A tangled mess

When a fisherman casts his pole and he doesn’t stop the line quick enough, the whole line can backlash and he is left with a tangled mess, my dad called it a bird’s nest.

It reminds me of casting my cares to the Lord, I send them out there and if I do not stop my mind on HIM, just as if I was to stop the line where it needs to be in the water, we can be left with a tangled mess.

When I am struggling in life with all the many thoughts that may try to steal my joy, I can cast them to the Lord, but if I don’t stop and let them dwell with Him, I will be consumed with the nest in front of me that was created by dwelling on the trials. I am told to cast ALL my cares and burdens onto the Lord. Stop, leave it there.

Yet there were times I didn’t stop. I set that burden out there to the Lord but I didn’t let it rest on him…. I kept dwelling on it. I let that line of thought begin to turn negative, then my joy was depleated, I turned angry, I was short with those around me and it was just a nasty tangled mess.

My emotions, when I am left with my tangled disaster in front of me, are now the only thing I will focus on. The situation has fully taken over, and here I am left with a mound of line, trying to untangle one section at a time, trying to sort it all out and fix it, but it is overwhelming to look at ! Then I hear God so clearly saying, “JUST CUT IT OFF!”

I do not have to try to pull each and every tangle out. I don’t have to try to fix every mess that my thoughts created. I can cut off those negative thoughts, stringing the line of connection to my Jesus. Recast the burden to Him and STOP. Stop right there, the burden goes to Him, I can let the line sit and rest until “WAM” I am reeling in the victory He had for me on the other end of that line.  While I waited on Him, He was just and faithful to give me my peace.

Just a thought for today. My mind is so consumed with this image, I am not sure the words conveyed it well. But I wanted to get the words down for now and I will revisit to see if a rewrite will be necessary.

Blessings my friends~
Remember….Cast your cares and burdens onto the Lord.

(KJV) 1 Peter 5:7- Casting all Your cares upon Him for He careth for you.

Restoration…

God is SO good. Years ago, in my deepest depression, I cut out so many friends in my life.

I could barely stay above water with my own families needs, and honestly as much as they would have brought greatness to the season, I just could not juggle friends, family and self. Also, it was a part of the suicidal process, to cut people off. I now recognize that and see it all for the lie that it was. Mind you this was YEARS ago! So family do not fear lol.

To be honest when I saw my fullness of Joy and God reached me in the depths, it was very embarrassing to reach out to those that I let fade behind when God fully restored me. I knew there were those that had been hurt by being distant.

BUT GOD! This year has been my year of restoration. God has brought about friendships that I had let lay dormant. My sweetest closest friends have reached out and we have began to make amazing memories again. I feel like a little child discovering her first BFF’s! I have those that have always been constant as they would not let me disappear in the background and yet I get to open new gifts!!!

God has a way of walking us through our seasons. He was the one that I leaned on and learned from. He was my only friend some days, and He taught me the meaning of LOVE.

He taught me how patient that He was with me and how patient others were with me, that He had set aside for ME. I am so blessed by the work He has done!!!

Use your seasons to let the Lord mold you and make you better for those you are to love on. Let Him use the quiet to speak to your heart and bring you new joys you never imagined. God will bring those back into your life if they are meant to be there. If you are seeking HIM first everything will be better than you ever imagined!!

She listened and I learned

Today was a hard one. My father passed suddenly just a few weeks ago and this was my first Father’s Day without him. The last two years on Father’s Day I was lucky enough to travel the 2,000 miles to see him in Tennessee. I was planning a surprise trip this year and then he passed before  I could finalize details.

My heart just broke today. I would think this week that I was over the grieving and then it would hit fresh. While my inner joy will surface, the in the moment is rough.

At church today, singing some of the very songs that I had sung with my dad on my last visit. On that visit, I had the precious moment of holding him as we both cried because he was so sick and we were pleading with the Lord for his health. Our please and cries turned to praise and peace. Today the memory flooding me, it was all too much and I had to leave the building and get away from the songs.

Along came my sweet spirited sister in Jesus. Now normally I would have such an anxiety over showing myself so vulnerable, but she brought such a peace with her !

My friend sat with me and listened to me talk and cry. I shared so much I didn’t even think to share, simply because she listened. She had the sweetest spirit of comfort and assured me in the simplest of ways. She did not talk over me, as I likely would have done, but she waited and smiled. Oh her beautiful smile.

I learned so much from that exchange today. I learned by example to listen lovingly. I learned that a hug can bring the calm, instead of anxiety I often feel when crying. She just waited and I felt so connected to the here and now, and the grief just melted. We were laughing and sharing and I dusted my self off and we went back inside.

