In the Midst of it All

This week has been emotionally exhausting. For several years now, as we live with autism being part of our everyday lives and trek through the ups and downs, I have been sharing how tantrums are not the same as meltdowns. This week has taught me that no matter how much I try to share a glimpse of what a meltdown is or isn’t, there is no way that you can possibly teach others what one is unless they have personally witnessed or experienced it themselves.

raging fire

I can educate others on the differences. I can post pictures on the autism page I manage on Facebook. I can tell others what we go through, but until you weather the storm and watch them unfold, there just isn’t a way to truly get it. I never did. I thought I understood. I thought I knew even after reading different articles, posts from others going through the same thing, hearing about them, but there is no way for anyone to grasp the degree of how emotionally and physically exhausting they are unless you experience them firsthand. And truly, I pray daily that I never have to go through one again.

I will. We will. It’s inevitable. I know as Tyson gets older and learns a coping mechanism and self-regulating strategies, along with all of us learning what the triggers are and techniques to help him get through them, they may lessen and maybe even stop.

Today we are on our third or fourth day in a row of multiple meltdowns per day. The one commonality is that he is happy and playing and wants to do something and he is told, “no.”  Telling him, “no, not right now” or “no, you can’t have that (fill in the blank, it could be a toy, a snack, whatever it is at the moment)” and it starts out as a simple child tantrum.  He becomes angry and cries. And we ignore him, hoping he will settle down and go on, realizing that just because he didn’t get what he wanted, crying and throwing himself on the floor isn’t going to make it so. But for him, once he starts crying, it sets off something inside of him where he becomes very intense and inconsolable. No amount of trying to hold him close and hug him or redirect works.  In these moments, he is lost within himself. As the meltdown increases, his behavior goes from simply crying out, not getting his way to hitting, throwing himself on the floor, running and banging into the walls, furniture, others, trying to bite you anywhere he can to inflict pain, pain that he is feeling, I presume.  And the only way to get him to help him calm down is to forcibly hold him and hug him tightly, but beware, because then he is closer to you and the headbutting and biting are easier to do.

When he was smaller, holding on to him as he stiffens his body or tried to wriggle out of your hold on him, was harder for him to do; now as he as grown (3 1/2 feet tall and 50 pounds), he is a force to be reckoned with.  He has always had superhuman strength, but when he is in the midst of a meltdown, it is quantified. I joke with others that I don’t need to go to the gym for strength endurance because I have my own little personal trainer that helps me with that.  We can’t leave him to flail around on the floor because he doesn’t care in those moments if he hurts himself or hurls items at us. And that is not acceptable. We also know that yelling at him to stop is futile. By this time, it’s not that he isn’t listening to us, he’s past that point and isn’t hearing us.

Jesus gives me the strength to hold onto him, usually facing away from me, because it’s harder for him to aim his head toward mine. As I become the human papoose to restrain him until he starts to wear down, I silently weep, because I don’t how many minutes it will take to reach him. When he finally starts to relax and cries out for me or his mommy or papaw to hold him, we know he is calming down. He is finally back with us.

He can’t be put in timeout, although this has been suggested because he does not sit still for any reason. So, earlier today I put myself in timeout. As he sat with his mommy, after melting for 30 minutes, I withdrew from the room, just around the corner, locked the safety gate, and sat on the stair steps out of his view and I wept. I prayed through my tears.

I know Tyson is a gift from God. He is truly a blessing in our lives. Even in the meltdowns and they have been more than I care to admit lately. I know that there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives. And I also know that being an autism family, Tyson doesn’t need fixing. He isn’t broken. His brain is wired differently than ours and we expect so much from him to live in our world and conform to the world’s standards of how he should act and behave. I know that he sees things differently and I love that about him, he has taught me so many joys that I take for granted. I just always expect the Sun and Moon to be shining in the sky at the right time of day, but each time he sees them, his heart is full of gratitude that God gives him the gift each day.

Zechariah 13:9 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

As we walk through his meltdowns, I liken it to the firestorms of life that God allows us to go through so He can refine and purify us into the people He created us to be. Yes, they are painful. No, they are not pleasant for any of us. But they are necessary. Everything each of us experiences during the midst of these teaches us to be a little more compassionate, a lot more understanding and out of the ashes, love for one another rises.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now~in this moment! Jesus can turn any mess into a message of hope. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

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Drowning

Psalm 143:6-8 New International Version (NIV)
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You, I entrust my life.

