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Archive for September, 2012

Tonight I am just thinking a lot. Don’t worry I promise I am not overdoing it lol.

I read a post from TWLOHA and was reminded once again about my journey and healing from depression. Here it is, closing in on October. In October I am have 2 milestones. The first is 1 year since the divorce. I have not dated, I have not gone into despair from being “alone”. I am focusing on God and He is doing far more in me than I could EVER do alone. The second is very special to me, I will also be celebrating 1 year healed from depression and anxiety (I can’t tell you an exact date on that because it took a while for me to realize I was healed, and it was after the divorce. There was also a significant event prior that God used as a starting point to healing.) That’s a HUGE deal! I can hardly believe it!

A year later, and its still hard for me to see myself detached from depression. I had been depressed and/or anxious for as long as I can remember. Even in some of my earliest memories I sense the anxiety. Depression had seemed to be such a friend, such a comfort. I would curl up in it, and feel more secure in it than I would around people. People failed me constantly, and depression was the only thing there. Much like the Icon for Hire song, “Iodine” , depression was like a fur coat…made of dead things and keeping me warm. There was that little part of me that screamed out, because for all the comfort I thought I was feeling, I felt like I was dying inside. I felt like I was losing my mind at times. I wanted something more than that friendship, but God had seemed so distant. There were days I begged for healing, and I felt like God was holding back, so I wouldn’t even try to do anything to get better.

I say this frequently when talking about this part of my testimony: My depression was a choice. There was a time in my life where it wasn’t, but when Christ came into the picture it was. Even when I was on medication for a short time, that alone was not what healed me. I had to make a choice to deal with my own sin, my own issues. I had to choose to believe God when He gave me the vision of the love He had for me. I had to choose to trust God with my everything. It was no easy choice, because depression wanted control. I had to look at myself, and see how self-centered it made me. Nearly every thought was centered on poor me, how awful my life was, how bad of a mom and wife I was, how every one hated me, no one loved me, and on and on. When I started to realize that and saw how my life had been crumbling around me, I saw my need to trust God and get the focus off of me. To me that meant throwing myself into serving God and serving others. That was the start of my healing.

In addition to the weirdness of seeing myself separate from depression, I still feel strange about sharing my testimony about this journey. Yes, its all very personal, and very special to me. I love just uttering the words of the healing aloud even if no one is listening. But its a little weird to me to watch people’s reactions to it and hear them say what a blessing it is to hear what God has done. I guess I think of it as a big deal for myself, but don’t think others would think much of it. I usually end up accidentally sharing it, or, well, I guess the Holy Spirit prompts me to share it before I even realize what I have said. I usually end up thinking for a few moments, I have just bored them to death with all my drama. Then God lets me know that there is probably a reason why I shared, even if the other person doesn’t say anything. I may never know the impact of my testimony, but God does, and I have to trust that He is using it for His glory.

Depression is NOT a friend. It does NOT love you. It has done nothing for you but chain you up. It is slowly killing you and what life you have left. It is NOT there for you. Its NOT who you are. Its NOT what you have become. You are loved beyond your comprehension by a God who is there. He is not distant, He is closer than your own skin. I have this picture in my mind. He is the One holding on, caressing your head in His lap. I see Him crying over you, as you lay there unconscious (by the grip of depression). He is pleading for you to see Him, to hear Him. He is telling you He’s right there and not to listen to the lies. He tells you not to give up, just to keep holding on and to trust Him. Yes, the Creator has that love for YOU. I can say that because of what He has done for me.

Just take that first step, to step out and get help or serve or whatever He has been telling you to do. Yes, He will heal you, but you have to be willing to be obedient and do what work you have to get better. For me, my healing required work. Not that we have to earn our healing, but because you have to deal with the triggers and other issues…and honestly those do take work. I can also say every moment has been worth it. It is my prayer to see others on the other side of depression and anxiety. There are so many who are suffering that need us who have made it through, to cheer them on and give them hope…

That’s it for my thoughts on depression and anxiety for tonight. Here are a few of songs that have resonated with me the past couple of years. Check them out if you have time!

