Do you ever get a text message from someone and immediately start writing a narrative in your head of what the person must be thinking, feeling or doing? It sends you into a spiral or writing a narrative about your future and maybe theirs that does not exist.
This has been one of the largest struggles for me as I have moved into a life with more anxiety and far less depression. I read into situations more than I need to. I am very harsh on myself (hello Enneagram 1!). I usually somehow convince myself that I was the one who caused an issue, an issue I just created off a narrative I made up in my own mind.
As I type this I'm thinking how silly is it that I put some much weight on a story I created that has no real weight. Now that I recognize I have this tendency I try to pause before I keep writing this fiction book in my head. What do I know to be true and factual? What am I making up? A reminder that my feelings are mine and yours are yours. I do not need to carry anyone else's feelings or continue writing that great fiction novel.
This is usually easier said than done, I am just glad I recognize the tendency to press pause, stop the typewriter and move from fiction to non fiction. God does not want us to have anxiety now or in the future. The fiction story is only that, fiction, it is not the story God has already written. The story of glorification he has for each of us if we lay down our anxieties and worry, if we give it all to him.
To more non fiction and less fiction,
Is there a book of the bible that is your favorite?
Now don't make assumptions here that I have read all of them, because I haven't. That continues to be a work in progress. :)
If I had to pick at this time mine would be Romans. This is a book that I have relied heavily on in the past two to three years. My wonderful counselor Shannon referred directly to Romans 5 as I worked through postpartum depression.
"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame..." Romans 5:3-5 ESV
As of late I have been reading Romans 8 on repeat.
"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:12-13 ESV
What I am enjoying about Romans is the focus on how sin is looked at, how it is judged, and ultimately the saving mercies of God. The saving mercy that only God can provide. Resting in Romans for this season seems right.
That seems like a hard task to achieve but I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me in 2021. This word was laid on my heart a little over a week ago and in typical fashion I didn't want to believe it. The word then appeared in reading one evening. The next day a coworker also asked if I had picked out my word yet and REST was what I wanted to say but I believe my response was "I needed to pray about it a little bit more."
Maybe I needed to rest in the word more before I shared it. I needed time to digest it. I am just so excited for this word.
When I think rest there are so many ways this could go. I usually like a plan but I am resting in the idea that God has the plan.
Rest could be physical rest (I do love 8 hours of sleep a night)
Rest could be and I am guessing will be in God's plan
Rest could be being content in the season
Rest could be time away
Rest could be a snuggle on the couch with someone you love
Rest could be letting your daughter braid your hair
Rest could be doing something that recharges your soul
Rest could be baking
Rest could be writing
Rest is going to be where God leads me.
Do you see why I am excited?! I don't know what he has in store, but I can feel the goodness that surrounds all that he does. There may be pain and tiredness in this season of rest, but with this will come growth and an increased focus on God.
Goosebumps, guys. I have goosebumps over rest. Who knew!
I've missed writing but I just don't know where to start. I don't want to be ridiculed for not sharing the views of other, I don't want to deal with the negative comments but I am to the point where I do know one thing, God did not intend for us to live in fear.
He did not want us to stray from his path as a result of what we are hearing on the news or what is shared on social media. He is the one to follow. The only one to follow. In a world full of darkness and despair let us remember that. We were placed here on earth to serve out His mission, to be His disciples. His plan is greater than mine or yours will ever be. A plan filled with grace and understanding. Grace sufficient enough to help us move on from sin and into the light. "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." John 1:16 ESV
What a reminder to not live in fear, to let his plan be our plan and to know there is plenty of grace to go around. The song below speaks so well into this. Knowing when to lean in to the Father. Matt Maher has done such a wonderful job with the lyrics in "Run to the Father.'" The band Cain did a cover of the song and it is stellar. The first time I heard it I had goosebumps. Take few minutes to listen to the lyrics. They. Are. Powerful.
I don't want to be crabby or a debby downer but quite frankly I am tired of this stuff going on. I am annoyed with the media, crabby with my kids and fed up with the new school teacher.
There are posts on how to be positive, cherish these quieter times and to take the time to just be. To learn and grow. I understand the point of these messages and surely I will come out of this season knowing more than when the season started, but can I just wallow in a bowl of ice cream for a minute? Can we talk about how mentally draining this all is? How physically exhausting it is? This season will carry similarities and differences for each one of us.