The message today….was on connecting with one another. A real connection. God had given me a perfect physical understanding before the message today and it was so sweet.

Thank you my friend, for stepping out, for teaching and loving. The fruit you share, will blossom and spread to others! You are a treasure!!!!

Grace’s Song

 

Many years ago, I began to write a book for my friends young daughter that was homeschooling. I wanted to entice her to read by writing for her a book of her own. It wasn’t long before the world distracted me and I did not get far. Fast forward to these days, the story for Jordan Grace is burning in me like never before. I believe there is a time and season for everything and while I have been hurting very much lately, God has placed something new within me. So I begin this journey by starting from scratch and writing Jordan’s book again, with an older girl in mind than the one that I had once thought of with this story. The REAL Jordan Grace is my inspiration,  she is a girl that loves loves loves foxes and even had a moment that she met one in real life in the wild. She is a girl that has hummed from the time that she could make noise and graced my home with her songs from toddler days on. She is a young lady that will make her way in this world and be all that she was called to be.

SO with all that said, I am placing on this blog post, the first two unedited chapters to …..

 

Grace’s Song

Chapter 1-

Grace sat on the dirty ground behind the old oak tree, her hands covered her face as she cried. She did not understand why the others were so cruel. Today Lary stood behind her, she could not see what he was doing at first. She just noticed the others in the class began to snicker. Some had whispered behind their hands to one another. Alissa her old best friend from kindergarten, went so far as to point at Grace and then laughed so hard she even snorted. Nobody noticed how absurd she sounded, only that Lary was behind Grace and mocking her. Grace discovered that she could see Lary’s reflection in the glass of the window in class. He was standing there acting like an opera singer. Making grand gestures with his arms and ugly faces. Grace shrank further in her seat and crossed her arms, hugging herself, waiting for the bell to ring so she could run hard and fast away from them all.

While Grace cried, she thought about all the times the others had made fun of her this week alone. She knew that she was different. She didn’t wear the most recent trends in clothing that all the other girls wore.  While she was sitting here in her t-shirt, jeans and bare feet, the tears fell. She didn’t giggle and bat her eyes at the boys, then run and act like she didn’t like them when they chased. Instead Grace spent her time during recess alone and singing the songs on her heart, she felt lesser than them, and the tears fell. The words of her songs would play in her head all day. She never shared her songs with the others, they were her treasures that she held dear. The others would never understand, they could only hear her from a distance singing something unfamiliar to them.

Grace sang all the time. In every situation that she faced a song would just burst from her lips. She could not help it. This was who she was. She would wake up with a new song on her lips every morning. Each situation that would arise, a new song would burst forth. Every school day, she could not wait to get away from the others so that she could just sing everything within her heart. She would stand in the middle of the football field and sing, while the songs pound forth she would dream. Her dreams were bigger than even she could understand at times, but they would come and the songs would flow.

Even now, she dried her eyes, and a smile crossed her lips. She began to hum and her heart felt lighter. She decided to not let the others get to her for a minute longer. She hurt when they made fun of her, or left her out, but it wasn’t long before she felt the lightness of her songs filling her and she would forget all the deeds done against her.

Grace stood and lifted her hands to the heavens. She sang with everything that was within her. She danced as the joy bubbled forth, stronger and stronger. The song that was rising up was like none other before. Soon unfamiliar words were rising to the sky from deep within her soul. Her hands felt hot as she brought them to her sides. Suddenly a peace like none other rushed over her and her song ended. She stood there silent for a moment and lifted her face. She opened her eyes and saw the sun twinkling through the leaves of the trees. It was as if they had been dancing along with her and they were calling her to finish. With a deep breath in, she realized there was more to be sung. As she hit her highest note of the song of her heart, Grace felt the earth beneath her feet rumble. She saw the earth in front of her cracking. She did not fear. She knew with great expectation, that this was her moment, the very reason that she sang.The earth crumbled and the crack widened as it wound around the tree. Grace heard a loud boom from the other side of the tree and the ground stopped its shaking. For a moment she stood there unsure what to do. Then she heard it. A tiny tinkling coming from the other side of the tree. It was music. Music to the song that she had just been singing. Grace carefully walked around the tree and was amazed at what was before her.
The ground had opened up and the roots of the trees served as a canopy over a long narrow staircase going deep into the ground. Grace did not hesitate, she began softly singing her song as she took her first step into the unknown. She did not fear, there was an excitement and expectation that was propelling her forward.

