Starving

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I haven’t blogged for over a month.  That’s crazy for me.  Life has been a little overwhelming, to say the least, and sitting down to pour my heart our has seemed utterly impossible until today.

My son — my beautiful, amazing, complex, challenging and the very joy of my heart son — is anorexic.  He’s starving himself right in front of me. 

For many months now, we thought he had a medical condition.  As the pounds fell off we went from doctor to doctor searching for answers.  30 pounds and counting:  He is now six foot 1 and weighs 115 pounds.  JUST 115 pounds. 

As test after test came back normal, my mother’s intuition grew increasingly stronger.  That nagging feeling that it wasn’t — it isn’t — something physical at all.  That horrible knowing that builds and builds and builds until you can’t look away any more.  He isn’t physically sick at all.  My baby is hurting — deeply.   So profoundly that he is grasping for control anyway he can find it.  And, for reasons I can’t understand, he found that control in food.  And now, he is wasting away in front of me.  I feel helpless.  I feel afraid.  My heart is crushed and utterly broken-hearted.

Tears come so easily for me.  Even as I type they roll gently down my cheeks.  Though I dab them with my tissue, the flow doesn’t stop.  They just keep coming.  Waves of unspeakable grief overwhelm me at the strangest times too.  During my CPR class last night, tears began to flow again.  The overwhelming worry not only for James’ emotional health but also his actual life rolled through my soul and I couldn’t contain it any longer.

My sweet James has lived a life of hoped deferred.  He’s dreamed of many friends, only to be rejected.  He’s dreamed of leading boy scout troops, only to be over looked.  He’s dreamed of being picked to moderate his favorite online game, only to be skipped over.  He’s dreamed of a life filled with joy only to live a life filled with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder.  No wonder he is seeking control.

What I know is true, is this…

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So, today fragile, sad and very much crushed in spirit I go forward trusting God will carry James and the rest of us through these very difficult days.  We have a very long road ahead.  A very, very long road.  I have no illusions of instant fixes…but because God is with us…I do have hope for James to be strengthened and for him to ultimately overcome this very difficult affliction.

With the help of great doctors, wise counselors and a lot of love we will persevere as a family.  By God’s grace we will grow together and not apart.   Through God’s mercy we will find joy and laughter again even in the midst of this storm.

James is my beautiful, amazing, complex and sometimes challenging son.  I love him just as he is.  I will not let his intellectual challenges, autism, bipolar disorder and yes even his anorexia struggles define him.  They are just part of his journey.  He is a beautiful soul full of compassion and love.  I am so utterly proud to be his Mom.

Pressing on — My love always,

Nancy

 

 

 

Extinguishing Darkness Part 2

Yesterday I was unaware as I blogged about a wonderful time with my daughter Faith, that my city was experiencing one of its greatest tragedies.  A man, armed with a gun entered a Planned Parenthood building just miles away from my home, and killed three innocent people.  Nine others were injured in his rampage and countless others have been scarred by violence occurring so close to the safety of their home.

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None of us know why this man did what he did.  Perhaps, someday, the details of his twisted thinking will come to light.  I am sure though, most of us will never fully understand how anyone can inflict such pain on others.  And yet, over and over again, throughout the world, we see men and women doing just that.

Our world is broken and in desperate need of an enduring love that transforms hearts and minds.  Our world is broken and in desperate need of hope. Our world is broken and this brokenness begs the question of what, can we as individuals, do about it? 

I argue, we are not helpless.  We can, and must be carriers of God’s transforming peace and love.

Each of us has our own little sphere of influence.  Perhaps you have a voice with moms in your kids schools, or with coworkers at your place of employment.  Maybe you has opportunities to share kindness with your neighbors or to bring a smile at the local coffee shop. You, me, WE have the chance to change someones day by choosing enduring love, compassion and peace instead of anger, rage and hatred.

