Friday, March 28, 2014


Some days you wake up and you feel broken. The night before you where content, happy and grateful. This morning you feel like there is something sitting on your chest squeezing your heart. Every breath feels like an effort. You search for the trigger... but you realized a long time ago there is no trigger. You have too much to do, too many responsibilities to deal with this, but it's not going anywhere until it's good and ready. No amount of exercise, healthy diet, positivity, or talking yourself out of it will change that. You try, no doubt. And, truly, making that effort on days you don't feel like this helps widen the gap between the normal days and the broken days. I am no longer on medication so I use all the tools available to me to treat my illness, but a side affect of no meds is dealing with the fact that some days will be like this and sometimes those days will stretch in to weeks and months. When it stretches too long and I sink too deep I seek out the medication available to me. It's been over a year now since my last medication "cocktail". There is no pride in that, just as there will be no guilt if I need to go back. 
I'm not writing this for sympathy... in fact, sympathy and coddling are actually not what a depressed person needs. We need calm acceptance, understanding and compassion, hold the guilt trip, please. I am writing this so that others will know that they are not alone in their battle against this brokenness in our broken world. It's taken me a long time to reach this place of acceptance, with no guilt. It's taken longer and is still an on going effort to help the people who love me, who want to "fix" me  get to that place. Even my husband, after 15 years, will still ask, "What's wrong? What happened?" before face palming himself and saying, "I'm sorry, I know better. I just want to help you. What can I do ?". Depression and mental illness are largely misunderstood by those with the luxury of looking at it from a comfortable distance, brushed under the rug as a character flaw or spiritual weakness or a figment of an overly creative, bored imagination...sometimes I think that is fear more than true disregard. I have come through some storms that I thought for sure would break me permanently and been a better, stronger woman for it...that strength of character and who I am as a person have nothing to do with the illness that lingers in my mind and body laying in wait. I am not depression, but I do have it. When I feel good and I am "doing all the right things" even I will buy in to the lie that I can talk, exercise and pray my way out of it. Days like today remind me very clearly that is nothing more than a lie. I can't talk, exercise or pray my way out of kidney disease, either, so that I would think for a second I could pray or talk my way out of depression is ridiculous.... but that is what those who don't accept the reality of mental illness, who don't educate themselves believe and those that are too uncomfortable looking at the face of that brokenness have tried to sell me on for as long as I have had it. I can support the healing of my body by making good choices for it but I can't convince my body, no matter how much I want to, that it's not broken. Yesterday I exercised, I made awesome eating choices, took my vitamins, and spent quality time with God. Today I still have depression and today, unlike yesterday, it hurts me. I have kidney disease every day, too and it never hurts me. But someday I am told it will and when that day comes it will not make those that profess to love me look on me in fear, judgement or disregard... it begs the question why one of my diseases is more valid and "respected" than the other. It's baffling. I have read all the research, and the opinions about psychiatry being a quack science (Thanks, Tom Cruise), but the reality, MY reality, is that the answers are not in research because the problem isn't evidence, the problem is people. The problem has always been people, from the the very beginning of time. 
I praise God it doesn't hurt like this every day, because I know some of my friends do not have even that reprieve. 
His promise in Romans 8:28 states "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Writing this so that other's will not feel like they have to hide in the dark is the best way I feel like I can allow His good works to be done not only for the sufferers, but for their loved ones and, yes, for me. We all want to be understood, we all want to be loved, and we are all broken in some way. I shared before that God is leading me to step out, tear down my walls and I will be obedient. Knees shaking, fingers trembling, but Obedient. 
If this makes you uncomfortable feel free to contact me and discuss it, but on a less broken day, please. Today, I am sorry to say, It physically hurts to breath and getting everything done that I need to get done will take every ounce of energy and focus I have. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stepping Out and Kneeling Down

