Some days There is Just Nothing Left

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There are days as a wife, mother, foster mother, and nurse I really just want to quit.  Everywhere I am there are demands.  Everywhere I am everyone else’s needs must come first.  I heard myself saying the other day that I am just content if I get some decent sleep and actually get to eat a meal.

God keeps impressing on my heart to just be real.  To share my failures, my hurts, my pain, and His victories within me with the rest of the world.  Or at least whoever it is he leads to read.  I keep finding myself at deeper all time lows.  Sunday night I was at the point that all I felt I had left to give on this earth was my very breath.  I seriously was at the point not of self harm, but at the point of Lord I really just want to come home with you.  Can you take me now?

Our family continues to get attacked by Satan himself.  We have never had this much bombardment since moving forward with our foster care license last year.  It has only doubled since we said yes to our first placement after being licensed.  Each and every family member has been hit by these attacks.  The devil himself does not want our family to succeed.  The devil wants nothing more than to destroy this young one whose life was literally snatched out of his grasp.  The devil wants nothing more than for our family to split and be destroyed.  He wants our lives to only make an impact on others of destruction not hope.

This morning on the radio one of my favorite Christian artists and his wife were actually live in the studio.  Chris Tomlin sang one of his newer songs “Jesus” live on air.  The tears just started streaming as I focused on my Savior Jesus and what He did for me, for my family, and for the whole world.   No matter how much I give up and give in.  No matter how much I forgive.  No matter how much life seems unfair.  Nothing can compare or even come close to what Jesus gave.  I can not out give Him.   So I need to stop and just keep looking to Him.  When I feel like EVERYTHING is on me and my shoulders.  When I feel so taken advantage of.  I need to stop and look to Jesus because no one carried a greater weight.   No one has ever been and continues to be so taken advantage of.   Jesus, my Jesus, my Lord, my weight carrier.   Jesus you love me like no other.  Jesus you put up with so much from me.  Jesus I take you so for granted and slip into  the “only looking to you when I really need you” pattern.  The truth is I need you every moment and with every breath I breathe!!!   Jesus is my sustainer!  Jesus is my victory!!  There is no one like you Jesus!!

Some Times Ya just Gotta Cry

There has been a lot of stressors within our family in the last couple weeks. Health concerns at the top of the list for life stress. There have been a lot of friends losing loved ones and what seems like a lot of sad news. The health concerns have drudged up a lot of the grief and loss our family just went through ten months ago. There have been moments I have had to just go off to myself and weep. I have been doing a “read the Bible through a year” program and during my lowest time last week just happened to be reading the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis.

In Joseph’s life story he really had done no wrong to find himself in the predicaments he endured. Most of his sorrow was brought upon him by the sins of others. His jealous brothers throwing him into a pit then selling him into slavery. Potiphar’s (for lack of a better word) skanky wife throwing herself at him. When he didn’t take her up on her offers she framed him and he ended up in jail. God gave him the ability to translate a cup bearer and a baker of the king’s dreams while imprisoned. The cup bearer forgot Joseph’s favor once he got his taste of freedom and left Joseph in jail. Joseph kept making the right choices and was true to his faith in God. With each valley he went through God brought him through better and with greater influence. His influence in the end brought his family back to him. He was in a position that he could have sought revenge or could choose to forgive the past wrongs of his brothers. I count at least 6 times that the bible says that Joseph wept after his brothers came to Egypt for food. One of these times was in the passing of his father Jacob. I can only imagine the emotions he went through. Loss of time with his family. The fleshly urge to be angry and hold a grudge. The humbling fact that God had turned the bad in his life to good to put him right where he needed to be. The fact that he could see that his brothers were truly remorseful for what they had done. So many emotions to cause this man who now held a powerful position to weep.

Genesis 50:15-21 is the best summary “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. ‘Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provided for you and your children.” An he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

No matter what we are going through God has a purpose and a plan. There seems to be a misunderstanding that when a person is a Christian that they will no longer weep or have struggles. The difference in going through life’s hardships as a Christian is that one knows that God is always there and always faithful. That He will bring those who love him through the valleys in life stronger and with an even greater influence than before. We may be beat up by bullies, lied to, lied about, lose people we love, but God provides an indescribable ability to forgive. He provides indescribable hope and peace. It is ok to cry. Give it all to God and see what beauty he creates from our tears.

