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)

Advertisements

Why Do I Blog?

I am following a blog page called Faithful Bloggers. The page has a group writing project titled: “Why Do You Blog?”

Of course this writing project prompted my thinking. Why did I start this blog? What is my hope and goal for my blog?

Well of course in my fantasy world, my six consistent daily readers would turn into thousands. I would begin to figure out how to make an income with this blog so that being unable to work out of the home would not be a financial burden, and with many readers perhaps I would feel like I accomplish something with my efforts.

However, I have two real down to earth reasons for blogging:

1. Blogging is an outlet to see where I have been and where I am going.
Gone are the days of spending weeks in bed, depressed and consumed with pain. I began blogging to pursue joy in the midst of Fibromyalgia’s pain, fog and depression.

Since those beginning days,  I have a renewed hope, joy and peace. Daily depression is no longer a part of my life and the pain is no longer taking my life away from me. Yes, I have made adjustments but I am no longer bound by this illness to the point of being locked away. As I blog and put my jumbled crazy thoughts into writing, I can keep my mind focused on truth rather than the lies that the enemy would have me believe. Blogging puts things in proper perspective for me. I can see first hand what is on my mind as I write and have a heart check as I ‘preach’ to the choir.

2. I write for others that may be struggling on this journey of life at times as well. I have ran into so many well meaning Christian friends and family members that act like depression or illness was my fault and I had to snap out of it. I have heard hurtful things that were said to others in the midst of their depression. I was afraid to admit where I was at, for fear that they would try to speak me out of it without any real thought or instruction. I understand the struggle of depression, I understand the steps to victory and freedom, I understand it is a daily sometimes minute to minute, conscious decision to walk in your freedom and it doesn’t just go away on it’s own. Joy must be received, and pursued.  True joy, comes from the Lord and resides in you, regardless of the craziness that life may throw.
Just telling someone be happy, get over it,  or God gave you victory, when they are in the midst of the worst depression in their life, without the steps and directions on how to obtain victory, is not helpful.
I began a journey of pursuit on my own, as the Lord lead me and directed me. In the beginning, He showed me practical ways for joy, that anyone can obtain, even an unbeliever  As I progressed in my walk, He showed me the difference between joy and lack of depression that anyone can have, and the fullness of joy that only a child of God can have. I desire to bless and encourage others on their journeys to a complete healing of depression, fullness of GOD Joy.

 I am finding from a few letters of encouragement, that this journey I am on, has blessed others as well. I am not in this battle for my joy all alone, there are others that struggle and need to actively seek joy as well and even though I am not a theologian or doctor, I desire to share what has worked for me.

This is the heart of Writing For Joy in a nutshell. I do not know where the Lord will take this blog, but I know where He has taken me and I am truly blessed. Even if just one life has been changed, the Lord has done His work in me. His joy is fresh and new every morning. He is my reason.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Hope

The definition of HOPE-  A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

So often when we have a battle before us, we hesitate to declare boldly our expectation and desire for the end results. We are concerned that declaring boldly that the Lord will do as we ask and expect, He will look bad if that outcome is not as we were declaring, desiring, expecting, or hoping for.

The thing is we have a great gift, in the ability to walk in a feeling of expectation and desire for the things on our heart.  We get to experience that expectation bubble up inside of us. We have a vision and direction for what we wish to see.

God offers us the gift of hope in His word. We do not hurt his feelings if we are hoping for something that may or may not be His will. We have the right as His children, to declare the hopes and desires within our heart. He is that good of a father, that He wants to know and most often He is the one that placed that very hope there in the first place.

I look at my husband as an example of how declaring our hope works. As a young couple, he declared to me that he expected and desired a future with me. He declared and expected we would have a family. He was bold in these statements. God knew I desired a man that would be bold in his plans for our future. What if Dan never declared his love, his desire, his hope, his expectancy ? What if he was silent? Would the results of our future been the same? I highly doubt it.

