Depression: The Journey

The journey I have been on in these past weeks is one that is completely new to me and one that I do not wish upon anyone.  The most difficult times in my life previously do not come close to comparing in intensity to what I have been walking through.

Depression is a creature that no one understances until the creature takes hold of you.   I have been depressed hundreds of times in my life but being depressed is no relation to depression.  Depression moves in and wrecks havoc on the mind, body and spirit.  There is not a motivational message in the world that will turn depression on its heels and make it flee.  Depression is a deep, dark pit that one cannot crawl out of alone.

I have had times of feeling completely alone, abandoned, rejected; as if I have a disease that others were afraid of catching so they kept away from me.  I am learning just how little of the population understands depression or are comfortable walking with someone who is in depression.   My eyes have been forced open to the horrors of depression and I will forever have compassion for anyone battling this devastating beast.  I am also learning that I cannot fault others for not being able to understand and to be grateful for support that is given.

Through this dark, black time I have been blessed with support from people that I never would have thought would be the strength when I had none.  My son jumped into action and found me the most amazing therapist; he also dropped everything to come be with me while suicide seemed in my mind to be the only answer.  No child should have to watch their parent be in the state that I was in; but he chose my need over his own.  My sister has watched over me like a mother hen; ready to defend and protect me.  I had a long period of time where eating and drinking were just too much effort.  The simple thought of getting off of the couch and getting a drink of water from the kitchen faucet was just too much.  She would put water right in front of me and cook food and bring it to me.  She called my doctor, therapist, anyone she could think of to try and find help/solutions for me.   I lost weight and got very weak and I know it was very scary for her to have to watch me, but she did not give up.  I have a naturopath doctor and a massage therapist, and therapist who have been an amazing team of support for me.  Their professional knowledge has been invaluable but their continuous and unguarded support has been a blessing beyond words.  And I have had someone who I barely knew before all of this, be a daily source of comfort, support and strength.

If you are fighting the ugly monster of depression, I want you to know that you are not alone.  There are people who get it, who understand.  Feel free to share here.  I cannot promise to have answers, but I do promise to try and understand and listen.  Together, in community, is how the ugly depression monster is defeated.  No one should have to battle alone.

Kay

Unconditional Love

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;

Psalm 23:4

 

I have been walking, crawling, barely breathing through the valley of the shadow of death.  There are no words for the pain.  In the darkest, ugliest of times one learns if unconditional love truly exists.  I can tell you that it does exists but is, unfortunately, very rare.

No wonder so many people of this day and age want nothing to do with church or people who espouse to believe in a God of unconditional love and forgiveness.  So I get it, I understand.  For the first time in my 42 years of walking in the way of Jesus, I have seen how us “churchy” people are seen by the majority of the world.  So I would challenge all of us, myself included, to take a personal journey of honesty and examine unconditional love.  The urban dictionary defines unconditional love as:  “To love somebody with no conditions or circumstances: to love completely.”  NO CONDITIONS; does not matter what someone has said or done…..are we able to love that person?….Do we love that person?….Do we support and nurture that person?…Do we acknowledge that we have no idea what it is to walk in that person’s shoes?….Do we accept that we do not have all of the answers?  Unconditional love means that it is not about us but is about the one that we love.

In Gratitude for Life,

Kay

Protection/Peace

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Zechariah 2:3-5

While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

The Lord God is a wall of fire around us!   Stunning imagery.  Regardless of what physically or emotionally surrounds us…..God is a wall of fire around us.

Look at the peace and love between my son and our cat.  It is great illustration of God’s love and protection of us.  We are cradled in God’s arms.  It is safe and secure.  He loves and adores us.  There is freedom in those arms!

Walk in Security,

Kay

Come to Me

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Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

 

Good Morning Friends,

Today was the first morning in many months that the Lord stirred me from slumber so that I would recognize that He had put a scripture upon my heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  Repeating over and over again in my head until I knew I had to get up and listen for what the Lord was sharing with me.

I had an amazing childhood.  Grew up in a small midwest town, in a stable home where dad worked outside the home and mom stayed home with us kids.  We were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but I always felt secure.  I grew up in a little bit of “Leave It to Beaver” heaven, for those of us who are old enough to remember that TV show.

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Life was good.  I walked to elementary school.  Played outside in the summer until I either had to go home to eat or good to bed.  Knew I had to behave no matter where I was because all of the neighborhood parents had authority over us kids.  Rode bikes, played hide and seek,  used our imaginations constantly, and lived really not fearing anything.

And then I grew up………heavy sigh.  Responsibilities, bills, children, laundry, pets, house, and on and on the list goes.

If you will notice in the picture above, all of the adults are looking at the camera like we are suppose to do when we are getting our picture taken.  I am the only one looking away from the camera and looking at my parents.  The awful thing about being an adult is that we have to be a grown up!  A child, one in a stable life, can be just that….a child.  As a child my source of security, comfort, support, provision was my parents and I looked to them when I needed anything and the world had no issue with my dependency because I was a child.  As an adult the messages from the world are: be independent, stand on your own two feet, look to no one for anything, be strong and those messages can create a very lonely and cold place to exist.

