Posts tagged depression
The Burden of Being Broken Pt. 24:My Brokenness, His Burden

This is part 24

Start from the beginning

HERE

I could go on and on about this season, one major hit after another. How I lost my front tooth and as I write this I still do not have it. About how Daniel finally got a job when we were living with my parents and two weeks later they let him go. About lost friendships and broken dreams, to record it all would take too many words, too many pages. Everything that I wanted to find pride in, everything I wanted to find identity in, slowly stripped away, literally until all that was left was God and I.

"What now, Ashley? When I have said no, when you can't find your identity in all the things that you once claimed as you. Who are you now? What will you do?" There are so many questions that we have rumbling around in our souls that we often times can't bear to face. All the why's all whens all the questions that if we let out might strangle us.

Who are we, really? What do we really believe? Who or what do we really trust?

Another Nichole Nordeman song that speaks to this is The Unmaking...

"This is the unmaking

Beauty in the breaking

Had to lose myself to 

find out who you are."

There are two types of people who follow Christ, ones who are fine simply being out of Egypt, knowing that they are going to heaven. The pain that they carry, those questions, they seem too much to face, to let Him into and so, they remain. 

But then there are others who say "whatever you want Lord" and they let Him into all the parts that scare them. They are willing to stand bare and dare to let their brokenness be exposed. To trust Him enough to show them where they are holding on when they need to let go, where they are relying on themselves rather than Him, all the places where pride and striving keep them back from all that He has for them.

Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted, to set captives free, to bring into light those sitting in darkness, to give a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Is 61) But we have to see and admit our darkness, our captivity, our ashes in order to be saved. We can't say, "but I sort of love my ashes, my ashes define me, I am familiar with my ashes, my ashes have been with me for so long." He is asking for our ashes, even if they feel precious to us. Will we be brave enough to hand them over?

Depression still comes knocking on my door. The liar still lies to me and tells me because I have this burden occasionally that I can never be anything more than broken. But Jesus, He is my Savior, and He continues to save me again and again. I can tell you for sure, that what I once was, how I once thought, I am not that girl anymore. Day by day, little by little, He has renewed my mind, He has set me free, He has made me new.

I thought that my brokenness was my burden to carry. Such a heavy weight on my shoulders. I had to fix myself, I had to have more faith, I had to figure it out, get people to care, worry and stress. But grace is not just for salvation, grace is saying "I can't Lord, help me" over and over. 

Moment by moment sometimes, if necessary. 

In Psalm 55:22 it says to "cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you". It was never mine to carry, but I thought I was being a good Christian by trying. But all the trying in the world got me no where. He let me feel the weight of that burden, of that brokenness, until it broke me. As I sat there helpless and lost, trying to crawl my way through that darkness, I realized nothing I was doing was relieving and helping. As I was slowly able to let go of what I thought was my godliness, I realized that I was trying to save myself or I wanted anyone else to save me. I was furious at myself and others for not being able to do it. And then, He saved me, again. 

Where are we willing to follow the Lord into? We always imagine He might call us to other countries or to people groups different from us, but what if He calls us to face our own brokenness first. What if we can't really help make disciples in this world or love others well until we let Him teach us what it looks like to follow Him and let Him teach us and grow us up in Him. We learn what love looks like because we have been desperate for it ourselves. We learn what grace is and how to receive it from Him and then how to give it away. And we can never ever look at people and expect them to be a little better like us, because we have let God reveal how very dark our hearts are without Him.

If God has you in a season of being broken, I know you are in a hurry to get out. The Lord is with you and He is doing a work in you that is far beyond anything you can currently comprehend in your pain. Trust Him. He is not in a rush for you to hurry up and fix yourself. He knows just how long it will take and He wants you to learn to trust Him for every moment, bring to Him every question, and realize that freedom comes when we can bring whatever it is that is our burden and lay it on Him. He wants to carry it for us, to take it from us and instead of our grief, give us joy. 

His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Matt 11:30

Be brave as you stand in your refiners fire, He is right there with you. And when you come out you will be as pure gold, one that the refiner can see His image in.

The Burden of Being Broken Pt 23: How much more?

This is part 23

Start from the beginning

HERE

September 11, 2014

One day at a time, one step at a time....

I am not sure even where to start this post, but I know writing is cathartic for me so I want to get something down. 

Right now, this day, this moment, for all the moments and seasons we have walked through and so many of them being hard in their own way, I would venture to say this one is hardest. 

