Tag Archive | mental health

Overcoming Anxiety (Poem)


I can’t believe it’s been a year.

More than a year.

I have to remember the tingling in my mind.

The needles in my brain.

Stabbing.

Stabbing.

Giving me no peace.

No rest.

No time to be.

There was a hand gripping my heart.

A very large hand, and I woke up in the middle of the night

Only to see night

Struggling to see Light.

It was gone. Overshadowed by darkness and pain. He was gone.

“How could You forsake me”? I cried. And cried.

My tears went unanswered.

My fears kept demanding attention.

Implanted there by white men who enslaved my people with chains and whipped them with whips ‘til the skin peeled off their backs.

Nobody had their backs.

Nobody spoke their language.

I couldn’t have made it at the bottom of that ship because just the fear I was experiencing was only a portion of what they went through.

Just the awful grotesque darkness that invaded me for weeks

And months

And more than a year, almost drove me to suicide.

Because a person needs their mind.

A person needs a sense of identity.

And when they don’t have that, then who are they?

Who are they but a wondering soul waiting for each day to bring them truth.

One day rolled into the next.

And I realized that if God keeps waking me up there must be a purpose.

There must be a reason.

He stood there–distantly–guiding me with His eye, showing me the way.

His way.

I trusted in His way because it had never let me down.

I sat down.

Peace in my mind.

Hope in my heart.

Love in my members.

I sat down, resting in that place and I had to be reminded of the needles in my mind. They threatened me with intensity and my propensity to give in to fear-lessened.

Just like the demoniac, I was touched.

Slowly.

Quietly.

In a way I didn’t want, but a way that needed to be.

I was free.

SHALOM

Lessons In The Dry Season

Its an interesting thing when your relationship with God changes. Well maybe interesting isnt the most accurate word to describe it. At least not for me. As is my normal this transition/change in season was pretty traumatic/dramatic. I did not understand the silence and the still small voice. I did not understand how after nearly 15 years of the very loud voice could God switch to a whisper? How could it be that for so long we spoke face to face then all of a sudden it seemed He hid His face from me? But I came across an old journal entry that confirmed what I already knew.

This was a “dry season”.
‭‭Amos‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”

I never even knew that scripture existed (except for the fact that I found it in an old journal) but it so captures this season for me. I feel He has been diligent to send His word indirectly to me through circumstances and people but not directly.  This has been weird since there has been nothing indirect about my relationship with God since I surrendered to Him as a teenager.

Over and over I have struggled with believing in His presence when I cannot feel His presence. How can He be here if I do not feel Him? I kept wondering. And then this morning while listening to a favorite minister the Word of the Lord came (as it has so often) through him. He shared that when we think God is not there simply because we do not hear Him our thinking is rooted in pride. Ouch.  He said that God’s response to this thinking was similar to when He responded to Job…

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”

I realized my struggle comes down to a false belief of knowing. So often our gift can also be a weakness. Because He has chosen to operate with me in “knowing” so often I have mistaken that to mean He has told me “all” when in fact it has only been some. We see in part and we know in part.

The dry season is not a “fun” season. It doesn’t have the emotional high of intimacy that I’m used to. It doesn’t have the spiritual songs birthed out of those quiet times or the prophetic dreams telling of things to come.  But what it does have is the power to develop me mentally and make me more stable emotionally.  And for that I am grateful.

In my journal 12 years ago I wrote that the dry season is a good season because things catch on fire when they are dry.

I look forward to being on fire…

In other news, if you’re struggling with communication in relationships and would like some tips check out my latest YouTube!

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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

 

Learning Resilience, Getting Unstuck

woman-looking-up

Can I share something with you? I tend to get “stuck”.  This is something I didn’t realize about myself until this season but it’s true.  I get stuck on songs.  My roommate can attest to this as I will put a song on repeat in a minute!  I LOVE listening to the same song over and over!  I’m doing it now.  I’m having a hard time getting through the whole Hillsong United album because I’m stuck on “Prince of Peace” & “Scandal of Grace”.  But in general getting stuck on a song is not necessarily a bad thing.  It actually can serve as great background music when you’re studying for an exam or writing a book.  That’s my experience anyway.  But getting stuck on thoughts, well, that’s another story.  You see I tend to get stuck on thoughts too.  And maybe if they were super happy memories like my grandmother taking me to the amusement park or my best friends showering their love on me during a road trip or other excursion that would be great.  But no, these thoughts tend to be negative and even dark.  They are a constant temptation that I give into more often than I resist and before this season I just lived with it.  I barely recognized it.  Then God said it was time to address those negative thoughts.

“You need resilience”, He said.  I remember years ago He said I needed endurance.  Then I waited several years for a spouse, ran a half marathon and waited years to move on in my career.  I’m pretty sure I have that endurance now.  Then I remember He said He was giving me discipline.  I obtained that Masters degree in Accounting and that involved a lot of discipline.  It involved a lot of faith too because I was really bad at Accounting in undergrad!  But now He says I need resilience.  I need resilience not just in recovering from toxic thinking but recovering from toxic relationships.

