Healing

In trying to get back into the swing of posting regularly, I’m participating in 5 Minute Fridayhosted by Kate Motaung.

The rules are: each week there will be a new word/theme, and bloggers write about it for five minutes; no over-thinking, no over-editing. Just writing.

This week’s word: Heal

Ready? GO

I don’t talk to a lot of people about this, but the first time I knew I was depressed and felt hopeless, like, really hopeless, I was in 6th grade.

At the ripe old age of 11, I was convinced of some pretty big lies about myself & the world:

I’m worthless
I have no purpose

I’m unwanted and unlovable
Nothing will get better
This world is a terrible place
God obviously doesn’t love me if this is the life I have,
and His people absolutely don’t care about me.

I was convinced to the point of wanting to die…at 11.

And, you know what? Things didn’t get better.

At least, not right away. As a matter of fact, after deciding I wanted to actually live, things got worse, much worse.

But, here’s the thing about healing:

Sometimes, it takes time. Often, it takes time. Rarely does it happen over night.

This blog began near the end of my 10 year battle with depression, and the demons battling my soul.

I felt as if I had no voice…I had been writing for years, but never shared. And, there was so much God constantly laid on my heart to share…

God never left my side, not once.
And, if He never does anything else for me, I owe Him my life, simply for creating me & giving me my life.

And, I know my healing journey isn’t completely over. But, what a beautiful journey it’s been…

STOP


I used to think my path was about being a voice for the voiceless but, I’ve discovered that no one is truly voiceless.

I believe the path God has before me is to be a voice for the temporarily voiceless, while helping them find their voice, tell their story. We each have a story, cloudy & messy as it may be. And, each of us has a beautiful, unique voice to contribute to the world.

It is my desire to help others discover and share theirs, while reminding them of the Beauty & Grace of the Author.

One of those precious souls, is a friend of mine from school. Not that she needed any help finding her voice, but she is now boldly sharing on her own blog, opening it up for discussion, out of her own place of exploration and healing. Go check her out and show her some love…

If you are where I was, I encourage you: reach out to someone. Reach out to me. Reach out to a trusted friend.

Pray. Pray for peace & healing.

Take care of yourself. You are precious.

Let that healing journey begin today; and know that I am praying for each person who reads these words.

Imagine That…

It has been quite the long week. Many moments had me questioning why I was even doing what I’m doing…

I guess God knows we need days like today to remind us that even when things aren’t so, let say glorious, that we are exactly where we need to be.

Why was it a tougher week?

Well, for starters, I’m still not used to this whole “morning” thing…like, isn’t 6 only a number seen when the sun is fading? I guess not…

But, being real for a moment, I work in the Mental Health field with children.

And, we live in a world where the reality is: elementary schoolers as young as kindergarten are threatening to kill their teachers and classmates (and, for anyone who is ready to open a gun discussion here, at that age, the weapon of choice is usually a knife, so, what’s the real issue here…?)

We live in a world where 8 year olds can recite Scarface, complete with fake gun.

We live in a world where kids are being passed around from one relative to another as if they are an inconvenience, or aren’t worth as much as a parent’s next fix, or because parents have been taken off this earth too soon. Older relatives are faced with child-rearing responsibilities they were never expecting to have again, and even the most well-intentioned (and believe me, there are plenty that aren’t) are simply ill-equipped for the challenge.

We live in a world where teenagers are starving themselves, harming each other, and living inside technology boxes simply because they crave attention that is being misplaced by mostly narcissistic parents.

Yes, we live in a crazy world: natural disasters, famine, genocide, homicide, suicide. Religion against religion. Hate breeding more hate. Cruelty leading to more cruelty, teaching our kids that some lives are worth more than others. Bombs, guns, knives, tear gas, pepper spray. Human trafficking, sexual abuse, slavery.

It. Is. All. Still. Happening.

But, Imagine….

Imagine how the world would be if we all prayed when we “#Prayfor…”. I mean, if we actually prayed when we: tweeted, posted, blogged, snapped, etc. If we prayed for: Paris. Japan. Mexico. Children. Veterans. (and on and on the list goes)

Imagine if we prayed for *Gasp*: terrorists. mass shooters. politicians.

