Are You Struggling with Depression During the Social Isolation from Covid-19?

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There is just so much that is unknown right now with this Covid-19 virus.  As a working RN I just can’t even go into all the emotions I personally have been struggling with.  For my own knowledge I like to read A LOT and learn from all different sources and references.  It is more helpful to see multiple sides and hopefully get “some” truth that way.  The struggle is that there are so many conflicting reports and things keep changing within my own job every five minutes.  What I am finding is that my own mental health is starting to get infected with it all!!

The other day I was just feeling down about all of it.  The political hatred is driving me nuts and I am trying to hurry past anything spewing hate!  On Sunday I felt so down.  I miss going to church.  I miss my friends.  I miss family.  I am struggling with not knowing where I will be working or when.  I am struggling with will I need to move from my home to protect my immediate family.  All this was whirling around my head and I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to check on the bird eggs.

One egg has disappeared, but one has hatched and is alive.  It was a picture of hope for me when I needed it most.  Two have yet to hatch.   New life gives HOPE!

This is the week we remember what Jesus did for ALL of us. Can you imagine getting a warm welcome into Jerusalem one week then within days those same people were screaming for your death?   Jesus knew he was going to die.  Jesus went through the most unfair hatred ever known.  He did everything perfectly… He loved perfectly…  Even Pilate said he could find no fault in him.  Yet the hatred reigned and Jesus was sentenced to the most brutal beating known to mankind with flogging, then the most tortuous death known to mankind, crucifixion.

As I struggle God keeps reminding me that there is nothing He doesn’t know. Jesus took every sin of all mankind to the cross with Him.  It was dark, scary, his followers ran, they were isolated and fell into despair.  BUT in just three days Jesus arose!!!  He conquered all the darkness, evil, and hatred.  What was meant for evil God used to SAVE us from our own sin!

There are so many theories and blame games going on right now it is hard to know what to believe.  Even if something is meant for evil, God can use it for good  to fulfill His plan!  God is in control!  When we trust in Jesus as our Savior we have new life and have the promise of life everlasting in heaven.  This is what I cling too!

As I feel a sense of impending doom I have to turn to God’s Word.  As I feel down I have to remember what Jesus went through for me and all man-kind.  Jesus gives HOPE and life!

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

 

This is Not Our Home

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Just recently Mike and I attended more Foster parent training focused on trauma.  The trainer had us all participate in an exercise to help us to better understand the loss that children in care have endured.  She gave us each five blank index cards and instructed the class to write one thing that is important to us on each card.  Some wrote individual names I grouped my people which might have been cheating a bit.  As I began to write God was my first card.  Next I wrote husband, kids, extended family, and then friends.   Not one material thing popped in my head as to what is truly important to me.   So for the next step our trainer asked us to give up one card and lay it upside down on the table in front of us.   As much as I love my friends that was the card I gave up.   Then the next part of this exercise I watched as the trainer went around to each person and took all but one card.   Everyone reacted with “aww you are mean!!”, there were a lot of sighs, gasps, and sad faces.  As I watched this process I just kept saying/praying “Just please don’t take my God!!”.

Guess what card I had left?  Yes it was my God card.  I think I was the only one smiling in the bunch.  The reason for the smile was that it is God who has given me everyone and everything in my life.  Without God the creator my sweet husband, precious children, all family members and friends would not have ever been.  I would not be.  They are His to give and His to take.  Everything on this earth is His.  No matter what I do or how hard I work to earn something.  It is God’s.

This point is driving home even deeper with me as our country and our world continues to be hit by natural disasters and wars.  Right now so many people in the great state of Texas have lost family, livelihoods, and homes.   We do not know from one second to the next what turns our life journey will make.  We are to love and cherish all that has been given in the time that we have been given.  Each moment is a gift of God’s.

So that brings us to this next step in our journey of Foster care.  We now have our home on the market.  As we have stepped into stories and lives of two children so far in our journey the reality of how much of me these kids need has really hit hard.   As I have evaluated the hours I work and our finances God placed the question on my heart.  “What are you really working for?”  I can spend my life making very little impact on this world keeping my own little world maintained.  Or I can work less maintaining my own little world and spend more time making a greater impact in the world we live in.   Life is about people and relationships.  In my fast paced job there is very little forever impact made.  To provide love and safety to a broken young person and their family that can last forever.   People need our time, our love, our encouragement, our hugs, our smiles, our true heart felt concern and help.  People do not have changed lives for the better by me having a nice home.  So we press on looking forward to the great things God is going to do.  We press on as God plans for our life path to cross the life path of others.  I pray God will use us to bring Him glory and point the world to His love and true healing He gives us through Jesus!!

Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

Two Months IS Significant

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As we continue on in our journey in Foster care one of the greatest lessons has been to expect nothing.   The only guarantee and expectation that I personally have learned is that God is always present even when it feels like He is not.   So actually going into this ministry and definitely in the throes of our ministry a thank you is not expected.  We try to teach gratefulness, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, good work ethic, etc… with every opportunity.  The expectation, other than knowing God will be present, is a personal one.  Do I exemplify qualities that Jesus demonstrated for us? Do I show love, forgiveness, kindness, patience, gratefulness,  do I work hard?  My failures in these qualities happen daily so how can I  expect someone who has had a rough start in life to have them.  Why should someone who has had some rough and traumatic experiences at a young age have any reason to say thank you?  It is not expected.

