Hope in the Eternal

According to the world, power and control, material possessions, relationships/friendships, a career, physical beauty are supposed to bring us happiness. If I had this thing or that person, my life would be better. There may be fleeting moments of bliss with these things we collect or pursue, but nothing will bring hope or joy like what is eternal.

Right now, things are rough. Days seem like weeks; weeks seem like years. Sad events are piling up on top of one another, and many feel like they are being buried alive. So many of us cannot seem to catch a break. Our hope turns to cynicism, and our outlook becomes bleak.

I don’t consider it wrong to question one’s life, government policies, or religion. However, I feel the enemy uses confusion to send us into a mental breakdown. The enemy takes our focus that no matter how devastating things get, God will have the last say.

My friend asked me if she would see me at church. I told her I feel like I’m having an existential crisis right now and may not return. She reminded me, “God is our King, not the politicians, especially in these crazy times.” I am not downplaying systemic racism and fascism engulfing our country, but my focus needs to be on what is eternal, my Lord, Jesus Christ.

May you find your hope and love from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Take a Moment to See How Far You’ve Come

A couple of months ago, I bit down on a Werther’s Original Chewy Caramel and my entire dental bridge came out. At that moment, my mind became anxious and started to run with the scenarios of major dental work and cost. And for those who know me well, know how much I hate dental work. 

But then, a sense of peace came over me and I said, “I can get through this, no matter what. God is good and He made me well.”

In the 24 hours before my appointment,  every time my mind went to an anxious state, I repeated it.  I saw the dentist and he re-cemented the bridge back on. He said it may come out again, but it won’t be anything drastic to fix.

I bring all this up because if this happened even a year ago, I would have had several panic attacks and insomnia. The worry would have affected my mood. Physically,  I would have had heartburn or an I.B.S attack.  A total, hot mess.

I encourage anyone suffering from anxiety and depression, if you actively work at self-care/therapy, things do change. You may not notice a change right away, but one day something that used to upset or worry you, just won’t anymore.  Some things may feel uncomfortable but livable.

Keep up the work and remain faithful. You deserve to be well!

When the Healing Takes Time

God can heal in an instant or the healing takes place over a period of time.

Jesus had the power to miraculously heal. However, in this passage, he chose to heal this blind man in stages. He showed us, healing may take time.

I’ve been dealing with anxiety most of my life. I wanted to be healed instantly so the suffering would stop.

I’ve been active on a journey for 7 years to overcome anxiety. I am better now than I was 7 years ago and even 1 year ago.

If you are on a journey of healing, physical or emotional, please do not be discouraged when the healing takes time. Let your faith grow when you see the changes. If you are better for even a little, relish in the fact you are better. God is good. And good things are to come.

Don’t Cheapen Yourself!

I saw this Instagram post from @thefemalewarhol. This quote shot me right through the heart.

Many times when we feel lonely, we devalue our worth to be noticed. This can happen with a romantic interest, at work, with friends, or in a family dynamic. Friend, it isn’t worth it.

May your eyes open and see your value today. May your heart open up to know that you deserve better.

Take a Moment to See How Far You’ve Come

A couple of months ago, I bit down on a Werther’s Original Chewy Caramel and my entire dental bridge came out. At that moment, my mind became anxious and started to run with the scenarios of major dental work and cost. And for those who know me well, know how much I hate dental work. 

But then, a sense of peace came over me and I said, “I can get through this, no matter what. God is good and He made me well.”

In the 24 hours before my appointment,  every time my mind went to an anxious state, I repeated it.  I saw the dentist and he re-cemented the bridge back on. He said it may come out again, but it won’t be anything drastic to fix.

I bring all this up because if this happened even a year ago, I would have had several panic attacks and insomnia. The worry would have affected my mood. Physically,  I would have had heartburn or an I.B.S attack.  A total, hot mess.

I encourage anyone suffering from anxiety and depression, if you actively work at self-care/therapy, things do change. You may not notice a change right away, but one day something that used to upset or worry you, just won’t anymore.  Some things may feel uncomfortable but livable.

Keep up the work and remain faithful. You deserve to be well!


