Terrified with Faith

I am at a point in my life where I am being pushed forward into the unknown somewhat, wondering if can I do it.  Questioning myself and God of how this situation A78CCC54-9AE9-4C38-A21F-22660E7039D5had all come about so perfectly but the doubt hovering over me with what if I fail?  The balancing act with many encouraging me and those that I have shared my hesitation with, their encouragement that will support me either way. At times, that did not help, still feeling at a loss as to what to do. In the past few weeks, a part of me desiring that somebody would say, just do it, taking my hand and leading me, helping me and conquer this fear. I’m scared, okay terrified.

BC147DB3-4AD4-429B-A91E-E087A8314780I am sure I am not alone when trying to make a big decision, allowing faith to manifest but fear lurking around every corner.  We all have to make decisions in life with jobs, marriage, education, purchases, etc.  Adulting is hard, even at my age.

As I was being encouraged by a lawyer friend yesterday to go forward and expressing my fear and hesitation, I asked him if he experienced this when going to law school. Without hesitation, he said he was terrified. Today, he is one of the finest lawyers I know. His position just did not happen overnight, as he had to face fear head on.  Just his words of, ‘I was terrified’ brought comfort, knowing what I am feeling is normal. Sometimes knowing normal is not just a dryer setting, can take pressure off of an anxious mind. I realized that when with my former counselor, a lot of what I thought and felt was quite normal. It is the shame-based thoughts that keep us bound by thinking we are not normal, something is wrong with us.

Dealing with the weight of this matter on my mind and 5C5859A9-7215-4E34-AA86-FE897089F51Bmaking a final decision this week, I felt encouraged upon waking.  I have dreams and sometimes they are so real, just like this morning. Sitting quietly in a church service but next to a side wall not in a pew, my pastor came over to me. He took my hands and held them, looking at me and just said, ‘You know He is with you.’ How encouraging! Yes, it was a dream a spiritual dream, but I do believe and know that God can speak to us in them. Perhaps because our mind is quiet and He can get our (my) attention.

ID0F6AF27-7611-4796-BB3D-EEC4392F8B2Dn my quiet time this morning, of course, with coffee nearby and before I start my day cleaning and enjoying my home, I was reading scripture.  Just so happened, guess what I turned to and read first?  Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” How awesome it is to know that God’s Words are LIFE words soothing our soul, that brings calmness to our spirit and giving power and joy to our day.  He is with me. He is with you. We just have to quiet our minds, whether sleeping and in a dream to be reminded or in the moment acknowledging Him as we go about our busy, chaotic lives.  That’s God. Trust Him.

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9 Bible Promises About Your Sleep, Dreams and Night Hours

 

I Cancelled Thanksgiving

5C2A1F8F-F0E8-4B04-B87F-AC23C8C8CD13This time last year, my life was going in all directions, feeling lost, abandoned, grieving, overwhelmed and well, you get the picture.

There was an excitement just months prior of me enrolling in a medical class, which was a big step for this old girl.  I finally felt empowered enough to move forward after many years of feeling hopeless.  Counseling for years was helping me cope and understand myself plus my faith knowing I could do this and my dreams and desires were coming alive. Wonderful.  Life was good.

It was in September though as classes started and my counselor of almost four years decided to close her office due to medical issues, of course, unexpectedly. While I understood and was concerned, I could not help but feel abandoned by her.  My heart was hurting and my emotions were everywhere.

I would work full-time, go to class in the evenings and when I left, I sat in my car and cried, the grief was too much.  This class was too much.  My life was too much. 6315B5C0-B00E-4882-B65D-6B42AD8F745AHow can I do this? Overwhelmed was an understatement.

Through all of this turmoil within, I also knew I had to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for my husband’s family and our own, although my oldest son, now married would be with his wife’s family several states away.  The month of November was one with my nose in the medical book, studying for finals the week before Thanksgiving, my house not ready and no desire to go forward, just managing the best I could. My surprise was to get a 94 on my final, which shocked me completely. The joy of the results disappeared soon after, as I was still falling apart within and now no counselor to counsel me, left totally in the dark.  Now the anger was more prevalent due to it all.