And, imagine if we started praying like we meant it. Like we believe it.
Like we serve a God who wants to see His Kingdom here on Earth.

Imagine if we spent as much time praying as we do worrying.
As much time in His presence as we do on our earthly “entertainment”.
As much time on the things of Heaven as we do the things of this world.

And, imagine what would happen if we took the time to care for others the way we care for ourselves?
Or, if we took the time to take care of ourselves the way we care for others?

Imagine what that world would look like.

Imagine that…


“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven…
For Your’s is the kingdom and power and glory forever…”
– Matthew 6:10 & 13

 

5MF – Family

“Love begins at home, and it’s not how much we do…but how much love we put into that action” – Mother Theresa

“I cannot people today, mom”. 

That’s an actual text I sent my mom yesterday morning.

Blurry eyes attempting to focus on the figure in my doorway – an impossible feat without my glasses. That’s how I started my morning yesterday, after only about 4 hours of sleep.

“Cani, I think I left my shoes in your car.” Baby Seester is trying to get all ready to go to school.

So, I reach over the side of the bed to try to get my keys, as she lifts the barking pup onto the bed with me, knowing the pup won’t stop barking until she’s snuggled with someone.

I haven’t lived with sisters in 9 years.

Nine years ago, I went from being the oldest sibling taking care of everything to being an only child half way across the country. But, now I’m back, and picking up the old role quite well.

Too well.

But, that’s what family is – or at least, what it’s supposed to be.

A group of people who take care of each other, helping out in the hard times, celebrating the good times. Sustaining each other when they can.

Little seester has already moved away to school. Trying to figure out this whole “grown up” thing a couple hours from home.
Baby seester is a teen now. She only has a few precious years left before blazing her own trail.

And, that’s part of why I came back.

Soon, we’ll all be grown ups, all having to do life at our own pace in our own places.

When that happens, I still want to be a family – no matter where we go.

So, I came home. I left family to return to family.

Everywhere I go, I have family.

But, this? This is where it started. This is more preparation for the future. This is a chance to do it right, do it with love. This is where I get to put what I have learned of love into practice.

It started in the home. Not by what I do, but by how much love I put into it.

So, even though I know I still “cannot people today”, I still wake up early and take my sister to school before beginning my own important tasks – because it’s family.

Because – Love.

#WorkitWednesday – Defining Moment

I know it’s the wee hours of Thursday morning, I just didn’t have the chance to write this on yesterday. I was hoping to be able to combine it with the theme of Tuesday @ 10, and I think it works well:

Defining Moment

See, I’ve recently been really ill.

(Aside from getting over a nasty cold) for about the past month, I have been pretty sure my body was falling apart – somedays, I was almost certain death was immanent…

Ok, so it wasn’t quite so drastic, but some drastic things were happening in my body, including pain so bad in my mouth (think: razor blades & fire) I could barely eat. That among other symptoms led to me dropping weight – drastically.

[I’d like to point out here, as miserable as it made me, I did force myself to eat whenever I possibly could].

During this illness, I did what any respectable American with Google would do: I took to the interwebs!

I was pretty sure I found my answer – Candida, yeast. It was a problem before in my life, and looked like it was posing even greater problems now. (For those that don’t know, this is a case where bad bacteria outgrow the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Overgrowth can lead to all sorts of issues – cue my body falling apart from head to toe).

(In case you’re wondering, it is as gross as it all sounds – especially the mouth stuff).

Fear not, dear friends, I did go to the doctor & his verdict was similar:

bad bacteria
&
stress

The scariest part for me is that in the course of 3 weeks I’ve lost almost 10 pounds, and the first 4 lbs of that happened in the span of 5 days.

Now, while this means I have decimated my first two mini goals (minus the date…), it also means my body is losing too quickly, and with it, many important nutrients.

This isn’t the first time I have seen the effect of yeast in my life, but this time, it’s serious to me. It’s an issue that has been exacerbated by other illnesses in my life, and it plays into certain illnesses I get now.

Combating this, getting it and keeping it under control, is going to take some serious lifestyle restructuring.

So, I’m doing it.

Slowly

But, I’m doing it.

I have other big, stressful changes coming up – a move & job hunt halfway across the country – so I know this one will move slowly.