Speaking Up

Credit:IG@morganharpernichols

“Children are meant to be seen, not heard.”

“Women need to stay quiet and look pretty.”

“You don’t want to ruffle any feathers, so keep quiet.”

“No one will believe you, so why start something you can’t stop?”

I follow the amazing poet, Morgan Harper Nichols on Instagram. She has a way with words. I feel comforted and validated from her poetry.  This particular post about speaking up, stirred up many emotions in me.

How many times have we been told to be quiet? Even though we have a real need and yet society tells us to shut up.

Sure, there are many “powerful” figures in our lives who tweet, speak, yell, post, upload, and/or spew their empty, yet annoying, demeaning, or hurtful words. They feel the power they stole gives them the right to spew, but suppress the hurting.

But, please do not give up! Speak truth.

When there is an injustice or your morals have been crushed please speak out, even if it scares you.

You may save a life or even your own.

Self-Discovery in Quarantine

My faith was shaken today. I cursed at God. I told Him, I don’t want to believe in Him anymore. More unpleasant words flew out of my mouth, and tears streamed down my cheeks.  

Yesterday, my husband and I got into an argument on our walk with the dog. I saw huge amounts of dog poop on the grass for anyone to step in. I said, “these irresponsible, f-ing people piss me off!” He got upset with me and said I have been complaining about everything. I call my husband, “the great compartmentalizer.” He can leave work at work and home life at home. All areas of my life bleed into one another.

I asked him what he wanted from me. He said, I want to come home without hearing you and our daughter argue (our daughter is 12, almost 13 years old-easier said than done) and for all of us to go on a family walk willingly. Maybe that isn’t too much to ask, but when I am angry, and in pain, I don’t feel capable.  

I came inside after our walk and Googled, “why do I complain too much?” And this article came up. One of the steps said to be less judgmental. I thought, “well, I don’t judge.” Well, I admit it now, I do(a lot!), and we all do it! When I stay in that mindset of negativity and only seeing the bad in everything, how can I ever see anything good?

The world has seen a lot of change in the past few months. We all have had to re-arrange our lives. In some way, we all have had to grieve something. A lost job, canceled events, no school, even losing a loved one. Traumas we have dealt with in our lives somehow found a way back. My trauma is an eating disorder.

Every morning during this quarantine, I have stepped on the scale. Ounces gained became pounds, which turned into binding shame. Those voices of negativity and hatred are in my head again. I want the ground to swallow me up. I don’t look down at anyone the way I look down at myself. The pain is deep and vast.

So today, after I cast my anger at God, I asked for forgiveness. I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me in my daily bible reading. I went to my Bible app, and the reading consisted of Job Chapters 1 and 2, Luke 6, and Revelations 4. Job 1 and 2 dealt with his life in utter turmoil and pain, yet he never cursed God. Luke 6 explained judging others, amongst other important things. And Revelations 4 ended with verse 11, “worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and your will they existed and were created.” God delivered me answers to my pleas. Also, today is our trash pick up day, and the scale found its way into the trash bin.

I have years of experience in thinking in a negative way, which developed neural pathways of negativity. It hasn’t been beneficial to me. The good news is, neural pathways can change. My therapist said two things to me that helped me today—the first piece of advice, the brain changes in increments, not all at once. So, do not expect negative behaviors to go away after you decide to change. And second, when you do catch yourself reacting negatively, you can say, here is the new way I can handle it.

Everyone is affected by this COVID-19. May the virus be eradicated, and we find real meaning in our lives. Until then, be gentle with yourselves!

Lesson Learned: I see God cares for me, and neural pathways aren’t permanent.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I believe for the complete eradication of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus. I pray for healing and restoration for everyone who has become a victim of it. I pray for the loved one who lost a family member to COVID-19. I pray for comfort and peace during their mourning. Protect the first responders and hospital staff who are treating patients every day. Father God, I lift every person with mental illness and who are in abusive situations during this quarantine. Make a way Lord, for clarity or a way out. Thank you, Jehovah Shalom. Give provision to those who have lost work and revive this economy. Forgive us, Lord, for not trusting in you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

A Prayer to Pray

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. Keep praying for the complete stoppage and eradication of Covid-19.
I saw this prayer to cover one’s immune system.  Sometimes we do not know what to say because we are tired and in despair. But there is hope and healing through our Heavenly Father!

