Believe

I place the laptop gingerly in my lap once a sunk into my recliner.  The house is quiet and I am keenly aware of my breathing and my heart beats.  My entire body is riddled with a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness.  

My darling, husband brought the Christmas boxes in from storage.  The moment I lay eyes on them I felt complete panic.  Every year since I have been on my own, I have decorated for Christmas.  Garland, ribbon, and making bows, as well as decorating trees.  Large ones and small ones.  One year we even made a felt one to put in the kitchen.  I left no spot without Christmas cheer.  My kids used to say it looked like Christmas threw up.  (Please excuse the expression.)

I do celebrate Christmas as the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Actually, in our home, it was always more about Jesus than Santa.  I started just being memorized by the different styles of Nativity Scenes and began collecting.  Randomly one day,  my son said something to the effect, “Why do we have so many Nativities?  How Many does one house need?”  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.  It became my mission to add more and more creche.  

This year I opened the plastic tub that contains my precious accumulation and stood there staring. The thought of unwrapping those individual packages left me with troubling nausea that I have no true way to describe.   Troubled  I fought back the waterworks that pressed behind my eyes.  I reattached the lid and hoped against hope that the feelings of dread would disappear.

My Christmas tree is finally up. Although it took about four days to manage that.  In years past I would have decorations up moving like a cyclone.  This year it is creeping along.  The kids will probably get involved, and that will help my motivation some.  At least I pray it does. 

If you are struggling too, I want you to know you are not alone.  I can not explain why these things are happening, I only believe we will learn from this midnight storm.  I know that a little baby was born to a virgin in a stable over 2000 years ago that we might live and not die.  God’s son came to Earth in the form of man.  John 1:1 reads, In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God.  The Word was God.

He is the reason for the season and no matter what my emotions say, I believe that.  I pray that you too will trust in Him to get you through this struggle.  So I may not be ready to drape tinsel over everything that stands still, I still believe.  No matter what I feel, I still believe.

Ho-No Holidays

I suppose when I began to reach the more mature side of life is when the nostalgia commenced intruding.  You find yourself reminiscing in the strangest times and getting lost in those thoughts.  They can be wonderful, giddy thoughts of a fun time as a child, as well as sad, loathsome times.  So vivid live those pictures at that moment that your entire demeanor can improve or suffer.

Holiday time swirls with a plethora of deep emotions for me, and I know that I am not alone.  Just consider the stressors that accompany all the festivities.  Facing crowds of people in retail stores to try and find perfect gifts, closely followed by a long wait in a check-out line that moves at a snail’s crawl to be greeted by an employee who is all too comfortable with sharing with you and the rest of the world that his job “sucks.”

There are parties with gift exchanges and Dirty Santa games.  There are Chrismas Caroling at the nursing homes and for shut-ins.  The church Christmas program practices and performance, and the special collection for the Pastor.  There are new clothes to buy, Cakes, pies and cookies to bake.  Decorate the house and the yard.  Oh, and don’t forget that you volunteered to help decorate the church and fellowship hall as well.

Be a part of or at least see the local Christmas parade.  Christmas cards to address, Christmas dinner to plan and grocery shopping to do.  House has to be cleaned for houseguests.  Linens all washed and folded for any overnight stays.  I MEAN JUST WRITING IT GIVES ME ANXIETY!

Now in the middle of all this commotion, my mind will seem out of nowhere drift off. A smell, a sound, or the sight of something and I get all choked up.  Tears well up in my eyes and all at once my mood changes.  That sad memory makes me feel things that I now perceive with some deep down emotion that I do not possess the inclination of what I am experiencing.

I am writing this post because it has been a while since I posted. These all-consuming emotions are triggers for depression and anxiety.  I can’t even tell you how many lists I’ve made and they even begin stressing me out.

So, as a beginning to the Christmas Holiday.  I have vowed to make life easier.  I am shopping online.  Even grocery pick-up is so much easier.  And those stresses are off my shoulders.  I am learning one day at a time to try and find one thing to make me feel less stressed.  A walk, a book, Mommy time alone, alone time with God.  And I am discovering that sharing here with you makes me feel stronger too.

I probably will never stop reminiscing, but I pray for strength not to let those memories consume me, and tear me down.

We will get through this!  We will make it.

