Posts Tagged hope

Is Depression a Sin?

What do you think? In years gone by we were taught even by prominent leaders in the church that it was  sin to be depressed and that it displayed a great lack of faith. I do not agree. Depression is a very difficult thing to work through and it is very common among caregivers, especially those who are “on the job” 24/7 with very little or no breaks. I have to admit my own struggle with this debilitating emotional stress. There are days when I am fine. I might go for a long time doing very well and able to keep my chin up in the midst of adversity. One example of how I “crash” is I might catch a glimpse of some older pictures of Chris, or I see one of his friend’s statuses on Facebook. I wonder what Chris would have been doing right now if the wreck had not occurred. This can send me on a downward spiral that is difficult to overcome.

I think the hyper-faith movement almost stripped us of natural emotions and feelings. We were basically taught to ignore how we felt and our emotions. This could be very dangerous since when we ignore emotions rather than deal with them in a healthy manner, we can end up damaging ourselves, in some cases irreparably. I am thinking that the solution is to hit them head on. There’s no way to act like Chris’ wreck did not occur and behave as though nothing happened at all. Caregivers many times in these situations deal with a living grief since the loved one we knew no longer exists, but they are still living. That cannot be ignored; but it can’t be dealt with one time and then move on either since it is so in your face on a daily basis.

Looking through scriptures I did not find one time when emotions were condemned. Jesus never told anyone “you shouldn’t feel that way.” This takes my thoughts to the beatitudes. Jesus said that those who are poor, hungry, persecuted, and mourn are blessed; but He said, “woe” to those who are rich, well-fed, and well spoken of. That seems sort of backwards to the way early faith-ers taught it. He did not condemn those who mourned but offered promises instead. Somehow I find that comforting. The Jesus I know does not kick people when they are down! And that is exactly what happens when the hyper-faith-ers tell those who are in mourning that it is a sin.

David had his bouts with discouragement and perhaps even depression; and he had every right to. I always think about the story where he was in Ziklag and everything went wrong. He returned from battle to find his wives and children missing, the city was burned to the ground and  then everyone turned against him and blamed him for the catastrophe. In 1 Samuel 30:6, David was greatly distressed, especially when he found out everyone wanted to stone him for it! But he strengthened  and encouraged himself in the Lord. In no way does this story condemn his distraught feelings. The feelings were real and they were strong. He – like we do – turned to the Lord for strength and encouragement since there was no one there to help him out with that.

As a caregiver I spend hour after hour alone. Sometimes I get to speak on the phone or via Skype to other people; but many times there is not normal conversations day after day. Even when there is, in between there can be many lonely hours. It takes great effort to encourage ones self in the Lord. For me, when I have days that depression tries to set in I’ve found if I change up what I am doing it can help me shift my focus. Sometimes it is as simple as picking up my Bible and finding comfort in scriptures. But to be totally honest – it doesn’t always work that way. There are times I find the scriptures frustrating – yes, I really said that. I see where Jesus healed some – but not all. I see where some prayers were answered – but not all. That can be very confusing especially on a difficult day. It can signal a barrage of questions through my mind – why not my son? why not my prayers? And honestly I find myself more frustrated and depressed than before. Why is that?

Perhaps it is because I was taught this hyper – avoidance of reality “faith” where what you see isn’t real. Well is sure feels real. It can be difficult to shift the thinking to eternity’s bliss when the pain of today is staring you down face to face. So I have learned to deal with these emotions rather than dwell on them or let them take me under. I say that easily – but in actuality it is very difficult. I have to talk myself through the day when it’s like that. Here are some things that I tell myself to help me get through today whole body, soul and spirit:

  • Today is not the end of the story
  • For today I have everything I need (sometimes for this moment only – I have all I need)
  • My soul (and the soul of the loved one I care for) are secure – they have not been damaged or doomed by life’s battles
  • God promised to keep my soul safe – not my body – and He has at least kept that promise
  • I can create my own world here in my cave – what do I want to keep and what do I want to discard?
  • Other people are just not going to “get it” so don’t try to explain – it’s exasperating!
  • Take care of your body – sometimes it’s all you feel you have left – and it’s something I can control

