He leaves the 99

“I lift up my eyes to mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

One little moment. One little moment in a 24 hour period. There is ALWAYS something to find joy in and to have gratitude for. One little moment, where He leaves the 99 to take your hand and say “I’m here….its just you and I…you’re ok, I see you and I’ve got you.”

Sometimes that’s what you get…one really great inhale/exhale exchange, then life just happens. There are bumps in the road. Things go wrong. There’s no particular reason as to why…. Well, minus what I believe to be a hint of spiritual warfare. A very loud hint….like a 2 by 4 across your forehead kind of hint. One you could choose to ignore, but the throbbing goose egg on your face won’t let you pretend that it didn’t happen or that it isn’t obvious that its still there causing considerable pain. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it or not, but does it seem like when God is about to bless you, something else tries to grab you by the heel and hold you back? It’s just enough that you don’t receive the blessing that God is about to freely give you, or maybe just enough to distract you and turn your eyes inward so that you are focused on yourself and cannot bless someone else. Or is that just me. Yeahhhhh, I know I’m not that special. However, I do know, with Jesus by my side, I am a powerful warrior and can accomplish great things for HIM when my focus is not inward. I also know that my weaknesses are no secret, I’m an easy target because of it and I have to learn to wear extra armor. Preventative maintenance fact. I just have not quite honed that skill yet.

That being said…It was a rough weekend where I retreated inward and felt extremely lost and alone. Bear with me a minute….this is where the greatness comes in. No matter what is going on, if you just stay connected to Jesus, He will bring you joy when you need it. Even if you are not looking for it. The best thing about understanding this is you can rest in the fact that joy is attainable…even in the worst of times. It gives you a momentary break from the chaos and possibly even a new focus so that you can begin to pull yourself back out of muck. Yes I can prove it.

The cover photo for this entry was a gift for me. Straight from Jesus when my heart was heavy and I was feeling very unloved/unlovable. My favorite flowers have always been daisies. They are simple, beautiful and have a sweet softness about them. And obviously, my favorite place on earth to be is in the Colorado mountains. It’s the only place where I can be 100 percent grounded and closest to God. It’s where I hear him, feel him and have had the most success of shutting off the noise of the world and of my own mind.

So this is how Jesus works. He knows me, He knows my heart and He responds in big ways. Kind of “Go big or Go home” He’s pretty cool like that. So he makes a grand gesture. Here is how it plays out in my head. “You look like you could use a reminder that you are loved and that your heart matters. Hmmmmm…..if you could hike I would just randomly drop a daisy in your path or let you have a moment of eye contact with one of the beautiful creatures I have placed in the forest…but alas, you aren’t able to do that right now…ANNNND i think you need to understand that I am crazy about you. I don’t just love you, I am head over heels crazy about you, one daisy just won’t work this time. Sooooooo BOOM…..look to your left. There it is, Millions of daisies just for you. A whole meadow full of them. That’s it, keep looking…..let your eyes wonder to the end of the meadow….BOOM there’s the mountain view you are missing right now. It’s your home, you can’t be immersed in it, But it’s still there waiting. I painted it just for you, so you could see that I don’t just love you a little bit, that I’m not too busy with the billions of other things I must tend to. I will leave the 99 (billion) to give you a field of daisies with the backdrop of a Colorado Mountain EXACTLY when you need it most. You are my child…and I am crazy about you. You are not alone, I am here and your heart matters.”

Jesus knows your love language and He is not shy about using it to woo you, to restore you, to give you hope and to simply love you. But you do have to let him. Connect with Him, look for Him, talk to Him. He’s right there, waiting to show you how much he adores you. (He’s probably already doing it hoping you will just look up and see his love note laying there) You matter. Enough that yes, he would leave the 99 for you as well.

Thank you Jesus for being the romancer of my heart, the calm to my chaos, the warrior in my spirit and the one true light on my path. Thank you for seeing me, knowing me and loving me no matter what. I love you beyond belief.

Fighting my Demons

2 weeks in. I thought I had prepared myself adequately. Knowing I would not be able to be as active as i need to be to stay sane. Thinking I’m ok with the inability to drive. Assuming I am strong enough to make it through a measly 6 weeks. I’m not even half way there and already struggling.