God Bless,

Michelle

Hurricane Preparedness

One of the largest challenges of living in Florida is hurricanes. I always say a little prayer when the weather people begin to announce the beginning of hurricane season. As I am writing this the meteorologists are tracking Hurricane Michael. Our family has carefully watched the weather reports and they are currently watching the track moving slightly west, and then slightly east. We are not sure where it will make landfall, or how much wind and rain our area will get, so we wait. We have prepared and now we wait.

Waiting for a storm to make landfall can be as excruciating as watching for water boil. It seems to be about to happen but the minute you check, it’s scarcely even begun. Hurricane Michael was wide enough to be affecting the entire Florida Gulf Coast, while the eye came ashore at Panama City Beach. There were miles and miles touched by this ferocious storm, inland as well as the coast.

I was thankful that once we heard that a storm was headed to the gulf that we knew just what we needed to do. After all, we learned the hard way back several years ago with Hurricane Ivan. We ran out of things after a few days. We were without power for three weeks. Now we know to be better prepared. We can not depend on the first responders to take care of us. It is up to us to handle the needs of our family.

Often we hear people going a bit crazy and getting so upset that they can’t even make good decisions. I always try and assure them that being prepared, staying informed, and remaining calm and following a plan is the best way to handle the situation.

Funny how this whole situation has a Spiritual side too. Yep leave it to me to find it!

Early on the weather people will begin to tell you that they are tracking a storm and they will keep you up to date. Jesus, our spiritual Weatherman if you will, said: “In this world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33 KJV, paraphrased). Tribulation here means adversity, sorrow, misfortune, grief, and many more words. For clear understanding, we will refer to tribulation as a storm.

Storms in the natural world come in all sizes and intensities. Spiritual ones do as well. Depending on the place you are in, your spiritual storms may come often or more sporadic. However, we have been told that we WILL have these squalls and twisters, and yes, maybe even possibly a hurricane or two. Psalms 34:19 The Message, “A righteous person will have many troubles [storms], but the Lord will deliver him out of them all.”

When the storm comes and it will, we must keep our faith. It is not always easy not to be afraid of the howling winds and piercing rain. I am desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather. Psalms 55:8. Debre plummets through the air like horses in a race. Pieces of your shelter may be torn loose, and trickles of water may find their way inside your warm and dry shelter. God will provide a warm, dry place in bad weather, provide a cool place when it is hot. Isaiah 25:4. Uncertainty can grip your heart and cause you to grit your teeth in dread. Just like the disciples so long ago, you begin to wonder if Jesus is asleep in your vessel. Jesus reprimanded them,, “Why are you, such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then He stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea quieted down: “Silence!”The sea became smooth as glass.

I have heard people say that God uses storms to get our attention. Maybe so. I will not argue that point. I believe that often times they are brought by principalities and the darkness of this world. Made to discourage you and push you off course. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12.

I share with you these verses from 1 Kings. It touches my heart every time I read it. To think the way our God prefers to speak to us. A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-13.

It is time to stop telling God how big your storm is, and begin to tell the storm how big your God is. God has already promised in his word that he will bring us OUT of the storm. Now careful here. He does not say he will save you from the storm but deliver you OUT of the storm. You are going through part of that storm, my friend! Psalms 34:17 says, The righteous cry & the Lord heareth and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
Psalms 46:1. God is our refuge and strength and a very sufficient help in troubles [storms]. This verse clearly says IN troubles [storms]. That is pretty clear about God being there with you IN THE STORM. Praise God! I can’t think of a better partner to be by my side!
Psalm 107:19 talks about God’s people crying out in distress and He delivered them from their troubles. In other words, He removed them from the situation because they cried out to Him for help. So many times we complain to the Lord. Fuss at Him over the storm that we are facing, continually reminding Him how unfair it all seems to us.

All the while God is trying to teach us so many things before, during, and after the misfortune we face. Were we prepared and came through with minimal or no damage? Or did we receive flood damage, downed power lines, and loss of home and saftey? What purpose did this catastrophe serve? And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose, Romans 8:28.

So even if we do receive great storm damage, God will make it come out for good. Wow! Isn’t that amazing! Our God is so completely amazing! In the day and the night. In the storm or the quiet! He is Everything we will ever need in this life and the next. His Word is truth whether spoken or text. He Is God. Savior and King!

