Overcoming Captivity

My head pounds until my vision blurs.  Pain trickles down from the base of my skull to the fingertips of each arm.  My chest feels compressed by an unseen force. I struggle to breathe.   A searing, burning pain explodes in my mid to low back and I suddenly notice a freezing numbness in both my feet.  My legs ache like I have overworked the muscles for days.  Anxiety engulfs my soul and causes me to tremble.  Every word that is spoken to me cuts into me like a knife.  Silent screams rise up inside and dare to escape me.

“My Lord, please let this pass” I pray in desperation, ” I do not know how long I can take this.”  My family is still learning to deal with these episodes too.  They must understand that if I speak harshly to them, I do not intend any harm.  They also must learn that I will probably not have much memory of what the tell me.  If I have any at all.

Anything planned out of doors today will have to be postponed.  I can not face the outside world.  My family will forgive my shortcomings and inabilities, but outside if I overreact in the world I would be labeled a witch (But it would probably start with a different letter.)

These are the times when you learn that depression is more than just sadness.  It is more than loneliness.  Although those are a definite part.  Pain is a part of my depression that no one ever thinks about.  The pain that I already have in my body be it arthritis or injury can be intensified at the height of my depression symptoms.

Depression is like being lost in the rain. You long for the sun to return.  You know where the umbrella is, and that there is shelter nearby, yet you are frozen standing in a downpour that never seems to end. It seeps into every part of you while you stand helplessly drenched.

Now I have heard and read several trains of thought on what I have been experiencing.  I am a Bible-believing person, and I do accept the Holy Bible as divinely inspired.

Now it has been proven that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain. I understand that this is the case for me as the situation has run in my family.  I do take medication once a day for this imbalance, the medicine makes a great deal of difference.  That said, I also believe that there is a spiritual component to this as well.  The enemy of my soul wants nothing more than destroy me completely.  If I listen to his propaganda I will end up in worse shape than before.

2 Corinthians 10:5,  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Satan and his imps will jump on the bandwagon when those physical symptoms of depression and anxiety occur.  He will cause you to imagine every awful thing under the sun.  He will cause you to have nightmares that will stay with you after you wake.   He will cause you to think things that are so far from the truth that you can not even trace it back to the truth.  He will cause worry and fret to exalt themselves so high in your thoughts that you can not even conceive the knowledge of God.  According to the scripture, we must cast down, and bring into captivity.  Now those are some violent actions.  Get that junk under control!  Don’t let the devil feed you any more junk!  Tell him out loud that you have had enough.  That you are not going to take it anymore!

When my thoughts do not agree with what God says I am, I must forcefully remind myself even though I do not feel it, that God is for me and nothing can stand against me. (Romans 8:31)

Symptoms will come. They are inevitable.  But I have decided I will not allow myself to be snatched down into the abyss that Satan wants to keep me in.  I will overcome.  I will beat this!  I will be strong in the Lord and I will conquer this battle with help that only comes from above!

Careful Directions

Life with depression can have its lows and highs.  There are days when you feel everything is wrong, and will never be right again.  Yet there are the days when the sadness seems a slight memory that you long to make a distant memory.  Those are the times when you push to do things that you do not normally do.  Today was that day for me.

My husband and I had taken a short drive into town together, which was a pleasant change of pace.  We even had time to hold hands and sing to some old Country and Western music playing on the radio.  It simulated the moments from when we were dating.  We have only been married for 9 years, but the stress we have been experiencing lately has caused us to lose track of time.  He is the man I have waited for all my life.  God took all the pain and sadness from all the past and multiplied it with twice as much love and happiness.

We picked up the middle child, Elyssa and ate lunch in town just the three of us. She is so busy with school and works during fall and spring semester we do not get to see her much.  Full of our meal and of all our chit chat, we climbed into the car to start for home.

A quick side note here.  Practically everyone in the world has a vice.  Some people smoke cigarettes, and some drink alcohol.  Some people get regular manicures and pedicures.  There are even people who have to have only the latest and greatest tech items.  This is not a judgment by any means, to each his own.  I have a vice.  Some people in my family might even say an addiction.  My thing is Diet Dr. Pepper.

