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)

My flesh …. was once the victor…. but not the final outcome!

I hit the wall again. I was so fearful that the past was going to repeat itself, when I woke up in pain all over my body. I cried out to God, “I thought I was beyond this! Please don’t allow me to regress! What is going on?” I cried in private, in front of my boss, and was embarrassed at such a weakened state.

I rested, and rested some more. I stretched slowly, watched my diet, used medication, muscle rubs, made sure to get my vitamins and slowly regained strength. I can sense that I am still unable to work like I had, I see it was sending me into a tail spin. I was not ready. Yet it really brought a full picture of what I was struggling with.

I was fleshing out. I was so burdened and in pain, that for a moment I quaked and allowed depression, despair and frustration to hang like a dark cloud on top of the light He placed in my life.

I find it interesting that we can walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit. In the flesh, I wanted to completely give up. I am reminded of the scripture…
Galatians 5:17-  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

I wanted to despair, complain, feel sorry for myself and fear. ALL these things are contrary to what is right in the spirit.

The meaning of FLESH-The soft substance of a human or animal.

Flesh is the SOFT part. The part that doesn’t want to contend, to fight, to stand for what freedom I have already gained. By walking in my flesh… I was soft.  Why wouldn’t the enemy want to keep me in that state? He would obtain all the victory. The victory over what God HAS done in me.

My flesh had won for a moment. I kicked and cried and screamed. Yet that is not the end of my story, my outcome is victory over the flesh and moment. I will rise up and sing, not because of my limits, but because of my opportunities and new strength.

Now, I will not be unwise with my abilities, BUT I will not let my spirit be weak because of  the condition of my body. I will walk not by sight, but by the SPIRIT of the Lord. I will walk confidently that He carries me and I would never ever go back to what I once was. He has done a work and isn’t near finished yet. He is SO good and I give Him all the glory. So for my fleshing out, whining, complaining, wanting to give up moment. I repent, and turn away from that lie. I will walk in HIS truth, and that is… He is an everlasting God and does not grow faint, He does not grow weary, He is the defender of the weak, and comforts those in need. He will lift me up and carry me and I can say …. “HE IS GOOD!”

Regarding the funny kitty video – The Battle belongs to the Lord

Earlier today I posted a video about a cautious kitty and the outcome of keeping his focus ahead.

This video stirred up some thoughts in my mind about how the enemy often works.

He uses an obstacle placed before you. He then allows that trouble to completely consume you. He just hopes that your eyes will remain on your obstacle. Often the trial is not as big as you fear it is, but it consumes your mind, thought, energy and resources.

Then…. Whammo ! Just when your guard is down and you have reached the end of your rope with exhaustion and efforts ahead of you, that is when you get it!

If you have not heeded the word of God, you are blindsided and facing a full on attack!

What is the word of God in this? How can you apply the word to the trials and troubles before you?

There is the scripture : Psalm 121:2

My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth. 

 Or how about  :   Isaiah 41:10 

  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. :

But what really stands out at me at this moment Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

We DO have a battle. There is an enemy waiting to attack us. We must put on the armor of God and walk with our eyes focused on the Lord.

The enemy will rob our joy if we hand the battles over to him willingly. Fight for the Joy and gifts that are YOURS

There is a song that sums up the truth of God’s victory so nicely.

Blessings this day my friends ~

Spreading some Joy

My friend gave me a plaque that I get to look at everyday… “The Joy of the Lord is your strength”

I have the greatest pleasure in the fact that the fullness of Joy is MINE. I can obtain His Joy and hold fast to it.

Today I was shopping at Janis‘ in Newberg, OR and came across the cutest pendants that had wonderful colors.

I decided I wanted to spread some Joy by having a give away. This friend also gave me a plaque that said, “Blessed are the JOY MAKERS” I want to share the Joy so…

Go to the page to my Facebook page to find details!!!   I am mailing this pendant to the winner from my page .

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Writing-for-joy/349564721721605Image

May you be blessed this day my friends and keep up your journey to joy~

Shaey

Green eggs and ham… literally

My father was very active in my life growing up. He took me to Blue Birds, trick or treating and allowed me to dance o his toes. One Saturday morning he made our breakfast like he often did, and he set the plate before me.

