why I walked out of Tricia's office today feeling lighter.

Is the depression gone?
I wish it were that easy.

I wish I could say, "Nah, I don't really need to come back. I'm fine now."

However, I would probably be back in 6 months or a year, burned out and worse than I am now.

I told Tricia that there are better days than others. Sometimes I am too busy to notice the depression except in passing. Other days it nearly debilitates me and makes me non-functional. Sometimes I am ok, and experiencing a pleasant moment, but I can see the dark clouds on the horizon, and wonder when the storm is going to hit, how fast it is moving, and how severe it's going to be.

Tricia said to me that she was feeling that Henry's death was just the icing on the cake for me. The she looked at me and asked me what the cake was... expecting an answer. What did I say?

I. Don't. Know.

We don't know what that "cake" is under the icing. Neither of us do. Maybe there is nothing there, maybe there is another layer from previous things that needs to be addressed. Really we don't know, but there were some things that were brought up today (for another post) that are things to explore.

Tricia prayed for both of us at the end of our session today. She prayed for me that I would be able to see the good times and essentially experience the "joy moments" and for guidance and help for the worship rehearsal tonight, and my job and the upcoming events that are causing me stress.

She prayed for herself that God would give her the wisdom to know how to help. That He would grant her discernment in how to continue to develop a treatment plan for me, and that she would have His wisdom in everything and every way.

I came out of Tricia's office today with two things from her to remember.

Three things though I have walked away with.

One: When I have something pleasant happen, enjoy it. Take note of it. Experience it. Don't just blow by it unnoticed and unappreciated. From the simple sun on my face, to a quiet snuggle with the kids, to an unexpected but wonderful talk with my husband.

Two: Don't go digging too deep. Don't try to over analyze what is going on with me, or the "why's" that want to show up. Let God show things as He will, but don't go digging for them or too deeply before I'm ready.

And this is the one that I am really adding on to the list... not something Tricia specifically sent me away thinking about. This is one that I have only realized now, after writing a brief email to Cindy (and oh, I can't wait to talk to Cindy D. about this too!)

Three: I have walked away from this appointment with a little smoldering wick. This bruised reed that I am is carrying a little flame that I thought was gone. In the face of it all, I do have one thing back, just from this session with Tricia. And now I have a name for it.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

one of those days...

There are those days for me when I don't want to go back and see Tricia, my counselor.

Sometimes they are days when I am doing poorly, or frustrated, or really depressed and feeling like there is no hope, so why go at all.

Then there are the days where I am feeling better. I feel and see hope. I am able to focus. I am able to hear a bit from God again... at least a little.

In both of those cases, I feel like I am going to be wasting Tricia's time and my money. What's the point of going, because maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill?

Yesterday was one of those days that I was feeling better. It was quiet in the office because everyone is gone on vacation except for me, so there were no incoming calls. I was able to spend some good time with God before work started. But it was more than that.

Over the end of last week, I spent a good amount of time at Sandy's house. She is dog sitting but was out of town the first couple of days, so I was the temporary stand in. I went over to her house three or four times a day between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon.

I was able to have some nice quiet time in Sandy's house, both Thursday night and Friday morning. When I came back on Friday night, I found I kept looking over at Henry's empty recliner.

I finally got up.
I couldn't refuse the inner prompting I was getting.

I walked over to his chair, sat down and curled up in it. Then the tears came. Oh I cried! I don't know for how long, but do know that I had limited time there, so I had to keep it relatively short.

The next morning when I went back to let the dog out, we came back inside and I did the same thing again, curled up in Henry's recliner and cried for a while.

All I can say from the experience was that I felt like it was the closest I was going to get right now to that hug from my Daddy that I need so badly. That hug from my Papa.

Maybe a little bit more healing took place then. I am not sure. But that may have affected how I felt yesterday. Better, and more able to work and concentrate.

I'm not sure what God is doing. I am struggling with surrendering some things to Him and of course everywhere I look, I see and read about surrendering to Him. Letting go. Abandoning our jars, like Joy said, rather than clinging to them ourselves, believing they are the most important thing, and that we can't live without them.

Sunday morning I got to church well before anyone else. I spent some time praying through the church, and praying for the service. Something in me caused me to get on my knees and I just lifted up my hands to God and asked Him to take all of me and use me that morning.

I can't say I "felt" any different, but I think it gave me a new outlook on the day.