Just for the record, I also have Hubby addicted. I can say with definite certainty that we are the only ones that in our home that feel that way.  I don’t think you could even pay any of them to drink it.

Well, today as we are leaving the parking lot, my dear husband reminds me that we are almost out of soda.  Now I am scanning the sale papers in my mind trying to remember who has our delicacy on sale.  Of course, the fog that comes along with my depression is playing with my memory.

I turned to my daughter in the back seat and requested that she ask Siri.  Her phone is more advanced than mine.  “Hey, Siri,” she said, and the phone beeped. “Where can I find Diet Dr. Pepper on sale near me?” Another beep comes from the small device.

“Okay,” the answer came, “I found a clinic with the nearest Dr. Pepper on…”I can not tell you exactly what Siri said after that because I was laughing so hard.  Actually, we all were.  We had gone from a beverage of choice being located to a real person of the same name.  Just crazy funny!  So many people use Siri or similar assistants every day.  I hope they are getting better results than we did today.

There are millions of self-help books, preachers, teachers, videos and CD’s, all claiming to know how we should live, and change and be in this life.  My personal experience is BE VERY CAREFUL.  Just because someone is popular does not mean they are in the right.  Just because they have published a dozen books is not proof that they are the one you should base your beliefs on.  1 John 4:1 read, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

 You do not want to be deceived.  You do not want to follow someone blindly.  If someone is praiseworthy, you will be able to tell if you will only try the spirits.  Ask questions about what they say.  Do they line up with God’s Word?  If not, leave them be.   After all, today if I had followed Siri’s directions, I would have been sitting in Dr. Pepper’s office waiting for a beverage.  It really just would not have made sense.  Following people who look and sound good, but are leading people astray with wrong or slightly mixed up directions is a choice that will be detrimental to your eternity.

 

You really do not want to miss the article called GPS

Gone with the wind

The strain on the Jeep ‘s air conditioner was a fully loaded locomotive traveling uphill. 98 degrees but with the humidity, it was feeling 108. The Florida sun blistered the asphalt without a cloud in the sky.

The traffic was alive with vehicles of every description moving at an urgent pace. My daughter and I were among the herd, trying desperately to get to our destination.

It is a rare event that the two of us get away alone. We do not have a lot of time, but we are taking what we can grab. My relationship with each of my children is important to me, but with the nest so full it becomes a strain to get one on one time. Just ask my hubby about that.

My daughter, Elyssa and I share our thoughts and our concerns and sip our ice cold drinks as we buzz along the highway. The traffic was our only care in the world at that moment. Once she emptied her bottle she reached to the spot where I keep a plastic bag for trash. Her hand found nothing. “O, there is no bag?” she questioned.
“Whoever cleared out the old one, did not put in a fresh one I see,” I replied with a scrunched up face. “Nothing new under the sun.” I shrugged.
“Oh Lord, we sure do need a bag,” Elyssa said. We chuckled together about needing divine intervention to solve this as we were moving at 70 mph and had no other source.

Once we arrived in the beautiful, designated spot here on the Emerald Coast, I had my meeting. Then we had lunch and headed to the beach for a few fun pictures and selfies. On the way back home, the traffic was worse than before. It moved like a caterpillar climbing a tree. This did wonder for my anxiety, and not in a positive way. After a u-turn and some backtracking, we decided to kill a bit of time in a store and wait out the traffic beast.

Once we had tired from our meanderings, we headed back to our vehicle and proceeded on our way. Suddenly in front of our jeep in mid-air was a plastic grocery bag taking flight across the parking lot. “The answer to your prayer from this morning, Lyss, grab it!” I taunted her.

A crosswind lifted the bag away and we both responded, “Ahhh.”

“See,” I touched her arm jokingly, “God answered your prayer, and you didn’t reach out and take it.”

She smiled and replied, “That’ll preach!” We both laughed together.

I knew that moment would become a blog post because it made me really start to think. How many times have I prayed for something and missed it when the answer came.
I missed it because I was too busy, or too sick, or too hard headed. Maybe my eyes were closed when I should have been looking. Maybe it came in a way that I did not expect.  Maybe, just maybe, it flew by me because it was what I asked for, but not what I needed.