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Oh how I hear the naysayers now, “Nancy, how can kindness, love and compassion change a mind that is hopelessly deranged?”

My son James, who I often write about on this blog, struggles with mental illness.  At times, his burden is light,  but other times, the crush of his minds battle takes him places I would never wish on anyone.  The pain, despondency, hopelessness and anger are mind-bending and horrifically overwhelming.  When he is in those darkest of dark places, I am painfully aware that his actions are not always within his control and that violence can and will bubble to the surface.  Voices fill his mind and demand he does things he would never do on his own.  IT. IS. FRIGHTENING.

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Everyday I live with the knowledge that my sweet precious son is potentially one psychotic break away from a horrific tragedy.  And yet, my love for him compels me, drives me, and pushes me to never, ever give up on him.  A wonderful, loving and tenderhearted young man at his core – his minds brokenness can turn him inside out and upside own before we even know what is happening.

Yes, of course, we have medications that balance him.  He also goes to incredible counselors who help too.  But, the bottom line is, when the voices come and the rage fills his mind, the one thing that returns James back to gentleness and hope is a steadfast experience of our tangible unconditional, and unwavering love for him.

Honestly, that love doesn’t always come from me.  God, living in me, gives me a love for James beyond my own.  So, when I’m tired, worn down, discouraged and just utterly done, there is still more loving overflowing ready to pour into him.

So, yes, when I talk about love overcoming darkness beyond what we can understand or imagine, I come from a place of truth.  I know this love – I live with hope for my broken son because of this love.  I know it is this type of love that can and will transform, heal and renew.

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In the coming weeks, those of us who live in Colorado Springs will hear more about those who lost their lives at Planned Parenthood and also those who were injured.  We will also likely hear more about the man, who consumed by darkness, brought terror to many yesterday.  We will all have a choice seeking out God’s love and truth as we process our pain or, to let darkness and hatred consume us more and more.

The choice is our.   Let’s choose well.   We can do this.  We can bring God’s light and love to the lost, the hopeless, the confused and embittered.  We can change our neighborhoods, our schools and businesses.  Together, we can extinguish the darkness that seeks to devour and consume us all.

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I’m in, how about you?

Love,  Nancy

PS – Please take a moment to share your thoughts with me — How do you over come darkness through love?  I would LOVE to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure Every Moment

I am a home body at heart.  On cold Colorado winter nights I love being wrapped up in a blanket by the fire sipping hot chocolate with Christmas music playing in the back ground.  For this rather introverted woman, staying away from the crowds and cold is a little slice of heaven in indeed!

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So as you can imagine when my very adventurous 17 year old daughter wanted to sneak out in the freezing cold, ice and snow our 16 degree weather was pouring out all around us, I was less than excited.  The thought of standing in line waiting for the doors to be opened as we shivered and quivered was the last thing I wanted to do.

And yet, as I looked into her eager eyes as she waited for a response from me, I realized something.  She could have asked her friends to go with her.  After all, they’re all driving now and easily could have piled into one of their cars, and together, shopped until they dropped.  She could have asked her Dad to go with her.  They love going on adventures and paling around together.  If it was just about shopping, she could have gone online and found some pretty amazing deals.  But, instead, she was asking me.

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I knew, even though I hate being cold and I HATE Black Friday crowds, this was an opportunity to treasure with my girl.  And, so all bundled up, we headed out into the icy cold and together stood freezing in line with about 1000 other people waiting for the store doors to open.

For 30 minutes we laughed, shivered, and talked smiling all the time.  When the doors finally opened, we collectively, breathed a sigh of relief as the warm hit our faces and cold began to fade away.  We found a few amazing deals along the way.  But most of all, we simply had fun being together – treasuring a couple of hours of Mom/daughter time that can be so hard to find these days.