“My immune system grows stronger day by day.  I speak life to my immune system.  I forbid confusion in my immune system.  The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me and quickens my immune system with the life and wisdom of God, which guards the life and health of my body. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”
-Charles Capps, “God’s Creative Power for Healing”

It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

In These Times of Great Anxiety

Credit: Artist-David Bowman

At the beginning of March, I read an article about people hoarding toilet paper and paper towels due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus had not reached The States quite yet. I decided to prepare for it during my scheduled monthly trip to Costco.


I arrived at Costco at their opening time and the line wrapped around the building. The entrance of the store wasn’t chaotic, just crowded. However, inside the store, the atmosphere was different. You could feel a level of desperation in the store. People were grabbing things, but not in the Black Friday sense, just 3-4 times what they would usually get. I asked a person why they needed so much toilet paper and paper towels. The person replied, “if we get quarantined for months, I would need this much, and these were the items China ran out of first when they needed to stay inside their homes.”


I began to catch the “fever” of shopping hoarding. I grabbed as many cases of toilet paper and paper towels that I could fit in my cart. As much as I justified the need to buy, this convicting feeling came over me that this didn’t seem right to do.


I took a pause and began to rationalize the situation. We will still have water and electricity. One case of toilet paper and paper towels lasts my small family for many months. Safety and food are much more important than hoarding shopping. I took a few deep breaths and decided to buy one case of toilet paper and paper towels, bleach and other cleaning products for my family and some non-perishable foods.


In the next two weeks, our national government leaders claimed everything was under control but quickly changed their claim to this will be horrendous. The panic in our country began to grow, and more cases of the virus became evident. In the middle of this, my daughter got lice and then lovingly (through all the hugs and cuddles) gave them to me. I focused more on destroying the lice and doing 35 loads of laundry in one week than focusing all my worries on the pandemic.


Thank God, the lice are gone, and the washer and dryer took a day off. My family has been home this last week. Then the underlying anxiety in me rose to the surface at midnight. I truly began to panic. Every tickle in my throat or sniffle I felt began to worry me. My husband coughed, and I would think, “Oh, sh*t!” I thought about the “Downton Abbey” episode, where many characters caught the Spanish Flu and suffered or died. My mind did somersaults imagining the worst-case scenarios.


Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and poor eating habits contribute to low immunity and sickness. An event like this has not affected the world in a long time. There have been pandemics, but not in this day and age. We are all navigating this for the first time together. As much as I want to get mad and criticize our country for not being prepared for this, it won’t do any good. I could not imagine the responsibility that the medical field, the government (state, local, federal), the public school system, and first responders (and countless other entities) have in this situation. The best thing I can do is cooperate, stay home, wash my hands, and pray.


This image included in this post of Jesus holding a child always brings me great comfort. When I get anxious, I have to surrender to God, trust, and allow Him to be in control. While I know the health and financial crisis this pandemic has brought will affect us all, it will be temporary. I am not in any way diminishing the long term effects of it, but we will get through this in some way.

Stay safe, friends. Take this opportunity to do things that bring joy to your life every day. Reconnect safely with family and friends. And if you are having difficulty managing all of these feelings of despair, please reach out because someone would be glad to help.

Lesson Learned: Anxiety does not help me in situations like these. Gaining perspective is better. And, I don’t like creamed corn from a can unless it is very sweet.


Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I command this virus to cease spreading and be eradicated in the name of Jesus. Heal and restore everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially the victims’ families and the hardest-hit industries. I pray countries that have been devastated by this virus to be re-built. Protect those with low immunity. May family units become strong again. Give our government leadership and direction, which will be in the best interest of the citizens. I rebuke the idea for people to take advantage of the helpless in this time and bring to light anyone who does this. Let love, grace, and mercy rule as we re-build and restore our lives. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!