Basically, I find some positives to dwell on. I think about the progress my son has made rather than how far he has left to go. Sometimes I can encourage myself by thinking about how God has provided for the journey. Work can be a double-edged sword – I either have too much to keep up with or not enough which can cause worry! I try to find the positives. If I am looking at pictures or Facebook and it’s causing me negative emotions – I change my environment. I might go study, read a book, watch a movie, clean up an area of my house, make soap or take a nap. But changing the moment helps me change my focus. I’m sorry that I cannot find some super deep spiritual panacea that makes the depression go away…I really would like that.

I  like Psalm 42 – it’s written by the Sons of Korah who also had reason to be distraught. They witnessed the earth opening up and swallowing all their relatives! Two times in Psalm 42 they remind themselves that their hope is in God. This reassurance follows immediately behind the question, “Why are you in despair my soul?”  Verse 9 says I will say to the Lord my rock, ‘why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’ Is it okay for that brutal honesty to be in the Bible? I guess so – it’s still there!

One thing to remember is that we are not alone in our depression even though it’s not a shared moment. No one may ever know — and that’s okay. We are still not alone. It is not unusual and we are not scarred for life because of the battle we face. Dennis Jernigan has a song that has a line which says something about the battle does not define who I am. I’m not identified by the struggles I face – my identity is still in Christ and depression is not the unpardonable sin! It’s just one more thing that we must navigate through in a healthy manner to make it safely through the day.

By changing my focus or  actions I can help give myself the tools to dig out of depression before it buries me. Even though there is a struggle I will always run back to Him. Perhaps that parallels the Sons of Korah’s actions as recorded in Psalm 42 – even though they honestly expressed their distress and feelings they returned to say Hope in God. In the mourning, anguish, feelings and depression we can always return to Hope in God, for He is our rock. Faith is not avoiding the conflict – or ignoring the present – it’s returning to Him for help.

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Just Another Day

I say it’s just another day, but it’s really not been too bad of a day. I finished up a work project early this morning and got started on school assignments. Sometimes I am not sure just why I am going to the expense and time to get a Masters, but I’m in too deep now. I wonder if it will do me any good or if I’ll just be paying off school loans for the rest of my life.

The last few weeks have been filled with craziness, not sure why. I have had to make several phone calls trying to get all of Chris’ supplies. Trust me when I say it’s a long story – and thank me for sparing all the details! It’s just one more hassle that really should not get so out of hand. The funny (not haha funny either) thing is that next week when they come to do the eval for Advantage they will be all concerned about me having caregivers’ burnout. The real heart of that matter is that if they would just do their job and relieve me of having to make all these crazy calls I wouldn’t be as likely to get burnout! Sheesh…

Overall my emotions seem to be a little better grounded and I have got a couple of runs in this week so far. My half marathon is Sunday and I am really excited. But before that I also get to attend a meeting with people who are organizing a 5K. It’s a really cool local ministry who really desire to make a difference. They decided to host a 5K each fall and use the profits to help a family or person in need. This year – the first year – I get to be the honoree. I’m still kind of in shock that anyone even remembered me here in the cave. It is really cool to see people actually put some effort behind what they believe instead of sitting up in church just talking about it. Here’s the link to the video that they made when they surprised me with the news. Surprise A 5K!

Chris just continues to improve slowly- all I can say is that I am thankful that he continues to improve. there are some days that are more difficult than others – but all days are difficult. I’m kind of in an interesting spot. I totally trust God has this in His hands, in His heart. But sometimes I really wonder about it all. You know the whys and what for’s. I’ve pretty much given up on all the dreams I thought I had at one time and really the most difficult part of that is the fact that I really thought He had placed those dreams in me. To watch them die – or even assist them in dying has been difficult as well. But I feel like I have to move on with whatever I have right now. We’ll see how things turn out.

It’s funny how people view me at this stage in my life. I thought I’d be a singer or songwriter, maybe even a poet or a regular old writer. I am actually working on that – even have a new website up, but people see me as a caregiver… but that’s not who I am. I’m not sure who I am anymore, but I am sure that there’s so much more to me than a caregiver.I don’t mind being a caregiver or being known that way – but I do hope some will take the time to see past that and see who I am – see my heart.

