Hello, This is Me

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Hello
this is me
today i am
tired
a tired that is in my bones
and my soul
a tired
that
makes it hard to smile
hard to walk
to think
to write
to read
to want.

Hello
this is me
I love God
I love Jesus
but I am tired
I have no desire for life
not to say I will stop it
just to say
that I do not want to do
anything
not because i am lazy
not because i do not care
but that i am tired.

My chest is heavy
as if my heart were stone
I feel far from light
even as I sit in the sun
far from people
even as I force myself to be out
to shop
and to do.
I feel alone
but know that I am not.

I know that my Lord
Creator and Lover of my soul
is here
with me
right now.
Loving me.
And I bask in that.
I tip my heart to Him
and let Him love me
as I am
tired and heavy.

I have hope that this will pass.
These feelings are not me
but they are a facet
just as a diamond has many facets
so does this person
and I am His
His jewel.

So I do my best today
do my best
to live
constantly talking to my Lord
because He gets me
He knows me
He loves me
and He doesn’t judge me.
He is my biggest fan,
doting Father
valiant warrior
loving protector
keeping the lies at bay.

hello
this is me
and I am His
not matter what.

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Sunday, Hulk Smash!

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There is nothing like a Sunday morning
for the Christian family.
Bible Study nights may come to a close second.
It is when legends of werewolves come to a reality.
When man or woman suddenly turns to beast.
No doubt there is a spiritual war going on.
Invisible to us, light and dark always fighting.
One to protect.
The other to destroy.
Add our own weaknesses to the mix
and we may be in for a dynamite morning
of hulk vs werewolf.
Add anxiety to the mix and nasty fireworks come flaming down
stinging everyone in the process.

This morning was such a morning.
The promise of a wonderful meal after church
will encourage attendance and a joy of upcoming fellowship for many
but for the person with anxiety
it becomes a cloud of doom and gloom hanging over every thought
that is linked to church for the entire week prior.
Meeting with people equals talking with people.
These are wonderful people.
Wonderful people I am admiring more every week.
People I want to know.
I want to know their stories,
their heart’s passions and their struggles.
And yet I am isolated by distance
and by anxiety.
As much as I want to know them,
as much as I want to be free of these chains
like in the songs we sing,
here they are…
linking my mind
tugging me back
binding me
tightening around my every thought.

So when my dear son comes to me with a question
of wanting his allowance I supposedly owe him,
I blow up.
I accuse him of being greedy.
After all it is Sunday,
what would he want to do with his money on a Sunday?
I do calm down
and tell him that I too struggle with such greed.
I tell him I see that he can be very generous
but he often wants more and more for himself as well.
I tell him that he may think we have tons of money
but in fact we do not.
I tell him many more things I do not remember,
gentling my voice
but feeling the anger build inside of me.

I finally walk away
grabbing my bible
which feels heavy and condemning in my hands
and stuff it in my bag.
I look at the clock and see that it is past the time we need to leave.
We will be late.
Again.
Even though we were up early.
Even though everything was ready.

I snap again.
Huffing and puffing.
Knocking things over,
slamming things down,
stomping my way through the house.
Tears blinding me.
Rage building inside me.
I stomp out to the van.
Slam the door.
and sit quietly
clenching teeth and fists.
I turn on the audio book we are listening to
just so no one will be tempted to speak.

My husband pulls out of the driveway
and I am seriously considering jumping out
and running back home.
I take out my van journal
and write to Jesus.
I write his name over and over again.
Seeking calmness.
I write and I pray.
I realize I blew up not because of my son
but again
because of this blasted anxiety.
The fear and tension I hold in every week.
Every social situation.
I was a smoldering wick alright!
And anxiety was gasoline.
All these raw emotions crackling through me
finally found vent and exploded.
Not for the first time.
Probably not the last.
But hopefully they will get fewer.

Because I am still fighting.
I want to be like Jacob
and grapple with God until I am blessed by him.
Because I am tired of this being my story.
I am tired of anxiety being my chains.

Jesus knows this is a fight for us.
It can be messy and painful.
Invisible to others but real to us.
A fight against brain chemicals,
habits, sin, past hurts,
and invisible demons.
A fight NOT to give in to anxiety.
A fight to say yes to God
and no to fear.
A fight to say NO to me
and yes to Him.
A fight to hear His voice
and know when to rest.
I want his peace.
He says it is here for me.
But I am struggling to understand it,
struggling to claim it,
struggling to live it.
But I can’t give up.
So I am hanging on to God.
Hanging onto Jesus.

As for my son…
when we got to the church parking lot.
I knew what I had to do.
I asked my family, especially my son,
to forgive my outburst.
I admitted something underneath my emotions
caused my outburst.
He quickly forgave me with a dimpled grin.
And as he walked me to the church door
he said “I wanted my allowance so I could give it to the church.”

