Monday, January 17, 2011

Made to Crave...1

As I am contemplating the upcoming start of the online study, Made to Crave: written by Lysa Terkhurst, I am asking myself what do I crave most in my life? What does my heart long for? In my weakest moments, what brings the tears, the anguish, the fears?


Upon my prayerful attempts to form an answer, one thing kept coming to mind.  I so want to say that my utmost desire is for a deeper relationship with God.  But saying that doesn't make it true.  I do desire a deeper relationship yet I realized that when I am struggling, my deepest, most profound desire is relational.  I want a "best friend".  I am beyond blessed by the number of people in my life that genuinely care for me and I for them.  I have been blessed with the privilege of having an abundance of Godly, loving, kind people in my life.  If there is a need of any sort, I've no doubt that there are those in my life and most importantly, in my heart that would "step up" and be there in more ways than I could imagine.  They have done so on numerous occasions.  I am filled with awe and gratitude towards these relationships.


Throughout the past several years of counseling, I've come to realize the power of grief and the ways in which my life, at times, has been saturated with some sort of loss.  I don't recount these facts in a moment of self-pity or in seeking out attention.  I want to 'see' it realistically and deal with it honestly.


I've learned that I had never really allowed myself to grieve and until that happened, I would most likely remain in a state of fear, sadness, and emotional limbo.  I hated the label "depression" and refused to accept the truth with all sorts of honorable cliches, rationales, and excuses.  But the truth was I was depressed.  The simplistic explanation of depression loosened the grips of shame of such.  Being depressed didn't mean I had failed at life. It didn't mean things couldn't get any better.  It didn't mean I was useless and at fault.


Someone lovingly used the following analogy in regards to depression: '...if one placed heavy pressure/force of some sort upon one's skin for a lengthy amount of time, the skin would depress...it would be pushed down with the weight, and dependent how long the force stayed, the skin would still have a reaction even after the pressure had been removed.  The reaction could vary from a concave dimpling of the skin, a paling or reddening irritation, a bruise or maybe damage well below the surface of the skin that only the passage of time and/or treatment could restore/heal...'  I know this isn't a medical, scientific explanation but it helped loosen the shame I felt.


The feelings of significant loss began early in my life with a longing for a family connection that simply didn't seem to be present within my own family.  The loss deepened when my dad was sent to prison when I was 9 years old.  I learned early on to not truly depend on others nor allow others to know how you truly felt.  My 1st experience with death was the loss of my beloved granddaddy when I was 13.  Between the ages of 16-21, I experienced the deaths of 7 friends in 7 separate scenarios along with losing 2 significant relationships in my life due to conflict & dysfunction.  Between the ages of 28 and my current age of 40, 7 more friends passed away in untimely manners, not including the deaths of 4 grandparents and my dad.


Looking at these losses in a terms of an equation equals 21 heartbreaking events within a 31 year time frame.  I can see now how I allowed these situations to be my rationale for keeping most people at a distance.  Doesn't make it right but it is what it is.  I didn't allow God or anyone else to comfort me.  Food did become an emotional crutch---some stages it was in the denial of food and in other stages it was in excessive intakes of food.  Food was my friend, my comfort, my support, my hide-out.


I miss having the sort of friendships that are based on the mutual sharing of each other's lives based on common interests, etc.  Relationships that aren't necessarily based upon some sort of need being met but in just simply being with one another and enjoying/experiencing all sorts of life's moments. 


I crave to not live in fear of loss, hurt, and abandonment.  I crave meaningful relationships that are based on authenticity and genuineness.  I crave security in knowing who I am in Christ and knowing that NOTHING or NO ONE can take that away.  I crave "realness" in the relationships I have.  I am tired of the masks, the pretenses, the games, the guilt.  I crave LIFE and life to its fullest. 


This is the starting point of the journey I am on through this upcoming Bible Study.  I can't wait to see what God has in store.  His ways never cease to amaze me and my prayer is for an open, receptive heart to whatever He calls me to.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins, 2011 #2



1. Right now I need motivation.  Just want to stay curled up in a warm blanket with a good book.

2. Diet Dr. Pepper is what's in my glass; as if there is anything else to drink :).

3. A copy of this letter regularly reminds me that I am loved by a dear friend for always and by my God for an eternity.

4. Chocolate frosting is best with a spoon.

5. The best movie I've seen lately is an oldie but a goodie...really enjoy The Sound Of Music.

6. ONE day of snow like; WARMTH of the sun love.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to meeting with a physical therapist in hopes that this IS the answer to the chronic uncomfortableness, tomorrow my plans include taking down the Christmas tree...CANNOT believe I am now "one of those people" who still has their tree up in January...ha! and Sunday, I want to visit worship services at Grace Community.  Hungering for a new church home and praying that God will make His will known; all is murky in that area.

