Saturday, November 22, 2014

Enjoying people, enjoying God

Yesterday I had a few friends over to the farm to take pictures, stroll around, enjoy the day, scenery and God.  An old friend and some new.  I have a really nice camera.  I have had it for a couple of years and have not grown to enjoy it any more than the first day I used it.  It has lots of horns and whistles but I don't know what they do.  Upon meeting my new friend, he immediately took my camera off automatic and in so many words said leave it on manual if you want really good pictures.  He showed me how to adjust the light and off we went.

He talked about taking pictures as an art and how we use it to invite the imagination of the viewers.  He saw beauty and a great picture in things I had not thought of.  I would ask this a good one?  He would give me a few pointers but say if you like it it is good.  I found myself taking pictures of roads that led no where, of piers that had no end, of weeds that seemed to bloom in the sunlight, ponds that reflected, you thought it to be mirrors you could walk into.  I took a lot of pictures that the lighting was bad but I learned to learn you have to be willing to risk and take a chance of failing.  My eyes seemed to be wide open to Gods beauty and creativity as we shared visions we each saw.  We share some hearts and stories too.  It couldn't have been more spiritual than if we were in church.  We were enjoying God, His creation that whispers I love you, and each other that says here is who I am.  Who are you?  Will you share these moments in time with me than cannot be recaptured anymore that a setting sun.  We were there for such a time as we had to grab the goodness of Gods beauty and capture it for others to enjoy.

I told him, he enjoys writing, how I loved to write but struggled getting things on paper these days.  His friend, commented if just one benefits and you enjoy it it is a good thing.  We in American think big.  If God doesn't bless it and make it where lots of people view our work and creativity then it must not be good.  I was thinking this morning.  I don't think God takes any more delight in Billy Graham than He did in us yesterday glorying in His greatness and sharing with each other.  Maybe you are a mom who hardly gets out of the house but you are raising children to love God and working on a difficult marriage, washing clothes and cooking and doing dishes to serve your family.  Trying to reach the hearts of those who live in the house you call home.  You, my dear are giving great glory to your Savior as you depend on Him to do what you cannot do.  As you call His name, Jesus, throughout your day, give me your grace to make is a beautiful thing.  It is communing with Him.  You are tapping into the riches we have in Christ.  We each are created and chosen for a purpose no one else can fill.  We are to give our lives to living for His glory.  We can be so blessed by God but if we are not implementing those blessings into life, what He has given us in promises, blessings and relationship with Father, Son and Spirit, we might as well be broke.  When our eyes are opened to the riches we have in Christ and it becomes a part of our daily living we are in a place that Jesus calls the abundant life.  Loving and depending on Him and HIs Son through His Spirit, it is a peace and joy that nothing can take away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Whisper my name

Well Thanksgiving is approaching and we are to be thankful right?  Have you ever had a sad day?  Your not really sure why.  You try to find reasons.  Maybe there has been too many holidays in the past that were harder thank you hoped.  Maybe you are tired and weary and you are caring a load you were not meant to carry.  What happened to the freedom Christ has given you.  Maybe you have focused on what you think you should have done in life for Jesus and others.  Great things and they just didn't happen.  Maybe there are some relationships that are not where you think they should be.  No it is not raining.  It is not a cloudy day.  You are just sad.  You had all these plans of writing your friends and family cards telling them how thankful you are for them and it hasn't happened.  You have sat around and meditated much too much on theology.  Ask God to be sufficient for you wondering when the rescue will come.

You think through and you have more blessings than you can count.  God has used hard times for blessings.  He has worked miracles in your families life.  You have more than you ever deserve.  What about the starving ones.  The homeless man you saw on the street just a few days ago.  How it pierced your heart.  You feel like you could be in a room of 100 and be lonely.  It has not happened over night.  You have been withdrawing for awhile.  Isolating for some reason.  You have this nagging feeling of worthlessness and you look to someone to fix it and you know they can't.  It will never be enough.

Then I think of the Israelites being in the desert for 40 years.  I think I have been in a desert for that long.  Where is my celebration that Jesus has come.  The Israelites were not it the desert because they didn't obey but because they wouldn't let God love them.  Come under His wing.

