Tuesday, July 10, 2012

God's Timing Is Absolute

As I sit here today, watching Sesame Street over and over on Netflix with my 5 year old while contacting doctors, health insurance companies, looking for contact information for schools, going through checklists, and explaining to the ex why a 2 week visit with our son is complicated at this point in our son's life as we try to cut through mountains of red tape created by the state of Florida to get our son enrolled in middle school for the school year that begins in just over a month (all while bending over backwards to comply with his last minute requests), all while trying to figure out where the money to keep our heads above water is gong to come from and researching and planning to shoot a wedding in 3 months, something I swore I would never do, I am reminded that God's timing is absolute. (How's THAT for a run-on sentence?!) He's not restricted to our schedules and deadlines. I have been feeling so overwhelmed at the amount of responsibilities piling up on my head. Did I mention that I am without transportation because we simply can't afford the $300-400 Florida requires to register our vehicle with them for the first time? But guess what? God isn't surprised by any of  this. Because He has a plan. But, His plans are obviously not my plans! and His ways are DEFINITELY not my ways! My ways mess everything up. My plans involve panic and fear. His plans involve hope, and a future! 

So, just remember, no matter what you're going through, the battle just isn't yours. The battle is God's. He has already gone before you. Trust in His plans. His timing. His ways. And most importantly, trust in His grace to carry you through these trials. His arms are ALWAYS open to you. He won't leave you. He won't abandon you!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NLT)

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NLT)

I blog with BE Write

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Musings

* We are watching Tropical Storm Debby closely. Her exact landfall point is currently changing with each new update. This is our first storm since moving to the Gulf Coast. It has been a very enlightening experience. She's been slow, moody, and unpredictable.

* We had a communion service at church yesterday. God revealed a lot to me during this time. My depression has been crippling my relationship with Him, and I've been letting it. I miss the closeness I once had with Him. I miss being so in love with Him that every thought centered on Him. I want to find that place again. I'm tired of being sad, insecure, lonely, and angry. I keep searching for Him, but I can't seem to quite find Him. But He found me yesterday. I've had such peace and overwhelming emotion since that moment. 

* Money is really tight. Bills are past due. Work has been slow. This is NOT what we moved to Florida for. This is not what I uprooted my life and my family's lives for. But, God assured me yesterday that He's got this. And that He will supply all of my NEEDS. Including those life-sustaining supplies and meds I'm getting low on. Just gotta keep trusting HIM, not Brooke. I'm bad about that, being the control freak that I am.

* What happens to us that we are so CLOSE to God one day, comletely focused on Him and having Him consume our every thought, and the next we are searching for Him and unable to find Him? I mean, when you never stop looking for Him, but wake up one day and realize that there is an entire mountain range standing between you and your Beloved. How does that happen? 

* VBS was last week. The youth helped out, so both boys were there all week. JRay helped in the kitchen, and Nate was placed with the K-2 age group. I'm thinking he wasn't quite ready for that group yet since he only just turned 5 less than a month ago, but he still had a blast the entire week. He couldn't ever tell me what they learned, but he knew they were chasing the Light! He made himself center stage during the show on Friday night. Rolling around on the stage, creating a mosh pit with the wall, etc. He just makes me so proud. 

* We cleaned house after church yesterday. I've not felt well for several weeks now. Probably more like several months. I've had zero energy and have really struggled with keeping things done. So the house was really getting to an unbearable point. Momma went on a rampage after we got home, and needless to say, we all worked together and I am able to rest with the boys in a CLEAN house today. It's such a great feeling. I miss feeling like myself. 

* I got a porch swing off of Freecycle. It just needs cushions. Those aren't as easy to find as I expected, but I'm determined. So many precious memories with my Momma were made on her porch swing. Right now it's sitting in the front driveway next to the house waiting to be used. It may turn out to be my new counselor ;)

* I love my husband ;) He is so good to me, so understanding, compassionate, and loving. He gets that I'm not myself these days, and really goes out of his way to shoulder more of my load, on top of his own already heavy burdens. I couldn't ask for a better man to share my life with. I don't share that with him enough. I need to work on that.

* I'm so sick of religion. It's been on my heart for so long now. I'm disgusted with what "the church" has become. We spend so much time arguing denomination, that we miss the people staring us in the face that just need to be loved. We spend so much time looking for that perfect church, with perfect worship, the right message, that we totally miss the point of it all. It's not about what the church does inside those walls on Sunday morning. It's about what we do OUTSIDE those walls the rest of the week. We are called to LOVE one another. We spend so much time judging one another we forget how to love. I'm not saying that we should ignore the rest of the Word, but at the heart of it all is LOVE (1 Cor. 13). When we let His love work through us, the rest falls into place. There's no room in it all for religion. Religion is for the Pharisees.