Hope all have a wonderfully, amazing and warm weekend!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shattered but Healing...

How do you go about repairing your heart when it’s shattered?
Much of what I have held in my heart needed to be destroyed.
A “beauty from ashes” type of destruction.
To be rid of things that held me back from experiencing the goodness of God and His amazing love for me.
Why does feeling love so deeply also open you up to feeling pain more deeply?
I know it’s not “bad” but it’s far from enjoyable and beyond tiresome.

But how do you pick up the pieces and put it back together again?
Is that the point? There is no repair. There is no putting it back together.
Is it about beginning again?
Is it renewal rather than rebuilding?
Is it about just accepting the pain, the sorrow, the heartbreak and allowing God to heal and begin again?
But how do you begin again when you don’t feel as if there is room for anything more---good or bad?

Not only shattered, but exhausted.
Reminding yourself to breathe.
Counting your blessings.
Truly seeking an attitude of gratitude,
yet the pain shadows the gratitude by fear.

Fear of the pain to come if relying on what seems to be worthwhile…what seems to be good.
Realizing that this too shall pass but to what end…only to come again in another fashion or form?
Fearful that if the tears come, they may never stop.
Fear that the weakness is stronger than anything within.
Fear that letting go means giving up.
Fear that moving forward only means eventually opening up myself to more heartbreak.

Tired of hurting but not tired of living.
Tired of pain but not tired of love.
Tired of abandonment through death, rejection, and simple changes in life but not tired of the relationships.

Does anything ever truly last?
So many questions…too many thoughts.
Simply praying for peace, comfort, healing and acceptance.

(Song by Linda Ronstadt)
“Shattered”
written by Jimmy Webb

Shattered
Like a windowpane
Broken by a stone
Each tiny piece of me lies alone

And scattered
Far beyond repair
All my shiny dreams
Just lying there

I'm broken, but I'm laughing
It's the sound of falling glass
I hope that you won't mind if I should cry,
In public, while I wait for this to pass

'Cause sweet darling I'm shattered
Into fragments cold and gray
Sweep the pieces all away
Then no one will ever know how much it mattered

Something deep inside of me
Shattered

Beauty of a Bird



SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:20: "And God said, 'Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind."

OBSERVATION: Just recently, I felt such gratitude for the creation of birds.  On Christmas Eve, a beautifully bright red cardinal sought shelter from the rains on the interior of our front porch.  Wayne said that the bird had been there a few times before but this was my 1st sighting of the fellow.  Christmas Eve was especially awkward this year because not only did it mark the 1 year date of my dad's death but was also the first Christmas Eve ever that Wayne did not spend the time with his family due to an ongoing conflict that occurred several months ago.

APPLICATION: The red of the bird reminded me how I am covered by the blood of Christ. The peacefulness of the bird in its shelter reminded me that I too have a shelter available at all and in all times. I don't have to struggle in the chills, winds, and storms of life.  I, as the bird did, can choose to seek and accept refuge.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to be mindful of the promises of Scripture:
  • Matthew 6: 26, 27: "Look at the birds.  They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your Heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not."
  • Psalm 36: 7: "How precious is Your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings."

1 YEAR BIBLE LIFE JOURNAL



I recently began a “Bible Reading Plan” using the “Life Journal” from http://www.lifejournall.cc/
A local congregation; Grace Community is supporting this plan via their blog and a mentoring program. I am looking forward to the participation and the readings.

One of the most appealing things regarding this particular plan was how it includes passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament in each daily plan. I am not doing so well, thus far, sticking with the scheduled readings because of staying focused and dealing with the thoughts and questions that are generated along the way.


The recommended steps include:
  1. Read the suggested passages with an open heart.
  2. Record your reactions, etc. in your journal specifically noting the Scripture that “spoke to you”.
  3. Write down any effects that this ‘new knowledge/perception’ may lead.
  4. Create a table of contents in your journal which includes a dated entry, noted Scripture, topic, title and page references.
The introduction of the Life Journal included an acronym that I was not familiar with but like:

Scripture
Observation
Application
Prayer

I am scribbling my thoughts throughout my journey but as time allows, I’d like to recap the study within my blog for reinforcement, clarity, and readability. Feel free to join me on this journey through reading of these particular posts or by creating your own journey through the links above. Can hardly wait to see what God has in store!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New On-Line Bible Study...YAY!!




WHERE?  Here on the Write From My Heart blog
WHEN?  Starts Tuesday, January 18th and every Tuesday through Feb. 28th
WHY?: It's time to learn how to desire God...not food!
Who: ANYONE!
Go to Made to Crave website for more info & how to get the book/workbook.