Being so overwhelmed and grieving, I cancelled  Thanksgiving.  I did. I was done.

Thanksgiving Day was lonely in my home, just like any other day.  My youngest son, living an hour away, decided to stay at his home.  I offered for him, me and his father to go out and eat but he had no interest. Loneliness all around with depression raining down on each of us.

Finally, it was late that night when I spoke to my son, instead of texting.  In the voice, a lot can be heard and discerned.  I knew he was sad over no Thanksgiving.  He probably thought that since his older brother was not present, he was not worth it.  Still, that thought brings 4BD339ED-93A0-4EE6-BECF-84F34CD16FEDsadness all over me.  I will NEVER cancel Thanksgiving or a family gathering again.  He did not know my circumstance and the struggle I was dealing with but I was wrong.

In our telephone call, with my motherly instinct, thank God, I told him to get ready as I am coming down to his house.  It was dark and late but off I went to be with him, I apologized and told him I will never do that again.  We went to eat, get groceries, do all of his laundry and went bowling at midnight.  We both had fun and I put a pot of chili in his crock pot to enjoy the next few days.  In the end, he received my undivided attention and his mother’s love. He needed me and I needed him.

This year we will have the family in for Thanksgiving and if I get the house clean, fine and if not, fine.  I learned my lesson.959C31B5-EC01-444A-AF14-044F96E476B1

Thanksgiving is the holiday where people come together. At least, that’s what most of us are conditioned to believe. While Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most inclusive and unifying holiday on the calendar — particularly for families — it also has the potential to generate the most loneliness.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201511/4-reasons-thanksgiving-is-the-loneliest-holiday

Holiday Depression, it happens! 

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

Self-Care During the Holidays, it’s needed!

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-self-care-during-the-holidays/

30 – 60

Next month marks two big events in my life.  I am unsure how to handle these occasions although they will come and go whether I like it or not.

2C0279E6-C4D8-48E0-B45C-04A63DC01C33Just yesterday I was in my twenties, thirties, forties and, of course, fifties.  Now, the BIG 60.  How did that happen so quickly? I also often wonder how I and/or we have made it to our 30th anniversary.  Wow!  30 years!389EAFA5-9581-4788-AF1B-6FC6D46B9E41

Thinking back, the twenties were me finding my independence and partying in the first part, being young and stupid. The second half, I realized that is not the life for me and because I knew, too, the Lord was drawing me to Him and needed to get my Christian walk straight. It was time to stop running, which I did. To have a complete stranger say to me one night, “You need to quit running from God” definitely got my attention. I knew that was a warning. Later, I met a man at church and we dated three years and married four days before my thirtieth birthday.

My thirties, well our first year of marriage was not enjoyable, to be honest.  Several days before our wedding, with all plans made, etc., I remember standing in the church parking lot looking at this man with the thought to call off the wedding.  Of course, I did not.  Thinking, it was just cold feet and nervousness.  Was it?  It did get better and even more so with my first and second child born in the next few years, they were and are my life. I loved our little family.

145F47B7-AD82-4284-AD28-7B1F1C3F5147As I was busy with toddlers and caring for my aging parents, things changed in those years. My parents passed within two years of one another, then dealing with the estate and family issues.  Sadly, my marriage died, too.  Alone within and being private while wearing a mask of us all being a happy Christian family. Taking this all upon me, as it was all my fault, accepting the lies and rumors being spread that I am a bad person, etc., was weighing heavy upon me.

I remember my fortieth birthday, like it was yesterday.  My small office had cream colored carpet that I had just moved into but it was dirty from the traffic pattern of the other person walking in and out.  I wanted a nice, inviting office with clean carpet. We were slow that day so I got on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpet, 4718957F-EA4C-495C-A61C-C9DD39DDC3D5thankfully not a large space.  While scrubbing, I remember thinking I am just like the fairytale we have all read, Cinderella.  As for much of the forties, I do not remember, as I lost myself in those years.  My focus was on my children and my energy went to them, otherwise depression was overtaking me.

