Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Depression Part Four: As if My Life Depends on It

It all started with this post, where I outed myself as being in the middle of a bout with depression.Then this post was the follow-up, explaining what depression looks like specifically in my life (although it's different for everyone). Then, last week, something was stirring in me. Something good. That's where this one came in to play.

Now, here I am, facing the possibility of moving to a country in Asia. Without a support system. Without a church community. Knowing a few people that live there, but no close ties to anyone.

And yet, here I am. Scrambling, clawing, fighting my way to try to navigate through this season of depression. Wondering, "How am I going to cut it over there? Am I going to make it?"

And all I know is what God has said to me.

You need to be working through this depression, pressing in, and walking out joy as if your life depends on it.

As if my life depends on it.

I need to be checking my heart, keeping those things which can be destructive at an arms length. To protect my heart.

I need to be searching for truth, finding practical ways that I can walk out the joy of my salvation. To stay upright in my walk.

I need to be praying and seeking God's heart in all of this. To ensure my heart is safely wrapped in His.

As if my life depends on it.

Because it will. And it does now.

My life depends on it.

My life depends on the Lord. He is the air I breathe. He is the beat of my heart. He is the strength of my life.

And if I am going to go into a place that is spiritually darker than it is where I currently am, with nothing but my cat, I have to be doing these things already. South Korea isn't going to make me so desperate that I cling to Him. It's going to make me question and wonder and possible stray.

The desperation that will motivate me to sprint towards the Lord and superglue my sad and broken heart to His needs to come from knowing Him. It needs to come from seeing His power and might and strength and knowing that in an instant, I could be plucked from the earth. That the only thing that keeps me from being flung into outerspace is the gravity that God created. That the only reason I am alive is because He has a purpose for me.

And so, I step towards Him. I take a stand against depression. I reach towards my Creator.

Because my life does, in fact, depend on it.

Psalm 73:21-26 "When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jonah the Fly

When I need a jolt of caffeine in the morning, I usually grab a soda from McDonalds. This morning, a tiny visitor ruined the relationship I was having with my drink.

I had sucked-down half of it and left it on the table for an hour or two. When I came back, I took a sip and found that there was something solid in my mouth. I thought for a second that maybe I had not swallowed all of my lunch and that's what it was.

Then, I realized I hadn't eaten lunch yet.

Then I panicked.

Then I spat out the invader.

It was a dead fly.

After gagging, I felt sorry for the guy that may have drowned in my drink. Sad little ending to a sad little life. Then I gagged again when I remembered that it was in.... my..... MOUTH! I counted all his legs and wings to make sure nothing was left behind and threw him in the trash.

Fast forward an hour.

I threw away a tissue in the trash and saw movement. I looked closer and realized that it was my friend enemy.




I almost killed him and then it occurred to me what he had just been through.


Being lightly chewed.

Face to face with me.

Squished in a Kleenex.

And then I decided that Jonah (I guess that makes me a whale??) had earned his life.

He lives on.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dirty Junk Yards and Saving Money

I need new tires. Like, yesterday. Don't tell my mom (because she'll worry), but wire is showing through on one of the tires. And another one is dry-rotted and almost bald. And I found out today that one (yes, just one) of my tires is a completely different size that the other three. So, I don't just need one new tire, like I originally thought when I saw the wire. I need an entire set.

Insert my personal panic about money and how much I have (and don't have). I have been trusting God all along, every step of the way. And, I will continue to trust Him in this. God cares for me, and is for me.

This morning, I went to a junk yard with a friend to pick through the tires that they had there. If you know anything about junk yards (which I didn't at the time), you can probably pay a small fee (in this case, it was $2) and pick through any cars for parts you may need. Buying new SUV tires would probably be around $80 each, and $300 for the set, so I was eager to save any money I could by getting something decent instead of new.

This is the pile 'o tires.
So, in the late morning Virginia heat, we pick through these tires.

And these tires.