Way to go Hulk Mama Werewolf.
Way to go.

Maybe next time,
I will bring it all to Jesus before turning green and seeing red.

 

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Defined

Anxiety and Depression
oh words that I hate
I do not want them to define me
And yet
they define so many of my actions
so many of my chains
my lack of action.

I want to help and be of use
I want to be free to understand
and use my gifts
when there is a need
I want to fill it
when my heart, mind and soul are feeling light
I am ready to shout YES to any request
[except cooking…]
But there are mornings, days or nights
hours, days, weeks or months
when the light goes out.
I am a wick flickering
a reed bending in the wind.

My head becomes full and heavy
my heart a stone in my chest
my soul dry.
I lay my head upon the Bible
I lay my head on the Word of God
and I rest in His lap.
He strokes my hair
and loves me.
He doesn’t forsake me.
He whispers truth into my ear.

I will not leave you.
You just have to wait.
You don’t even have to stand,
just stay here.
Wait in me.
Trust in me.
Rest in me.
I will give you strength again.
But it is ok right now
to be small.
Remember all I ask of you is that you believe
in the One I have sent.
And you are believing
and loving
when you lay your head right here.

The darkness comes
and words
even from the Bible
become like little daggers to my heart
showing me what I am not.
The wind howls and my light flickers
I am breaking
I can not stand
I can not see
I can not hear
truth or light.
Just dark and condemnation.
I assume everyone thinks the worst.

Oh but then comes that relief
sweet relief when
I once again see that I am not alone
but am at His feet
my head on His word,
His hand on my head.
His words covering me
protecting me
loving me.

I have not left.
I am right here.
Do not fret.
My will shall still be done
through you
because of Me,
just believe,
just love
just stay here.
With Me.

Oh Jesus,
My Jesus,
Oh God
My God,
In You is only where
I ever want to be.
In You
I am defined.

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The People Wall

Standing in church this morning
after a few weeks of stress, travel and stuff
and not going
All were standing
singing or listening
Praising God
One voice
and yet a variety.
I felt a strength blossom inside
a protection
a shield rise around all of us.

Individually
all of us are weak
fallible
we let each other down.
maybe even more in a church
where we perhaps expect a sort of perfection
we at least except unconditional love and support.
But we fall short.

I know I do.
I can judge at times too hasty.
I can look to my own needs instead of others.
Jesus help me to grow…

But one thing struck me this morning
as we stood as one,
each with our own issues,
our own struggles,
our own stories.
We stood
and we sang to God.
Together.

And in the eye of my imagination
I sensed Him shining on us
and standing between us
and the invisible enemy.
Deep within
outside of my imagination
in the core of my being
I felt the security,
the strength
that flowed in each of us.
Not of ourselves.
No we are too weak,
too fallible,
No it was from Him.
Standing together,
like little soldiers,
His power there
in us.
His love there
in us.
In my heart of hearts
and soul of souls
I prayed for that feeling
to stay with me every second of eternity
starting now.
I know it won’t.
Too soon
I will let my tongue speak before by brain says no,
I will get overwhelmed by my stress
and not look to helping another.

But Jesus,
My God,
help me to remember,
to be filled and moved
by that LOVE.
That security.
It is a security that is soul deep
and eternity wide.
We will be killed by this world.
We will be disappointed.
We will disappoint others.
But that love.
That LOVE that IS
IS GOD.
That is what binds us.
Together.
And to Him.
It is GLORIOUS.
It is WONDERFUL.
It is SECURITY.
A security we can not get in this broken but beautiful world.

Oh to stand,
shoulder to shoulder,
soldiers of this life
and be filled by
that LOVE.
Truly glorious
and wonderful
to proclaim
Jesus,
Jesus,
My God
You are glorious and wonderful.

Belonging, Journey to Wholeness

Belonging
It is so hard to belong.
It is so hard to reach into other’s lives
to invite myself in
and invite them into mine.
With every posting to a new home
I hope in my heart
that this will be the place
that will be home on earth
a temporary place
where I can belong,
be part of a church family
and community.
A place where anxiety will be faced
and will be defeated.
Each place brings new hopes.

We are on the edge of such hope again.
A new posting.
New hopes.
New dreams.
But I realize I am still me.
The deepest parts of myself will come with me
when we go:
the anxiety
the days of not feeling well
my fear of judgement,
as well as my desire to belong,
my desire to be rid of this awful thing
that colours every thought I have.

I want to be able to just be.
To grab hold of the freedom Jesus talks about
and to live life to the fullest.
And yet when people talk to me,
I am both lifted and dashed.
I need this people connection.
I crave it.
But I fear it.
They can bring out the best in me.
They can draw out the life in me
and the smile and the love.
But always inside
this broken mind
is a darkness that pulls at me
like a whirlpool under water,
sucking and pulling,
threatening everything that is good and light.
I second guess what I am saying,
I fear our next visit
I analyze my words
over and over to see the foolish things I said
and I assume always
that I am lacking too much
to be truly liked.

