Sunday, July 27, 2014

Just do it

My church has three identical services each weekend.
The message is the same each of the three services.
I go to at least two, sometimes all three, every weekend.

It never ceases to amaze me how the same sermon,
with the same verses, the same preacher, the same point,
can say something different to me with just the change
of a few words, or the omission or addition of a comment.

I know that there have been times, sitting in the services,
that I have noticed the subtle differences and mentally
made a comment to God, "That's not the way he said that
last service. Someone must have needed to hear it this way?"

During the first service a couple weeks ago, the visiting pastor shared
how the Israelites lived as if they had knowledge of germs
thousands of years ago, even though humans have only known
about germs for the last few hundred years, at the most.

Because God told them to, the Israelites boiled their pots.
Because God told them to, the Israelites washed their hands.
Because God told them to, the Israelites washed their clothes.
Because God told them to, the Israelites buried their waste outside the camp.
All of these things were against the common practices of the time
   and much of the time the rules were difficult to follow as well...

In fact, in the 14th century, when personal hygiene was not a priority
and the Black Death or Bubonic Plague swept through Europe, killing mercilessly
it was the command to the Israelites that
"As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; 
they must live outside the camp." Leviticus 13:46
that prompted many to quarantine their sick, mostly ending the plague.

The preacher continued to make his point about the Bible being
the Word of God, "The Bible doesn't claim to be a medical textbook,
but when it speaks of medical things, it is 100% right."
He went on to say more, several things I had never heard before.
It was all very interesting to hear, indeed. But then again,
I already believe that the Bible is the word of God.

Some new information, yes. Good information!

When I came back for the third service of the weekend,
he repeated the same content, and it was still very interesting.
But he added a couple of sentences he hadn't said the night before.

"The Israelites didn't uderstand WHY they were doing these things.
They just did them because God told them to, because God knew."
and in my heart I heard, "You don't have to understand. Just do it."

What an amazing amount of trust that requires.

I'm honestly not sure I have it in me,
but I'll continue to try.
One day at a time,
       not thinking about the big picture
       not thinking about the how long.
       not thinking about the whys.

Just doing this because God said so and
accepting that, like the Israelites, I might never know why.

Thankfully, when I get it wrong, He will understand that I am human
and give me another chance to get it right tomorrow.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not fighting depression

This week, as one of my friends poured out verses in a quick passing conversation after a prayer meeting, I fought back tears. As he spoke, I prayed silently, "God, do not let me cry right now. I promise we will talk about this as soon as I get out of here. Just please don't let me cry right now." It was difficult because while the friend was talking about himself, I knew God was talking to me.

I held on, but barely made it out of the church and into my van without falling apart. The kids were home, so I tried to find a place where I could just sit and talk to Jesus, because I knew I needed to focus and feel free to cry to Him, apologize for going through the motions and neglecting our relationship. I ran through in my mind everything I needed to say to God as I drove.

I pulled in at the park and prayed and waited. Nothing. No huge epiphanies. No feeling of elation. No feeling of anything really, except 'normal' and while that should have been a clue that something was different (I mean really... I felt normal), it wasn't. I went with my typical 'fall back' thought of... I must not have done something right.

Tonight at Bible study one passage of scripture stood out to me above all the rest. In fact, in my notes I wrote "Psalms 32:3-5 When I refuse to confess my sins... WOW."

Here is what it actually says:

3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

Verses 3 and 4 describe perfectly how I felt over the last few weeks. My strength was sapped. My days and nights spent groaning on my bed. I tried to medicate myself. I tried asking God why He wasn't helping me. I tried just powering through on my own strength. All the while I silently fought with Him. "You may not like what is happening here God, but I don't trust you to handle it. I've got this."

Verse 5 explains the rest. I confessed. It wasn't the huge outpouring I thought He needed and wanted. Simply going through all the things I needed to say to Him in my head was enough. He knew I meant it. He heard me confess and He forgave.

I just didn't realize it yet. I hadn't fully accepted that I was forgiven, but I had stopped fighting.

It wasn't until tonight, re-reading these verses that I realized that I hadn't cried about anything in these last two days. It wasn't until tonight that I realized why, when I finally saw my doctor today and she asked about my antidepressants I said, "I'm feeling pretty good. I'm not going back on them." And it wasn't until just tonight that I realized Tuesday was the first day I stood my ground against D (a small battle in my fight for respect, but it was a win).

This is what I realized when the end of the night came and I sat down to study for myself... I wasn't fighting depression. I was fighting God, and depression was the result.

I remembered back to the last time I was taking the medication (It started the last time when J left me in 2011 and I continued to make one bad choice after another) and when it was that I stopped taking them (when I turned my life completely over to God in the spring of 2013).

I'm not saying depression isn't real. I'm not saying some people don't need medication. I am only talking about me and my situation. This passage of scripture was the answer I have been looking for. It not only explains my depression, but also where it went and why. 

