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Fighting Back

older woman prayingFighting Back

I was diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD years ago. While they tried every antidepressant they could, they never actually helped with the depression, they just numbed me. I walked around like a zombie, not feeling much of anything. I didn’t feel joy, love, hate, or any of those emotions. I guess the best way to describe it is that I felt indifferent to everything around me. I had no opinions, I had no goals, I had not ambition to do anything.

Taking these drugs I was drowsy all the time. I fell asleep on the bus on the way to work, I fell asleep in front of the television, I even fell asleep in church, all the time, not because the sermon was dull, but because this is what those medicines do to you. My metabolism slowed down, I craved sweets, I didn’t eat right and I gained weight. These medications encouraged me to let my health go.

We are human and being that we often try to do everything by ourselves before we ask God for help. I thought I had my depression under control and that’s when Satan started shooting more arrows at me. I lost my job, I became disabled, then my step father passed away. Two years ago my only child died, seven months later my sister passed away. I finally realized recently that I was more depressed over these events than I led others to believe, more depressed than I thought I was.

I would get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and if we didn’t have to go to the hospital for infusion, I would sit in front of the computer, scrolling through the news, scrolling through Social Media, maybe writing an article once in awhile. Before I realized the hours had passed and it was time for the main meal of the day.

I would make myself do the normal chores like making the beds, picking up clutter around the house, doing the laundry and doing the dishes. But that was where it all ended. I had no desire to do any of the things I used to like to do, like organizing everything, crocheting, sewing, container gardening and “writing”. I would sometimes lay down 4 hours after I got up, or after lunch and would sleep for 2-4 hours.

I tried exercising, the ones that I can do without stressing the conditions that I have. That would last for a day or two and then it might be a week or more before I would even try again. I tried eating healthier meals and again that would last for a day or two and then it would be go grab a piece of lunch-meat and cheese or a danish and that would be my main course.

In the evening I would scroll through social media, trying to focus on other peoples problems and pray for them, assuming that getting outside my own concerns and worrying more about others would help me and sometimes it did. Then I would play games until I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I didn’t even play them to win or get to the next level. I just sat there moving objects around until I ran out of lives and then I would go to the next game.

I noticed a change in my attitude. Even though I wouldn’t voice out loud what I was feeling because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I still felt agitated at certain points. Something as simple as someone taking up too many minutes talking to us in Walmart parking lot would start to irritate me. I found myself becoming argumentative with others, something that I didn’t used to do.

I had a very long talk with God last night. I told how ashamed I felt of the way I have been acting for many months now. I asked him to forgive me for becoming lethargic, lazy, lukewarm. I told him I needed his strength, I needed to know he was still there for me, he still loved me and I definitely needed his guidance. The person I was becoming wasn’t me, wasn’t the person I desired to be. I told him I needed him to help me fight back.

It is so easy to fall into the traps that Satan sets for us. He uses one unpleasant incident or a string of incidents to encourage us to fall away from what and who we are supposed to be. God has a plan for everyone, no matter how young, how old, or decrepit or how physically strong we might be. He doesn’t always tell us what that plan is but the only way we can complete what he wants done is to cling to him, have faith in him, recognize the snares that are put in our way and cling to that joy, that redemption, that love and that eternal life that he alone can give us.

But through the grace of God, through his love, through having a relationship with him I have decided that “I AM FIGHTING BACK”.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

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Water Under the Bridge

bridgesWater Under the Bridge

Life is a long, winding road of experiences, some bad, some good and some just so-so. Satan uses every way he can find to destroy the believers in Christ. He is not omnipotent or omnipresent like God is, so he isn’t everywhere at the same time, but remember that he took 1/3 of the angels with him when he was thrown out of heaven. That’s how he is able to attack so many people. Not only does that 1/3 go around spying on Jesus children but also facilitates some of the actions taken against them on behalf of the King of Liars.

So when you are going through something, Jesus did say there would be trials and tribulations, Satan knows just how to attack you. He may heap more problems on you that it seems you can’t solve any of them because they are coming so quickly. He may use events that happened to you in your past. He will put something in your path that will remind you of terrible times you went through. He will bring to mind the people who may have hurt you or deserted you in a time of need.

You may suddenly have a dream about a person who insulted you, berated you, lied about you, gossiped about you, tortured you physically or mentally or both. The hurt and the hatred find their way to the front of your mind and you wake up feeling like your dreams beat you up. You may keep that dream in your head for days, letting it fill you with pain, hatred, sadness and thoughts of revenge.

