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Archive for July, 2011

I have hesitated writing this post for quite some time given the sensitive subject matter. I feel the time has come for me to share at least what has been going on in my life for well over a year now. Not because it is anyone’s business, but because I feel it is part of my journey in life, a huge part of my spiritual growth. I will do my best for this post to state the facts, and not go over the line and turn in to a bashing of anyone.

Last June, my husband asked for a divorce. The reasons he gave me, dealt with how I had not been dealing with my depression. It had thoroughly consumed me, in such a way that I isolated myself, and my children. At the same time I neglected my husband and my children, because I was paralyzed by fear and anxiety. These things (depression, anxiety and fear) have been something I have been dealing with since I was a small child, and were intensified by the 2 previous abusive relationships.

To say that his announcement was a shock is an understatement. I went immediately into a despair. I was hysterical, desperate, and wanted to do anything possible to salvage my marriage. Things were crumbling so fast, and I felt like I had been run over. I truly did not believe that things were all that bad. It was a whirlwind of tears and emotion. I was either crying or pretending he wasn’t going to leave. My poor children, were watching me come undone. While I wasn’t suicidal, I was likely heading down that path.

I reached out and found a Christian counselor through a recommendation. I also made the decision to be put on an antidepressant. My blood pressure had gone scary high because of the constant stress, so I was put on a bp med as well.  The first 2 have helped me tremendously in my healing. I am not ashamed to admit that I needed outside help. I had prayed and believed and had so many people praying for us, but I knew that I needed more help to get me stable.

During this time (and sometime before) my husband developed a deep friendship with another female. Needless to say, this was a MAJOR issue with me. I am not going into any more detail, than that.  It was a constant source of concern for me. Yes, I was jealous. Yes, I was (and still am) angry. Above all, I am hurt.

I had thought I would never divorce him, but after much prayer, tears and discussions with some of my Christian friends, I made the decision to file for divorce. I had prayed 2 very specific prayers, and God answered each of them consistently, so I knew it was what I was supposed to do.

We are now separated, and I can say, this is the first time in a long time I have had total peace over a decision. Things are tight financially, but God has been faithful to my children and me. I am growing so much in my faith, and have built some awesome friendships in the process. Each day, God helps me feel stronger and stronger. And all glory be to Him, I am healing from depression, fear and anxiety. My dream is that this cycle ends with me (meaning it will not go beyond me to my children etc)

I am going back to school. In June, I began life as a full time student, pursuing a degree in Public Service. I know I want to help people. Maybe in a church, maybe in a nonprofit of some sort….where ever God leads at this point! I am starting to live life again, with new perspective and freedom (through Christ!). I so look forward to what God brings to my future.

This is by no means the complete story of what has been going on. I don’t want to get into all of that, and I don’t want to sling things around carelessly. I just pray that it can serve to encourage other women out there who may be facing a similar situation. Don’t lose heart, may God strengthen you and keep you going!

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False Pride

Gifts, abilities and talents are not something I consider often. When I do, it’s usually in what I am lacking, rather  than what I am blessed with. A conversation I had on Friday with my counselor caused me to look deeper on the matter, realizing that I may have been wrong in my attitude.

I was excitedly filling in my counselor on my recent achievements in my algebra class, and he praised God right along with me for my success. I also discussed my disdain for my English class. I went on to explain how I hated nonspecific assignments and the rigidity of having to do it a certain way. “I mean…well…” I thought out loud, “I don’t want to seem like I am bragging or boastful, but I have a gift for writing. And now that I think about it, algebra.” He then promptly asked if it was such a bad thing to have those gifts. Then he brought up false pride, and I wondered what exactly was false pride. I wondered so much I had not caught all he had said. I got the impression that I shouldn’t apologize or try to explain myself when I state I have an ability to do something well.

Too often in Christian circles, we don’t want to look prideful or like a braggart, so we preface each time with things like “I don’t want to sound like I am bragging…” , “I am sorry if this sounds wrong….” etc. After some thought and prayer, I wonder if I should be more confident in my gifts. God created me this way! The Creator of the universe blessed me with these things to use for His glory and for the benefit of others! I could be doing something that may be considered worse than bragging or boasting, I could be rejecting His gifts. I am acting as if I am ashamed of what God has done.

I have no real answers, but I hope that this will at least get you to think about it and look at it at a deeper level. Here are some Bible verses and quotes that spoke to me on the subject:

 

Proverbs 18:16  A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.

Proverbs25:14  Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1Peter  4:10-11a  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

 

1Timothy  4:4  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

 

Romans  11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

 

Rom 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

1Corithians 7:7  I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

 

1Co 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

 

There is a false self-distrust which denies the worth of its own talent. It is not humility – it is petty pride, withholding its simple gifts from the hands of Christ because they are not more pretentious. There are men who would endow colleges, they say, if they were millionaires. They would help in the work of Bible study if they were as gifted as Henry Drummond. They would strive to lead their associates into the Christian life if they had the gifts of Dwight L. Moody. But they are not ready to give what they have and do what they can and be as it has pleased God to make them, in His service – and that is their condemnation.
Charles Reynolds Brown

 
In the upshot there is only one answer for the preacher who wonders whether he is worthy to preach the sermon he has composed or for the writer who wonders whether he is worthy to write the religious book he is working on. The answer is: Of course not. To ask yourself: Am I worthy to perform this Christian task? is really the peak of pride and presumption. For the very question carries the implication that we spend most of our time doing things we are worthy to do. We simply do not have that kind of worth.
Harry Blamires

 

Refusing to accept God’s love because we’re unworthy – of course we’re unworthy! – is another golden calf.
Madeleine L’Engle

 

Finally, there is false humility, thinking of one’s self less than they ought. If Joe were an insecure person, or too proud to endure any mocking from his peers, his pride could actually lead him to assume a position of ‘false humility’. Under this condition Joe would accept and even come to believe he was not a very good mechanic. He may silently consider his talents as being worth more, but in his actions and conversation would insist on taking the position that any of the other mechanics were truly better mechanics than himself. This is not only unhealthy as a self-esteem issue but can lead to inner resentment for accepting a station that is below his true capabilities. from : http://www.singlescafe.net/pride.html

 

There is a pretended boldness for Christ that arises from no better principle than pride. A man may be forward to expose himself to the dislike of the world, and even to provoke their displeasure, out of pride. For ’tis the nature of spiritual pride to cause men to seek distinction and singularity; and so oftentimes to set themselves at war with those that they call carnal, that they may be more highly exalted among their party. True boldness for Christ is universal and overcomes all, and carries ‘em above the displeasure of friends and foes; so that they will forsake all rather than Christ and will rather offend all parties, and be thought meanly of by all, than offend Christ. And that duty tries whether a man is willing to be despised by them that are of his own party, and thought the least worthy to be regarded by them, is a much more proper trial of his boldness for Christ, than his being forward to expose himself to the reproach of opposers. (Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 352)

 

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Wow, I hadn’t realized just how long its been, but I do plan on writing soon. 🙂 Lots of changes both positive and negative, and I feel like I have more freedom now to be open about my struggles. So here’s to a new beginning on my blogging! 🙂

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