Sunday, October 26, 2014

Leaving The Land of Isolates

If there's one question I've heard a billion times over the past 4 years it's "How are you?" I can tell you that too often I have quickly answered with "good" or "fine", and a smile to satisfy the question and try my best to move on to something outside of my situation. To be sure though, I had not moved on in my head and the answer to that question was not "good" or "fine". 

"I have tried with all my limited endurance to show no signs of my discomfort for the past many months, but I think my disguise has worn thin." Tim Hansel  

When you come to the end of your "disguising" stage of getting through a difficult time you begin to realize the ugliness of what trying to hide has turned into: self-absorption...not a pretty picture. 

"Nothing robs one's strength and vitality so much as self-absorption. There is no greater wast of time than self-pity, preoccupation with self; it fragments and dissipates that which you want to be about. Oh, God, you seem to have the only key that can unlock me from myself." Tim Hansel 

Let me be clear, this type of self-absorption is not the kind that flaunts for the world to see because he or she thinks so highly of oneself; rather, it is an internal battlefield of constant preoccupation with the nearsightedness of one's problems. It is a disgusting overwhelming depression that you want to throw off or spit out.

I had managed to silence the world-even my husband- from the torment I was feeling inside but I was never alone in it. God was walking with me the entire time calling to me through my fog. Reaching out to me through loving people and mostly through His word; thankfully I never stopped reading even when it was hard. I finally had had enough of myself! My ears were ripened by the process of grief and I was listening to what God was saying. Sometimes there has to be a death of something precious to us in order to have freedom; for me, that precious thing was my prideful silence. I knew I needed to come clean about what I had struggled with. I am a  sinner saved by great grace.  

This fall I have spent time forcing myself to be open about dealing with depression. I had to work myself up to it for months this past summer by reading books and scripture and devotionals that brought me through the process of realizing that what I was going through at the height of my depression was essentially the 5 stages of grief (more about what I've been reading HERE). Because the things that have happened in our lives (infertility, IVF, bedrest, postpartum depression, and 2 brain surgeries) happened one on top of the other in a span of about 4 years I had stuffed way down my grief because there wasn't time to process-until this summer.  

I can't tell you the relief I felt the first time I said out loud "I've struggled with depression for sometime and I've been grieving the loss of what I imagined our life would be." It was as if God took a thick layer of dry, dirty, ugly skin off my whole body and soul. Now not only was I admitting the truth to myself and God in private but I was openly telling my husband and family where I've been and how I got out of there. That's what this blog post is all about-sharing with the world that depression and grief are all very normal human reactions to losses of all shapes and sizes and you don't have to go through it alone. The pain of loss is heavy but God's grace in allowing us to feel that loss and draw us closer to Him to see His full love and character is the greatest gift. 

I wouldn't choose to change my path-the one behind me with all that pain or the one ahead of me. Yes, I had to put to death "dreams" along that path but each time I did I've found God filling my life with more than I deserve. 

"The surgery of imprisonment exposed, and perhaps defined, Daniel's attitude to obey God even in life's unexpected disappointments. He was determined not to use his misfortune as an excuse to sin. Daniel didn't allow his imprisoned position to determine his condition or his disposition." Patsy Clairmont  (see link below for background scripture Daniel Chapter 1)

Read The Bible With Me

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blogger's Block...

What can I say? I must have Blogger's Block!

It has been weeks since I have felt the urge to Blog about something significant or moving; not because there has been a lack of those things in my life but on the contrary, it has been Full. 

I have been up to my eyeballs in Scripture, Bible studies, and books these past few weeks and it has been a very long time since I have done digging like this. Digging? You ask. Well, I guess to put it plainly I'm digging for a few things. 

  • A deeper understanding of hardships and God's grace in allowing them into our lives to pull us closer to His heart. 
  • A study of grief, recovery, and loss: the processes and needed time and self-iniative for healing to occur. 
  • Surrender: the Joy found in letting go of our plan.  
I have not reached the end of my study of any one of these topics, and I look forward to digging deeper still. Here are a few things I've been reading (Click the titles for a preview). 

This book was one that I initially read in my college PE class because it was required. Honestly, at the time I don't know that I paid too close attention to it because things in my life were pretty peachy. I came back to it because I remembered something from it and I knew I had it on my bookshelf and I'm so glad I saved it! I can recommend this for those hurting, walking with a friend going through a tough time, or those who just want to gain insight into being compassionate and helping those who may need guidance as they walk through difficulties. Tim gives glimpses of his journals as he walked through a very difficult season in his life and the raw material of his heart is so moving and relatable to those who have ever experienced hurt so deep they don't feel like they recognize themselves anymore and his walk towards freedom from grief is refreshing.

This is an oldie but a goodie! I was in our old church basement with my small group girls for Youth Group one wednesday night and we meet in the Church's old library which still has a few books left in it so I browsed the titles just to see if anything caught my eye. Then I saw this one and the reason it caught my eye was because I felt like I was carrying around a giant 'Tude about my "situation" with Epilepsy and I thought-Yup I better read that one! I literally laughed my way through each chapter because Patsy is hilarious but not only did I laugh I cried because she was spot on about how we carry ourselves and how it affects those we love. This book is probably more for the female readers but even men could gain from it I'm sure! :D The chapters are quick and not "heavy" but yet they are full of things that will carry you through whatever you're going through and keep your eyes on Christ. 

Niles is the writer of this book in addition to many "Grief Bites" devotionals you can access for free through the YouVersion Bible App. The Website has links to the devotionals and a blog. The devotionals have been instrumental in guiding me to scripture related to grief and hardships and how God is at work in and through it all. I have found great joy in spending much time in God's word and talking to Him about the hard things in life and coming to the realization that I am so very grateful for hardships because they bring us to a raw place where, if we allow God, He will come closer and deeper than we have ever understood before and that friendship and trust is indescribable.

I hope you find some joy today, even if it's just for a moment may we be truly grateful and know that every little bit can be a step towards another step of joy. 

Blessings friends,