I blog with BE Write

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Seeking Peace

I had the privilege of taking a vacation with my little family along with my Dad and Stepmom this week.  Nothing special, just a few unscheduled, unencumbered days at the beach with those closest to me. Since moving 325 miles away from "home" a year ago, I just don't get to see my Daddy often. And I miss him. A lot. My Daddy is like the older male version of me. I have always been and always will be a Daddy's Girl. This vacation couldn't have come at a better time. I've been struggling so hard with anger and resentment. Not towards anyone specific, but, needless to say, my precious husband has caught the brunt of it. He works hard to provide for our family, but is sinfully underpaid and under appreciated. So our finances have been in a real pickle since work slowed down and overtime all but disappeared. We rely on that overtime to survive in this expensive Florida economy. So all of that, combined with my severe loneliness and longing for a close friend, have created some serious turmoil inside of my fragile heart. I have been questioning and pulling away from God. I knew I was doing it, and I didn't want to do it, but somehow couldn't stop it. I've felt Ike Paul, in Romans 7:14-25.

"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." (Romans 7:14-25 NLT)

I am constantly at war with myself. But this week, while getting away from the Internet, Facebook, and all of the other distractions in my life to spend some quiet time with family, I found a glimpse of that peace that goes beyond understanding again. I found a quiet place within my soul that I can retreat to when the every day becomes too much. I found my real Daddy again. The One who still wants me to crawl up in His lap, cry on His shoulder, and just rest in His strong arms. I've missed Him. I'm so thankful that even when we are struggling with our love for Him, His love for us only grows stronger. His desire to hold us only intensifies. 

And I'm thankful for my earthly Daddy. I'm thankful that his wife provided this vacation for us, I'm thankful that even when I have been critical and unfair to her out of my own grief that she chose to love me, and I'm thankful that through the years, my Daddy has always loved me and been there for me. I'm thankful that after losing my Momma after nearly 37 years of marriage that OUR Daddy has given him happiness again. I miss sharing a driveway with him, but am thankful that we still share an even stronger bond of love.

I blog with BE Write

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day

Hello all my beautiful readers. I just want you to know that I haven't forgotten you, and that I do intend to continue the depression series. However, my diabetes is giving my eyes fits lately, so my vision is just a little messed up, to put it mildly. So I just can't sit here and really pour my heart into this like I need to. I have a post burning my heart at the moment, but it will have to wait until my eyes settle down.

Meanwhile, I want to wish all of the Moms out there a Happy Mother's Day. I pray your weekend is full of love and joy and memories. As most of you know (and if you don't, spend some time reading back a few years worth here, you'll get the idea), this is a REALLY difficult time of year for me. My sweet Mommy was taken from me much too soon May 14, 2008, the Wednesday following Mother's Day. It's just not been the same for me since. So, I may be MIA for the next week or so as I trudge through heartwrenching memories and grief. It's inevitable. I would appreciate your prayers through this time. My old "friend" depression comes on pretty strong during these times. Satan works hard to pull me back into that terrible place.

But I want to leave you with a scripture that I feel defines who my Mother was, and who the rest of us want to be. It's from the infamous Proverbs 31.

Proverbs 31:25-29 NLT

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

Shelia Diana Evans Stover
April 11, 1955-May 14, 2008
My Mommy holding my youngest, Nate, on the day he as born. May 26, 2007. We miss you so much Momma and Nana! You are still so very loved!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Depression, the Beginning

Have you ever known someone that suffers with depression? Maybe you are that person? What was your initial response to this news or realization? Were your thoughts something along the lines of "Well he must not be the Christian he appears to be!" or " Her faith isn't strong enough! She needs to trust God with her problems!" or "They just need to give it to God and He'll change their heart!"? If so, you're right there with a large majority of the church. And to be honest, I was on the fence myself on the whole depression in Christians topic. Well, until a year ago, anyway. Then I received a rude awakening on the topic.

When you think of depression, what comes to mind? What do you consider as more than normal grief after a loss or some change and deep depression? Have you thought about it? Do you see it as a character flaw, or do you recognize it as a medical condition? There are so many varying opinions and champions on the topic. There are multiple sub-conditions that fall under the umbrella of depression. You have PTSD, Bi-Polar, CFS, and the list goes on and on and on. 