My friend was sharing with me a little while ago about a sermon she heard about David. The minister shared that while David’s child was ill David prayed and fasted and wept before the Lord.  He cried out and interceded and pleaded that his child would live.  But then his child died.  And instead of continuing in mourning, David got up and ordered his servants to feed him.  They marveled because others would now grieve but David did the opposite.

David understood something.  He understood the times to weep and the times to count your losses and move forward.

I have not understood that. I have wept and wept and wept.  I have grieved and grieved and grieved.  But now I am learning, there is a time to move on.

There is a time to realize that the past is the past and though it was good, the present and the future can actually be even better.

I am learning resilience. I am learning to count my losses and keep it moving.  I am learning to believe that the future is full of prosperity and peace and beauty.

I am learning that my present is full of all those things too.

My friend and I at a family gathering…

kennei-and-i

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

When Joy Looks Different

It’s interesting how this spiritual journey demonstrates many contradictions. Those who lose their life will gain it. Those who come in last will be first. And those who are going through really hard things should count it all joy…  
I remember when this scripture first came alive to me. I had my first heartbreak and my whole world was crumbling around me. My very serious, committed relationship ended in betrayal. How could this be a joyful time???

But in many ways it was. I had supernatural PEACE, and LOVE, and STRENGTH. I made it through the storm and it worked for my good. In fact, I learned how to worship through the storm. But years have gone by and though the victories have been great the tests have gotten harder. I don’t have those manifestations of PEACE, LOVE, & STRENGTH. Instead His love, God’s love, is shown through my community. It is in the visit of a longterm friend, the daily text messages from my family and the understanding of those who share in my pain.    I don’t have those manifestations and that’s hard for me. The girl who came to Jesus through dreams, signs and wonders. Who equates His love with feelings. But that is the test. I must know that love, real love, is not conditional. It’s not given and taken away based on our behavior. Instead, it is steady, sure, & faithful. It is wrapped in His Word which is eternal and says,

 “I will never leave you or forsake you”.

I don’t have those manifestations I’m so used to in this season, but I have His Word. And I have His people. And I have my past memories that testify over and over and over of His goodness.

I count it all joy because there is still joy in hard seasons when He is with you in them.    SHALOM

Mind Over Matter

Yesterday the fam and I went to Cedar Point. It’s been a ritual that my mom and I would go every summer since she gets free tickets through her job but we had some extra special guests this time: my high school BFF and her niece. Now when I was a kid I LOVED roller coasters!!! My gramma and I would hit every ride when she took me to the amusement park and those were some of my happiest memories. My mom and I would do the same. But something changed these last few years and the idea of a little cart with a little belt barely strapping you in while zooming 100 mph for several minutes flipping and dipping you 100s of feet in the air, well, it seemed less appealing. Basically I had fallen out of love with roller coasters.  I no longer liked being afraid. 

There is something in most people that causes them to like fear. That’s why scary movies are popular and the lines at Cedar Point are an hour long wait on a good day. But dealing with fear on a supernatural level has removed the taste of a quick thrill and I was not ashamed in admitting that to myself! However I know how much these times together mean to my mom so I muster up the courage and go along for the ride (literally). A couple of years ago there was a specific ride that God used to speak to me. He talked to me about trusting Him and though I had no control and did not feel secure, trusting the journey I was on allowed me to enjoy it more. Well I was looking forward to that ride but what I found once we road it was that it no longer posed the challenge it once had. I had “conquered” the ride. Because I had mentally found a way to cope with the momentary thrill and fear while riding it it no longer posed a threat. I was both happy and dissapointed with this realization. But then something new happened.  Instead of hitting all of our “normal” rides my mom wanted to try a different, scarier ride.  I was so caught off guard by the routine being broken that it took me a minute to compose myself.  I looked up at this huge machine that was going literally faster than any coaster I’ve ever been on and knew one thing was certain: I did not want to ride this ride!!! But the group wanted to ride this ride and these 10-year-old girls were in line to ride this ride so how could I seriously back out?! So I practiced what I learned by riding the easier rides and focused on controlling my thoughts. Instead of dwelling on the speed, screams of the riders, and every intimidating factor about this ride I told myself it was “no big deal”.  I said “It will be over in seconds.”  I counted the number of times it completed a cycle and said “I just have to loop 4 times”.  I basically practiced mind over matter.  And you know what? It worked.  At every “scary” ride I did this and as a result I actually started having a good time! I was no longer afraid! 

Sometimes the very things and situations we are in seem life threatening.  We are intimadated or bullied into believing they are greater than they really are, but that is all in our perception.  If we believe fear we will be needlessly afraid because fear is only a response to our thoughts. 

But if we dismantle the bully, take apart its strengths and focus on its weaknesses we will see how to defeat our enemy.  As we practice controlling our thoughts all of a sudden we become stronger and our perception is more accurate. That thing was not here to “take us out” as we originally thought. It was actually here to make us better.

Me and the fam… 

 
 SHALOM!