It makes me ponder. God is all knowing(Omniscient), He is all-powerful (Omnipotent), and is everywhere at all times(Omnipresent). I, however, know very little, even with an education, and am constantly reminded that I have very little power, and can only be present in one place at a time, despite what the scale tries to imply. So why do I prefer to handle my issues myself? What stinking abilities do I have? Why would a person be so impressed with themselves that they do not need God?

In Psalms 8:4 the Holy Scriptures ask the question what is man, that thou art mindful of Him? And the son of man, that Thou dost visit him? Isaiah chapter 40:29 says, He gives power to the faint; to them that have no might he increases strength.

When times are hard and when they are better, I like the idea of being under the care of a loving, powerful God. You may or may not agree with me and that is your choice. I just believe if a God who will send an empty grocery bag flying through the air simply because His child said that they needed one, he is a loving, understanding God who has a sense of humor. He must have, He puts up with me and mine on a regular basis.

 

More family funnies here: Nature pants

STOP

You have seen them.  They are everywhere. Those 8 sided soldiers standing with their cardinal red glow.  The white letters attempting to jump in your face: S-T-O-P.  Yes, stop signs are everywhere.  Yet they seem to have become, at least here in our fair city, something different than stop.  Webster’s defines one as a sign telling drivers to stop and wait until they can continue safely.  Hmm? Really?  I was beginning to think it was an acronym for Slow To Own Preference.

My point was made the other afternoon as we were sitting outside a restaurant at lunchtime in plain view of a stop sign. Traffic is routed here in a pretty smart fashion. Drive through customers to the right side of the building and people going inside exit the parking lot on the left side.  Both sides joined at the point of entry with a stop sign coming from the drive-through and nothing on the parking lot side. The idea is simple.  Leave the drive-through and stop at the sign, so cars from the parking area can move first.

I stopped counting after about the fifth car just blew the stop sign.  Like it was not even there. Completely oblivious.  Several near mishaps were spotted that they.  Well, I personally think they need to tie a bunch of balloons to it or put a guy in a character suit there to wave.  Of course, they would probably wave back at the person sweating in this suit for their own safety and keep on driving.  An “on purpose” accident will happen and then people will become astonished that there was even a sign there at all.

Stop signs appear on the road to help things move along in a smooth and orderly fashion.  Stop signs also appear in our lives in the same way.  And exactly like the drivers at the restaurant we just keep on cruising.

Why would the creator of the universe in all His wisdom place a stop sign in His child’s situation?  Maybe it is because I need to stop. Sometimes waiting for an answer is really hard to do.  Stopping is a great deal tougher to do than just pushing forward.  There are times when plowing on through life’s hardships are exactly what we should do.  Perseverance is important, but a ceasing can be a key.  Stop talking. Stop meddling. Stop worrying. Stop complaining. Stop trying to do it all on our own.

Psalms 121:7 tells me, The Lord will protect you from every danger.  He will protect your soul. So He is protecting me.  His stop sign is necessary.  Misfortune might happen if I do not follow the signs.  He will give me the green once it is safe to move forward.  He knows the way better than you or I.  We should “go” when we can but, be contentious to stop.

 

Hope you enjoyed that article.  If so click the link to try another: Walking the bird

Eat more chicken

Sometimes buying groceries for a family of seven can be a real challenge.  Money is usually tight and I shop the sales and search for the best deals in town.  I try all kinds of ways to cut the food bill, especially since the price of consumables has gone up.  It is no wonder then that our table regularly has the same types of meat.  Chicken, pork, chicken, hamburger, chicken.  You get the picture.  Like any decent cook, I try and make them in different ways, so that the family will not become bored.

My son was expressing his displeasure with the fact that we were having chicken at dinner the other night.  He threw his head back and made a growl-y grown of some sort.  Then he began to argue his point that we always eat chicken and that he was so sick of seeing the chicken that he just wanted to vomit.  Mind you he said it slightly more descriptively, but I think you get the picture.

Like the concerned, forward-thinking parent that I try to be, I did my best to validate his feelings. I reassured him that he should be thankful to the good Lord that he even had any meat to eat.  I further reminded him that there are people who eat just cold beans or worse have no food at all.   Yet before I could finish my explanation, his eyes began to roll into the back of his head in general disdain.  You know that look that teenagers give you that says that you are out of your mind and that they are the superior being. I hate. No, I despise. No, I have a deep-seated loathing for that look.