Boldly petition and declare what you are desiring and expecting. No regrets, no apologies. He is good, no matter the plan and He is good enough to allow us to share our hearts.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

His love NEVER fails!!!!  This is a link to an awesome song! Click it 🙂 Blessings

Thanksgiving

Merriam- Webster’s  definition of thanksgiving :

1. The act of giving thanks

2. A prayer expressing gratitude

3.  A.   A public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness.

B. capitalized : Thanksgiving Day – a day appointed for giving thanks for divine goodness.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It is a celebration that, to be honest should be celebrated every single day in our lives. Every day we should, myself included, stop and give thanks for divine goodness in our lives.

Now, the American Thanksgiving originated as a celebration for a successful harvest the pilgrims had, due to the advice of the Indians. The Pilgrims rejoiced that they had a harvest and took an opportunity to invite the Indians to sit and share with them. This harvest, the pilgrims knew, would not have been successful without the wisdom of those who knew the land. They gave thanks to the Lord for His divine goodness, for bringing an opportunity to learn and to be able to bring in a harvest they so desperately needed.

When I give thanks, joy rises forth. I remember a hope when I look back and see what has already been done. I remember what I have to be thankful for and expect more to be thankful for tomorrow, the next day and the next. I have seen faithfulness and can expect to see it again from the Lord.

Naming the things I am thankful for each day this month, makes me realize, I never run out of my supply of subjects to be thankful for. I will think of one thankful thought, and another comes and another.

We don’t need an American holiday to give thanks. We don’t need to gorge ourselves with feasting one day of the year because the nation has declared a holiday. What we do need is a deep recognition of thanks in our heart continually. A continuous daily prayer expressing gratitude or declaring public acknowledgement of divine goodness.

Oh the difference you see in the public’s faces when they are looking forward to Thanksgiving day.

There is a light and an expression of joy, that crosses so many faces as they wish you well, because Thanksgiving day is nearing. This is a light that is available everyday, if we only remember to stop and give thanks.

I like what has become the traditional fare at our home for our Thanksgiving dinner, and I like the time spent set aside for a special day, but mostly I like that today and everyday I can give thanks to the one, whose love endures forever.

Challenge this day my friends: Make a point to give a prayer expressing thanksgiving, not only today but everyday, for our Lord is that good 🙂

Psalm 100:4 

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

(KJV)

Ex-pec-ta-tion

In my lowest times of depression I had no feelings of expectations. Everything I had hoped for or believed for seemed to be crumbling down around me. With those crushed in the moment dreams I was was fearful to dream again. But then I realized I was sinking deeper because I was not expecting anything better for my life. I began to EXPECT joy and to EXPECT blessings. I started EXPECTING  the things I believed in once, would happen eventually. I EXPECTED Gods favor!

What happened was a transformation in me and my life. I began to see fruit from the things expected. I began experiencing joy because there was no other option in my mind. I began seeing our needs cared for, relationships healed, and God moving in wonderful ways. Because I expected it, I hoped for it, and when you expect something or hope in something, you begin to move forward in that hope.

Websters definition of  Expectation :

1. A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

2. A belief that someone will or should achieve something.

A life without an expectation or with a goal in mind for yourself is not a very hopeful life. You must have hope for your future and actively pursue it. Through prayer and confirming in the word that your expectations line up with with God’s plan in your life, NOTHING can stop you!

God plans for us to be productive, joyful, and abundantly blessed.

Challenge this day friends: Expect a change, Expect better, Expect joy, Expect your goals to come to pass and Expect an end to your frustrations. Don’t walk through life without the knowledge that you CAN achieve that which God puts before you!

Proverbs 23:18-

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

(KJV)

I failed at love and then learned what it truly is

With Valentines day coming up, I am seeing hearts and cards in the stores and it got me to reflecting on LOVE.

LOVE, what does it really mean? Now I know there is that lovey dovey heart , emotional feeling love. But our emotions and feelings can be so fleeting, if we get in our own way or start ‘feeling’ out of love.