No purpose, No worth. These are the places my mind goes. Stuck in a chair watching pointless things on Netflix (can’t even tell you most of what I’ve watched because I can’t pay attention long enough because of my wandering mind) Too much time. Time alone with myself, with my thoughts. Unhealed wounds, self sabotage, doubt, anxiety and a rapid descent into the shadows. Not far enough in that I can’t see the sun but still far enough in that my grip is slipping and its scary. Narcotics make it worse. So I find myself between a rock and a hard place trying to choose between physical and emotional pain.

Again, I knew what could happen, I thought I had adequately prepared emotionally, it just wasn’t enough. This week was one failure after another. In lack of progress with healing, in PT, at home, as a wife…..etc etc etc. Its like an avalanche, mudslide, you name it. As it gains momentum it gets bigger and takes out everything in its path. The depression turns into anxiety, which keeps sleep at a distance. Temporarily anyway. When I’m so exhausted that I crash its a breeding ground for nightmares. One demon triggers another, who in turn brings an extra friend along to the party. Here I am, the unwilling host who’s too tired to fight. It’s not that I don’t want to fight or that I’m not trying. It’s that I am exhausted and with each step I take in the right direction, I seem to lose my balance and fall down another three or four.

It’s not a pity party. It’s just part of it. I don’t expect understanding anymore. I don’t even think I really want it because I don’t want anyone else to feel this way to be able to begin to understand it. I know I will push through. I know that I will be able to literally “stand up” and fight in few weeks, however, that seems like forever. A lot can happen in a few weeks.

I do see glimpses of Jesus. I know He’s here. He has strategically placed people in my life and in my heart who just know. One of who knows that music and worship help to heal my soul and ground me. When I can’t go to the mountains, this is where I find an escape with just me and Jesus. The problem is, in the middle of the struggle, I forget. I am so very grateful to have someone who knows this and can send me a reminder and a hope to hold onto. Thank you sweet sister. I love you more than life itself and I am so grateful for you.

I am reminded that it is ok to be right where I am at and that I am not alone. I have had to fight the lie that I heard spoken from the alter that Jesus is not where there is depression. This is such a damaging thing to say and so untrue. Jesus knows depression, He knows sadness, He knows despair. He weeps with me when I weep and he stays up keeping watch as I struggle with sleep. He meets me EXACTLY WHERE I AM AT and loves me through it.

So for today, I am going to continue to just hide this song, this praise in my heart. I am going to choose to worship until the chains fall off. Even if I have to do so quietly and repeatedly. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some mountain therapy with my husband. I just want to go where my heart finds peace, put this song on full blast in my headphones and sit with Jesus and know “It is well.”

If you need some hope and just a few moments of peace with yourself and Jesus, I have attached the link below. Just be still….listen and let Him meet you where you are.

https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

Recover

Recover. A word with so many meanings.

  • Return to a normal state of health, mind or STRENGTH
  • Find or regain possession of (something stolen or lost)
  • Be well again
  • Regain control of

And one that I am going to add myself…..HOPE

Hope may not be a “dictionary” definition of recover, however, it defines what the word instills in my heart.

Of all of these definitions, my two favorite are most definitely hope and strength. Isaiah 40:31 says “But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their STRENGTH.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

As humans we all have to recover from so many things in this life. Whether it be addiction, abuse, depression, health problems, trauma, injury or hundreds of other reasons, everyone has their own. My most recent reason was this last knee surgery. I have learned quite a few things through this whole process.

  • Fear is most definitely a liar. Of all of my irrational fears before this surgery took place, not one of them came true. Yes there was pain, but that was a fact I was prepared for.
  • In order to put trust in other people you must first put trust in God. Trust that he gave them gifts and has called them to their purpose. If I had not had prayer and been able to lay my fear down at his feet, I’m not sure I would have gone through with this surgery. He kept sending me little reminders of why it was necessary, it was whether or not I chose to listen. This time I did.
  • Don’t ever try to curl your hair on narcotics. Especially if this is not a normal routine for you. The tomboy that I am did not quite understand this concept. The point being, unless you want your couch to catch on fire (true story) don’t attempt it. Annnnd I just realized my husband will be reading this….uhhhhh sorry honey?
  • Take time and submit to the process. I can’t rush healing, if I do, it set me back. Sometimes even further than my original starting point. One day and one step at a time.
  • Letting go of control, submitting to the plan laid out for me can and usually will be better for me in the long run.
  • Sometimes you have to be brave enough to go into public in shorts, TED hose and a walker to find happiness. And you can find it, regardless of who may be laughing at you. (usually your adult kids making tennis ball comments)
  • Freedom is a gift that should never be taken for granted.