This anxiety makes it so hard to belong anywhere.
It is so exhausting that no matter how much I have liked people
and places and churches,
I feel an inward need to back away,
to go elsewhere
to rest
and go along with a new posting
in hopes that eventually
something will click in place and work properly.

Being a military wife
has brought me that freedom
to be able to step back
and try a new route
but deep inside
I know that I am fleeing.
Always trying to flee
the uncomfortable
exhausting world that is my mind.
But always
it comes with me.

Lord
help me to trust.
Help me to maintain the battle stance
and not back down.
Help me to love and be loved.
Help me to trust when people seem to care for me.
Help me to belong no matter where I am.

My head can know that I am yours.
My heart rejoices that I have a husband
who loves me so deeply
and kids whom I adore.
But this brokenness,
this fear of others,
this fear of others’ thoughts and opinions…
it has to stop Jesus.
It has to stop
because I am not living.

But I put my hand in Yours.
I am a little girl
trusting you
to continue to guide me
into healing and wholeness.
You will not leave me
to wander off of a cliff
and you will not let me
get lost too deeply in my mind.
You whisper
‘go there’
‘do this’
and I trust
one little step at a time.
When I do not listen
you wait
and you give me another chance.
and another.

You are a God of many chances.
A God of healing
and wholeness.
You fiercely love us Lord.
You fiercely love us.
Thank you.

My hope remains in You Lord,
and I continue to work
toward that wholeness in You,
being built up
piece by piece
brick by brick
as you lead me on.

 

Personal Note:
I fear sharing this on my blog as I don’t want friends and church family to read it and think any less of themselves or be fearful in approaching the anxious person. My anxiety, like all of our quirks, does not only affect me. It affects those around me: my husband and my kids, friends and family. It is an ongoing discussion on our house and one that we will have to keep having as feelings can be hurt and actions misinterpreted. Anxiety is not an excuse to hurt people. But I have had my horrible moments of lashing out or hiding away, or hurting myself. It is a process to learn how to better cope, and how to untangle my mind in order to have healthier relationships. This is a process for me. A long process. There are many people in my life I love and adore. but for some reason I will freeze up if we talk on the phone or I will have panic attacks if I know they are coming. I do not want you, if you know me personally, to be offended or hurt by this or God forbid, never reach out to me again! Just pray if you are a person of faith and continue to be who you are. I will continue to work this out with Jesus, God willing, with the continued help and support of my amazing husband, who is my little rock.

The Walk

The spring summer sun calls to me,
the fields of green,
splattered with
little purple, white
and yellow flowers below,
leafy green branches above.
It beckons me to walk
and be at peace.

Lord you walk with me
and hear my inmost thoughts.
You are the sunlight
that wraps itself around me.
Though my body shivers still
from the cold eastern breeze
I feel your love upon me
your presence filling me.

Walking with you is not always sweet
and sunshine.
But the knowledge that I am never alone,
the promise of your kingdom,
your presence,
the hope of forever with you,
may that keep me going
and keep me firm.

But today Lord,
today I walked
and I am filled with deep joy
to know that you see
you care
you love.
And you are with me
my summer sun
no matter the colours of the sky.

The Day the Cake Broke Me

My son’s twelfth birthday cake broke me.
After throwing out three batches of icing I did not like
and having to remake two cakes because two literally fell apart,
I was writing my husband at work
telling him I was ready to throw it all into a dark abyss.
But for some reason I kept slogging on.
Exhausted.
Stressed.
Frustrated.
All so my son could have a two second moment of
“wow…this is cool.”
Was it worth it?

I turned to my husband the day of my son’s birthday
as he helped me to reach a calm
and helped me fill plastics tubes with my final icing
and I said
“This whole thing has me reconsidering everything in my life!”
He listened,
trying not to show his amusement that I seemed to be reaching an
early mid life crises,
as I went on to say
that it isn’t that I regret having kids.
No,
It is that
I always thought I would want to be home,
want to be baking, and creative and filled with imagination.
But the truth of it is…
I really hate making cakes.
I dislike baking,
especially when I can not eat what I bake because it upsets my belly every time.
I am tired of meal plans.
And cooking.
And grocery getting.
And budgeting.
Tired of planning birthdays
and stressing over a million details.

On and on I went.
Spewing out my frustration as my husband took over for the little time
he could during his lunch hour,
his capable hands
carefully making delicate ploomps (yes I just created that word!) of green icing
on the cake to emulate grass,
while I messily and grumpily filled the other plastic tube thing full of icing.

