Tag Archive | depression

After The Storm

There is a quiet these days.  Each morning I wake up and its not like the mornings of years past but its not like the mornings of months past either.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed with the Father’s love, or being tormented with fear (which has been the case), I feel–quiet.  I feel stillness.  I feel a victory from overcoming this season and an encouragement to keep moving forward.

I’ve been writing a lot lately.  Not on this here blog, but on my laptop, with the cat, under my fleece.  My roommate has been so gracious to listen each evening as I share the short story I’ve been working on.  She is so affirming.  A fellow writer and with much more experience, her compliments and feedback hold even greater weight.  This story I’m writing (which is actually almost complete) brings me such joy.  There are some prophetic elements to it as well which has been very interesting.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share more on that in the future.  I’m reminded that a while back Jesus told me to fight for joy.  He said, You need to find things in life that give you joy.  A naturally melancholic personality, this didn’t come easy.  But we can do all things through Christ and I have learned (am still learning) the art of joy. 

Writing brings me joy.

My bestie visited me recently and we stayed up ’til 4am.  I haven’t done that in YEARS.  We reminisced on college days, when we were just teenagers and in love with Jesus.  Now we are in our 30s.  She’s a mom and a divorcée.  I’m an author, still single with no children.  We have come a long way.  “We are the best of the best” I told her.  And I meant it.  I believe God desires His best to be manifested in our lives.  And I believe that best can only be manifested if we stick with the path He created for each of us.

She and I have stuck with that path.

It has not been easy.  Anyone reading this blog sees clearly my ups and downs, but always He sustains me.

Writing my short story shows me how the author uses circumstances and people  to get the protagonist to where she is going.  I’m sure that’s how the Father is when He writes our story.  He puts people and situations in our lives, ultimately to bring out the person He created before the fall.  Before the womb.  Before the dysfunction.

There was a period of time where I was shocked by the storm.  Shocked by the darkness.  Now looking back, I can see that it was just a shadow, it was not death itself.  If it were death it would have taken me out.  I thought it almost did, and maybe it almost did but I know to Him, it was just a shadow.

Now that I’m on the other side (still fighting of course) I can see I was bigger than that storm.

And I wouldn’t be a better version of myself had I not gone through it.

I pray the same for you.

A few things that bring me joy…


SHALOM

Getting Older

 

Young-woman-wearing-a-blue-shirt-looking-up-into-the-sky-e1427113420798

People have been asking me what I’m planning for the big 3-4.  I honestly have no plans.  My emotions have been up and down (ok, mostly down) about the upcoming event and I don’t know how I will feel when it gets here.  Will I have a series of bursts of energy and strength that I’ve often experienced when the enemy has tried to come up against me?  Or, will I give in to the quiet stillness of my soul that has marked this season with Christ? 

I told my friend recently that I’m allowing myself to experience both.  I’m allowing myself to be grateful for the ground the Father and I have gained together, the victories and the wholeness He has created.  And also, I’m allowing myself the disappointment, confusion and frustration at the waiting.  I’m a numbers person and I do believe I am supposed to be, working in Accounting and all.  I believe numbers mean a lot to God as well.  He taught me a lot a few years ago just how important they were.  What I learned then was that His ways are not our ways.  His view is not ours and often He wants us to come up higher to see things from His perspective.  For a while there I was seeing but then the darkness came and I found myself lost, questioning very foundational truths that had guided me these 15 years.  I was tormented with fear and anxiety and I didn’t have time to think about singleness, I was just trying to choose life.  But I did choose and one day at a time I made it to where I am now: more soundness of mind.  More peace.  More grace.  Now that I’m here, singleness is a focus again.  I honestly never thought it would be this long.  I don’t disagree with the Master’s hand and plan.  I know without a shadow of a doubt His way, His timing is best.  But I need to process the fact that his timing is longer than I imagined.

For most of my journey I felt a security in my future.  I felt confident of His path.  Much of that confidence stemmed from my emotions and feelings; the perks of being less mature in the faith I suppose.  But now He has said I am more mature and He has treated me as such.  Instead of doing things for me He is teaching me to do them for myself. That’s been a paradigm shift.  One I haven’t welcomed freely.

The Father has been faithful in all things.  He has made promises and I have no doubt He will deliver.  But there is a process involved before the manifestation of those promises.

Psalm 105:19

Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.

Like Joseph my friends and I know this testing.  We have each encountered our own paths of being formed by the Master’s hand and we have overcome many things.  But it seems no matter how many victories I’ve experienced, the next level is even more fierce than the last.  I believe this to be true with marriage.  I believe the tests will get more difficult and that is why the process in singleness is so needed, to create a sturdy foundation.

I am a blessed woman.  God is faithful and my cup runs over.  But I am still waiting and I did not know the wait would be this long.

The process this thorough.

The mountain this steep.