Well, another day down and I still trust Him – guess that’s a pretty good place to be!

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Rethinking Faith and Grace

There has been a lot happening of late but I really do plan on continuing this blog. I think I need to do it more for me sometimes and if there are any readers you are welcome to read along. Chris’ 29th birthday is coming up this week, and it feels odd. I guess somehow 30 sounds so “old” and it feels like he’s missed so much “life.” I’m still sorting through those emotions.

This last week I came across his old video camera and watched all his videos. I really thought I would kind of fall apart and not be able to handle it. But it actually had the opposite effect. I did cry a little here and there but it was a positive experience that is best summed up by saying that I helped myself remember who he was….which did make me miss him more. But that is an everyday thing really. It’s called living grief and I have mentioned it here before. I lost my son November 8, 2008 but still have his body to care for. I cannot bury him and try to make something out of life. It’s sort of like being stuck in a prison cell with no future just a past to remember.

Overall though, things are going good. He is improving and it really helps a lot. I think he is actually starting to try which helps keep me keep pushing him every single day. He is definitely communicating in his own way and that really helps too. But I’m not going to lie – I’m tired. It’s been a very long journey with no end in sight. Honestly, I gave up on one of those instantaneous miracles long ago. Guess God ran out of them just before November 2008! lol

It does seem that I am finally kind of learning how to get it together though. I’m learning to live alone and function alone for the most part. I really don’t have a social life and quite honestly most of the time when I do get out now – I am on sensory overload and just want to come back to the safety of the cave. I’m very content with that. But I did have a great experience at the last race I ran. It was just fun. It was the first tiny piece of “social activity” that I’d had in a long time. I hung around for a few minutes with some other runners and we laughed and cut up…nearly refreshing! lol — Some of them will be at the half I’m doing this Sunday so that might actually be nice!

Over the last few years I think I have really changed in a lot of different ways. But recently I’ve realized how much my theology has undergone change. I think about faith and hope differently. I see God’s protection differently than most. There have been some times when I really wanted to shake my fist at God and “cash it all in.” (for what I don’t know *smile*) But I am beginning to realize that it really isn’t His fault that my religion was faulty! lol

I’ve gone back and read Job and meditated on it a lot. Religion told him that he must have sinned or God wouldn’t punish him with all that trouble. Of course he maintained his righteousness. I can’t say that I haven’t struggled with thoughts along those lines – if God was pleased with me…with Chris… why did all this happen? Don’t really have an answer…

I’m taking a real good look at faith and what I thought it meant. I think we may have seriously missed the mark with that one. We get really caught up on the materialistic side of things and try to measure our relationship with God through natural means. If we have things we are blessed and if we don’t we are not.

While on this note – I get really upset sometimes at facebook posts. I really do understand these kinds of posts – they say things like “we were in a bad wreck to day thank God he loves us because we could have been hurt bad.” Am I to interpret that into God doesn’t love Chris? Or they will say, “God’s grace was with us today in the wreck or we could have been seriously injured.” Was God’s grace NOT with Chris that day? I always give thanks with them and keep the questions to myself – but maybe we really need to rethink the ways we use to measure God’s grace and love in our lives. It goes way past eternity you guys.

His grace is what keeps us from spending eternity as well as the present separated from Him – His love is what compels us to come to Him – it’s what held Jesus to the cross. Just like I cannot leave my son – Jesus could not leave the cross to find a more comfortable way because love held Him in that moment. He chose to stay there and yet I am guilty of trying to squirm out of anything remotely uncomfortable…rethinking grace and mercy!

Overall, I really cannot complain. Sure I miss my son deeply everyday. But there are lots of pluses from the furnace too. My daughter has become a wonderful Christian lady and mother, I have two beautiful grandchildren (want to see pictures? lol), I’m watching her and her husband take pursuing God seriously. God has provided me so much work I can barely keep up, and I am learning to keep my eyes on Him more of the time – and staying focused…even in the furnace.

