Escape Plan

33D9F4A0-764B-49AD-9BCD-7CB884F1E342I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.

No doubt, at certain times or in joking, the lyrics of that song were sung and maybe deep down wishing it to be true.  I know I have, many times.

Remembering a time while talking to my counselor yesterday, there was a time I did take a jet plane and flew out west to visit a friend.  I needed time away and was desperate to get out of my life, an escape. It was probably the worst time of my life, feeling lost and numb and wanting to walk away from everything and everybody. Trusting few as my trust in others was growing smaller and smaller.  How could I open up to a pastor or church leadership when the preaching and so forth was on faith, trust God, your joy is in the Lord, etc. Why be subjected to more pressure of not having enough faith and be disillusioned even further of my church family that seemed as distant and trustworthy as my own family.  Where do I go?

Thankfully, through these years, I knew enough and was strong enough in my Christian walk to know that the Lord was my only hope.  I have always heard through many sermons that we must know the Bible enough to grasp hold to the words as if we did not have a Bible to reference.  Plus, we cannot depend upon others to walk this Christian way for us.  I was learning that well through this dark, lonely wilderness.  I had nobody.  At times I felt invisible and walking through a maze blindly.

Since that time, I have managed and all by the Grace of God.  When I felt so alone, I knew deep down that He knew my name and He knew where I was and I had to say those words aloud so many times in desperation, “Lord, you know my name and you know where I am.”  It has been hard at times and still feeling my way through the maze of chaos and confusion but the end is in sight, I know it is. There is joy and then there is fear and sometimes they seem to slap one another within my mind.13578DBA-BF26-4992-B77D-DC5431BEBD1B

I am at a point again to escape but this time to settle some things and get a new perspective, alone.  Just me and God.  A sweet friend said the other day that she did this at a pivotal point in her life, just her and God hashing it out.  That is exactly where I am.  To escape as there has to be more and I need His direction.

966C8FC2-09BE-4567-AE40-A02F221B38AELife can be overwhelming and we can be consumed with hopelessness in situations.  If you make no changes in your circumstances, nothing will change.  We have to make a decision to want more.  I seriously started with this change back in 2014.  It seems like forever ago but there was a lot to sift through and I do not regret the time spent, financial aspect or the emotions expressed.  I am not the same person I was when I walked in my counselor’s office the first day, back in September, 2014.  I had to and you have to make a decision to start taking care of YOU.  Nobody will do this for you.

Sometimes we have to escape to find ourselves.  It’s okay!

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My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.  And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8).

https://stillnessofthemorning.wordpress.com/tag/psalm-556-8/

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I’ve Been Warned

BBB80A59-D2BF-498C-82F4-7120309FCD86I had the pleasure of being a mother to two awesome boys. When I was growing up, I always thought I wanted a girl. I knew with my husband being from a family of all boys, the odds were pretty good for another boy.  I decided against a third child due to caring for my parents while having toddlers. I was overwhelmed. Two was plenty and a joy but also hard work, as they keep you on your toes.  I was responsible for these two and I hoped and prayed I would be a good mother.

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I enjoyed each age and stages in their lives and so proud of them as they grew up, and still.   Both are grown and successful in life with their professions.  My oldest is married, celebrating their second anniversary in several weeks.

The other night, I again had to deal with the fact of being asked to watch their dog while they go do something fun with her parents this coming weekend. This was not the first time. While I do not mind, I would enjoy time with them, too.  I had to laugh as I remembered my boss warning me 96AFF840-1BBA-414C-B2F5-E73ADC6354B3before their marriage that I will lose him as a son and he was correct. Still, it hurts.

I know I am not the only one that gets sad in this scenario. Am I?  As I tried to talk myself out of the pity party I was having, I thought I would just write about it.  I was warned not just by my boss but my sister also having boys.

9C7CD8FD-00D4-4C6B-9794-9F05ED099623In having boys, I have to wonder and sometimes fret over my age, if I will need care or a nursing home.  What will happen? I certainly hope my daughter-in-law loves me as much as I love her. I am in the role of watching others in this position and if the boys step up to the plate in caring for their aging parents.