Are all my problems solved? No. Am I going to sin tomorrow? If I wake up, Yes. Am I going to keep fighting for things God has already told me I can't have and wouldn't want if I knew what He knows about the future? Probably. But next time depression rushes over me the way it has in previous weeks, instead of saying "Why won't you make me feel better, God?" I'll be starting with an apology and a confession.

1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!


It's often hard to explain everything that goes on in my life in a single blog post. While I was working through my issues with depression and D (which, in this case, are likely more closely related than I wanted to admit), God was still continually talking to me. Even when I didn't think I could hear Him, it became difficult to deny that He was speaking to me.

Different people, some who don't read my blog or know much about my personal life, have delivered messages to me, for me, from Him. Because He knows how hard headed and strong-willed I am, the repetition seems almost comical. "Let's see how many times I can fit this message into a single week. We'll see how long it takes her to actually get it."

Recurring themes from the last week or so?
  • This isn't about right or wrong. 
  • He just wants a closer relationship with you.
  • Get in the Word. That's where you'll find your answers.
  • Be in the light.
These verses have been delivered into my hands in one way or another over the last week. I know I'm hard-headed... but I think I might be catching on...

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
~Ephesians 5:8–10

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 
~1 John 1:5-6

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 
~John 8:12

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 
~Matthew 5:14–16

He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.' 
~Job 33:28

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 
~Romans 13:12

I love this song... He's definitely letting me feel Him shine right now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Self respect vs him

I've admitted to knowing that my relationship with D is unhealthy.
When I'm unavailable due to distance or emotion, he tends to try harder.
When I come around emotionally or when he gets back into town from a trip,
he is suddenly no longer interested in spending time or even talking to me.

I've been working on coming to terms with this weird push-pull.
While we haven't been dating over the last several months,
I wanted to believe something was there over these last weeks.
I wanted to believe all the best in him that I knew I had seen.
I wanted to believe that D and I would work, were PTSD not involved.

I hope I can truly say that this particular roller-coaster ride is over.

It is not uncommon for people in my life to tell me they will do something
but not follow through for one reason or another. Often waiting until
the very last moment, or beyond, to cancel or make an excuse for backing out.
Over the last year the lack of respect in this has become increasingly irritating.

Still, every time D did it, I made an excuse for him, PTSD. Even upset, I let it go.

He's been doing it more and more lately, then flashing a smile and asking
me to forgive him as though he had no control over the circumstances.
This afternoon he tried it again, this time cutting an entire evening of plans
down to what would amount to an hour on Friday for a quick dinner.

I told him that if I'm not important enough to make time for, then to forget it.

I truly think he thought he would call my bluff by saying, "Forget it then."
I told him "Thanks for letting me know." I'm sure he was waiting for more.
I started to tear up and then I told myself, this has nothing to do with you.
He has proven himself not worth my time and energy any longer.

As I told a friend, "That could change in 10 minutes..." but it hasn't yet.

I think that when he realizes I really am upset enough to not care anymore
he will try to get back into my good graces. That's how this game is played.
I pray I have the strength to resist. I pray God takes my feelings for him
and tosses them deep into the sea, leaving them there, on the ocean floor.

In the battle of self-respect vs a man's attention there should be a no contest.

Should be no contest.  Those are some very important words there.
Does that mean he won't try again? No. Does that mean I wont fail? No.
But to get back to that healthier person I thought I was a few months ago
I am going to have to try harder than I have been, and be more determined.

Prayer changes things. I know this. Please pray for me. With God I know I can do this.

Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do.
~Hebrews 13:18

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. 
~Proverbs 31:25
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things - See more at:
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things - See more at:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Second thoughts

For the last several months I've continued to pray for D
to be healed of his PTSD by praying through a model prayer
designed by a pastor who specializes in such a thing.
It was written to be prayed WITH him, but he just isn't ready.

Today I began to wonder why God can't just do that for me.
Have I not asked? Not asked in the right way? Not enough times?
Am I really believing in God's healing ability for someone else
but deciding I must need some other kind of intervention
in the form of the antidepressants I talked about yesterday?

Earlier today I saw myself on my knees, in my room
praying for this, begging God to not let me have to go back on these pills.
Yet tonight, all alone at home, I'm writing instead, and watching TV.

And I'm frustrated that D won't let God help him?
I might understand a little better than even I realized.

Still not sure what God wants me to do.
Heard a radio spot this morning that I thought might have been for me.
But then, why am I sitting here typing, well past midnight?

Fear? Doubt? Likely a lot of both.

Is it really easier to pop a pill that makes me very sick,
in the hopes that eventually I will feel better
than it is to ask God to heal me? Maybe.
Easier than trusting Him to do it? Definitely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Controlled by feelings

As I steadied myself with a hand on the hood of my van before this morning's meeting, I gave a quick look around to see if anyone was nearby. Thankfully, nobody was. Had they been, it wouldn't have mattered anyway. There was no way I wasn't losing my breakfast that very moment.

I had forgotten about the side effects.

Over the last month or two, I have been struggling more and more to deal with life. My anger sometimes pops up quickly. I've sworn at my children. I've screamed at them. Not often, but I know it shouldn't happen at all. I nap almost every day. I cry myself to sleep at night for one reason or another a couple of times a week. I often pull myself together for meetings or friends or clients, but afterwards I am exhausted because pulling off 'semi-normal' is difficult at times.