The simple truth is that I know life is hard for everyone. I think I tend to want to compare to this friend or that friend as if we are somehow on the same playing field and I am getting an unfair go at life while they sail through untouched. Even those people, no, even if it looks that way, its not really that way, because life is hard for us all. Mostly because, this is not our home.

When I was younger, in my teens, I told the Lord I wanted to live on the edge. I wanted to have a life where I always needed Him. In my mind that looked like being a missionary, living in a foreign country, raising support, something like that. My mom told me I didn't know what I was praying for, she was right. How can you know when you are a teenager what adult life can carry. But here I am, in this constant need of the Lord, not in anyway I would have pictured, but isn't that just the way the Lord works, never how we might have imagined.

Every single day either I tell Daniel, or he tells me, "one day at a time". I will have a good strong day or he will, many days I can tell we just both want to escape but we have these two life filled, joy filled, energy filled boys to bring us back to the moment and remind us how much we are needed.

Here it is, the simple facts of our life right now. Daniel's dad has stage 4 colon cancer that has moved to his liver, the truth is he may have very little time left. This is so overwhelming and hard all on it's own. I don't think I need to explain or describe this because anyone who reads this has lost someone they love or can imagine how gut wrenchingly painful it would be to anticipate the death of a parent. I know he is not my dad, I haven't spent the years with him like Daniel has, but when you are married and are one, you carry their grief, pain, fear, anxiety, hope, and all that in you as well. Even though death is a part of life, it is still so hard to watch and walk through.

Daniel and I have been married for almost 6 years and I don't know his dad super well, but I can say he is a character. I have no doubt my boys will have some of his characteristics. Every time you see him he would have on his stop watch and whistle, he was a coach, always a coach. He liked to lay in front of the fireplace at their house to keep warm and Daniel would give him a hard time about wearing sweatpants under his jeans. He could talk non-stop to Daniel on the phone about football, he just loves to talk. 

'

We were able to go visit him a few weeks back and it was a great time, a special time. I realized how much I am like him. Being understood is important to him, like it is to me, and he likes to say what he is thinking and feeling and it touches him and he's emotional. He can be cantankerous, but I think that comes from the deep way of feeling and all that. 

He said meaningful and important things to us, sometimes it was if the Lord was speaking to us through him and he didn't even know it. About abiding in the Lord, and that was the only way to get through days, moments, in the pain. About the importance of reading God's word and being connected to Him. Some of the things he has said in these last few weeks are immensely profound and all I know is that going to be with the Lord, watching this process from a distance, feels more beautiful than I have ever seen. How he says he understands now what real love is, what is important and what is a waist, about the power of God and how intimately He speaks to him in comfort and love.

A week before we went out to California, we were suddenly blindsided by Daniel losing his job, fired. If you know my husband at all it really seems like an impossibility. He would never miss a day of work unless I really needed him to for me, a hard worker, steady, all of that. I thought he was joking at first because I just couldn't believe it. Yet, at the same time back in March we were fasting, fasting for new opportunities and change and for God to show us which direction we should go next.

We always think we know what that means, what we think God will do, but He reminds me often "Umm, excuse me, but the last time I checked it was you who do my will and not me who does yours." And so here we sit with no job and no money and no idea what is next and yet somewhere deep in my gut I know this is His answer to our prayers. Daniel didn't like where he worked, it was horrible for our family life and time, it was slowly killing his soul, and this is an answer. Not a comfortable answer, but I do believe it is one.

So here I sit on this September morning, nearly half way through the month already. We have given our notice on our condo because we won't be able to afford the rent here on our unemployment. We have no idea where we are moving to or what job he will get. He has probably close to 100 resume's out and we have only heard back on maybe 2. We need a steady base income because although he has experience in sales, he is not salesman, so all commission job won't work for us. 

It's scary because his old company hasn't gotten back to the unemployment office and so we don't know when we are going to get "paid" again and things need to be paid and bought. He has a couple possible leads on jobs but who knows when we will know?

On top of this October is my worst time of year for my depression. Every year, since we have moved to Denver, I have had an "episode". I am not anticipating one, but it makes me nervous, why now? Why this time of year? My medication costs a lot, and now we don't even have insurance. 

I guess all of this would make anyone want to curl up in the corner and ask to be woken up when it's all over. I don't understand why God is doing this, why all at once, why these trials feel so frequent in our life. I asked him if we could have a drama free year pretty soon? I mean some drama is expected but these HUGE life altering dramas, man, they really rock your core.

