Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

My One Word for 2017

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We are now in 2017, I believe the Lord gave me the word Consecration to be my theme. My scripture verse is:

Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

Joshua 3:5 (ESV)

My word for 2016 was Advancement. It was a wild year and I did see much advancement not only in my life but in my ministry as well.As long as I kept my focus on Jesus and followed His leading I was advancing. Unfortunately everything came to a screeching halt when I began to operate in my own strength. It took me a while to get that revelation but when I realized what I had done, I repented. God is so good and He disciplines us for our good. The Lord spoke to me about consecration the first time back in 2013 but now He’s calling me to make it a lifestyle for 2017 and beyond.

Do you have a one word theme for 2017? Please share with me in the comments.

Happy New Year!!

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The Art of Brave Living

I am excited to announce that I am a co-author with 22 Christian women who share their brave stories in this beautiful new book called “The Art of Brave Living”. First of all I praise God for allowing me the opportunity as I have known for many years that I am a writer that would one day write books. My freshman year high school teacher Mrs. Bjorklund would chase me down in the cafeteria to encourage me to enter writing contests. I had no desire to be in any writing contests at that time of my life but I knew that English was my favorite subject and I enjoyed writing poetry.

Fast forward a few years and my goal in life was to become a print journalist. That goal was tossed aside when I was interviewed for a story in a newspaper and the journalist twisted my story. She apologized and told me the hard facts about print journalism. I knew that writing would somehow be a part of my life as I loved to read but unless I was going to write an underground newspaper I would not be going into print journalism. At that time I was working at a job where I created a monthly newsletter which I thoroughly enjoyed.

For approximately 10 years now I have felt a strong prompting to begin writing my story. I literally have tons of journals with enough material for several books but I was always afraid to take the steps to actually write the books. I also knew that there was much healing that needed to happen in my life before I could actually share anything anywhere. That healing began in 2009 and has been ongoing ever since. I was presented with the opportunity to join a group of women to share their stories about being brave. I knew it was time to take a step forward to being a published author. I thought this would be a great introduction into the world of books.

I have learned so much about birthing a book over the past 5 months. It’s a brave action to take for sure. I am especially thankful to Diane Cunningham for the opportunity to join her in her 7th book and my first as a co-author. I learned a lot about being brave from Diane several years ago when she had a Be Brave email challenge for 30 days. It was just one of the many people and tools that God would use to propel me to where I am today. I didn’t mention Diane in the story that is written in the book but I want to publicly acknowledge her in this blog post today. Visit her at http://dianecunningham.com/

If you are interested in an autographed copy of the hard cover book you can order here The Art of Brave Living Book

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Waging War on Domestic Violence

Today I just want to share a little of my heart with you all. I am not one who likes to ask for help…ever! However, there comes a time in all our lives when we must ask for help. So today I am asking for your help. Would you please click on the photo below and read my GoFundMe page? Would you share my GoFundMe page with your network? Would you prayerfully consider donating to this important ministry?

My heart is to assist individuals affected by domestic violence. Over the past year I have been working on developing a ministry team that will provide services and programs for those affected by domestic violence. We are in the final stages of preparation and will be launching all services publicly very soon. We give honor and glory to God for entrusting us with this important and much needed ministry. We cannot begin this work without your support.

Would you consider giving today? No amount is too small. If many people give just a few dollars it will add up very quickly. Would you trade your Starbucks coffee today and let your donation help someone in need?

Thank you all and may God bless each and every one of you.

Gofundme Fundraising Page

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Diary of an Abused Woman Part 4

The diary entry that follows is purely fictional. None of the situations expressed are linked to actual persons living or dead. Although some things may resemble actual events, the intent is not to relay a true diary but a fictional character that can express many different stories of women who have been abused. The intent is merely to bring awareness from the inside out since we mostly see abused women from the outside looking in.

Trigger warning – The content below contains wording which may be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month But for Me, It's also JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, NOV & DEC

Diary February 16, 2016

I have not updated my diary in a long time. Gosh I don’t even know where to begin. My life went into a major whirlwind at the end of October. I became highly suicidal and was hospitalized for a few weeks. Even though I was being treated for my suicide attempt, being at the hospital was actually nice. I mean I had three meals a day, people to talk to, a warm bed and it was a safe place. It was certainly much nicer than being in those crummy shelters. People just don’t understand that when you are homeless it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Sure there is bad and good people in every area of life but shouldn’t people be allowed to have a little dignity in whatever station of life they find themselves in?