Emotional Roller Coaster

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What a day it has been for emotions.  Last night as I went to bed I felt such a burden for all the victims of evil.  With all the beheadings and shootings it really seems like the respect of life itself across the entire world is quickly slipping away.

When I woke this morning one of the first posts I saw as I checked into social media news was that a friend and her son had come upon a terrible car accident right after it happened and shared that they had stopped to help.  We went on to my daughters soccer game and after we arrived I checked my phone for messages.  The first thing I saw was that a friend I had graduated with from high school had died in a car accident.  It was the same accident that my friend and son had stopped at the scene to help.  For the sake of privacy for all friends involved I don’t want to share any more details other than my friend in the accident left behind very young children and a husband.  The soccer game became background noise as communication was made to connect families so that the husband could have some questions answered and some closure.

My nerves rattled we then sped home after the game to go to my mothers to join my sister and her family to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  Her first birthday without my dad here to celebrate with her.  We did a little work for her in the yard that included dismantling my dad’s garden.  We planted it for her this year, but she really didn’t have the time or need for it as that was always my dad’s thing.  So we said yet another goodbye so it seemed today.

One of my dearest life long friends attended her 10th annual Leukemia and Lymphoma walk as a survivor of Leukemia.  Usually we walk with her, but the schedule conflicts did not allow this year.  For my friend it was also the wedding anniversary she and her late husband shared.  Another classmate that we lost too soon he to the thief of cancer.

It was our oldest daughters first homecoming dance this evening and the emotions shifted upward to see our daughter and her friends becoming such wonderful and beautiful young ladies.  My mind kept going back to classmates of my own now gone with the shock of latest loss so new.

My heart felt heavy for some friends who lost their teenage daughter just last fall in a car accident and tonight would have been her senior year homecoming.

LIFE…every single event and emotion today was LIFE.  A life worth living.  A life worth preserving and respecting.  A life full of ups and downs.  A life full of sadness and joys. What so many in this world believe they have the right to steal from others. Spewing out the most lame excuses and rants as to why they are justified to take the life of another human being.

There are still people in this world who respect and cherish every life and every breath no matter how they believe or the color of their skin.  There are still people who FEEL and LOVE other human beings!!  All of us who love life need to come together and pray to God who gave us life for his healing and protection from evil.  God loves our lives so much to knit us in our mother’s womb and to plan our purpose.  God loves us so much to send His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal LIFE.  Eternity is nothing we can earn it is only by God’s grace, love and mercy.  Love LIFE!!!

Psalm 139: 13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. “

“Everything is Meaningless”

As I worked a little in our yard today I couldn’t help but notice all the stages of life our flowers are in.  It is early autumn here and there are still new buds, fully bloomed flowers and of course dried up flowers whose short life has already been forgotten.  This week during my quiet time I have been studying the book of Ecclesiastes.  There is so much within this book that struck a chord with me.  If God leads me to writing a book some day it may need to be an in depth study of Ecclesiastes. This book of the bible is a strong example of the fact that the scriptures are truly timeless as this book holds the infamous “A time for everything” verses (chapter 3 1-8) for starters.  I am just stating the obvious.  What impressed me more deeply were the questions of a man who lived around 3000 years ago.  He lived nearly 1000 years before Jesus walked the earth.  His questions, his despair, his struggle with how good things happen to the wicked and how bad things happen to good people, his struggles with his own sin, his own vanity, his own pride, his realization that his power and riches left an even deeper longing and pain in his soul.  He began the writing 1:2 with “Meaningless!! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”  How often in just the everyday activities has this been my own thought.  Laundry is never done, there is always a project, always bills to pay, what is cleaned gets dirty again, there are always people bigger, better, and more talented. How often I have thought how quickly people are forgotten.  Within one generation powerful lessons and skills are forgotten.

I can see so clearly that if a person has their eyes, hopes, and dreams set on the
meaningless quickly passing things of this world that it would be so easy to slip into despair.  Why else would we see the ones who seem to have it all, fame, fortune, beauty, and talent slipping into a world of addictions.  Often addicted to vanity with multiple surgeries to try to restore their youth, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sleeping pills.  Many times retreating to a dark cluttered world full of materialism yet left with a feeling of emptiness.  King Solomon wrote of how seeking worldly pleasures and riches left him with meaningless nothing.

