In a Flash

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.

Behold, I will do something NEW , Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a ROADWAY through the Wilderness, RIVERS in the desert”

Isaiah 43:18-19

I saw this scripture on Meg Moore Tully’s blog telling the beautiful story of her and her husband’s journey through cancer.  I didn’t know anything about it until I saw a FB post and a couple of pictures with her and some of her oldest and dearest friends.  I love to read people’s real stories.  I learn so much from each one.

This was the first scripture that she posted.  It it home.  I felt like I had been hit by a steamroller.  FINALLY, I HEARD GOD.  It had been so long.  Late night and early morning prayers; nothing, just darkness.  I have been falling in a black hole for months now.  So many days I just wanted to curl up in bed and not make breakfast for the kids.  My work is very flexible and I would find my self procrastinating to get there and finding any reason to leave early.  I was restless and tired all at the same time.  I have “lost” myself in a LOT of Netflix and Amazon (great, by the way).  Dennis has been pulling the weight of both of us for so long.

But, something happened right before I saw this scripture.  I had hit a new low of which I’m not proud.  I was so ashamed and mad at myself.  I had hurt someone very close to me.  I broke her heart and trust. UGH!!!

Then my friend Meg came along, sharing herself and  the healing power of God.  I am moving closer and closer to the light everyday.

When I was working on my Christmas “card”, I initially began looking at some of those sites where they will ecard them for you.  Then I found out I had to pay money.  The whole point of displaying my family for all of FB to see was to do it free!!!  So then I got on Picasa.  I am not very talented when it comes to picture programs.  When I say I spent all day…I DID.  Somehow I couldn’t figure out how to get the text onto the page of pictures.  I did it once by accident but I changed the picture.  Two hours later I pushed a button and VOILA , text!!  I was going to put a “?” after Dennis and my names but my daughter said it was gay.

During my project, I had a lot of time to think of why we do this as a society.  I picked a picture of each child over the last year because we are never in the same place at the same time.  And, truthfully, I have had enough of trying to get all four of them to cooperate for one second TOGETHER.  I looked back on old Christmas photos of the kids.  Sometimes they were dressed to the nines with hand-made smocked outfits.  They had to be JUST RIGHT!!!  Then when we moved to Fairhope, we had to do the beach picture.  Once we were finally there and relaxed, and responding to Irene Gardner’s toy squeaker, it became fun.  Those are some of my favorites.

Back to my point.  Nineteen years of Christmas pictures.  Nineteen years that have literally gone in a flash.  Where did it go?  What have we been doing in between these “perfect” flashes of our lives at Christmas?  Actually, all the time now due to FB.  We can all show the flash in the pan part of our picture perfect selves.  What happened right before and after that picture?  Who was yelling, crying, laughing, taking their smocked clothes off?  Even in my card this year I had to use an older, younger version of Dennis because I could not find a recent one until I found the one in here.  All he does is snap chat his children and sometimes me.  I hate it because right after it finishes, my phone has the camera facing me.  That has got to be the worst view of yourself: 4 chins, wrinkles and no makeup!!!

Again, I digress.  This year has been especially hard on us.  Moving schools, meeting new kids.  I am out of my element because I haven’t had the best opportunities to meet the girl’s friends parents. I have for a moment at prom pics or stuff.  It’s hard to start over at 50 even though I only live minutes from my hometown. The girls are not involved in any school sport.  That is always my way of socializing.  Dean is a different story.  I know all his friends parents.

This has been tough and lonely.  Depression makes you tired.  The thought of ever having to drive north of 459 for anything now is daunting.  I can barely get my head off the pillow.  If I go past 459 I would actually have to take my yoga pants off and put on something somewhat presentable.  I work in an old house full of men and surrounded by chickens.  I do get to see an occasional deer:).  I have not made the effort.  Once you are spiraling, it is so hard to climb back up. UNTIL…God yelled in my ear with a megaphone and told me something NEW was happening.

Of course I am looking around every corner.  And, of course God is laughing at me because he has put a carrot in my face and told me to wait some more.  But when He does show it to me, it will be in a flash.  It will feel like no time has passed since I had been moaning and groaning, asking where God went when He said he was giving me something NEW?

Everything is a flash of time.  When my mother passed away, Bishop Stough, who had been Bishop of Diocese of Alabama way back when, did the funeral.  He and mama had gone to highschool together and were age-old friends.  He had such a sweet soul.  I remember one thing of his 30 minute Eulogy: that the time between when she died and when I would see her again would be in a flash of time.  When I see her, I will not remember the anguish of her loss.  I will not remember being sad that she has not been able to see my children grow up.  BUT, she has.  She has been over my shoulder the whole time, cheering me on, wishing that she could tell me that this disease I fight (which she fought too) is going to be one of the biggest blessings of my life as well as my family’s.

So, in a meandering way, enjoy this flash of time.  Enjoy each flash.  They go so fast.  And remember, God has something NEW for all of us.  I am not good at remembering verses. But I say New, Roadway and River every morning and pretty  much all day long.  I am trying to learn to stay in the moment and not lament my past mistakes and failures and worry about the future.  Those three words keep me grounded, if only for a flash.

Merry Christmas,

Lulu

 

Where is God in the Darkness?