Before heading back to work,
my husband holds my shoulders
and thanks me for doing what I am doing.
I thank him for keeping me sane.
He goes to work
and I go to cake.

But I am thinking…
maybe it isn’t that I am not cut out for any of this
but that for as long as I can remember
I have felt not enough.
That I do not give enough.
When I was a kid and it was my parents’ birthday
or Christmas or whatever.
When I had pen pals in school.
No matter what,
when I had to give something of myself,
I always
always felt lacking.
I needed to buy one more thing.
Make one more thing.
Send one more thing.

When I had kids
this became more intense.
I do not give big birthday parties.
We shy away from huge gatherings.
Even though our birthdays have usually been simple,
inside I am always a mess,
weeks before a child’s birthday,
stress and anxiety are building inside me,
tainting every moment
leading up to the big day.

I try so hard because
I want to make the cake special.
Not professional
because I am not gifted in that.
But I try to make it into a representation of something they like,
I try to send a message
saying “I see you,
I know you.”

But it comes at a cost of my sanity.
My anxiety is high
as I think and overthink
recipes,
cake toppings,
icings.
I think and re think gifts
and little party games.
Fearing all the while that it will not be enough.

Where does this come from?
When I was a kid,
it was enough.
My parents made me a cute normal cake almost every year
(only once in a while, it might have been a store bought one)
and they put silly things on it
that I loved.
They were not fancy.
But they were cute
and they were personal.
They said
“I see you,
I know you.”
And the little cake would make us all smile and feel
that family bond.

My gifts were enough.
It was enough.
But I am betting that my mother
and maybe even my dad
struggled in similar ways.
Wondering if what they were doing
was indeed enough.

And so as I struggled with the familiar
birthday anxiety
I was re thinking many things in my life.
And still am.

I can list off the things I do not do enough
or do well enough.
I struggle with teaching my kids to clean up after themselves,
to do their chores consistently,
I struggle to meal plan
and afford groceries,
I struggle to teach them healthy eating.
We do not regularly have bible studies.
I do not pray with them every night at bed.
The list can go on and on.
And somedays it does truly go on and on
until there is nothing left in my heart
because I have torn myself to pieces.

My prayer for myself
and for other Moms
is that we could be calm,
to rest.
To know that
indeed,
we are not enough.
but in that not enoughness
we are in fact
enough.

Yes I like making up words.

I would like to learn soul deep
what God knows.
In Him
I am covered.
My life is with Christ
hidden in God.
His power
is made perfect in my weakness.
My not enoughness
lets him do the work He needs to do.
In me.
In my kids.

Lord,
I loved that moment when my son’s face lit up
seeing that cake.

When I told my kids
this would be the last cake I make,
and heard their groans,
I knew that
God willing,
it isn’t the last cake I will make.

Because I love seeing their faces light up.
I am willing to go through the frustration and stress
of showing them
“I know you,
I see you.”

But Lord,
I am not good at this.
It is stressful for me.
And I am no expert at it.
I struggle with doing these tasks.
I struggle with so many things.
Being consistent in parenting.
Judging my husband as being too harsh,
while knowing I am too lenient.
Not leading our kids in consistent prayer
and Bible reading.
Not serving others.
Again
the list can go on.

But Jesus,
I am so glad
that I can put this list at your feet.
I can nail that list to the cross.

My kids are not mine.
For a time
you have blessed me with them.
But they are your creation.

So Jesus,
use me in my not enoughness.
Use my strengths,
use my weakness,
to do Your will.

And
in the empty places
of their own hearts,
I pray that these kids would meet you.

In the places they are weak,
I pray they will lean on you
to seek your strength.
to seek your love.
to seek you.

Jesus,
and I pray,
that you will teach this stubborn heart
that I do not have to be perfect.
That my cake does not have to be perfect.
But that I can rest in my imperfection
and just do the best I can do,
leaning on you
in all things.

Sink this truth into my soul
deep into my mind,
Jesus,
that
You are enough.
For me,
and for them.

And if I am unable to make a cake.
That will be ok too.
Because it is not about the things we can do for one another
but it is about what you did for us
and what you continue to do.

This is all about you Jesus.

And how much I need you,
we need you,
in the big things
and in the little things.

Superstore Panic Attack

I went to the big grocery store today.
I usually go for a few items because
the lights are too bright,
the shelves are too stocked,
the choices are too many,
and the traffic more peopled.

I have felt panic in this store.
The Atlantic Superstore.
But as I walked in this morning,
I reflected that it had been a while since I had any sort of panic.
I was looking forward to getting my groceries finished.
And I was feeling confident in doing it.
Even thinking
“what was it about this place that bothered me so much”.