Late last night, when everyone was quiet and in bed I couldn’t help but think about my time with my Faith.  The years have flown by so quickly.  It seems like just yesterday that I was holding her in my arms rocking her to bed each night;  now, college is just a blink of an eye away.  Tears streamed down my face.  Joy mixed with sorrow like I’ve never known before.  Though my role as mom will never go away, I am more and more aware of how that it is constantly transforming and changing.

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Where I was once the one she ran to for every hurt and pain, she now has developed a strong group of supportive friends who she shares the ups and downs of life with. Where she once depended on me, she instead now leans on me.  These changes are good.  So very good.  They are signs she is becoming more independent and confident.  Yet, my Mama’s heart aches with every step she takes away.  My Mama’s heart both bursts with pride and aches with sorrow as I know she is doing exactly what she must do — slowly, tenderly and with integrity pull away so she can strengthen her wings and soar.

For those of you who have tender two year olds, precocious 6 year olds or maybe challenging 12 year olds, I have just a couple words of advise.  Treasure every moment: from every poopy diaper to every skinned knee.  Treasure every moment: from the days that they’re just a frazzled mess to the days when they do everything perfectly.  Treasure every moment: even the days they’ve messed up royally and you’re having to bail them out…again.  TREASURE EVERY MOMENT:  They are gifts from God to be loved, valued, appreciated and held in the highest of esteem.  They are the most precious of gifts to be cherished and adored faithfully.

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I’m so glad I stepped out of my box last night and ventured out in the cold with my sweet Faith.  As we were shivering and quivering in the cold we snapped a picture I will forever cherish.  We were able to smiled in that freezing cold because we were together and our hearts were full. We knew were building a wonderful memory, and in the process our hearts were being knit even closer together.  It was beautiful.  It was wonderful.  It was worth every shiver and every chatter of our teeth.

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Stepping outside our own comfort zones can be hard at times, but it is often there that we find the most joy with our kids.  Treasuring them where their hearts soar helps us too see them at their best and connects us with them in powerful ways.

How can you connect differently with your child today?  What adventure can you share with them?  Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear from you!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity and Credibility

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Tonight, my house is quiet.  The kids are keeping themselves busy and Phillip is enjoying watching a movie.  I love nights like tonight when I have time to sit and ponder things that have really been on my heart lately.

I’ve learned to take advantage of when the quiet comes.   I can better hear God’s voice and am more open to His perspective rather than my own.   I think we should all jump at quiet moments like these to search our hearts, and rethink our point of view if necessary.

If we don’t take the time to get quiet, we run the risk of missing some of the most valuable echos of truth that will resonate deeply in our souls.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity and credibility.  For me, both are really, really important. Let’s be real for a moment.  I mean, down and dirty real.  When I’ve failed in these areas, the damage I’ve caused those I’ve love,  was almost unspeakable.

One of the most life transforming experiences in my life was coming face to face with my failures and owning them without excuse or justification.   The shame. Oh the shame I tell you.  Even writing about it right now, my hands tremble.  Yes, when you are exposed and ashamed due to nothing but your own bad choices, a grief fills your soul like nothing else you will ever experience.   When, in the same moment you experience forgiveness and grace, your heart is forever transformed.

So, when I write about integrity and credibility now, it is not from a position of haughtiness or arrogance.  In fact, it is from a sober place of understanding that in my frailness I easily could stumble back into faulty thinking, self-justification and self-soothing behavior that says my sin is not that bad — Scary right?

So, when I come to a place in my life that I am looking at integrity and credibility again I know I must first look at myself.

  • Is there anything that I would try to cover in shame if my life was going to play on a big screen for everyone to see?
  • Am I being careful with my words?
  • Am I honoring myself, my family and my faith in all that I do?
  • What do I need to change?  Have I become lazy or complacent?
  • Am I letting God’s word lead me and guide me or am I getting caught up in battles and emotions that aren’t mine?

