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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Enough Love

Oh Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever, He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood.3F172254-B945-4A71-9F47-5939FC04FB51

The words of this song is an uplifting one as are other songs we hear and singalong to also. At times though in life, the words go across our lips without actually hearing or believing them, we are just singing. We can all sing, or at least attempt to sing, but do the words and the meaning hit our heart and stir it? There’s a quote that says we hear the music but when we are down and out, we understand the lyrics. I have found that myself to be true.

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In my writings, I want the words to help me to remember where I have been, where I am at now and knowing He has His Hand upon my life for what is ahead.  To the reader, to know that there is victory in Jesus and your faith will hopefully be increased.

No matter what happens in life, good or bad, we are to go to the One with our praise and our prayers. He see the tears that fall and the tears that we choke back.  He knows each one of us like no other. While that is hard to comprehend, it is for me, because there are millions upon millions of people in this world. How can He love me as much as He loves you?  But, He does! 7A94EFAD-5BCE-4BAA-955A-1C96EF3952F2

Being a parent, and I remember when my second child was about to be born and while I already loved this child within, I remember telling my sweet, older neighbor friend my worries. As tears filled my eyes, holding my first born, asking how will I love this second child as much as I love my first child. Do I have enough love? My emotions were way out there but probably normal for any mother, especially a pregnant, hormonal one. I remember her telling me, my love will be enough for both as I will have plenty to give.B6324B87-5F51-458E-AA69-777B6DBF34F6

Sure enough, my love was expressed to both equally and still. The vast amount of love He has for each one of us is incomprehensible. He’s amazing!

I know I need to be reminded of just that today, of His Love, for Me.  Know, too, He Loves You!

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Bracelet Beauty

DED2117F-6DF0-433D-A905-12FA4A37EBF0I have a sweet friend that I met in Sunday school, sitting next to me, many years ago and we have been friends since that morning.  While we lived miles apart, we managed to meet several times a year to shop and soon developed our routine of favorite stores, etc.  On my birthday about a year or two ago, we met and she had a gift for me, a beautiful bracelet of friendship.  Soon, she and husband moved further away, in another state.  In that last shopping trip together, I gave her a friendship bracelet.  This move was good for them but we both missed our girl-time together so we decided to meet half way for a few days to shop back in the spring.  What fun it was to get away and enjoy hours talking, laughing, sharing and at times crying.  True, best friends.  In that time together going from shop to shop, we found bracelets and sure enough we bought the same.

Just recently, while she was in town, we met, shopped and there again found ourselves looking at bracelets.  So now we have a new theme to our time together. Bracelets.

It was this last trip that I was telling her about my first bracelet many years ago, that I had forgotten about wearing.  Some things in my past, I wanted to forget.

It was back, almost twenty years, I was dealing with some issues that no wife needs to experience or words to hear 14C97E8C-B4F1-4F96-BEBE-51E23A0968E3from her husband.  I was lost in the emotional turmoil and nobody to turn to due to shock and shame, thinking maybe it was all my fault.  I felt hopeless, ugly, unworthy and whatever negative word you want to throw in this mess I was in and dealing with.

A little girl on our street, about ten years old, would often come to see me when I was out in the yard.  I had boys so I was outside with them or checking on them.  The girl was selling jewelry for her class at school so, of course, I bought one.  I still remember that day, as if it was yesterday.

686BAD4C-585C-492D-ABD5-AE8A4BBFC909It was a stretchy soft-color bracelet and I thought how pretty it was and happy I bought it.  It was when I put it on to go to church one day, I guess I felt good that day.  I put it on, then I realized I felt different.  I felt pretty.  In shock with that feeling, I took it off, as I noticed a difference in me.  I put the bracelet back on and wore it all the time, thereafter.  It helped me to feel pretty when I did not feel pretty at all.  It gave me a sense of hope in myself when I had rather disappeared in life.