And then it began.
The produce section was filled with choices
and filled with people.
I tried to stick to my list and not get distracted.
I moved onto the baked goods section,
More people,
But I am doing ok.
I wonder and look for some new ideas for the kids’ lunches.
I make a few choices and move into the meat section.

Here my big cart feels like a bus
and every time I turn I either hit someone or a display.
“Clang”
“You drive like me” laughs an elderly lady.
I cant’ help but smile back,
glad I didn’t offend.
But inside I am thinking
“this is crazy!” There is no space to move in here.
Not only are there many other shoppers.
Half are in a hurry, huffing by with their little shopping carts like tiny locomotives
Half are standing still with the same glazed look in their faces as I have on…
Looking at choice after choice and price after price
trying to decide what to get.
Then there are those few that just do not know any one else is the store
and stand in the centre of everyone’s way.

I could have accidentally bumped them
but I didn’t.

It’s ok,
I tell myself.
I am doing this.
I am fine.
This is good.
I am good.
I breathe in and out
slow and steady.

I knock into a few more displays
Seriously
what is wrong with me!!

I play Canadian with some guy
“Go ahead..” I say, pulling my cart back
“Oh no, you go ahead” he says
“No you go” I smile
“Thank you” he steps up and as I am about to follow,
he steps back
“Actually I need to be there.”
Ugggh!!
Why do I have the Canadian Curse of Politeness and Apology!

I smile, gritting my teeth,
hearing my jaw click clacking.

I continue my inner dialogue.
It’s ok.
I am good.
I can do this.
I am doing this.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Keep going.

I make it down to the dairy section
and my breaths are coming faster.
I see the polite Canadian guy standing there
and my heart starts to pound a little harder.
He is just standing there.
Do I go around him?
In front of him?
I pass him, pretending to look at a wall of yogurt
in order to avoid eye contact.
God forbid we play another game of Polite Tag.

My breathing is coming fast.
In
Out
In
Out

slow down
I command myself.
Breathe.

I take my phone out and text my husband.
Hey
~hey
Are you able to talk right now? I just really need to hear your voice?
~I’m in the middle of something, but will call as soon as I’m done.
~K

Maybe when he calls
the sound of his voice will calm me.
Yes, that will help.
Just keep going.
I move on down the frozen isles.

This is ok,
I am still making good choices.
I can focus on my list.

I load the cart.
But my movements are slowing down.
My breathing getting deeper,
My chest tightening.

I go around the corner,
the cart is heavy to push,
my vision begins to blur,
my breath is coming faster.

Slow down.
Breathe slowly.
I duck my head as tears start to burn.
I clang into another display!

I go down the isle,
grabbing a few cereal boxes under $5.
that should do.
Come on,
you can do this.
Keep walking.
There are so many people.
On the left,
Before me, behind me.

My phone buzzes.
I answer
but I can’t answer,
nothing much comes out
just a whisper
as my breath is caught in my chest and is being squeezed out of me.
I am dizzy
I am seeing black..

“What’s up? Are you home” Nathan asks,
I somehow strangle out “superstore”
“ I’ll get a ride. I will be right there.”
“K”

Tears are finally making their way down my face.
I wish I had a hood on.
People are on all sides! I just need out of this isle!
But it is blocked.
I wait.
I wait some more.
Finally the way clears and I make it to the household section
where there is at least some more space and less people.

I want to fall down and curl up.
But that would bring attention.
I wipe my tears,
stuff them back inside.
Try to look like I am not having a panic attack.
My breathing is coming in quick snaps
and my chest is so tight it is painful.

Jesus
I whisper
Jesus.
I know He is there.
I know I will be ok.
It is sort of a calm panic.
But I don’t like it.
I want to leave.
But I will not leave my groceries.
Not after that battle!
This load is coming home with me!
I didn’t go through that for nothing!
So I stay
stay with one hand clamped to the cart
the other hand holding my phone,
watching the “find friends’ app progress
and seeing the dot move closer to me.
That is my husband.
He will be here.
He can take me to the van.
Protect me from being seen.
And he can stand in line and buy these groceries.
Sorry my Love.

I battle tears,
my body shakes,
I suddenly feel ferociously hungry,
my breathing continues.

I jump when he finally steps by me.
He wants to hold me
but I just need to go.
I tell him in between short sharp breaths that
I am not leaving these  groceries here,
he is going to have to stand in the insanely long line
after he deposits me in our vehicle.

I cling to his arm once we are out of the store,
I am so dizzy from my deep breathing
it is hard to see or focus on anything.
I feel near to collapsing.
He brings me to our van,
I slide in.
He turns the van on and blasts on the ac.
I am thinking distantly
“I don’t need that..”
when the wonderful cool air hits my face
and I find my body melt into it
and begin to relax.
My breathing slows.

