Month: December 2014
December 31st, 2002
And 12 years later…
Blessed beyond measure.
One of my most cherished memories is singing with Mom and listening to her sing and play her guitar. She wrote over 80 worship songs and she loved to play her guitar and sing to the Lord. She would not only play when we were visiting them or they visiting us, but we also had the opportunity to lead worship together at the women’s retreats we held at various churches.
You can imagine my delight when I had the pleasure of singing with my precious Angel this weekend at church.
She’s been talking about singing with me for a long time, but every time she would change her mind and decide she would be too scared to be up on stage. Well, for the past few weeks she’s been asking and asking and it seemed like this time was different – like she was really ready.
Over Thanksgiving weekend was when I realized she really wanted to do it and so I asked our worship director about openings coming up in the next few weeks. I had thought about asking him about Sunday, December 7th, since Danelle and Jim would be here. But I decided not to, as it was such short notice and I figured there was already something planned.
I couldn’t believe it when I asked him and he said that he actually had an opening for Sunday December 7th! Thank you Lord! Although, that meant we had to get busy on a song!
We found one that had such an amazing message and also was pretty easy. I made Angel a copy and she got to work listening to it over and over. At first she couldn’t really get the notes but after a few days she came back and she was pretty much right on! I was so proud of her. And she was so excited.
Sunday morning we were up bright and early to do sound checks at 7:30 am. Whenever I sing or do drama or speak I always get really nervous right before going on, but then once I’m started I’m fine. Well little miss Angel didn’t have any of that. She was SO excited and confident and hilarious! I wasn’t nervous at all because she calmed me right down!
I realized after we had sang that I didn’t think about Mom or Dad once. At least not in a sad way. Instead my heart was so full of joy that I had the opportunity to sing with my Angel. A few months ago I told my counselor that I felt like I would never feel joy again. I’m so thankful that God is bringing healing and giving me joy again.
Thankfully I thought to ask Pat to record it, so you can see my precious Angel in her debut.
Don’t worry, you’ll see much more of her – she now plans to be a professional singer when she grows up. 🙂
(Disclaimer – these pictures are only a very small representation of our life. I have chosen to omit the pictures of my dining room table filled with papers and books and Lego pieces and crumbs and half empty glasses of milk from two days ago, pictures of my bedroom with a bed that is
nicely made covered in clothes, both dirty and clean, and a kitchen with dirty dishes in places where dirty dishes shouldn’t be.)
Seriously, can she get any cuter? Two days and counting until we get to kiss those chubby cheeks!
~The other night I was walking down the hallway past Angel’s room and saw this:
Hahaha. I don’t have many words for this one – just smiles. Love my girl!
~I’ve posted lots of notes around the house – God’s word and positive affirmations… “I am loved,” “In this moment I am ok,” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” The kids wanted to write their own cards and this is what they wrote:
This one is Angel’s – I am never alone.
And Caleb’s – God is loved with our heart.
~Every year we pick out an ornament for the kids, an ornament for Grama and Papa and an ornament for our family.
The year our family ornament was actually three – peace, joy and hope. Three things that we have renewed in our hearts this year.
(Ooops. No yoj around here, just joy!)
This is Caleb’s – he’s all about the turtles this year.
Angel picked out one with two kitties – to represent Flower and Cheetah who now live with their aunt Nellie. When we got home we realized that she had picked out a kitty one last year too. Which is ok but she loves her kitties!
~One of the best things about Thanksgiving weekend was vegging out with my kiddos.
~Please be in prayer for these two, especially on Saturday.
Actually you should have been praying for them on the day this picture was taken. I think they were watching a Bears game. Hahaha, sorry Jim!
Jim and his baby girl are flying to South Dakota! I’m so proud of Jim. Granted Cleo is especially cute and a pretty good baby, but still as a new parent I would have been pretty stressed. And pray for Leana too as she sends them off. Thankfully Leana’s brother and sister-in-law are flying to Florida from South Africa on Saturday and so she will have a good week with them!
The kids call him Elf on the Shelf, which is really what he is. But we call him Jesus’ helper. We’ve been trying to do things that will give us an opportunity to talk about God and Jesus and the reason we celebrate Christmas. However after three days of spiritual lessons, I think the kids were getting a little annoyed with the Elf on the Shelf. Last night I asked Pat to take care of the elf and he came up with this pose on the Kleenex box. Kinda creepy, right.
This morning when the kids saw him, Angel said, “What’s so special about the Kleenex box?” Hahaha. I guess what we’ve been talking about the past few days has been sinking in!
~I was so excited to come across this the other day:
That’s right! It’s a color by number coloring book! Color by number is one of my most favorite things in the entire world. I’m not very good at figuring out what colors to use on a regular coloring sheet, but it’s hard to find color by number that is a little more difficult than what a 4-year old could do.
~One of my worksheets from treatment:
Notice number 14 – I wish I could move to Florida! Some day, right Patrick!?