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Back in January I blogged a bit on my struggles with social anxiety. (see : Hi My Name is Kristie…) Hard to believe that was 9 months ago! Anyway, just wanted to post a little update on how that part of my journey is going.

In these past months, God has pushed me so much and as a result of me allowing Him to mold me, I have come so far. The fear part is slowly going away, and most days I can push through and not think about what a dork I might be. It’s getting a little bit easier to let my guard down and be myself around others. It wasn’t that I was pretending to be someone else, but that I would hold back so I wouldn’t get hurt. As a result of letting my guard down, God has blessed me with so many new friends. While we may not be close yet, I see the beautiful beginnings of friendships I have wanted for so long. And I am starting to see and believe I am not alone in my journey.

I am still struggling a little bit. There are times I run into people at the store, or I am in some other social situation and I am so challenged! I want to say and do the right and/or polite thing and get to know people better…but I seem to get lost in thought trying to figure out what my response should be. There are times where I walk away and pray that the other person realizes that I wasn’t trying to be rude. Other times, I sit in awkward silence with a person, wanting to know more about them, but just draw a huge blank as to what to say. I can’t help but laugh a little at myself at times like this, because looking back its quite comical to me.

I feel like God has helped me conquer a huge chunk of the social anxiety. I still have to work on some things, but I know He will continue to show me what to say in different situations. He is also helping me in dealing with being introverted. I am learning that there are things I can do to help me manage that side of me, so I can be more social without feeling so worn out. One of the biggest things is that there are times that I NEED to have quiet and “reset”. Ideally, I should have some downtime every night while the kids are in bed. Sometimes I have to do it in the morning or even just keep the radio off at night (which was really hard at first!) If I do one of those, then it seems I don’t feel so overwhelmed. If I don’t have that downtime, or it’s a crazy week, then sometimes I HAVE to take an evening or day (whether my kids like it or not) and stay home. I make sure it’s just for that day, and I don’t let it become an everyday thing (or I could fall into depression). But I find if I don’t take any time, I can get so cranky, anti-social and frustrated so easy. So hopefully that is a tip that can help others struggling with similar issues.

God is so good! He has done so much for me! I can’t tell you how good it feels to have others notice what He has done in my life over the past few years. I won’t take credit for it, because without Him I could have never have done any of it. I am thankful for the hope and healing He brings in ALL situations. And even if I don’t feel like I am getting to where I need to me, I KNOW and EXPECT that He WILL do something! So here I am, and can’t wait to see what God does next in my life!

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Of Caution and Rules

After some thought, prayer and discussion surrounding the topic of my last post, I thought it might be a good idea to do a follow-up post. When things like purity, holiness, and the like are brought up it can be an uncomfortable topic for many. It can prick the conscience of some and anger others. I am so thankful to have a few brothers and sisters in Christ willing to discuss things on my mind without it turning into a huge issue. So thanks to those who listen or read what’s going on in my head, it means a lot to me!

The first thing I should probably address is directed towards new followers of Christ or those who are still at the beginning part of their journey with Him. If you happened to read my last post or anything like it, then please be cautious. It can be easy to assume that there are a lot of rules to follow and/or that you aren’t doing enough. Please know that the only thing you need to “worry” about is love God, and loving your neighbor. God will do the rest!

I have been a Christian since I was 12, and seriously started pursuing God about 10 years ago. Since then I have been on quite the path, some good and some bad. There have been times where I did whatever I wanted and other times I had so many self-imposed rules that I nearly drowned. I can say that both were not healthy and following all those rules did NOT make me feel any closer to God. We have to be careful that we don’t abuse our freedom and use it to sin all we want. We also can’t go around making up rules to follow or following what others are doing because they look like they have it all together (because no matter how conservative or “separate” they are or how perfect they seem, they DO NOT have it all together).

I don’t have it all together, but I am on this journey. Along the way God has told me to do certain things or stay away from others, not because He wants me to have some rule to follow. He wants me to be obedient to Him, and sometimes that takes a little practice in smaller areas. I don’t do things to so I can “be saved”, I hope I don’t do them because man told me to. I want to do the things God tells me to because I love Him. One of the wonderful things about God, is that He deals with each one of individually, so each person may be asked to do different things at different times. He knows that we each have unique lessons to learn, and He knows how to accomplish teaching us those lessons!

