Posts Tagged With: Depression

He Really Sees Us

A few weeks ago I took my first ever Big Girl Trip. I flew by myself (major accomplishment for me) to meet my friends in Ohio. In order to get there, Delta gave me a “free” four hour stay in Atlanta, GA! Can you believe they do that? I only needed to go to Ohio, but they gifted me a trip to Georgia as well. (insert sarcasm) I didn’t get to see much of the state, but I did visit this city called, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The city is totally indoors and has all kinds of shops and restaurants…and it even has a TRAIN!

While I was there, I spent a lot of time people watching. Have you ever done that? It is one of my favorite things to do. I love to study people. When a group walks by, I try to see if they resemble each other…are they family? Do they share the same eyes? Do they walk alike, talk alike, and have the same mannerisms?

Style (or lack thereof) watching is also a good time. I had some pretty interesting conversations in my head. “Wow. That is a beautiful older woman. She looks so classy.” “No. Just no. Those jeans were made for ladies not the boys.” (shakes head) “Leopard print and zebra stripes?” “How does she walk in those shoes? Not very well. Nope.”

Sometimes I focused on individuals more closely—really look at their faces.

There is the young mom rocking her crying baby. Her hair is falling out of her ponytail and her eyes are tired.

Over there is a man jogging down the hall with this bag rolling behind him. His eyes look anxious, or perhaps panicked, as he obviously tries to catch his next flight before it leaves him behind.

Standing at the counter of the coffee shop is a girl who is trying to keep her composure as a customer yells at her over coffee that, “tastes too weak”.

I was in a sea of people from all around the world. At first it looked a bit chaotic. People everywhere, going every direction. But, as I focused on groups of people and then individual people, it all became more personal.

I could see them, one by one, each person had a story.

In Mark chapter 10, we are told the story of a rich young man that came to Jesus. Jesus had been spending much of his time teaching masses of people. He and His disciples were setting out on a journey and this young man came to Him and knelt before Him. The young man wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. He told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments since his youth.

In other words, he was a good person.

I have heard this story told over and over since I was a little girl. But this week, as I read it again, verse 21 struck me. Mark 10:21 ESV “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” Look how the Word takes the time to say that Jesus looked at him. He saw him and He loved him. And, then with compassion, Jesus told him what he needed to do to inherit eternity…he had to give up the one thing he held dearest, wealth.

Planet earth is filled with millions of people. If we were in Heaven looking down, we would probably just see something that resembled ants on an ant hill, busily going back and forth. But, our Lord sees us, each one, individually. He really sees us, knows us–loves us.

How absolutely amazing is that?

Do you ever feel lost and alone? Do you feel that no one knows you, no one understands you? Jesus SEES you. He knows your good, your bad and your ugly. And, He still loves you. Will He ever correct you? Yes, but with love and compassion. You can trust Him.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him. (Mark 10:21)

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The Face of Anxiety~~Featuring Katie Joy Crawford

In 2012, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I’ve never seen or read anything that depicted what I experienced in this way. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a crises  you feel so alone…like you must be the only one in the world going through this. It is somehow comforting to know your “crazy” is “normal”. I’m not sure that makes sense. But, at the time, I felt like I was absolutely losing my mind, and that  no one else could possibly understand…

There is hope if you suffer from these types of diseases. It’s important to seek a good physician and to talk to the people closest to you. Do not suffer in silence. And, most importantly, Jesus is gracious to heal and bring peace. If you need prayer, please message me. ❤

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (cowardice, cringing and fawning fear) but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well balanced mind and discipline and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

I’m posting the article with Katie Crawford’s permission. Please take a moment to visit her website.  🙂  http://www.katiejoycrawford.com/home

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Friday Ramblings

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I don’t really have anything in particular on my mind today. But, yet, I have a lot on my mind. You know? Serious stuff, weird stuff, goofy stuff. My brain is a strange place (just ask my husband).

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My best friend’s little boy had a life threatening stroke last week due to complications from chemo treatment for his Leukemia. I don’t know that I have ever witnessed a stronger woman in my life. She is amazing. It was difficult to be there with her, but not be able to help in anyway. But, you know, we have the same Father, she and I. And, He stepped in and took control of the situation. A week later, her little boy is literally a walking miracle. ❤

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My puppy has now eaten three pairs of my favorite sandals. He leaves the guys shoes alone…but acts like my sandals are some kind of delicacy. I try to keep an eye on them, but somehow he manages to sneak them away and chow down on them under my bed. I was discouraged over this until I realized that the ruined shoes will have to be replaced. And to do that, I have to go shopping. It’s rough, but you know, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Speaking of dogs, we have only been a dog owner since October. That is when Echo wandered into our lives (literally). One thing I have noticed is that dog owners and mothers are very much a like! We talk about the three P’s (pee, poo, and puke) a lot. Really. It’s a frequent conversation. Oh, I can’t forget the topic of what the dog ate last. Generally, for me, it’s a piece of our furniture. This week, though, it was a baby rabbit. I don’t know that I will ever look at my puppy the same again. (sniffs)