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Jesus reaches out His hand to us and calls us from the demands of an adult world to the security of a stable family.  I like that.  I like that I can stop being the “strong one” and fall apart in His arms.  I like that I can tell our Lord that, “the kids are being mean to me” and His eyes of love shine bright as He looks into my face and loves me beyond measure.  I like that with Jesus I can stop looking at the camera and I can look at Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Amen,

Kay

Stand

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“If you do not stand firm in your faith; you will not stand.”  Isaiah 7:9

I had a conversation with a friend recently that has set me a bit on edge.  I love my friend dearly; we have been there for each other through thick and thin.  I respect her and the devotion she has for God.  And because of who she is and who we are as friends, her words have more weight with me and I do not brush them off lightly.  So words and thoughts from this latest conversation have been swirling around in my head and not finding a place or a way to rest.  I have found conviction in them?  I have found a need to look once again look at my faith?  Not sure.

Woke very early this morning, 3:30 to be exact, still trying to understand why I am  on edge.  “OK, girl, it is time to get out your Bible and have some one on one time with the Big Guy.”  No clue where to start reading so I just opened it to where I had left my pencil in my Bible from my last reading.  I was reading.  It was reading like nonsense to me.  I was thinking, “what is the message in this?  Makes no sense.”  Then I came upon the above verse and I stopped reading further.  Those words were for me right now, in this moment……but still not understanding.

So I picked up a book that I have been reading on and off for much too long, I don’t know why some things just seem to take me forever!  This book is by Nadia Bolz-Weber and is entitled, “Accidental Saints.”  Once again started reading where I had left off weeks ago.  Nadia is speaking to a stadium packed with teenagers and she feels completely out of her element.  The following is a large excerpt from that talk.  “Somebody with my past of alcoholism and drug abuse and promiscuity and lying and stealing shouldn’t be allowed to talk to you.  But you know what?  Somebody with my present, who I am now, shouldn’t be allowed to either.  I am a sarcastic, heavily tattooed, angry person who swears like a truck driver!  I am a flawed person who really should not be allowed to talk to you.  But you know what?  That’s the God we are dealing with, people!’

“Let me tell you about this God.  God has always used imperfect people, this God is a God who walked among us and who ate with all the wrong people and kissed lepers.  I told them that this is a God who rose from the dead and grilled fish on the beach with his friends and then ascended to heaven is especially present to us in the most offensively ordinary things: wheat, wine, words.  I told them that this God has never made sense.

“And you don’t need to either, because this God will use you, this God will use all of you, and not just your strengths, but your failures and your failings.  Your weakness is fertile ground for a forgiving God to make something new and to make something beautiful,…” (found on page 38)

You see this faith where we so often talk about “following God” is just that.  As believers our job is to continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord.  No matter where we have been, no matter what we have done, no matter where we are now; we are to grow one on one with the Creator of the universe.  He wants that relationship and in that relationship is found the answers to our questions.  I love the Bible but the Bible is not the answer…..God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is.  We can not, should not live by rules and regulations and I think that way too many of us are trying so hard to get it right, to do the right thing that we get caught up in what we read as the rules for Christian living in the Bible.  If we read the big picture instead of Webster’s meaning for the words, we see that all of creation, everything, points us to a relationship with God.

My conversation with my friend disturbed me because I was once again trying to figure out the right and or wrong of my life, instead of standing on my faith and trusting the relationship that the Trinity and I have developed over this past 40 years.  Friends are wonderful.  It is always great to have support and be able to throw ideas around and receive advice, but I would encourage you and me to never put that before standing on the relationship with Christ.  For without that ….”you will not stand.”

Standing,

Kay

Speaks to Me

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I took this picture last winter while out hiking with two dear friends.  It was a chilly, overcast day.  The river was dark and muddy; not particularly pretty.  We walked on for miles staying on the lookout for the bald eagles that use this river as one of their major hunting sources.  Something sparkling caught my eye and I walked down to the river’s edge.  There at the edge were several clumps of these crystalized leaves; gorgeous and magnificent shimmering on the water’s edge.  I was in wonder once again of the never ending depth of God’s creative power in what appears to be dead, dried up and useless.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?   We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.      Romans 6:3-4

Nature speaks to me over and over again of God’s resurrection power.   This journey of Lent is a road that leads to death; horrible, awful death.  There is no getting around it, denying it or making it look pretty.  Christ suffered immensely for us but that is not where the journey ends.  We as humans, we as Christians, too often get stuck in the death and dying.  We should never deny the road Jesus had to walk for us, but we dishonor Him if our faith stops there.  The real gift is life out of death!  If we hand our dried up old leaves to the Lord, He will transform us in ways we could never imagine.

His Love Makes Us Sparkle,

Kay

Thankful for the Stump

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Isaiah 6:11_13

“Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Sure sounds quite devastating doesn’t it?  Mean, mean, nasty God……or is He?  Sometimes I wonder if God puts the blame upon Himself for the messes His willful children make.  Just like any good parent, God uses all circumstances as an object lesson; a teaching moment.  AND as all devoted parents do, He gives hope in the darkest of times.

I cannot speak for all of humanity but I can tell you from my own life that I have made some pretty terrible messes in my time.  I have lived in devastating times when all I sensed was destruction and despair.  I wandered the barren wasteland of my life  devoid of hope.  And then I come upon it; the little stump of what is left of my faith.  Though other conflicts try to overtake the stump, it continues to receive nourishment from its massive roots buried deep within the earth.  The roots of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit never give up.

I am so grateful for that stump in the wasteland that showed me hope is always available and a new unexpected life can spring forth from death and despair.

I realize this message may at first seem a little gloomy but I challenge you to allow the words of scripture to seep deeper into your being.  In this passage is light and hope so immense that our feet will not be able to stay quiet but dance for joy at the incredible love and commitment of God for His children….us; you and me…..His kids.

Grateful for the Stump,

Kay