In Isaiah 55:8-11 God spoke, “So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back emptyhanded. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

Praise the Lord, Hurricane Michael is passed. It is our job to survey our damage and make a new plan for next time. There has been catastrophic damage in some areas that were closer to the eye. Many people are without power. Some have lost everything. First Responders as well as many volunteers are working around the clock to assist those who are in such dire need.

We should apply that to out Spiritual life well. After the storm, regroup. Pray and plan and prepare because as sure as I live in Florida, there’s another storm coming!

Be prepared

Be sure to check back for

Our checklist to help you be prepared for those spiritual storms. It is a simple download. The ideas are simple but necessary to put in place BEFORE the winds and rains begin.

Smiles

Children are the most wonderful blessing anyone could receive.  The scripture says in Psalms 127:3, Behold, children are a heritage and a gift from the Lord, The fruit of the womb a reward.

Parents adore their little ones while grandparents, aunts, and uncles dote over the little darlings.  We love little ones.  Tell the truth, haven’t you either Googled funny babies or laughed at someone’s post of something a little child said or did?  They can make us laugh until we cry.

Lately, I have begun to notice the power that these small geniuses have. A baby or toddler can turn an otherwise mature individual into a crazy looking creature that possibly needs a cage.

I am guilty of it, you know?  Walking along in the grocery store, and see some charming child sitting facing mom or dad, and I just can not help myself, I have to speak to them.  Most of the time it is fine.  Occasionally, the little one is frightened of a stranger, and sometimes the parent is leary. Either way, I smile and move away as quickly as possible.  Yet, at those other times, when that little person engages me.  For that few milliseconds, there is no one and nothing else in the entire world but me and this little angel.  It is pure joy, watching a smile come across their face because of something you have said or done.  Then the smile consumes the eyes and they twinkle with delight.  And if you do it just right you will get a laugh or even a squeal of joy!

I was in a restaurant with my Dad and my Husband one night. (Yes, you read it right.  No Kids!)  Hubby and I were sitting next to each other on one side of the booth. While enjoying our entrees, a young couple came in with their own little blessing in Daddy’s arms. I noticed him right away with his cute little curls and big brown eyes. “Awe, look at the adorable little man,” I said to no one in particular.  The other adults didn’t slow down eating and drinking.

Suddenly my precious husband, who believes in acting properly in public is leaning at a 45-degree angle out of the booth looking over at the little one in the high chair in the next booth.  I giggled just a bit, “Whatcha doing, Dear?” He sat up quietly with a little smile on his face and said nothing. After a minute or two passed, then Husband went again leaning out of the booth making eyes at this precious kiddo.

I could not stand it.  I can see that he is having fun making faces at that little cutie and I desired part of the action.  I did not even realize what I was doing until I noticed that I was practically on top of my hubby who was leaning out of the booth.  I am too short for this escapade to have even worked, but I gave it a try without a single thought.  I can only imagine how crazy I must have looked leaning on him as he leaned on the air.  Two more than grown adults looking like we had lost our minds.

Of course, when we arose to leave, we all took a few minutes to make faces and talk to the tot.  It was like we could not even pass by without taking a few moments.  His parents were gracious and put up with us.  The small fry loved the attention and we all left contented.

I am unsure how many people have experienced this type of thing, but I just laughed it off.  I suppose I could have been embarrassed, but I am too mature to get embarrassed over such trivial things.  What someone else thinks of me was at one time was a burden on my heart, yet that is no longer a problem.  As long as I am ok with me, and God is ok with me, then life is good.  Sure I want others to like me and be my friend, but if God and I don’t like me then I am no good to anyone else.

If you are struggling today with self-confidence, self-worth, or are in the place of self-loathing, here is a number one place to start: your relationship between yourself and God. Talk to Him like you would your best friend.  That is who He desires to be anyway.  Once that is settled the rest can be done in baby steps.

I challenge you: Take a moment and smile at someone in your town today.  It does not have to be a child, but it does need to be someone you do not know. Look them straight in the face and give them a big, beautiful smile.  They might smile back, but then again they may wonder what you are up to.

