…But, the Joy of the Lord is My Strength

I usually try to keep it pretty positive here in this space…even when talking about my struggles. Some days, it’s harder to stay positive than others. Today is one of those days…

Today, I’m not a happy camper…

For about a year or two, I have had some issues with my GI system – and, honestly, the issues could have started sooner, I just never paid attention…

but, in the past two years I have had no, or inadequate, healthcare.
Until recently.

Now, I have begun to get it figured out; and, the answers aren’t my favorite & solutions have yet to be found or actually work.

While I’m going through all of this, so is Baby Seester, but on a greater scale…And no one seems to be able to figure out what’s wrong with her. Her pain is near intolerable.

As the big sister, I want to do whatever I can to help…but, I often have to say, “sorry, I need to go home to take care of xyz first”…
having to try to eradicate my own pain and ill-health, because you can’t care for others if you are unable to care for yourself.

I work in a helping profession – long hours focused on others. And, recently, I’m not even sure how I’m making it through my days.

I’m tired of waking up feeling less than my best, but knowing I need to give my best.

I am doing what is asked of me so far:
cut out gluten? Check.
Take an iron supplement? Check.
Go see a GI specialist? Check.

I just hope they figure it out soon.

But, I have learned a few things during this time:

  • Our bodies really are temples. Designed to run in specific ways given specific fuels. It’s our job to take care of them – and that means eating well, sleeping, exercising, and caring for our mental well-being. Many days, I’m not very good at any of these things.
  • Self care is so important. This goes along with not being able to care for others if I can’t care for myself. I have to make sure I am not dragged into an anxious panic, a depressed slump, or a combo tornado of doom (and, yes, though it has been a very long time since, this has been known to happen). But, I have to be clear, so I can show up & help others. Sometimes, that means taking a day, or an hour, or even 5 minutes driving around with a Christmas song playing in October.
  • I am so glad I live near all my work locations. I can go home to eat & take meds. I get the comforts of home, even if just for 5 minutes, to reset.
  • I’m a bit indecisive: I am so thankful to be single, so as not to have to worry about anyone else at this time, or have anyone worry about me/see me like this. BUT, at the same time, I feel like it would be nice to have a partner in all of this…I know, it’s a crazy catch-22, but I’m a girl, and that’s how we roll sometimes…
  • The Joy of the Lord really is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 28:7). Because, even when I say I don’t know how I make it through the day, I know. It is His strength in me. It is His peace & assurance. It is the people He has placed in my life & the work He has blessed me with. Without Him, I am nothing, and my ill-working body would be my undoing. It really is in Him that I live & breathe & have my being (Acts 17:28). So, I show up & work with all that I have, because it is Him that I am working for; not me, not others (Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:23; Philippians 2:14-16).

So, yeah, today, I’m not a happy camper…

But, the Joy of the Lord is my strength.
My life: struggles, failures, and all, is for HIS Glory, and His alone.

And, Tomorrow, I may have more answers after the GI dr…until then, feel free to leave some of your favorite gluten free/iron rich food tips below (if you have any).

 

Broken Road

“Every long lost dream, led me to where you are…they were like Northern Stars. Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms. This much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

Unicorn
Rare
Chronically Single

Sure. Those titles; maybe me. Definitely me.

But, this is my path. An extension of my calling & dreams…

So, recently, there have been some encounters:

One made me feel pursued – though, he was obviously not a part of ¬†God’s plan for my life. Yet, I was momentarily side tracked by the enjoyment of feeling wanted.

One, I wasn’t so sure about –
A strong faith & a kind spirit –
But, a path far different from my own. A calling not in the same vein as mine at all.

I am not planted here in OK…
My heart is already being pulled to the Pacific Northwest. I know my journey goes there – after a bit of Tiny House travel, I hope.

God has awakened in me a restless & wandering heart. A heart that desires to see a passion for Him awaken among the nation’s youth. A heart that desires to connect to the hurting & broken, hearing their stories, observing the beauty of Creation – all over this nation and across some others.

God has called my heart to adventure…
So, I know my “broken road” must be leading me to someone with a similar heart.

I know I am not meant to be planted here…I know I am meant for this, yes, but also meant for so much more.

So, I will pursue more.
I will pursue His call.
And, I trust this path will lead me to One whose heart is like mine.

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”
– Emily Bront√ę


Last night, I had a conversation after church

Him: “Hey, Candice, are you really going to move to Washington? Are you really going to get a Tiny House and move to Washington?”

Me (looking at him confused): Of course!

Me (after a pause): Well, actually, first I’m going to get my Tiny House and travel around doing youth ministry for a while, then I’m going to settle in Washington.

Him (laughing): That is awesome! Don’t take this wrong, but that is so you!