I still have the bracelet.  While I do not wear it nowadays, I keep it to always remember where I was then and how it helped me climb through despair.  There were a couple of years where I bought or was given bracelets as gifts so I have quite a few.

In those years, I wore the cheap, school bracelet mostly or another here or there but in time I took the bracelet(s) off as well as my wedding rings; I wore no jewelry at all but my post earrings.  Done.  No need to feel or look pretty.  If I had a good day, I knew it was short-lived.  No wonder I wanted to forget this period in my life.

0615FC93-BAED-4A83-9D80-6EF86150919AIt was just a month or so ago, I bought myself a new watch, I slipped on a bracelet with it and again the feeling came, I felt pretty but also knowing I am worthy to wear this bracelet.  Isn’t it interesting that just a cheap or any other bracelet can change the thoughts and feelings by wearing it?

9B3B740D-C2A7-45B5-8B6B-BDF675A6FE9CLife issues, marriage, relationships, etc., can take all hope from us at times but knowing the One who gives hope is what matters.  I gave up on everyone and even God through those years although knowing deep down, he was there for me. He was all I had but I even doubted Him..

Questioning the Lord of why I had to go through everything295382E6-CCC1-4B9D-8139-F816E2BAD317 that I did.  He knew that I would question Him.  He knew I was and felt hopeless and that I was angry.  He knew where I was and what I was going through.

I said this so often and I still do, as it keeps my faith alive: He knows my name and He knows where I am. 

You are welcome to use that, too!  No matter what you are facing, know that you take one day at a time.  Trust Him!

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I Sense an Attitude

At times I am confused and just shake my head, thinking what just happened. Questioning… you want me to talk and know who I am but then criticized for voicing my opinion.

Yesterday was one of those days. Actually, the last week or two of situations and issues at hand.  As I spoke about some of these things to my counselor, you know sharing the ups and downs, the good and the bad and frustrations in life.  Let it out, vent and feel safe in her office space, which I did and do.cef06755-b109-43fb-a442-78735c6b555c-9723-000001e5f99e7851

When I mentioned a couple of issues I had dealt with of what was recommended but not really necessary, my choice, I expressed that I was not going to do either.  I did not see the need and it is final.  It is okay to do that. Stating that and perhaps the frustration I felt while making my point and sharing with her, it was said by her that she sensed an attitude. I can see that but isn’t that part of all this, too, to work through?

f541fd80-78f5-47d5-befb-ea5b526585ca-9723-000001e5e17727faAn attitude?  Of course, being one that takes things to heart, that stuck with me.  Offended somewhat but also questioning if I was wrong for standing up for myself and in my decisions.  I have a right to speak up for me. While I knew she did not say that to be hurtful but it was her observation.

As a child and teenage years, I was silent.  When I became older, an adult, I felt more alive and was more vocal, which is needed with independence.  My confidence was better and finding who I was in life.  I was me.  A person that was more assured of herself and enjoying the new-found me, having a say and making my own decisions.  In knowing I was a Christian and trusted the Lord, I knew I was somebody also to Him.

While short-lived, not because of my faith in God but in people.  Family was the worst.  It was when I had to take control over my parents and make some decisions in healthcare, deaths, estates, etc., that I was ripped to spreads with words, opinions, lies and their attitudes.  Of course, they were right, I was wrong. Exhausting.  On top of all of that, too, my marriage took a hit.  Afraid to even ask, what else? Trust me, there was more.

During this time, I backed off and lost my desire to e9d01e20-2e08-42b7-ba04-b29bf81f85f4-9723-000001e793098ee9vocalize much at all.  I was done.  I lost myself. Depressed. It was tending to my children, which was my main focus, our home to keep it standing and in repair and then my own health and well-being to stay alive.  There were times, I felt I would be better off dead, as it would have been the easy way out of my misery but I held on for my boys.