 

HelpMe

 

I am a strong person. I am told that all the time by my friends and family; even people I just met and have yet to form good relationships with. But what no one seems to realize is that I am strong, only because I allow Jesus to be my strength. My strength fails in comparison to that of Jesus.

I believe that all of us have an inner strength we are gifted through the Holy Spirit and it takes patience and requires a trust to tap into that inner strength.  It doesn’t come unless it is put to the test.  I know God will give me everything I need to succeed in every task I am given.  I know He will not set me up to fail. He is good. All the time.

Just as we can become physically exhausted and need rest and rejuvenation, I know my spirit can become emotionally and mentally exhausted and I also need to take time to rest and rejuvenate.  That type of rest and rejuvenation is different for everyone.  And I also know, for me personally, if I do not take the necessary time to rest and rejuvenate my spirit, I feel as if I am drowning and my Lifeguard walks on water, how insane is that? For me to feel as if I am drowning.

I am a “people” person. I am a nurturer, and if I must admit it, I want to be a “fixer” or “people pleaser”. Not in the sense that I have any skill or talent that I can fix anything because Jesus is the only one that changes the hearts and minds of people. I can only make suggestions based on my personal experience and observation.  I am much like my father, who loved being around other people and never met a stranger. I guess that qualifies me as an extrovert, personality wise. Striking up conversations with people, getting to know them, gaining a personal connection makes me come alive.

Knowing all of that, this morning hit me so hard, because as our sweet grandson wanted me to listen to him, about just one more vacuum and how cool they are, I became very frustrated and a little bit annoyed. I could care less, if I hear just one more thing about vacuums, truth be told.  I know I will hear about them though.  He can’t get enough, ever. And I know he can’t control those thoughts. Our brains are wired so differently. I only wanted to go back to bed and shut the world out for the day. Rest, listen to music and some podcasts, fuel up.

Taking time for myself, shouldn’t make me feel guilty or ashamed that I want some quiet. Some peace. And I shouldn’t have to feel bad if I don’t want to hear about it anymore. The guilt in my heart is from the world. Not God. It’s from the fixer in me, that says, “suck it up” you can make it through today, and tomorrow and the next day.

I wonder why we feel so guilty when we want to spend time with ourselves, no agenda or plan, just be. In the Word, God tells us to “be still and know that I am God”. Being still seems so unnatural now.  I used to love being still and days like today I miss those moments. Explaining that to anyone, usually brings a response of “what’s wrong?” And I want to know why does anything have to be wrong? Some days, everyone needs time to themselves, without having to leave the comfort and haven of their own home.

I feel guilty when I think of just me and my needs. How crazy is that? I know it is a very necessary need. I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I feel like I am letting people down if I am not doing everything considered necessary to keep life on an even keel, but I realized today that if I do not take the time for me, the ship will sink and we will all drown.

No one can be an effective teacher or role model in life if they don’t take time to just be.

So, as hard as it is for me, the person that likes to fix things, today I have to take time for me. Drowning, quitting, giving up these are not options. Resting should be the easiest task I have to do, but it’s so foreign to me, I am not sure what resting even looks like.  I guess I will have to keep working on the resting part.

Matthew 11:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Lord Jesus, here I am. You know how weary I am right now. I claim rest in your name and praise you for being the Savior I need. Everyday. Thank you for taking my burdens and bearing them on the cross. Thank you for giving me life. Please help me find the balance I need to not feel so worn. In Jesus name, Amen.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! Right where you are at this moment in time.

He is always here for you, always! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

Cry Out to Jesus

I’ve been crying out to Jesus in despair for several hours. Living with autism isn’t for the faint of heart. In the last four hours, I’ve been spit on numerous times, hit repeatedly, had blocks, toy cars, a toy cash register and anything else he could find to throw at me. My hair has been twisted and pulled, and stabbed with a fork repeatedly and raising my voice doesn’t help and letting the tears and sobs come doesn’t either.

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I don’t know what triggers these times or why Tyson goes thru these moments. I don’t like them and I hate that in those moments I just want to give up and throw in the towel, but I can’t. He is depending on me to get him through all he goes thru. He depends on all the people in his life to help him learn and grow.

