Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

18 November 2011

A Picture of HOPE

I've inserted a picture of HOPE in my life - this week. Those who know my personal story know that we've been going through quite a journey lately. So many people are silently going through journeys that test them, try them and nearly tear them apart. It's not uncommon.

I'm so thankful for a few trusted individuals who are making this journey with me. It's foolish to face life's struggles alone! The Lord has remained faithful to us beyond understanding. And, I have learned so many things from the journey & seen so many ways God is using it to bring glory to Him!! 

But, I've gotten to the point where I don't even really know how to pray... should this happen... or this happen... or this not happen... and on and on. I can honestly say that I totally relate to and understand Romans 8:26:

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."

Our daughter was asked to do a painting to be used in the Silent Auction at our church's Women's Ministries event on Nov 19, 2011: "A Very MARY Christmas".  She wanted ideas of what to paint. But, I suggested she review the website to see what the event was all about.

What she came up with filled me with a new sense of hope for what I have been facing and also with a sense of hope for others in my life who are struggling with something or looking ahead at uncertain times.  For me, it was a picture of HOPE!

I was once again reminded that the joy I have... comes from within. I believe that it's the real JOY -- which can come only from God. You could say this was a coincidence. But, I feel that God also placed a great quote right in front of me on the same day that I saw the completed painting. This quote rings so true for me:
"Find a place inside where there's joy. And, the joy will burn out the pain." ~ Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell's words sounded like God had spoken them to my heart that day. And once again, I am reminded of a favorite verse:

"In the midst of the anxieties within me, 
Your comforts, O God, delight my soul." 
Psalm 94:19

(written 11-16-11 - published 12-9-16 that's how LIFE goes) 

11 November 2011

When Life Throws Curve Balls...

This week’s weather's been all over the board. I sat out in the sun on one day... it snowed the next. I got to watch the farmer harvest the HUGE field on the south of our property another day. (I might or might not have hidden in a pine tree to take pictures... and might or might not have been spotted by the farmer in the passing tractor. Good thing I can laugh at myself.)  The next day the harvesters had to work in snow!

I've seen brilliant sunny mornings and cold, dreary, rainy mornings. I've laughed & laughed with friends as we've shared stories.  I've felt moments of betrayal & sadness. I've watched huge snowflakes fall and settle like flocking on everything around. I've had moments of uncertainty & insecurity. I've had moments of complete peace & joy.  Things for me this week... have been all over the board - just like the weather!

Today I took pictures of the sunrise & sunset from my back patio.  The warmth of the sun was so refreshing in the morning.  The setting of the sun in the evening brought stillness & peace.  

And, as I took that last picture, I was reminded of Psalm 113:3, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name shall be praised."

What a great reminder that my praise for God shouldn't be dependent upon circumstances around me but, His joy within me. Choose joy friends... and praise Him from the rising of the sun 'till the going down of the same... regardless of what is happening around you!

10 November 2011

Read No Further If You Can't Answer Yes...

NOTE: If you can't answer YES to at least 7 of the 10 questions posed on those television advertisements about depression... you probably won't get this post.

If I've learned nothing else from life, I've learned that quite often we don't understand how something feels until we've gone through it ourselves. Even then, the way one thing affects one person can greatly differ from how it affects another. A particular area where I've seen this proven painfully true is with emotional & mental issues - such as depression. Most people who've not experienced depression have NO CLUE what it's really like. There are a lot of misconceptions among those who haven't experienced it.

I've not hidden it. I struggle with depression and have struggled with thoughts of suicide. After moving from the sunny south to the Mid-West, it got much worse as winter approached & settled in. For me, it's not the "poor, pitiful me" depression." I'd describe it as almost "an inability to DO." Things that others do without batting an eye, often cause me to feel overwhelmed & screech to a halt. I was brought up by a mom who was brought up to believe that Christians are not depressed. I tried to adopt that belief for about 25 years. I'm confident that I've done about all I can humanly do... medical consultation, professional help, accountability partners, prayer, diet, exercise, etc.  

The other day I was going from one thing to another & feeling a bit overwhelmed by what would be mundane for most people. I asked God: 
"Am I just not going to get to enjoy some things here on this earth?"  
And, to be honest, I wasn't really expecting or desiring an immediate response. But, almost as soon as my spirit voiced the question, my spirit heard Him say, 
"My child, that's right. Some things you will never get to enjoy on earth... because it opens the door for better things to be possible in My BIG plan."  
It, seriously, was like I heard His voice. But, not only did I hear Him, I got it! Why should any of us expect to have it all here on earth? We've never been told by our Heavenly Father we could have it ALL... just that we will always have what we NEED. 

I have two dear friends who are living their lives joyfully - one has been blind since birth  and one has been paralyzed from her shoulders down since her senior year in high school. What they face is huge - wouldn't you say!  I wonder, do they think about dying? Do they wonder if they can really make a difference here on this earth? Are they okay with what is "their world" now? Do they understand how their approach to life has blessed so many people around them? 

I'm not necessarily thrilled about it but, God has assured me that my struggles are a part of His big plan. They help me see another side of things that draw me close to others who need encouragement & understanding. I'm cool with it - although not always thrilled with it. I believe that the dark threads in the tapestry of my life are enhancing the light threads in the tapestry that God is weaving -- all due to the peaceful, willing submission to His will & way.

photo taken by T. Getz
Many things that I face in life & that my friends face in life help me to better understand & embrace the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: 

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 

In everything, YES EVERYTHING, I can find something for which to give thanks... knowing that God will work in & through everything that happens! 

08 November 2011

I've Been Held Captive

True Confession:  I've been mesmerized by the harvest of the HUGE cornfield by our property. The field is approximately 1 mile square & took ALL day long to harvest - with ZERO breaks! The farmer started early in the morning on the southeast side (where the sun was already warming the field). He finished up about 9 hours later - crossing a road to do another field. I can still hear his equipment off in a distance. I'm grateful that I was able to watch the farmer today at work. I've been held captive by his hard work!

Although raised in a rather rural community at the base of the Appalachian mountains, I've never really lived out in the country. Living here these past months has awakened a new love in me for the mid west! The beauty is simple - yet profound.

One of my favorite parts about living here has been the
harvest.  I'm sure the farmers get amused at me standing in the "dust of his work" with two cameras in hand - snapping shot after shot.  I love the beauty of it though! 

Harvest always reminds me of how things set aside for us to do - at the appropriate time.  Not everything can be done just when we want to do it.  In the life of someone who proclaims to follow Christ, things need to be done in God's season!  In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus said to his disciples, 
"The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields."

Be willing to be a worker... but, let Him direct the seasons!

04 November 2011

Don't Have Much To Give...

Some days I feel like I have pretty much to offer. However, most days I feel I have very little to offer. What does God require of me? Just what He's given me - no more, no less.

I Peter 4:10 tells us, "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." All I have to do is give what I have in the name of Jesus & in His service. 

There's an older song (written in 1924) which I love. It's recorded here by Ernie Haas & the Signature Sound. Little is much when God is in it...

The words totally resonate with my heart. There's a crown & you can win it - if you go in Jesus' name.
God makes EVERYTHING we have exactly ENOUGH. What seems little results in much when given to Him. So, we just need to give it all & let God use it in accordance to His plan.

Luke 12:48b says, "When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."

We all have been given so much! Like the saying goes, "Life is great. Don't let circumstances and society fool you into believing it's not."

I choose to be thankful for what I have. I choose to give what I have. I choose JOY

Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today...