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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Trust or Distrust?

6594C139-3701-4A6C-938F-FDE4ACD405B1There is a part of me that would rather you look me in the eye and say, I do not like/love you, I hate you, I do not want anything to do with you, etc., than to find out later it was all a lie, questioning our relationship.  While that would be horrific, at least I would know what I was dealing with.

To receive my trust, to know me, to hear me and to know I was loyal and then to crush my spirit, is like a knife in my back.  Sadly, that knife has been there many times.  I D4388487-BF85-4636-BCD1-D911E2A3AD9Fam kind of getting used to the sharpness and the dull pain it presents.  It just reopens and irritates the wound from before that I was getting over. How many times do I have to endure the agony?  It’s hard when it repeats itself, especially from those you would not expect.

As I was in counseling for years and still, trying to grasp the fact of this hurt, the betrayal, abandonment, rejection, distrust, lack of vulnerability, to name a few and realizing they were what I have dealt with in life.  Now, understanding the areas that get triggered and while pain exists through it, I know it is not the end of the world.   Thankfully, I can recognize and name the emotions felt.  Like, yes I have been here before and this hurts. It helps when you know what you are dealing with whether that be in the emotions, as such, or even the one causing the pain.  We may not understand what the other person is going through or the reason this or that happened but give grace and forgiveness, move on.

You would think that the ones that cared and loved you would not do such damage, but it happens. Shocking.

The question lingers… Who do you trust?E0C8227E-7587-4D3D-8938-E58FFA2A990C

It is hard to be vulnerable knowing that just this can happen.  You think you are in a safe place in a relationship but again, it happens.

3A9D2D89-A24C-47E1-A851-A5690FEADEEEThe walls get built to protect from letting others hurt you once again. Perhaps not allowing myself to be me, was something we discussed often in counseling, afraid to be vulnerable.  I understand.  How can the walls not be built to keep the pain away?  There is a distrust. It takes time and healing of such pain to dissipate, hopefully.  When you think you can trust again and it happens yet again, the walls go back.  The wall gets bigger.

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One thing I do know, is that the enemy wants nothing more to make us and help us believe the lies in order to stop our growth. The thoughts bombard our mind to just to stop it ALL.  I felt this so strongly the last few weeks. I do not know who to trust or to be vulnerable with and share; so the 52A72642-7651-4544-81AA-CDB596F1F7F5thoughts and decision of no more counseling, no more caring, no more nothing. Done! Just go to work, home and repeat. Exist. Exactly where the enemy wants me yet again, to be isolated and depressed.

I know better though because I went down that road before for years.  I recognize the enemy at work in my mind and my emotions.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and getting close to freedom in life and to feel joy.  I want that in my life.

The knife in my back yet again is just that.  What’s new?  I made it before, I’ll make it again. At least I know how to walk through this with more coping skills than I had years ago and I see it as it is.  The pain exists, tears come and go from the disappointment. Before, I would take it all upon myself, as there is something wrong with me or it is my fault, etc., but I am not taking the blunt of the negative feedback trickling in my thoughts.

Sadly, many get to this point as such or similar and consider the situation hopeless, too tired to work through the despair.  Suicide is rampant among us all. Keep going, you will get through this. Today might be rough but tomorrow will be better.

457B8EEC-3EEC-45DF-A2F5-FEA0AF846327As much as my heart hurts, I know that the Lord knows all about my pain.  I have to trust Him through this.  I did not have the energy before, years ago and for years, but now I do.  I will Praise Him through this pain and He will see me through.

Any negative thoughts, feelings and emotions that I have, not to forget the anger that rises up in my attitude, I know I must forgive the one(s) that hurt me.  I know, too, that I am to pray for them.2E833860-5258-4FC4-82A3-BA0B43CD1BB8

If you also are experiencing some pain or issues in life, trust Him. He knows your name and exactly where you are, too.  Life will throw us some punches and knifes in the back but we need to keep moving forward. You’ve got this!

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The Bible gives advice about trusting others after we’ve been hurt. Trusting God is the first, most important step. When we know that, no matter what men do to us, God will always be there, faithful and true and trustworthy, it is easier to handle betrayal or disappointments. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me?” 

The second step after being hurt by trusting others is forgiveness. As Jesus told Peter, if a brother sins against you seventy-seven times a day and comes back asking for forgiveness, we should forgive (Matthew 18:21–22). 

https://www.gotquestions.org/trusting-others.html

What’s Wrong With Me?

What’s wrong with me?  Ever ask that of yourself? DDBF941F-2326-4A39-9ABB-26BABFCD97A9

Today, I did. It’s been a long time, I realized, since I have asked that and I did not miss it.

I thought I would try to listen to my former counselor’s video today while working on a project at work. One of the best counselors out there, and I am thankful to have had her in my life. Even after today, an emotional ride.

Even though I made it through the video, once it was over my throat was tight of anxiety, I felt sad and immediately went to the question that I have been able to ward off, which is ‘What is wrong with me?’ Sadness hit me hard with that and all the negative thoughts of unworthiness, unlovable, etc.

If I wasn’t in my office and having the auditor in the next room, I do believe I could have cried a river. Tears still leaked out my eyes but a big gush was in there, I was about to burst, an emotional breakdown.  FD32BC50-03E5-40E1-913F-C05612E20B09

So many sessions over the four years together, and we have discussed this matter so often, but I apparently still get triggered.  Understanding my childhood of emotional neglect, shame, abandonment, etc., of which my blogs express at times, I will always be triggered.  It’s how I handle it.

Perhaps just the fact of hearing her voice, as we are no longer counselor/client due to her health issues, my own grieving with this loss but I also felt hurt by her. I just don’t understand the whys that linger in my mind and my heart. I will probably never know the answers to the whys. How can this be? Why?

0E29E2B2-DAE3-4CD4-9773-C65DD7979CBBMy heart hurts. Dealing with questioning myself once again, the shame tore at me. Something must be wrong with me for her to basically invalidate me and minimize my feelings and feel the rejection deeply. The one that taught me different and encouraged me all those years and knows better. I feel totally confused. 29BFD495-44A4-4007-8AB9-C6A078436980

My whole being shut down holding my breath in the emotional turmoil, as I do and have done in life. Experiencing this once again, is almost debilitating. I’ve done so well. Today, not so much.  Perhaps this is a lesson that I need to remember where I have come from and how I have grown through the years.  I do remember it well, and I don’t like it.

Changing my mindset will come, maybe not today though and tomorrow is questionable.  The rewiring of my brain, also taught by her, by reversing the thought pattern of knowing there is nothing wrong with me.  I am pushing through.  I have come a long way.  I am blessed. I am lovable. I am worthy.  A whole lot of ‘I Am’ statements will be said and will be in front of me to read. Most importantly, the Lord knows my heart, He knows my name and He knows exactly where I am.  My focus is and has to be on Him.

It will all come together and the positive side will surface once again within me, but as I feel the pain and acknowledge the hurt, I have to hope that healing will come.

What’s wrong with me? I just have a big heart and I care. There is nothing wrong with that.

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So if you have ever been in this place of hurt, let down, disappointed, even angered of a situation or relationship, you understand me.  It’s all normal. Most importantly is that the Lord loves me, sees me and I have to trust Him.  Same goes for you.  Trust Him.

039EC9C5-0D5F-4C09-AD99-901584023340Shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, dishonor, or regret. As a self-conscious emotion, shame informs us of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame is a clear signal that our positive feelings have been interrupted.

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