 

 

 

 

 

Specifics

The men of our household were all gone one late morning, and I found myself alone with just my three kids. Of course, as a reminder, I use the word kids simply because I am a mother, but there is no one less than 16.  When they were little it was more demanding because you always had to stop what you were doing to see to someone’s toilet issues, or to get a drink for someone, or to find “the quiet one” and find out what he/she was up to. Today they all are big enough to fend for themselves, most of the time, yet it is not always true about them staying out of trouble.

My son is busy on the computer, and when that is the case he is pretty well occupied. The only time he seems to stop is when a hunger pain hits. The girls and I are busy with crafts which are really tough on me today because my focus is off. I keep pushing through. I mess up and start over. Sometimes I mess up and revamp my idea completely. Nevertheless, I was finally being productive and realized that Elyssa, my middle child, had slipped into the kitchen.

I kept working. When she arrived back into the room, a wonderful aroma accompanied her. I took a long slow breath. It was sliders she had made from the porcupine meatballs from last night’s supper. The sweetness from the bar-b-que sauce and the freshly grown bell peppers. The aroma of onions mixed delicately with tomatoes and that sizzling beef made my mouth begin to salivate.

Back to work, I looked up and realized that my other daughter had made herself a sandwich of meatballs as well. Hmmm, probably all gone with everyone digging in. I thought to myself. I hear the beep of the microwave and realize that my son is also having lunch now. He has just warmed the meatballs. I feel like I can not stand it anymore. “Nate, will you make momma a sandwich too?” I called to him, “Please and thank you. ”

“Sure.” Came the reply that may have been sarcasm, but I ignored. As I glued my final piece to my project, a plate hovered near my head. “Here Mom.” The 16-year-old presented my lunch. Yet instead of the delectable meatballs that I had been smelling, I had been given a cold chicken and cheese sandwich. From the refrigerator, lunch meat and a cheese slice between two slices of bread.  My heart sank.   As I took a bite I could not convince my taste buds and brain that this was what I wanted.  Finally, I said to my son, “Nate, you want the rest of this sandwich?” He comes around the corner mouth full, with his one hand meal well in hand.  He finally swallows and replies,”I guess so.”  I looked up at him to respond and see his scrumptious meatball sandwich.  “Wow, I guess you got the last of the meatballs, huh?”  I asked resigning myself to the answer.

“No,” he responded,”  There’s plenty more.”

I pondered what I had heard.  If there was…?  Then why did I…?  And why did he…? I felt slight outrage.  Everyone else had a warm lunch, and I was stuck with cold cuts. To top it off my son seemed indifferent to it. “So, I just have to ask,” I chose my words carefully, “why did you give me a cold sandwich while making yourself a meatball one?”

My daughters began to laugh and make snide remarks like,”Oooo, you got caught.”  “Boy, you gonna get it now.”

“Now, Mom, in my defense,” he began to respond to me once the jeering died down,”You asked for a sandwich.  You never once specified what kind.”  I took a slow cleansing breath.  At that moment I felt that there was egg all over my face.  There was no argument to that.  He was right.  I did not specify anything except a sandwich.  I thanked him for his efforts and went and made me a meatball one on my own.  But as I did being “specific” kept rolling around in my mind.

With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

So God wants me to pray specifically.  Not just generic requests.  Not just God bless So-in-so, but God bless him with a new better paying job and heal his marriage.  See the difference.  Because those specifics are not just for our own personal issues but the petitions of all of God’s people.  It says so right there in Ephesians.  It amazes me how much instruction can be found in just one verse.

So, I have learned an extremely important lesson.  Ask for sandwiches, and pray very specifically, or you might get what you do NOT ask for.

 

It All Comes Down to Laughter

I am aware that my family has been called weird.  Odd and abnormal have also been included.  I am not really sure what that means because we seem pretty normal to me, but then I suppose I have never known any other way.

Money is not flowing freely shall we say, and even if it were I am not sure we would change that much.  We save up for things that we want.  Pray and work hard for the things we need and the rest we make up as we go along.

Let me explain.  Crafting is a huge part of our lives.  We make things from stuff that often others might not see a use for.  Someone asked me the other day if I wanted people to know that I shopped at thrift stores.  I had not even given it a second thought.  I do not understand why recycling perfectly good items should be something to be ashamed of.

