So Tired

woman-1006102_1920This post contains affiliate links

I don’t think I can adequately describe how tired I am. Yes, I do have some chronic illness in my life, but this tired is not the kind of exhaustion you feel while battling an illness, this is soul wrenching tired.

I am an only child, and no, I was not spoiled, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. If you met my parents you would know that was impossible. Did I get a little bit more if there was extra money? Yes, but that was only because there was just me. Being an only child was not for lack of trying on my parents part. I know they, most particular my mom, wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. That lead to my parents being older when they had me. By today’s standards they were still young, but my parents are old souls and over 50 years ago 27 (mom) and 31 ( dad) was considered “very mature” for starting to have children. So with the scene set let me tell you why I am so tired.

My mom has dementia. It wasn’t a surprise, yet how can you ever be prepared to know that your mother is slowly losing her capability to reason. At 79 my mom cannot walk without assistance (power chair and walker), she is significantly stooped over, with a heart condition that began back in her youth, and now she sometimes does not comprehend what you said 2 minutes ago. I will admit that I am impatient on my best days, but this is really testing my mettle. Today, I think I hurt things more than I helped while we were discussing scheduled appointments.

My father, who at 82 and still works full-time as an aerospace engineer (I heard that gasp of surprise, yes full time at 82), I think, is in denial. I know he sees and hears what is happening, but to acknowledge it means that reality becomes not, IF, but WHEN. Part of the fear stems from both of them not knowing for sure that they are going to heaven. Before you ask or berate me, I have tried. I have spoken gently, directly, scripturally, and even to the point of being pushy, but my parents are tough nuts to crack (and I wonder why I become intractable at times). Dealing with my father is a whole different issue. It has been heard that while I am the executrix of my parents will,  they have left everything to my two grown sons. I don’t care about any money or things, but to be passed over in favor of my children proves a point that while I was growing up I never quite measured up. I’ve accepted that fact and I even understand a little where it comes from, but it doesn’t make the sting of that knowledge go away. My dad almost refuses to hear me when I ask them to gather their papers, and to file for power of attorney for medical and financial issues. I am not asking to be named as such, but it needs to be done so that the state does not step in when something happens. It’s been an ongoing battle for awhile now.

All of this to say that I am leaning on God and Proverbs 3:5-6,
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Yet, this is HARD and it is wearing me out. Consequently I have been dealing with bouts of depression because no path seems straight. I know that God will work this out and in His perfect timing, but even with that knowledge I am exhausted in mind, body and soul.

I think I am also draining myself looking for ways to help alleviate the discouragement. I am a part of the Young Living family and have been trying to come up with combinations to diffuse or put on the back of my neck, but it’s hard to isolate one symptom to try and ease. I have been scouring The Word and most especially the Psalms to give me perspective. King David’s Psalms have been some comfort as his Psalms run the gamut of human emotions which has been my life lately. Each way helps, yet when I am not actively doing them the depression settles in and sometimes takes root for a whole day. Lately it has been coming in waves and since Thanksgiving has been almost crippling at times. I will get past this, but in God’s timing. I feel this is my season of refinement and I am bucking the system.

My husband has been a wonderful support, but I fear that I will wear him out too and that would not be fair. So for now I have to hold on to the scripture I mentioned before and, Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” and most especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Count It All Joy?

girl-1149933_1920I lost my joy yesterday. There is just no other way to put it.  I think I can honestly say that I have been having a crisis of faith. I keep wondering where He is in all this.

In James 1:2-4 it says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Yeah, I am having a hard time counting it all joy. I know there are those who have suffered harder trials than I and I can honestly say I don’t know how they endure it, but welcome to my pity party for just a bit. 

When my husband and I got married just one month after, he was in a bad auto accident that left us without a car, and a no fault judgement, which meant we still had to pay for a car that did not exist. Five months later I lost my job and at that time I was making a bit more than my husband who was working two jobs. We had no other option, but to move in with my parents. Don’t get me wrong I love my parents dearly, but I was 26 newly married, living with my parents and again had a curfew. We managed to pay off most of our debt (even when my husband also lost his higher paying job) and moved into a lovely one bedroom apartment 7 months later after two career changes.

Normally in a marriage, the topic of children comes up. It did for us too, but in my youth I had been very ill and I wasn’t sure that I could have children nor would the illness come back preventing me from raising them, so we decided that children were not really in our future. Two months later I got pregnant with twins. Go ahead and giggle most people do at this point………..ok laughter time over because the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy I was put on bedrest, once again living with my parents because my husbands hours at his new job prevented him from taking care of me at any time.