I just want to stand, and trust and you know, that only can happen one day at a time. I want to know how it all ends, I want to know how it all works out, and the stay at home mom in me, wants to know where I will be putting up my fall decorations and where Ashton will be starting Kindergarten next year. 

If you want to follow Jesus, those roads, they might not be the ones you skip down among the daisies. Learning to trust Him, I don't think it happens when life is easy. It's these moments when I literally feel like I am walking in the dark and it really hurts, and one step at a time you hold His hand and you take the next step and you don't know where you are going. You don't know how it's going to turn out, you don't know how you are going to deal with or handle the pain as you go, but the only thing you do know is that the hand you are holding is trustworthy. That He loves you with this immense large love, that He wants what is best for you even when it feels and looks like the worst, and there is only one way to learn how to walk in this faith and trust and that is in the darkest dark, that He is going to get us to the other side where light is waiting to shine on us again, even if only to the next trust walk.

There is a Nichole Nordeman song that I love that says 

"It may be miles and miles before the journey's clear, there may be rivers, may be oceans of tears, but the very one who shields your eyes from understanding is the hand that will be holding you for miles."

How much more Lord? How much more are you going to ask us to walk through? We feel as though we have nothing left and yet you ask us for more. One day and one tear wiped from our faces at a time. One fight and frustration over the stress and pain of no money and great loss.

As we walked through this dark time I saw my husband now struggling immensely. Losing his job and his father, our independence and any ounce of pride we had left as we moved in with my parents. One kid sleeping on the couch, the baby in the closet. Hundreds or resume's sent out for jobs, maybe one or two interviews or calls back if we were lucky. Our marriage was so fragile in this place. We felt like we were under a never ending succession of crashing waves. The feeling of frantic panic, wanting to catch a breath. Nothing.

Then one dark day Daniel got the call early in the morning, his dad was gone. I don't remember much of that day. My parents were out of town, we were mostly quiet, but I remember it rained and poured all day long. I felt like God was allowing the sky to cry for Daniel, for such a great loss. These moments, these days, these seasons where there are not words or ways of explaining, just a knowing of the weight of loss. When you are simply knocked on your back and there is no room for performing or pretending, it's just you and God, in your frail humanity and saying again, "Save me, help me". The greatness of the awareness of ones own frailty and what love and trust look like right in the middle of that.

We made our way out to California again for his funeral, and I kept struggling with my brokenness and with my own pain and depression, but all of that was insignificant in the grand scheme of all that was happening. All that Daniel now had on his plate

. What were we going to do? How much more Lord?

We decided to reach out to one of the pastors at our church and he was so encouraging, but one thing that He said during that time we met with him was "enjoy it", enjoy this season of not knowing, of waiting. Of course anyone's response would be "say what?" He just said that instead of worrying just be, wait on God's provision. It didn't feel responsible not to be freaking out about it. But the Lord does tell us not to worry. And as we have looked back on that time since and what that pastor told us we now see that God actually allowed Daniel to not have to work while his dad was passing. He didn't have to answer to those employers who were constantly on his back, he didn't have anywhere to be, or have to be away from us, He was on a God ordained bereavement. We were able to go out to visit his dad when he knew he wasn't doing well with no time restraints and we were able to turn around and go right back out for the funeral to be with the family. 

We had a place to live rent free and our unemployment money. Even though it was one of the hardest things we ever had to walk through, we see now how gracious and loving God was being even in the middle of it. This idea once again that there are so many moments and times in life that make absolutely no sense to us, all we know is that we hurt so bad. We scream "make it better Lord, make it better" and He asks us to trust that even when He doesn't make it immediately better, that He is giving us something even greater, Himself. Little do we realize that He is in fact everything we need.

When He asks you to walk through fire and He brings you through, you realize that the whole time He was there. He was using it to refine you, take a little more doubt, a little more anger, a little more self reliance and pride. We made it, and you look back and realize He was there all along. 

"Knock with caution at the door", they said "beware of what you're praying for". So I'll stand with my whole desire, in the middle of this forest fire, until there's nothing left to show and new life begins to grow."

Nichole Nordeman

To be continued...

The Burden of Being Broken Pt 22: Stepping in Faith

This is part 22

start from the beginning

HERE

Several months had passed and my knee slowly began to loosen up and seemed to be getting stronger. Then I was presented with an opportunity to sign up for a marathon, with my mom. My sister-in-law would also be training for it in another state and running it with us.