Often my family and some friends have pushed my patience level to the brink. I have been hurt that they are not listening, they do not call, or come around unless they need something. Simply put, they were not being aware of MY needs. When these trials arose  I would often pout, shout  or shut down completely into a world of poor me.   I would begin to get bitter and turn them away, so that they could not use me and hurt me any more.

I  have cut some of these people out of my life when the hurt becomes constant, because I have held on to each offense.

I am so thankful for the lessons in life that have taught me the truth of the situations. As hard as it was to look at myself straight in the mirror, I had to do it. It is in front of that mirror that I discovered; the issue is not them, but me.

Why is it that I find all their actions, concerning me so much? Is my comfort level that much more important than they are? Is my happiness supposed to out shine theirs?

Where my immediate family is concerned , in the past I have completely ruined the atmosphere in my home with my grumbling and complaining because they were all playing too loudly or discussing too admittedly their concerns with each other. I would  blow up because they are arguing or talking back, rather than giving the soft answer that the bible calls for.

I ask myself, “why is it, the ones that I love the most, can push me over the edge the quickest?” The answer is startling! I am not loving them.

In order to understand the fullness of joy the Lord has for us, we MUST comprehend love. Love is not-self seeking. When my children are ‘irritating’ me, often there is no reason for me to be irritated. I am just annoyed, because I am seeking what I want over what they are.

If my husbands expressions of how he loves me, are different from what I wanted, I would grumble and criticize. I was trying to change the very gift that the Lord had given me with him.

When I’ve  seen someone hurt that has once hurt me, I have boasted or been proud.

God made it very apparent to me what love was awhile back. And for the most part, great joy has come in as I settle on the word and apply love like His in my life.

I do fail and I do miss it, but thankfully I fail and miss it less and less as I learn more and more.

Love is an action. It is not a feeling. When I am irritated and impatient I am not acting in love.

The bible is very clear on the actions we are to take in love. Jesus was loving, he was giving, he was kind and I am to be Christ like. Who else will be the prime example in my children’s lives while they are home? I want my friends and family to see the kind of love that lives and dwells in me, when I allow my self to get out of my own way.

Challenge this day my friend: Find areas that we can exhibit love that we never thought was an act of Love before. And feel free to comment on the steps we have taken on our comment section. I would love to hear the different ways we are actively  loving our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, church members, neighbors and more.

Lets’ spread true love, one action at a time by following these words below :

1 Corinthians 3:4-7

Love is PATIENT, Love is KIND.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

love does not delight with evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

(NIV)

Hmmmmm

 SO, I was going to pour my coffee out the window of my car to make room in my cup holder. I roll the window down and Dan asks me a question. I turn to look at him to give my answer and then proceed to turn back and ‘dump’ my coffee out of the window. The only problem, I had not rolled the window all the way down.

  In the dark car, I did not notice the window partially up. I  hit the cup against the window and the coffee flew everywhere; In my hair, down the door, on my phone, all over my coat, the floor,  and covering the window on both sides.

  Through this experience I had  truly noticed  a difference in my joy meter from a few months ago to now. I was not angry or frustrated, I laughed and recognized that I am human and made a mistake, and quite honestly a funny one.  I am so excited to see that focusing on joy has increased my joy and focusing on the joy giver has given FULLNESS of joy!

  I am now reflecting on the fact that I must follow through with the things I start. As hard as it may be at the time, and as distractions come my way, I must make sure I am finishing the projects at hand before moving on to the next part. In no way am I being diligent to what the Lord has for me if I leave things partially completed.

  The results will be messy if my work is left undone. I cannot expect the half completed things God has given me to do to see their full potential unless they are done. 

 For me I really need to remember to FINISH what I start.  I am excited for the day that I hear; ” Well, done.” I need to be responsible and pull up my big girl panties and finish those things before me. I will not let fear, finances, fatigue and lack of motivation stop me, God will give me all that I need to succeed at what He lays before me.

Challenge this day my friend: Look at all those half completed projects that the Lord laid on your heart and get to finishing what you have begun.

 

2 Corinthians 8:11

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.

(NIV)