So, if you have boys, you’ve been warned. lol

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The Wilderness

B112A881-D709-462B-8110-422DF57971B5Many years ago I went through one of the toughest battles ever, feeling lost in the darkness of my thoughts and feelings with nobody to turn to.  It’s interesting, twice this past week, this time of my life came up in conversations.  I discussed with my counselor but also listening and encouraging a friend the other night, who is experiencing total hopelessness in her life, wanting to die.  Sadly, I knew exactly what she felt and heard the screams of her begging God to let her die.

Taking day by day but really just existing, it got so bad I remember feeling actually numb and not knowing how I got from home to work, vice versa, and dealt with life.  I remember driving to work, knowing deep within that 7C031C4F-1822-45B7-AFEE-4A4AF7B3E0E0God was carrying me. He had to carry me. The Footprints in the Sand picture and the words that I have read many times, became real. One of those moments when you think or say, so that is what this feels like.  Yes.  He was carrying me and at times dragging or pushing me. Had it not been and had I not had my faith in Him, I do not know what I would have done.

Many in the church were present around me as I tried to go and worship but still, even in the midst, I felt invisible.  I worked closely with the Pastor with typing and tending to his paperwork and correspondence, but even he did not discern, acknowledge or offer to see through my heavy heart or hear my silent screams.  Alone in the dark for years not understanding or able to confide in others. I had been hurt so much by those that said they loved me and cared so how could I trust another.

Perhaps the walls surrounding me were so high, that I had built and rightfully so and normal, that they could not see or reach out to me. Still, if you cared enough, chip away at the wall to help me tear the walls down, as I needed freedom from the hell within. Desperate and hopeless, just as my friend.

Years progressed to more years and I felt I finally gave up.  One last straw broke me. Isolation and depression attacked my very being. My life was between going to and from work and home to repeat the next day. Being an empty nester, I did not have to act as though I was fine because I was not.  My husband was present in body only but nothing more, just keeping the legal form of our marriage license intact only.814A9057-3FDA-4418-9080-178EC9794093

Even though the dark days of this wilderness journey was horrendous for me, today I am much stronger in my faith.  It was through those times and many nights curled up in my chair struggling to live through the emotional pain and mental torment, but I had to trust in the Lord. He said in His Word that He has a purpose and a plan for me, He would not leave or forsake me.  I had to trust Him. Even when I was so angry with myself, others, my life and even God and then to express such anger to Him. My faith deepened even through my screams of anger at Him. He knew I was angry anyway, I had to be real with Him.

Wildernesses are not wasted by God.

As bad as it was, I know the trials that come now won’t last forever and hopefully not as long as the wilderness experience I had.  Tomorrow will be better.  No matter what comes, I must trust Him. You, too.

Know He loves you. He knows your name.  He knows where you are.  He knows all about you.  Trust Him! ✝️

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God does not waste any of our life experiences and promises that although, life might not feel good right now, he works all things for our benefit and for the purpose of transforming us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28-29). https://asistasjourney.com/2012/06/29/a-wilderness-experience-depression/

Wilderness Experience https://www.gotquestions.org/wilderness-experience.html

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Which Door?

The open door? The closed door? The shut door?

1236B6DB-E353-4844-9F47-07C755EED023I am waiting for the open door, to walk through to freedom in life, as there is more for me and I await patiently because it is happening, I feel it. I want to rush through it but I continue to stand, knowing the Lord’s Timing is always right on time.  I wait.

There have been situations where the door has been shut in my life.  While that can be hard to understand, I realize also that the Lord closes doors on our behalf.  It will all make sense later and we will be thankful for that shut door whether that be in an opportunity or relationship.

I have had to shut the door this year to a relationship, sadly a family member, as I know my boundaries and I am stronger within than I was before with their rumors and lies. It’s okay to shut the door.  Sometimes lock it and throw away the key.  CA2CB93D-0546-4B1B-BC93-F69ED34BA8CD

The closed door tends to sting somewhat, okay a lot, as I do not understand and I am left standing with questions.  I will not knock or pound on it to let me in. Perhaps time will open this door and if it is meant to be, the door will open.  Life goes on.

God’s Timing is always right on time.

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SHAME

 

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Shame – Wikipedia
Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self, withdrawal motivations, and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness

I cannot make that word large or ugly enough to express of how much it has affected my life.