He had a huge grin on his face as he waited expectantly for my glee. I looked at that plate and cried. My father in his creative genius and love for me, made me green eggs and ham. I hated the color green and as I looked at the green glob of eggs on my plate, my emotions overwhelmed me, not at his love but the thought that I was hungry and how could I eat these green things.

I look back now as a parent and think with great joy what an awesome father I had to take the time to make something special for me. He knew I loved the story of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

I am reflecting on this gift and wondering… how many times do I look at the gifts the Lord has set before me with disdain or sadness rather than the gratitude and joy that should be in my heart.

How often does He place gifts and I don’t even recognize them for what the are?

I still do this today with my own husband. He will go out of his way to do things for me and I just take them for granted or do not appreciate the way he does them. Instead I am looking at the way  I would do it, or he should do it. What kind of gifts am I throwing away every day?

In the bible, often God would give His people gifts and they would complain, or not see them as they were.

Some of the gifts I have overlooked from the Lord are:

The gift of time: Instead of rejoicing that our basic need was met in layoff time for my husband, I fretted and worried about where the next job would be. Instead of enjoying each moment with my boys I focused on their tomorrows far too often than I should have. Rather than enjoying my moment with loved ones I fretted about their leaving more than just enjoying the moment.

The gift of peace: I overlook the peace in my life often. I have to remind myself that the Lord grants peace to my heart and that anxiety or worry leads to depression. I have to not overlook this gift He has given to me. He causes the calmness in the sea of life that only He can provide.

The gift of needs: Often when I look at our life situation, I have focused on all my wants and they seem to fall short. Yet, when I look at my needs, He truly does meet them. Not in a way I think they should line up but He meets my need nonetheless.

I am so truly thankful that God is a Father that bestows gifts to His children. I want to keep my heart and eyes wide open in thankfulness as I see the work of His hands for what they are. He desires to give me gifts, to do the work ahead of me so that I may  enjoy great things. I do not wish to complain or look at those gifts with disappointment because of my immaturity in Him,  but rather with grown up insight.

These are just a few simple areas that I overlook and I am sure there are so so many more! What gift can you be thankful for that maybe you overlooked?

He’s COMING!

We visited the zoo yesterday as a family. I do believe I had the greatest joy watching the little children more than looking at the variety of animals. I now have almost grown boys and to see the delight in the young faces was such a blessing.

One particular little boy had his faced pressed against the glass waiting for the sea-lion. His mama had been waiting with him for a while, watching the flipping pattern the sea-lion was enjoying as he communicated through the glass with the toddler.

With her hand held out, the mama asked the little boy ” are you ready to go to the polar bears now?”
The little boy said, “no I am waiting for the otter!” In a sweet expectant voice and he turns to the glass and exclaims, “He is coming!”

When the sea-lion pressed his nose to the glass face to face with the boy he gasped in awe, then as the sea-lion moved above the surface, his tail made a swoosh in front of the boys face as he moved on up to the top of the water and the boy giggled with glee. This continued a few times and each time the boy shouted and giggled, “HE’s COMING!” Each visit left the boy with joy.

 

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Mama held out her hand and told him it was time to move on to the polar bears. This moment of joy stuck with me as we moved along as well. We walked on and the polar bears were sleeping, at a distant. Nothing to see. No glee from the youngster. Just the knowledge that this was a polar bear. Then as the mama was walking ahead to the next animal, while her head was turned for just a second, she did not see the boy look back towards the sea lions and sigh.

How many times do I have an opportunity to examine the joys in my life, only to move on to the ‘next’ things? Do I engage in my moments of joy taking each moment at its full or do I press on and miss them altogether?

On Sunday at church we sang a song that I grew up singing as a child.  It was an old song and while my children’s generation may roll their eyes at the style… I was just bouncing with glee of the truths of the words and the great memory of myself as a child singing at church with a parent on each side. I was joyful in that moment, but my mind wanted to wander on the next thing. My parents were no longer together. How quickly I could have allowed my rejoicing in the Lord to evaporate.

This is the song we sang and this week I will continue to let it be alive in my heart. I will stop and declare just as that little one … HE IS COMING. I know my God will greet me each morning and walk every step with me throughout the day.

I will enter his courts with thanksgiving in my heart

I will enter his courts with praise

I will say this is the day that the LORD HAS MADE

I will rejoice and be glad in it