Looking for a specific size tire. Do you know the size of your tires? Did you even know that they don't come in Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large and Oh-My-That's-A-Huge-Tire? I had an idea that I needed to know numbers, but I didn't know that there were so many different sizes.

225-70-15. That's mine.

And we sifted, and sifted, and sorted and stacked. Until I found this. One. Tire.

This sad little guy appeared after looking for about 45 minutes.
I got so excited that I think I may have made a noise. But, then got sad again when I saw that it was bald. It was only half a step up from the wire-showing tire that is currently on my Jeep.

But we decided to leave it. Which, I am pretty happy we did.

We ventured in the back of the junk yard, back where all the picked-apart vehicles sit, waiting to be of use to someone. There were soooo many sad Jeeps. And sadly, some of them were actually better looking than mine- they just weren't really functional anymore.

When we went in the back, we found two little prizes!

A brand-new, never-used temporary tire ($12) and a very good-looking 225-70-15 just waiting for me :) ($15). Tomorrow I will be shopping around for a tire place that will switch my rim, balance the tire and all that jazz. Hoping to spend $10-$15 on that.

Total cost for the day was $27, plus tax. Total for the regular tire is $30ish. Very far from the $80ish for a new one!

Still on the shopping list:
-2 more tires (to replace the odd-sized one and the dry-rotted one)

Projected Cost:
-$60(before tax)

Determined to Save Money on a Low Budget

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Depression Part Three: A Glimmer of Hope

When I first wrote about being depressed, I never thought it would turn into a series. I was just trying to be real about what was going on with me. I also didn't expect it to last as long as it has. But, here I am on post three, baring a little bit more of myself to you, pressing in to the Lord, and praying that until I am healed of this that I can at least be effective for The Kingdom in the middle of it.

It all started with this post, where I outed myself as being in the middle of a bout with depression.Then this post was the follow-up, explaining what depression looks like specifically in my life (although it's different for everyone).

Where am I right now? Better, but not there yet.

I was doing my daily Pinterest viewing when I came across this post from The Redheaded Hostess. I am nothing else if not the creative, artistic type. It's just how my brain works. It is hard for me to just read words. I need pictures, color, and graphics. I need things categorized and itemized. And I need to walk through doing all this myself so that my brain will absorb it all. That's just how I roll.

So, in light of my recent battle with depression, I decided that focusing on one topic would be beneficial to my spiritual growth. After praying about it, I felt like "JOY" would be an appropriate topic.

So, I made a new journal, blank pages and all and dove in.

After just two days on this topic, God has already been so faithful.


One of the things He has shown me is that I do not have to feel joy in order to rejoice. There is a big difference between the two.

I was at the doctor a few years ago. It was winter, and my asthma was making me miserable. I thought that I had bronchitis, but my asthma was the source of all my issues. I went to the doctor for a diagnosis, and for some tips on getting better (and hopefully a note to be off work for a few days to recover). What he told me was that I needed another inhaler. I only used that one in dire circumstances, and surely didn't want another one. So I told my doctor, "I don't want more medicine. Can't you just make me better without the medicine?" "That's not how it works," he said, "You have to use this inhaler twice a day, and that will help. If you don't use it, you won't get better." "What about a way to get better without the medicine? What homeopathic remedy is there? I don't want to take medicine. I just want to get better." "Lindsay, I am telling you how to get better. You are not hearing. Listen to your breathing and coughing. You are miserable. I am trying to help you. I can't just make you better. You have to take the medicine."

Have you ever had a conversation like that? Where someone is telling you what to do to help you, but you think you can't do what they're saying because they haven't helped you yet? Is it just me? Maybe I'm the only one that avoids medicine like the plague, but I'm sure everyone at some point in time has been in a similar situation.

Here's the conversation I've been having with God recently about JOY:

Me: "God, give me joy."
God: "Okay, then rejoice. Walk out joy."
Me: "But, I can't rejoice if I don't have joy. I want joy!"
God: "Listen to me... I am telling you how!"