To those beyond the beginning, we do have to be cautious about how we present our thoughts and opinions on stuff. We can’t go around using free speech just because we can. We have to keep in mind our words are powerful, and if we are not careful we could lead someone astray. The last thing I want is to post something and someone take it to mean they need to follow this rule and that rule to get to where I am at. It’s difficult for the “baby” Christians to see what we have been through to get to where we are, just like it’s difficult for us to see how our parents got to where they are at in their lives. We have to be careful not to load them up with “do’s and don’t’s” and encourage them to seek and love God for themselves. If they need correction for a serious sin or other possible issue, then biblical protocol should be used and it has to be done in love. It can be tough at times, but we do have a responsibility to help our family in Christ develop. Like I said, let’s give things thought before we speak. I know that there are times I need that reminder too.

Some Scripture that might be helpful in what I am talking about can be found in Romans. There are a lot of good things in that book related to the Law and grace and dealing with brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 14 is by far one of my favorites when dealing with differences of beliefs of what we are supposed to be doing.

And finally:

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
(Romans 15:1-3)

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Purity has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s probably because of the marriage series at church, but it is something that I have thought about so much the past couple of years. I find myself reflecting on what it means in my standards and how those standards measure up to what I know of God’s standards. The more I look at it, the more I see the areas I need to work on.

Sexual purity is easier for me to deal with now. I probably wouldn’t have said that several years ago. I had these ideal images in my head on how things would go in a relationship, but my relationship with God wasn’t where it needed to be. I didn’t take the time to set the standards and stick by them. Throughout my adult life, I had compromised what I thought were solid standards, in the hopes that unconditional love would follow. What I found was hurt and disappointment…mainly with myself. Now that I am a little older and wiser (and less hormonal?! LOL) I am able to see things a more clearly. I don’t find myself worried about what others think of my decisions and I am more concerned with what would God say if I did do this or that. I am more confident in my decisions not to have sex outside of marriage and not to even do “everything but…”. I am growing more and more confident in who I am in Christ and know that I am worth more than to compromise my beliefs, and that makes a huge difference in how successful I will be in following through with my commitment to God.

Like I said, the sex thing was pretty easy. What’s not easy is when God whispers, “Hey, you know there are other areas of purity besides sexual…” As a person who has been a follower of Jesus for years, I knew EXACTLY what He was telling me. It’s time to start looking at those areas again. Sigh. It’s not that I don’t want to become more pure, I just know it’s going to take some work. Ok, a lot of work. I have to admit, there are times lately where I grow weary of all this growth and change, it’s been at least 2 years at this break-neck speed, and He isn’t done with me! I finally get a moment to take a deep breath, and I am yanked off again in for another round of growth opportunity.

God just doesn’t want us to stop our journey of purity at sex. He has called us to a life of holiness. We are supposed to be set apart and everyday grow closer to Him. The more I get to know Him, the more I know I fall short, the more I know I need Him. And no matter how much He changes me in this life on earth the more that statement is true. It’s a frightening and beautiful thing all at the same time.

God let me know this week that while I have been doing some things right, I still have much to work on. Things like the following: tv/movies, other media, music, thoughts, etc. With tv/movies, it’s not such a huge problem at the moment. We don’t have cable or the converter box. We are limited to DVDs and short amounts of tv at other people’s houses. I have always been real cautious when buying things for the kids, but I have been lazy about thoroughly checking what they are watching. Then there are the DVDs I buy or have watched. There have been some old favorites that I now have to reconsider whether or not I should be watching them. Other media would pertain to stuff on the internet and such. For me that would have to do with me wasting time and not so much what I am watching. Music has been easy up until this past year when I slacked off with being as cautious as I used to be. Thoughts seem to be my struggle. It usually has to do with critical/negative thoughts aimed at people, self-depreciating, and the like. God has brought me a long way with that one, but they still creep up, and I try to put my focus on Him and not give those thoughts time to attach in my brain.