Asking the above questions are so important…so very important.  Why?  Because as Jeremiah 17:9 says,

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

In other words, we can all fool ourselves into believing we’re not doing harm.  We can convince ourselves that we are actually doing better than we really are.  We can shut out the wise counsel of others, close our eyes to the truth so we can somewhat blindly continue down the path we are already on at all costs.  Think I’m wrong?  Think about an alcoholic who thinks they can have just one drink….right????

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Integrity for me is of course about being truthful.  But it also so much more than that.  Integrity beckons me to go the extra step when I see a friend stumbling to reach out to try to save them.  Friends have done this for me — out of love and out of integrity for our friendship.  Sometimes I heeded their calls and it saved me.  Other times, I responded with arrogance and anger and I had to live a few more heartaches before I was ready for rescue. Sigh.  Yes, integrity begins with truth but runs far deeper and wider when we pair it with friendships, loyalty and helping a brother or sister who is stumbling in our midst.

Can you imagine a world where we all sought to have integrity with ourselves, our relationships and our friends?  I think it would be a powerful world filled with truth and love.  That’s the type of world I want to start building!

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For me, credibility is not about how long you’ve performed a job.  We all know people who have been in the same position for years while they have back stabbed and wounded those around them.  It isn’t about reputation either.  In this crazy world, you’re a hero one day, and a zero the next.  Credibility has more to do with having a steadfast character as you walk through life.  Seasons may change, roles may change but people should be able to look at someone who is credible and know their character is steady, reliable and trustworthy no matter what.  Volatility and harshness do not go hand in hand with credibility – they are in fact directly opposed to it.

Now we’re cooking with fuel!

Can you imagine a world full of steadfast men and women who are not perfect but who are working to grow their character more and more like Jesus?  That would be a patient and kind, long-suffering, world where love would overcome.  Again friends!  Let’s start building!

We are living in a world where evil and anger fill the news.  We live in a world where people are tossed away like garbage and treated as though they hold no value.  We must turn the tide and that direction change starts with us.  It starts with us examining our own hearts and character.  It starts with confessing our sins and getting our hearts aligned with God’s will.   From there,  filled with His tender loving-kindness, I know the Lord will guide our way!

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I’m in, how about you?

Love, Nancy

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 20 Years With My Love!

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In five days, Phillip and I will reach the 20 year landmark in our marriage.  20 years of enduring commitment.  20 years of laughter and tears.  20 years of successes and failures.  20 years of building, tearing down and rebuilding.

How well I remember catching a glance of Phillip as he entered the church on our wedding day.  His smile was bright and full of hope.  My heart fluttered and danced about with excitement to the point where I could barely breathe.

Anyone who knew us then, understood ours was not going to be a marriage that would ever be picture perfect.  Broken pasts, lost dreams, and two diabolically different personalities that cried out failure at every turn were just a few pieces of baggage we carried down the isle that day. And yet, on that day when we said, “I do.”, God stepped into our midst and and knit our hearts together as one:  a powerful beautiful one that has overcome sickness, loss, disappointment, rejection, hopelessness and fear.

Yes, when God knit our hearts together as one, we became so much more quotes-about-love-and-marriage-love-and-marriage-39173than each of us were alone.  My weaknesses  – – which are many — were counter-balanced by his strengths.  My gentleness refined his rough edges.  His steadfast nature matched my perseverance.  As the years unfolded the gifts of each others strengths to each other also unfolded.

Years of love and forgiveness fortified our love so even when that love was mightily tested, it withstood the test, reshaped, and thrived once again.

Now, as I watch so many friends in the early years of their marriages pressing through and learning to love always want to encourage these few things.

  • When they stumble – because they will indeed stumble – be the first to be there to restore them to their feet AND back to their position of strength.
  • When you stumble – and you will indeed stumble – reach first to your love to restore you.  Let them hold you, tend to you and love you back through mercy and grace
  • Recognize the gift of each other God blessed each of you with.  Treat each other as treasures always remembering God’s gifts are good, lovely and beautiful (even when when they are used for refining).
  • The Lord brought you together.  HE BROUGHT YOU TOGETHER.  Fight for each other.  Defend each other.  ALWAYS Choose love.
  • Since the Lord brought you together, never leave Him out of the equation.  He must be center of your marriage to make it complete.

