Deep Distress and Joy

 

I don’t believe that heart ache and joy come independent of one another, at least in my life. Some of the biggest joy times are intermingled with things that hurt and break our hearts. I so wish it wasn’t the case at times but I see the beauty in the darkness while it blends and becomes light. That is why I am not afraid to talk about what I wrestle with and what I see in that struggle.  I believe in transparency, I believe in showing our true selves over the facsimiles of perfect people we so easily pass ourselves off as in the arena of watching eyes. If that is too much for some, I do not apologize. I am imperfect and I don’t feign what I can never be in my own right, so I lift the veil that hides my bare face in hopes to see….

This year has been the one; the one where I cried the most, I felt the most, I called out the most, and felt like the vice of brokenness harm me the most. It seems (I know) as though God is teaching me through this and even though I don’t know the message on the other side of this yet, I am hopeful in the hurting. There is so much grace in the joys that we receive in the dark times, when we feel the furthest from any and everyone. We bought a house this year, thank God, and we are expecting another child, a blessing. All things that sprung forth in hurting and broken times, are beautiful. Some are easier to notice like a house and a baby, some will take some time for us to recognize. All things working together for good, and His good is beauty unending, a story in trans media. He tells it and it is beautiful, we listen and wait for the next chapter anticipating the next and the next. We know that He protects us and shows his grace and love when we feel we are at the end of what we can handle. We know it, it doesn’t make the hurting less hard but it gives hope to know I am not alone, we are not alone, He is with us, He has been with us and will be at the end and forever after that.

I have struggled with Clinical Depression for over a decade, sometimes it has gotten so deep that I truly felt I could not survive another day. Other times, it has been a soft, sad lapping over me that brings me down with its ebb a little, a little, a little at a time. Only those that have dealt with the horrors of the darkest points of depression can truly know what it feels like. The suffocating grip and soul wrenching, you can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t believe, and feel you can’t endure, all the while, putting on the joyful face of someone else’s happiness. Those that know will try and help with well meaning words, so be thankful for those that pray and grieve for you. I don’t know why some of us fight this conflict in mind and heart, but we do.  If there is one thing I know for certain is that deep despair will never defeat me, even if I woke this morning crying for the loss felt of once present people in my life or the nights I cry over the circumstances that feel like the world, there is still victory because this is just the middle of the story working it’s through all of my being, the silver strings that connect this present, to that past, to what we all feel in our broken bodies is coming.

This Poem by Isaac Watts speaks to me :

Psalm 130:2 [From Deep Distress And Troubled Thoughts]

From deep distress and troubled thoughts,
To thee, my God, I rais’d my cries;
If thou severely mark our faults,
No flesh can stand before thine eyes.

But thou hast built thy throne of grace,
Free to dispense thy pardons there,
That sinners may approach thy face,
And hope and love, as well as fear.

As the benighted pilgrims wait,
And long, and wish for breaking day,
So waits my soul before thy gate;
When will my God his face display?

My trust is fix’d upon thy word,
Nor shall I trust thy word in vain:
Let mourning souls address the Lord,
And find relief from all their pain.

Great is his love, and large his grace,
Thro’ the redemption of his Son:
He turns our feet from sinful ways,
And pardons what our hands have done.

You can’t do it all.

 

“My soul, wait thou only upon God.”—Psalm 62:6

The month of August has been crazy. One thing after another. Just trying to take every moment as joy, even though it may not feel that way. This is where I talk about real life, it may not appealing to you. We are in our fifth week of homeschooling this week, so that is very exciting. Kenny also had his last show with Mazes and Monsters, they are breaking up due to life circumstances. It was an amazing show. I am very proud of him. There are many wins along with the more tough times, It is just hard to see that through the hard times. This past weekend I was hit by a car, I was not at fault and of course it was unexpected. The young girl hit me on the drivers side while trying to turn into a parking lot as I was driving down Washington Rd. Unfortunately she had no identification or registration and most likely an expired license so she was taken to jail. I felt really bad for her but it’s all a learning experience. I am upset though not because of the circumstances of the accident but because even though we are insured for uninsured collision it looks like we have to pay an unexpected deductible and financially it is not something we can stomach right now.  We have to climb into the passenger side right now to get into the car, so frustrating. So a lot of prayer on our end. Our electric bill has killed us this Summer, it has just been astronomical and we are struggling to stay on top of it. We moved to a smaller place to save money an to be able to live beneath our means and it has helped a little but we are still struggling each month.