In the Old Testament, one of the Hebrew words for JOY is "teruwah." This word is the equivalent of a battle or war cry. Not a celebration, but a shout as you are going into battle.

What God is telling me to do right now is to rejoice, and as I rejoice with my teruwah, He will give me joy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Old Sunburn, Awkward Situation and Nervous Habits

Disclaimer: This post is kind of gross. Well, I think it's kind of gross. But, it's funny too. Just wanted to warn you in case you get all squeamish and icked-out easily. If that's the case, just skip this one and read the next post :)

I get nervous sometimes when I'm around new people. And when I'm nervous, I do weird things. Like scratch my legs or arms or hands, even though they don't itch. Or sometimes, I will play with the hem on my clothes. Or pick at my cuticles. That last one can sometimes mean that all of a sudden I'm nervous and have blood-covered fingers.


So, this past weekend, there was a whole lotta nervous.

I went with a friend to Chattanooga, TN to visit her family. She told me it would probably be a little awkward because..... well.... that's just how families are sometimes. My reply was, "Well, no worries about that. I will probably just make it more awkward."

So, we were sitting there talking with her grandma and mother and I kept getting more and more nervous. Nothing crazy was going on, I just wasn't sure what to say, if anything, and the thoughts in my head resembled this:

"What if she asks me a question? I haven't been listening that closely!"
"I have to go to the bathroom, but I don't want to interrupt her story!"
"That's what SHE said! Wait... did I just say that out LOUD?!?!?"
"Oh, crap!! My clothes don't even match each other! They do think I'm weird!"

It wasn't that I really cared what they thought of me. It was more like I want to interact with people on a level that it deemed socially acceptable (That does NOT include saying "That's what she said." Ever.)

The more I thought, the more nervous I got.

The more nervous I got, the more I scratched.

My newly-sunburned-now-starting-to-peel legs.

So, here's the gross part.... in the middle of my friend's grandmother's story about civil rights and racism, I realized that I was scratching loose my skin. It looked fine before, but at that point, it looked all freaky. So, naturally, I set out to discreetly (as discreet as one can be) pick the skin off to keep my bare legs from looking sick and nasty.

But after doing that for a few minutes, I realized I didn't have anywhere to put the skin.... so, I just hid it in a wrinkle of my skirt and thought that no one would know.

I'm not sure if they knew at the time, but I felt so successful in my ninja-skin-peeling that I confessed to my friend and her mom. I'm not sure if they were grossed-out or amused. I was embarrassed for a few minutes and then got over it. I mean, I warned her that I would probably make things more awkward, right? Haha!

Thankfully, her family looked past my odd-looking legs (have you ever seen half-peeling/half-fresh skin? It's icky!) and we seemed to have a good weekend.

To avoid a repeat in the future, I may just wear pants.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Combine or Compartmentalize....?

I have had this blog for a while now.... like since December of 2009. Math will tell you that it's about 3 1/2 years.

I started this blog to document my journey with God: what He's teaching me, my struggles and hurts, lows and highs, everything in my spiritual life. It has helped me process through a lot, and as I've been able to read about things that I am dealing with or have overcome, I have been encouraged by work God has done, knowing that He's not done with me yet. It encourages me to keep pushing through and pressing in.

When I followed God's leading back to VA 7 months ago, I decided that I wanted a separate blog. One to document where God was taking me, and all of the good, the bad, the amazing, the exciting, the scary moments that come with chasing after His will. It's kind of a way to have a timeline and document everything. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then, when I started my journey towards weight-loss, conquering my food issues and training for the VA Ten Miler, I started another blog. That too seemed like a good thing at the time.

Where I'm getting at, besides the fact that I write a lot, is that I'm confusing myself. If I'm sensing God telling me something about my food issues, but it also affects my spiritual life... does that go on this blog or this blog? If more clarity is obtained as to which direction God is going to be taking me in the future, would that go on this blog or this blog?

I'm complicated I make things complicated.