Chapter 2-

Grace’s bare feet grew colder  as she descended deeper into the ground. The stairs were made of stone and the walls that surrounded her were dirt, it almost looked like an animal den of some kind, as there was a burrowed look to it all. The music to her song grew louder with each step. She felt like she had been taking the stairs forever, when she noticed a warm glow in the distance. The stairs came to an end and then she was just walking on a smooth stone pathway, towards the light.

The narrow hallway opened up into a massive dirt walled room. The floor was all stone, with some rugs here and there. There was a fire roaring in a stone fireplace with two arm chairs facing it. Between the chairs was a table with a very old book resting on it. Grace was drawn to the book. She had not noticed much else around the room, once she laid eyes on it. The music she had heard seemed to be coming from the book. Illuminated in gold lettering on the front of the book was the word HOPE.

Grace reached for the book and the palms of her hands grew hot, as they had when she was singing. She pulled her fingers back and without knowing why, tears began to stream down her cheeks. She did not weep loudly, it was  a soft gentle cry, a yearning.

“You are called for such a time as this.” She heard the deep soothing voice come from the chair to her left. The occupant was hidden with the chairs positioning. All she could see was a soft fluff of fur hanging over the arm of the chair. It looked like a fox tail, but could it be?

“Come child, sit at the fire, let me share.” Came his voice again. His voice was so soothing, she longed at that moment to just sit and listen to him forever. She walked around the chair to her right and sat on the floor before the speaker. Only then did she let her eyes drift up to the one in the chair. Sure enough, there was a beautiful fox sitting before her.  She could not believe her eyes. A fox! And he was speaking with her, plain old Grace.

He sat so regal with a velvet purple sash across his chest and a jeweled crown atop his head. His copper colored fur looked so soft, she almost forgot herself and reached out to pet him. However, this was no pet, Grace sensed that this was one to be honored with reverence. He gave her a gentle smile, while she scrutinized him. His golden eyes seemed to look right through her, as if he knew her thoughts. She knew with certainty that this fox, whatever he was, knew things beyond what her mind could ever imagine. Some of these things she was about to find out as she sat there, in awe.

The foxes eyes seemed to glow brighter when he spoke again.

“Grace, I know you feel different from the others, that is because you ARE different. But I don’t want you to see that as a bad thing. You were born to be different, you were born to answer a calling that is uniquely yours. Grace, It is I that created the songs that are within you. There is a work for you to do that only you can accomplish through your powerful songs. Only you can hear my songs so clearly on this earth.”

Grace was ready to ask him why she was able to hear him at all, when he spoke again to her unanswered question.

“You can hear me, because you have a pure heart. You have a heart that just like your name is full of grace. While the others hurt you and mock you, you do not get angry, you quickly turn your heart over to your songs. The songs are within many, but not all will hear them, and none hear their songs as well as you do.” He said.

Again, Grace had a question on her heart and the Fox answered it before she could say the words out loud.

“The work I have for you to do, will not be an easy one. You will have to travel far and seek your songs more than ever before. You are a great warrior that was created to take your songs into battle. You will not understand all right now. There is much to be done and I need you to continue listening and following the songs within you. I need you to sing them out and let the power behind them have it’s way.”

Everything within Grace seemed to shiver at that moment. She looked down and saw there were goosebumps on her arms. She knew for some reason, that all this Fox had to say was true, she trusted his words, but she didn’t understand where he had come from and why this very unusual thing happening before her seemed to be the most natural thing in the world she had ever experienced. This Fox, whoever he was seemed to understand her like no other, and yet, she just now met him. He could answer questions she did not even speak, and he says he places the songs within her.

She did speak this time, in a soft whisper, but her voice was there. “Who are you?” She asked in wonder.

“I am He, the one that is always with you. I will never leave you.” He answered. This times his eyes glowed as if there was a fire behind them and He reached for the book on the table. The words HOPE burned with the same intensity as his eyes. “Daughter Grace, hold out your hands.” He instructed.

Grace held out her hands and they burned again with the fire that she had felt when the ground opened and when she first reached for the book. This was not a fire that harmed or consumed but more of an energy she didn’t quite understand but that held great power. Grace had no fear in this moment, she felt stronger than she had ever felt before. The song she had sung, the one that she would begin to know as her song, began to rise within her belly and she opened her mouth to sing with such force that she had surprised herself. The music that matched her song broke forth from the book and grew with intensity as Grace sang.

When Grace finished her song, I am He, placed the book in Grace’s outstretched hands. Suddenly the word Hope dimmed, and Grace saw from behind it a picture of a young girl on her knees crying before a sea of people. The only word that could come to her mind in that moment was despair. Such a great despair she had never known. Hope closed her eyes at the despair.