I suppose I should be grateful. The last shelter I stayed at was an awful mess of a place. It was located in a run down old church building in the basement where they had rows of cots. The place stunk to high heaven but it was better than being out in the cold. I could never sleep at night so I would go up and talk to the volunteer who was there 3 nights and 4 days a week. She was a sweetheart, middle aged and very intelligent. I could tell she came from a wealthy family but something in her just oozed with compassion for homeless people. I talked to her for hours on the nights that she worked. I couldn’t believe that she was just a volunteer. Who does that? Who spends 56 hours a week with a bunch of homeless people? Cora did, that was her name. She was an angel. The night that I tried to commit suicide she actually accompanied me to the hospital. She sat in the emergency room until she found out that I was going to survive. When the nurses allowed her to come in and see me as they were waiting on the transport to come and move me to a room on the behavioral health unit she told me that she had been praying for me all night. I asked her why, she said she loved me and Jesus loved me. I knew she was an angel. She gave me her phone number and made me promise to call her every day to update her on how I was doing. I told her that I would and thanked her for caring.

The behavioral health unit was dark as I was transported up to my room. It was a private room and I was so happy to have a bed instead of a cot to sleep on. I wrapped myself up so tight in those blankets and fell quickly off to sleep. The next morning I met the team of “professionals” that were going to be helping me back to a place of healing. I wasn’t listening to a word they said to me, they sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher “wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha”. HAHA it’s funny now but I suppose I should have paid more attention at the time since they were trying to help. I think I was at the hospital for 10 days when Cora came to visit me. The staff allowed it because I had no family or anything and she was on all my paperwork since she was with the ambulance that brought me there. She gave me a big hug and it was a little awkward but nice. She told me that a woman had come to the shelter looking for me, an older woman with gray hair named Minnie. Tears immediately fell from my eyes as I remembered meeting Minnie. She was the woman at the church lunch who invited me to stay with her. But how did she find me? I was confused. Cora said she had looked for me at every shelter in town. Who does that?

I didn’t know what to think about knowing that Minnie had been looking for me. I mean I only stayed with her for one night. It wasn’t like we were best friends. I remembered that she too had been abused and she really got me. She didn’t get that look of terror in her eyes when I told her my story like most people. Cora revealed to me that she actually knew Minnie from her church. They worked on a women’s bake sale together once to raise funds for the youth group. She had no idea that I had even been to her church because apparently the day I went was the one Sunday she had to cover for another volunteer at the shelter. She told me that Minnie showed up at the shelter the day after I was admitted to the hospital and they had been praying for me ever since daily at noon. I had to ask Cora to leave, this was just too much for me to handle and I couldn’t see why anyone would care that much about little old me. It was too much emotion for me to handle. I yelled at her to just get out and leave me alone. I saw a tear roll down her eye as she looked back at me while walking out the door.

To be continued…

 

Where Does The Time Go? 1st Year Anniversary and a Contest

celebrateCan you believe it? I started this blog on October 1, 2014 and it is now over 1 year old by a of couple days! I cannot believe it! Where does the time go?

I have been so blessed by YOU. Know that I am here for YOU! When I write my blogs I am thinking and praying for you and asking the Lord to give me the topics that are relevant to you. I hope and pray that I have accomplished this.

I would love to get your input so to celebrate the past year I think it is time for a contest and giveaway! In order to gain an entry into this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment and let me know what topic you would like to see here. That’s all there is to it!

Each comment will receive 1 entry per day. You may enter once per day as many days as you have a topic to share.through October 31, 2015.

I will hold the drawing at 8pm CST on October 31st and the winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card via email. Remember, your comment or comments will only award you 1 entry per day. I want to make this fair for everyone. You may comment every day as long as you share a topic that you want to see here on this blog. I look forward to hearing from YOU! God bless you!

Official start time Midnight October 3, 2015. Drawing to be held on October 31, 2015 at 6PM. No purchase necessary.

contest btmc

Let’s Talk About Love

When was the last time you were jealous of yourself?

When was the last time you compared yourself to yourself?

When was the last time you coveted something you had?

Sounds silly right?

So why do we do it to others when Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself? Hmm never thought about that did you?

In the book of Matthew chapter 22 a lawyer tried to test Jesus and asked him what was the greatest commandment. Let’s read Jesus response:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭37-40‬ ESV)

The second great commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

What is love? Well we know that God is love but what does that mean for us who are human. The Apostle Paul describes love for us:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭4-7‬ ESV)

Whoa! Those 3 little verses are convicting aren’t they?