I built a fire, got my cup of coffee and gazed into the flaming beauty.  What is it all about God?   Can I really not mess it all up?  I am thankful, you know that, but sometimes it feels good just to be sad.  I don't think I would appreciate the happiness and joyfulness and thankfulness without the dark days from time to time.  No I don't want to stay there.  I want you to be near and let me feel the nail scared hands.  Feel the crown of thorns.  Put my hand in your side and just rest against your breast.  You are all I really want Jesus, Father and Spirit.  My life is full and complete with you.  I breathe, deep and slow.  All I really have is Jesus in this moment.  I choose to spend it with you.  You fill this place with your presence and I whisper your name and you whisper mine and I am good.  At peace and rest.  The day is almost over and the mercies will meet me in the sunrise.  It will be another day and I will have the choice to be sad again or thankful and glad.  I make that choice right now Jesus.  I choose you because you first chose me.  Thank you for letting me be me.  Not strong.  Not have it all together.  Not have all the answers.  But show you my vulnerable self that longs to lean on you and you love me anyway.  What if you whisper my name and tell me to take the scales off my eyes and wake up.  It was just a dream with my eyes seemly open but truly closed.  The christian may struggle but he knows his life is in Christ and Christ in him.  He is our peace and our joy.  When we are not in that place we are focused on something besides Jesus.

Are you feeling insignificant?  Wonder why you are here on earth.  What is life all about?  God makes it clear in His word.  God says we are His most valued, most treasured creation.  We are important to Him and He has a plan.  We are here to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What was I thinking

What am I doing?  In Galatians Paul warns them of returning to the law to be sanctified rather than living by faith and by the Spirit.  But you live the christian life the same way you began it by the gospel, trusting in Christ.  I have written many times how I was a self sufficient, capable, self reliant, perfectionistic woman.  Then my life crashed and burned and I did nothing hardly for 17 years.  I am feeling great now and wouldn't you know it?

We had a party to go to.  I needed something new to wear of course.  One lady even came in with the price tag hanging off her clothes.  I leaned back and thought yeah me too.  Several weeks I had my feet done and wouldn't you know it I have an appointment with the dr on Mon because my feet look blistered and peeling.  I am imagining from the hot wax.  I got my hair done yesterday and of course I had to hide the gray.  Today I am having an allergic reaction to the color.  My head is broken out and itching.  I am miserable and wondering how I am going to look gray. The ladies there were talking about all the crafty things they were doing from pinterest.  I thought uggh.  Where is my talent? How do you google that?   Why can't I do that stuff?   Even the sweet n low we put in the color didn't help like it use to keep me from reacting, so now I am taking allergic meds.  We took pictures at the party and we had to sit and get the photographer to hold the camera up high.  We figured out it makes you look younger and thinner.  We took several until we could got one we all approved of, of course.  We posted them on fb looking great, holding in our stomaches, raising our heads and smiling big even though we just had an simple argument.  Oh and the photo had to be photo shopped several times to get the lighting just right.  My daughter is coming for the night with someone new to me and I had to get the house just so so.  My husband complained of having to stash the food processor off the cabinet.  He was ready for bed.  We are having Thanksgiving and I was concerned did I have enough placemats and napkins or did I need to mix and match.  What am I doing?  We are having a party after Thanksgiving and I have been trying to get the yard done.  I have spent too much money and it is not finished.  My husband said it doesn't matter.  I looked at the pictures with a friend and said there is that fake smile.  I hate being fake.  What is the price to look good and get the admiration of others?  I went walking with a friend and as we climbed the hills I hurt my knee again.  It had just gotten well.  That leaves the gym out I had planned on getting a few pounds off.

The Spirit is so convicting me that I don't want to have the picture perfect holiday that those talented and gifted bloggers have that are wonderful, that I come up short all the time when I compare myself to others.  They are young and smart and I am sagging in the face and way behind.  Gained too much weight and reading about how much vitamin D I need to take to lose weight for the holidays?  What am I doing?

I have returned to the law.  To trying to impress and feel good about myself and my appearance and life.  I don't have any major problems right now and I think God is good and loving.  How about last year when I was psychotic and my family couldn't be together at Thanksgiving.  I was treated like a house patient to get me well.  It seemed all my freedoms were taken away and I was mad about it.  Until I went out on the porch and began to talk to God.  I said Lord I am going to sit here with you until I am thankful.  I started thinking of small things asking the Spirit to help me, my breath as I exhale and inhale.  The trees I was staring at.  The food I had had for dinner.  On and on I went until my heart was full of thanksgiving.  I went inside and was so thankful for a family that would care for me and help me get well.  I was thankful for the time I had with them.