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Another Day Done

Sorry I have not written in a long time – I stay on overload most of the time anymore and it’s difficult to write here in that kind of shape. Even though it’s my blog I am afraid that I will hurt someone’s feelings or say something that causes someone to question thier own faith. I really want this blog to be about being transparent and letting others see the struggle that life brings and that while walking through the furnace may help redefine your faith – it will not destroy it. I wonder about the 3 Hebrew children who were thrown into the fire and how it redefined thier faith. Perhaps they thought their faith would save them from the fiery furnace like we do sometimes. Of course they were determined to not bow to a fake god whether or not God stepped in to “save” them; but I wonder if they thought God would “honor” their faith and keep them from facing it altogether. Before I started through this very hot and very long journey I somehow had the notion that faith could preserve me from these types of situations. I have found first that this is not true and secondly that it is what carries me through the fire.

I have lots of thoughts going through my head and they fluctuate between total despair, utter helplessness, and complete trust all inside a few minutes (or seconds). Sometimes I figure I am just losing it…One second I am so thankful for how God has provided for this journey and the next second I am totally mad that we had to make it at all. I think all this is actually very normal for where I am. Wanna know something funny though? Just about the time I reach the bottom and I think I want to give up on God – He abandoned me after all – someone will call with a question about a scripture or faith or something and this switch inside gets turned right back on again! I find myself running right back to the word to find my own answers. Sometimes I think I am just crazy but I always run right back to the word since I honestly know no where else to run!

My son is improving slowly…still… for this I am thankful. I actually have an MRI scheduled for him for next week. I am very apprehensive. On one hand I think I may be better off not knowing what’s going on inside. I can just blindly keep pushing him and expecting performance from him. But curiosity does win out as I do want to know what I am dealing with.. what parts of the brain have sustained permanent damage and such. That way I can study more and know how to help him better….ambiguous is a good word right here! lol…

So tonight I make a committment to go for another day. Today is done (almost – gotta bolus Chris and change him before heading to bed with my kindle and a cup of camomile tea!) I have tons of thoughts going through my head but I won’t bore any readers I may have left with all of them – might be scary! I am committed to keeping up this and other blogs and I want to try to enter each night or so…I have a new committment to life…sounds funny since I have been breathing all along…but I want to live life. I’ve been working on some changes and maybe I’ll let you in on some of them as we go along. But for now – suffice it to say that I am certain that I will follow God even through the storm.

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Small Bits of Hope

Today was an interesting day. Chris is still eating good so that helps me keep my chin up. He is also more aware of his surroundings and a little more interactive. I just want him better NOW! but that for sure is not happening fast. It’s very easy to lose hope as we struggle just to keep walking through this journey. But today there was a small ray of hope.

My sister and brother-in-law found a good deal on a standing frame online. They got it and brought it to us today! I can’t wait until tomorrow. I know that he is ready to begin this part of his recovery. Of course whenever anything new comes up there are all these doubts and fears that come to mind. Will I be able to help him stand with it? What if he falls? Does he have enough torso control to try to stand and how will I be able to help him? What if I hurt him? …and so on. The questions come at my mind like crazy. But that’s nothing too new as they always occur with every little bit of change.

I had the same types of questions about feeding him too. But I bit it off and don’t give him any breaks anymore and he’s doing great! I suppose it will be the same thing with the standing frame..and with getting him out more. I shake just the same..but it’s got to be done. That means I just have to suck it up and go ahead anyway. So tomorrow will dawn with a small bit of hope – the first day I use the standing frame (with the aide’s help of course) – to help Chris begin to stand once again.

I often wonder how much of this parallels the body of Christ. I really think we have been largely incapacitated by the sins we allow to continue in the body; complicated by the lack of love and the way we treat anyone different than ourselves. As I stretch Chris I wonder if God has to perform the same types of things for us to get us to move each morning – in a spiritual sense. This morning as I was working with his legs to get him out of the bed I had several thoughts about how God must need to slowly and patiently stretch us to get us moving too. We have lost mobility because we do not honor the head. Of course we honor the “head” of the body as if it were the pastor or apostle. But they are not the head of the body of Christ – He is! This can leave us unable to move because we have a different head! My prayer is that He will patiently stretch us and work with us until we can move once again.