It’s in these areas that can be easy to push aside. In our society (even the church society as a whole) we say that certain things are ok, just as long as it’s “not that bad”. The problem with that is it could be a slippery slope or be the tiny thing that keeps us from a breakthrough. I am not going to sit here and tell everyone what to watch or listen to or read. What I will say is if God is convicting you of something; no matter how small…obey. I am saying that to myself too!

The major theme of all the change I have been through in the last couple of years has been trust in God. In EVERYTHING. He has been telling me that, and I KNOW that, but my flesh still wants to hold on to even the tiniest piece. I want to let go, but sometimes it’s hard to see that little thread that it’s attached to. All I know to do is keep praying, keep seeking, and keep taking steps forward, no matter how small. It’s going to take work, and a constant awareness, but this path to purity and holiness will be worth it all in the end. It is even worth it all now when I stop and think about it.

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I had put off writing a post on this topic for quite a while, just because I didn’t want it to come out that I wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. The more I think about it and all the junk in this life I know it’s got to be told. The main reason is because of this burden that God has given me for telling my story. He has made it clear that my story is not my own. It’s His, for His glory. This will likely be a long post, and I am a little sorry for it, but it must be to tell it.

Years ago, when I was in high school, I always swore I would NEVER be abused by any man. I was a bit of a tomboy, and maintained that if ANY guy laid a hand on me that I would beat the holy living crap out of him then kick him to the curb. I also knew my Dad would likely at the very least seriously maim anyone who dared hurt his baby girl. I thought I had a handle on things, not knowing that I had not really dealt with my self-esteem/self-worth issues.

It wasn’t long into my senior year, I met a man that I would later marry and have 2 kids with. He was the first guy who paid me any attention beyond 2 weeks, and seemed nice enough. He was also older with just enough of a hint of a bad boy image to drive my parents crazy. Overall he seemed pretty normal, no indications of anything wrong, except for the occasional depressed mood. I ended up pregnant and we got married. Things were as turbulent as to be expected for a young couple, who rushed into things and were not prepared for grown-up life. There were heated arguments, embarrassing scenes in public and plenty of his friends using our pad as a place to get high and drunk. It just seemed like life quickly changed, and my dreams of a traditional family life where flying out the window.

During this time he started having blackouts, sometimes while driving, sometimes at home. He couldn’t remember how he got to where he was. During one of those blackouts, I listened in horror to him regress to when he was 5 years old and was being sexually abused. It wasn’t long after that he would have these spells where he was so depressed he would sometimes hold a knife to his neck and threaten to kill himself. It seems like every week he was going to kill himself. When he went to the doctor, they just told him the blackouts were due to an old head injury from a car accident. I just accepted things as they were, and I just knew things would always be like this.

When my son was about 1 ½ years old or so, his blackouts became even more terrifying. If I remember correctly this is when he started sexually abusing and raping me. He deliberately got me pregnant, so I would leave him alone (his words). I remember him raping me, and all I could do was let him so I wouldn’t lose my baby. By the time my daughter was 1, I rededicated my life to God. Honestly, I think I would have given up had I not turned to Him. I had quite a few people praying for us, and I don’t think anyone had a clue as to what was going on at home. All I know, with my whole heart, is that He was there, so were His angels carrying me through.

One night, he snapped. I couldn’t see him in his eyes. It was the most terrifying moment in my life. This blackout was like nothing I had experienced with him. He told me he was going to rape me, kill me and then kill himself, all while our kids slept in the other room. I remember the fear I had, yet how at peace I was. I let him do what he was going to do, praying that God would make a way for me to get him help. After he sexually abused me, he came to and started bawling. He knew he had hurt me, and he hated that he did such things to me. I managed to get some help, and within a week he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Finally we had some answers, though I will never know if anything else was wrong. Eight years ago he passed away from a drug overdose. By then I had finally cut things off as much as I could with him for my safety and the safety of my kids. . I remember praying so hard for him to be healed, and he prayed for healing too. I don’t know why he wasn’t healed…all I know is that my Father knows and one day I will know.

Going through all of that, I know how easy it could be to hate an abuser. I know how hard it is to live through it. I also know the hope that they might get better, and things would be okay. I see how people can give up and go into substance abuse to deal with the pain. I see how people can continue to find abusers. I also see that forgiveness is so hard. I think in many ways knowing that he was mentally ill on some level made it easier for me to forgive. I could separate who he was on a good day from who he was during his blackouts, and know that he never wanted to hurt me. I know not all people have that, but I am thankful for it.