The Lord has rescued me and brought me home.  A holiday without love and thankfulness is one without Jesus invited into the dwelling place of your home and family.  I am so broken over what I have done to my life once again.  I want it to be about Jesus, who we can have in our home to love and encourage.  I want to take the mask off and relate and have compassion.  Why do I want the acceptance of others when the Father approves of me because of what Jesus has done for me.  That is what puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

 Is it true that my body is wasting away but I am being renewed day by day on the inside.  Do I have the joy and peace of the Lord that nothing can take away and is my love for Him and others growing and growing?  The question comes to me can I be well and not be in some kind of hard suffering and still worship my God?  All I know is I want to try.  I ask myself.  Do I know how to live dependent, happy and stress free without being hard pressed??  Lets see Lord.  Home is where the heart is.  Where Jesus is.  Where family and friends and strangers are.  Home is where there is love.  Home is a babe in manger.  Home is us to the Spirit.  Home is heaven and I cannot wait but until then thank you Lord for bringing me home, once again.  The gift I need this Christmas is Jesus and His grace and to remember He, it is already mine.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lets not pretend

I have thought and thought and dreaded writing this piece for days.  I know to honor God and to help others it is something I am called to do.  This is to those who struggle with clinical depression and not just a few sad days and those who care for them.  So with a prayerful heart, here I go...

For several months now my friend and I have been filling in as co leaders of a NAMI support group in our area.  It has been a great group from the begging.  People sharing and learning.  A few days ago I go a message that one of the people in the group had committed suicide.  I was devastated, grieved and burdened and for the family.  I played over and over in my head things that were said that could have given me a clue.  They were planning for the future and a trip I learned.  Evidently even her family and best friends had no idea.  No one is responsible for someones suicide.

This week we will discuss the tragedy and pay tribute to her life and what she gave to each one of us. She was brilliant and did all she knew to do to fight the depression with little and no success.  I decided with my doctor the best thing we can do is learn from her life and her struggle to benefit others who struggle.   I would like to add I do not judge her because I have been in the same position where the thoughts in my head and the illusions and delusions made me think my family would be better with out me.  It seemed so very real. It is a lie and Satan twist our thoughts.  Some people think it is the only way to escape pain.  This is a lie also.  We are to enter into our pain with the help of others and go to Jesus.  He is our comfort.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Life is Gods gift to us and we are His treasured creation.  It is our pleasure to live it with as much joy as we can.   I have lived to give hope to others who struggle and to my family who loves me dearly.  Here are some thoughts.

We need a village in our lives of people, specialist, family and friends to keep up well.  But the problem is the illness yells at us to isolate.  I was struggling a few weeks ago and the first thing I noticed was the pulling away from others.  I did talk to a couple of friends and fought the urge and the pull.  I went on a hike where this picture was taken and ate lunch with a few friends.

Since Adam and Eve mankind feels shame because sin has entered the world.  The thoughts and illusions that the depressed and others with mental disorders have are of the lack of their worth and that shame enters their mind. The results then and now is they want to withdraw and cover themselves.  Pretend it doesn't exist.  We as christians need to know Christ died for our shame and guilt.  But the illness must be caught early with the help from others or the mind is weakened and sick and the thoughts take over.  Some may rehearse suicide over and over with no intention of doing it but then something happens and they snap.  This is why if anyone ever has these thoughts they must tell someone and their dr early.  Adjustments can be made to help.  We are not helpless in this battle if we educate ourselves, depend on God and fight against it with the help of others.  The stigma cannot control our lives.  The desire to be well has to be greater.

There are classes in your area with NAMI to teach you and the care givers how to deal with mental disorders and how to cope with them and help someone else.  We must band together.  Christ died that we would not live in shame and guilt.  There is no condemnation for those in Christ.  I have to believe if we work as a family we can overcome this illness that effects one in four sometime in their lives.  Please pass the word and this message.  We must not pretend to be people who do not struggle.  Who are not who we want to be but embrace who we are and our weakness and live in the beauty of Christ living His life through us.  We must be willing to know our vulnerability is what draws the heart of God and those who truly love us.  It is a risk we take.  It is life we choose.