He will take the mistakes that you made and throw them in your face, just out of nowhere. Suddenly all the guilt over the things you did wrong overwhelms you and you start to regret everything you did, every mistake you made, even though you know Jesus has forgiven you. He will fill you with sadness, guilt and regret. He will use your sorrow over the loss of loved ones to make you feel like you didn’t do enough for them.

I’ve been through this several times in my life. I suffer from PTSD and Chronic Depression over one level of my life that lasted almost twenty years. I have dreams that frighten me, even though my abuser is nowhere near me and is not a person I include in my present life. I will feel trapped in the dream, like I can’t get away, there is no escape.

But over the years, with the help of the lord I have been able to wake myself from these dreams. Thankfully now, as I push those memories from my mind, the dreams are farther apart. And when he attacks me with my failures and mistakes, I remind myself that all of that was washed away the day that I went to Jesus, asked forgiveness of my sins and started living with him in my heart.

After all, it is all water under the bridge. It has flowed away with time and we can do nothing about the past except allow the current to carry it away. I Pray today that many of you will find peace about the past as you realize it is only “Water under the Bridge.”

Philippians 3:13-14 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

1 John: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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“It’s Never Too Late” is a Falsehood

expiredOver the years I’ve heard many different ideas and opinions on God. I heard or read somewhere that a lot of people believe that when a child is born he has known God, that he knows heaven but as that child develops, within the first year of his or her life, those memories soon disappear as they are replaced with the events in their environment, the people around them, raising them, influencing them such as parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, teachers, preachers and even other children.

I’ve often wondered why God doesn’t let us retain that memory, why we have to lose it and face this failing world and all the trials and tribulations that come with living in it. Why must we start from the beginning, learning about him, sometimes later in life after we have traveled down various and sometimes dangerous roads, making mistakes, getting hurt, maybe abused, maybe getting into things we shouldn’t have, possibly destroying our minds and bodies on those trips down different paths.

Some people believe we are born with an ingrained concept of right and wrong, good and evil, and yet we stray from that ingrained knowledge as we get older, influenced possibly by non-believers or those who have chosen the destructive paths in lives. We are, in the beginning products of our environment and often carry that environment with us into our adult lives. Children learn from repetition and example. What they see, hear and feel as they grow up can, a lot of the time, determine what they will be as they get older.

Some things are forced on us by others but often we just want to fit it, want to be part of the crowd, want to belong and because of that we push back that knowledge of right and wrong, feeling that just this one time won’t matter. It is later that we might realize we joined the wrong crowd or person(s) to fit in with. Often times it is hard to get out of those crowds or away from those people, and some never make it out.

I always had a sense of right and wrong. I never went out of my way to hurt people, but there was a time when my heart was hardened and I did and said what I believed would ensure my survival at the time. Sadly I have said things to people in my early life that I regret to this day. I took out, verbally on others the frustration, hate, and yes fear of my own situation on them because I couldn’t let my voice be heard in front of those I feared.

I often regret that God didn’t call to me until later in my life, in my late 30’s and early 40’s, but when he did, when I stopped and listened, he opened my mind, he softened my heart, and gave me an desire to learn more. I am thankful that he did call me but I often think of how I missed sharing him with so many people from in my past

He has taught me so much since I became a Christian and I am sometimes sadden that I didn’t have that knowledge when I was much younger. I have to remind myself that his ways are not our ways and that he has his reasons for allowing our lives to take certain paths.

My only wish is that now that I know him, that he will still give me many more years to share his love, his plan of salvation, his daily blessings and allow me to be a blessing to as many as is possible until the day he decides it’s time for me to come home.

Do you know him? To know him is the ultimate experience in this life. No earthly device, no man made convenience can ever equal what he has to offer us. Do you want this experience? It’s simple. You don’t need to go to a church, you don’t need to wait for someone to lead you in prayer.

You can speak to him yourself at any time, anywhere and in private. Just ask him and he will be there. Just tell him you realize all you’ve done wrong and ask his forgiveness,ask him to come into your life and guide you on the rest of your life in what he would have you do, then go out and share his love.

Not everyone is called to teach or preach. You can be a living example to others, showing his love, his mercy, his forgiveness and his kindness. And when someone asks how you can be so happy in a world that is dangerously close to destroying itself, tell them the truth. Tell it is because you have Jesus and suggest that they might want to meet him too.