“Well, when we get to the supper table,” I announced, through slightly clenched teeth,”If you do not want the chicken, do not eat it.”  Besides fewer mouths to feed, fewer dollars have gone, right?  I figured it was a win-win.

We sat down at the supper table and once Grace was said over our food, we began to start dishes passing around.  The homemade chicken nuggets were the last bowl to arrive at my son’s plate.  I reached for the bowl,”Let me take that.  You didn’t want chicken.” I said calmly. “Wait!  Yes, I do!” He responded quickly, “I didn’t know it was going to be this kind of chicken.”

We all had a good chuckle, to which I declared, “I’m gonna use this on the blog.”  He grinned at me and began heartily eating his chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.

I have to admit that I understand the premise of what my dear son was expressing in his own unique way.  Why the same old thing?  I feel that regularly about the anxiety that creeps up for no apparent reason.  Why is this happening again? Why must I fight another day to keep this situation at bay?

Repetition can get old, but the alternative might not always be a pleasant one.  Just like no chicken on my kid’s plate.  You might find something missing if you didn’t have your day-to-day routine. I have a great story about Missing Chicken You should check out here:  Missing chicken

You are alive!  You have gifts and talents that no one else has.  God chose you to take care of what he has given you.  “Don’t be weary in well-doing.” says 2 Thessalonians  3:13. Keep on going, working as hard as you can.  Just like my son will keep consuming yard bird.

 

 

 

The Closet

In our home, we have a master bedroom in the opposite end of the house from everyone else. It is quite a nice room with its own bathroom and a huge walk-in closet.  Somehow though my beautiful closet on a regular basis becomes over full and regurgitates into our room. Now let me be the first to make it clear, I know that this situation is brought on by me and my lack of ability to throw out.  All of my beautiful organization gets overwhelmed and I become in need of new cleaning and organization tips!

Oddly enough, I discovered when my kids were younger and in school that keeping things on hand was a pretty smart thing to do. I cannot remember how many times someone announced they had a project due tomorrow, and it was not even started, and mom saved the day with craft items on hand.  But now the kids are older and I still have the tendency to keep things just in case. (My patient loving husband gets about ¼ of the closet if that.)

You can only organize so far. Remember you only have a certain amount of space and the organized items must fit within that space. Neatly and easily to find.

So ever so often I get in a mood to purge. It is when this happens the family all get a little nervous. “If it doesn’t serve a purpose, It’s leaving!”I announced a few weeks ago.

“O my word, I better hide!” my dad chided.

Now when I clean this way it requires that I have assistance. I have several issues in my body and lifting and bending are quite painful. So when I make these announcements I usually am met with the moans and groans and, and a few, ” Oh moms.”

When we begin, a donation box and a garbage bag join us every step of the way. We will be really making progress.  The shelves will start to clear out and you discover there was a floor in there! It takes time, it takes work. It takes being able to let it go.

How many of you are singing that song right now? If you have no idea what I  mean, just ignore that question, and read on. If you do, we will wait for you to finish.

 

The closet needs to be purged for more reasons than it is over full. 1)There is no way of finding things in that confusion. 2) That one item that you knew you had is waiting for you. 3) I love the feeling of a clean, organized space.  All good reasons to get busy.

 

I need to clean up the closet of my life sometimes too. To purge things that are just taking up the room. To get rid of things that are old, worn out and just plain dragging me down.  The book of Hebrews chapter 2 speaks of laying aside every weight. Not just laying down my sin, but also things that are like concrete around my neck. I must make space for the new things that God wants to put in my heart. To be ready to change for the better.  No matter how old I get, there is always a change that is needed. Look out everybody, it is time to purge!

 

 

Chick-fil-a Sauce

By now you have probably figured out that my family and I are “Eat More Chicken” kind of people.  We cook it at home and we eat it when we go out.  It is easy to get into a type of routine when it comes to your favorite eating spot.  My oldest gets nuggets, her husband a chicken club, my son a wrap, and my middle daughter always orders a regular chicken sandwich plain with Chick-fil-a sauce on the side.  These gospel bird creations make everyone happy if only for the few moments they are eating and digesting.