SHALOM

Giant Slayer

I remember at the beginning of this very difficult season Holy Spirit said “fight!” and I responded “I don’t want to”.  I’m usually honest in my responses to Him because that’s what happens when you have a close relationship with someone.  And He already knows my heart anyway so there’s no reason to dabble in pretense.  He was telling me I would need to walk out this season and I knew it was going to entail some horrors that I did not want to face.  And that I would feel so very alone when facing them.  But I made my decision long ago to follow Him so even though I said, “I don’t want to” that didn’t mean I wouldn’t.  It just meant that I was once again choosing to do things His way over my own.

The real reason I didn’t want to was because I didn’t trust Him and I didn’t trust myself.  Though we had been through many battles and I had seen victory every time I knew this particular battle would be a doozy and I was tired of the fight.  I wanted to rest.  But recently I heard a sermon where the minister advised that when you are called and chosen there is usually one thing after another that is going to come up against you.  I don’t like to have that view because it seems so negative but I couldn’t refute the fact that this was what had been happening in my journey: one thing after another.

Well, I have experienced much victory in this season though I am still walking it out, and upon reflection I can see that the Father was confident that I would be able to slay this giant when He called me to fight it.  He was confident because He knows who I am eternally.  Whereas I was insecure and fearful because I knew my weaknesses.

I remember a scene from “Hook” where Robin Williams who is Peter Pan, is standing in front of the lost boys and his competition Rufio opposes him.  Robin doesn’t remember he is Peter Pan.  He thinks he’s this old man who lives for his work and doesn’t spend enough time with his children.  Instead he is the leader of a group of zealous, bright boys who seek adventures, fly and fight pirates.  So Rufio says for all who think he’s Peter Pan to stand on one side of the room and all the lost boys go to that side.  Well, Peter starts to go to that side too because he himself doesn’t believe!  But Tink brings him back to the other side and eventually one of the boys convinces the rest that he is really The Peter Pan.  Well, I see myself in that moment of confusion over identity that Robin displays.  I didn’t see myself as being a slayer of a giant of this magnitude.  I started to go to the side of the room with the rest of my naysayers.  But God (symbolized as Tink in this analogy) pulled me back to the right side.

And I’m glad He did.

I was right about the horror and the darkness.  I was even right about my own weaknesses.  But I forgot about His strength in me.  I forgot that He who is in me is greater than He who is the world.

I am thankful that He promises in His Word victory every time (2 Cor 2:14).  It may not look the way we thought it would or come about in the time frame we desired, but it is promised.

No matter how great the giant, He who is in you is greater.

You were created in His image and nothing can conquer the Creator.

 

SHALOM

When Life Looks Different

Can I be honest with you?  Because I’d like to.  It is my hope that this little blog brings hope and causes people to grow closer to God, but it is also my hope that I am transparent.

When I was 19 years old something or rather, Someone got a hold of me.  I was taught about God at a very young age and feel that I had a relationship with Him.  Back then it was like God and I were in the same house but He was in the attic and I was in the basement.  He was around (somewhere) and I had access to Him but there was still distance.  And then something happened.  I was away at school and dealing with depression, only I didn’t know I was depressed.  A faculty member actually told me I was.  That same faculty member told me to join a gospel choir.  I didn’t know it but God was speaking through him.  In many ways I think that faculty member saved my life.  At the very least he introduced me to life.  Singing in the gospel choir ignited something in me and it was the perfect outlet for two very great passions I had: God and music.  And then something else happened.  Someone in the choir announced a weekly Bible Study they were having.  I went and my life was never the same.  After that God and I were no longer separated by walls and floors. We were standing in the same room, Face to face, talking, like you would a close friend.

And then we were lovers.

And I couldn’t get enough of His love.

Anything He asked me to do I would because He had my heart.  I was passionate and zealous and quite verbal about my experience and He put people in my life who shared that passion.  We were on fire.  That fire lasted and did not go out.  Not even through the darkest of storms.  And there were storms.  There were times the enemy tried to “gut me out” I believe were the prophet’s words.  There were times the unthinkable happened over and over again.  But still, He kept me standing, and used the hard things to be a testimony.


Life looks different now then I thought it would as that young, zealous, passionate teenager.  I’m a planner so I had my life planned out a few different ways.  I was going to marry the man who broke my heart.  Then I was going to be a missionary and spread the gospel all over the world.  Then I was going to climb the corporate ladder and make my way to the top of a Fortune 500 company.  But all of those plans failed.  Instead His purpose prevailed.

Proverbs 19:21

His purpose consisted of several seasons of unemployment, several years of downtime and walking out nearly 12 years of singleness after declining several marriage proposals.  His plan included becoming a local author and publishing 2 books, obtaining an MBA in Accounting and simultaneously growing as a business woman and writer.

I realize now as I near the big 3-4 I cannot control my life.  I can make choices and I can lay down my choice for His but I do not have control.  A  long time ago I chose His way, His will, b/c I had seen something I couldn’t resist.

I had seen Love.

Love in its finest fashion.  And that love caused me to count it all dung.

I am still counting.

