Time to Heal

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When I started this project 9 months ago, I promised to be truthful and real, no matter how it may look. I didn’t want to sugar coat my life or make it something it wasn’t because this project was to be about realness, about being broken and finding Jesus in those moments when your low seems like it can’t get lower. It’s also about the good moments, the love and joy and the healing and happiness. It’s about life, the good and the bad and the tough and the easy. I never want it to deviate away from those principals.

With that said, I have struggled with depression most of my adult life. Sometimes, it hides in the inner corners of myself, and I push through with smiles and laughter and it doesn’t seep into my daily life. Then, there are those times where seemingly out of nowhere it grasps me and drags me down, confining me to the comfort of my billowy blankets, unable to face the world. When the latter time start to outweigh the better times, I know it is starting to be a problem.

That time is now.

In deciding to open up about my depression on here, I am doing something that many people don’t like to do, myself whole-hearty included.

I am admitting that there is a weakness in me, a flaw, that I am no quite sure how to handle.

I am admitting, to the friends, family and readers that I don’t have it all together. That, is a very hard thing to do. But, then again, it isn’t much harder than navigating the world of depression itself.

There are people out there that believe depression isn’t real, that it is or isn’t cured by medicine, that it’s lazy, that it’s a matter of “get over it”, that it is selfish, that it is an excuse .. that it’s this or that.

I am here to tell you my personal story, and only that. I know depression robs me of moments with my family and loved ones. It steals my joy. It takes the things that I hold dear and makes them undesirable. It takes the core of who I am and leaves me lost and lonely, even amongst people who desperately want to pull me out of it. I know depression is real, that I fight it daily, and that there is no one in this world that wants rid the sadness inside of me more than I do.

My husband and I made the move from Mississippi to Maryland to live closer to family and pursue our dream of being full-time missionaries. That is still our dream. Right now, my sweet husband is allowing me time to heal myself, before we move onto the next phrase of trying to help and heal others.

This season, as I am calling it, in my life is going to be about me. Of finally taking my health in my own hands, and doing what I need to do to heal. My 20’s have been plagued with these bumps and bruises of pains and hurts that I have gathered along the road of life. I’ve tried to heal them with time alone, hide them away and bury them, but they always come back, bigger and stronger.

Now, I have to face them.

I’m telling you this now, because that’s my job as Editor and Writer of this project. I am telling you this now because there are dark spots in our lives sometimes, and we don’t have to hide them, not from God, not from our loved ones, and not from anyone. I am telling you this so that you know, whatever you are dealing with, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel pain, to crumble sometimes, to not stand strong.

It’s okay to take time to heal.

I thank you all for your kindness, your thoughts and mostly, your prayers during this time,

Jenny

Photo Credit by Flickr Creative Commons Vinni123

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I Love You

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Our God,

You are so precious and lovely.  Power and might are yours, and yours alone.  To you belongs all glory and honor and praise!  Loving Father, thank You so much for the sweet soul that is reading these words.  Almighty Creator, thank You for creating them, knowing them to their innermost parts, knowing the exact number of the hairs on their head, planning for them every second that they are on this earth.  Gracious King, thank You for loving them so hard, so fully, that You did the most perfect, painful, pure, righteous thing to be in relationship with them!  Precious Savior,
THANK YOU for becoming fully man as You were fully God, living and dieing and raising again that we may know You!! Our words will never be enough to thank You.  Our words will never be enough.  God, this sweet soul that is reading these words, You know her.  You know him.  You know their heart, their mind, their spirit.  You know what time they woke up this morning, You know what struggles they are facing.   You know their past, their present, and their future.  You know how they can and will impact this world.  Oh Lord, I pray that they know You.
I pray that their name is in Your book, right now.  I pray that You would give them renewed peace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, joy, faithfulness today to follow You, trust You, and love You recklessly.  And God, pursue them.  Romance them. Touch and affect their lives today with your awesome power in a way they need and a way they can’t ignore!

Sweet soul, I love you.  I pray for you every day.  I want you to know that. I want you to know that every one of us prays for you.

And we are thankful for you.

And we can’t wait to know you!

Love,

Mary

Using the Platform for Hope…

I usually don’t get involved in these type of debates or politics.