Anyways, the particular day of this conversation we are sitting around the table, chatting and passing out food.  My plain sandwich girl takes her sauce as always and prepares to put it under the top bun.  It is not a new thing, or an out of the ordinary thing and it usually goes off without a hitch, but…Suddenly I hear a shriek, “Oh, my God, I have Chick-fil-a sauce all over me.”

Now, this is a person who wants nothing but Chick-fil-a sauce.  No honey mustard, bar-b-Que, or ranch for her, no sir.  She is so sold on this condiment that I am not sure she would even consume her Chick-fil-a sandwich without it.  Yet, suddenly, this dressing that is the end all be all of the dressings is the most disgusting thing this young lady has ever seen.  She looks at me in desperation, “Mom, what can I do?”

I looked at her and replied,”Take some napkins and wipe it off.”

“Gee thanks, Mom,” she responded.

“You may want to go to the bathroom and clean your shirt and pants with a wet paper towel too.” I finished.  That really didn’t help much so,  we returned our thoughts to lunch.

CFA-Sauce

After an attempt at cleaning up and ate her sandwich with her second package of sauce. Because you never just bring one to the table and now we know why. Yet where the sauce has graced her tee and shorts, you could still feel the dip.  You could tell something has definitely happened. This could not be corrected without washing this set of clothes.  This sauce was good for the inside but not so comfortable on the outside.

Occasionally in life, things go along as usual.  You might even accuse life of being boring. No excitement.  Then your ordinary explodes and leaves you feeling dirty, sticky, out of sorts or to use a very technical term here, yucky.  It is at those times that the only thing that can help is to receive a good washing from the Word of God.  (Ephesians 5:26)

Some alone time in your quiet place to get things back to where they are supposed to be.  None of us are perfect.  No matter what some people may try and portray.  I am of the opinion that no one can know all the intricacies of the Bible, so we should read and study all the while asking God for guidance.  So, Take some time.  Clean up.  The world is watching and waiting to see how you will react when your sauce explodes.

The above photo does not belong to me and is used only for illustrative purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

 

Missing Chicken

My two daughters and son-in-law spent the late morning and early afternoon it town running errands.  We even stopped at the local thrift store to have a bit of fun.  (Oops, now my secret is out.  I just adore thrift stores and yard sales.)

Our restaurant of choice for lunch was our local and brand spanking new Chick-fil-a.  It has only been open for about a week and I have been salivating for some Godly chicken, so off we went.  The place was alive with business.  Hustle and bustle behind the counter, orders being taken, money being exchanged.  You get the picture.  Thankfully the humidity in our little Florida town was low and it was somewhat overcast because sitting inside the building was practically out of the question, so after placing our order, and exchanging that hard to come by currency, we took our food and headed to the outside tables.  Finally, my little box of chicken tenders sat before me.  I munched down on one of the holy grail of fries and then proceeded to open that tiny paper box of chicken heaven. Gazing down inside I could not help but smile. The browned, yet never hard coating enticed me that the succulent all white meat would cure my tummy of its rum-belies in the near future.   We offered up a prayer of thanksgiving to the Heavenly Father for blessing us with this bounty.  I had to pray aloud because I consumed a waffle fry before Grace was said.  (Family rule)

Once the Amen was said, I dove right in.  Hey, wait for a second!  I am supposed to have three tenders here!  I had two and a fourth.  I was sad.  My perfect lunch hopes were doused in that millisecond. I was shortchanged.  I had missing chicken.

Now there were three ways to handle this: 1) Do nothing and eat what I had. (This was not my choice.) 2) Take that little box up there and sternly ask them what their deal was and why they could not do their job right. (A choice that I considered momentarily.) 3)  Take the chicken back and explain my weird, yet slightly frustrating, issue and ask for a correction.  So, I opted for the last while both my daughters yelled something to the effect, “Please be nice.”

I arrived at the counter and was greeted with a smile. Quick as a whistle, I had two new freshly cooked strips given to me for my trouble. When I said then you, the response was a genuine, “My pleasure.”   (I know they are supposed to say that but it is awesome when it is sincere.)  Chicken fiasco adverted.

