Homeless, Broke or Burnt alive?

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My string of panic inducing, unpredicted, could-be disasters took another turn yesterday.

9 weeks to our wedding and a dodgy fire certificate means we can either pull out of the sale, losing our legal fees and ending up homeless. Or at least at the mercy of any friends and family who’ll take pity. Or we can pay for the work ourselves and end up broke (who needs food anyway right?). Or we can leave ourselves at severe risk if a fire were to start. Without a shred of insurance cover and a lot of debt….

What would you choose?

More importantly how would you react? Like me with fear, anxiety and fleeting thoughts of depression?

As I was praying and at the end of my seriously worn tether I asked God what was going on.

What I heard wasn’t really what I wanted to hear!

This is not the most unstable your life will feel, things will be less secure and far more stressful later – so I need you to learn to deal with it now!

*sigh*

But Lord that is difficult! I want to cry and snap and flounce around getting sympathy. I want someone to be angry at!

My plans are put on hold so I have a right to act badly!

Oh. Hello pride….. That’s not a good attitude is it?

Sorry lord help me trust you. Help me learn. Make me humble. Make me grateful – I am so much better off than most in the world. Lord you know how lazy and proud I am, please forgive me. Teach me your way through this.

God is a safe place to hide,

ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,

courageous in sea storm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans,

the tremors that shift mountains.

Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

Psalm 46:1-2

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Spring Cleaning!

I work as an office monkey in a Care Home for people with Dementia, and yesterday I was merrily typing away when I heard sobbing coming from the reception lounge. One of our beautiful residents had tears dripping down her face, completely distraught; and this lady, who can barely put a legible sentence together spoke clear as a bell and said that she was “no good to anyone”, that “she was useless and couldn’t do anything for herself” that “everyone thought she was a pointless old woman”. It broke my heart, and as I sat there holding her tissues and praying in my mind I tried to tell her we loved her. That we loved her for just who she is, that even though she could do so much less that before we loved her, and nothing she could or couldn’t do would change that.

It was so clear to me and the people around her that she was loveable, yet to this lady she just couldn’t believe it. Her mind was soaked in so many lies about herself that the truth had started to sound like lies to her.

Cue a Lightbulb Moment for me. That whole morning I had been drenched in thoughts that people were annoyed at me, that they wished I wasn’t there, that I should never have reached out to this or that person; I would just disturb them. Where did I get those beliefs from? People had never said this to me!

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So this morning I sorted through the cupboards in my mind. I looked all through the forgotten drawers, dusty corners and dark recesses. I found things I thought I’d thrown out years ago.

“You’re always a burden to people – you need to stop telling people your problems”

“You’re too shy – No matter how hard you try you’ll never really make people feel at ease.”

“You’ve got nothing interesting to say – Keep your mouth shut so people don’t realise how broken you are”

“You’re selfish, standoffish and rude”

“People are fed up with you – stop taking up their time”

No-one has ever said this to me. Just the nagging thoughts that pop into my head. These are lies, pure and simple; it’s time to clear them out.

Suddenly it dawned on me…. Oooooh so this is why I’ve been so oversensitive lately! This is why I’ve been struggling at Church! This is why I’m doubting reaching out to people my age about Jesus.

This is the devils plan to keep me silent. He’s a liar a great deceiver and he’s been laying traps for me.

Praise God who sets me free with Truth! I am innocent – because Jesus took my sins I will NEVER be found guilty. I am made in God’s image – introverted is how I’m made to be, and that’s ok! Jesus loves me independent of what I do, how I fail and who I speak to – He loves me when I have nothing to give. I am not unwanted – I am bought with a price into a family! I’m not just humoured I am adored!

Goodbye lies and dust and dirt – this mind has had a spring clean! Jesus is all I need.

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No Shame in Brokenness

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Yesterday was the first day in about a year that I felt like my depression had come back. Everyone has something they struggle with and this is the main temptation I face.

There is a part of me that feels ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian and can spend a whole day crying, fighting thoughts of self harm and thoroughly doubting that I have a good future. But I have no reason to be ashamed. Jesus has taken my shame away; in my weakness He is strong.

So I am praying that Jesus catches your attention through what I’ve admitted. Your deepest darkest parts, your lying, stealing, jealousy, pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, reckless and any other temptation you fight is His strength.

Keep rejecting your temptation, keep trusting in the grace of Jesus to pull you through. Keep on telling Him how you feel. Yet at the end of the day come back to praising Him. He is our strength.

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13 Niv

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Day Release from the “Funny Farm”

This is part 2 of my series on how good things can come from AWFUL experiences.

I may have used a bit of poetic license on the title… perhaps it should have read “a day visit out of the mental hospital with two minders” but that didn’t sound as catchy to me. So yes, today is the first time my Dad has come home for a whole year, he’s been in a high security mental hospital two hours away, so our contact hasn’t really been frequent and I am feeling lots of things about it.

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In fact I am shaking, all the memories of the panic and paranoia whilst he was at home is getting to me. I don’t have any idea how he will react, or how we will react either and I really don’t want to think about it.

I’m hoping to update you with the truth of how God has used this situation once I have got my head around it – but I also want to show you my honesty for right now. I am feeling awful, full of fear and despair and memories I wish, well, memories I wish I couldn’t remember.

However I am setting my hope on something higher and I want to remember some amazing truths which came from a comment on my previous post….