I leave that up to the people

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Photo by: polsifter

that get paid to do it. I usually subscribe to the avenue that love and hope will fix the cracks in our world, that politicians lie, and that fighting over the little things when there is a world of people that don’t know the Truth about Jesus is a much bigger problem worth fighting for.

With that said though; This Chick-Fil-A debate is making me sick.

Support or not support gay marriage, when did we become so closed minded that we can’t except anyone opinion unless it matches our own? Where does that get us? What kind of intolerance are we starting with that mindset?

In fact, this very project is meant to show the beauty of five uniquely different woman with different viewpoints and opinions, but share one IMPORTANT truth, the Jesus is the Lord of our lives. We may disagree on other issues, but at the end of the day, that truth alone will bind us. I can’t imagine what this project would look like if we all read each others posts and argued or boycotted them. We would be missing the point completely. We would be wrapping ourselves in closed-mindless and lacking the ability to grow.

There are many things I used to strongly believe it, with conviction and passion.I would debate them and stand up for them, but after many discussions with people that loved me enough to challenge me, I saw the other side and it faded away. It’s called growing. And trust me when I say, it is hard to admit you were wrong.

The problem with this Chick-fil-a debate is that it is running of hate.

Sure, boycott them if you like, because that is your right. But, why the slander, the hate sprayed across the internet, the campaign to ‘take them down’ and ‘make them suffer’. Really?

All while the other side is using the Bible as a means of hate and judgement. If you want to use the Bible to sling hatred and judgement at others, you are missing it. Love is used 508 times in the Bible.No one will ever hear those beautiful 508 times, no one will ever be changed and feel the hope in those 508 times if you continue to only use anger and hate. We are not here on this earth to judge. We are here to love.

Are we really at the point in this fractured world where we need to boycott and slander everyone and everything that doesn’t match our own view points?

With that mind set, I guess as a Christian, I need to stop eating or shopping at places that are owned by people of a different religion. Or maybe I should ask my employer how they feel about pro-life vs. pro-choice before continuing my employment there. In fact, maybe I better boycott and cut out everything and anything that doesn’t match my own view on the world.

Do you see how once this ball gets rolling, it will be impossible to stop?

How will we ever learn? Where is tolerance? Love? Acceptance?

If you agree or disagree with what was said is NOT the issue. I am also not suggesting we abandon our opinions or stay mute on the things we feel strongly about. The issue is what we are doing with that opinion.

I can absolutely assure you that blasting them with hate won’t change ONE person’s opinion. Not one.

And isn’t that what we are trying to do? One side is trying to boycott and hate Chick-Fil-A into changing their stance. The other side is trying to change the other sides way of thinking but using the cross as a malice of hate. But no one is moving because everyone is on the defense, trying desperately to “win”. There are no winners in the game of hate.

You know what might change someone’s opinion? Love might. Befriending them might.  Using this debate as a platform for HOPE might.

What might happen if both sides put down their arsenal of hate and instead filled it with love and tolerance. I am not saying you have to agree with that other side, or even think they were justified. Just listen. Send your letters and explain your side. Use your own judgement and by all means, if you feel it’s right, make your own decision to stop eating there. Listen to the decisions. Form an opinion. Follow you heart. Just don’t hate.

Don’t just wait to stand against something, but figure out what you stand FOR.

Just a week ago, a man walked into a movie theater and killed and injured people who were just trying to have a good time and enjoy a movie. . Many were hurt. Damages were unimaginable. Pain is their hard reality.

And here we all are, fighting over the opinion of a CEO at a fast food restaurant.

We are missing it.

Ignorance and hate are becoming the backbone of our county and it literally hurts my heart.

Please, no matter what side you are on, put down your hate. Let’s stop this now, before we live in a world where the only people or places we associate with are ones that match our own narrow mindedness. Please see the beauty in uniqueness and difference in people. It is how God created us; different and beauty so what we may learn from each other.

Love people for who they are and don’t hate them for what they aren’t.

Jenny

Growing Up Broken


Growing up, I was a daydreamer. I would lay out in the grass, sun warming my skin and just dream.