Tenders

So, I was thinking about my missing chicken and my choices of ways to solve my issue. Mind you with severe anxiety as I have it becomes really easy to give in to my emotions and just lose it, never the less, I work really hard on thinking before acting.  I wonder sometimes if God just shakes His head at our choices of action.  We complain, we yell at Him, we sometimes try and tell Him how he is doing His job all wrong.  My granny used to say “Spittin, sputtering and complaining won’t get you very far with God.”  Truth!   We should bring to God our cares and our worries and just show Him our issue. He will then answer, “My pleasure,” and give you exactly what you need.

You should be sure to read Chick-fil-A Sauce.    You will be glad you did!

The Photo above does not belong to me and is only being used for the purpose of illustration.  No copyright infringement is intended.

 

 

GPS

 

A few years ago my husband and I were blessed with our first official smartphones.  Each was loaded with all the things that you could need and access to the things you wanted.  I was so thrilled to have maps that could help me find my way! What a great invention! No more hunting and highlighting on an atlas, I’d hit the big time baby!  Now the family planned a vacation to Orlando, FL  and my husband and I agreed that our new GPS would come in handy on our trip.

All went well and everyone was having a tremendous time. The group of people that we were with had created a convoy to our destination, so all was well. Our family decided to leave the park early and return to the house where we were staying.  I typed in the address and hit start route. Now, mind you these phones were so new to us that we did not even know about the verbal navigation, so it is my job to navigate Captain Hubby.

We drive. Then we drive some more. Then we drive some more.  Hubby says,”We must have gone  too far.”  My teenager chimes in, ” Mom let me see the phone.”

“I think I know how to read a map thank you.” I sternly retort to them both.  Only maybe I don’t cause something is definitely wrong here. We go a few miles more.  Finally, I relent and my teen announces that we are traveling in the opposite direction than the GPS is telling us. “We can’t be,” I defended my actions, I’ve been following the little thingy on the screen entire time.”  ( Note to self: have eyes checked.)

Needless to say, I was not allowed to navigate anymore,  but they had to admit they saw plenty they had never seen before.

It is a lot easier to get someplace when you know where your going or at least how the guidance system works.  Well, I believe that because people don’t have a built-in map, God put in place a system for us to follow.  First, His Word is our roadmap showing us the right and wrong ways. Next, God sent His Holy Spirit to be our guide and lastly the body of believers who encourage one another in the faith.

Course, just like we were with the phones, if you are not familiar with it, you will miss something. So, get out your map (Bible) and prepare for your new journey with God. The best is yet to come.

 

We hope you enjoyed that quick story.  For another one, click the link: The Bully

Have a beautiful Day!

My Triggers: NOW

Just like anyone who lives with chronic issues, I am aware of my symptoms.  I have depression/anxiety with panic attacks.  The triggers or things that cause symptoms to worsen can usually be easy to identify, and then easy to avoid. Sounds simple enough. If a particular person or a particular action creates more anxiety for me then I will just avoid them, right? Yeah, not so much. Besides overtime triggers can seem to change, reactions, as well as the response, can also begin to vary.

My symptoms began to terrify me in new and different ways this past weekend. I have suffered from anxiety with panic attacks for many years and I may not stop them but I have learned to slow them down. Well at least until my symptoms presented themselves uncommonly. Instead of heart palpitations, there was a weakness. Instead of hyperventilating, I simply had to force my air back and forth. Nevertheless, I was caught off guard by these new time thieves. Several hours later I still do not know what triggered that debilitating episode.  For more stories on symptoms and day to day life: Tidal Wave

So I make an appointment with my psychiatrist who after a lengthy discussion feels the medical Dr needs to evaluate me. Once I see the regular physician, she wants me to see a specialist. Now, while I am being passed from doctor to doctor I am receiving some treatment.  However, since I am being sent on is it the right treatment?  Or is this some sort of medical sport they play with us?  All I truly understand is that when you need help you generally do not want that to wait. Period.  Yes, I know I am not the only ill person in the world and that the doctor has other patients to see, but my symptoms are screaming at me which in turn make me want to scream at them.

 

pills-384846_640
Medication

 

     So I will take my medication like a good girl and I will wait for my referral. And I will pray a prayer of thanks that God doesn’t require a referral.  He will see me now.  He will listen now. He understands now and is working on my behalf now.

Continue reading “My Triggers: NOW”