Most days it is a painful counting in this season of waiting but I can’t help but think about those early days and have hope that eventually the reward, whether it be earthly or heavenly, will come.

If you haven’t yet checked out my youtube channel you may be interested in the latest video “Trading Your Dream for God’s”.


AND if you’re in the area…don’t miss this!!! 

SHALOM

 

Keep Living

This week was full of both rest and fun.  Rest because I had 5 days off work (3 of those PTO) and fun because many days were spent with really good people.  For Thanksgiving my mom and I went out to eat.  Normally one of us cooks (usually her) but this time she wanted something different.  After dinner we treated ourselves to a movie and then met her friends for bowling.  It was a full day and I was thoroughly stuffed.  Then Friday I had some alone time.  I went shopping on Black Friday at my favorite mall and marveled at the crowds.  Still, it was nice to be around so many yet be “alone”.  What can I say, it is the introvert in me that appreciates such an occurrence…Later on I relaxed with a 90s flick, only to meet up with a good friend for a latte at Starbucks.  I enjoyed a grande and even a chocolate chip muffin.  Then Sunday my friend and I made our way to the Browns’ game.  I will admit I have lived here over 10 years and have never been to a game!  Lucky me the tickets were free, the weather was nice and our seats were phenomenal.  It hardly mattered we didn’t win.  We had fun anyway…


But even in the midst of all these blessings I would be dishonest to say this holiday was not without its own difficulties.  The lack of family was evident for me while watching my mom’s friend’s daughter and her fiancé interact.  I glanced at her ring once or twice and stuffed down the never-ending longings…There were moments I was home alone when I really didn’t want to be.  Instead I wanted people, I wanted companionship, I wanted love.  But as I told my friend last night on the phone, even with all the people who do love me, they will still choose family over friendship.  It is natural.  God does set the lonely in families, but I often wonder, when will He not need to?  When will I have my own?…

The holidays are here and they are festive.  They are a mixture of fun and rest.  They are a mixture of enjoyment and lonelineness.  That is life.  The movie my mom and I saw had a character who was facing a divorce.  She was freaking out and said “What will I do now?”  My mom replied at the large screen in front of us, “Keep living”.  She was right.

One thing I have learned in this season is the importance of resilience and the ability to keep moving forward.  Someone near you dies?  You keep living.  You lose your job?  Keep living.  Depression hits?  Keep living.

It has been a year where I have practiced this concept to “keep living”.  It has been the fastest year of my life.  There were nights I didn’t think I would get through, but I am here.  And you are too.  And that means there is a hope for the future.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

And what a lovely future it must be…

SHALOM

 

The Job Season

If there is one character in the Bible I never wanted to relate to it is Job. I mean seriously, that man went through everything under the sun! He lost it all and then had the nerve to worship right after he did! Talk about FAITHFUL. I have said I wanted my life partner to have his heart and character, but I didn’t think about how I myself would need the same to compliment him LOL. 

Although I can’t say my life has been so greatly impacted as the life of Job (thank You Lord) I know the Father calls this a “Job season” for me. 

It is a suffering season.  

As with Job there is much mental and emotional pain. There is the absence of God’s voice (in the way I’m used to Him speaking) and presence. There is the facing of my deepest fears, day in, day out. And there is an endurance that needs to be cultivated because the season is relentless.But even with all of its challenges I know there are still boundaries on this thing. With all that Job went through the enemy was not allowed to kill him. There were still limitations and I see that in my own life. God continues to move forward and open doors and manifest His plans. 

Even if He doesn’t manifest His presence.

I hesitated in sharing because I always want to encourage my readers to fight the good fight, but Im sure there is encouragement in knowing that those of you going through a dark season, are not alone. 

I wrote a journal entry I would like to share. Feel free to substitute your name for mine. Know that His Word and promises over your life WILL come to pass. And just as with Job, your suffering will end and you will come out better than before:

Nicole, this is only a season. I am maturing you. I have manifested Myself and My love to you so much to prepare you for this season and seasons to come. I am developing you. Count it all joy when you are tested because when you come out you will be better. Anxiety and fear is something you were functioning in throughout Our relationship and I do not want that. I want a better relationship with you. I want you to function from my love w/o fear in Our relationship. You are breaking strongholds. You are breaking generational curses and that takes time. You are not alone though you feel that you are often. I am with you but I am moving in a way that is different than I have moved with you in the past. That is because I am teaching you something. I am developing you and when you get to the other side so much of this will make sense. You will get to the other side because My word promises you that; I will complete the work, I will perfect that which concerns you, I will never leave you nor forsake you. My Word does not return void. Lean on My Word. I have given you My Word and your testimony. I have given you sound teaching and a community to demonstrate my unconditional love for you to aid you in this season.

You are in a Job season. You are in a suffering season but you are already coming out. I have already given you the victory and I set up your life so that you would overcome in this season at this time. When you overcome, you will be more equipped to help others. You will be more empathetic and humble. You will be more effective for the kingdom.  SHALOM