Let’s break them down, shall we.


Love is patient and kind.

So I am thinking that makes me unloving and unkind when I’m behind the woman at the grocery store with 8000 coupons and asking for a price check on 3 items and I only want to buy 1 thing so I’m grumbling and getting angry.


Love does not envy or boast.

So that covers both ends of the same issue really. Don’t get upset because you can’t have what someone else has and don’t be flaunting what you have.


It is not arrogant or rude.

So I’m thinking road rage is not a good thing to have.


It does not insist on its own way.

What? But I’m an American! You know the saying “Have it your way”. Yeah, I’m thinking that only works at Burger King.


It is not irritable or resentful.

But that person just talked down to me and made me upset! Umm, no! Somehow the sermon on the mount comes to mind. That’s Matthew chapter 5, you should read that today.


It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭23‬ ESV) let’s not be fools, amen?
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (‭Psalm‬ ‭51‬:‭6‬ ESV)
God delights in truth so we should too. Also did you know that Jesus said that He is truth? He did! Let’s read: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (‭John‬ ‭14‬:‭6‬ ESV)


Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Yes that is a tall order! But it is possible when we have God in our life and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ ESV) If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (‭John‬ ‭14‬:‭7‬ ESV)

That’s a lot to chew on today isn’t it. But it’s something I believe we need to get into our spirits. If we are to be the light of the world we will only reveal that light through love. I’m not there yet? Are you?

To be continued.

  

Am I Ready for the Next Level of Healing?

I blink fast to try to clear the blur from the water leaking from my eyes as I contemplate my surroundings. The hustle and bustle around me with voices ranging from joyous laughter to angry banter cause me to reflect on times past. Days of confusion and fear fill my memory of holidays oh so long ago. The aroma of alcohol and drugs are so strongly embedded in my mind that I gag shaking my head to try to dispel the scent. “Mommy, mommy look Santa came!” Yes, Santa only came because the lady at Head Start loved my family and looked out for us when we had nothing. “Mommy why is your eye red?” “It’s okay baby, go play with your new toy from Santa.” Sadly my 6 year old knew why my eye was red but what do you say to a question like that. The smiles of that day were plastic trying to shield the void in my soul and the fear that plagued every waking moment. Under my feet the crunching sound of eggshells filled my ears yet no one could know, no one could see, no one could help.

“Ma’am? May I help you?” The vision center worker broke through my thoughts bringing me back to today. “Yes, yes I’m here to order glasses.”

Driving home from the vision center, my mind reaches back once again to the days of old. Glimpses of my past have been entering my thoughts lately. I know it’s time for yet another process of healing to unfold for me. As soon as I think there is nothing more to work on in my life, God puts His finger on something and says “What about this?” My response tends to be “Let’s put that under the rug and leave it alone” but God says “No”. He always wins, after all, He is God and I am not, He knows best and His timing is perfect. Am I ready for the next level of healing? I hear Him whisper “Yes, my daughter” So with a heavy sigh I say “Yes Lord, let the next level of healing begin.”

What is the Lord putting His finger on in your life? Will you say Yes and let the healing begin?

Christmas Anticipation and Expectation

The following is a testimony from my friend Sara Weber who has graciously agreed to allow me to share her beautiful words. Her testimony moved me greatly and I hope it will move you too.

Enjoy!


For many years now, and I do mean many, I’ve struggled with Christmas.  I’ve longed for the anticipation, excitement and wonder that filled me as a child at this wonderful time of year. Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies Christmas was a big deal…It started the day after Thanksgiving and lasted till after New Year’s.  That’s how my mom did it.  She made Christmas special!  There were Christmas cookies, dozens of them, lights, decorations, music, presents, and of course Santa, everything a child dreams of all year long, but during and in the midst of all this was the underlying knowledge and hope that this wasn’t it.  There was much more to Christmas.  Something that would or should last the whole year long.

As I grew up, I did my best to carry that “tradition” to my own family of children, and I hope I did.  But as the year flew by and my children grew up and were married with families of their own, Christmas was lost to me.  Anticipation and expectation were gone.  Sure Thanksgiving came and decorations went up, cookies were baked, but by mid December I was DONE!!!  Let’s just get this over with!  I was sick to death of hearing Christmas caroles on the radio, well maybe there were a few that still could muster a fond memory or two, but Elvis’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” made me want to  vomit up those Christmas cookies.