I can’t wait to experience the next 20 years with my love.  We are so different than we were when we met, when we were married or even 10 years ago.  The changes have been hard at times but because of God’s grace the fruit has always been good.

To my love Phillip – I wouldn’t want to walk this life with anyone other than you.  Thank you for being my very best friend, support and also one who constantly challenges me to grow.  I thank God every day for the joy of loving you!  Happy Anniversary!

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Extinguishing Darkness

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Two days ago, we all watched in horror as Paris was attacked.  Our collective hearts broke as terrorists, with no regard for life and full of evil, killed over 100 people and wounded hundreds more. As more images filled the screen I felt my heart harden more and more.  Before I knew it, I was seething and internally cheering when politicians began to openly state we would destroy all who were part of the attack.

Certainly those in ISIS are out to destroy anyone who does not choose to believe what they do.  They choose to kill, maim and create fear where ever they are; negotiating and reasoning won’t work with the hatred they are filled with.  There is no doubt this particular type of evil must be confronted with strength more powerful than its own and more daunting than their belief systems compels them to be.

Understanding this, I must constantly guard my own heart against becoming rigid and hard.  I must be willing, even in the midst of justified anger, to keep myself in check and not go to extreme unbending positions.  I must be be ready to choose to bring more light and love to the world instead of more darkness and despondency.

The question is, after such a horrible terrorist attack, how do we who are not directly connected to it choose to respond?

I can’t help but remember that after 9/11 many in the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and other Eastern religions were treated with disdain and fear all through North America.  Our ignorance caused mothers to fear going to the grocery store, children to be pulled from school and fathers to lose their jobs.  If we are not careful, that same scenario will once again flourish and it will be justified by our rage against wicked men who have nothing to do with those we walk and live life with today.  Darkness filled the streets of Paris – lets not allow it to fill our hearts, neighborhoods and friendships too.

It is my suggestion this week that we all seek out someone who is different than ourselves, and in particular our Muslimth neighbors, and extend a hand of kindness. It is my challenge for all of us to shine God’s love so the darkness of prejudiced and shame cannot not grow. 

Be aware.  Smile.  Say hello.  Greet them with kindness and compassion.  Most important, understand they are different than the evil that was encountered on the streets of Paris this week and LET THEM  KNOW THEY ARE WELCOME.

I was indeed seething as I watched the attacks on Paris as I should have been.  Innocent lives were lost and we all should be outraged by the horrific crimes that were committed by evil that day.  Paris has all of our support and love.  That will never change.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with them.  We will weep when they weep and will fight when they fight.  We also need to handle our justified anger with wisdom and not project it on the innocent around us.  Instead, we need to shine light and love through out our lives fighting to extinguish the darkness that seeks to destroy and overcome us all.

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I’m in, how about you?

Love, Nancy

Mud Puddles

Yesterday was a horrible day.  Early in the morning, my daughter began crying out for help.  She screamed in pain, doubled over and turned ashen grey.  After hours at the ER, the problem resolved and I was able to bring my baby girl back home.  As soon as we were home, I received a call that my dad was at the hospital, horribly sick and being admitted.  My stress meter went up, up, up.  Then, my sweet James came to me and said he was feeling angry, unbalanced and like he needed to punch a wall.  Knowing that James’ bipolar was spinning up broke my heart for him.   Still, with the events of the day, knowing he was cycling tipped me even a little more over the edge.  After all, Philip is losing his job, and that stress alone can be rough.  Compounded by the rest the day brought, life felt a little unbearable.

So, after James was a little more settled, and Faith was quietly working on her homework I looked at Phillip and said, “When it rains it pours.  Let’s jump in some mud puddles!”  Phillip looked perplexed at first but soon understood where I was going.