He sits with me for a minute
but I send him in to get our groceries.
For about twenty minutes I sit
and let my body calm down.
My hands are shaking,
fingernails are blue,
My legs feel weak
and my chest feels like it has a bowling ball lodged inside of it.

But gradually,
as I breathe in that cool air,
I calm.
The shaking stops.
The chest pain falls away
and the tightness slowly loosens.
I am left feeling exhausted.
And hungry.

That was a panic attack.
At one time I would have felt great shame in it.
But recently my heart is coming to accept that I have anxiety.
Accepting it does not mean giving up.
But it does mean understanding that I have limitations.
Just as others do who have a sickness or disability.

This gradual perspective change
is what is bringing real healing into my mind.
My anxiety may not be healed,
but the way I view it can be.
I may feel embarrassed that my husband’s co workers may find out I had this happen.
Or that some people saw me on my way out of the store
looking like a wreck I am sure.
But there is no shame.

I faced it.
I called for back up.

What could I have done differently?
I could have left or shortened my trip
when I began to do methodical breathing.
I could have remembered to keep my emergency anxiety pills
with me and tried one of those out!
So maybe next time will be different.

But I feel somehow victorious today
as I recognized what was going on.
I also learned once again
that when we think we have beaten something,
that thing can sometimes come back in a heartbeat!
So being aware of our thoughts and reactions,
both mind and body,
is really important.
I thought I had beat the “Superstore Anxiety”.
But I didn’t.
And that is ok.
I will go back.
With a smaller cart.
A smaller list.
And I will be ok.

If I am not ok.
I will still be ok.
If you know what I mean.

In the meantime
I should probably practice deep breathing
so that I can learn how to not black out!

What’s the Point?

Love.
Jesus is Love.
God is Love.
Love.

Mercy.
Compassion.
Protection.
Life.
Hope.

Love.

Oh Jesus,
there are some days
when I feel no love.
when I feel no purpose.
an emptiness pervades.

what is the point.

when I compare to others
who are doing things
good and wonderful things,
some know you
some do not.
I am a dog with its tail between its legs.
Hiding away.
in shame.

But Love
lifts my chin gently
and warms me with its light
and says

you all have a purpose.
your purpose is to love.
and to be loved.
your purpose is to know your creator.
your purpose is to live in Me
limp in Me
scream in Me
laugh in Me
die in Me
live forever with Me.

For the love of Jesus
just be loved.

And step by unfurling step
love in return.

Before

My kids find it amazing and scary
to think of the time before they were here
before they lived.
One boy compares it to a tv that is turned off one moment
and then turned on
alive and in colour the next.

I open my Bible to one of my favourite verses
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:16

Before one of us came to be
you knew us,
each of us,
individually,
from first to the last,
you knew us.
Those who would not make it to take a breath.
Those who would live to die young
Those who would live to die old.
You knew each and every one.
You know each and every one.

The graves we pass every day
may be grey and cold stone
faded and even unknown
but you know
each and every one
you knew them before they were born
and you know them even now
when they are dust.

It is good to be known.
So good to be seen.
To know we are loved.
To know we will not be forgotten.

God
Jesus
You created all of our souls
from unborn to old
past, present and future.
Not one is beyond you.
It is truly mind bending
beauty
to be so known.

All our days
ordained.

May everyone know
they are so precious
in your sight Lord.

May everyone know.

Amen.

Lifeblood of Hope

When the night enters in my mind
where do I go?
When the crush of fears
paralyze me
where do I go?
When the future seems too much,
much too much to bear
where do I go?

I turn to Hope.
It is more than a thing.
Living
Breathing
Moving.
It has a name.

When I am fearful of change.
Fearful for my kids.
When everything looks too dark
I turn to Hope.

Hope has a name.

Jesus
you are true.
Jesus
you are real.
Jesus
you are here.

Jesus
you are a warrior king.
Jesus
you are the gentlest friend.
Jesus
you are love
Jesus
you are the God
of all.

Jesus
here I am
trying to give it all to you.

Jesus
you are the lifeblood of my hope.