After my Mom died 6 years ago it got worse.  I didn’t even want to put up the decorations,  if it weren’t for my Emma, I probably wouldn’t have.  The Christmas Eve my Mom went home to be with Jesus, was the year Bob, Emma and I were in an accident on Interstate 39, going home to be with my sister and brothers for our first Christmas without Mom.  Here is where my journey begins.

As I lay in the hospital that night, with Nancy my daughter, sleeping in the chair next to my bed, I pleaded with God for the wonder and anticipation I felt when I was a child.  That night I had what I think was my very first prophetic dream.  I was seeing the accident, as if I were a spectator.  I saw that very large, very red Mac semi coming right at us and hitting the side of the SUV, the side I happened to be on.  As I watched, 3 angels appeared,  not the glowing  pretty white ones we see on top of our Christmas trees, but three huge strong warrior angels, they were holding back that Mac truck.  The truck did hit the car with a great force, enough to pin my legs to the point of needing to be cut out of the vehicle, but I know that if it were not for those angels I and probably Bob and Emma as well would have surely been celebrating Christmas in heaven with my Mom that year. I always wondered, why three angels?  Later I came to understand that those were our guardian angels. They weren’t just there for me, but for all of us.

Through the course of the next several months, God revealed to me that we, Bob, Emma and myself still had things God needed us to do.  I thought to myself, but You can use anyone, why me?  Jesus lovingly told me that yes indeed He could use anyone, and that He didn’t need me, but He WANTED me.  Even after all this, I still struggled with Christmas!  I must be one of those remedial learners, God has to say, OK, let’s try this again.

So fast forward to this year.  Several months ago I started asking God to circumcise my heart.  To cut out the iniquity in me, the sin nature, to make me Holy even as He is Holy.  He revealed to me that my heart was hard, with many layers, much like a quarry, and He was going to have to dig through them one by one to reveal to me the hurts, forgiveness, and bitterness I had pushed down and paved over time after time for countless years.  I needed to look at them and release them to Him the one who could release me from the bondages they held me in. He told me, “This will be uncomfortable and painful at times, but if you REALLY want what you are asking for it must be done”.  So I pressed forward and gave up the ground I had been holding on to and protecting all of these years.  Heavy equipment was involved and the excavation process had begun.

As He dug down deeper and deeper this Christmas issue came to the surface AGAIN!  He asked me gently, “What is it that you want to do with this?”  My reply was the same.  I want the wonder of Expectation and Anticipation I had when I was a child. He again gently said “And what does that look like to you?”  I said it looked like downtown La Salle, all decorated with red and green lighted  lamp posts,  the lighted garlands that were strung across the streets,  the shops decorated with  tinsel Christmas trees, and snow! Yes, there had to be snow!  He smiled at me and began to dig again.  He quietly asked me, “Is that REALLY what you want? or do you want MY wonder, expectation and anticipation?”  I reluctantly said “I want what You have for me.”  As I laid down MY desires for His, He showed me as He spoke to me.  ” What you desire does not come from these memories, they are wonderful memories and I don’t want you to forget them, they are part of you. What you really want is the Wonder the shepherds had on the night I gave Myself to be born a human.  Those shepherds, had lost hope too.  The Father had been silent for four hundred years!  Anticipation and expectation was reserved for the most devotedly faithful. They still had a glimmer of hope in the prophetic words of long ago.  But then angels of light broke through the darkest of night and sang a song of HOPE!  Fear not, the Messiah has been born!  GO, see for yourselves.  Worship the new born King!  The king they believed would rescue them from their immediate bondage.

Yes Lord, I know that, but…………Not saying a word, He smiled at me and went back to digging.  As I stood there puzzled I saw it, there in the distance, beyond the manger.  Ultimate love, hope, anticipation!   Stretched out on a cross!  MY Jesus, beaten, bleeding and dying, FOR ME!

As I fell to my knees, He left his digging and came to me.  “You see Sara,  I wanted you to have My very best,  but I couldn’t as long as  you were holding on to your own ideas.  We needed to dig through these layers so you could “see” with your heart what your Mom taught you in your mind.  Before tinsel Christmas trees, before snow,  before the manger, before the first star twinkled in the night sky, before there was light at all, the decision had been made. The Father and I planned it all!  I was to be the HOPE, the ANTICIPATION and the EXPECTATION for you and all mankind.  It is My gift to you, you can’t buy it or deserve it in anyway, You just have to accept it!”