(I won’t insert a picture for this thought, you are welcome)

The other day I was at Walmart (I seriously think I need therapy after Walmart visits), and this kid walks in  front of me. The waist of his jeans was all the way below his behind. His shirt was pulled up above his waistline so that his entire pair of boxer shorts were showing. First. This made his legs look two feet long. Secondly, HOW do you walk with the crotch of your pants at your knees? Any woman who was forced to wear tights as a little girl knows how insane a drooping crotch can make a person. Finally, why not just wear shorts? I just shook my head and got in line behind the woman in her pajama pants and night shirt.

cake blog

I love coffee and cake. (That’s all I have to say about that)

TiredToday is Friday. I am super excited about that because it means I get to stay up later! I might make it to 10:00 tonight! Whoo Hoo! Maybe I’ll be able to stay awake for more than one page of the book I’m reading. It’s not that I’m old. I’m just tired. TIRED. People. I’m. Tired.

Cared for me

My final thought for you is, Jesus loves you. And, I don’t mean like on bumper sticker, “Hey, Smile God Loves You.” He really truly does. He healed my friend’s son. He has done amazing things in my life. He can heal relationships, heartaches, and illness. He is in the business of touching depression, anxiety, and worry. He. Loves. You.

Make it a great week-end!

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Obsessed with Obsessing

Fear Page 2

I started thinking about today’s post on Thursday. But, Thursday came and went without anything going down on paper. Friday I started again. See the picture? That is how much I wrote on Friday. I showed it to my friend. I was like, “Girl. Look! This all I’ve written!”

She giggled at me (I think that I am her source of entertainment–I have a LOT of material!) and said, “What are you gonna say about fear?”

“Uh, yah. What am I going to say about fear…”

(I’m pretty sure she giggled again.) “When was a time you were afraid?”

“From age 23-44…oh…you mean to pick ONE time?”

At this point she is just plain laughing at me, “Girl. That is a blog in itself!”

So. Yah. I’ve had some issues with fear for a little while. Fear of germs. Fear of car accidents. Fear of flying. Fear of failing. Fear of illness. Fear of storms. Fear of not being accepted. Fear that my kids would be injured, sick, hurt… Fear of sleep. Fear of not sleeping. Fear of Y2K. Fear after 9/11. Fear of terrorists. Fear of being robbed. I think you might be getting the idea.

Yet, all that time, I considered myself a Christian.  I loved Jesus. I accepted Him as my Savior. And, yet, I had no peace. None. There was no joy in my life. I could not allow myself to enjoy anything–ever.

I knew this wasn’t how my life as a Follower was supposed to be lived. But. I couldn’t stop. I would tell myself not worry and fret.  It didn’t help. I was always tied up in knots on the inside. I wore the mask of calm. I’m sure some people knew about my anxieties. ( I couldn’t hide the terror storms brought to me at my sons’ baseball games). But, for the most part people would never have guessed the extent of my problem.

I was obsessed with obsessing. Truth.

Are you wondering what changed it all?

I’d like to say that God just reached down and healed me one day while I was praying and BAM I was free. But. Yah. *sigh* No. That is not how it went down.

I literally threw myself into a breakdown. My mind said, “Nope! Not gonna do this anymore…I’m on overload”. And, I just–shut down.

It was bad. People. It was a nightmare. I thought I might not make it out of the hole I found myself thrown into.

You know. Something happens when you can no longer rely on yourself. I mean, that was what I was doing. I was trying to control everything in my life with worry–which led to anxiety–which led to hopelessness. But, when I hit the bottom of my pit–when there was no more Lisa left–I said, “God, You got this? I need You to take this and carry me out of here.” And He did. It took time. It took lots of people speaking life into me. It took doctors (plural). It took my family literally caring for me and nurturing me.

Here I stand (well, I’m sitting really) a living testimony that fear CAN be conquered through Jesus.

Do I ever have fear? You betcha! Big time. But, I have learned to immediately go to my Father instead of to worry. Worry is an ugly companion.

So, here are some verses that deal with fear. Hugs all around. ❤

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Psalm 34:4

 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Matthew 6:34

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time”

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Tend to It

As I got up this morning, the cold air from our dark house wrapped its uncomfortable arms around me. I reached for my fuzzy pink robe, draped it around myself and shuffled down the hall. The wood stove had only a small orange glow peeking through the glass panes and I knew the fire had long ago dwindled to only a few remaining embers.