~Ok, if you must, here’s one more picture of Cleo baby:
If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!
Tomorrow I will be graduating from the outpatient Partial Hospital Program (PHP). It’s otherwise known as discharge day, but graduation day sounds so much better, don’t you think?
In case you haven’t seen my previous posts, the PHP is a program for those suffering from severe depression and anxiety. The first two weeks are full-time, the third week is three days and the fourth week is two days. My last week is also two days, so I guess it’s technically a five-week program. It kind of depends on the schedule they give you – you have to attend 17 days to graduate.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part in this program. I’m thankful to God for His protection over me when I was in my darkest days. I’m thankful to my husband, sisters, brothers and other family and friends who have been so supportive and encouraging. I’m thankful for those who have helped us financially, which allowed me to participate in all 17 days of the program. I’m thankful for the counselors, nurses, doctors and friends I have met through the PHP.
*Edited* I forgot to mention my gratefulness to my employer, The Good Samaritan Society, and my amazing co-workers. Their compassion and support these past months has been amazing!
I’m thankful for healing and hope renewed.
Depression is not only a hard thing to talk about, it’s hard to wrap your brain around the fact that it’s a daily struggle. It won’t always be a struggle, but it’s something that I will always have to work at. It’s something that I will always have to surrender to the Lord and be mindful of.
I remember when Mom shared her story of being healed from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and a whole list of other mental ailments. God did heal her, but it continued to be a daily battle for her as she healed. She had to cling to Jesus every single day and constantly remind herself of what was true. And she really wasn’t completely healed until Jesus welcomed her into heaven on June 9th, 2012.
So how do I work at it? First of all, finding healing from depression isn’t a cookie cutter process. But this is what has helped me.
1. God’s Word. Spending time in God’s Word every day. Being a part of a women’s Bible study. Filling my mind with truth. I was given a resource that has been so helpful – it’s a list of lies I might tell myself, what God says about me in response to those lies and scripture references. I refer to often.
2. Music. Music has always been healing to me. Singing, listening to music, attempting to play Mom’s guitar. I stopped doing a lot of this the past six months, for many reasons that I’m still working through, however having that back in my life has been amazing. When I start to think distorted thoughts or start to feel myself descend into the pit, I will turn on my music and it uplifts me and gets me back on track.
3. Coloring. I color a lot. Pat thinks I weird. The kids think I’m awesome. It’s very soothing and relaxing for me though. Instead of turning on some crappy show on television, I’ve tried to spend more time listening to music and coloring. (Yes, I still watch television, I’m just trying to be more aware of what I watch.)
4. Breathing. Well that’s obvious, right? But this is like really breathing. I’ve learned how to breathe deeply and really focus on my breathing, especially in times of stress or overwhelmtion. It’s amazing how much that has helped. Every morning I go outside to let Molly out and I spend time just breathing and listening.
5. Listening. Again, seems a little obvious, right? This one I got from my sister. When I am feeling anxious I will close my eyes and just listen. I will stop my mind from going a hundred miles a minute and listen closely to everything around me. It’s very soothing and helps me get focused.
6. Writing. As you may know if you’ve followed my blog, I stopped writing last summer. Or I didn’t write as often. Writing has always been an outlet for me to process what has been going on. I think it was very detrimental to my mental health when I stopped. Through the PHP and God’s help I’ve been able to start writing again and I’m very thankful!
7. Positive affirmations. This one has been hard for me. As a Christian my focus has always been loving others, serving others, giving to others… and I am supposed to be last. This is true, however it shouldn’t affect the way I see myself… I am unique, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am strong in Christ, I am loving, etc. One of my favorites and one that I would say over and over again, especially in the beginning, is “In this moment, I am OK.” It really was a moment by moment struggle in the beginning, and eventually I began to believe the things I was saying to myself.
*Edited*8. Exercise and eating well…still working on this one but I know it’s so important!
There are other coping skills and tools I’ve learned and re-learned the past four weeks. But those are the main ones I rely on – at least today.
It’s a little bit scary graduating tomorrow. I’m excited, but at the same time I’ve received such support and encouragement from the group. I’ve learned so much and I will miss that. But I also know that I’m ready to get back to “real life” and to start actually living my life again.
Thank you for the impact you have had on my life. I know many of you have prayed for me and our family and it means so much.
And last, but certainly not least, if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please reach out for help. Call someone or if there is no one to call, email me. There is help out there!
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs – a song I have listened to probably a thousand times the past four weeks. In the first week or two I literally listened to it all day when I wasn’t in group.
I need my sweet Lord’s help today.
My sweet Lord, desperately
I am alone, and afraid to be
My love is gone, So far away
I need my sweet Lord’s help today
Let Your love shine down on me
And light the way to be
Oh and these are the words that I pray
I need my sweet Lord’s help today
Blind is the fool, I see that now
I broke the rules, and let you down
I walked alone, Now I have run dry
I need my sweet Lord’s help tonight