Breathing,Breaking,Beholding

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I took a break from the blog.  I needed to step back, to really push through to the other side.  I began this blog as an accountability tool for myself.  It then morphed into an opportunity to share about my passion for home and organization, along with spiritual lessons.  Then one day, it just seemed there was nothing to say, my thoughts were dark and anxiety and bitterness were becoming more a way of thinking and living.

Somewhere between facing some changes in our finances, ongoing extended family relationship struggles, approaching the empty nest years, I began to spiral.  My thoughts were consumed with the “what if”…”why didn’t I”… “why does she” questions.  It seemed that nothing in my family relationships would change, and that depression and anger would continue to steal from our relationships.  It seemed at age 49 there were not many prospects for entering the workforce, engaged in something I was passionate about, creating a new identity for myself outside of motherhood.  The chaos of the world seemed to only confirm what I feared.  I was tired.  Anxiety woke me at odd hours, my chest feeling as though an elephant were sitting on it, and breathing was hard, shallow.  Fatigue kept me from moving, doing and too often the end of the day found me sitting face to face with regret, angry at myself for letting the worries win.

I would like to tell you that during my morning quiet time or a church service God spoke, pulled me from the pit.  I’d love to tell you about a “burning bush” moment, but that is not my story.  Instead, it has been a slow process, one that began with a desire to exercise, strengthen my physical being, burn off some steam.  I have slowly climbed my way out of the pit, dragging my body up the muddy hill, pushing, pulling, crying, laughing.

I joined a local gym and signed myself up for personal training.  I did it without talking to my friends or family (yes even my husband, which I do not recommend if you are on a tight budget).  I decided I had to do something on my own, for myself.  I needed to make just one small decision and just do something.  I am not going to lie.  I did it with a little bit of rebelliousness.  It has been amazing!  In a matter of thirty short minutes the trainer can push me through exercises that cause my heart to race, my muscles to ache and my body to sweat.  Learning to use equipment I didn’t know existed, pushing myself past that moment of “I can’t”.  At the end of each session with the last count done and the high five slap a sense of empowerment, accomplishment set in.  What I thought I could not do, I could do.  In fact not only could I do it, but I could do more than what was expected. Pushing myself physically, having someone to speak truth as I pushed, hurt, struggled, got me over the hump.  As I began to see and feel the difference in my physical being I began to realize how much I had let Satan fill my mind with his lies.  I realized that while I was a good Baptist girl who read her bible every morning, attended church and bible studies, I was not letting God’s truth fill my mind.  I was choosing to believe the lies, the distorted messages of Satan and it had and was robbing me of life.  I was focused on all that I didn’t have, on the hard parts of life and was ignoring all that I did have, all I had access to through Christ.

What began as a journey to renew my physical body has become a journey to renew my mind.  I have taken every negative thought captive and wrestled with it, searching out God’s truth.  Some wrestling matches have lasted months, while others stop and start. Some matches I have won and God’s truth reigns.  Everything about us, our thoughts and our actions, rest upon what we believe.  I believe I am the daughter of Christ, made in His image.  His Spirit resides in me and gives me access to His power, the power to overcome, to live free.

If you are struggling I want to encourage you.  Step back, breath, take a break and behold God’s truth.  Let each Word sink in.  Release the lies.

The funny thing is not a lot about my life has changed.  The truth is, I haven’t really changed.  I am still me, the girl I have always been, with the same personality, talents and gifts.  Depression and anxiety still have a hold on a family member.  My girls are still headed to college.  My husband’s business is still recovering from the economic crisis of a few years back.  I have had friends bury children, walk through divorce, and lose jobs.  The difference is what I choose to believe.

truth

 

No Looking Back, No Looking to Tomorrow-Just One Simple Step in Obedience (and When the lesson is wait)

Posting a second time.  Today’s struggle. Media!

Living in Brokenness continues to be my theme.  I can’t express enough the freedom I am finding each day as I embrace the truth that God’s fragrance spills forth from me as I leave myself broken at His feet.  It is that moment in time when head knowledge meets heart knowledge and you wish you had gotten the lesson earlier!  As I embrace this truth, let it sink in and remind myself moment by moment to leave the shattered pieces of the alabaster jar, refrain from “fixing”, I am free to pursue obedience in the moment.  It doesn’t mean there are no plans.  It just means that the plans, the steps of obedience are leading me to His purpose for this moment.  I no longer have to look back dragging with me all the regrets or things to be fixed.  I no longer have to look to the future trying to figure it out and do what I can “in my power” to make the puzzle pieces fit.  No, instead I only have to obey the promptings for this moment, knowing He has a plan.  He has already ordained my days.  By keeping my eyes on Him and releasing all that He has already forgiven, wiped away, I can simply do the task of the moment, trusting the small steps in obedience lead to His master plan.  I am free to enjoy the journey.  I am free to rest in Him.  I can experience the joy of hope, true hope that comes only from trusting enough to live in the present.

Keeping my mind filled with truth is a step in obedience I need to take.  I read scripture daily and spend quiet time each morning reflecting on His word and in communion with Him.  I still lack.  The days get busy, I feel pulled, the emotions rise and Satan gets a foot-hold in my mind.  Oh, the battle begins, and too often that pesky devil wins.  I have long known of the use of affirmations-those little pep talks promoted by Zig Ziglar, Gary Keller, and others.  I know those have value, but God has impressed upon me I need Spiritual Affirmations to recite daily.  I am beginning the process of finding 50 scripture to rephrase into Spiritual Affirmations.  I am going to put them in a bound index card holder and carry them with me.  I have begun my journey placing one of Emily Burger’s (www.emilyburgerdesigns.com) scripture based prints called “You’re An Overcomer” in a frame on my vanity counter.  It is the beginning of daily reciting Spiritual Affirmations to fill my mind with truth and have an arsenal of His words to combat Satan next time he makes a move on my mind.  My heart is sealed.  Christ sealed my heart with His blood for all eternity the day I accepted Him as my personal Savior.  My heart belongs to Him and Him alone.  My mind, well my mind is mine.  He grants me freewill.  So for this moment, my act of obedience is to gather His truths, make them personal, recite them and commit them to memory.

This blog post spoke to me as I am on my own journey.  It seems I am coming out of a desert experience, 3-4 years of waiting.  I hope this will give you encouragement in your walk-especially if you are waiting.  When the lesson is wait.