I turned the handle, unlocking the cast iron doors, hoping the screech would not wake the rest of the family.

*Sigh*

Darkness stared at me with miniature orange coals blinking, trying to come back to life. I took the poker and shoved all of the coals into one pile, hoping the combined heat would cause a spark once I layered wood on top.

I shoved my feet into my husband’s boots and dragged out into the frigid early morning air. Once back inside, I knelt before the wood stove and began stacking wood on the embers one by one. Each piece of wood had snow on it from the day before, so it would sizzle as the heat touched it. With the wood finally stacked, steam escaped from the dampness. I watched wondering if a fire would ever start.

For an hour I left the doors open a crack allowing the air to vacuum in to the coals, urging them to spark. I knew the dampness would have to dry before a fire would start.

Sometimes, the fire takes quite a bit of nurturing and tending. I checked on it several times, re-positioning the wood, poking at it, and changing the air flow.

Just when I decided nothing was going to happen, I heard a rushing sound coming from the stove.

Fire.

Not just a few flickering flames, but a roaring hot fire.

Jeremiah 20:9 (AMP)

If I say, I will not make mention of [the Lord] or speak any more in His name, in my mind and heart it is as if there were a burning fire shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot [contain it any longer].

A couple of years ago, as many of you know, I found myself in a very cold dark place. My “fire” had gone out. The real me barely had a glow left. I could hear God’s voice, but it was distant. It was like I had pounds of worry and stress and anxiety heaped on top of me, threatening to smother out what little life was left.

I prayed and cried out to God.

It seemed nothing helped. But, I didn’t give up. I opened my heart wider to the Lord.

After quite some time, I began to feel it. A stirring. Something smoldering within me. A spark. God had connected with me. I felt Him. His love blew into my life igniting a flame of passion for Him that had long been gone.

Suddenly it exploded into new love for Him, new opportunities, and healing for my mind.

I cannot contain it.

I want to share it.

My heart’s desire is to see others who are hurting set free and healed in Jesus’ name. There is a fire in you. Tend to it. Allow God to breathe into you. Open the doors of your heart to Him.

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Down for the Count, Or…

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I was going to say that my life has been like a MMA fight (Mixed Martial Arts for those of you without boys). After some pondering, however, I’ve decided that it has more accurately resembled a boxing match.

Why? Well, MMA generally goes three rounds. Boxing–about ten rounds.

You know, my childhood (everyone’s childhood, really) was my training for adulthood. I experienced disappointments, hurts, loss–all the things every child goes through. I was like most children. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I wanted to get married. I wanted babies. I wanted “freedom”.

At eighteen, my parents moved halfway across the country. I had my training–I was ready for adulthood–

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round One began.

I came out fighting, full of energy, ready to go.

BAM! Finances punched me in the face.

WHACK! Roommate conflict socked me in the ribs.

POW! (this is starting to remind me of an old Batman and Robin episode) Boyfriend problems.

I couldn’t wait for round one to end. When the bell finally rang, I went back to my corner a little bloody and bruised. But, eventually, life got back on track. I married my sweetheart ❤ and life was going to be easier.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round Two.

I took an upper cut to the jaw–Marriage. It wasn’t what I thought is was going to be. It was hard work. There were lots of tears and yelling…and silent (treatment) days. We loved each other, but, Wow!

The bell rang once again and I shuffled back to the corner, my head spinning. There was more blood and I think I had a fat lip. But, I was determined. Time to refocus.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round three.

WHAM! Babies came…along with miscarriage…and with them came postpartum with a vengeance. Tears. Anxiety. Anger. Fear. This time I went down–1…2…3…4… my vision was blurred, but I pulled myself up to my knees and managed to stand.

After a few more jabs which left my ears ringing (sickness, no sleep, money troubles), I heard the bell and staggered to the corner. I was tempted to throw in the towel. But, those three guys of mine–they needed me to fight.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round four.

By now I could barely feel the mat below me. Sound was muffled. I was hardly aware of what was taking place when I was sucker punched with panic attacks. I thought for sure that was going to be the KO (knock out). No way was I getting up from this. The room was spinning. The noise was deafening. My heart was racing and at the same time it threatened to stop altogether. I tried to reach for help, but my arms wouldn’t move.

Just then as my opponent started to come down toward me, the referee stepped in and called the fight. He told my opposition to back off and leave me alone. The fight was over. He reached down and asked me if I was okay. He helped me up and took me back to the corner. He told me I had fought a good fight, but my time as a career fighter was over.

My referee was God. And He told me I would no longer fight my battles alone. I wasn’t made to be a fighter. I was made to be His child. I wasn’t made to fight my own battles. I was made to give them to Him for Him to fight for me.

