Sunday, March 7, 2010

Today is my 34th birthday. I am not really the kind of girl who stresses about getting older. I mean let's face it after you have given birthday to four children, vanity flies out the window and practicalilty replaces it. I don't worry too much about lines and wrinkles (mostly because I don't have any yet, honestly). If you see me around town, at home or anywhere at all you will see that I have not really looked inside the covers of ANY fashion magazine in a decade or so. I would like to claim that this is because I am not into any of that girly stuff. But the truth is that as I have gotten older my desires have changed. I like the simple life. Today though I am sad. I know have every reason in the world to not be sad, on the one hand, and every reason in my heart to be sad, on the other hand. What can I say, I'm a work in progress. And there is hope! A few months ago as I traveled through darkness in a pit, I can see now that God was reaching out to me. So, on this Sunday morning, being church homeless as I am, I feel like sharing the things God has shown me recently. I have two motivations for this post.
1. To lift my spirits and make known my restored faith in God's love and power.
2. To record this for myself as a reminder. Yes, I could do it in a journal but I will be honest I write better when I feel like I am telling someone about me and my life. Hopefully someone will relate or at least come closer to God through my sharing.

I am going to start back a few months ago. I was in a hospital back in November. I to this day do not know exactly what happened or how I ended up there. That's not to say I do not remember the events that led up to that event. I just for the life of me can not figure out how I ended up there. I started therapy about a year before. Every week I went to a therapist. I poured my heart out. I talked about painful things that I never talk about. All the while through out that year I was not getting any better. My depression and anxiety were at an all time high. Granted the outside stressors were also at an all time high. I was at the point where I was rendered useless. Have you ever felt rendered useless? I mean literally I could not function. Just to care for my childrens needs took every once of concentration and effort in my body. I truly thought I was giong crazy! An example I have shared with those close to me is: Just to get let's say a drink for my child. Once asked for a a drink my brain would have to literally think out what steps to take to accomplish the task. I felt like I was in a slow motion documentary on thought processing. I would think (litterally) Ok, so I have to get up out of this chair. Walk to the fridge. Find a glass. Choose a drink, pour it. Give the glass to said child. Sit back down. Doesn't sound like it such a complicated thing but when you have to think through every step individually it makes you a frustrated person. Not once during this period of time did I think to pray about it. Honestly I figured that some how I had gotten myself into this mess and it was not God's job to get me out. Oh what a liar our enemy is!
I had been put on antidepressants and antianxiety medicines by my doctor a few months earlier and the medications had been "adjusted" and changed several times. I, however, was not getting any better. In fact I was worse! I was a walking wreck. It was sometimes like watching a train wreck happen right before my own eyes! So, there I was in the hospital. Did I mention that said hospital was a mental hospital? I was so suprised to find myself there. Yet, looking back I don't know why I was suprised. The first night I was there I stayed in the day room. That was a room where all the patients spent most of there daytime hours either watching TV, playing cards, participating in group therapy or any number of activities. I was admitted to the hospital pretty late at night. They did not have any beds until late morning so I slept in the day room. I didn't really care. I felt incapable of caring about anything. In fact I was exhausted and frightened and overwhelmed. Nothing in my life had ever prepared me for that. Everything in my life had prepared me for a life on the other side of the nurses station. It was physically, emotionally and mentally overwhelming. I slept for the whole first day I was there. First in that crazy day room. Then by early afternoon in the semiprivate room that I would be in for the next couple of weeks. Sleeping was the easy part. After all part of the reason I was in there was because I couldn't sleep. They give you medicine for that. It took them a couple of tries to find something that helped me sleep at night without giving me nightmares. Nightmares were the number one reason I was not sleeping so a drug that has a major side effect of causing nightmares would have seemed to me to be a bad choice. It is difficult to have your voice heard though from my side of the nurses station.
My roommate was a lady named "Rose". She was an interesting one. She was in her mid to late 40s. The first thing I noticed about her was that she liked to sleep alot. Which was fine by me because so do I. It was always dark in our room. The staff was always coming in and waking her up. I am a light enough sleeper that I could usually hear them coming. Our room was right next to the nurses station so we could hear alot of what went on at the desk. Rose was not there for depression or anxiety. She did not have a serious mental illness. In fact for the life of me I could not see why Rose was there at all. She is a drug addict. She does not mind being a drug addict. She in fact was only there (according to her) to detox so that when she got high next time it would feel really good. OK I was shocked! I even asked her once why she would put herself through all that and not take the help right in front of her. She told me that I was naieve if I thought that anything I would get in that place was help. She said she came in an addict who had had 12 years sober until her best friend died and now she would rather be an addict than fight it anymore. Her story did not help me get out of my funk. But for her gift to me I will always thankful. I won't soon forget Rose. She gave me a book while I was sharing a room with her. I love to read and so people were always bringing me magazines and puzzle books and even a novel or two. But Rose gave me a self help book. I had seen it on her shelf and had wondered how she had gotten a Beth Moore book? I had surmised right that someone had given it to her. She claimed to be catholic but even at that not a religious person at all (her words not mine). I knew that Beth Moore wrote bible studies I had led a few in my day. At any rate I was curious about the book. Rose let me borrow it and I started reading. But at that point in my life I really really really did not want to go running back to God in shame and disgrace. I had too much pride for that. So my curiosity lasted less than a day. I did not feel that familiar tug on my heart and I returned the book to Rose thanking her for letting me look at it. A couple days later when Rose was getting discharged she was packing her stuff and tossed the book over to me. She said she wanted me to have it because I probably believed in things like that more than her. And anyway (her words again) the girl who had been in our room before me had given it to her. So I accepted the gift. Feeling a little trapped by it. I figured this book would be exactly like all the others I have on my shelves, full of behavioral modifications to help you fit into a mold that does not work. So I figured it would collect dust on my shelf until I found some unsuspecting soul to pass it onto. I also figured like all the other books I have I would read from it from time to time but I was certain it did not hold any real answers. Having become an avid purchaser of the self help section I could see that I had just been given yet another useless book. Or so I thought...