Overall it was not too bad of a day. I am tired…but I feel like I have refocused and can get on from where I am. We will see what tomorrow brings…but I face it with small bits of hope.

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It’s Just the Way it Is…

I know I have not written in a while, but that’s just how I am built. When I go into overload mode I shut most things down. I am sure it could be explained as some sort of survival mechanism…if anyone cared to take the time to research it. Really, I’m not too worried about it…I just know that when I am on overload and there are lots of stress factors I tend to shut down. And quite honestly, I don’t care to explain it or define it or even change it right now… there’s not enough energy to worry about it.

Lots has happened since I poured my emotions out here. I really like having the blog as it helps me sort through so many things. I’m sure that’s just the writer coming out in me. But here on the computer screen I can express most of my deepest fears, doubts, concerns, goals, achievements and hopes…and leave them here while I walk away to deal with life as it is right now. Somehow (again unexplainable) that has helped me walk some of this journey.

For my readers (if I have any left!) thanks for “listening” to me whine, gripe, praise and rejoice as I sort through this mess from the furnace. Really, sometimes I just can’t sort through the emotions. There is so much in a day that my mind has to put on hold, or maybe “mute” is a better term for it. And that’s just to get through the day. I can be very happy and rejoicing one minute and thrilled at all Chris is doing (and he’s really starting to do a lot) but then see a picture of him playing the drums and I’m sucked right back into the emotional pit. I miss him so much…

It’s difficult but I am trying to live through whatever I have on my plate today. I’m not even sure if it’s the “right” way to deal with it; but I must only look at what is before me today and try to do something productive with it. Try to push Chris one more step, push myself to get some work done (very thankful for that!), try to keep my chin up in the midst of the fire…you get the idea.

I won’t go into the gruelling details of my day and the emotional roller coaster I ride most of the time. Because that really is just about every second of every day. But I do know that I have to deal with what I see and – do it in faith. In some ways, most ways, faith can seem very far away and unreachable. You see, even though I already live in the furnace –  that does not exempt me from other trials too. For instance, my aunt has just found out that she has cancer. After all these years of ministry – I can’t help but wonder why?  A friend has had a brain tumor removed and is struggling to get her life back on track too…I deal with the same sadness and heartache that you do every single day – from the furnace. Sometimes it seems that there is no hope…nothing gets better…until we are home. That’s what my head says. My heart won’t let me stay there too long though.

I really can’t explain what my emotions do when I think about giving up. Oh, you know I have had those moments of wanting to give up now…I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit to them. I still have moments full of despair…times I feel like I’m drowning in every sense of the word…

But I am in good company! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1: 8 that they were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life…That was Paul? The great apostle whom God used to write 2/3 of the New Testament? And he had real life struggles? wow…And on top of that he admitted it!?! What was wrong with him?

Somehow we have attached weakness to those who admit that they struggle. We forget that to walk in faith can cause a fight! I think sometimes my biggest fight is with myself…struggling to figure out what is wrong with me…trying to figure out if I still believe.

But I always come back to a resounding Yes! There is no place to quit – not for me anyway. I don’t allow my students to say “I can’t” – but in this context I must say I just can’t…. I can’t quit, I can’t give up, I can’t stop fighting, I can’t stop believing, period. I just have to trust that God is a God of His word and He made some statements about Chris — so all I can do is wait. Well, I certainly can’t make God move any faster! lol!