Since he came into our lives almost four years ago, our lives have changed drastically from what we had imagined. There is no time to just sit with my husband and watch a movie, or take walks or have any type of just us time. When Tyson is asleep, that’s when we rest or frantically try to accomplish housework or tackle projects we can’t do when he’s awake.

He plays hard, throws himself on the floor, bangs into and on things, runs into walls, constantly climbing and jumping, banging his head on the floor, into the back of the chair and into other people.

His attention span is only a few minutes unless he is viewing videos or television shows he likes, but we know too much screen time is not good for any child, especially with one that seizures can be triggered by videos he watches depending on the content.

I love this high energy child that is constantly wanting to go places and repeatedly talk about what he knows. Vacuum cleaners are his favorite subject. He wears headphones when they are turned on, but when they are turned off, they are his favorite “toy” of all time. We have to limit his time because of the fixation. He can share with you every single detail and when its time to return them to their storage area, he clings to the vacuum, becomes angry and agitated and won’t let go.

We appear like a typical family outside of the walls of our home. We work really hard to keep him safe and keep him from having outburst or hurting others when we are out. He is always holding our hands, wearing a safety harness, in a shopping cart or any other means necessary to go out into the world. If we go to a park setting, there must be at least three people with him or the area must be fenced in. He loves going and playing at the park, up and down the slides; swinging with wild abandon, laughing and wanting more.

Our home is never clean. Never spotless. Every day, there are toys mixed with food particles from him being angry and throwing bowls of food off the table because he isn’t hungry or doesn’t want what was placed before him. Highchairs don’t contain him anymore. He’s too smart for the five point harness. He knows if can’t get the latches undone, he can wriggle out of the straps with a little bit of determination and grit.

He is so smart. He can figure just about anything out on how it goes together or how it comes apart. He can count to 13 on his own, the number of stairs in our home. He can recite the alphabet and label each letter if asked. He calls himself Ty. Tyson is too hard for him to say right now. He can cook the most amazing meals in his tiny kitchen. He loves mixing and pretending to cook just as much as he likes helping me mix concoctions in my kitchen.

Since beginning this post, most of his toys have been bagged and removed to another room. The TV has been shut off. Music has been turned on. I’ve had to stop writing multiple times to get him off of furniture he should not be standing on, out of paperwork cabinets that hold his care notebooks and IEP plans. Tell him no repeatedly because he wants to make raspberry sounds and realizes he can spray you with his saliva. Position my chair in such a way that he can’t climb on my desk to mess with the mini-blinds covering the window above my head.

In between, he’s had a cup of blueberry yogurt and a cup of milk for a snack and I’m using this opportunity to help him say blueberry yogurt. His language disorder for expressive language is a struggle. His version of blueberry yogurt is boo og. Every moment he speaks is used for speech language therapy. Those moments don’t just happen at school or in speech therapy appointments, every moment he’s awake is when it happens.

Ugh!!! He just drew on his feet with a green marker and dumped his yogurt on the desk! So much for the calm.

The struggle is real. Its a glimpse into living with autism. A mere 5 hours out of 24. One moment he is hugging me, giving kisses and the next he is trying to break out the front door glass with his wooden toy hammer.

I am looking forward to when his batteries run out so I can take a shower and just sit still for more than one second. Right now we need to be in a padded room with nothing but us. I just was hit in the head with his tiny shoes that pack a powerful punch.

My joy comes from the Lord. Not my circumstances. I am so very thankful I have Jesus in my corner.

To the other families that “do autism” everyday, please know you are not alone in your journey. Even though it feels like it.

To everyone, may you know how much Jesus loves you~in every moment you live.

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

As I sit here thinking back on the last several weeks, I am reminded how precious our time is here on earth and how important it is to live our lives to the fullest every single moment we are given and whatever we choose to do, we do it with unbridled passion. Near the beginning of the month, a lifelong friend, that had so courageously battled cancer and never given up hope that she would survive, was killed by her husband.  

She cherished life and her children/grandchildren. She loved her friends and always had something positive to say, no matter how bleak things were for her. She was always smiling, for as long as I can remember. Always smiling on the outside. Always a kind word. And the last time I had spoken to her weeks before her death, she was still hopeful and joyful, even though, as it turns out her life was less than joyful. She chose to live life in such a manner to leave a legacy of loving others with kindness and compassion. She will never be forgotten. She touched so many lives while she was here.  