My wonderfully made children were born at 36 weeks to the day, however they both have a form of autism, which had us deciding that I would stay home full time. My two boys are some of the most caring, loving, aggravating, frustrating, God loving men that I know.

We then got slammed with one of the worst trials we have faced, my husband became addicted to alcohol and then threw in some drugs for good measure. I won’t go into the gory details, but we separated, I filed for divorce (let’s just leave it at I had biblical grounds) and we were apart for a year. My husband got clean and sober and we did reunite, but then my health took a bad turn.

I was born with a spine disorder and unfortunately I had a very bad car accident that exacerbated it tremendously to the point that I needed surgery. I am now the proud owner of 4 screws, two rods and three cadaver discs. That made working outside of the house impossible for me at a time when my children were grown enough and I could have rejoined the working world to help with the household finances.

A few years later and I was diagnosed with diabetes. It didn’t stop there either, in the space of 4 months I had 3 surgeries; a DNC, my gallbladder and appendix removed and shoulder surgery.

It had seemed to us that maybe a change was needed again, so we thought that moving out of the house we have been in for 17 years would be a good way to get a fresh start. Purging all the old and simply cleaning things up might air out the crud that had us down. We prayed before each step, we tried to obey when doors seemed to close and things appeared to be moving along. Then we got steam rolled yesterday and we are lost. Details aren’t necessary, but things have gone wrong and we are not sure what will happen. We thought we were being obedient, we thought we were asking in faith without doubts (James 1:6), yet here we are.

I know trials are part of life and there are lessons to be learned. Faith is stretched and tried when the trials come, but mine seems to be flimsy at best now. I know in my head that when a door shuts He isn’t preventing us from good things and He may well have something so much better, but my heart can’t seem to get on board this time.

Has your heart ever forgotten to listen to your head? I thought I had concurred that particular affliction. I guess I need more work.

 

Vacation Lessons

Hello world….ok well at least the few of you who do read the blog, yes I am back. My husband and I were on a short vacation and I felt that it was more important to focus on our time together, since this was the first real vacation we have had now that our children are grown, than on making sure I had a blog post ready to go. I have to say that we learned or were reminded of several lessons and of God’s greatness while on our vacation.

Our trip took us about 4 1/2 hours away from home so we drove to save money. We left late on Tuesday and stopped when we got tired. The first lesson I learned is that when I am tired I do not exactly exhibit the fruits of the spirit. I use a popular app to book our hotel rooms, so I was utilizing it after midnight to see where we could find a place to lay our heads and get the sleep our bodies were beginning to seriously crave. I booked the room, but was having a hard time because it would not allow me to book for the exact night since it was after midnight. Anyway, we get to the hotel and walk in. It had gotten a descent review from travelers, but it did not look or smell the cleanest. The gentleman at the desk was less than accommodating (did you see what I did there?) and indeed was rude and nasty. Instead of calmly explaining the workings of the app that I had used, having me cancel the present reservation and taking us as a walk in, he decided that it was his duty to tell me how ignorant and stupid I was for not understanding that the app had made the reservation for the following night. My husband and I decided that it was our time to leave. I was angry and had increasingly lost the ability to “love my neighbor as myself”. We traveled a little further down the road to the next city, found a hotel that was in the same chain and a nice older gentleman displayed, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control all while finding us a room. He helped me regain my ability to have patience when dealing with other humans.

We arrived at our destination on Wednesday, after a few stops along the way just because we could. We settled in to a very nice room that had a little kitchenette that aided in our ability to save more money by purchasing food at a local grocery store. We were then able to either return to the room for all our meals or pack a lunch and snack for our adventures further out. We had decided to visit West Virginia. We reside in Pennsylvania and I love to explore the United States rather than traveling abroad. I had been through West Virginia and stayed overnight, but never explored any part of it. We stayed in Morgantown which is the home of West Virginia University and some of the hilliest roads I have ever seen! Even the university is built around this hillock filled hamlet. The first two days we explored all around where we were staying. We fed giraffes at Hovatter’s Zoo, we saw glass that had been created and fired many years ago there and went to the West Virginia Botanic Garden where we walked around the reservoir and were warned about sightings of bears and then checked out some of the buildings of the university.

On the third day we drove to Seneca Rocks which left us in awe and wonder and pondering how anyone could deny the majesty of God when looking at this beauty as is stated in Psalm 65:6-8, “6 Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; 7 Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. 8 They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” We also visited and toured a cavern in a resort called Smokehole which can be found in the depths of the mountains surrounding Seneca Rocks, and then to Blackwater Falls where we walked up and down over 400 stairs.