In trying to better myself, I had a short stint of counseling before he moved his practice out of state.  I felt I was gaining ground trying to find myself but only at a snail’s pace. The sudden death of my brother and dealing with his estate and the same family members that stirred up strife before but now more hateful, which got the best of me. I allowed their words and anything and everything negative rip me to shreds.

Finally when turning fifty, I was attempting to get myself out of the pit by taking care of me by having weight-loss surgery.  Looking back, I dealt with emotional eating and I still do at times but I recognize it now, but I had gained well over one-hundred pounds in twenty years of our marriage.

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We are now both feeling the effects of having an empty nest.  We are two strangers in the same house, both working full-time jobs and just going through the motions. I know I was dreading my home life and feeling stuck and feeling the craziness of it all. Too much! Everything went to the wayside, isolating myself from the world around me.

I knew I had to reach out for help. It takes courage to do that so if you find yourself in this loop of hopelessness and despair, please reach out. I found and was blessed with a wonderful Christian counselor five years ago to help me see light again and have hope, when all hope was gone.  Had it not been…ADFEB088-C85D-43CD-BFEC-2B40D3DC6411

I am about to hit my Big 60. I can truly say, I am happier today than I have been for such a long time; by understanding myself and working on my issues? I cannot control others and had to know deep within and to hold onto the fact that God said in His Word that He will fight my battles. Is everything perfect and did everything fall into place? No. I have had and still have some rough moments, but I know not to let it all get me down for long and to pull me down into a pit of despair and depression. I am moving forward. I am stronger today in my faith, as counseling has held me together and I know that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for me, even at this age.

I am expecting that the Lord will use me to glorify His Name and bring hope to others as I continue to grow older.  I want that.  Trust Him.

C090ABCC-D2A6-46C8-A63E-E596ADF9F208

 

Peace and Quiet

9E1F0857-0CE8-475A-BFFB-26F3E4216F19Today, I embarked on a new journey in my life.  I have never done this before but I am taking a step forward.  We sing a song in church that says if you take one step, He will take two.  Well, I need that from the Lord as I don’t know what to do.  I feel like life is heading in all sorts of directions and I feel lost, standing at a fork in the road.

DCF2B457-52CE-4BD2-92E3-7AF6CBF5140BI arranged a getaway for four nights, just me.  I need to know me and I need the Lord to speak to me through His Word.  He is my Father.  He is my Husband.  I need Him.

As I searched for a location to go and be alone, I narrowed it down to two places. For days I agonized over which 57BCCF04-A58C-4C82-B209-6D05EBE799C1way to go.  I stood in my office before leaving with my arms outstretched asking if I am to go north or south. My final decision was to go north.

In my final decision and knowing more of the location, a private apartment of a family, I did my due diligence and researched them.  Odds are, they did me, too, although I did need to go through some hoops to be verified that I am a decent person, no serial killer.

67AA0790-E188-44BB-BF02-E72D8B051D9DI told my counselor that I would not be surprised if the owner is an attorney, as I would love to pick his brain.  To find out, he is a preacher.  Even better.  No doubt in my mind that is why I was drawn to this location.  I would not be surprised to have time to talk and be encouraged from him or his wife. That’s God. The Lord is so good. 4100A9CE-8E3F-40CE-B118-3BFFDB6EE487

So as I prepared to travel north and get settled in alone, I have to be honest, it was somewhat hard to do. Why do I want to leave the comfort of my own home, almost wanting to forget this trip and take a loss. With that battle in my mind, something will come of this trip and I pray it does.

I will find my place to focus on the Lord, in my writing and reading with no distractions of dust, dirty dishes or laundry pulling me away.

My beautiful view.

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“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

 

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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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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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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