To keep shame hidden and unaware, is a weight I have carried and many carry daily and throughout their lifetime.  The thoughts that come that we are not good enough for this or that, the negative that has infiltrated our minds from childhood and through life is somewhat disabling.

It was not until a few years ago that I understood shame and it’s effects upon my life.  Still, this morning as I am looking and researching many websites about shame did I realize that I was triggered just a few weeks ago of something that put me in a downward spiral of anger, unworthiness and sadness.  While I managed and coped, I realized today that was shame again heaped upon me.  Not understanding the situation and why somebody that was dear to me would ignore me basically.  I took that as I am unworthy, they have lied to me all this time and I am a nobody.  While I identified I was angry, it was not until writing this blog did I recognize shame.  Disappointment and all the emotions became alive with this situation, I became stuck.  It’s shame, yet again.  Shame, it’s time to go! Thankfully, through this period, I had my counselors to allow me to talk and work through it all.  Just to recognize shame, it cannot stay.

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Shame wants us to hide and be all negative about ourselves that we will not fully succeed in life.  It’s a great ploy of the enemy because he knows that if we had the confidence and compassion toward ourselves, as we do others, we can make an impact.  As a Christian, the enemy does not want that at all.  Keep him or her quiet and all is well.  Becoming aware of shame and how it has tormented me, I will speak out and go forward.  It may knock me for a loop, as it did recently, but I will bounce back.F6035147-A86B-4B42-99AC-84F8E79DC483

To understand and to put a word with the feelings is enlightening.  Why I never knew of shame really before in life is unbeknownst to me.  Perhaps it wasn’t the time.

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Shame is feeling sorry about who you are as a person.     And toxic shame is feeling bad about who you are as a person all the time – it is pervasive.  What is Toxic Shame?  (The Little-Known Mental Illness) LonerWolf  https://lonerwolf.com/toxic-shame/

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First, identify what shame feels like in your body. How do you embody shame? For many people, shame feels and looks closed down. We tend to embody “closed down” by hunching our shoulders or looking down, anything we can do to hide. We might clench our jaw, hold our hands as fists, or harden our gaze. The longer we hold these closed down expressions or “poses,” the longer we embody, feel, and think shame.   How to Overcome the Weight of Shame  by https://www.recoverywarriors.com/the-weight-of-shame/

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👉🏻 Be aware! 

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For more information about shame, Brene Brown is awesome!  https://brenebrown.com/

Blank Slate

094827C6-CEF1-459D-BB49-F12084B966A2Recently, I was with friends at a large event. I had a counseling session beforehand, and I was telling her about going that evening, of my anxiousness and some background tidbits. I remembered and told her that the speaker that night at the event, was a former pastor of a local church. When I visited the church years ago, never meeting him before, he came over to me and prayed but then he said that my life is like a blank slate (canvas). What did that mean? I believed it was good as I was on a new journey to find me again.  It had to be good — a prayer and a comment like that and in church, right?19076668-1828-4EF5-A4E5-E01BC46F49AE

For years, I have tossed that around, questioning.  Did that mean that my thoughts all through the years, that I am a nobody, after all was correct? I’m blank. Nothing going on upstairs, I am stupid? Trust me, the thoughts and ideas popped in my head of both positive and negative, always causing doubt in myself, others and everything.

When I mentioned this to my counselor and to keep a positive spin of his comment, I just felt like I was able to EE8E6DF9-D8C1-4616-8AAC-CD40DD355636find me and make the life that I want and desire. This is a good thing. At the time he said what he did, it was the beginning of my counseling sessions with my former counselor, now five years ago. I was and I am still trying to find me, my self-esteem that was lost, the confidence forgotten and voice that was silenced. It felt good to know that the blank slate back then is now starting to show some life and happiness.

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Back then, too, years before counseling, I was at a point of deep despair, hopelessness and just existing in life. I knew I had to reach out for help and did so by going to a Christian Counselor, one that I felt I was led to by God, after many months of prayer and research.  I did not just Google search for the first counselor that popped up in my area, I did my due diligence. My desire to get back into church became alive again. To attend s5C93847D-0D96-441E-9E4F-EE82F1C5DFE5mall groups with church bible studies and to be more sociable was a joy, as for years I avoided crowds, people for that matter.  While it was not always easy, I did it in small steps. Plus, I was determined to fight through the rough, emotional  sessions of counseling, many times wanting to quit but I would always go back the next week, knowing deep down that this was God’s Will in my life. I had to fight through many times and still, as the enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy.  I don’t think she would let me quit anyway, thankfully.