That wasn't the specific surrender that God has been asking for. He is looking for me to give up some specific things, and I have been less than willing to listen, less than willing to try it His way. You see, I have these "default" coping mechanisms. Things that I automatically do or think, that I use when either I want to run from God or run from the emotions I am experiencing at the time.

It can be generally ok things like reading, playing on the computer, watching TV or a movie.... It can be some not so healthy things like over eating or impulsively running out to get something specific to eat if I don't have it in the house, or just plain impulsive shopping.

But they become bad things when they come between me and God. I know that. but I am running back over and over to the same old defaults and not to God with my emotions or pain or frustration.

Why am I so afraid to go to my Father? Isn't that what I have been saying all along? That I need my Daddy?

Maybe that is why, when it comes time to going to counseling, I don't want to go, or I have one of "those days" where I feel like I shouldn't go. Because maybe Tricia will be able to help me answer those questions. Maybe she will be able to help me get at the root of why I am running away rather than running to God.

Whatever the stronghold might be (if there is one) or the bondage that might be there, of course the enemy of my soul and yours doesn't want it broken apart. So he comes at me either subtly by giving me such a good day that I can try to talk myself out of going. Or he comes at me with such a horrible day that I just want to skip it because what's the point when there's no hope....

I'm going to counseling tomorrow.
I'm going.
I'm not sure I'm fully willing, but I'm going.

And if the Lord will make me even willing to be willing, maybe something will start to change. Maybe I won't have so many of "those days," and won't be so afraid of the hard work and change going to see Tricia will make me do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

four hours...

Four hours.

Four. Hours.

That's how long I played the piano today.


I am filling in for our normal pianist for worship team. She had picked the music sets already for me, but there was a song or two that were really hard, as they were new and I had a hard time singing and playing them at the same time.

Did I mention they are also putting a mic on me at the piano? I'm singing too.

So, I pulled out the song that I couldn't sing AND play. Then I tried to fit in another song. Then that didn't work with the ones around it, and lo and behold, I kept only one of her songs in that set, and rearranged everything else.

It turned out well.

But it meant I really had to practice a lot tonight. So I started at 5pm after I was done with work. I played till almost 8pm took a 15 minute break, and then started rehearsal with the worship team - till 9:15pm or so.

It was hard work. My hands, fingers and arms aren't used to that hard work. On top of that, the grand piano at church has a harder touch than my piano at home, so I have to press the keys harder. Thus, more muscle work out.


I spent 4 hours... on the piano... playing...
worship music.
playing and singing worship music.

To my God.

I may be exhausted. My voice is almost gone. My fingers can hardly type this. However, I think it was worth it.

God did something through that. The words must have sunk through to my sub-conscious. So, even when I was all worried about the chords and music and technical aspect, the truth about which I was singing somehow permeated me and touched my heart and soul where it needed it.

I didn't realize it till I got home.

I spent a bit of time with some friends, talking in the parking lot for a few minutes after I was done. Just hanging and finally relaxing from the day. It was a nice end to the day. Worship and then a little bit of fellowship and laughter with some friends.

I came home lighter than I went to work, by far.

God did that, folks. It was NOTHING I did at all.

I still have the same problems...
I'm still exhausted mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically....
I'm still grieving....
I still have guilt and the strong desire for forgiveness...

But God worked in my heart and reminded me that He still loves me.

One of the songs we sang talked about how God is mighty and strong to save.

"Oh what a Savior, freedom forever!
We lift our hands with chains undone.
Hearts have known mercy,
Cannot keep silent.
We sing a song of saving love."

Amazing words.
About our amazing God.

MY amazing God.

I am still extremely exhausted, but the very long day was worth it in the end...

My Father met me in a way I didn't expect and gave me a measure of peace tonight. It's enough to get to sleep with. I know He will give me enough for this weekend of crazy family stuff. He will give me enough to get through worship this Sunday, and He will use me to help lead others in worship. If I can do that, it will be more than enough.

Because He is more than enough.

He showed up for four hours.


It was worth the time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

anger, shame and guilt

I don't know how to share what I want to - or even if I want to.

I am so mad, so angry at myself.

Yesterday, I thought it was at God.

Last night the guilt and shame kicked in, and I realized the anger was all directed at myself.

I read my "no send" letter to Tricia yesterday. It had been really hard to write. I couldn't write it until Saturday night, which was a bad idea, as then my brain didn't shut down and I had a hard time sleeping.