You see, when the storm clouds of life roll in and all you see is rain pouring down sometimes the best choice is to take an emotional break from the storm to jump in  what I call figurative mud puddles. Laugh, dance, sing or explore.  Hope, dream, play, and remember times of joy from the past. Do whatever it takes to remind your soul of the wonder of the world and joy of living life to the full. Joy

We couldn’t go out last night because we’re saving every penny right now but we could watch a movie together.  So, we got on Hulu and chose to watch about the worst movie we’ve ever seen.  The acting was bad, the plot was horrible the climax both ridiculous and uninspiring; yet it was exactly what I needed.  We laughed so hard together that tears streamed down my face and my stomach hurt.  It was a moment of bliss on a day that was filled with hurt, disappointment and deep, heartbreaking concern.  It was a moment filled with God’s grace and grown by the knowledge of the truth, that no matter what the circumstance, he is always by our side.  It was a moment in the storm where our souls were refreshed even though our circumstances didn’t change.  It is evidence that our circumstances do not have to control our mood.  Rather our hope in God stabilizes and directs it regardless of what is going on all around.

Today, my daughter Faith is doing better but Dad is still in the hospital not doing well at all.  James is doing OK, but the reality of his struggle with bipolar goes on.  Phillip is still losing his job and all the stress that comes with that remains.  Yet, our hearts are a bit lighter because of our time dancing, laughing and simply being child like in  mud puddles found in spite of life’s storm.

I  can’t help but imagine the Lord watching us yesterday with great delight as we found happiness and joy when discouraging circumstances were all around. Today, I can’t help but reflect on Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord your God is living among you  He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.[b]
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

I know one things for sure.  Without the Lord walking life with us — without his delight and and enduring gladness — without his unfailing love calming our fears we never could find one single mud puddle to dance in.  He is our rock, our hope and our lasting inspiration for joy when our hearts are often filled with sorrow.  He is the reason we have hope and I am so incredibly grateful he calls me his own.

Always looking for more mud puddles to enjoy!imagesLove, Nancy

To be a Victim or, Victorious

Over the past few days I had many conversations with incredibly loving friends and family who are sothR35961T8 concerned about the news that Phillip’s company is being shut down by its parent company.  In a matter of days or weeks, Phillip will be without a job because someone, who doesn’t even know us, crunched numbers and determined he, his company and his fellow coworkers, aren’t valuable any more.  I’ve found these conversations very comforting.  This is tough though, and without the support of friends and family, getting through it would be so much harder.

I’ve been aware through these conversations though, that I have a choice to either be a victim of our circumstances or victorious over them.  I’ve fought this battle a few times before.

Many years ago, I attended a party with coworkers that I trusted.  A friend offered me a drink and within minutes the room was spinning.  I vaguely remember my friend carrying me up to his room and laying me on his bed.  As I laid there helpless, he brought a stranger into the room who then grabbed me in inappropriately.  As I tried to stop him, I realized my arms were Jell-O and the room faded to th6RBBSZR7darkness.  I awakened, three days later, in the same room confused and painfully aware that I would never really know what happened.  Though I never had any real memories of what occurred, feelings of helplessness overwhelmed me and needed to be processed with tender care.  Still, the day came when I had to choose whether I was going let those circumstances define me as a victim or if, instead, I was going to find the strength to move forward in victory

When Phillip and I were first married, we decided to try to have a baby.  As I watched all of my friends having babies, I went through the heartache of three miscarriages one after another. Finally my beautiful daughter Faith was born.  We were filled with joy yet soon we discovered she was critically ill with medical condition after medical condition.  While all of my friends were enjoying shopping and playing with their babies, we were watching our precious little girl endure surgeries, and painful procedures.  It broke my heart every single day.