3428D1C1-2DD8-4527-9703-D97A5064AC4DToday, as I look back and questioned the comment that I am a blank slate, I do see it as a positive and the lines on the canvas are connecting, as there is joy exhibited and felt within and the color of beauty being expressed in and around me. Hopefully, in my writings, the creative side I lost, too. I am enjoying where I am at this point in my life, because I feel alive. I want more.  There is only One that make this all fall together and give me more, the desires of my heart, as I look to Him.

Whats on your canvas?  No matter what you may be going through, you can make changes, too. The Lord wants to hear us call on Him and praise Him in the small and big areas within our lives. Trust Him.8898D424-04F7-4F73-8907-4FE71DA6A60D

Eleanor Roosevelt writes, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Each new day gives you a clean slate, a new start, new available strength, more grace (because His grace never runs out), and abundant love and hope. 

https://www.jubileeonlinechurch.org/build-on-your-clean-slate/

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Dirty Dishes & Depression

Window, sill, clean.I have noticed this week and now that it is the weekend, I had a sink of dirty dishes and even a pile of clothes on the end of my bed.  I told myself each time that I would hang the clothing item up when I got home from work, which did not happen.

A week of feeling and fighting depression, perhaps a spiritual attack and probably so, but noticing my house taking a hit and dirty dishes in my sink.  I never do that and it is a telltale sign, I am fighting within. Exhausted. Looking at the dishes this morning and tackling them, I wondered if my husband even noticed and wondering what is wrong with me. I knew that was a far-fetched thought.  Although it made me giggle, just considering the thought.

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Today, the dishes are done and I am managing my messes, as I am getting through the mental chaos but it has been a struggle.  Ever been there?

We all deal with bouts of discouragement now and then and disappointment that can make your knees buckle from sadness, leading to depression. It is a lost and a lonely feeling with darkness looming over our heads. It happens.  Life happens. Give yourself grace and take care of you through it all with proper care and rest.

1DB42EB6-4F25-4AF2-B80B-1CC4BDF7A8D2If you have dirty dishes, piles of clothes, laundry, etc., just start somewhere.  Organize your bedroom, a bathroom closet, etc.  If you do not or have not used something in a year, get rid of it (give away, donate or pitch). Something!  Just start. It will help you feel somewhat productive even if overwhelmed.

I often use this phrase and have it on my bulletin board at work, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Know that depression can hit each of us.  Stop and recognize what is or has happened. Do not stuff your feelings down and ignore.  Take time to name the thoughts and feelings, forgive others and even yourself, as needed.  Journal through the mental chaos, if just a A04571B6-2518-41D9-8BC9-E6C7596EB0ECsentence. Make plans to search out a counselor. With that and when you do and go, please give him or her a chance, as one or two visits won’t do it.  They, too, are getting familiar and comfortable with you as you are them.  Of course, after a month or so, if it is not a good fit, there are others, don’t stop. Perhaps go see your family doctor and know there is nothing wrong with taking an anti-depressant.  Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.  The stigma of mental health needs to stop and be recognized — moreso today, than ever.

826666AE-68D9-4FD2-A2BC-93099F813291Sadly, with all that I wrote and recommended, many in my church family would be appalled, stating I did not have enough faith.  Sad!  I do have faith, enough to know when I need help and that the Lord will lead and direct me to the right counselor(s), which He did.  I have come a long way and still a long way to go. It has not always been easy but I am allowing Him to heal the broken places in my heart and life with a counselor’s help. I’m a better person and a Christian with faith renewed because of my decision to get help years ago.

Make a change today and do something productive.  Sometimes that is just getting up and taking a shower.  I’ve been there. You are not alone. Thankfully, your heart knows how to beat on it’s own, as your lungs allow you to breathe when no energy to do just that.  You’ve got this!

I know even through my week of feeling down and depressed with dirty dishes, the Lord still loves me. He loves you. Trust Him.

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