“I deal with a similar situation. I too had a childhood that kept me on high alert, depressed, and emotionally alone. When I was in high school I would always sense when something was about to happen…. As the years went on, if someone was sick and I would pray for them I would have a “sense” of their healing or their death. And like you I’ve been pretty on the mark. This has caused me to one be sensitive to seeing signs and warnings that opened my eyes to seeing God in ways that many don’t. But this has also caused me to panic in fear that someone else is going to pass.… I know this is long and seems depressing, but the truth is through these experiences that always led to heartache and loss, I became dependent completely on the Lord. I am able to see His Voice in ways that  I would never trade. But I’ve also come to realize that every moment of my life, (and yours) had been preplanned. God knew exactly where and what I’d be going through and He purposed GOOD for ALL of it. Just like Joseph going through years and years of what appeared to be undeserving punishment, it was actually Gods plan all along, that He told him in advance. Genesis 50:20 has given my past a purpose, and I pray that you know that although your life here as a child was hard… and “the enemy planned it for harm, God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

You have PURPOSE! Jesus chose you and KNEW you would glorify Him and by doing so you will Shine HIS LIGHT among other women who are where you once were. … You have the Creator of the Universe living inside of you. Remember that when the days get hard. You are CHOSEN!”

This blogger has not had an easy time and some of the details she shared in her comment are really distressing – yet through it all she can still say this. Check out her writing here, you won’t regret it!

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Staying Happy when Life’s not Right

When I was a teenager my Dad had a breakdown and suddenly my reasonably normal life turned into a terrifying place full of suicide attempts and hospital visits. I have always been a worrier and I decided that the best way to protect myself would be to imagine the worst case scenarios and expect that to happen – that way I couldn’t be taken by surprise. It seemed to make sense – and most of the time I was right. If I saw a police car driving in the direction of my house I would assume it was because my Dad went missing – and usually it was because he had. If I woke up in the night I assumed that my Dad had slammed the door and left, or that he was trying to drink himself to sleep – I was nearly always right about this one (I sleep deeeeeply).

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Did my method protect myself? I thought that it would as so often I was right about my fears, but the actual result was that I became depressed myself. I suffered from reactional depression, which is a depression brought on by the situation I lived in. I was in a constant state of panic and my body over produced adrenaline, this meant that all my systems went out of whack – most importantly my limbic system or my brain. It’s complicated but the chemicals which help you to think, and help the nerve endings in your brain to work, leak out of your brain when there are high levels of adrenaline in your body, meaning you become depressed and simple tasks become a struggle. At university I studied Biomedical Science and when I learnt more about reactional depression I saw the massive danger in expecting the worst and keeping adrenaline levels high.

So this brings me to the next series of posts I am hoping to write. I am, again, in a situation where the health of someone I love keeps getting worse and the temptation to “protect myself” by expecting the worst is kicking in….. So in an effort to see the hope I have (in Jesus!) and not to get negative I am going to post stories from my life about how good things, sometimes even amazing things, have come from the worst times. I would absolutely love to share some other stories too so if you have any inspirational, hope filled experiences I can include please, please leave a comment below 🙂

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A Challenge for the Breaking People

These last few weeks for me have been HARD. The kind of up in the air, hospital visits, yo-yo-ing emotions, watching someone you love in extreme pain kind of hard.

People, I want to be honest about this, my worst fears have been happening in front of me.

In light of other people’s struggles what I have had happen these last few weeks are nothing. Honestly, they are a walk in the park compared to other people’s lives that I know of.

But for me this is the crunch-point. This is the one too many things going wrong, one too many sleepless nights, one too many nightmares coming back to haunt me kind of moment.

All the defences I learnt to use, all the coping mechanisms, all the catch phrases of God that I used as bubble wrap against the world have popped, broken and stopped working.

These situations have burrowed deep to the core of me and I FEEL BROKEN!

I don’t understand and my emotions are fighting to take control of me and I can see that I, in and of myself, have lost control.

In this place I see a choice and a challenge.

That challenge is God. Do you know Him? Have you loved Him your whole life? Have you only ever known the name as a curse word? It doesn’t matter what you know of God, this desolate place in anyones life brings the mighty challenge of what do we make of God?

Are you angry at Him? Are you clinging to trust Him? Do you hate Him? Would you spit in His face???

The challenge to me, and to you, is how to handle God in this situation. The challenge is to face Him, even if that is just to shout in His face.

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You heard. If you are angry with God, show it. If you are depressed, show it. If you are sad, show it.

I am not a Christian who will tell you to become a robot and change your emotions. I am a Christian who knows how big my God is, big enough to take any abuse from us, willing to take pain from us. AS LONG at it let’s Him into our lives.

Bring your true opinion, self and life to God, no matter what that means.

This is my challenge today.

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Depression Days are Over

After a time of massive trial this is what God had to say to those people who ran to Him because of the trouble. These are amazing words and I hope they brighten your day!

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 Jeremiah 18-21

“Again, God’s Message:

“‘I’ll turn things around for Jacob.
I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes.
The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations;
the mansions will be splendid again.
Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows;
laughter will spill through the doors.
Things will get better and better.
Depression days are over.
They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish.
The days of contempt will be over.
They’ll look forward to having children again,
to being a community in which I take pride.
I’ll punish anyone who hurts them,
and their prince will come from their own ranks.
One of their own people shall be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own ranks.
I’ll grant him free and easy access to me.
Would anyone dare to do that on his own,
to enter my presence uninvited?’ God’s Decree.

22 “‘And that’s it: You’ll be my very own people,
I’ll be your very own God.’”

In people’s lives it seems that awful circumstances, pain and grief can either cause people to run as far away from God as they can or to deliberately push closer to Him.

If you are trying, even the tiniest bit, to love God throughout your trials this promise is for you – BE ENCOURAGED! 🙂

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