My mom and my relationship was slowly improving and I saw this as a full circle opportunity. Running had always been a source of contention for me with my mom. Even after I ran my first marathon I still know I was doing to prove something, so to have this opportunity to do this together seemed like a God opportunity. A part of a redemption story. I had no idea, however if I could run on that knee.

So I just tried. I started trying to accomplish at least three miles, at the end of that run I knew I could do that at least. And this process became a huge lesson in faith for me that has stuck with me ever since. That this day by day, this moment by moment stepping in faith really practical example. I didn't know if I could run 26.2 miles in 3 months, but I knew today I could run three, and that was all I needed to know.

I wrote a couple months into that training....

July 16, 2014

"

I have found God is so faithful to me and although I am not learning probably nearly as much as I could be He is still speaking to me so clearly, I know it because it's the same message every where I go.

This idea that faith is activated as we move into it, not as something we sit around and wait for.

It's really a practical thing that God is ingraining in my heart that is not lost on me in my training for a marathon. I started training for this thing on faith completely. I dislocated my knee twice at the beginning of this year and honestly, it never would have entered my head to even THINK about training for a marathon while I was sitting in that ER room or in those physical therapy sessions.

Many things shot up in the beginning, my knee was really very sore for the first few weeks, but I just ran through it hoping I wasn't making it worse. My husband applied for a job in California which meant we might not be here for the race, but I paid for it anyway. I remember on one of my earliest runs just talking to the Lord, like, "OK here we are, you and me, and I need you to get me through one small run at a time" the word "Audacious" was brought to my attention. The AUDACITY to believe that I am under a year from having my second son by c-section, running on a recovering dislocated knee, well over weight seems illogical, but isn't that what faith is all about? 

And so, one foot in front of the other, one run at a time, I finished them. My knee stopped hurting, training worked out, we didn't get the job in California, and last weekend I prayed again that I would be strong to the end, and I was.

Not to sound cocky, as you all know I don't perceive myself to be some elite runner, but it's like I have this confidence in the back of my mind. To put it in a phrase, "it ain't no thang". HA! But I really know it's God, how else could it not be? And here we are working on me, again. Him showing me things, prodding me, encouraging me, teaching me.

This idea that He already has everything I am asking from Him, but I have to step out. 

I couldn't train for a marathon if I hoped God would just instill the ability in me as I walked up to the race on August 17th. I have to try, start in the little runs and work up to the bigger runs.

He is trying to take these same principles and ask me to trust Him in other ways, in other areas of freedom that look impossible, in dreams that I am afraid to step out in because I don't want to fail.

I think one of my greatest fears is being wrong about myself, that I am not capable, but God doesn't ask me to be capable, He asks me to step and trust. So whatever I know to do next, do that thing.

Waiting is active. I am waiting to be ready to run a marathon, but I don't just stand around to do that, I get my butt on the trail and do my part and expect God to meet me there with his power, and He has.

"Taking a step of faith" is an old phrase we like to throw around but it's true, sometimes we just have to step out. And most the time, it's not about these big career changes or life altering events, it's the little mundane things that God wants our whole hearts in that we hold onto certain we can never change them, that it's just "who we are".  But God is not satisfied with that. The Holy Spirit is here to sanctify us, change us, and ultimately give us the freedom Jesus died for us to have.

I can say with all certainty that I am changed because of God's work in my life. I have a freedom now that I didn't have before, but here is the thing, I believe I have had it for some time, I just didn't walk in it. I instead listened to all the lies that filled my head constantly. I became their slave bowing before them like they were my task master, believing the accusations against myself and others, that in fact no one was coming to save me, there was no freedom to be had.

But then, I chose to step, I got UP.

I told that bully that I allowed to live in there to shut up and start literally taking those thoughts captive, I mean lock them down. They weren't going to run my mind, and therefore my life, anymore. 

I didn't know it was going to get better, I just knew I couldn't stay in that place, and so I stepped.

This is what God is showing me again. There are some things that we don't know for sure in life will work out the way we dream or envision. We don't know how it will get worked out, smoothed out, put in place, and we can not know any of the ending without having a beginning. 

Faith is stepping out not knowing where you are going, where it leads, what happens next, but it's trusting He is good and He wants to show up for us!

"

And sure enough, when that day came, I was able to run that 26.2 miles, my mom and I had done nearly all our long training runs together and things were healing more and more between us. In the middle of storms God always provides small glimmers of progress, of hope, of where His hand is moving amidst all the ways He has yet to move. We just have to look around and acknowledge them.