You’ll know what to do and what to say for the Holy spirit will guide you. You will still suffer while here on earth but you will enjoy eternal life without pain, sickness, grief or suffering forever when he call his children home and maybe you will bring some other lost souls with you.

The saying “it’s never too late” is a falsehood. He’s coming back and it may be real soon and if you haven’t made the right decision by then “IT WILL BE TOO LATE.”

Isaiah 55: 6″Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.”

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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The “What If” Stage

question markThe “What If” Stage

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have found solutions, or what to say after the fact. We all go through this. We rethink something over again and again, and then maybe years later it pops into our mind “What if I had said this” or “ I should have done this” or “If maybe if I had done it this way or said it that way”.

Unfortunately we cannot turn back time. Life is a long line of learning experiences, some that we can use later on as life goes on and some we can share with others that may help them before they make the same mistakes we did.

I have so many friends that have lost loved ones lately and my heart hurts for them because I know they are going through the “what if” stage right now. Rethinking everything they ever did for or with that loved one and everything they ever said to them, wondering if they missed something a long the way that might have kept them here longer.

It just doesn’t work like that, oh I how I wish it did. I went through that phase with Ken when he passed away, looking for that one thing that I might have missed that might have kept him here longer, but I could not find anything even though I was certain that I missed something.

I did it with my son and sister within the last two years. Wondering if something I said or did could have changed the road my son chose to go down or maybe there was something I missed saying to my sis that would have changed her mind about getting an operation that she knew she needed.

We can’t change the past. We can only learn from it. There are a few hard facts we have to face. First, we cannot live someones life for them, they have to live it themselves and sometimes no matter what we say or do for them, it doesn’t turn out right. The other one is that we are not perfect. We don’t come into this world knowing everything and we don’t go out of it knowing everything. The major hard fact that we have to realize is that we are not God. His ways are not our ways and everything is in his hands.

I thank god for helping me through the “what if” stages for it is a tool the devil likes to use. He wants us to feel guilty. He wants us to believe that no matter what we do, we fail and will never be forgiven and will never see the Glory of God. He would have us believe that when a loved one dies, it has to have been because of our neglect, it had to have been our fault.

Rest easy in the loving hands of the Lord. He tells us we will never be perfect and he tells us our sins are forgiven if we come to him in true repentance. I know I will go through many more “what if” stages before I go home to God, but I have his guarantee that he is still in control, not just with my life, but of those that I love also.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand

Isaiah 45:6-7

That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things

Job 12:10

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind

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Little Reminders

cardinalsLittle Reminders

I question the workings of God just as anyone else does. There are times that I don’t understand why he allows certain things to happen or why there seem to be certain prayers that are left unanswered. I see all these little quippy sayings like “when he doesn’t answer prayer it’s because he has something better in store for you” but that doesn’t solve the problems for that day.

I understand that his ways are not our ways, that we will never fully understand the way he works until we get to heaven and then everything will be revealed to us. I guess it is the waiting, the wondering that gets to me once in awhile.

While I try to tell others, those that don’t understand why he doesn’t seem to be moving in their lives or why they still have to go through trials and tribulations after receiving him, when they are ready to give up because nothing significant has changed since they accepted Christ, “God never promised that life on earth would be easy. He promised that when we get home everything will be perfect.”

Sometimes I need to really practice what I preach. I need to listen to what I am telling others and take it to heart. I need to follow my own advice and let God have his way, still there are times when I just feel like he is ignoring me, that he isn’t paying attention.

Then something out of the blue will remind me that he is nearby. Literally out of the blue. There is a myth that Cardinals are a sign that angels are nearby. The Bible has never said anything about this nor have I ever heard anyone preach about it. All I know is that I love the other creations of God. I love nature and all the life that comes with it and Cardinals are beautiful, one of my favorite birds.

As I stood out on the back deck, where I like to say a morning prayer, a cardinal flew down on the railing. Now, while we feed the birds out there, it isn’t that often that they will come very close to us. This one, however, landed not more than three feet away from me. I talked to it for a minute, then it flew up to the Mimosa tree next to the deck, still only a few feet away.

This activity went on for a few minutes, flying down to the railing, going back up in the tree, flying down and sitting, cocking it’s head a little when I spoke, and then going back up to perch in the tree and watch me.