After I shared it, we talked about one of the main things that came up over and over in the letter. I had to give her all the back ground information so she knew the history, because this was something that I never talked about when we had counseled before.

At the time, there were other, more important, or at least pressing and debilitating things that needed addressing. So it never came out.

Until now.

Maybe God decided that I was ready for this, that I had the strength for this.

I think He is wrong.

The more we talked, the more agitated I became. At the end I apologized for picking at her pillow. I said something about being afraid I would pick it apart. She laughed and said that it has seemed to hold up pretty well so far.

We went over our time together a few minutes, but she still took the time to pray with me. That started some tears... a little bit. Then as we stood up and she offered me a hug, I almost lost it right then and there. I started to cry a little more, the tears really threatened to take over, but I was forcing them down, though I was shaking and I knew she could tell.

She pulled back and looked at me right in the eye. She asked me if I was upset with her for spending our whole time on the subject we did.

"No, not really," and then I paused and corrected myself, "I guess a little." It still wasn't the whole truth, but closer to it.

She accepted what I said, and encouraged me a bit more and then sent me on my way. As we walked out, we were going to set up an appointment, but I didn't have my calendar with me. I had to go back to work to get it... so we said that we would aim for 2 weeks out.

I left the office, walked down the hall, rounded the corner and ran into the bathroom that was there, locking the door behind me. I dropped my bag and slid down the wall, collapsing on the floor.

All I could say was, "Really? Really God?"

And the tears came, fast and hard.
Then I heard someone jiggle the door handle, wanting to use it, but finding it locked, I heard them walk away.
That stopped the tears.

I left the bathroom shortly after and took the stairs down the 3 floors. (I don't like elevators)

I made it back to work, and called to set up my next appointment. I tried for 2 weeks out, but my schedule didn't coordinate well with Tricia's. So I am going to see her next week, on Wednesday. It ends up being 9 days apart, rather than 14. But it was the best I could do without going out about 3 weeks or so.

After my appointment with her, I wasn't sure I wanted to go back, but I think God orchestrated it so that I could only get that appointment to work out in my schedule. I was so raw yesterday (and still am today) that I wasn't sure that I could wait even that long.

Now I know that I am going to be able to make it that long.

I have the chance this weekend to have some time alone. The kids are at the farm. Dave is working. I am going to try to get away from the house, and get away to a private place if possible (if my back yard doesn't work out) and process through some of the stuff we talked about.

I am not able to manage to do too much right now, or think to hard about what we talked about. Even writing this post is extremely hard.

This morning I was able to pray some on the way to work. I got there extremely early for me; I beat both of the pastors there. I grabbed some worship music and went to the piano and played for a while, and finally was able to sing some. God doesn't let me get away with singing and not really feeling the words.... so it helped break through some of the self imposed numbness.

It was a good start to the day. Probably the best I felt all day. Because as the day continued, my anxiety climbed, and I felt worse and worse. I am a bit better now, and ready to head to bed. I wasn't intending on writing today, because I didn't think I had anything to write about.

I guess I was wrong.

I know God is faithful. I know He is sovereign. I know He loves me. I know all this in my head. The guilt is overwhelming and the shame makes me want to hide. My emotions and the things I know have to be lies are over-riding the truth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

counseling and conscious shut-down...

I was planning on writing tonight about how my counseling session went with Tricia this afternoon.

I don't think I can yet.

I still need to process.

I will tell you, I was able to go back to work somehow afterward. But it wasn't pleasant, and thankfully I had less than an hour to work before I could go.

I will tell you, I spent a bit of time in the sanctuary after everyone was gone, yelling at God, feeling shame, confusion, guilt and lots of pain, mixed in with some despair too. Sure makes for a great combination (I'm kidding of course... hope you sensed the sarcasm intended there).

I will tell you that I very consciously shut down on my way home. I had to function tonight. I had to help with swim lessons. I had to somehow cope and deal with family life without falling apart.

So, I let myself yell in the sanctuary, and the car as I started my drive home. But I got to the end of a street, not far from the church and said,

"Ok, I'm done now. It's over, and I am not going to deal with this now. I can't do this tonight, I can't handle the pain. So I am done. No more tears, and no more thoughts."

And I shut it off.

Ok, so I know it's not really shut off and is still down in there somewhere.