Just as we began to see light at the end of the tunnel with Faith’s most critical issues, to our surprise, I became pregnant with my son James.  Though I worked so hard to follow all of the doctors orders, James was born at 27 weeks.  He was just 2 pounds 2 ounces and so incredibly frail.  After 10 weeks in the NICU James came home to much celebration and love.  Yet, his life has been filled with many challenges.  From developmental delays, the diagnosis of autism and intellectual challenges and most recently, bipolar disorder, James has indeed struggled and we’ve felt the heartache of that struggle with him.

During the kids painful struggles I learned to really honor my feelings and theirs.  What was/is happening was horribly difficult and mind-bendingly painful.  Crying, being discouraged and not wanting to endure any more pain was perfectly normal.  Still, my job as their mom was to model how to choose joy, happiness and hope in the midst of suffering.  I can’t help but see that if I had chosen differently, I never would have experienced the joy of seeing those characteristics develop in them!

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Five years a go, after my nurse overdosed me, things were so hard.  Walking was hard, being a good mom was hard, really EVERYTHING was hard.  I wasn’t the person I was before and coming to grips with the loss at times, felt unbearable.  Because I had indeed been victimized by my nurses carelessness, it was really, really important for me to authentically process all the emotions that came with the helplessness and injustice that had occurred. And, oh my how I did process those feelings over and over and over again.  Like the other difficult times in my life though, I reached a point, when I had to ask myself whether I wanted to be a victim for the rest of my life or whether I wanted to find the strength to move forward in victory.  The miracle of my life is that I was able to choose victory.

You see, I’m not this incredibly strong woman at heart.  I’m frail, broken, and easily th2KD3LEGVdiscouraged. However, because I walk life hand in hand with Jesus, I have strength well beyond my own.   Because of Jesus, I have peace today and hope for tomorrow.   Because of Jesus, I walk life holding tight to the promises in the Bible;  promises of strength, hope, peace.

Two paths lay before each of us.  One is the path of being always being a victim.  I promise, this always leads to bitterness, disillusionment, hopelessness and anger.  The other path, leads to living victoriously through authentically and tenderly caring for our feelings, while at the same time, choosing to live life to the full!  I’m in…how about you?

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My love,

Nancy

He Will Indeed Get Us Through

I’m feeling a little angry this morning.  Well, actually a lot angry. Yesterday my husband came home with a painfully serious look on his face and explained Target has decided to close the doors of the company he works for, Chefs Catalog.  You see, Target owns Chefs and even though Chefs is profitable, Target’s upper management, in all of it’s wisdom, decided to go a different direction leaving 152 employees and their families scrambling right before the holidays.

I’m sure it’s nothing personal right?  I’m sure it’s just business.

For those with golden parachutes everything will be ok.  But for families like ours, we will likely get a painfully small severance package with little time for my husband to find a new job. We’ve been through this before when another company closed their doors as well.  Thankfully that employer was gracious and helped us until we were on our feet again.

Somehow I don’t think Target will be so generous.  They laid off thousands in Canada when they failed up there and more recently laid off close to 2000 more at their corporate head quarters.  It is a time of slashing and burning — it seems no one is safe.

So how do we respond?

  • We need to stay steady.  Even though Target has let us down and they have let us down mightily, we as a family need to pull together, stand tall and strong and not let our circumstances dictate our well being.
  • We must put our trust in God.  He has been faithful in our past, he will be faithful in our present and he will be faithful  in our future too.
  • We need to count our blessings and never lose sight of the wonderment and joy this life brings.
  • We need to remain full of hope.  Hope chases away darkness and brings delight back into even the hardest days.
  • We need to stay determined. Determined to walk this out well.  Determined to not give up.  Determined to get to the other side allowing our character to be more refined and our faith more rooted in the Lord.
  • We need to forgive the bozo’s at Target who have made these horrible decisions and get to a place where we can sincerely pray for them.  Obviously, I have a lot of work to do in this area.  ;0)  Forgiveness opens the heart deepest places to be healed.  I don’t want resentment to build up — I want to remain soft hearted and filled with compassion.
  • We need to protect our kids from this and allow them to remain innocent from carrying this burden for as long as possible.  So…if you know them…please don’t say anything. 