This is just an example of my physical recovery. All of this translates into other aspects of life. Fear creates anxiety and allows your imagination to create a worst case scenario before it ever happens. It creates unrest and chaos. Again, 365 times in the Bible “do not be afraid,” “fear not”

When I put my trust in others and not Jesus, I set unreachable expectations and end up let down. Everyone is human. It is not fair to put expectations and unattainable wishes on others in my life. Jesus is the ONLY one I should be putting my trust and faith in. The rest falls into place from there. Yes, even the people in my life. Why? Because HE is always in control. As people, we will disappoint and be disappointed in return. Jesus has control of everything, even relationships. Trust, thats a hard thing for me. It’s one of those daily choices I have to make and very often fail to. Yet again, Gods word tells me that He has plans to prosper me, not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). Why is it such a struggle at times to just trust Him with that. Maybe we will find out as I continue to recover from my baggage. One day at a time, one choice at a time.

Submission. It’s really not a dirty word if taken in the correct context. The way I understand submission when it comes to God is honoring and having faith in His plan for me. Letting go of my ways and surrendering to His will. Beautiful things happen when surrender and submission occur. The reason, again, is that God has a much better plan for me than I could ever dream of for myself.

Humor. Oh my goodness. The gift of laughter. One of the greatest blessings that could have ever been bestowed on me. God has an amazing sense of humor. The ability to laugh during a struggle is undoubtedly what has pulled me through more than once. So if I go into public looking like I belong in a retirement community in Florida and can laugh alongside everyone else about it, well that just makes recovery that much easier. It lightens the load, if even just for a minute.

Freedom. This is so big. The past week I have been pretty cooped up. I think Cabin fever set in less than 48 hours into this. The thing I have learned the most from this portion of recovery is how blessed I am to be able to go outside, to enjoy the mountains, the fresh air and the gift of freedom. It has made me slow down and appreciate every moment I get outside. The warmth of the sun, the feel of a breeze on your skin, the smell of rain, and the sense of just being in the world that HE created for us, the beauty of nature, without the hustle and bustle. What an amazing gift.

Visions of tapping the heels of my “ruby red slippers” together, saying “there’s no place like home” and getting lost with Jesus on a mountain trail for a day or two are bold in my mind. It is my inspiration to not give up, to trust, to slow down and do things right, so that sooner than later I can be back in my “home” enjoying my time in nature with Him.

Recover = Hope and Strength. Combine those two and recovery suddenly turns into a much more important and desired state of being.

I am Praying that we all find our hope and strength, one day at a time, one step at a time and most importantly, one prayer at a time.

Remember that you are VERY loved and there is a wonderful plan for you. Don’t give up.

Fear

Do not be afraid. Do not fear… this is stated 365 times in the Bible. Not a coincidence that there are 365 days a year. Thats a reminder every day that fear is not of God and that he has us. I have used up about 125 of those reminders this morning alone.

This will be my fourth surgery on the same knee. I’m having the typical fear/anxiety nightmares of accidental body parts being removed. Which are actually quite humorous later on. Just not in the thick of it.

The fear of waking up during surgery, pain after surgery and all of the little complications my ridiculously vivid imagination can come up with were the pesky noisemakers that kept me awake most of the night. On the bright side, that gives me a better chance of not waking up during the procedure right?

Stop…..breathe….pray.

What are the fears vs the facts?

  1. Fear, what if I wake up? Facts, very unlikely. If it does happen there is still a nerve block in place.
  2. Fear,post surgical pain. Fact, it’s going to be there but I have a high pain tolerance.
  3. Fear what if something happens and I don’t wake up at all. Fact, EXTREMELY unlikely. If that in fact were to happen, I get to sit with Jesus.
  4. Fear,What if everything falls apart at work and I get fired for not prepping better. Fact, this place runs with or without me. If that happens God has something better planned.