What I know is that the uncertainty of daily life causes me more stress than the threat of the virus. I know that there is a high probability that every time I enter the grocery store or fill up with gas I am likely exposed. That doesn't scare me. What gives me anxiety is feeling like we still have to do all of the things in this season. Nothing can go by the wayside. School has expectations, work hasn't stopped and the kids need 3,500 snacks per day. We don't know when we will be able to hug our family or celebrate special people or shake hands at church. The uncertainty and waiting is daunting. What's a lady to do expect have a few breakdowns?
So what's the point of this post, I'm not really sure other than saying if you are having a tough time know that I am too. It's ok to have crappy days in this season. It's ok to feel like it is never going to end, it has to...at some point. Eat the ice cream. Take a walk. Play a game with your kids and if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for a hot minute, do it.
You're not in this alone,
We looked at each other both exhausted from the last three weeks. I said first "I need time alone, I hope you understand. My mind and body need time to recharge." Without hesitation his response was, "The introvert in me needs to be introverted also."
Phew, so glad to hear those words. I don't know if either of us have really taken the time to process the last several weeks. In the middle of March we traveled to Florida for six days, the kiddos split time between each of our families. When we were there the pandemic situation was changing. At one point we started to wonder if we would be driving home. The day we flew home the Governor announced plans for distance education, my employer started to throw around different work from home/rotation plans. Lots of unknowns.
Now two full weeks into having our home office become my office we both clearly needed a break. A chance to veg and regroup. I still don't know if I have let my body and mind process all that is going on, to do that regroup. What I do know is parenting, working and teaching simultaneously throughout the day is exhausting on us and our kids. A different routine and schedule then we are all used to.
Today I am reminded of the gifts God has given Don and I through marriage. There has been continued growth and understanding of who each other is in every season. The fact that we both knew we needed a break today was pretty incredible. A large part of this for us is knowing God and another part is knowing ourselves. What a season we are in friends. What a journey we are all one, what a journey God has laid out for us.
A little delayed, but none the less my word of 2020 is important and part of the reason this post is just now getting put to print. (inserts drumroll)
Are you surprised? I am. The word play goes against the grain for me. It is not often that you will find me playing throughout my day. The rolling to do list means one task after the next dusk to dawn. When I think of the word play it goes directly to the definition found in the Oxford dictionary, “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” Makes sense, I should slow down and play with the kids and my husband. Enjoy a game of cards, read a book, swing, go sledding. I can find play in my everyday, I just have to allow myself to be part of it. For me it sounds easier than it looks. I have had to already be very intentional, to stop folding laundry and to soak in the wild card game.
Next was to find scripture that supported my word of the year. I opened the bible app on my phone and searched “play.” I didn’t get the response I was quite expecting. It took my to Isaiah 38:20 (ESV).
"The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord."
I am not familiar with this verse which led me to digging and reading more of Chapter 38. This chapter is the story of the sickness and healing of a man name Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the thirteenth king of Judah with a strong love for the Lord. The parallel I found immediately between Hezekiah and myself was how both of us sought the Lord for our healing. When I was in the deepest moments of postpartum depression I knew I needed to depend on the Lord whole heartedly. There were and still are many moments where I rely heavily on the Lord to get me through. My obedience to the Lord is not nearly as good as Hezekiah’s but something to strive for and pray over.
I am excited to dig in to Hezekiah’s story to better understand how his dependence on the Lord to heal freed him from sickness. There is no doubt that this freeing gave Hezekiah the ability to play and appreciate all that God has given us that much more. My prayer for you all as I continue in 2020 will be that God will show you the calm in the chaos and how to play in the mundane.
It was cemented in my mind this week that God knows our gifts and talents better than we ever will. As a I entered my workplace after maternity leave I stepped back into a world I love and so deeply cherish. I've said often that I am a much better working mom than a stay at home mom. We all have gifts and we need to cheer each other on in those gifts. Mine is being out of the home, connecting with others. While other moms blossom as they stay at home with their kiddos. God created each of us so unique and each with a specific purpose. Remember that. One is not better than the other. A working mom should not be slated against a stay at home mom. Ever. Two very different days, but the love is just the same.