I talked a bit to my friend Cindy D. tonight on the phone. We shared quite a bit and I had the opportunity to make a choice. I was faced with the question, do I share, or do I hold back? She asked how things went, and then quickly said that I didn't need to share. I eventually made the decision and shared with her. But for the most part, I was able to keep my emotions shut down.

Maybe I can write about it more later, once I have processed some and worked through some of the things on my own, and maybe more with Tricia this next week.

Just know I am now dealing with feelings of extreme shame and guilt on top of the grief already there.

Thank you for bearing with me as I process. It's been a long day and I am more than ready for bed, as long as my brain decides to shut down. And thank you to those of you who keep coming alongside me. I can't tell you how much it means to me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

coming unraveled...

I still feel like I am coming unraveled. I don't know what is wrong with me.

My brain is just not making sense of this.

Wednesday night I fell apart at church. I was there for worship rehearsal, and retreated to a quiet room, because I could feel my anxiety and fear going up, and I as soon as I got in there, I blew. I started crying - sobbing - so hard that I couldn't control it at all.

I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be anywhere.

Yesterday, I got a lot accomplished at home, which felt good. But I was running all day. I kept my hands and mind busy with lots of other things, so I didn't think too much.

Last night, Cindy D. came over after dropping her son off at work in town. When she got here, I started a fire in our fire pit. Her son got off of work, only 2 hours after he started, but he walked over to our house and hung out with Dave watching a Dr. Who episode and generally having a good guy time, while Cindy D. and I had good "girl time" at the fire.

As we talked, all that I had repressed during the day started to surface. She could tell that I was starting to "break" and she started to pray for me......

and the tears came
and the sobs started

I doubled over in my chair, just aching and hurting with no real release from it. It helped some, but I just hurt more.

She prayed that God would take the wall down that I had built up, brick by brick, that I would be able to let the tears flow and release some of what I have been holding in. I guess I did, but my internal reaction to her prayer was to tell God no, and try to take the bricks and put them back up.

I'm not sure how long I cried, but it was well after sunset before I was a bit more composed, and the tears still came on and off the rest of the night. I was so blessed by Cindy D's presence with me. She stayed with me through all the tears, and the pain. I got back to a place of relative peace, compared to earlier in the day. I don't think I would have gotten there alone. I was tempted to go to other coping mechanisms if she hadn't been able to come over.

I didn't want to think or feel.

Through her presence and her prayers, I sensed God with me, and I didn't have any more energy to run from Him. I knew He had orchestrated it that she would be there last night, and that I would feel safe enough with her. He knew what I needed and provided it.

We both praise God that He has given us this friendship. Neither of us, a few months ago could have imagined that we would be sitting around a fire talking and praying together - or that I would find her "safe" enough to completely lose control in front of her.

Cindy D. mentioned at one point that she could tell just how raw I was.
Oh, I was so raw.... Everything was just "out there."
There was no way I could contain or hide how I was really feeling.

After Cindy D. left last night, I went back out to the fire for a bit more. I ended up on my knees, leaning my head on my arms on the seat of the other chair, sobbing again. It felt like the tears were never ending. I haven't been this raw in SO long.

Now, today, I am raw and aching too. I don't have anyone with me here tonight. I have the kids, but no other adult to relate to or to be with me through this day - and through this pain.

I have been in or near tears on and off all day.

I feel like there is more going on here than losing Henry and grieving this loss.

Angela said that she wondered if it triggered something deeper in me.

Cindy D. said that she really didn't feel comfortable with the idea of me not going back to see Tricia and canceling that appointment... even though Tricia had left it open ended.

I think after last night, both Angela and Cindy D. would stick by those thoughts and feelings.

I don't want to go back to church (on Sunday). I don't want to go back to work on Monday. I don't want to have anything to do with God right now, because He is opening up something and I don't know what it is and I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!

I want to run and stuff and forget. I don't want to feel this much any more. I know that's not healthy. I know that's not what God wants. I know that's going backwards. I just don't want to do it anymore.

I'm overwhelmed.

I feel like I can't even write coherently. Everything comes pouring out at once. I hope you can make sense of it.

My mind sure isn't making sense of it. I just don't get why Henry's death has affected me so much. I don't know why/if it would trigger something else. I feel dumb about going back to Tricia because I can't hardly put anything to words either here or in my journal. I don't understand, my brain can't wrap around what's gone on and what I am feeling.

It isn't logical. It doesn't make sense - and therefore, I guess most of me is saying that those emotions aren't valid.... whatever they are.