Did you know David in the Bible battled severe depression? “How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?” Ps 13:2. He knew the darkness and hopelessness we feel. He questioned God often why he left him alone: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do yo hide yourself in times of trouble?” Ps 10:1.
Those of us who battle depression, often ask why we feel so alone. Not only physically but spiritually as well. We see people so full of joy for God. All we feel is abandoned and angry. Why me God?
Well, why not me? Yesterday I talked about the beauty of depression/bipolar disorder. “But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that yo may take it into your hands; the helpless commit to you; you have been the helper of the orphan.” Ps 10:14. He is there for you. He gave you this gift because He loves you and knew that you were special enough to handle it.
That just popped in my brain:) I am not a Bible scholar or a priest. I am just a survivor who is looking for answers and comfort from God. Honestly? I don’t always find comfort from God. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t question Him sometimes. But, ultimately, I always come back to Him and His words for comfort. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Ps 42:11.
I love the Psalms. They put God’s word in simple terms that give me hope.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:17. When my mind is racing a mile a minute and I cannot control my thoughts and moods, I have to try hard and remind myself of this. This is God’s plan for me. In my mini-manic state is when I am most creative as well. I try to take advantage of those times and write down the turmoil which consumes me.
God’s plan for me at this season in my life is to relate to you what a mind like mine is like. In words, I am trying to get you to understand a loved one or even yourself.
I am well right now. I am thinking clearly and I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am doing all the right things that make me healthy. I take a day at a time and measure my emotions.
I have colitis. It is chronic. I will always have to take medicine for it. I am in remission. Clinical depression and Bipolar Disorder are pretty much chronic. With Bipolar, I will always have to take medicines. With the right meds and structured days, I can live a healthy, happy life.
God has given me a gift, but with this gift comes responsibility. I have to take care of myself in honor of God and my family and friends. Take care of your gift and take care of yourself.

Remember His Goodness

From football season to Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Then we have The Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and Mountain Brook’s back to back basketball championship win.  Dorian tryouts have ended.  It is so quiet around my house.  There is this lull.  A calm before the storm, if you will.  Ash Wednesday is in two days.  We are on our way to deciding what to give up or start to do on a daily basis during Lent.  The weather is dreary outside after such a beautiful Sunday.  How do you feel today?  I was up all night with two sick children, bed hopping from one to the other.  I am so tired…

I have been tired.  I have been struggling with God.  Some days I am so mad at him for our situation.  Then I feel guilty because I am not following all the rules a “good Christian” should.  Some say follow the Bible to a tee.  It can be hard for an English major to do that.  Millions of people around the world interpret the written word so differently.  

When do you feel closest to God?  Is it reading his Word?  Is it taking the sacrament?  Is it praying with your husband that He will get us out of this “mess”?  Do you read a certain devotional that gets you through the day?  God is with us all day every day in so many ways.  But I forget that.  I forget that when I fuss at my son for being upset that my husband ONLY made blueberry muffins for breakfast.  I forget Him when I lose my patience.  Then when I remember Him later that day, I feel guilty.

I am a sufferer of depression.  Some of you know that already.  Some recent events in my community have prompted me to come forward and expose my disease.  This past week has been one of the most emotionally draining ones I have experienced in a long time.  I posted it on Facebook for all of my “friends” to see.  I couldn’t be quiet anymore.

I have been angry at God lately because I suffer.  In the last couple of days, I have come to the realization that maybe God prompted me to expose myself.  Maybe, just maybe, this is my Spiritual Gift.  I have received more “likes” and “pm’s” in the past week than the seven years I have been on Facebook.  Jesus suffered for us.  We all suffer.  Maybe God wants us to use our suffering for the good of others.  It isn’t easy.  You are left very vulnerable.  Jesus was pretty vulnerable half naked up on that Cross with nails through his hands and feet.  He is our voice.

I choose to be yours.  Right now I am calling us sufferers.  I want to find a better word.  A word that describes us more as survivors, like cancer survivors.  This is our cancer.  Right now it is a silent killer, like cancer was so many years ago.  I am only one person, but I hope and pray I can put a dent in the education of depression.

Please know that you are not alone.  It is ok to be mad about this.  I struggle with this, but it is ok to be mad at God.  It is through his Grace that we can be mad at Him.  He can take it.

I am no expert on faith.  I can’t quote the Bible very often, but I seek solace in it’s words.  I go to my minister with these questions all the time.  He is trained to deal with doubters like me.  He tells me it is ok to doubt.  God is still there for you.  

I have thought a lot about what to do about Lent this year.  I decided to start this blog.  I am still trying to get the hang of it.  My laptop is missing the “t” so I have to push real hard on it.  If you see a lot of missing t’s that is the reason.  Some days I may not write about God.  But He is always there.  As I write this, I believe He is the reason I started this.

I hope you will come away with some understanding what we sufferers/survivors are going through.  Our thought processes are convoluted.  You will see some days I don’t believe in myself; that my self worth is abysmal.  But I hope by writing it out, I can get through it.  I hope you that suffer and survive the day can get something out of it.  I hope that if someone you love is suffering/surviving, by reading this, you can get some idea of what is going through their mind. 

By writing this, I hope I can remember that God is behind it.Image