It’s not that I never hear the bells at the beginning of another round. But, when I do, I say, “Hey God, You’ve got this fight! I’ll be on the other side of the ropes cheering You on. I’m Your biggest fan, God. I can’t wait for you to knock this enemy out.” 

 

*****After years of anxiety, depression, OCD, anger and fear, I finally found healing two years ago. I want to encourage everyone of you who struggle with these issues. Please do not suffer alone in the prison of emotional and mental illnesses.

Seek the help of a physician.

Pray.

Read the Bible.

Think positive thoughts.

Meditate on Scripture.

Exercise.

Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.

 

❤ Hugs.

 

Thank you for the use of this picture, Morgan Nicole. ❤

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It’s a New Day!

Isaiah 60:1 AMP Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

Wow! I love this translation! It doesn’t just say, “arise”. It says to Arise (to begin to occur or to exist) from the DEPRESSION and the PROSTRATION (complete physical or mental exhaustion) in which your CIRCUMSTANCES have kept you.

How many of you are beat down today by your circumstances? Do you feel mentally and physically “done”?

God does not want us int that place! He wants us to begin existing (to have life or animation) again! He wants us to be renewed, shining with His glory. He is our Light.

Make it a great day in His Light and His Glory!

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“…And You Will be Able to Get Some Rest…”

Matthew 11:28-30  ERV  “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.  Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest.  Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”

Sometimes life can feel as if you are caught in the middle of a dark cloud. No matter which way you go, the cloud goes with you. The chains of life’s circumstances weigh heavily around your neck, pulling you down. The walls of anxiety and fear move in on you, closing you into a small space that you can’t seem to escape. These are the heavy burdens of this world.

Your burden may be an illness. Maybe you are dealing with depression or a divorce. Perhaps your financial situation wakes you in the middle of the night in a panic. Whatever heavy load you are carrying, God wants to take it over for you. He desires that you rest. Do you remember what rest feels like?

The Lord says He is gentle and humble. He tells us that He WILL give us rest. You have to accept this gift. You have to let go of the worry; the burden. Let the Lord carry the heavy load. He is offering, so hand it over. Breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to carry your situation alone. His strong arms will reach in and lift the difficulty off of you so you can walk more easily. Your life will open up as you accept what He has for you.

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Giving Up and Giving Back

Thank you to Leslie and Jan for the inspiration for my blog tonight.

I write a daily devotional for my book club. Sometimes I will use my blog for their devotions. Tonight, these two ladies provided my topic for the book club devotion. So, I decided to work it into my blog as well.

I struggled most of my married life with anxiety and fear issues. Along with that came anger and depression. While I considered myself a good wife, mom, daughter, sister…looking back now I realize that I was very self-focused.

Because I had anxiety and fear, I was always concerned about me: what I was worried about, what I was afraid of, what hurt my feelings, what might hurt me (make me sick, take my security, hurt my children, or my husband or my job). I lived a life of bondage to myself.

Of course I was miserable; how could I not be miserable? My focus was always inward.

Don’t get me wrong! I love(d) my husband and my boys with all my heart. BUT, my fears literally kept me from living freely in the happiness and joy that God wanted for me.

I also had very few friends at that time. My life consisted of my husband, my boys, and me. I didn’t have room in my life for anyone else. I mean, I was consumed with thoughts and fears. I literally spent my days and nights worrying. The “what-if’s” invaded my daily life.

In 2012 life changed for me. I became very sick. The “what-if’s” became my reality. I had fretted and worried myself into sickness…into darkness. Suddenly, the important things were made real to me: God, the Bible, prayer, family, friends. I needed these things. I finally was forced into dealing with the chains that were binding me into a life of depression and anxiety. I was no longer able to hide the prison within my mind that had been my dwelling place.

After several months of help from doctors and my wonderful supportive family, I began to heal and change.

I learned that my focus must first be on Christ. My second focus must be my family with my friends following third. I do tend to myself. But, now instead of focusing on the negative, I focus on how to be a better Lisa.

Part of being a better me is helping others. I don’t have a lot to offer, really. But, I have learned to really step out of my comfort zone and reach out to people. I invite people out for coffee. I try to be a person that others feel safe in coming to when they need a hug or a shoulder. I try to make time for my family, including my parents. I’ve started investing in some church and community organizations that reach out to those in need.

An amazing thing happens when your focus shifts from yourself, to God, and then to others. You start to see. You begin to see that everyone suffers. Everyone has fear. Everyone has sadness. Everyone has sorrow, pain, grief, anger:

EVERYONE has a story.

When we begin to see others…really see them…we will change. As we change, as we give to others, we will discover freedom in the gift of giving. Whether we give time, money, encouragement, support…it doesn’t matter. We need each other. God created us to be relational.

He (God) gives to us and wants us to, in turn, give back to His children.

Proverbs 3:3 ESV Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3 MSG Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.

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