While Grace held her eyes closed, I am He spoke in a clear strong voice. “You will go from me now, but I will still be with you. You have a work to do, read my book, you will begin to understand. When the time comes, you will go forth and sing your song to many.”

Grace nodded and when she opened her eyes, she was sitting in front of the oak tree, the ground had closed up and there was no canopy and stairs leading to I am He, but just a plain tree was before her.

For a moment Grace thought perhaps it was all a crazy dream, but when she looked down in her hands, there was the book with no picture at all, but now shimmering in gold letters the word HOPE.

Being real…an open apology

Some time ago, I had written a blog post that made another hurt and angry.
While my heart wasn’t to be malice or hurtful, I had no idea how my words would come across to a hurting mother.

When I had fostered a couple years ago. I had posted how giving up my plans and letting the Lords will for my life was leaving me blessed in many ways as a foster parent. I was not trying to boast, I was not wanting to gloat. But truly wanted to express how in ALL seasons I am blessed. I have always wanted my blog to be about the snippets of joy in my life. While the situation wasn’t the best, I could look at those beautiful faces and see the joy they were giving my small family. I forgot to think about the heart of the mother and father.

I am completely and honestly ashamed that I missed such a very big thing. I only saw the impact those little ones had on my life and not the missing them had on their parents. I truly did not plan on adopting or keeping them any longer than the parents needed to get stronger. BUT it was not my place, hind site to even blog about such a personal matter. I did not think through, that anyone other than strangers to this family, would see my blog. They did, and this family was hurt. In essence I can now see how my blog became a forum of gossip. I wasn’t trying to do that. I truly was blogging about the changes the Lord had brought about in my life.

My perspective, a wife and mother that had been previously bed ridden in years past…strong enough to take on the needs of twins. This was a testimony of the work the Lord had done. I see now, that while yes, God did amazing things in my health and gave me a joy of fostering for a season, I could have been mindful of the hearts and experiences of others. I could have looked beyond my own lenses.

While I don’t look for relationship, I do pray that the ones hurt have peace in their own hearts and that their anger can be healed. They can know I am truly truly sorry. I was wrong and will try to make sure that I look with a broader view in my future!!! I was self absorbed and not what I should be.

Shaey

Not an easy topic but necessary

My heart hurts. I wrote a few years ago about a local mother that had committed suicide when she was reported missing. Then just this weekend we heard that another community member went missing, this time a young college student. He too, chose to take his own life. The reports in our community of the number of suicides are shocking to me. For one, we live in a small community and two there are so many hurting and desperate people. I also have a number of loved ones that have felt there was only one way out of the deep seeded pain within. Their hurts are going unanswered, either because they are not sharing which is very often the case or because nobody is listening.

I am going to speak of my own experience with life shattering depression. I had been through a very emotional ordeal, that I will leave at that. Then I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a doctor gave me plenty of medications, medications that messed with my moods and the spiral began.

In the beginning of this battle, I had horrible anxiety. Anxiety that was deep in the soul. This anxiety was rooted from bitterness, anger, disappointment, finances, media and a number of chemical issues within my body. I was a christian woman and felt like my world was spinning out of control. All the promises that I was told, that God had for me, had went right out of my head. I did not share my state with anyone. I thought I could handle it on my own. I thought I was doing a bad job as a child of God, not being able to find my way to victory.

This last weekend before I knew of this young man’s suicide. I had shared at church something that was very evident in my life back in those days and in the lives of others that I have known. It was a word God wanted to share with my congregation.

Anxiety leads to isolation. Isolation leads to depression. Depression leads to destruction. Now let me be clear, I am not claiming to be a medical professional, I am simply a woman who saw a destructive path in my own life and it took a powerful shaking for me to wake up and see what I was doing. This was my pattern and a pattern of many I know personally. I even see it today and as much as I speak out, some are in a place that they can not listen.

This is how it all laid out for me. I was in my deepest state of anxiety and I began to isolate myself. I stayed in bed for months with the fibromyalgia flare no where under control. I began to withdraw from activities. First it was the worship team, then it was gatherings in our home, then I began to withdraw from family and friends and finally my husband and children.

I went so far as to cut people out of my life that I felt were not meeting my need at the time. Sending good-bye letters if you will. I did not tell them how deep my despair was, I just cut them out. I was hoping someone would grab me and not let me go, but nobody did. Either they were too busy or they really were hurt and did not understand where in the world this was coming from. They may have thought they were the only ones I was cutting off, but they were not, there were dozens. I did not even realize I was doing this to be honest. I was just blinded by where I was at.