This was an actual conversation I had last night. And, it awakened something in my spirit. A sleeping giant.

I have been thinking about all this and praying about it for a while now. But, last night was the first time in…ever…I had voiced it out loud.

I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but the wheels are in motion. I have begun tiny house plans, researching financing, and listing out contacts/resources for this journey.

I don’t know how, when, etc. But, God knows.

I am just watering the dream He planted, trusting in Him to work it all out, as only He can.

And, I.Can’t.Wait.


This post was inspired by last week’s 5 Minute Friday theme¬†Path.¬†I’m a little late to the party, but you should still hop over and check out all the posts there. And, stop in below and share some of the dreams God has planted in your heart. I know He hasn’t given up on this world yet, and He will use His people to make all the difference in the world!

 

Strong

Sometimes, I feel anything but…

On the days when I am so low (which has not occurred in quite a while) or so anxious I can barely get out of bed (this one is a little more prevalent).

In times of grief or confusion…

I feel anything but…

Yet, it is a word that describes me.

You see, there are many different meanings to the word strength:

The bond of a relationship: with history, intimacy, and common interests, relationships are strengthened. This strength keeps our relationships going, and gives us support in times of need.

The ability to get out of bed, despite great anxiety or depression. This is a strength many people don’t understand. Sometimes, anxiety and/or depression can make it nearly impossible to function, to face the world. So, to get up & go in spite of those feelings, takes an amount of strength many people will never need or know.

The ability to share the burden with a professional.¬†It takes strength to admit you need help, that you cannot walk this path alone. It’s part of the beauty of being on the professional side: seeing people’s strength in this area.

The ability to learn from your mistakes/failures & move forward.¬†We all make mistakes. It happens. But, it is our response to our mistakes & failures that shows where our strength is. If I don’t learn from my mistakes and make necessary adjustments to build a better life, I’m weak in this area. My prayer is that I would continue to grow here.

The ability to care for and maintain a healthy body.¬†This does take strength. Our bodies don’t have to be perfect, but God designed them to run a certain way, and it takes a strong person to recognize that it needs to be cared for, and care for it. It’s easier to always be lazy, but our bodies are meant for much, much more. Sleep, water, fuel, movement: all designed for a balance by a wonderful Creator.

So, maybe I am strong…I build & work on strengthening important relationships in my life. Especially with my Abba God.

I have gotten out of bed more days than not, even when depression or anxiety rears it’s ugly head.

I have sought out help at my lowest moments.

I strive to learn from my mistakes and failures, building a life that reflects my values & ideals.

Many days, I try to keep my body healthy & in balance (though, often, I also struggle here)…

Over at¬†Tuesdays @ 10,¬†they are writing about¬†STRONG¬†this week. And, I know each person will have a different take on the subject. And, I am sure I missed something. Share below what your take on strong is…

One final thought on Strong, I recently shared that the only way I am able to get up each day and do what I do is because: “The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)…This is my strongest truth, always.

 

 

 

Ode to Joy

This week is my last Tuesday @ 10 of the year! And, the wonderful topic is: Joy.

Joy is having re-runs of Psych playing on Netflix playing while I type this.

Joy is having fresh elephant coloring pages to fill with beautiful color.

Joy is having goldfish & fruit snacks in the house – especially at crucial times of each month.

Joy is the absolute enjoyment of my single life. My alone time. My allowed selfishness.

Joy is trusting that even though I am single right now, somewhere down the road, someone is out there waiting for me.

Joy is the quiet hours of late night – creating art, reading, writing…sleeping.

Joy is the smell & feel of a brand new book. Or an well loved book.

Joy is family dinners, laughter with my sisters, and quality time with loved ones.

Joy is holding my adorably squishy little niece & nephew, playing with the kiddos, and spending time with my best friends.

Joy is pushing myself to enter new social situations. Fellowshipping with others. Surrounding myself with other Christ-followers.

Joy is a lit Christmas tree – surrounded by family, looming over presents. Representing the light of Christ born for my redemption.

Joy is music playing – warming my heart, stirring my emotions.

Joy is spending time with my Abba. His word in front of me, my heart open. It is being willing to be used of Him, reflecting on Him, surrounding myself with His people.

Joy is waking up each day of a very stressful week, being able to say “I can do anything for a day.”
“I can do all things through Christ…” (Phil. 4:13)
“I work for God, not for man…” (Col. 3:23)
“Live a life worthy of the gospel…” (Phil 1:27)
And, actually trusting God to go before me, strengthening me for each day.

Joy is knowing that I have struggled with depression & anxiety, and come out stronger.

Joy – its a beautiful thing. And, it comes straight from Christ in me.