Well, I've realized that I can try to compartmentalize areas of my life all I want, but whether I like it or not, God and His love bleeds into every area of my life. So, there really is no point in me keeping one blog separate from the others. So, for the next few weeks, I am going to be working on pulling the posts from my other blogs, shutting them down and keeping it real on here.

Because, keeping it real is what I'm about.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here's the Other Thing About Depression

Three weeks ago, I wrote a very honest, revealing post about depression. I felt like it was important to continue in the honesty, as depression is very much part of my life these days.

A few important things to know:

1. Depression is not the same as suicidal. Just because you're depressed, it doesn't mean that you don't want to live anymore. Depression can sometimes be equated with hopelessness, which is this icky feeling that whatever is happening isn't going to get better. It can be circumstances, or can be brought on by a trigger. If you're asking what a "trigger" is, see #3.

2. Depression doesn't look the same for everyone. Depression in my life looks like a tape of thoughts running through my head. It's not as simple as people said mean things to me and now I'm sad. Maybe that's where it started, but that is certainly not the cause. So, if you're reading this and you were once mean to me, you're off the hook ;) It's more like, "This isn't going to get better." "You're always going to be _______." "You're never going to achieve _________." "You suck at adulthood." "You should have your crap together by now." Kinda like that. And then those thoughts take over and I don't want to do anything, or see anyone, because what's the point? For other people, it can look different.

2. Depression is not there all the time. As I said in #1, depression can be brought on by circumstances (death of a loved one, injury, loss of a job, moving, relationship conflict, divorce, etc) or a trigger. A trigger is something that can be big or small that kinda sneaks up on you and helps your brain think icky, unhelpful thoughts. An example of this is in the post I referred to in the beginning. I came home and my cat had knocked my curtain down, again. I knew that even if I secured it to the wall again, it was probable that he would knock it down again. And again.

Sharing those things is important information, because not everyone has dealt with long-term depression. So, if you read the other depression post, and had no idea what I was talking about and was thinking judgy thoughts like, "Gosh! Just go hang the curtain and clean the cat's litter box you lazy bum!", now you know. This is like a legit thing.

I may be a lot of things, including lazy sometimes, but I don't want to have a messy room, or laundry to not be done, or bed to never be made, or a yucky looking Jeep. It's just that there's this battle that goes on inside my head. And I'm just now figuring out that such a battle even takes place. I used to just think that I liked chaos and mess and I was "artistic." Now, I'm recognizing that I can keep up with certain things, but others seem hopeless and unmanageable.

So, what now? Have I just been in this depression-funk for weeks? Yeah, kinda. It's gotten kinda pretty really bad at times. But, I'm surviving. I shower and brush my teeth and laugh and tell jokes and still do my nannying-a-one-year-old thing. I do those things because I need to. If I don't shower and brush my teeth, people will probably start not inviting me places, and that will suck because on top of being depressed, then I will be lonely too. I go to work because I care about the little girl and her parents, and me not showing up affects more than just me. I laugh and tell jokes because.... well.... I can't not. I try. I'm 95% joke, so the crazy thing is that in the middle of my depression, I'm still telling jokes and trying to make people laugh. Being hilarious is a burden sometimes.

One thing I have been doing, other than crying and wiping my snotty nose a lot, is praying. Like, a lot. Like, as if my life depended on it. Because, sometimes, it does. And I hear God talking. He hears me. He really does. And, because of recent devastations, I know that in the middle of crappy things, God is still who He has always been: Good. Yes, I said it. I'm depressed and feel like nothing could ever get better, but in the middle of it, I can assuredly proclaim that God is just as good as He has always been.

How do I know this?

Psalm 25:8 "Good and upright is the Lord therefore he instructs sinners in his ways."

God is good. This verse doesn't say, "God is good and perfect when things are going well, but when the going get's tough it's all God's fault....and He never liked you anyways..."

