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When You've Reached Your Limit

I was listening to the radio station KLOVE today as I was driving and heard a Christian singer talk about a time in his life when he was de...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dry Bones--For The Moment

As you know, I have not been writing on this blog for quite some time. All of us Christians get those dry bones at one time or another about this or that in our walk with the Lord. Well, I am in that spot right now in conjunction with some life changes of the sort. 

You have heard of the empty nest syndrome--where the children leave the home and pack off and go to college. Well, that's me. I'm sitting in my nest that's about to be empty in less than a month. I saw my daughter graduate from high school in May which was wonderful. We just got back from visiting my husband's parents in Massachusetts--my daughter's grandparents she has not seen in about 8 years. It was a long overdue trip! But all these days are count-down days. The big day will actually be August 16th when we all caravan down to her awesome college of choice--a Christian one, I am joyous to say. It's the trip back I am a little worried about. It's those tears I'm afraid might decide to show up, the sniffles. The thoughts of missing my girl sitting next to me at church on Sundays, missing her laugh, her smile, her fun spirit.


We have 4 cats and 1 dog. I love them all dearly, but they just don't compare to my girl. Yes, they are cuddly--mostly, except for the 100+ lb yellow lab and one kitty who lives lying on the chairs under the dining room table--only to come down to eat and use her box. She throws up sometimes too, but I know you don't want to hear about that. Then we have Dewey, otherwise known as Fat Boy (my daughter's playful name for him--he is her favorite kitty)--he's a beautiful tabby cat, very handsome fellow, but quite big and can be fussy at times. The oldest is Lily, a Russian Blue who is 14 years old! She can be a grouchy old little lady, but also very lovey dovey and sweet. I'd be a little grouchy at times too if I was 84 in human years! Lastly, but not at all in the least is Hopper, our little black kitty. He is a character. So, we found out while we were just gone on vacation from the guy who was house-sitting our house that Hopper was jumping from the top of our china cabinet to an open central air vent up near the ceiling. We have one long air duct that runs the length of the house. So, he was jumping, a feat in itself five feet from the top of the china cabinet at an upward direction to the vent opening (they don't have vent covers from when we moved back last year, painted them and never get them installed again). So, he enjoyed walking the length of the duct to and from the kitchen. And when I went to take a nap yesterday and put him outside my bedroom--mister smarty pulled that trick again and jumped into that vent and came out the vent in my bedroom. Now that is either super sweet that he wants to be near me that much or just crazy or both!

So, this is what I am facing, folks. This empty nest and the pain strings are pulling. I'm an introvert and so spending time by myself is not problem. But, when it everyday--and will be for 2 months before she comes home the first time from college to visit---it will be hard for me. I would really appreciate prayer for this. Do I worry at times I might get depressed because of this life change? Yes, I do. I was thinking earlier a few months ago that I would be able to handle this all just fine, but as the time gets closer, I have to admit I'm going to miss my late-night buddy of goofing off, having deep conversations about life, watching our favorite cheesy TV shows and her telling me when she goes to bed, "I love you goobers and gobbers." and that's my cue to say, "I love you gobbers and goobers."

Please forgive me for not having written in a while. These dry bones of mine need fresh water. I am praying the Lord will give me that in the days and months ahead. If I have a few more days or a month of not writing then you'll know why. God bless you all!


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Attitude

(This is re-posted from March 2016)

I love this quote from a well-known Christian author:

Charles Swindoll
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  The remarkable thing is--we have a choice every day of our lives regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past.  We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...  I'm convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you.  We are in charge of our attitudes."--Charles Swindoll

The story below is an old one, but very appropriate for the subject of attitude.  I found this while searching through my old files from the website I had called 'There Is OCD Hope' back in the early 2000's.

Is Your Hut Burning?

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.  He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.  But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.  The worst had happened; everything was lost.  He was stunned with grief and anger.  "God, how could you do this to me!", he cried.  Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island.  It had come to rescue him.  "How did you know I was here?", asked the weary man of his rescuers.  "We saw your smoke signal." they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad.  But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.  Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground--it just may be a smoke signal that summons grace of God.  For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for it:

You say:  "It's impossible."
God says:  All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

You say:  "I'm too tired."
God says:  I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28-30)

You say:  "Nobody really loves me."
God says:  I love you. (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

You say:  "I can't go on."
God says:  My grace if sufficient. (2 Cor 12:9 & Psalms 91:15)

You say:  "I can't figure things out."
God says:  I will direct your steps. (Prov 3:5-6)

You say:  "I can't do it."
God says:  You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