We have a lot of work to do in the coming days.  The first thing I’m doing today is posting a board in our family room where we list anything and everything we are thankful to God for.  When our focus is on him, everything else begins to fall into place.

We also need prayers for job leads and for the right job as well as for provisions along the way. Would you pray for those things?  It is going to be a journey of faith until we see how God unfolds his plan for our family and your prayers will sustain us along the way!

I now I close remembering 2 Corinthians 4:8,9

We are pressed on every side, but we still have room to move. We are often in much trouble, but we never give up. 9 People make it hard for us, but we are not left alone. We are knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

God is with us and no matter the circumstance, he will indeed get us through!

My love,

Nancy

How to find joy again…

Yesterday, I wrote about how I experience times of discouragement/depression post my brain injury.  It is just part of my life now and I’m learning how to function through the fog until it lifts.  Each time I go through a cycle of being down, I learn something that helps me stay a little more afloat.  In response to yesterdays blog I received a few emails asking how I manage through these more difficult times.  I thought I’d share a few thoughts here.

august-3Discouragement and depression beckon that there is no hope and that nothing could possibly turn around.  While those feeling may indeed be strong, I do not have to live as a slave to them.  I have the ability to rule my thoughts and choose well.  Even when I’m down I make the choice to put my trust in God.  That is the biggest burden lifter of all.  He’s proven himself faithful in the past, will be faithful in the present and undoubtedly in the future too.

82f3ec8e43a1a0ce40b0d43bef101006Yesterday, as James left school he had a huge smile on his face.  When he jumped in the car I chose to greet him with a smile and ask about his day.  He looked at me with his big innocent eyes filled with excitement and said, “I made some real traction today….A girl called me hot!”.    Choosing to see, hear and engage with others and focus on the simple pleasures of the day instead of ourselves, will bring light in darkness and laughter in the midst of sadness.

pinnaclequote12Depression seeks to stop you from moving.  It works to entrap you in a life without joy.  Continuing to move forward with plans, keeping up with the kids needs and not isolating myself is really important.  When I get stuck and feel as though I can’t move forward, I stay steady on course and connect with those who love me and understand my more fragile state.

shame-652499_640There is no shame in being fragile.  There is no shame in being vulnerable.  There is no shame in needing support.  There is no shame if you deal with depression, discouragement, or sadness.  Even though you may not feel it, you are wonderfully made and incredibly valued.  Kick shame to the curb and give yourself the compassion and understanding you would grant anyone else who is in your shoes.

indexjjjSome people journal and I choose to blog.  Find a way to record your thoughts and feelings and then, when its a hard day, go back and read through some of the times when you have overcome or made it through a difficult time.  Bring times of joy to your remembrance and don’t let them go.  Cherish them, hold them tight and take the risk of believing your joy will return again!

1c08454aff454c0160a7a1e322d02e3bWhen I am down and discouraged I can easily fall into a cycle of beating myself up.  That is not a healthy cycle anytime of life – let alone when I’m discouraged.  If you are struggling with depression be kind to yourself.  Honor your journey and know you are perfectly OK where you are.  There is no need to hide, and certainly no need to fake it.  Be present, be kind and allow God’s mercy to overflow.

These are just a few of things I’ve learned that have helped me.  More than anything, the knowledge of God’s love is my greatest help.  Still, though, choosing to see the simple pleasures of the day, staying steady on course, kicking shame to the curb, bringing times where I did indeed overcome and being kind to myself lifts the darkness and restores hope.

Depression is real. It does not have to rule us though.  Day by day, moment by moment.  Small victory or large break through the journey through this life is good and together, accompanied with God’s love and mercy,  we can find joy again!