Fact fact fact….I’m in good hands, God loves me, and I have Amazing support waiting on the other side.

So , all of that being said….here we go, irrational fear slightly subsiding. Finding trust and loosing my grip.

See you on the flip side

Isaiah 41:10 New International Version (NIV)

So do not fear,for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

For the love of a Dog….

One of the most powerful ways I fight my depression is to retreat to the mountains and walk with Jesus.  The only problem with that is when I struggle to get out of bed, can’t get out of my pajamas or simply can’t bring myself to “people”.

I believe there is a sixth love language.  It’s not human to human.  It’s God to human.  I love it. Something special between Him and I.  He sends me animals..exactly when I need them.  Usually when I’m struggling internally.  There have been times I’ve been driving and see deer by the side of the road (I know, I know, who hasn’t in Colorado, but its not the normal “oh look at the deer)  It’s a “slow down”, eye contact, just me and that animal.  God saying “I see you and I love you.”  He reminds me of his most beautiful, innocent creatures and how he takes care of them.  He reminds me that the way I see them is how he sees me.  Beautiful, whole and pure.  Beloved, important and worthy.

I believe with all of my heart, that God knowing this about me and knowing that I can’t always convince myself to go outside or to the mountain, where I know I can reconnect with him, He sent me a permanent gift.  A big floppy eared, goofy dog.  Wookiee.

Be still my heart.  He’s not just any dog.  He has this personality that goes beyond anything I have ever known or seen in a dog.  He knows when I’m hurting and he lays right up against me.  He knows when I don’t feel good and he does silly things (i.e. the featured image of this blog).  He sits there when I talk to him and he never judges.  He has this incredible, unconditional love.  Sometimes I think he’s not a dog at all.  His facial expressions are extremely animated.  When my alarm goes off in the morning he crawls into bed with me and helps to wake me up with an exuberance that says, “Get out of bed! let’s go!!!! ”     If I fail to get up, he lays his head on the pillow and stares at me occasionally sneaking a nose lick in.  And on the worst days, when I absolutely just want to lay there, he lays there with me and falls asleep.  My furry, love filled alarm clock has become one of my favorite parts of the morning.  It changes my mood and outlook as well as just knowing there is someone who can simply be still with me when I need that.  This has been one of the most endearing gifts God has given me.

He has taught me so much:

  • Forgiveness- When left alone for too long, he has indeed chewed up some treasured items, to include some of my writing, journals and two of my favorite bibles.  Apparently he wanted to feed himself with the word of God as well.
  • Unconditional love- No matter how bad my mood, or my scolding of said bibles, He always comes running, with tail wagging, ready to say “I love you no matter what”.
  • Loyalty- As I sit here writing this, all I have to do is lower my hand and he stops what he’s doing and comes to my side.
  • Laughter- Goofy facial expressions, floppy ears, even just the way he sits lopsided on one hip.
  • Perseverance- Continuing to adore him through two kennel escapes (which left them destroyed)  Yard escapes which made him great friends with the dog catcher.
  • Patience- sitting on his brother patiently waiting for his turn with toy. (Yes, literally sitting on him.)

Thank you Jesus, for this amazing gift and constant reminder that you DO exist,  you DO love me and that you most definitely meet me where i’m at.

Psalm 46:10  “Be still and know that I am with you”

A latte love in the world today :)

Last night was a rough night.  When that happens the next morning usually follows suit.  I’d like to click my “ruby red slippers” (favorite red hiking boots), state “there’s no place like home” and magically appear on a mountain trail where I’m alone with God and nature.  That is where my heart is at home.  However, responsibility calls, bills must be paid, staff must be supervised and the world keeps turning even though my depression/anxiety might try to convince me that it doesn’t.

I’m struggling with hearing lies.  I can be an easy target because my weakness is no secret to he who shall remain nameless because he deserves no credit.  When I hear them, they hit pretty hard.  My very vivid imagination can spin them into fact and I go into a tailspin.  Every time.  When that happens, guilt creeps in.  Isn’t that one of the biggest soul punches we can take?  Guilt.  Guilt brings about a domino effect.   Shame, unforgiveness, self loathing, isolation, anxiety and then feeling of being utterly unworthy.