Staying In, Looking Up

Curled up on my bedroom floor
waiting for time to pass
is not what I desire from life.
But that is where I was a few evenings ago.
The day started out peaceful enough.
I walked my dog on a nice snowy morning
enjoying the fresh air
and laughing at the joy my dog
freely expressed as she romped and rolled in the snow.
But as the day went on,
as I went about my duties
of cleaning and cooking,
an emptiness settled in
as tangible peace and joy
trickled out.
Noticing my mood slip
and realizing the negative thoughts I was silently fighting,
I would stop my task and start praying.
Remembering scriptures
and trying to meet my thoughts head on,
trying to fight with truth.
I would clean and then stop and pray.
About 2 in the afternoon I felt prompted to put aside
all of my duties and pray.
So I prayed.
Out loud.
Starting with repeating the name of Jesus.
I prayed my thoughts
asked for strength
guidance
and purpose.
I prayed for protection against demonic influence
and lies
I prayed for brain chemicals to be realigned.
It felt good to talk to Jesus
out loud.
I felt some peace
some connection
but still as my boys came home from school
I had to stretch the smile across my face
and force myself to be present
even though my heart and mind
were feeling more vacant by the second.
By the time my older kids came home
I had given up
and went upstairs to sit on my bed,
for more prayer and solitude.
By the time my husband came home
I was a shell.
I could not interact with the children.
I could not meet my husband’s gaze.
I felt empty.
sad.
alone.
I tried fighting that
and continued to pray.
silently.
continued to write my prayers
and my thoughts.
But soon even words dried up.
Tears came and went.
But life seemed further away.
Fear that I will always be this shell entered.
My husband would come upstairs and sit with me
on the bed,
holding me if I allowed
and looking at me with concern.
I didn’t want him there
to see me so weak.
I hated the tears that would burn my eyes
and I hated the emptiness I felt inside.
As much as I didn’t want him to see me,
I didn’t want him to leave me.
But he needed to spend the evening with the children.

At one point in the evening as I sat curled on the bed
I imagined a cage
like an old circus cage for lions.
I was in it,
but the door was open,
and I was curled up in the furthest part
from the open door,
too tired to leave it myself.
When next my husband came to check on me,
he asked me if there was anything he can do.
I pictured the cage again
and felt prompted to say
“take my hand and lead me downstairs”.
I thought the words in my head,
but I did not say them.
So,
he left me again, reluctantly,
to go sit with our kids before their bed time.
I soon slipped from the bed to the floor.
Desiring a small and dark and cold place
to curl up and not exist.
I cried.
Then I just stared.
I do not even know if I slept
or if I just stared.
I just know I did not really exist.
I lay down
curled up on the floor.
Soon my husband came up again to check on me.

He knelt down and whispered gently
“do you know you’re on the floor?”
I nodded.
I sat up.
He took my arms and I stood.
I felt so vacant.
He held me.
I finally sat down with him beside me
and tried to put my emotions
and my emptiness into words.

Sometimes I just feel alone.
Even though I am surrounded by a family
who loves me and whom I love
Even though Jesus is in me
and I talk to Him
Even though I have no reason not to be joyful
I still struggle…

I am thankful these bad times tend to pass for me
instead of holding me in their grip for days on end.
Sometimes I am just tired and sleep will give me renewed strength.
But even on my good “lighter” days
there can be that unexplainable emptiness or sadness.
That aloneness.
A vulnerability that will have me crashing easily
and walking out of the house
in a desire to leave everything that aches behind.
But it comes with me.
It always comes with me.
I am just thankful that Christ is always with me.

Even when I choose to stay curled up in that cage
with the door wide open
He does not leave me.

I am on this journey
and I am trying to learn to love myself through it
To not live in the shame of this weakness.
After all,
if the Lord asks those who are strong to bear
with the failings of the weak
in Romans 15:1
then maybe
I can realize that I do have some strengths
but that I also have weaknesses
and instead of hating myself because of them
and feeling hopeless in them
I need to bear with myself
just as we are called to do for one another.
I need to be patient with myself
and continue to find strength in Christ.
In precious Jesus
who sees each of us with a clarity
that comes from a kindness and gentleness
and a fierce warrior love.

So my soul,
“Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.”
because He is not done with me yet.

Trapping the Dark

I stopped writing because I was sick of myself
tired of the negative me
wishing myself away.
I let those voices get the best of me,
those saying I have nothing but darkness to offer,
that people are tired of me,
that I will only end up staying where I am,
in my comfortable anxious box,
not allowing the world in.

But that is not true.

Well, some people may get tired of me,
I do not know.

But I was afraid that by writing about my anxiety and depression
I was somehow letting myself become identified by it alone
and would never move beyond it.

Well where did it get me,
listening to this judgmental voice?

In a dark place
with tape over my mouth
hands tied.
Prayers a groan of the spirit.

Somewhere along the way
I have let the armour of God fall off of me.
I began holding His sword,
the words of life,
with the wrong end,
inflicting harm
drawing blood,
using His words
against me.
Seeing only how short I fall
and never being able to rest in His love,
mercy
and
grace.

It is still a struggle
and one that brings confusion to me.
Because I compare.
I compare with people around me,
I compare myself to the word of God,
and the contrast is sharp.
Because I am broken.

Anxiety and Depression
are a reality for me.

But when I write,
I fight.
I put what is dark into the light
and keep praying and seeking
victory
and soul deep transformation
so that through this journey
He can shape me
piece by sometimes painful piece
into a Woman who is surrendered to Him
who fully loves, trusts and serves Him.