After the news of her death and paying respects, joining in the sorrow of the loss that many of us feel and celebrating who she was, I realized that none of us know the time or day God will call us home. So, with the time I have, I better us it wisely.`

Prior to the first of the year, I had prayed and planned and envisioned what 2018 was going to look like, what I was going to strive for and what my theme for this new year would look like. My theme is the same: Focus on God, Be Intentional and Savor the Moments of Life. My visions have shifted.

I realized that as I attempted to build an online business with Plexus Worldwide as an Independent Ambassador, I loved connecting with others and offering them hope, through health and wellness supplements, I did not like the “business” side of it. No matter how many customers I gained or other people that signed up to do the same, that is not where my heart lies. I could go on living that lie, or I could get real and realized that God has a different plan for me. When doing something that you are not 100% all in, no matter how much you try to convince yourself, there will always be feelings of resentment or maybe resentment isn’t the right word, but feeling like if I continued on that path, my family and I were suffering, emotionally.  I just knew that it was preventing me from being the person I was created to be.  I will always have GREAT things to say and share about Plexus and the products they offer, and I will continue to use them because they have helped me to feel so much better, but this is not where my joy comes from.

Jesus is my joy! Reading the Word, learning Truth, sharing the Good News that is where I find my joy, that is where I feel fulfilled. Hope comes in many forms and loving others comes naturally to me. I always look for the positive in any situation. I choose to show grace and mercy as much as humanly possible. I have many flaws, as do others, but I look for the good.  There is so much evil in this world, so much hatred and greed and people that are all about themselves, I don’t care to watch the news anymore. That’s all you see most of the time. It’s sad, but the one thing that never ever changes is Jesus. He is the same today, as he was 2000+ years ago, and he will be the same 2000 years from now. He is the one constant in my life. He is my Lord and Savior and He is my friend. 

He has seen me go through so much in my lifetime, and He still loves me. He weeps when I weep and he rejoices when I rejoice. My life has been far from perfect, there have been many choices I have made that have caused others to hurt, emotionally and as he works with me to realize that there is nothing I can do to be perfect this side of Heaven, he has taught me that forgiveness and love can cover over a multitude of anger, hate, evil and despair. When the demands of being a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend become overwhelming, when there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all you hope to or need to, when the expenses outweigh the income, He always provides a way for things to work out. When you feel like you are in a tunnel and the walls are closing in, He is the One who lights the path and helps me to hold it all together. Days when I feel like screaming or crawling in a hole somewhere, He is with me. He comforts me. He lives within me. He guides me. 

I sit here in the midst of chaos. Toys spewed all over, crumbs left on the floor by a toddler, laundry overflowing that needs to be folded, dishes stacked high waiting to be washed, bills stacked up and I can choose to do two things, I can look at them as blessings in disguise or I can choose to be angry that no one else seems to notice. 

I choose to see everything in my life as blessings.  There are toys because He gave us this gift in the form of an inquisitive young child that wants to know how everything works and why the wheels spin on the toy truck, or loves the idea of the “black” sweeper, even though he can’t handle the noise of it, the crumbs and the dishes piled high mean there is food in our home to nourish our physical bodies, the laundry means we are fortunate enough to have more than one outfit to wear and a washer/dryer to care for those outfits.  The mess all around is contained by these four walls, we have a home to live in and a roof over our heads.  As I sit here typing this, I am watching my grandson, shred a piece of paper all over the floor, knowing that is just one more thing on my ever-growing list, but my life without him would be so lackluster and boring.

Every single child is a gift and a blessing. Some require more care than others. Extra care that you aren’t sure what that looks like or if it will ever happen where less one on one care will happen, but you embrace them. You love them. Living with someone on the Autism Spectrum is overwhelming, rewarding, crazy, chaotic and sometimes very stressful. Being able to cry out to Jesus and sit with Him in the midst of the chaos, keeps me sane. I think.

If you are living a life that is not what you want, you do have the power within yourself to make the changes.  It may not be easy, it might be the hardest thing you have ever done, but you are worth it.

