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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!

Coat of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How many times have you read this passage in the Holy Bible? How many times have you heard this portion in marriage ceremonies? I have heard it, and read it hundreds of times. It is one part of 1 Corinthians 13 that I really like. It helps me remember how I should be toward others. Do you love like this? Do you love like God does? Continue reading

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

Four Days

In four days from today, my father, Robert will have been gone a year. It doesn’t seem like it has been a year already. He is in his Heavenly home and someday we will meet again.

I sense his presence in my home. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that he is here; maybe not. I have never been good at keeping indoor plants thriving. I have two special plants in my kitchen window. The smaller plant was gifted to our daughter on the birth of her son by my parents.  We transplanted it into a pot when we got home and it has taken off and continues to amaze me at its growth. The larger pot holds a plant from my father’s memorial service. Tall green leaves, flowing up out of the plant with white blooms. Did it have the blooms a year ago? I really can’t recall. I have never seen any blooms on it, until today. Knowing nothing about either plant, except they hold special memories in my heart, I can’ quite grasp if the flowering blooms are part of the plant and they only bloom once a year or if maybe it is a signal from my father that life goes on.

And our lives have gone on. Do we have days when we struggle and wonder why he had to leave us so early? Most certainly. Did he leave us a legacy of love and loving others? You bet he did. My father could be a very stubborn man, but he loved everyone. Not just some people, but everyone. And I think back on my life with him and how many ups and downs we had, but never once did I doubt his love for me.Ever.

He was in poor health near the end of his life here on earth. He lived as he wanted and did things his way, always. So frustrating at times, but I seem to be falling into his footsteps when it comes to the way I live my life. I am not always healthy in my eating or how I treat myself. I have smoked for many years and now, it is hindering my life. I am in the process of quitting for good because I still have too many things I hope to accomplish for Jesus; and that’s quite hard to do if I am not around. The addiction is so overwhelming, but I know that in the Bible, Philippians 4:13 it says “I can do all things through Jesus Christ, he strengthens me.”

If I confess that Jesus is Lord and believe it with my entire mind, soul and heart, than I know that Jesus will help me beat this addiction. I have quit various times in the last 30 years that I have had this disgusting habit. Yes it disgusts me. I don’t like how I smell, how my clothes smell and how it has affected my health. I know that food tastes better and I feel better when I don’t smoke. And the enemy knows that too.

Each time I was pregnant (3x), I stopped smoking immediately. I wanted to give my unborn child every advantage and make sure that I wasn’t the cause of anything wrong with them. I eventually would restart this nasty habit, because I could rationalize away how good it made me feel. Or when the price goes up, I will quit, I would tell myself. But the addiction to the nicotine is so darn strong, eventually my willpower was not enough.

My longest period of stopping smoking (cigarettes only) was in 2012. After 26 years, I was ready to stop. With the help of a cessation program and nicotine patches, I was smoke free in 5 1/2 weeks. For three years I felt great. I didn’t cough and sound like I was literally going to cough up a lung. I could breathe and when I walked, I didn’t have to stop and catch my breath.

As my father’s health deteriorated in 2015, I became stressed and worried. Instead of turning to friends for support, I lit up again and it’s been ongoing since then. I now smoke more than I ever have in my life and it is slowly killing me. For the last week, I have been miserable. I have developed COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; much of which can be attributed to the many years of smoking cigarettes and other respiratory infections I have no control over. But I do have control whether I light up or not.

As the lightbulb went off in my head, I realized that I can’t do anything in my own strength. To seriously think that I can, I am fooling myself. But with Jesus I can do anything, because He is my strength. His power is made perfect in my weaknesses. This is the biggest stronghold the enemy has over me and it stops today.

I have decided I am worth more than a pack of cigarettes. I know it won’t be easy. Anything worth having, never is. But I know it will be worth it.  I pray that my breathing difficulties will improve, my blood pressure will be lowered and a ton of other health problems I have may just get better since I am not inhaling over 7000+ toxic chemicals, each time I decide to take a puff. It took me reflecting on how my father struggled those last months, how his breathing was. He quit smoking years ago, but it still affected him in the end. He struggled to walk and breath at the same time. His problems came from his heart failing, but surely as I sit here and know how long he lit up in his life, I know I am headed for the same kind of life ending disease. I hope I am not too late to finally turn it over to Jesus and get on with living.no-more-smokes

No matter what you are facing in your life, whether it’s an addiction to alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, food, wrong friendships and relationships–Jesus can help you with all of them. You just have to get your head screwed on straight and your heart right with the Lord. Seek him out, trust that HE is enough for anything you need. And remember this also, You are created in the image of God. He loves you! You are his child and HE wants only the very best for your life.

To find help for the addiction of Cigarette Smoking, check out Quitting Smoking and good luck! You can do it and so can I. Aren’t we worth it?

If you would like to find a Christ centered recovery program in your area, go to Celebrate Recovery website to find more information of programs in your area.

May you be blessed and know how much Jesus Loves You!

~Carlene