It was time to get help again.

I stopped taking my anti-depressants over a year ago. For the most part, looking back, I don't really see any evidence that stopping was a bad idea. I've continued to live a healthier life, exercising, eating better, spending more time with Jesus than I did before, working, volunteering, writing... but lately all of those things are a struggle too.

So, what has changed?

I wish I could say for sure. For awhile now I have been telling myself that if I could just make myself make better choices, I could be in a better place mentally and emotionally. This week I realized that I have to be in a better place mentally and emotionally in order to make better choices.

While I don't think it is the cause of my current crisis, my attempt to start dating again this year has lead to a lot of these ups and downs. To be honest, I don't want to stop dating. D and I still hang out from time to time, but he moves to Colorado in 3 weeks. Our relationship is not healthy, even just as a friendship. One day he wishes I could move with him and the next he doesn't want to see me at all. He is a good man, a very good man, but PTSD is wreaking havoc on his life and I've been letting his actions reinforce all the lies I've ever been told about myself.

I remember telling a close friend who said he no longer believed in God because he couldn't "Feel Him" anymore, that feelings have nothing to do with it. You just have to believe and you will see. I've been letting myself be controlled by my feelings again for too long. And even when I've been able to see it, I've been unable, or unwilling to stop it.

I started taking the pills today. I don't remember the side effects being this bad last time, but I see my doctor again next week. Hopefully the nausea will be gone by then. I'm going to try to take them at night so that all happens while I'm asleep instead... we'll see.

I appreciate your continued prayers. I still believe God is and will continue to use me in big ways, unfortunately, I have to be human for Him to do that.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Not my will?

I've had a really hard time lately with a lot of things.
I can go through them all, one by one,
and give you the ups and downs
that I haven't written about for awhile,
but most of it really comes down to one thing...

Yup. Still mad.

Still grieving over what was supposed to be.
Still trying to figure out how to follow God
and do all He says and bring others to Him
with all He has given me even though 
He won't give me the one thing
that I most want in this life right now.

I've heard the sermons again and again.
I heard it three times this weekend even...
makes me think God is trying to tell me something.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life 
in this world will keep it for eternal life. ~John 12:25

The things we cling the most tightly to
are the things that we will lose.
While the things we let God have control of
are the things we will gain in eternity.

The visiting pastor today said,
"You take everything you want for your life
and you go to God and say, Here, take this,
I want what you want. That stuff doesn't matter."
Then he said, "It's that easy."

Easy? If it was easy then I would've done it long ago.
I thought I did, really. I thought I gave it up already.
I've written about this life not being about me.
I was giving Him what He wanted... and even that wasn't easy.

In truth, I was doing what I had to do to get what I want.
In truth, I know what a selfish person I am.
In truth, I'm too scared to be anything else.
If I don't take care of me, if I don't fight for myself, nobody will.

     Not even God, Who has made it clear that He does what's best for His kingdom
     and I shouldn't worry because eventually I'll be happy... even if it's not until eternity.

How is accepting that easy?
I guess I do agree that it is easy
to say, "I want Your will, not mine."
The difficult part is meaning it.

Right now, in this area of my life,
to say that would be lying to God.

Unfortunately being omniscient makes
Him really good at knowing
if we are telling the truth or not.
And I don't know how to make
"I want Your will, not mine" not a lie.

There's always the chance that His will in this is actually pretty similar to mine...
But that requires a level of trust that I don't have... and I don't know how to get it.
Because my biggest fear is that forcing me to accept being alone forever and me being okay with it is a much better story for Him than just giving me what I've always wanted all along anyway.

I don't know how to be okay with that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I don't know

There are more half-written, unpublished blog posts languishing in blogger purgatory than I can count right now. I think I hear God speaking to me, I start to write, and the things I am thinking don't make sense on paper... and I've totally lost the point of whatever I thought He was saying.

I don't know how to be real right now.
I don't know how to be inspirational right now.
I don't know how to be encouraging right now.
I don't know how to be me right now.
Probably because I feel like there are two very distinct people here.
The person I am and the person I am supposed to be.
I thought I knew how to bridge the gap, but now I'm not so sure.

I can make all the good choices I want, try to do the right things, but if the inside doesn't change, then I'm just playing a game.
I don't feel different today. I don't feel changed.
The only real change I see is that I actually care that there is a difference between acting changed and being changed... and that it is killing me to feel like I'm the former. Fake it til you make it, right? But most of the time I feel like I'm just waiting for everyone to figure out that I'm a fraud.

I know whatever change needs to be made, He can do. But He hasn't. I don't know if God is making me wait for something or if He is waiting for me to do something.

Exhausted by the waiting and the not knowing, but plodding along anyway, certain there is a plan.
 It was good to know that I am not the only who feels this way...

And frankly, I'm really tired of painful.

Yet another post that's all over the place and makes little sense to most people, but I'm out of energy for thinking or writing or anything but sleeping...