In Romans 11:29 Paul reminds us that our calling to be with God and follow him is like no other. He is full of knowledge and wisdom that he wishes to share with no judgement. As this relates to motherhood what a wonderful reminder of the gifts he has given each of us. He has wisdom to share even in the deep trenches of laundry, crumb covered floors and dirty diapers. Skip ahead to verse 33 (ESV) in the same chapter and Paul tells us, "oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" What joy we can find knowing that he has a bounty set aside that he wishes to share. We may not know his way but he has BIG plans for you and me.
Father - Be with us today as we enter into your designed plan for us, let us surrender to you. Guide me to prayer at the beginning and end of every day knowing you have bounty you wish to share with us. Lord you have given us so much, thank you for all you provide. Amen.
Remember Paul's message today and if you need more affirmation of the bounty of God, take a listen below.
Mental health is not something you can switch on or off. It is not something you need one day and can put to rest the next. It's an easy concept isn't it? At the core I don't think it is. How many of us really feel like sharing our true feelings and vulnerability? How many of us priorities our feelings and emotions? My guess is that if a close friend, coworker, spouse or family member asks you in the morning "how are you?" It's likely that your reposes is good, fine or ok even if deep down inside you feel pretty sucky.
Know how I know that, because there are many a day where I put on a pretty tough outer shell to keep others on the outside. Heaven forbid I open up to what is really going on. These barriers need to drop in order for us to build relationships and show the mercy and grace of God. He has already paved a road for you and died on the cross for you. There should be no shame in your feelings and we should take the time to understand them.
I had thrown that understanding piece to the wayside as I had taken somewhat of a hiatus from my counselor as I thought life was too busy. A reminder to everyone that life is NEVER too busy to address your mental health and the factors that are contributing to it. These sessions have lead to a better understanding of who I am and how I tick.
I now can identify when the spiral is happening and what I need to do to get back. For example I am currently home on maternity leave and will have my phone nearby as I nurse. This has ultimately meant endless scrolling, for what sometimes could be 1.5 hours at a time (insert embarrassed emoji!). For myself this was not a healthy habit, creating guilt and a loud response from my inner critic. I needed a solution, a compromise that allowed me quiet time with my baby but was not consumed with endless guilt. My solution has been to turn on a podcast or audio book. Less guilt and more meaningful snuggles for 1.5 hours.
There are so many times that I also look to myself for answers when really I should be looking to God. My counselor is always quick to remind me of that. He has paved the road for all of us. He knows our faults and strengths. He knows when to catch us and when to let us fall. I am forever grateful for a counselor who is sure to include my faith journey in our sessions. The true reason for my mental healing is centering my life around the Lord and what he desires for me in each day. My prayer for you friends is that you take time to asses your mental health and to reach out to someone if you need to visit. Mental health is important, YOU are important.
1. What’s for supper: Beef stew in the pressure cooker and homemade buttermilk biscuits from the Magnolia Table cookbook.
2. What am I listening to: I just discovered the podcast "The Lazy Genius" and I am loving it. Most episodes are right around 20 minutes and it is packed with little hacks for your family.
3. Scripture of the week: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2
4. Aha Moment: As I was listening to this podcast while on the road the theme was being the girl for the job. How true is that?! God made us for a specific purpose and job. I can't be the only one who struggles to remember that, am I right? The book centered on this theme is getting added to my reading list. ASAP.
5. What my children are teaching me: To enjoy the small moments. I am astonished at how well little ones remember details. I had frozen cupcakes from a birthday and took them out to eat the other day. One of the kids asked whose birthday they were from and our oldest knew right away that it was her sister's Minnie Mouse cake and not the airplane cake of her brother. Both birthdays were celebrated at the same time and even were decorated very similar. I the person who made the cakes couldn't remember that.
6. From the Mouth of Babes: "I just tooted in my pants" - M. Lacey
7. Drink of Choice: Cafe Miel
8. Most despised chore: Sweeping dog hair...need I say more?
9. Reading: Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God is Speaking by Priscilla Shirer
10. Prayer: Lord, be with me at all times. Do not let the fire consume me, but rather teach me to be more like you. Amen.
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!