I must deal with what I see today and keep pressing on toward a better day…just hoping, praying, believing…That even though for today – this is just the way it is.. and I have to deal with the today I have right now –  that there is a tomorrow out there somewhere. And it will be better…I refuse to believe anything else. Call me crazy – delusional – I don’t care….I will continue to stand in the gap for my son against all odds….it’s just the way it is…

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One Step At a Time

I have a lot to think about on any given day…and many things that have to be sorted out. I think today I did okay at that. I decided that if I wanted to reach my own personal goals I was the only one who could do it! I really do not like running on the treadmill. I like to run outside but since the aides are usually a very questionable commodity I cannot rely on it. This means I have to use the treadmill…ugh! But while running, I chose to concentrate on the positives. I can monitor my speed better – push myself a little better and log lots of miles! I can run any day and every day if my poor old body can handle it. I have to keep my goals in front of me – right now it’s to run my second half marathon. That means I have to pound out some miles one way or another. (you can check out my running blog for more details www.runningwisdom.blogspot.com)

While I was running and thinking about goals I realized that this is one of the difficulties I have sometimes in this particular situation. I know the half marathon is in April and I know how I need to accelerate my mileage in order to reach that goal. But with Chris, I do not have a time frame from which to work. I have to press forward with whatever I have each day and use whatever I am given in the best way possible to reach whichever goal I can get to! This can be very frustrating to someone who likes to get things all organized. Actually in my real life, I won’t start something until it’s at least very organized in my head! So not being able to set time related and tangible goals is difficult for me when it comes to caregiving. The best I can do is take what I have and try to squeeze a little progress out!! …seems to be working right now although it is still somewhat frustrating! But I am indeed seeing progress so that keeps me going toward my (non-time-related) goals with my son!

Actually,  did somewhat better today myself. I’ve been using Facebook on Chris’ iPad to help stimulate his memory. We take  moment each evening (at least most evenings) to look through pictures. I usually have to choke back a lot of teary eyed stuff and try to keep my voice from quivering while looking at pictures of him the way he used to be. But tonight I did okay. It might have been due to his response – he was smiling as we were looking at the pictures… like he was really engaged and actually enjoying it.. . those moments sure do help me out!!

So can you put a time element on faith? On one hand I think not – Isaiah had no idea how many literal years it would be before the virgin would conceive the Christ child…But God told Abraham that his descendents would be slaves for 400 years… for me the time element can be a very heavy burden. On one hand it doesn’t matter – God promised restoration – and whenever He decides to get around to it is fine. (although I do have lots of frustrations around that point)…But on the other hand.. my days are limited. I have fewer years to live now than what I have lived and they are running out!! lol! Do I have to spend the rest of them in this prison-like setting? I mean the world needed a saviour too.. God sent Christ to die but he sent Him as a baby  and then we had to wait another 33 years for the fulfillment.

Now I know that God knows we are human…finite beings with limited time on this earth. And He even has our days written down…all of them (psalm 139). But honestly, it frustrates me to think that He seems silent to my prayers and may wait until Chris and I are both dead for us to actually realize the promise…why make it then? Why not just tell us that Chris will be whole again on the other side? Why build false hope? I really do not think that God teases us…

So it’s back to the waiting game again. No questions answered and many more generated. For today I will simply have to be content with progress I saw in my son…and for now that will have to do – but somehow there is this underlying peace that is not worried a bit! Doesn’t make much sense – but we just keep walking toward our goal – to be like Him…one step at a time. That’s all any of us can do anyway!

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At Least a Small Piece of Normal

Each day is relatively the same around here with just a few minor changes here and there. Today held a nice surprise though. Ronella came and brought Eli over for a while. I got to spend some time with her and him; and then watched him for a little bit while she ran some errands. It was great. The really fun part was when she got back. We got Chris up and took him outside.There’s a park area behind the apartments so we sat Chris there on the walkway with us and I got to play with Eli, my grandson. It was a particularly fun time. It was nearly like getting to do something normal…except with Chris sitting there in the wheelchair. But it was good too – because he was pretty relaxed and not annoyed! Moments like that make my day!

Today Chris was sleepier – but I gotta give him a day now and then since I push him so much anymore. He deserves a break from me making him move this, move that – watch this – look at that! We are both tired! lol! (for real…) But I did use his iPad to let him look at his Facebook page. He sits right up too as soon as it comes on the screen. We looked through some pictures tonight though…he wakes up and looks at them intently while I try to stay where he can’t see me – and I try to swallow enough so that he cannot hear the cracks in my voice while I am talking to him about them. I really think he remembers…but where we are doesn’t match.