So here I am this Christmas, knowing Jesus has many more layers to dig through to make me Holy as He is holy, but with a new Hope, a new Expectation, and a new  Anticipation.  Now that I’ve seen it I can’t stop seeing it!

As I look back over the last year and remember the messages that have been delivered from this pulpit,  God has prepared my heart to for this moment.  This Christmas holds new meaning for me and I pray that all of us can see beyond the manger to the cross and the hopeful, anticipation of celebrating Christmas with Jesus for all eternity.

Merry Christmas!

LET’S TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION

Depression is not a one size fits all topic. It looks different for everyone but people who have struggled with depression can find common ground in many of their experiences. Today I invite you to take a peek at a time when I was very depressed and what I did to begin to turn my situation around. The following is from my own personal journal:

“I am so discouraged today. I feel like my life is going down the toilet. God seems very distant and I feel like I have been dropped into a ditch somewhere and left to rot. Who am I to think that I should get special treatment from anyone or think that anyone should care or want to sympathize with the fact that I am struggling today? I am at the end of my proverbial rope and I cannot see any hands this time reaching to pull me out. I don’t know what to do, what to think, what to feel, how to respond. I just know that I am a walking zombie right now. I am going through the motions of life only because I am familiar with the day-to-day schedule. Everything I do is only achieved because I have been doing it for so long that it is a habit. I get up, I go to work, I go home, I make sure all my family is home at the appointed times, I cry, I sleep and I wake up to do it all over again.

I don’t know. I just feel like my guts have been ripped out of my body and strewn all over the place and I can’t put it all back together. I feel hopeless and miserable. The only place I feel like I have any control is at work. Why is that? How can I possibly keep my head on at work and then lose it on the way home. Hello! Can someone hear me? Can anyone hear my pain? Can anyone help me? I doubt it sincerely. The only hope I have is God. And He is even distant right now. Or at least that’s how I feel. But it could be my fault too because maybe I’m not listening for Him as closely as I should and maybe I can’t be still long enough to know that He is still in control even though I can’t feel His presence.

My mind just races with all these thoughts and I can’t make them stop. Maybe that is why I can’t hear the voice of God when He speaks. But how do I stop the voice in my head. I mean it’s me, it’s my thoughts, it’s my concerns, it’s my pain, my memories, my logic trying to make sense of it all. It’s me and how do I stop me? How can I flip the switch on my thought processes to make them work differently? I can be talking about one thing and thinking about a totally different thing. It’s ridiculous. Then of course when I talk about anything in my life, here comes the flood of tears. Who wants to hear me talk? Who cares that I cry all the time? No one cares. I used to have friends, not many but a few that I could actually call friends but they have all disappeared. Why is everyone so afraid to ask me what is wrong? Why is it that I can ask someone about their problems but no one can ask me? Why is it that when someone tells you they want to be there for you, they disappear when you really need them? Why say that at all? Why can’t I be like some other people and just not care? Why do I have to care about every single thing and person in my life? Cause of course no one cares about me or thinks about me. No one wants to really ask me, How are you? And actually expects a truthful answer.

I know I am rambling today and I don’t know why. I guess I just feel that maybe if I put this out there in print that I will be able to overcome the pain I feel every day. I am so out of sorts. I am so disorganized and there are so many things I have to take care of so that I can actually maintain.”

During this time of my life I was very much isolated and when I say isolated I mean I lived in what I call “a turtle shell” I poked my head out just long enough to take care of my responsibilities but I refused to allow anyone inside my little shell world because it was not pretty at all.  I didn’t allow anyone to get close enough to me to know that I was struggling. I knew how to go through the motions of daily life but inside I was dying. Since I have always kept a journal and I really truly loved to help other people, there came a day that I decided that I needed to be by own advocate and so I began a series of letters to myself as though I were a friend. I had read in 1 Samuel 30:6 how David encouraged himself in the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:6 King James Version (KJV)
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (emphasis mine)

David was a man who knew about depression. Have you read any of his Psalms lately? Have you read about all the things that he went through before and after becoming king? When you are done reading my blog today I suggest that you go read about David, you can start in 1 Samuel.

Now, after I read that verse and heard some teaching on the verse as well I decided that I needed to try something new to encourage myself in the Lord. I began to write letters to myself instead of just writing in my journal. You might think that is weird but hey we all do weird things sometimes. I will share just a little bit of the first letter I wrote to myself.