When I try to wrestle with my anxiety and depression
with only the dark voices leading me to do better,
I cast myself into a self made pit
and curl up
away from people who are brighter and stronger than I am.
You know,
those who say yes or step up when needed.
They love God
and serve others with joy.
I admire and envy their energy and their tenacity
knowing many have experienced greater suffering than I.

So,
I push myself away,
sink down
because I fear I am being selfish,
disobedient
and not loving by saying no.
I fear I am using anxiety and depression as an excuse.

That is what the dark voice says.
It is crafty and cunning
and sneaks in there.

I will seek God’s direction when faced with a decision
to do something that I know will challenge me mentally and emotionally
and when I hear or feel His leading
in one way or the other,
there is a process.

I will feel God’s peace,
a sense of strength
and clarity.
Almost as if He braces my very back bone
as he sends me in that direction.

But as soon as I begin to take the step forward,
that is when the voice enters.

If I am making a decision others will not understand
or will not like,
I am being selfish.
I am not loving.
The words of condemnation come softly pouring down
until I am muddled again and confused.

This is where relationship with Christ
has to meet with reading the word of God.
It is not enough to just read the bible,
nor would it be enough to hold a sword
without proper training.
I can know the basics of what I am supposed to do
but that does not mean I can do it all.
Or that I should do it all.
Just as,
holding a sword alone
would not enable me to fight an enemy.

In order to do any of it,
I need HIM.
I need His words of love and affirmation seared on my heart
my soul and my brain.
A foundational stance,
my feet secure,
my hands gripping the sword hilt.
I need His guidance,
that little or big nudge
to go in a direction.
The training to deflect blows
and the direction to give them.

I understand that
not everyone needs this type of
let’s say…
parenting.
And there are times I know it is ok if I make a decision without it.
But for many decisions in my life
because i walk a fine line of shaky mental health
I need it.

Not all teaching is going to benefit me.
Not all scripture is going to encourage me all the time.
And comparisons
slowly destroy me and my spirit.

I want to be liked.
But on a deeper level,
I think..
I do not want to be seen as lacking.
And yet I see myself as lacking every day I wake up.
I do not have a job.
It would be so anxiety inducing
I am not able to handle it at this point.
Some days it is like I have cotton filling my head
and it is hard to do basic things.
And then there are the times
I fear sharing my struggles
especially with Christians
because i will be met with
a
“Faith will beat all” or
“God promises to give you His strength” speech
while intentioned to be good and motivating
is akin to saying
“You are lacking in faith and knowledge of the word of God.”
You are lacking
Essentially
You are not enough.

It joins the dark voice in an oppressive chorus
until I am truly curled up like a dog
in a dark pit,
welcoming the rain that is slinging mud and water on top of me
covering me up
so that no eyes can see my misery.

There is truth in the words.
That is why it hurts.
And satan, the enemy of our souls
and his cohorts,
know this and they know how to wield it.

The truth is God does give strength.
And faith gives life and freedom.
God does indeed help us
and he WANTS to help us to really live and love.

But I can not live someone else’s faith walk
or live upon their understanding and heart knowledge
or their relationship with God.

What may be slow and broken to them
is a work of ongoing healing for God.
When I do not let these voices in,
I am at peace.
Even when faced with difficult decisions and tasks,
even faced with anxiety and fatigue,
if I walk with God and am able to hold the dark voices,
and perceived or not perceived notions of others
at bay,
then I find strength, peace and life.

But for the Anxious One to do this alone,
it is impossible.
Because we are weak.
We not only need to be constantly talking to God
and listening to Him,
seeking to rest in Him,
but we need people in our lives who understand
and can built us up in truth
and help us to fight the dark voices.

Oh if only I can truly
wake every morning
and trust every second of the day
that there indeed is
“NO condemnation for those who
belong to Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law
of the Spirit who gives life
has set you free
from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2)

So the dark voice that whispers
we are lacking
we are not enough
we are not faithful
we are not loving
and anything else that reeks of darkness,
condemnation and oppresses the spirit,
ALL of that is death
and it is of the enemy.

The truth is
we are all lacking.
But we are not without hope.
And as long as we keep seeking our God’s presence
and direction,
through reading His word
and spending time with Him,
then He will keep shaping us
and transforming us.

We are not a disappointment to Him.

We are His beloved workmanship,
His own creation
and yes,
He does desire and will
for us to be free.
That is why He sent Jesus to die for us,
that is why He sent the Holy Spirit down
so He, God of all creation,
can live in us
and help us.
But it is a process.
And each person from Adam to the last,
will have a different story,
a different timeline.
So let us be patient
and let us trust
that through it all,
though the process be slow
and painful,
The Potter’s hands are to be trusted.

And His voice
is gentle and humble in heart.
There
we will find rest for our souls.
And there,
we
will
be
recreated.