Yet, I still feel unraveled - like someone took a seam ripper and just tore me apart at all my seams. I feel like a stuffed animal that has been torn apart, all the stuffing and insides coming out.

I feel open and raw and exposed.
I don't feel safe or protected right now.

I need to feel safe and protected right now... and I feel like God isn't doing it right now, whether that's true or not, and so I want to protect myself instead of trusting.

It's just where I'm at.
Coming unraveled, ripped open, raw, exposed....

.... and scared.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Maybe it is all intertwined and I haven't realized it fully till now.

I am still working through it, and processing here - but that may be it.

I was telling my counselor that since I got off my meds I was ok, but started working and after the new year, things started going downhill for me again. There were times I knew it was spiritual attack, and other times it was exhaustion or the activities I was involved in, etc. that were causing momentary stress, resulting in depression. But I figured that the depression started deepening on its own in January and February.

Hmm.. Look at what I realized.

End of January - Henry was diagnosed with cancer
Early February - Henry had surgery, and they discovered the extent of the cancer.
5 weeks later - Henry started chemo

And from there on, he progressively got worse.

A five month journey that ended in his homecoming.

Maybe the other things going on in my life caused the depression. Maybe I do have a chemical imbalance that I will always need to take anti-depressants. Maybe I have gifts that have weaknesses of depression.

"Maybe" it's all of those things combined.

I think now though all those things are intertwined with Henry's death. It's too much of a "coincidence" to be completely unrelated.

Everything is all intertwined. There is no escaping it.

I work at the church, and hear things that make me want to weep. I see the prayer requests that come across my desk. I feel the struggles the church is going through as a pastor leaves to start a church plant.

I am part of a small group who walked alongside a couple in their individual struggles with cancer. One survived her battle - the other survived too, but is in heaven waiting for us. The ache in all our hearts, the empty chair in our meetings, the shared tears last week at small group.... these all pull at my heart and emotions.

I live with my family, with a husband who works hard as a nurse in a particularly challenging area, who comes home wiped out, and still tries his best to engage with me and the kids. I have a son who is sensitive to others around him, and aware of the struggles of his family, even if not consciously. Who doesn't want to practice his reading to get ready for first grade, and who struggles with anxiety, generalized and specific at times. I also have a little girl who is becoming more stubborn and willful as the weeks go on.

I find myself wondering if I am doing my family a disservice by working, but right now, we need it.... and so I am torn between what I do, who I am, who I need to be, where I am needed and how do I balance all this stuff that is so intertwined with one another, I can't separate it.

I can see how all this stuff is working in my life, the added worries and pressures.... and the heartaches that I have for the "others" around me. They all put pressure on my heart and emotions. Any chemical imbalance or personal struggles add to the pressure.

I feel like a rubber band being stretched to, and beyond, it's limit. I am cringing, waiting for the snap and resulting sting of the impending breaking point being reached. And, I am wondering if God is going to let go of this rubber band and let it relax some and regain it's equilibrium before it's stretched again.

Or am I going to have to endure?

The snap.
The sting.
The break.

This time being stretched will I get the relief before it's too late?

Or is the snap, the sting and the break just what God wants for me - to remind me that He is God and I am not?

To be broken is to be healed. I know that. From experience. That healing is such a sweet release and relief.

And there are more threads that are intertwined. God using my past experiences of brokenness to help me during this time of loss and change and confusion and hurt.

I don't know if any of my questioning will help me "figure out" why I am depressed or better one day and not the next or why I feel numb when I do.

All these different things that I have experienced, or am experiencing are more than enough just on their own to pull me down. They do. If I'm not careful. But all combined and intertwined, all tangled in this sticky web I am in, I feel stuck and stretched and exhausted. I want to curl up and hibernate until these things are gone. But sleeping will not get me through them.

God, I don't know where this leaves me. I am so tired. I am so worn. I am stretched - to my breaking point, it feels. You say You are with me. You say You will sustain me. You say that You will guide me. Help me to choose You, rather than to run or block You out. For the sake of your name, lead me and guide me. All these things I have talked about are so intertwined around me God, and I know I will never figure them out on my own, and maybe I don't need to. But You see all the individual threads and the whole tapestry at the same time. Please keep you hand on me. I can't walk this road without You.... I can't stay on this road without Your hands holding me up.

** The above picture can be found at Mademoiselle Chaos.