Now, on the crafting note, my middle daughter, Elyssa, is getting ready to go back to college in the Fall.  She is the assistant to the Resident Director and they are making plans for the house.  One thing is they are doing is having a Bible study once per week.  The number of young ladies divided by two.  Anyways, she is preparing for her group of women and wants to make something special for them: Follow the link for directions to Prayer Boxes 

Once she decided on what she was making there was a slight problem.  No little boxes for the project. She began to ask everyone in the family if they had any Altoids because she wanted the box when they were done. Papa was the last one to ask.  It went something like this…

  • “Papa, do you have any Altoids?”
  • “Any what?”
  • “Altoids.  You know those little white mints that come in the tins.”
  • “No, baby, I may have a cough drop in my room on the dresser.”
  • “No, sir, I don’t need a cough drop.  Was just wondering if you had those mints because I am trying to find some tins for a project.”
  • “Well, I don’t have any, but I will share with you what I have, and I think there are some lemon cough drops.”
  • “No thank you, Papa, I am fine.”

 

Well her search gleaned one tin. That obviously was not enough so next time someone went to the Mart store they picked up her 4 boxes of Altoids.  Mind you that is a lot of mints.  Now, because we are crazy like I said before, the running joke then became, “Have an Altoid.”  Have a headache: Have an Altoid.  Feeling sad: Have an Altoid.  Hungry and supper is still cooking: Have an Altoid. Just for the record, there is usually a running joke at our house.

Next morning we were running late for an appointment. Everyone that was going was rushing to get ready and Papa was sitting at the table with a bunch of papers in front of him busily studying.

“This train is leaving now.” I said in train conductor style, “All aboard!”

Elyssa was at the end of the dining table where my Dad was and she sat her coffee down.  “Man, I don’t even have time to brush my teeth,” she said.

“Well, have an Android,” her Papa replied, “And brush them when you get back.”

Yes, he said Android.  Not Altoid, Android.  Like a volcano erupting, laughter sprang from all of us.  It was so funny.  Once I composed myself, I respectfully explained to him his mistake.  His face turned red and a big smile came across his face, “I think I just made it into the blog.”  Needless to say now when we offer someone a curiously strong mint from a cute little tin we will ask, “Android?”  No one may understand it, but I can guarantee it will stay with us forever.

Life is too short not to laugh a bit each day.  If you do not find your family funny, maybe you can enjoy hearing about mine. Find something to make you laugh. To lighten your load.  The Scriptures say in Proverbs 17:22 AMP,  A happy heart is a good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.   I do not want to be dried up.  I vote for laughter.  I vote for smiles.  I vote for healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tidal Wave

I had hoped that today would be a day full of laughter and smiles, instead, it was full of new symptoms that can be described as waves.  One moment I feel content and putting on my mascara.  The next thing I know my mascara is streaming down my face. At first, I am busily going about my day, and end up dazed and confused about what I was even doing.

I realize that depression is probably an underlying factor, but these waves are new.  They have sent my family into a flurry of, “Are you all right?” and “What is the matter?”

I find myself at a loss for words when they ask me these questions.  It seems that this sudden onslaught comes out of nowhere.  It is said that stress is a contributing factor to anxiety, yet at the moments when these surges occur, I am not necessarily feeling burdened.

So I am attempting to write this post and had to stop typing because my eyes were so fogged up with tears.  I have no particular reason for this feeling, and once it passes, it is over until the next wave.

I have taken several days to complete this story and I feel that maybe I have a better handle on things now.  My storm was very real and in my face.  I have decided after much contemplation, that I have been experiencing grief.  I lost my mother back in October of 2017.  Every time I believe I have dealt with all the grief steps, something else rises up.  And in this storm, it was coming fast and hard and scary. You know hindsight is 20/20.  Well, after I am finished with the storm, I see perfectly.

Reminds me of a Bible story.  Jesus and the disciples climbed into the boat to travel across the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus has been preaching to throngs of crowds all day and was exhausted.  He went down into the boat and fell asleep.  A deep sound sleep.

A great storm arose with waves that beat against the ship and it began to fill with water.  In my mind’s eye, I can see disciples bailing to keep afloat.  They were scared to death and began to cry out and beg for help.  Finally, some genius decides to shake Jesus awake and ask, “Don’t you even care if we die?”