May you know that Jesus Loves You~right where you are.

Blessings~Carlene

Rest in the arms of Jesus Sam! I love you and miss you deeply. (Samantha Howard Freels, July 7, 1965 – January 12, 2018)

Samantha

 

 

It’s Just Stuff

Hoarding disorders can be life threatening to the individual(s) that believe they cannot let go of items because they have a perceived notion of value, either monetary or sentimental value.

hoarding

I see small hoards in my own home and I truly understand why they are there, but I have a hard time getting these hoards cleaned up. Early in our marriage, we had substantial problems and we moved a lot and with the moves, many things had to be left behind or let go because we didn’t have the means to transport them. We had started over more than once with nothing but the clothes on our backs,  Once you have a place to store things, it becomes very easy to hold onto items that you necessarily wouldn’t hold onto otherwise, but you don’t let it go to the trash bin, because you might need it down the road. In our minds, if we had already spent money on such items, why trash them and then have to spend more money on them again.

I open the door to what was supposed to be the fourth bedroom but never was. It became the storage room because this old home has no closets. It was neatly stacked and organized when we moved in 6 years ago. Now it is a chaotic mess, the door opens, but not all the way. If we don’t know where to place something but do not have the desire to discard it, it’s taken to the “storage” room. The storage room is a disaster. I need to be able to clean it out. In order to do that, I would need several days with no one else in the house because I am sick of the mess. I would estimate that there are probably only a handful of items that actually need to be in there. Consisting of the Christmas tree, lights and decorations, and photos that need to be scanned into the computer for digital imaging.

My hoard items are shoes and clothing that I need to donate to a charity and tote bags. I have outgrown the shoes and clothing or they are items I no longer wear. I know it is not just my family members that struggle with letting go.

The biggest concern is we live in a large old farmhouse with no closets and everything is everywhere. I am at the age where less is best. Having a chronic illness, I do not have the time or inclination to spend days cleaning and rearranging items.

Watching the show Hoarding: Buried Alive on A&E Network, I think to myself well we are nowhere near being hoarders, but it all has to start somewhere.  So, I am writing this to put myself on notice that we have to start working on the items in this house and we have much to rid ourselves of.

John 10:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Just as the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, this hoarding problem, although it may be small, steals time and joy from our lives. You can look at it, you can box it up and you can even put it behind a door in a room, but you know it’s still there.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians to be content with what we have.

Philippians 4:11New Living Translation (NLT)

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

I have Jesus. He is enough. All these other material possessions are just stuff. They have no importance or they shouldn’t have importance in my life. I have Jesus. What more could a girl ask for?

So, my question to all of you is there something that you are holding on to that is more important than Jesus? Sometimes, it takes sitting down and taking an inventory of your life to realize that all the material possessions are just that. Possessions.

Every time I think about being content in the Lord, I am reminded of what Jesus said when he gave the Sermon on the Mount of Olives:

Matthew 6:24New Living Translation (NLT)

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

There are many reasons for hoarding. Everyone’s reason is different. I know why we, as family, hoard. Too many poor choices early in our lives, losses that not only signaled losing possessions but unwelcome changes that changed the dynamics of our family.

If you or someone you know has a hoarding disorder, please know there is help out there. Please visit this National Cleanup website for organizations in your area.

May you know how much Jesus loves You!

Blessings to all!

Ademoneo

Ademoneo, Greek Transliterated word  New Testament Greek Lexicon

pronunciation: ad-ay-mon-eh’-o

Definition: To be troubled, great distress or anguish, depressed.

There are three instances that this word has been used in the New Testament You can find those instances in Matthew 26:37/Mark 14:33/Philippians 2:26

depressed


I have lived with depression for years. But not my depression. Until recently, I didn’t have this problem, personally. But I have lived with the disorder for many years because I love people who live and suffer from clinical depression. Depression that from what I know and have seen, they battle daily to keep their lives going on an even keel.  Depression, if left to run its course ends up ruining many things in their lives; including them.

This depression wasn’t just because something happened that made them sad or downtrodden, but a melancholy that settled in their soul and no amount of encouragement or laughter could bring about change. Sometimes medications help, sometimes they didn’t. People suggest that you see a psychiatrist or psychologist and talk out the reasons that have led to your depression and they can teach you ways to cope with it and live with it.