For me – it’s very difficult to see the pictures of who he was and where he was…and see him as he is now. I miss his smile greatly…his voice…his jokes…I miss him so much! Somehow it seems easier to not remember the past and try to just deal with where we are today – but the memories keep nagging. As a family we have so many good and fun memories. I thoroughly enjoyed the days my kids were in band. I was really disappointed when Ronella didn’t continue in band for college. But I really did understand. She wanted to give herself to her studies uninterrupted by band practice and other requirements…But before those days – while the kids were in school I enjoyed watching them march and compete and learn music!

Maybe I am totally crazy to think I will ever get Chris back. At least the Chris we all knew. It seems so long ago – so far removed; but fresh in my mind at the same time. It’s a pain that does not go away. I work and keep my mind busy…to try to numb up. But it doesn’t always work…

Add to that the fact that I rarely get out of the house anymore and I am a boxed up mess! I’m trying to just be content with the cave. Maybe I do not deserve a social life…doing things like going to a movie…or out to eat with friends…and maybe I am just actually getting content to stay here in the cave – order everything I need for life and godliness online – and get out one day a week for a run – if I am lucky enough to have that opportunity.  I’m starting to think that this is just the life God saved me for…so I should not fight it – just sit back and make the “best” of it…

One good thing is that Chris is easier to transport now. I can get him out on occasion. He handles it better. But to be honest – it is a huge mental struggle t get myself geared up to tackle it. It’s almost always worth it to get out – but it’s so involved…And it’s really difficult to make definite plans because I cannot guess what kind of day he is going to have.

But we move on.. some days I am content to hide away here, drink coffee, write and work with Chris. Other days it feels like a prison and I am being held here. In one way it is my choice…so I figure I should just suck it up and drink another cup of coffee!

But somehow in the midst of all of the pain, the turmoil and the adversity…there is something down inside of me that says no. I will not quit until Chris comes back to some level of functioning. There’s something that just cannot let go. It’s so frustrating to see him improve so much at this stage in the game – and yet not be able to get any help with therapy and such because the progress is still so slow. I can’t really get much advice even because everyone is afraid of a law suit. And what’s really frustrating is that therapy is provided under his Medicaid stuff. But because the state pays so little no one will take the job. I have to think that they keep the pay scale set low on purpose – that way they do not have to pay for in home therapy. If only someone could come one time a week (or a month) and help me set real goals and show me how to work with Chris’ trouble areas… oh well – that will have to remain in my dreams  — along with his full recovery for now.

But I am holding out hope….he is still breathing… God healed the man at the gate Beautiful and he’d been lame for years. He was immediately strengthened and began to run and jump and praise God…I don’t know – maybe healing brain injuries expired just before November 8, 2008!… Oh well… I simply cannot stop hoping…and I have no idea why!

 

Here’s what I want to see agian:

 

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Getting it Together

Well, I am not really too sure that I am doing an adequate job of getting it together, but I am trying. I am seriously trying to draw back into my cave and for the most part so far – it’s working and it seems safe! I really need to refocus…but I am not sure how to do that from here. Oh sometimes I feel like I sort of have “it” all together – but that usually lasts for a brief moment! But I have been thinking about a lot of different things and somehow it seems like there is some sort of forward progress in my life…sometimes.

I’ve thought back over the last three (plus) years and this furnace that I am living in. I must say I have seen God provide even through all the adversity. As we have taken each step He has been right there providing. That is not to say that he dumped money into my bank account or anything – but I have generated a small freelance writing business that is doing pretty well. I actually have to work diligently to keep up with it. I have no complaints. My lights are on, there is food in my cabinet, we are clothed and have a vehicle. If you are aware of any parts of this journey – especially early on – you know how amazing all of that is. And of course some people have generously given… some over and over…it’s been amazing really! ….no complaints…