“Girlfriend you have been carrying around way too much baggage and garbage and it is time to get rid of it all. I know that you have been through so much that has bruised, scarred and maimed you but how long are you going to let those things define who you are? When are you going to bust through that shell once and for all time and start letting people see you for who God made you to be and allow them to love you and be there for you and be your friend. Look around you dear one, what do you see? Do you see emptiness and sand like you once did? Do you see someone trying to destroy your self-worth and your very character and personality just for their own gain? Do you see egg shells? Do you see darkness? What do you see? You might not be able to answer that question right now but here is what you should see…A single road, a step, a path and it is leading to one place…it’s leading to Jesus Christ and the Light that you should see is your Heavenly Father showing you the way….”

I will end there as the last sentence was the key for me, this paragraph was the beginning of me learning how to encourage myself in the Lord. It was the beginning of me learning how to firmly fix my gaze on Jesus Christ and truly allow Him to begin healing me from the inside out.

 

Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

To be continued…

I DON’T WANT TO BE DEPRESSED THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

Depression

I can’t remember not being depressed on one or more holidays in the past 20 years or more. It seemed every time I tried to shake those awful feelings of despair, loneliness and sorrow it would just overtake me. One Christmas my brother called me Scrooge McDuck, that was back in 2009. It was one of the first times since my brother had grown up that we were spending Christmas together and we both were acting like Scrooge McDuck! Thanksgiving was another holiday that always caught me in the grip of depression. No matter whether I providing a meal for my family or spending it with another family that graciously invited me to spend the holiday with them, I was miserable. Yes I smiled and tried to hide my pain but the reality of it all was ~ depression was my best friend.

Depression has been a constant in my life from a very young age. My mother also suffered from depression and for all I know it could have been passed down to me from her.  However, I am sure that the source of my depression was from the deep, hidden wounds that began to build a cement wall around my heart from a young age. It was my way of protecting myself from others or so I thought. It drove me to a place of deep isolation where I was hidden in plain site and yet I was deeply lonely and desperate to reach out to those around me who appeared to be safe yet I couldn’t trust, no one could be trusted in my mind.

On Thursday November 27th, Thanksgiving 2014, somewhere around 4pm it hit me that I was not feeling depressed at all! I was actually quite happy and content. I cooked myself a nice meal of spaghetti, collard greens, corn bread, candied yams and pecan pie. My son was home with me part of the day but we really weren’t interacting much and I was very content with that as well. I started to think about all of the holidays that I’ve spent being sad and depressed. I began to pray about why all these years I ended up in that miry pit of depression. My mindset used to be “today is just another day when everyone else has something to do besides me”. Unfortunately that is what I passed down to my children because we didn’t make our own traditions for the holidays. I didn’t know how to make new traditions with my family because I was so locked inside my own misery. I remember trying to make things different but it would never turn out as planned and at the end of the day I would beat myself up because I had failed again.

I spend some time really pondering this whole dilemma and I think I may have discovered the problem – memories have power! I have some really bad memories from different holidays that I revert to when the holidays approach. I don’t think I was doing it consciously because I could never figure out why I kept falling back into the same pit time after time, year after year. Quite frankly the time from mid-October until the first week of January was usually the time I spent in full blown depression. My doctor called it seasonal depression and put me on medication. Maybe he was right but I think the reality of the depression was more about me re-living the bad memories from my past. One would think that after being away from abuse and living in a safe environment that it would move me to want to create new fun memories with my family. Not me, nope, I succumbed to the feelings and the memories instead.

This year will be different. This year I refuse to allow myself to go back to that pit of seasonal depression that has ruined almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas that I can remember. No way, this year I am going to rejoice in the freedom that I have because my Lord Jesus Christ has picked me up from the miry clay and set my feet on SOLID ground. No more living on shifting sand! No more crying over things I cannot have or control! No more phony smiles hiding my tears! NO MORE! NO MORE!

I praise God Almighty today for the freedom I have found in Christ Jesus! I know that I have had a horrific past that I lived through and there were many ruined Holidays but I don’t have to re-live those memories every single year! I will press forward and renew my mind through the reading of the Word of God, the Bible, every day! I will pray and sing praises to Jesus for all He has done for me and YOU! I will find ways to be there for people who are still struggling with the pit of depression and I pray God will use me to speak joy and peace and love into their lives. I will walk boldly with my head held high knowing I have peace within because of the Holy Spirit that resides in me. No more depressed Holidays for me. Thanksgiving 2014 was just the beginning!

Philippians 3:13-14

 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

How may I pray for you today? Please go to my prayer page and send me a request. God bless you and thank you for reading my blog!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”