Later, I did attempt to care for myself more and while slow steps, I was still moving forward. So now, being in counseling the last five years and growing, healing and basically finding myself once again, I feel and know I still have a voice. Sometimes it is like, I remember her, and it feels so good, as she is still in there.  When my counselor said yesterday, I sense an attitude, I was taken aback.  Am I to speak up for myself or not?  Yes! Yes, I am.  Even though her words made me stop in my tracks, I am right to c7d6611e-4adf-47f5-bf26-fb34573ab333-9723-000001ea7e95059fhave a say and I have a right to say NO. My boundaries.

I am not the same person that walked into my former counselor’s office five years ago, feeling crazy from life and struggling to live.  I am stronger today and I have fought to be here.  It feels pretty awesome, as I am moving forward.

While I want and we each need to speak up for ourselves, we can do that in a bold but pleasant way by not feeling and giving off the sense of we are all that and more.  I did have to question myself on that as I do not want to come off as arrogant.  I am just not going to sit back and not have a voice in what matters to me or for me.  I matter. You matter, too.7193b8ce-7f61-45f3-86ca-78c4b76c648e-9723-000001ebdc1308a9

I know I will discuss just this attitude matter with my counselor next week but writing through it helps, too.  I can do that.

We all have issues we are working through in life, that’s just life. While we may exhibit a bad attitude at times, give yourself grace. Offer forgiveness, as needed, to others or even to yourself.

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I Can See Clearly Now

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. How many times have we said those words?  A song most of us grew up with hearing and singing, which you probably just did or will do now. You can thank me later. Actually, it is a happy, uplifting song. Sense of hope.  49B852EC-72F0-4EA2-898E-5B3BFB01A6D3

Yesterday morning as I walked with another walking buddy of mine on a longer route than normal due to it being the weekend and more time, we walked and talked and talked. This man is a mid-seventy year old, uses a cane to stabilize himself but can out walk me. He is always full of stories and interesting tidbits about travels, etc. You know the type, one of those that can tell a story and then another. Time has to be in your favor to enjoy though and that day was one of them for me.

We have walked together over the past few months at times and getting to know one another. His wife joins us at times, which is nice but today she was exhausted from traveling so it was just us.  The weather was perfect with a cloudy overcast and soft breeze. Perfect.

We know a lot of the same people and sometimes shocked how much in common we have with the age difference. I love it when the Lord allows certain people to cross our paths. While it may be for just a season, there is purpose and a friendship built.

In our miles of walking and talking, life seemed to pop up in discussion.  Each of us have a story.  He had made a comment about how counselors make us see things more clearly, which struck a cord in me. So true. With that, we discussed many topics and life issues leading to counseling. Sometimes in life, we get lost while 9EF3D05E-F682-4076-BBF5-B225B8F49ABCtending to the cares of everyone around us, our own feelings and thoughts evaporate and soon zap us leading us to ask that one question… Who am I?

E28F3FB6-EC2F-435F-851C-2EAAD04255D6Even this week, being with a dear friend, she said it, too, as her plate has been filled for months, if not years caring for others and putting herself on the back burner. It happens. Hopefully, some normalcy will come, I pray, as she settles back into her home and daily life.

Maybe you yourself feel lost. Those moments thinking or even being asked what do you like to do or even that one question.  Who are you?   In a sullen look and voice, you may think or even say, or maybe ignoring the question and perhaps reply, I do not know who I am.  I do not know what I like, want, where to go, to do, and so on. You just exist from one day to the next and soon days, months and years pass.

I have been there.  Exist.  Barely breathing.  Lost.  Afraid.  Stuck.  Wearing a mask with a smile.  Frozen in time.  Sad.  No voice.

Reading the lyrics later of this song when I got home, because now the song is stuck in my head, I found myself smiling and happy inside.  In my life, I felt the rain; I saw the dark clouds for years; I felt the pain, as my heart was broken and unloved. Too many obstacles were in my way, feeling overwhelmed.  The bad feelings of hate, anger and unforgiveness were clinging to me, while I was right to have, but I needed to release and let go.