If you needed to disappear this would be the place to do it; no cell service, wide open spaces and a depressed economy, but beauty that takes your breath away. While the rock formations and the mountain air were wonderful and a complete demonstration of God’s ability to create something out of nothing the lesson that came on this day was while we were in the car, not admiring the grandeur. Traveling out to Pendleton County we found ourselves on windy mountain roads that had us hoping the brakes would not overheat or we would meet our demise rolling down the mountain. We also were amazed that there were no highways as we know them to be, and there are very few straight roads and if they are straight it’s only because they are going up or downhill. We stopped at a very nice park and had a lovely picnic lunch before coming upon Seneca Rocks, maybe that is why we hadn’t paid much attention to the time we spent traveling there. On the way home was another story; we were tired, and in need of rest, so we started back “home”. It felt like we had been traveling for days, the GPS never seemed to move and the roads all began to look the same. I looked down at my phone which we were using for directions and we had only 33 miles to go yet it was going to take us an hour to drive that distance; twice the time it would take us if we were at home!FullSizeRender

THAT is when I was stupefied by the thought that no matter how fast I would like the time to go to be able to get to the hotel, take a nice hot shower and rest while watching “Fixer Upper” we were not going to get there until we had completed the drive necessary in the place that we were. In other words; all in God’s timing.  I am not good at waiting for God’s timing to come about, but in the car 33 miles away from our destination and no faster way to get there I was forced to comply. It was quite eye opening to realize that if I could be patient enough (ok not really patient, but close) to not start crying over the distance and time required to meet our goal while trapped in a car, then I could do it when I was not at the mercy of West Virginia roads. Quite a revelation for me.

Who knew that God could teach even the simplest of lessons to understand, but hardest to comply to on a windy road in West Virginia, on vacation with the love of my life.

Woebegone

I began thinking yesterday after I wrote the blog, and then a friend mentioned something to me that made me really delve a little deeper into it. Even though for some in the Christian faith depression can be a taboo subject there are examples of many in the Bible who suffered great despair and I would venture to say even depression.

David a man after God’s heart showed his despair in many  of the Psalms. Crying out to God in Psalm 13:1-2

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me?

2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,

Having sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

David asks a question that I have been known to ask myself, “How long?” How long is this feeling of __________________(insert feeling here) going to last and why am I feeling it? God never left David, but David felt like He had.

Moses grieved of his people when he came down from the mountain top and the Israelites had lost their minds (really who thought a golden calf would be a good idea?). Moses had come down after speaking with the Lord to find his people in complete chaos and sin, who wouldn’t be depressed?

Jeremiah who was known as the weeping prophet was constantly rejected by his people and left alone to his own devices which could most assuredly leave a person feeling defeated and despondent.

Paul when speaking in 2 Corinthians 1:8 said, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; ”

Jesus even showed his anguish in Mark 14:34-38

34 And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch. 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will. 37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Job whom we know to have suffered great things even asked in Job 3:11

11 Why did I not die at birth,

Come forth from the womb and expire?

Now if anyone had a right to despair, other than Jesus, it was Job…geeze the dude never caught a break. He suffered more affliction than I ever want to see in 10 lifetimes. In Job 3 verses 20-26 his misery is evident, “20 Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul, 21 Who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, 22 Who rejoice greatly, and exult when they find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? 24 For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, and my cries pour out like water. 25 For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.

These were not people to be scorned, they weren’t people God stopped loving in their distress, nor did He leave them by the wayside because they could not see, for those moments, that life had a meaning or a purpose or even that there was a life to be lived. God does not leave us in our affliction so why should those in our home churches or brothers and sisters in the faith? That does not mean that we cannot, as brothers and sisters in Christ, help point to the worth in life, that we cannot emphasize that this too shall pass, or that things will get better. That the depression that some experience is situational and will change as the pressure lifts and the realization that we are not  forsaken sinks in.

Paul in 2 Corinthians when he despaired of life continued on and said in verses 9 & 10, “9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” He knew that even unto death God was not going to leave him, even though you can imagine the anguish that had brought him to despair of life. We can hear the emotion in Job. He couldn’t keep the “stiff upper lip” amid his pain and to expect that kind of emotionless Christian life is not a biblical ideal.

We as Christians need to stop stigmatizing the word depression and be available for others who need to cry out in anguish so that they can move on from the hard place that they are in. G. Campbell Morgan said in his book, Searchlights From The Word, “Yet, such outpouring is a far more healthy thing for the soul than dark and silent brooding.” In Psalm 34:17-19 we are told,

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears

And delivers them out of all their troubles.

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

But the Lord delivers him out of them all.