God is good when your house burns down and you have another acne break-out and your car get's stolen and someone is murdered and you are raped. God is good through all that. He never changes, never fails. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is God. He is the bees knees. He is everything. 

The honest truth is that life is sucky. Like sometimes makes you want to jump off a cliff or move across the world to escape your problems or punch someone in the throat for hurting you. But, God is still God. 

Read Job if you doubt me. God didn't do all that stuff to Job. Yeah, He allowed it, but He had purpose in it. I mean, look at the faith of Job! And how many people are encouraged by reading that story? If you finish it and don't stop when he loses everything... then, so many people are encouraged by it! 

What we go through sometimes has absolutely nothing to do with us. Sometimes it's about the person we can help later. We can hold their hand and tell them..."It feel like the worst thing ever... and it is... but you will get through this. Take my hand and let's walk through it."

God didn't give me depression. But, He allowed it. And I feel like in the middle of this crappiness, He's asking/telling/urging me to press into it. To navigate this sad, sorry sea of stuff with Him. To figure out how to do life anyways. Because, medicine may be able to help me perk up, but they're not going to make me stronger. They're not going to teach me how to help someone. They're not going to draw me closer to holiness.

If you're reading this and you're depressed, stop and ask Him what His purpose in it is. Because there is one. 

Depressed and Unmedicated... but doing it with Jesus

What is your experience with depression? Have you ever had it? Have you watched someone walk through it? What are some practical things people can do to push through it? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Because Giving Up Isn't an Option...

I am officially 2 pounds away from a milestone goal.

In two pounds, I will be 20 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of this journey. I'd like to say that every day I wake up and feel different. But, I don't.

But, every other day, when I weigh myself, and I see the ounces dropping, I consider them small victories. Before you say, "You should only weigh yourself once a week," understand that I used to weigh myself everyday, multiple times a day. This is a big step to not let a scale and the numbers it shows rule my life.

Instead, I have been shifting my focus. I realized that for years, I have been committing idolatry. I made my world revolve around a relationship that I was in. Then, my life was all about alcohol. Then, it was food.

God has been showing me that I don't need to be cured of some illness or addiction. I need to put him back on the pedestal that He rightly deserves to be on. I need to make Him my everything.

So, that's what I've been doing.

And since I've been shifting my focus, I feel healthier in one day than every day of my calorie-counting combined. The pounds are getting fewer and fewer. And although this part of it is not as comfortable, God is bringing things to the surface. Things That need to be addressed in my walk with Him. Things that will make me look more and more like Him everyday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just When I Thought I Had Things Figured Out

Isn't it funny how we can ask God for direction, sense Him telling us something, we say "yes!" and within weeks, we feel that our plans may be changing again?

I'm not sure how many of you have ever been in a situation like that. But, I can assuredly tell you that I have been feeling this lately. Unfortunately, I am not able to share the extent of everything on the oh-so-public blog. But, I guess if you are really curious, you can email me and I can share more.

The basics are that I am noticing a pattern since I have moved back to Virginia. Here it is:

1. I hear God saying something
2. I respond and step forward in a direction
3. I assume I will always be headed in that direction
4. God quickly reveals a "but this could also happen" thing
5. I press in and pray more
6. I release plans I have mentally made based on #1
7. I listen
8. I hear God saying something
9. I respond and step forward in a direction
10. I assume that is the direction I will always be going in

etc, etc, etc, etc....

Right now, I'm around #5. #4 happened a few weeks ago. I freaked out at first, because it was not something that I had planned. Then I resigned with a "I can be okay with this" attitude. Then I realized that this new information could completely alter how I thought my near future would look. It could change my timeline. It could change the length of time I am here in Virginia. It could change a lot.

And that's okay.

But, I guess right now, what I'm curious to see is God's plan itself. I probably won't see the big picture of it all until much, much later. What I am curious to see is how this whole Korea thing will pan out. I'm curious to see where He'll take me and when. I'm curious to meet people along the way and to see, even if nothing works out how I think it will, what God is going to teach me in all this.