One never knows what is significant to another person when first meeting.  Every person has a story and every person has something that is significant to them or longings that are significant. It is often a mystery and hard work to learn what is significant to another.  What is significant to my neighbor may not be significant to me. Yet we are to love our neighbor as ourself.   So how do we love others deep enough to truly make a positive impact?  Start learning what is significant to them.  It is an ongoing process in relationships with others that never ends.  Love grows deeper and stronger the more you learn and act on what those matters of significance are.   What is a passion, a joy, a hobby, what is the deepest need, what is the deepest longing of the other people in your life?

For our dear child that God has so divinely brought into our home there is a significance of time.  We all need the time of others invested for a relationship to grow, but to some time means security.  Toward the end of March I was asked about a specific date in April and if I knew what that day was.   My brain was in total “der” mode as I couldn’t think of a birthday, sporting event, or historical marker.   The next words gave me a clue as to what is significant to this dear one.  “I will have lived here two months.”

As that day approached two days ahead I was handed a card.  The card was going to be given on the day…no the day before…no the day before the day before….   The anticipation of this date in time demonstrated even more  how significant two months in the same home with no threat looming of having to leave has been to this precious child.   In care it is one day at a time never knowing what is going to change and happen next.  Security is one of our basic necessities as a human being.  We can provide words of assurance and love, but nothing speaks more than time and action.  So our thank you was very unexpected, but significantly heart melting to us.   It has been a wild roller coaster ride of  a first year as a foster home.   There truly has not been anything harder with a greater impact that our family has ever done.  As God continues to mold, shape, and strengthen us as a family and me personally, my prayers have turned into how can I love more?

Riots, the Duggars, Jenner, Dolezal, Mass Murders… Sigh

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Even with avoiding the news as much as I can the majority of what media has highly publicized still reaches me eyes.   My heart gets so sad for this hurting world we live in.  At times I feel anger stirring in me over lies and unfairness.  Anymore I consider news media “Sin on Parade” as I watch personal agendas flooding the airways across our country and the world.   Some sin is being applauded and some condemned.  The world has decided it is the judge of what is wrong or right which has led us into deeper confusion and turmoil.  This blog has been prayerfully on my mind for sometime as each week there is a new story defining our culture and the times we live in.

What I continue to see are people hurting and desperate.    I see people pushing their opinions with selfish gain as their motivation.  What I see are a lot of excuses being made for behaviors masked with fancy words and terms.   I see a world trying to find healing in medications legal and illegal to provide a band aid for much deeper wounds.  If a person claims to follow Jesus I see a world searching for any sin in their life to provide the excuse of “see they are no different”.  As I see our government turn their backs on God the leaders of our country have taken on the image of a three ring circus ran by immature two year olds.  These days it seems like no one is really interested in actually getting to the root of our problems.

Within my own life I have found that the only way to fix anything is to find the root, the source of the problem.  When I weed my garden if I just pull the leaves of a weed it just comes back bigger and stronger.  It must be pulled out by the root to stop the growth of a pesky weed.   It seems the more “educated and scientific” we are the more we just pull at the leaves of problems instead of stopping them at their source.

What is the true source of all of the worlds problems?   The answer can truly be summed up in one little three letter word.  It is a word that no one wants to hear or use these days.   Our pride and arrogance cringes at the sound of this word.  It is SIN.  We are all born with the nature to sin.  Our sin starts as a thought we then have the choice to feed that thought and allow it to develop into action or to stop the thought at its beginning.   These people who would gun down, bomb, or poison the innocent started with a thought.  They build up excuses and reasons in their mind to justify actions they want to take and then act.  They have become deceived.  You can see the empty darkness in the eyes of these killers as their mug shots flash onto media screens.

Have you ever listened to a person who is having an affair talk?  Just sit and listen to excuse after excuse.  Justification after justification.  It starts with a sinful thought and then action.  There is a reason for their choice.  It is sin.

Hang around with preschool children for a day and you will see that sin starts immediately in our lives.  We come into this world selfish and greedy.  There is evidence proving this point as one of the favorite and first words of a toddler is “mine”.

Our sinful nature is so powerful and pulls us to go the exact opposite direction God has planned and desires for us.  The message of God’s word is consistent in the fact that we are to love God and others, serve others, be kind, gentle, forgiving, and thankful.  The life of Jesus shows us the perfect example of a life lived out with these qualities.   Our human sin drives us to be selfish, self serving, blaming, judging, prideful, arrogant, and pleasure seeking.  In reality what kind of person do we want to be around?  What we all desire to have in our life is someone that has the very attributes of God, but we shut out God and His word that provides instruction of how to have a life of joy, peace, hope, and a life that is everlasting.  We shut out the source of peace and expect to have peace.   The difference between someone who is a true follower of Jesus Christ and someone who is not is only the fact that a believer realizes how sinful they are, has been forgiven by the only one who can forgive sins, Jesus, and chooses to follow Jesus.  Desiring to sin less and less in their life through the only power and strength that can help us with this weakness, Jesus.

To sum up the turmoil and confusion we see in the news media everyday is that “we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23  We can not cure ourselves.  We can try to change physically.  We can try medications to mask our deep emotional wounds.  We can try to fill our void with material goods and addictions.  We are lost confused people separated from our creator by our sinful nature.  The good news is that Jesus is the answer to every single problem that is in the world today.  The problem is sin and the answer is Jesus.  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Come to know Jesus today.  Experience real love and allow Jesus’ love to live through your life in a desperate and hurting world.  He is our hope and our future!!!