And He got up and [sternly] rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Hush, be still (muzzled)!  And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness]. Mark 4:39 AMP

As a Christian, I have Jesus in my spiritual boat.   Yet, I question sometimes if He is asleep.  Be honest, you do too sometimes.   Now even when He was sleeping in the boat with the disciples, He knew exactly what was happening.  After all, Jesus was God as well as human.  God also sees and knows what is happening to me.  He feels the pain I feel, and the sadness, and even the loneliness.  But He is always there to take care of me, guide me, and see that I do not go under.

And Jesus said to them, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith and confidence [in me]?” Mark 4:40 AMP

Why am I afraid?  365 times in the Bible the words, “do not be afraid” is written.  One time for every day of my life. Jesus rides with me. The ruler of the universe, the Savior of my soul rides with me.  All I have to do is ask for His help.  He will stand up inside my situation and speak peace.  Even against a tidal wave.

 

For a bit of humor in the rain.  Try this story: Caught in the Rain

Negative to Positive

We have decided to get ice cream tonight in honor of my oldest daughter and son-in-law’s third wedding anniversary.  My episode of earlier today kept me from baking the traditional cake that the family has come to expect.  However, there is a transportation issue.  The cars are all being used, and all the ice cream cravers are forced to wait.  It is a bit comical watching them all jump to the slightest sound that maybe it is a chance to hurry to sweet indulgence.  The two dogs know something is going on and they are jumpy too. One of the humans will head to the door to look out and the dogs begin to bark.  So far they have barked at a jet plane flying overhead and a whole lot of air.  Not too good for my anxiety, but for the moment it is amusing.

Three years ago today I was more exhausted than I could have ever imagined.  The kids had a really tight budget and I agreed to expedite their wedding plans with all my knowledge and crafting abilities at the ready.  I enjoyed every single thing that I did for their wedding.  I made all the decorations, picked out all the bridesmaids dresses, organized the men’s ware, handmade the invitations, arranged all the flowers, made the wedding cake, and the small buffet.  I have probably forgotten something because there was so much.

I worked so hard and so long.  I have heard it said that keeping busy helps one deal with the symptoms of depression.  I agree with that statement, however, I find if you overdo to the point of exhaustion, the symptoms can be a bit overwhelming for a few days until you bounce back.

I am not telling you NOT to do what you enjoy, on the contrary, but please be aware that even too much of a good thing can be a stumbling block.

Philippians 4:4-8 reads, Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Oh, dear, moderation.  A concept that I have worked diligently to teach my children.  Not to far to the left or to the right.  A happy medium I always explained. Webster’s defines moderation as the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior or political opinions.  (Boy, wouldn’t that be nice if some people would catch on to this one.)

Now the verses go on to say to be careful for nothing. This, literally translated means don’t be anxious.  Well, there’s a slap in the old kisser.  I stay anxious.  Yet, it goes on to explain that we should be thankful to God and take our concerns to him.  Then God who is peace will keep our hearts and minds.  Now, this is good no matter if you have a mental disorder or not.  So to reiterate, God will keep our heart and minds at peace when we:

  1. Don’t worry
  2. Pray/Talk to Him
  3. He will keep you in peace

I have not arrived there yet, but I am loving this plan.

The Mind.  That beautiful, mysterious organ capable of doing billions of things.  That piece of God created technology like mass can dream up the most glorious things and make them a reality.  It can compose the most moving musical compositions, or design a stunning building.  This same gray matter can become filled with dark, brooding and negative thoughts, relationship and career-damaging conjecture, or even suicidal or murderous ideas.

The Scriptures from Philippians tell us how to safeguard our minds.  Think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.  Now that does not sound like the guide on your T.V., does it?  Literally, we are to guard our minds.  If our brain is busy sending signals to your body, then we should refuse to allow it to spew pessimistic refusals of anything positive.

Fill your mind with the good and the virtuous.  Hold fast to that which is the truth.    Let us do our best to focus on the things that will help us live this life in the best way possible. Be a positive light in a dark place and the darkness will eventually disappear.  This dark can be located inside ourselves as well as in the world.  Therefore, what we focus on must be a priority and not an afterthought.

I challenge you and myself to find a way to focus on the Right.  Read your Bible, talk with a friend that is upbeat, Pray, do not just watch any type of program.  Try it for a week and see how it goes.  Leave your replies below.  I will be thrilled to know how it changes your life.

 

For another story click: Shake -n- Step

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!