The book is called Get Out of That Pit and it did sit on my shelf for months after I got it. I just could not humble myself enough to open it again. I was so desperatly trying to make my life work that I did not have time to deal with my spiritual life. I told myself that because of the past experiences I had, there was no room in my life for all the spiritual warfare that so often accompanies living a life soley declared to God. I knew that four years ago I told God that I was too tired for all of this anymore. That in my way of thinking it would be WAY easier to stand for nothing than to be constantly attacked for being his servant. My logic was that if I was not activly pursuing God then the devil would leave me alone. Yes, I see that our enemy is a liar! Now I do anyway. At the time it seemed very logical. And yes this is an actual decision I consciously made. Seems ridiculous but it is true. I found myself taking so many pills everyday. I felt pretty numb but that was a relief because when the numbness wore off it was like being cut wide open and exposed for the world to see. I was a desperate woman in a desperate place. I could not function. I got discharged from the hospital and back into therapy I went. By the holidays though I was fed up. Therapy was only making me feel more crazy bacause NOTHING was getting resolved and every single week I found another reason to be vulnerable and hurt. I stopped taking my medications at the first of the year. I could not even think most days because my head was so foggy. We worked on our marriage but it fell apart. My kids were having trouble in school. Everyone I knew was worried about me. I thought I had lost all my friends. I was isolated (because it was easier than being exposed). My husband was trying to make things work I know he really was. But nothing was working. My depression was the deepest darkest pit I have ever known. Nothing compared to the despair I felt within my very soul. I wondered how could life have changed so drastically. Then one day the Holy Spirit must have impressed it on my heart to pick up Beth Moore's book. I was all prepared with my arguments. Her studies take too much time. I am not in a place with God where I can just start reading a christian book and BAM my life will get better. I am good at making excuses when I want to be. In the end I decided what could it hurt. I have nothing to lose. Divorce is emminent. The kids are never going to walk up to me and say today Mom it's all yours do with it what you want. I don't play the lottery so I am sure no one will show up with all the money I need to be at peace. Now is as good a time as any I guess. So I picked the book up. I determined that if I did not read past the first few pages (the ones I had read in the hospital) them I would never finish it so I set a goal to read the first chapter. Timing is everything I guess. This time (maybe it was my willingess to try anything) I could not put the book down. I felt like it was written for me! Suddenly right there in front of me stood the answers. She explained how even if you don't have faith right now God can restore your faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. When I read that I thought yes, but I don't read my bible anymore. God's hand was definatly on Beth Morroe when she wrote that book because every excuse I could think of was dispelled within the pages of her book. It took me record three days to read that book. Actually it's record that I finished the book. Remember all those shelves filled with other self help books? I have to admit none of them held the answers for me.
Today I am in the process of relearning how to have a relationship with God. I realized that I was looking to my husband to be my savior when I already had a savior. I realized that joy can only come from God. That he is the fountain I need to drink from. That my life can never find peace and order with out him. I find myself praying for those who have hurt me and that forgiveness is much better than anger.
I still struggle. I still fight the urge to stay under the covers all day. I still hurt in many ways. But now I have hope again! It is gloriously refreshing to find that God never left me! For the first time in my life my relationship with God is for me. That may not make sense to many people but all my life I when I have served God it has been because someone else expected it of me. Now finally I know that my relationship with God is about me and him. And I am so much more at peace with that than ever before.
So, on this day, my birthday, I will celebrate the life that God is restoring to me. I hope for a wonderful future!