I don’t understand all of why I had to go through it. I don’t choose to dwell on why God allowed it to happen. All I know is that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for God. He is what I held on to during those moments of abuse. I believe that my story was written to help others who are going through similar situations. If just one person says, “If God brought her through that, then He can bring me through this” and believes it, then my story was worth every second. I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t change it. I don’t think I would have rededicated my life had it not been through those years of abuse.

The world says I should be a mess for what I went through. I should be a drunk, drug addict, abuser or suicidal at the very least. I did struggle with depression and anxiety, but it is only by the grace of God that I can write this and say, “I AM HEALED.”

To my readers, especially those abused: Know that you are loved beyond measure. Our Father holds every tear and holds you. You are worth more than to allow yourself to be abused. You can choose to leave. I am going to be blunt: they may threaten your life, but to die at least trying to protect you and your kids is better than staying and dying anyway. You can have healing. You can forgive. You can have the life you never thought possible. There are others praying for you, even if you don’t know them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The horrors of those moments
barely a whisper in the mind.
Survival somehow arrived
in the time needed most.
Memories faded, blurred with time…
Thoughts occur every now and again,
What was worse…
for it to have been a stranger?
or for it to be the one who was known?
Would it have mattered,
if the consent was there?
In those moments
fear was realized,
life could have been ended,
one or both.
Even during the nightmares
was Peace,
From the One
who knew every harm,
whispering, “Hold on…”
while shielding my heart,
my spirit.
Hurt still present,
but resiliency was strong.
He was there,
in those twilight images.
Through shock
Through tears and pleas
Holding close,
in a heavenly embrace.
Not a drop forgotten,
even as the splash continues to echo
ever so faintly.
what was meant for my destruction,
resulted in strength, in faith,
Life preserved and gained through Him.

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This describes some of what I was feeling when I was in bondage to depression and anxiety:

Sitting
Staring
in slow motion my heart beats.
Life rushes about
while I am sitting
and staring.
Waiting for my time,
for it would hurt too bad to live life,
to open my heart.
Bondage held me down,
paralyzed.
Longing to change,
but not sure how…
What can I do?
I am just a shell
that not even God can fill.
Slowly paralysis takes my voice,
my emotions.
All I am left with is
watching.

—- —- —- —

In the days of my youth,
I didn’t know which way to go.
In my immaturity,
I blindly followed the foolish;
for the way of Truth
was before my eyes,
and yet I did not see it.
My feet laid upon its soil,
yet my body did not acknowledge it.
I heard the whisper, I heard the call,
barely above the noise.
I felt my way through the darkness,
until I saw the ever growing light.
My every footstep gaining the distance
between us.
Eternal curiosity kept me wondering,
continuing on until the end,
when there will be no night,
And the infinite Light radiates
through all existence.

—- —- —- —-

What is wrong with me ,
that you would cast aside
the love I thought we shared?

Abandoned and alone, you left,
shattering vows
breaking promises.

Only One was there to pick up
the pieces that were left
And He has been there all along
Reminding me that
of all that people find wrong,
He has made right.

_______ ____

Legalistic methodologies,
flailing failures.
Grace-full momentum,
sweet refreshment
from blindness,
that was my captor.
Falling meant Your victory
Love flowing
flowing
through to my heart,
overcoming chains that enveloped.

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Writings Part 5

A dam was broken…
A flood ensues,
damaging only a past full of hurts.
Water pours forth,
consuming its path.
Going the way
the Creator originally intended.
The cleansing flow,
bringing forth refreshment
for a parched land,
as the release continues…
Not even the flood gates
had held it back.
It was His divine appointment
His will was to be done,
So break forth it did.

___ ____ ____

 

Am I worth more than this…
more than this page,
merely a dim reflection
of what He has done.
Could I be worth more to Him
than the very earth He shaped…
I am small compared to such.
Can I accept my given worth…
even if I do not see it…
As my value is shadowed
by insecurities gained.

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