This isn’t an overnight problem with an overnight solution, but I am ready to make these changes. To become the healthiest me I can be. (changes I undoubtedly should have made long ago…)

So, this illness, if nothing else, has jumpstarted the next phase of my life; and inadvertently, the next phase of my weight-loss experience.

Now, I have the motivation to finally keep it up:

I don’t want to be miserable &
I don’t want to die…

#ProHealth


 Keep a look out for further posts on my cross country move, my transition to a more natural, healthy lifestyle, and how I’ve managed to keep it up all at once. After all:
Life is about the journey, not the destination.

Paint & Healing

It’s friday… As a matter of fact, it’s really only Friday for another 15 minutes. Today has been a long day, one that began hours before I am used to (who knew there was a 5:45 in the A.M.?)

Friday’s mean Five Minute Friday.  I got the prompt last night before bed & had it in my mind all day through.

Being at work so early meant I got off work early. Getting off work so early, though, gave me the opportunity to plan something for Friday night. What was intended to be a shopping trip, turned into an opportunity to experience God & witness Him working in a powerful way.

During the worship time at this event, I wrote my piece for Five Minute Friday.
This week’s theme is  PAINT:

Broken Pieces…
That’s all I feel I am these days.
Allowing secret sins to take over my life
Adding to anxiety and depression.
They Have taken up residence in my spirit
Separating me from my life-force.
Shattering my very existence.
Fragmented…
Broken…
Near Death.
I gasp for breath.
I cry out in desperation.
No air.
God, fill my lungs
Wash my heart.
Restore my broken pieces
Exert your healing power in my soul.
Redeem my shattered life.
Bring Your name Glory
From the new picture that 
You paint of my mess.

STOP

Now, let me tell you about how a shopping trip turned into such a wonderful time in God’s house…

I recently reconnected with a college friend, and he invited me to a healing conference at his church. In light of my Barns & Noble experience, I knew I could not turn down the opportunity be in God’s presence.

However, saying yes is always easier said than done. You think, “yes, a night in God’s presence with His people. Sounds great. And, the possibility of seeing an old friend, just makes it even better.”

But, going there, was not as easy.

There is still a war going on. You’re not wanted there. The whispers start. You won’t get anything out of it. The selfishness begins. You don’t deserve to be there. You’re still in the “wrong” place. The condemnation takes over.

YOU’RE ALL ALONE! The anxiety screams.

When I left work after an 8 hour shift, my entire body ached and a migraine was beginning to form. I was tired, and then suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that I would be going into this unknown situation ALONE.

Because the shopping center & the conference were both so far from my house, I almost turned around several times, nearly foregoing the event & even the shopping that had been my original draw (and my shopping was successful, if I do say so myself :).

But, that church was exactly where I needed to be tonight.

A song played during worship reminded me that I wasn’t there alone at all. That God was listening to me. Yes, me. Though the room had hundreds of people in it, He heard my heart.

As a matter of fact, I was feeling so disengaged & somewhat anxious, I was contemplating leaving, when the band began the song “Oceans” (by Hillsong).

Lately, this has become one of those songs that God uses to remind me that He is with me; it’s a song that helps me feel wrapped in His love & covered in His grace. It’s currently “Our Song”, if you will.

And, it was during this song that something happened: peace filled me. My body no longer ached. The anxiety fled, and I was able to engage.

They had an artist on stage who was allowing God to use her gift to create a painting, an art piece of worship to Him while the worship portion of the evening was happening.

And, it was during this time that I got my piece for Five Minute Friday (above).

After worship, the service was focused on healing. It’s always an incredible thing to see people healed. To feel God’s presence. To experience Him moving.

To allow God to heal me, even through the resistance of the flesh & the enemy.

To know that the reason the enemy keeps attacking is because I keep getting up & won’t stay down.

To know that His Kingdom is still strong on this earth, even though we often allow ourselves to get detached or apathetic about it, in light of the pressures of this world.

When we say no to opportunities like this, we cut ourselves off from His life-giving power. We limit what He can do in our lives and what we will do for him.

It is in saying yes to these opportunities that we really open ourselves up to Him working in our lives, to use us to reach others, and to Glorify His name.

It is in saying yes to these opportunities that we find freedom, wholeness, and relationship.