Monday, June 11, 2012

1000 Gifts & Counting

Last year about this time I read 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.    In this book, she gives the challenge to record 1000 reasons to be thankful.  Last Friday, I recorded my 1000th gift.

As I reviewed my list, I found physical gifts, spiritual gifts, momentary gifts & long lasting gifts.  Some gifts - like coffee & my husband are repeated.   Some gifts, I would NEVER want repeated. My son surviving a bad car wreck would be one of them.  Being at my father in law's side as he went to the Father would be another.   And yet, all of these things - even the hard ones, were & are gifts from my loving Father.

Something else happened as I reviewed my list.  I was aware that I am indeed living an abundant life.  Perhaps not in the realm of physical abundance - but a life full of God's blessings.  This - an abundant life - even though I know that my meager list of 1000 gifts is but a sampling of all the Good Lord has given me.  This is reason enough to keep looking, keep counting, keep recording, keep naming the gifts.  Perhaps it is in this naming that we truly receive the gifts that of dear Father gives.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

True Confessions

I have a confession to make.  I struggle with depression.  There - I said it.

In my mind - I know the truth.  I understand about grace, but in everyday practice, I get so turned inward and it is a struggle to look out.  In the worst of it, I only see my failures, my insecurities.  I feel condemnation for all of those things - even tho' I know that scripture says there is no condemnation in the Lord.  On good days, I can see the sun.  I feel compassion for others, I want to reach out.  I have gone through times when the sunny days far out numbered the cloudy ones.  But recently, the clouds are overtaking the sun.  Think of the gloom over Mordor.

Being out & about, I try to shake it off.  To smile.  To do the jobs that I am called to do.  It is a struggle.  I come home exhausted with the effort.  It would be easier to just stay home in my bed.

I've been down this road before.  I think I lived the first 30 years of my life in the thick of it.  Then with the help of counseling and medications, I was able to break through the gloom.  I have been off & on medication since then.  Currently, I am on - & I still struggle.  Not that life is particularly hard right now.  That is the frustrating part.  Maybe it is that dreaded change of life issue?  Something else?

I get frustrated with being so weak that I can't just pray myself out of this pit.  You know, read some scripture, sing "We Have Overcome", and be good with it all.  But - it doesn't  work.  And those closest to me see the gathering storm clouds.  They urge me to see about changing my meds.

Our emotions are such strange things.  How much is dictated by our spiritual life - our relationship with Christ, our obedience in taking each thought captive?  And how much is dictated by the physical realm - chemical imbalances in the brain?  Serotonin levels that, after years of dealing with (stuffing) childhood issues, never come back to a healthy level?

The desire for relief - not so much for relief's sake, but so that I can be an effective Christ-follower & mother to my children, and the other things I am called to do is strong.  I suppose I could just pull myself up by my bootstraps and stomp my way through it - although whose toes and other body parts would get in the way, I can only imagine.  I wonder if medication is the chicken way out?  Is it the dulling of the thorn that the Lord meant for my ultimate good?

So many questions - and so many strong opinions about this issue.  In my case, two of my closest friends are urging me to increase my medication.  And while considering this I have read a couple of places about Christian women whom I admire taking anti-depressants.  Since I am not thinking as clearly as I might in this fog, I am taking their advice.

I have to admit - I am hitting the publish button with fear and trembling - but I could not get it out of my head that I needed to post this.  If you know someone this would encourage, would you please share it?  And perhaps let me know that the sharing of my weaknesses & struggles have been an encouragement?