That being said,  God is really great at sending me little messages that, again, remind me of my truths.  Today, it was in a latte.  Yes I know I am not special and that this is the chosen design of baristas to bring smiles to faces.  However, I don’t get this everyday.  And i needed it today.  As I stood looking at the design atop my cup of temporary comfort, I stilled myself and became grateful.  Grateful for the little message in a coffee cup that God still loves me, in fact He adores me.  Enough to meet me where I am, even if it is in a latte.  I did smile, I did need it and I am truly truly grateful.

Wishing you many messages from God, sent through baristas…Coffee on my friends.

 

I’m Done People Pleasing…(Is that ok?)

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10

Ahhhhh people pleasing.  One of my choice methods of unintentionally burying myself in perceived expectations and silencing my own voice.  I could blame it on others, however, its not them.  It’s absolutely 100 percent my choice whether or not to set boundaries.  Which is kind of a conundrum in itself.  How does a people pleaser set boundaries???? What if it makes people mad?  What if they don’t like me?  What if it causes…..GASP…conflict??? In the words of one of my favorite criminal masterminds (Vizzini /Princess Bride)  “INCONCEIVABLE!”

I cannot help but believe that some of the struggles I have faced stem directly from people pleasing.  It’s not healthy.  In fact it’s an extremely toxic behavior.  Not only to me but to those around me as well.  There is a saying that you “teach people how to treat you.”  I have found this to be very true.  And once you are far enough down the road into your relationship with them (whether it be a parent, significant other, friend, child)  it turns into a cycle.  It can be very hard for others to adjust when you do start setting boundaries.  That’s not to say that it can’t be done, however it can be a little difficult.  I myself have lost people when I have decided that I am worth more than their opinions of me and of whether or not they like me.  (That’s a hard one to swallow, I want EVERYONE to like me.  Well most people…haha, we all have our limits.)

I have a very bad habit of listening to people’s opinions of  me.  Some of them to my face, some behind my back.  The problem with this is, whether true or not, I naturally start to believe what people are saying and take it on myself.  I  start to live out OTHER peoples truths about me and completely ignore the truths that God has placed in me.  Truths that call me to a purpose.  Truths that set me aside as one of His beloved children.

Learning to live Gods truths and believe them about myself isn’t the easiest of tasks.  I have to remind myself daily, sometimes hourly, because somehow, things people have said to me, judgements they have made about me, criticisms they have spoken, whether it be verbally or simple eye rolls or body language, stick so deeply in my heart and my memory bank that they seem to pop up at the most inopportune times.  (i.e. when i’m feeling good about who God created me to be.)

Our own friends and family can give us shame messages with comments or opinions that aren’t constructive.  They can be downright rude as a matter of fact.  Speaking for myself, in the past, this silenced me, isolated me and frankly caused me to avoid people in my life and in some cases walk completely away from them.

My challenge now is to forgive.  Nothing in my life has been a waste.  God has a road laid out for me.  He has known every move I’m going to make before I have made it.  He has and is using every single bit of it for HIS glory.  So why on earth would I worry about what other people think about me or their opinions for that matter.   It’s not my job to make people happy.  It’s not my obligation to take their advice (unwarranted or not).  It’s not my job to make decisions that make them comfortable or happy.  What is my job is to love and forgive and honor God being the ME that he created.

When I intentionally remind myself and/or question if the situation at hand matters and who am I trying to truly please…the answer is rarely God.  I’m working on that.  I know when I am focused on pleasing Him alone, everything else falls to the side.  Insecurity, feeling less than, being silenced, feeling judged or unworthy, anger….the list is too long to continue, which doesn’t matter, because if I can keep my focus on what HE wants, that’s all that matters.  He will never fail me, He will never give up on me, He will never lead me astray.  He knows my heart and He knows the plans he has for me.  He is the ONLY one I need to please.

THAT, my friends, is ALL that matters.

Some of the truths God has for me:

  • I am worthy
  • I am brave
  • I am a warrior
  • I love fiercely
  • I am HIS child
  • I am GOOD
  • I am exactly how and who He made me to be.

What are your truths?