You say:  "I'm not able."
God says:  I am able. (2 Cor 9:8)

You say:  "It's not worth it."
God says:  It will be worth it. (Rom 8:28)

You say:  "I can't forgive myself."
God says:  I FORGIVE YOU. (1 John 1:9 & Rom 8:1)

You say:  "I can't manage."
God says:  I will supply all your needs. (Phil 4:19) 

You say:  "I'm afraid."
God says:  I have not given you a spirit of fear. (2 Tim 1:7)

You say:  "I'm always worried and frustrated."
God says:  Cast all your cares on ME. (1 Peter 5:7)

You say:  "I don't have enough faith."
God says:  I've given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3)

You say:  "I'm not smart enough."
God says:  I give you wisdom. (1 Cor 1:30)

You say:  "I feel all alone."
God says:  I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5)


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Repost-Truth & Grieving

This is a repost from February 2016.


Years ago, after my initial meeting with my new-found Christian psychiatrist, he gave me a diagnosis of Clinical Depression and OCD.  I had never heard of OCD and he explained it to me.  The unsolicited thoughts I was having was an obsession I couldn't control.  There was a chemical imbalance in my brain.  There is a chemical imbalance in anyone's brain who has a mental disorder.  I was eager to learn all about my new diagnoses.  But that couldn't fully happen until I was discharged.  One of the most important doctor visits I had with Dr. G (not his real last name initial) was to have absolute assurance from this Christian man---who he was first; doctor was a second--that I was going to get better.  I asked him that and if I was going to be a functioning mother again.  I then asked him if he could write it on one of his prescription pad sheets so I could take it with me.  Feeling like he knew the plan and was a child of the Man (God) that I was in good hands--it rhymes sorta :-)  I looked at that prescription A LOT.  I taped it to the inside of a notebook and still have that piece of paper!  Relief flowed through me like a wave of emotion when I was told what I had--what the unsolicited thoughts meant and I wasn't going crazy.  I was in tears.  I was just relieved there was a name for it.  You see, this was not talked about at all then as it is now.  People know now what OCD entails for the most part.  The clinical depression is a chronic ongoing depression that needs medical supervision and counseling, usually with medication.

Hope followed relief.  I felt God giving me hope to hang on.  It was going to be a long road, painful at times, but He was going to be with me every step of the way.  "For he will stand for He is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:4).

I was not a patient person.  I am better today, but I don't have it mastered by any means.  So when I was discharged after about 2 weeks--had a relapse a week after that and had to re-enter the hospital--I felt defeated, weak, sadness, less hope, etc.  Having hope and believing it can come and go.  Since this scene was all completely foreign to me, I struggled.  I didn't know that relapses were common, even to be expected.  My 'recipe' of medications to help my chemical imbalance was not working in my favor yet.  Dr. G. needed to adjust them.

The next phase for me was grieving and mourning.  I started grieving the way I was and what I was going to have to live with the rest of my life, more than likely.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15).  This is a very real emotion when you know things are going to be different now.  I was going to have to make lifestyle changes.  Being overwhelmed was my downfall emotionally.  I learned I couldn't watch certain things on TV or they would trigger my depression or OCD.  I eventually found I couldn't work at all.  I went from full time to 75% to 50%.  None of it worked.  We needed the money to pay bills and live.  Another stressor and one I couldn't handle.  Thank the Lord my father stepped in and offered to help financially.  I had to completely quit working.  All my focus was on trying to get better and be healthy mentally.  I tried not to stay home by myself as much as possible.  My daughter was in daycare during 'school hours'.  I would go eat lunch by myself, have appointments with the doctor or my counselor, go to the movie.  A totally different life I was leading.  I was mourning my old self and my new self and new way of life.  But that's normal and a necessary process.  You can't stuff that kind of thing and not expect it to come bite you again.  It will bubble up and re-surface.


So give yourself grace.  Take the time to do what is healthy for you.  Whether you are new to clinical or long-term chronic depression--the best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on you.  As I discussed in another post--figure out your triggers and boundaries and follow them.  Ask for prayer on a continual basis, seek the help of friends and family for support, if this is an option.  Don't allow yourself to be alone too much.  Sometimes you can instinctually seclude yourself and close yourself off without noticing in the midst of it all.  But your friends and family will notice.  Let them help you.  Agree to get out for some fresh air--get around people or animals.  Pets are great stress-relievers.  I know cause we have 3 cats and 1 big yellow lab.  I love them so much!  They are life savers, as well.  Hang in there and stay involved in the world.