Before Jesus walked the earth providing the one and only way to eternal life King Solomon wrote these words.  3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  The rest of chapter three Solomon gives a glimpse of God’s final plan for judgment of every man.  The end of this book Solomon’s conclusion of life’s burdening questions that remain just as strong today as ever is this;  12:13-14 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”  Throughout this book Solomon keeps going back to remembering God.  Having the close relationship with God.  Unlike Solomon we actually know the whole story of God’s plan to come to the earth fully human yet fully God, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the price of our sin that separates us from Him.  He proved who He is by rising again. To provide the clear path to have a personal relationship with Him.  To provide us the only way to eternal life with Him.  One day we all will be like the brown shriveled up flower as this life will pass quickly.  What has meaning?  What lasts?  Our relationship with God our creator, our healer, our sustainer, our source of true love, the truth, the life, our redeemer, our friend, the only good judge.  What we do in this life with our eyes set fully on God.  What we allow God to work through us and in us is what is lasting.  Loving others and caring about the eternity of others is the only thing that is not meaningless. That is all that goes beyond the grave of this life.

Chapter 1:9-11 he writes “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new’?” It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.  There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.”    It is my own observation in life that Jesus was and is the one and only NEW.  He was Creator and He is Savior.  His impact on this earth cannot be forgotten and cannot be changed.  God’s word can not be destroyed nor forgotten.  The word of God, Jesus, is the “new” Solomon was longing for.  Jesus is what all our hearts long for if we just open our hearts to Him he will fill us with joy, pure and meaningful everlasting joy!!!

The Pit of Depression

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This week the tragic death of one of my all-time favorite comedian/actors, Robin Williams, has had me thinking a lot about depression. There is no one that is immune to slipping into the pit of depression and despair. It is a disease that allows a person to look healthy on the outside while on the inside they spiral deeper and deeper into a state of helpless loss. Depression will sink its claws into the rich elite, the poor, every culture, every ethnicity, every social stature, and every belief if it is given the upper hand. I am no counselor, no psychiatrist, and I am not an ordained minister. What I know of our human psychological and spiritual health has been years of life observation and from studying the Word of God. My role as a nurse has allowed me to care for patients and families in their darkest of times. Many times I actually cared for a person who had attempted suicide while serving my years in a critical care nursing position. Having grown up as a preacher’s kid I saw my father care for the depressed as well as the direct effect that ministering to others had on him. My first- hand experience is the daily battle of temptation to listen to the lies of Satan or chose to listen to God in my own personal life. The conclusive definition of depression as a Christian, mother, wife, and nurse that I have come to is that it is Satan’s lies telling us how worthless we are. The more weight and burdens we carry upon ourselves the deeper we will sink. The more lies of worthlessness the great deceiver can get us to believe the closer he will lead us to an unproductive and destructive life. God created each of us in His image and to have a specific part in His perfect plan. He knows us so well He knows how many hairs are on our head. (Matthew 10:30) Satan wants nothing more than to destroy our purpose, our worth, and to destroy us from the inside out.
Christians can often fall victim to depression because Satan already knows he does not have our soul, but if he can make us unproductive in our walk with Jesus he will do so. He does not want our lives to lead others to Christ. The scriptural picture that keeps coming to mind is when Jesus was walking on water. (Matthew 14:22-33) When Peter realized it was Jesus walking toward the boat he was the only disciple who asked Jesus to invite him to come out of the boat and walk to him. Peter took a huge step of faith to walk on storm driven waves to meet Jesus. As long as he looked to Jesus he stayed upon the water. As soon as he started to look at the wind, waves, and realized his personal human weakness he sank. That is the way life is for us. As soon as we start to look at life’s problems, storms, our own sin, sins that have been committed toward us, our chronic illnesses, all the overwhelming tasks, etc… we can easily start to sink into the pit of depression if we try to rely on our own human strength. Satan will lie and tell us that we are worthless, a failure, that everything bad is our fault. The lies are far too many to list.
The one thing that God has shown me again and again is that He indeed will turn ashes to beauty. Isaiah 61:1-3 “Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” No matter how overwhelmed I feel in my own weaknesses God always has a surprise waiting. It has been within my own deepest regrets, dark times, and my greatest sadness that God has shown me just how deep His love, grace and beauty runs.
My heart aches as I learn of more and more children, teens, and adults that have sunk so deep into the pit of depression that they want to end their own life. We have no idea what lies Satan is burdening others with as we walk through our daily life. God can protect us from this pit if we cry out to Him. God can use our lives to help pull others from the pit of despair. As we focus on Jesus, on loving, serving and encouraging others God will provide the power to walk on top of the stormy waves of this life.