I’d dream of a family that would sit at the table every night, laughing and sharing their thoughts and excitements, while passing around bowls of homemade potatoes and bread.

I’d dream of a mom that kissed away my fears, that engulfed me with love, and that would cuddle up next to me at night, reading me stories before tucking me into bed.

That’s not the mom I had.

The mom I had wasn’t addicted to drugs or suffering from a severe mental illness. She wasn’t a junkie and there no diagnosis that would help understand her.

She simply didn’t have the capacity to love me.

I was 8 when my mother came into my room and made me watch as she took each ceramic doll I had collected over the years and smashed them all against the wall, laughing as their angelic, plastered smiles shattered and fell into small piles onto the carpet.

I was 10 when she started locking me in my bedroom with a padlock and key, every night, leaving me terrified of fires or being forgotten or trapped.

I was 13 when she told me she loved my two younger brothers more. That I was a mistake, detailing all I had taken away from her, just from the unfortunate occurrence of my birth.

I was 17 when she cancelled me off of her insurance, as I laid in the emergency room, having serious heart arrhythmia from a bad combination of diet pills and years of bulimia.

And at 18, just a few days after my high school graduation, she kicked me out; taking just a week to convert my old bedroom into a personal at home gym.

I was broken. My heart ached and I encountered the most crippling depression I could ever imagine. I welcomed death, but lacked the courage to greet it personally.

I was lost, alone, and utterly defeated.

But luckily, God wasn’t done with me yet.

There were times over my life that I got very angry with God. I didn’t want to see Him or face Him. I turned my back to Him completely.

And when I did speak to Him, or even acknowledge Him, it wasn’t friendly..

Why didn’t I deserve a family?

Why didn’t I deserve love?

Why had I even been born?

or worse…

Why am I not good enough for her?

Why am I not good enough to be spared this pain?

and of course….

Why did this happen to me?

What did I do to deserve this?

The Why’s and constant longing for my mother set the tone for my late teens and early twenties. I became a shell of a person, desperate for love however I could get it. Lie, cheat or steal, I needed that emptiness filled.

But my God is so good, he snatched me back when I wasn’t even looking.

My heart began to turn towards mission trips and volunteering. I began to slowly let God back in, although at first it was a very slow and cautious relationship. The closer I got to Him, the more I let Him use me. And the more He used me, the more I felt a sense of purpose, a worth outside of being my mother’s daughter.

That’s not to say I didn’t still struggle. I still had anger and hate in my heart. And right below that ugliness was a deep depression that could consume me at any given moment. It was a hole of self-hatred that I could not fill.

I wanted a mom.

I needed a mom.

But every time I tried to reach out to her, she’d slam that door on me, leaving me more broken than before. ‘Not being good enough’ for your own mother’s love is something I just couldn’t move beyond.

Then, God came in for the save.

Just a few months ago, I was blow drying my hair when he spoke to me clearer and louder than I had every heard before.

“You would have nothing you have right now if not for her. This life wouldn’t be yours, if not for her.”

It literally knocked the wind out of me. What??! I should THANK her? Be happy at the brokenness that was my life for so many years? I just couldn’t accept that.

The answer came quick:

Yes.

And there it hit me and healed me almost instantly.

I idolized my mother. I would do anything she wanted and I followed her like a sad puppy, begging for love and attention. I was going to be a nurse, just like her, because she was…even though I can’t stand the sight of blood.

And the few times I went to youth group with friends, she called it “a cult” and mocked me.

God had bigger plans for me.

He was going to use me. He wanted me and needed me to carry His message to others. I was going to work in the midst of disasters to bring people His hope.

And for that to happen, we BOTH were going to have to deal with some heartache.

And here I am now, living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, 1,200miles away from the family that threw me away, doing just that.

There was nothing and no one that could heal that hurt but God.

I have no anger or resentment now. My sadness is gone. I’m no longer the fragile, little girl, praying through teary eyes that God would give me a mom that could love me.

Instead, I’m all God’s child, and there is more than enough love to fill me up.

I have learned that being a Christian doesn’t mean that we will live a life without pain, but that despite, or in some cases because of that hurt and pain, we WILL be used for the good of God.

Jenny