Obedience and Action both allowed God's Will and Grace to shine brightly in my life tonight. It was just awesome. We signed up for a bible study group for married couples from our church. Our church is a BIG church, the kind you can be anonymous in if you want to. It's the polar opposite of any church we have ever been led to before, but God led us to it's doors and it fits our family perfectly. Because they started very small and have grown so big they have a very strong emphasis on small groups because Jesus called us to be in fellowship with each other and experience life together .. There are men's groups, women's groups, couples, families and singles groups...  Groups for guitar players (TJ is signed up already, lol), knitters, quilters, runners, hikers, songwriters, community outreach (the community outreaches are awe inspiring!!!), recovery, grief, and lots of bible study groups (although, they are really ALL bible study groups! Even the runners study scripture together). So many others... If you want to be involved with like minded Christians there is a place for you. They challenged everyone to get involved in a small group during worship this Sunday and we accepted that challenge. We picked our married group first because we are both hungry for adult fellowship. There where three groups closer to our house but for some reason I was very strongly led to this group... Obedience and Action :)  In the hours leading up to the group I was so nervy I developed a tension headache. I started hoping for Jess to have to work late so we could just go next week.. Or the week after ��. I was trembling when we walked up and I was SO awkward the first 30 minutes while people came in. Everyone knew each other and we where the new couple. We sat down did an ice breaker to introduce ourselves and it felt like God was in the room with us. We studied scripture in relation to strengthening our marriages (half of the group of 8 couples are in their first couple years of marriage, the other half have been married 15+ years like Jess and I). We talked, laughed, and prayed. Then the guys and girls separated in to groups and we continued to lift each other up, gently guide each other in to making better decisions in our marriages and, more laughter and prayers. The guys where out back doing the same, but at the end there was some really loud hooting and laughing ... I asked Jess why when we where driving home and apparently there was some good old fashioned manly farting taking place, LOL. 

It was just such a wonderful God led night and that continued once we where home. When we got home we laid on our king sized bed with all four kids discussing our bible verse of the week.. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

There is no school for the kids this week so the conversation was long, rambling, full of laughter, goofiness, farts and lots of love. It was truly a blessed blessed day.... With a lot of farting, lol. We took turns practicing that verse with each other by saying something encouraging and something to build each other up... When it was Sylver's turn she stared at TJ in silence for a good 20 seconds. I said, Silly? And she looks at me and says completely dead pan, "Just look at him, mom. He's not giving me a whole lot to work with here..." When the laughter died down she had the sweetest things to say to him, including he's her BFF. The sweet words spoken among the jokes, jibes and occasional sarcasm where awesome. We should do that every single day, honestly! It was fun and such a great way to hide that verse away in our hearts. We all agreed Trinity is the member of our family that best represents that verse on a daily basis. 

I can't help wondering what I would have written if I had stayed home and let fear win. Action and Obedience are causing me knee quaking fear and resulting in growth and peace and blessing beyond any expectation I could have ever hoped for. I was completely set free from something that was eating me up this week, too. Because of action and obedience. 

It can't be stated enough. God is AWESOME!!! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Everything is new. Again.

It's March 2014 and in many ways my life is unrecognizable from 4 years ago, heck even 6 months ago. Looking at this blog is almost like looking at another life I lived. I'm grateful for it, truly, but.... well, on the surface it's easy to see the changes. I weigh almost 100 lbs less, we live in Arizona (from Florida and Delaware before that) and half of my little ones are teenagers now. The deep, gut wrenching, soul altering changes that have taken place are less visible. Much less visible, but those are the changes that I feel the most. As I look around our new home in AZ that doesn't quite feel like home, I realize that what doesn't really feel like home is ME. God is changing me, deeply and profoundly and, while I am asking, *begging* for Him to grow me in to the person He means for me to be, I am left feeling raw, floundering and fearful.... I can't hide myself from God. There is no such thing, only the lies that Satan whispers in the dark. God knows every part of your heart, even the ugly parts that you hope never come to light. Bringing them to light and feeling them die is painful and uncomfortable. Acting on those things that we are called to act on... well, those can be downright terrifying. Like jumping off a cliff. Dying to self is called DYING for a reason, I have come to acutely realize.

Honestly, today that feels like all I can dig in to, I'm tired, my head hurts and I am feeling deeply hurt by a personal issue. I want to hide in the dark. But, God is calling me to step out once again, to keep going, to expose all that is hidden in the dark to light, To Trust. Above all I desire the safety, peace and joy that comes from obedience to His Will. I have been fooled in the past by thinking that safety and peace and joy would come from the things my will desired... but that's a lie. It is now and always will come from His. Sometimes they meet, our wills.... but not always and I want to always pick His, because while it may not be the painless or easy route, it is better. Always. I'm on a deeply personal journey... my destination is to know God's heart, to die of self, to grow in to a mature Christian woman that walks closely with Jesus in absolutely every part of my life and heart. My destination is not perfection. Perfection does not and can not exist here. In fact, I'm working on striking that word from my vocabulary permanently, unless referring to, of course, God. 