And Chris is still making progress. That is very good, even though it is still so very slow – there is overall improvement each day. But the improvement does not dull the constant nagging pain of knowing who he was and all he had going for him and seeing him like he is now. Nothing erases that. And that’s really what eats at me…day and night. I have to work to stay ahead of it – to keep my mind on scripture and concentrate my effort on embracing hope and faith…and that’s what can make me so tired sometimes! We’ve had these two things (hope and faith) so tied up in things we can see – we forget that they are eternal forces. They are at work outside this realm we can see – working for us toward far better goals than the physical things we can see here…

I’ve also thought a lot about people. I think about people who were large parts of my life – and are no more. People who I admittedly gave too much allegiance to and got burned… part my fault – part theirs. Some who I thought were friends only to never hear from them again. Today I thought back about when we were in the hospital and one such “friend” asked me what I needed. I told her I needed contact with people who cared and could pray for me and with me. She said she would call me every day to encourage me. I have not spoken to her since that day. Sad really…but at least there is no question in my mind now as to where she stands! lol! (you gotta laugh or it will eat you alive! ) I was also under the illusion that coming “home” to Oklahoma would help me reconnect with some of what I thought dear friendships… boy did I have some learning to do! lol!

But on the other side of things I have to think about the good relationships that have developed over the last 3 years. Some were already established and  can easily name several true friends who have continued to walk through this with me. Some of them are located in various states – but have found a way to stay connected through this whole journey. For this I am so thankful. And I must also think about the new relationships that He has given me… I have some new precious friends for which I am so thankful… both online and off. I will never make light of true friendships again…precious is the only word to describe them.

So here I am trying to get myself together to face another year of who knows what…knowing that no matter what a day brings (and I don’t take a day for granted anymore either…) He will be there with me. He will carry me through both fire and flood. Holy Spirit will comfort me – if I will sit still long enough to let Him! lol! So I am just thankful. Not for the pain, not even for the journey (honestly, I hate the journey)…but thankful that I am not alone – whether or not I can sense anyone walking with me or not… He is with me – He is my hope… and with that I can go to sleep knowing that He will see me through the night no matter how many times I have to get up with Chris – and He will see me through the day no matter what it brings….

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It’s Okay to Hurt

Several things happened today. First, Chris was really with it – one of his better days. I took advantage of it and tried to do some drum stuff with him. (I ordered some basic cd’s from Modern Drummer) then while I had his computer out I saw he had his testimony in his playlist. I played some of it for him. His voice sounded so great! It was really bitter sweet as it made me so glad to hear it once again…and equally as sad to not hear it coming from him…

This was the first Monda of the month and Dennis Jernigan has praise and worship live from his studio. I always try to catch this live broadcast each month. He sang a song tonight that just really expressed some of the words I could not find. I got on his site and downloaded the cd. It was written for some of his friends who lost a child. I could seriously relate to so many of the songs. And for a few minutes it was just okay to hurt.

He talks of God’s love in the night and in the storm…but isn’t it supposed to kind of come and go? This is a pain that does not ever go away. Even if I am pretty much dealing with the day – it’s just under the surface…always. I’ve said before that I cannot bury Chris and go on…yet he is here – but he’s not. I don’t even know how to deal with this. I just hurt…but you know what? It’s okay!

It’s not a pain I can seek counseling for – as there is no healing because it’s ongoing. I can’t pray it away, sing it away, hope it away…because all the hope in the world (and trust me I still have mine!) does not change today. I a realizing that sometimes I have to give myself permission to hurt. It really is okay. I’m not talking about wallowing around in self-pity or throwing a pity party (but I have thrown a few.. depressing as I am the only one to show up!! lol!) … but there comes a place where the freedom to hurt… to acknowledge the pain …has to happen. I can’t say as it makes anything any better… nothing does really…but there’s this real honesty that you have with yourself in that moment…

You feel the pain, the deep hurt and loss – a continued grief…and you allow it for that moment. It’s like telling yourself the truth…finally. And quite honestly – tonight I found it freeing… can’t really explain it. Guess the truth really does set you free! lol!

It’s like when I admit how deep the pain is – He comes closer…and His embrace…in that empty – dry -painful place — becomes the refreshing of your soul. Like He is not welcome as long as we are lying to ourselves. somehow that makes since since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth…

I think we cannot cast our cares on Him .. if we do not first admit they are there.

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