The Lord sends me little reminders that he is always near, and this little Cardinal was one of those precious messages. I love the little reminders he sends and he always know just the right time to send them. Even though there are times I feel lost, lonely or hurt, even though there are times I wonder why he doesn’t make his presence known, these little reminders tell me he is always near.

Watch for those little reminders, for even when we think he isn’t near, he is always there beside us.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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turtle speed limitLimitations

I was standing out on the back deck looking at the yard and thinking about what really needed to be done to it. The old rickety garage that will some day fall down has weeds growing all along the side that really should come down, but Sam, the guy that mows and weed-eats for us can’t get to them because I have old wood from the tomato plant and pots and other gardening stuff scattered along there, making it impossible for him to get to the weeds.

I know I need to do it, but it will take me awhile as I don’t have the energy and physical strength that I used to have. I have to do some chores in increments instead of whipping them out in half an hour or so like I used to do.

As I thought about these limitations, Kim came to mind. She was a little woman that Ken and I would visit at the nursing home. She was born with a type of debilitating arthritis and club feet. She had never walked a day in her life. Her family couldn’t take care of her and that was why she lived in a nursing home.

She used to come to church in a van that would drop her off in her wheel chair and then come back and pick her up, but at some point that was stopped because the family just couldn’t financially afford to do it anymore.

Kim had an outlook on life that amazed me. Even if we could tell she was having a rough day when we would visit, or was not feeling well, she would get this big smile on her face when she saw us and tell us that she was just doing wonderful, feeling blessed and praising the lord.

You see, she never complained. She was happy to be alive, she was happy to have family and friends that cared for her, she was happy to be in a “good” nursing home and she was totally devoted to the Lord. She never looked at her situation as being limited. She never once thought she had any limitations. This was her life, she accepted it, thanked God for it and lived it.

I felt ashamed of myself when she came to mind. How could I, a person who has had mobility all her life, one who has enjoyed things like swimming, going on hikes and picnics, driving or walking without any effort feel sorry for myself over my limitations, when she had never nor would ever enjoy any of these things.

I think the Lord was impressing on me that I don’t have limitations, I have a case of stubbornness. I have been unwilling to realize that I have gone to a new level and at different levels things are done differently. It is not necessary for me to do everything at once and it is not necessary for me to let little things become big things. In thinking that way, I am creating my own limitations.

Like the good father he is, he is always teaching me.

Psalms 147:5 Our Lord is great, and rich in power; his understanding has no limitation.

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Memorial Day

american flagMemorial Day became a Federal Holiday on May 30, 1868. It was established to honor those who died in battle protecting our country and helping protect other countries as well. We have been in more wars than most people realize. The American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan were the ones I found while looking for wars that Americans have fought in. While we are still fighting on other shores, it amazes me how much we had to fight on our own land.

It reminds me of all the wars and battles I’ve read about in the Bible. Someone was always trying to take over the Israelis. David and Saul fought for years to keep God’s chosen people from being under the rule of non-believers. It was 2000 years before Israel finally became it’s own nation once again, on May 14, 1948 after being ruled by others including the Ottomans and Great Britain, and still, there are those factions, those who think that they should rule Israel fighting near her boundaries and around the surrounding areas.

When I looked at the figures of those of our service men that have died through the years fighting this wars, I was shocked, Between the American Revolution up to the War in Afghanistan, close to one million service men and women have died protecting our freedom and the freedom of others.

Yet, in my opinion, we have wars going on right here in our own country. Small wars that may at some point escalate into a full Civil War that will leave us vulnerable to outside forces. Between the specially formed groups like BLM, WLM, Neo-Nazis, different gangs that take over whole neighborhoods and have turf wars and different Mafias that are doing the same, we may at some day have to defend ourselves and our homes.

I worry about this generation that will some day step into the roles that our government holds right now. Society has become complacent and allowed an “everything goes” attitude to take over our nation, yet, we have young people who want to take away our right to protect ourselves, and we have young people who have to have a “safe” room to go to if someone hurts their feelings, and we have young people who feel it is alright to just take the lives of those they don’t like and we have ones who don’t think their generation should have to work for a living.

Are we shortening the days of this once great country by ignoring the wars on our own land? So while everyone is enjoying that Barbecue, that picnic, that fun time with relatives and family, think about where our country is heading and wonder, how many more Memorial Days will we be allowed to have.

I am thankful to have been raised in a generation that was proud of America, a generation that believed in our freedom, our way of life, a generation who thought it was their duty to serve and protect us no matter what the cost.