The fact is, depression is NOT a character flaw. There are so many causes of clinical depression, and many varying degrees and types. Sometime last summer, I began to fully realize just how difficult this was. I discovered that I have ALWAYS battled it. That I've always had depressive tendencies, but they were mistaken as insecurity and the result of life events that caused me to build walls around my heart. I have always heard the same ol' condemnations for Christians on antidepressants. But, let me tell you, if I had access to medical care that I could afford, I would probably have chosen them some time ago. And if you know me at all, you know that I am not a weak person. I am very stubborn, resilient, rebellious, and all out strong willed. I am not weak! So why was it, that during a time when God was giving me the fresh start I had prayed for, that I found I was isolating myself while at the same time craving a close friendship with ANYONE?! I withdrew from church attendance, from my children, my spouse, my father, and anyone else that loved me. I spent my days with heartache and my nights thinking up ways to end my life. My husband became concerned to the point of not wanting to leave me alone to go to work.

So, the words I heard so often kept coming back to me. Give it to God! All I have to do is ask Him to take it away, and He will! The thing is, I tried that. Please understand that I was not running from God. I was still seeking Him every day. I was reading the Word every day. I was praying every day. I was not separating myself from Him,  yet I felt farther from His presence than I had ever been. So I began to cry out to God. I'm talking on the floor, on my face, crying so hard I couldn't breathe, BEGGING God to release me of this darkness I felt. But as hard as I prayed, and as hard as I listened, I received and heard NOTHING in return. I fully BELIEVED that He could and would take this depression away. But He didn't. I found myself so confused, broken, and defeated. Why had He abandoned me? This went on for weeks. Still, I clung to His promises, and continued to seek Him. 

It was one night, late, as I was laying in bed unable to sleep, that God revealed His reasons to me for allowing me to continue in my suffering. As I was doing most of the time, at that point, I was asking God "WHY?!" and for the first time in months, I heard His voice. It was as clear as if I were talking to my husband laying beside me. I got one word for my answer. There, in the dark, with tears streaming down my face, I heard His answer. "Write." That was all He gave me, but in that moment I understood. God had allowed me to suffer so that I would use the gift He has given me to bring awareness to a topic that is considered very taboo among "the church". So, that is what I plan to do. I'm going to share this journey of mine with you, one blog post at a time, and heed the call He has placed on my life. As always, I am transparent, and don't plan to hide anything about this journey. I will be opening my closet wide open. So, before you read, please pray. Ask God to rid your heart of preconceived notions and condemnation.

Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me-
now let me rejoice.
-Psalm 51:8

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting Out My Trusty Feather Duster

It's been a LONG time since I really posted with any frequency here. I've tried to do something different here, or focus my efforts there. But, like this one, they all fizzled. Life gets crazy, distractions come my way, and I end up on a path that I never thought I would be on. But, I've been sitting here since my PJ left for work this morning at 5 am, searching, browsing, combing, and just reflecting. I have been struggling with depression for close to a year now. I"m not talking about grief. I still battle that, and suppose I always will. My Momma was and is very precious to me, and I miss her terribly. I'm talking about real, deep, dark, depression. To the extreme. And I realized, this morning, that one thing that I really MISS in my morning routine is writing. Just sharing my heart with anyone who cares enough to read it. Maybe I'm sharing too much about myself and my family on the internet. Maybe I just make myself look worse by the time I'm done. But, I'm really beyond the point of actually caring. My life is NOTHING like I envisioned it just 2 years ago. The past 2 years...no, the past FOUR years, have been a landslide of change and upheaval. I haven't adjusted very well. So now I'm left trying to figure out where exactly I missed the mark. When did I lose that closeness with God that I had just a year ago? I still love Him with all of my heart. I still seek Him every day. I am still in the Word every day. I'm still in prayer every day. But I no longer feel like He is WITH me. So, maybe we can trudge through this together? Maybe, just maybe, while I try to find my way back to His arms, you might find something that you're seeking as well?

Over the coming posts, I'm going to really dive into and cover depression. It's such a taboo topic within the church. Only the weak in faith suffer from depression, right? Those in a close, healthy relationship with our Savior couldn't possibly suffer from depression. I'm about to knock those, and many other myths about depression, out of the park.

Hold on tight. This ride might get a little rough.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Blog

I hope everyone is doing well! I know I never update over here any more, and I'm so sorry! But I have begun a new blog, detailing the new Spiritual journey I am on. I will hopefully eventually get back to updating here on random thoughts, musings, and family updates, but for now, come follow me on my journey to becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman :)

My Journey to Proverbs 31

My Crazy Life

My photo
I am a Christian wife and homeschooling mom of two precious boys. I enjoy photography and spending time with my family, along with any other hobby I can manage to dig my nails into. I'm married to PJ, God's precious gift to me ;) I'm honest, passionate, and find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with my Creator each and every day that passes. I was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 10. I chose not to care about my health then, and am paying the price now with multiple complications including kidney damage and neuropathy. I currently reside in Florida, where God led my family in February of 2011, but my heart is, and will forever be, in Alabama.