I began in January to earnestly seek God out every day, all day. It wasn't a "New Year's resolution",although  the timing would certainly appear to suggest otherwise... it was the culmination of a gentle months (years?) long leading in that direction. If it coincided with the New Year, well, that was just God's Perfect Timing :) 

I want to be really understood on this...I am not following "rules" I am following hard after God. What does this mean? 

Simply, Action. If I'm not living, breathing and ACTING on my faith, I'm stagnant. I'm not growing. To be clear.... Faith without action is dead (James 2:14-26), and that means the adverse is 100% true as well. Action with Faith is Alive. Action for the sake of action, following rules, looking good to others (look at me I'm a great Christian! You can't fool God, you know.... or most Christians, for that matter)...those actions are as dead as no action. 

Grateful, heartfelt, faith-filled action... even when it doesn't necessarily feel grateful or heartfelt. Even when it's awkward, sticky or downright messy. 

I'm listing these, not to say, Hey, look at all the great stuff I am doing but as a reminder to myself  of the joy found in obedience and how far I have come in such a short amount of time, already. God is Awesome. 

I'm in my bible everyday. Action.
I am teaching my children (and myself) to hide bible verses in their hearts by focusing on one verse a week-posting the verse on the fridge, talking about it at dinner, asking them how the saw the verse at work that day. Action.
Church on Sunday. Joyful, Faith Affirming, Worship. The absolute highlight of my week. Action. 
When I am conflicted, anxious, sad, depressed, I go to my bible. I read where ever I open it. I try to identify the emotion and strive to fall in to my bible instead of falling back on false comforts (eating, buying, mindless social media, games). Action, Hard, Imperfect Action. 
I am surrounding myself with Godly woman I aspire to be like. Blogs, uplifting e-mails, facebook feeds, listening to Christian audiobooks while I work and talking to my Christian friends about my journey. Action.
Obedience... even when I really, really, really don't wanna. Action.
I am praying. And then praying some more.... and even more. Without ceasing.  Action. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17).


I asked God in January to fill my heart with a burning desire to know Him, to be close to Him and to grow in Him. He is faithful. Action and Obedience are two words that feel like they have been burned in to my heart. 

But there is still fear living in my human flesh.  

I'm not listening to the lies Satan wants me to believe... I'm not. Most of the time. 

"oh you're going to be one of those Jesus weirdos that nobody likes or understands. People are gonna talk behind your back and you will alienate your family" 
"People are going to think you are judging them, your "holier then thou", "bible thumping", "narrow minded" and you're better then them." um, not if your following Jesus's example.
"there is no way you are good enough Christian, look at your past,  you might as well just sin now cause your gonna do it anyway" 
" your life has been pretty blessed up till now, remember all that good stuff you did, so obviously what you have been doing is good enough."
 "This is hard work, you are going to Heaven anyway, why not just coast along on good enough?"

Why, indeed? 

Because God made me to be more. He made me to live in Victory in Him and I love Him SO much that I genuinely desire to be obedient, to do His Will even when it's counter to my own, and to grow in Him. I want to live the life He Planned for me, not the one I plan for me. That burning desire I prayed for is there. I pray that one day my children will pray for and know that desire, as well, because that answer, that YES, is clearly Truth. I'm not listening to lies anymore. My heartfelt prayer is that this desire for God will never waver, never burn out and never desert me. I know that pain is coming and is, in fact, HERE. But growth IS painful and anyone who denies that truth will not grow. I don't like pain, not at all, but in completely non-narcissistic way, I welcome it because I desire the growth that will accompany it. 

I want to end this post with an invitation to you... does this post make you fearful? confused? angry? judged?  Then I want you to talk to me about it. Please. If it makes you feel encouraged, hopeful or inspired, or  you want to encourage me or be encouraged on your own walk with Christ talk to me about that, too. I'm kind of laying it all out there and that's a vulnerable place to be, but I have come to realize I don't need to protect myself nearly as much as I need God. 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what 
good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  James 2:14-26