What I have found, though, is that it isn’t just one thing that causes it and what works great for one person suffering, doesn’t even begin to work for someone else with the same diagnosis. The mind is like a minefield. What might set one person off, another person it wouldn’t even faze.

This depression that I have been feeling lately, has been coming on for months. I have fought long and hard to keep it at bay. I have done my best to dive into the Word and pray to the Father seeking His guidance. I have started Bible Journaling as a way to express myself, while still reflecting on scripture and God’s promises to never leave us or forsake us. I know I am one of the luckiest people in the world because I have the spirit of God living within me. The Holy Spirit. And he guides me and convicts me when I stray from the teachings of Jesus. I have always been able to show mercy and grace under pressure and continue to live in a joyful state of existence with God’s joy in my heart. It’s not always happy times or moments, but I’ve always had God’s joy there and His peace that only he can give.

Lately, I’ve been pondering how do I get back to where I was or maybe I should be asking where are you leading me Lord and how much longer will I be in this dark valley?

I am a people person. I always have been. I never meet a stranger, ever. I love to talk and read and learn. I love to be an encourager to others and help people. I do have a caregiver mentality. The only problem with having that mentality, is sometimes I forget to care for myself.

Zechariah 13:9New Living Translation (NLT)

9 I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

I know that God allows us to go through painful circumstances when necessary to refine us for what His purpose is for our lives. I know that in those moments, I need to lean into him and pursue Him for my needs. He will supply them all.

Before I retired early, even though I was in great physical pain, I was around others and now I am around the same people daily. Please don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed to have my family, but honestly spending every waking minute together is maddening when you are a person that seeks to be around people and not feeling isolated all the time. Unfortunately, with the loss of income (over 50%), the itinerary for the week changes to accommodate budget needs.  And many other changes occur because we can’t eat out as much as we would want or buy things on a whim because the funds aren’t available. And event though the physical pain isn’t as strong as it was when you were working full-time, it’s still present. The difference is now you can sit and rest when you need to. That’s really the only difference.

When I worked 40 hours a week outside of the home, I still had obligations here that had to be taken care of and everything came together, one way or another. Now I feel isolated, lonely. I feel like all I am to people is someone who cooks and cleans and does laundry and keeps a two-year-old occupied all day.  I love being a grandmother. But I don’t want to be the grandmother that can’t have fun with her grandchild and then take a break. I will if that’s what it takes. But I miss being able to do fun things for me. With my friends.

I miss being able to splurge and go to a fast food restaurant and grab a sandwich because I don’t feel like making a lunchmeat sandwich at home. I miss working and earning an income.

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
James 4:10 MSG

And the worst part is every little critique that anyone has for me, I take offense to. Even if they are correct. I have always been a firm believer that constructive criticism is good. Lately, I haven’t felt any of the criticism I have received is constructive. I take things too personally and inwardly, I cry. I think of all kinds of ways I could respond, but I know that is not what Jesus would want me to do because as soon as I allow those thoughts to flash across my mind, I am convicted in my spirit, that is not who I am.

I get depressed because I can’t even go to the store by myself. Even though I am a people person and anyone that knows me would agree; sometimes I just want to be alone. I know this is healthy thinking. I just can’t convince anyone else of that without hurting their feelings and that’s the last thing I want to do.

I used to read 3-4 books a month and now I am lucky if I read 3-4 books in 6 months. I miss reading. When I read, I can visualize the story in my mind and I can escape my life for a few hours and just dive into the story. Page turners I can read within a day or two. Now my books are on shelves, gathering dust because I don’t have time to do that anymore.

My depression is in part my fault as I have never been good at setting boundaries and keeping them. I know that until I learn to stick to my boundaries and keep them in place, I will continue to be walked on and I will continue to resent certain people. That is not healthy and I have no desire to walk that road.

The depression I have observed in the last 20 years has caused true medical ailments because the festering of problems being pushed down farther and farther until there is nowhere to push them and they come out in ways that create havoc on the body. I’ve seen it. I know it’s real. It causes underlying medical problems such as hypertension, heart problems, stomach problems. and probably too many to mention here. If your depression is truly bad, and you do not have coping skills in place for when you start to spiral out of control, I’ve seen it come out in waves of sadness and anger. And even though many things said in the throes of an argument or disagreement that are spiteful and hurtful aren’t meant; once you’ve said them you can’t take them back. Words hurt.