There is more to life.  If you just make minor changes and build to regain your equilibrium back, it is a start.  Do not let the lie of it is of no use to pull you back in despair.  Keep moving forward.  Give yourself grace.  Rest.

The most important, is God.  Allow Him to be in this with you.  He is, but He is a gentleman.  He wants YOU to call upon Him.  He will direct your paths.  He will give you joy.  He does and will love you, as you are His child. Trust Him.

536CF7B6-D31E-4899-8895-5AAB8B9390F1Today, I can truly say and feel that the heavy rain is gone, dark clouds have disappeared, I see the rainbow and the blue skies are opening up to me like never before.  Obstacles are being removed.  While I still have many areas to tend to and always will because life will never be without storms, but I could sing, I can see clearly now.  There is hope for me (for you).

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Lost and Found

2E35C2E4-F24B-457E-8FEF-68DC4587F2E4I am now in the final stage of my life with many years remaining and hopefully the best of them yet as my hope and joy are returning to me.  There is a spring in my step of this older, adult woman who is finally understanding herself and more importantly, accepting herself.   It feels good to feel worthy if to nobody else but to God.Lost and found vector motivational romantic philosophical quote

While the last five years have been tedious with counseling and digging in the dirt to see clearly, it has been worth every penny, the time involved, heartache felt and many tears.   I did this for me.  I made a choice that I want more in life before I die.  To know that only death was before me and hopelessness, only brought more hopelessness plus doom and gloom. Not a good place to be or to stay.

People get stuck and see no way out.  Like a cat in a paper bag.  Yearning for more but overwhelmed by all the negative that they have encountered and believing it all to be fact.  Nowhere to go, distrustful of others due to past relationships of hurts and basically alone.

As a Christian, feelings of despair in this lost state brings condemnation so that, too, must be dealt with and fought against.  People around us are lost as a non-Christian but many are lost in just hopelessness felt.  Not because of unbelief, as they just might have more faith than you may think in order to hold on, it is just no zeal to push through.  93F29398-D3FD-4E27-ACA3-581107A2823C

There were years that I walked through that mess.  While being unsure who I could really confide in or one that would believe the chaos that seemed to swallow me up.  The craziness that it brings because on the outside it all appeared normal.  I walked in a fog at times and for a bit, I was numb being so hurt and not knowing what to do.

I was lost for many years of basically feeling like a caged bird being F20671BD-9FD0-4B1A-A87E-62FDECEEAFD1unsure and afraid.  Plus, forgetting myself as my confidence, what little there was, removed itself from my life.  A zombie at times going through the motions of life, wearing a mask. People and circumstances can strip you of your whole being, of which happened year after year.

Today, I am not the same person I was five years ago.  Thank God.  Walking into my former counselors office the first day, sitting on her loveseat and being asked why I was there was the beginning of the me I am today.  I felt I was going crazy, which was my response to her and I 35B47D33-8A10-40F5-9B33-DCA08DA6C2EEbelieved it because of the imprisonment of my life.  Help me!

When we make a choice and decide to move forward, our faith ignites and the Lord will see us through the pain and struggles.  Trusting Him with it all and our lives, He will open doors and will bring the joy back into our lives that we have forgotten.  The excitement of living comes alive and in color like never 18132AAB-9AA3-4569-907C-C342433BAA19
before.  I forgot and lost myself in the past and for years but today I feel I have found myself once again and finding each day better than the last.  So the best years are ahead of me and I am going forward.

How about you?  If you are going through something that seems overwhelming and the hopelessness seems to be clinging to you, allow the Lord to help you.  Trust Him.

While I was a Christian, and have been since my early twenties, it came to a point of desperation and saying, Lord it is me and You.

He knows, He cares, He loves you. ❤️

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