Then after anxiety, lead to isolation, I was depressed… Seriously depressed! I wasn’t weepy like I always thought depression looked like. I was numb and if there was an emotion it was anger. I sat in that depression. I almost glorified it. I began to have the morbid thoughts that I dare not share with anyone. For I was a christian and I knew better, but I did not know how to pull myself out.

Finally after months and months of constant physical pain with the fibromyalgia and dealing with conventional medicine, I had decided to try a naturopath. My doctor was just giving me more and more pain pills and I had gotten so out of my mind on them that I knew I had to get off. I was not living any more. I was just existing.

So I went to this natural doctor and she basically fired me when I asked her what we could do at the moment. My finances were exhausted and I could not take a bunch of tests that insurance would not cover. I told her where I was at and was there anything we could start on to get me back on track. She said I was only after drugs and she would not work with me. I was done.

I didn’t talk much to Dan on the way home, when I was almost there I unleashed all the hurt and anger and desperation all came out in that moment. Then I went up the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom. That was the defining moment. I was going to do it. I was done and I did not want to live anymore. I cried out to God…. YOU PROMISED ME JOY!!! YOU SAID I HAD JOY TO THE FULL! WHERE IS IT?!?!

I tell you my spirit remembered all those truths as I cried out to God. He answered, “you have my joy at your finger tips, you need to find it.”

My brain for the first time in months was clear as a bell! I was letting my life, my joy be robbed from me. This is what began my  path to writing for joy. I felt lead to write out everything I saw, the question was, what was stealing my joy???

Well I see even clearer at this moment: Anxiety leads to isolation, leads to depression, leads to destruction. But at the time, God had to point out all the ways I was anxious, all the things I was letting in, all the ways that I was being robbed. I had to be proactive. Do I believe in medicine helping depression? Absolutely I do, the right ones. Do I believe having someone to talk to or a counselor can help? Yep I sure do.
But when you are at that place where nothing seemed to be left, self-examination was all I had. I had to choose to root it all out, I had to choose to lay myself down and cut out all the sore junk in my life and let God do the filling. I know my situation was a miracle. I know not all will hear so clearly what their answer is. But I pray, oh how I pray that this tidbit will help you see how someone who really seemed to have so much going for them, was lost in the nasty cycle of mental illness and how it took a great journey of pursuing joy to gain my life again.

If you are hurting, I pray you are not so lost in the darkness that you won’t reach out, try another time to find your victory. Please know that I would love to encourage and be an someone that cares. I have learned long ago though, that another person can not bring your path of healing to you. This just like anything in our life, is our own personal battle. Mine may not look like yours but there is hope. So many others have found hope. This is one way. What will your victory look like?

This is a hard topic, but one that needs to be discussed. Discuss it with your children ( we have middle schoolers committing suicide, even elementary students!!) Discuss it with your spouse, your mom or dad and even the stranger you meet on the street. If you see the opening to a heart that has reached its destruction, speak out! You may be the only voice that has a chance to be heard.

Blessings,
Shaey (Writing for Joy)

Remember when…

It is so easy to be distracted with all the trials and troubles that we face. Those obstacles can be all-encompassing and consuming. The hill we climb seems to grow larger and more difficult with each step, rather than gaining ground, it looks as if we haven’t even begun.

How often when I am full of anxiety and frustration over a situation do I stop and remember how far I have come? What has God already done in my life? Where are those other victories? The mountains I once climbed and conquered that are no more, need to be remembered!

Those testimonies of remember when God did it here, or there and everywhere, are exactly what carry us up those next hills and onto victory.

There was a prayer that was buried deep in my heart three years ago. I cried over and over for this one area, pleading with God to hear me. Other obstacles came up, other battles of my own were in front of me and I let go of that burden I had for another from time to time. But now years later, I am seeing snippets  of God’s victory. Promises made are coming true and I see how much God has done.

Today I face a new battle, yet God says, “remember when?”.  ” Do you remember how I have moved in your life and in the life of others that you have prayed for?” ” Do you not see the work that I have done and have confidence that I will always be at work in your life?”

To which my only response can be, “YES LORD, I DO !”  I do remember when He healed my son of horrible PTSD. I do remember when He restored my husband’s job. I do remember how He met me in the deepest depression and taught me how to live life with the fullness of joy! I do remember how He miraculously had intervened time and time again! I will not forget His faithfulness. I will trust that every good work He has begun, He will continue. Though the flesh may try to rise up with anxiety, I will speak out the truths of WHO HE IS.

God has not given us a spirit of fear. God did not create us to be failures. God is ALIVE and living and moving within my life and yours and you can do ALL things that He has for you to accomplish.

I ask you…… Remember when. If you have not seen a victory yet, hold on, it is coming and you can put that in your remembrance book!!!

Blessings