Proverbs 12:18New Living Translation (NLT)

18 Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.

I know that I must talk about it. I must talk to anyone that will listen that you can’t hold everything in and at some point not explode or just give up. We all need one another. We all have problems. We need to start loving each other not for what we have or don’t have, but simply because loving one another is so much better than the effort it takes to be hurtful to one another. And because that is what we are called to do.

Matthew 22:37-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Heavenly Father,

Help me to see that I am not alone. Help me to realize that you are with me, always. Help me to reach out to others and lean on others. Lord help me to grow in the ways you want and need me to grow and keep me on the correct path for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Blessings to you; may you always know Jesus Loves You.

Jesus Can Turn any Mess into a Message of Hope

#HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Focus on The One

Sleep was erratic. Seals  were broken numerous times.  Excuses danced around in my mind.  The alarm sounded.  As I flipped back the covers and swung my legs over the side of my bed this morning, I thought of all the reasons I could stay home and not venture out into the cold, brisk air. For a split second, the idea of burrowing under the covers for the remainder of the day was very appealing to me.love-1221444_640

That’s exactly what the devil wanted. Not today Satan.

As I slowly and purposely maneuvered down each stair step, and secretly wished I could just bound up and down the stairs as I used to, I found our grandson waiting at the bottom – arms outstretched wanting to be picked up with the cutest smile on his face. At that very moment, I thanked Jesus for the blessings he gives me daily. I couldn’t wait to get to church and spend some time praising and worshipping the King of Kings!

Winding my way through the maze of people at church, chatting it up with friends and giving and receiving hugs, I found my way to our seats.  As I juggled my handbag, several coats and a cup of hot tea, I placed my cane on the chair in front of me.  I knew I would need it. Most Sunday’s  I choose to sit and sing from my seat during worship  times. It’s an easy way for me to take a break from the pain I have; today I chose to honor the Lord with ALL I have and ALL I am. And as I stood and sung with every fiber of by being, my heart swelled; my pain was there, but it wasn’t so unbearable that I couldn’t stand through  a few songs.  Thoughts tried to break through saying, ‘you know you would feel better if you sit down.’  Not today Satan.

Lately, I have found that if I allow the stress of my day to gnaw at me and I don’t let it roll off of me and give it to Jesus, the devil comes along and tries to steal my joy. I can stand firm in my faith and know that Jesus is working everything out for me.  I am learning that how I look at life, is quite different from other people in my life see it and I can do my best to understand things from their point of view or I can allow Satan to work on us and allow bitterness to take hold and bickering to ensue to the point that I don’t care what happens in those relationships. The enemy is good at plotting and destruction. I can say  ‘Not today Satan.’

God tells us in His word that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but that He came to give us life abundantly.

 

John 10:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they (A)may have life, and [a]have it abundantly.

 

When I chose to follow Jesus as my Savior, my life became abundant in blessings and favor I would never had seen otherwise. God loves us and he gave us the best gift we could ever have. His son. I always have a choice and so do you.

Last week, I melted. If tears could cause a person to dissolve, I would’ve been a puddle for sure. I do my best to  stay focused on the Lord, but sometimes life gets the best of me. I forget to turn it ALL over to the Lord. I pray, but I don’t realize that I need to totally surrender to the Lord. He already knows what I need.

I can choose to see all the things I need to work on in my life as dead ends OR I can choose to see how many times Jesus has carried me in the palm of His hand, when I was too weak to take that next step. As I allow the Lord to soften my heart and show love and kindness, as he did, the walls of anger and resentment start to fall away.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must trust in His Word for us. His love endures forever. So the next time, you feel like you’re being pulled into a direction that is not of the Lord, simply stand firm in your faith and declare – Not today Satan.

 

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for my life. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for dying on the cross and shedding your blood from me. Lord forgive me when I fail to remember that you are with me . When I am weak and have no strength; you are my strength. When I am tired; you give me rest. When I am sad; you are my joy. When life is coming at me from all sides; you are my peace.  Father God, thank you so much for sticking with me through thick and thin.

In your Mighty name Jesus, Amen

Remember, Jesus Loves you! Blessings to you and yours today!