There are the life things that roll your way unexpectedly; dental work that needs doing, doctor appointments, a broken car, random needs for a child, bills and bills and bills. I am just trying to keep my mind focused on Him or else I feel I may suffocate. We look at our options and they are limited. Kenny has applied for a part-time job numerous times but because his day job has a horrible schedule and changes week to week, He isn’t finding anything. If I were to go back to work we would have to put Emma in childcare and we did the numbers, we wouldn’t make enough to justify the added burden. So it’s back to odd jobs we can get and what not, until Kenny can find a job that pays better, or I don’t know what. His job situation is strained as it is right now. When I stopped doing photography to focus on being a wife and mother I hadn’t been making a whole lot of money that year but was killing myself with an unrealistic work load, so we made the decision to set that aside. I do miss the occasional wedding payment we would get but I just couldn’t do it all, anymore. The world was telling me I had to be a wife, a mother, and an independent woman that owns her own business, cooks her family dinner every night, and is present with the needs of your family. That I could do it all and there would be no repercussions, but of course my family suffered and the relationship with my husband suffered because I had made up my mind to be independent. It wasn’t realistic and it was a lie that I believed. the truth was that I wasn’t present with my family, I was so exhausted from staying up all night every night to try to stay a top a workload that my days with my daughters and nights with my husband were shallow and strained, I could not do it all.  It may be different for other woman, perhaps they can do more than I could, but I know my limitations. Even in the secular world Woman are realizing it is too much, you can’t have it all. Now that I have bittersweetly set that part of me aside I truly wish motherhood and homemaking paid the bills, but it doesn’t. You can’t kiss the boo boo of “more bills than you can pay” away, and you can’t pay the past due rent with hugs and smiles. Wouldn’t that be great, if you could? We play bill-pay Russian Roulette and because we can only tackle so much, the consequences will have to be what they are. I used to dream of vacations and shoes, but now I dream of paying the rent and having enough money for groceries every month. It puts life in perspective. Yes, we haven’t gone on a family vacation since our honeymoon seven years ago, but that doesn’t give me right to be upset when friends are excited about theirs, and I can still imagine a day when we may be able to do that. But my respite should be in Him any ways, even though sometimes it is harder for me emotionally than others, yesterday was an example of that. I am learning the hard way to be thankful for our circumstances, because they mold us. He teaches us through them. There is a hard-fought reliance on God that comes with not knowing where the money to pay your mountain of bills is going to come from. We have to rely. We can’t do it all it is evident and he doesn’t ask us to. We just continue to pray for a stream to come in this desert, how much better than if it comes from Him. I do C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening daily and read some of his old sermons when I have the chance, there is comfort there. He says:

Shall he forget you, when he clothes the grass of the field, and when he makes the valleys rejoice with food? But is your anxiety about your character? Has some one been slandering you? And are you troubled and grieved, lest you should lose your good name? If a man has called you every name in the world, do not go to law with him. “Wait only upon God.” If you have been reviled in every newspaper and falsely charged in every sheet, never answer—leave it alone. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Practise non-resistance in words, as well as in deeds. Just bow yourself, and let the missiles fly over your head. Stand not up to resist. To resist slander is to make it worse. The only way to blunt the edge of calumny is to be silent: it can do no hurt when we are still. Where no wood is the fire goeth out; and if you will not refute nor answer, the fire will die out of itself. Let it alone. “Wait thou only upon God.”
    And now, what else is thy danger? What else is thy trouble? Art thou afraid of losing thy dearest child? Is thy husband sick? Doth thy wife lie upon the bed of languishing? These are hard troubles; they cut us to the very quick: to see our dear ones sick, and we incapable of helping them, is a trouble indeed. Then the strong man’s eye doth weep, and his heart beats heavily, because those he loves are sick. But “wait thou only upon God.” Go to thy chamber; tell the Lord thy dear one is ill; pour out thy heart before him, and say to him, “My Lord, spare me this trouble, if it be thy will; take not my friends away; but this know, O God, though thou slay me yet will I trust in thee. Yea,

‘Shouldst thou take them all away,
Yet would I not repine;
Before they were possessed by me
They were entirely thine.There! let it go: one look from thee
Shall more than make amends.'”
 

Oh! it is a happy way of smoothing sorrow, when we can say, “We will wait only upon God.” Oh, ye agitated Christians, do not dishonor your religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon the Lord. I see ye staggering beneath a weight which He would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. See! the Almighty bends his shoulders, and he says, “Here, put thy troubles here. What! wilt thou bear thyself what the everlasting shoulders are ready to carry?” No;

“Give to the winds thy fears
Hope, and be undismayed
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
He shall lift up thy head.”

There is rest and provision in Him. There is comfort in knowing we can’t do it all.

Reminders of Joy

 

Sometimes you need reminders of the joys in your life. I like instagram for that, it is like a visual diary of the things that bring joy, mostly. In the month of July we experienced a blackout, a fun fourth celebration, a start to homeschooling, reminiscing on childhood (mine and my child’s), and beautiful time spent together as a family. We can take joy in God through the storms and blackouts of life if we can look at the gifts we have. Thank God for reminders of the little and big joys along the way. I am thankful for this family and our circumstances.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read 1,000 gifts to read it, It is a beautiful journey into recognizing the everyday gifts we have and acknowledging the One who gave them to us. I think I am going to begin to reread this book this month, anyone out there who would like to join me? We could have a book club of sorts.

Primero Mil


You know that first post on a new blog? The dreaded empty topic box with the impatient cursor anticipating your every thoughtful word. That fresh entry, the one where you try to put finely tuned and articulate sentences together to say all the things that everyone, everywhere will identify with, as you become the Oprah of blogging, or Sally Jesse Raphael may be more appropriate. Yes, that one. This isn’t that post because I’ve thrown all that out the proverbial window, not that I am sure you wouldn’t just love my sophomoric attempts at wisdom with a zest of wit. This is all me, sans anything fake. I will talk about my life, faith, my family, my friends, tough times, happy times, things I love, things I don’t understand, good food, homeschooling a kindergartner and anything else that catches my whimsy with no expectation that any of this may interest you. But, on the small chance that it does, I send my love.

So here is where I am in life right now:
I turn 30 this month

A lot of changes happening that I am excited about, some are what they are.

Emma turned 5 last month

We started Home school for the year

I’ve been married for seven years, I love him

We simplified significantly

Living more intentionally

Learning to rely on God big time

Creating more

Experimenting with food (see Recipes)

I have some blog posts lined up for the future that I am excited about, maybe we can see where that takes us. Thank you for reading my obscure thoughts. Let me know what you think of the new blog, design, etc. My friend Sunshine Monica pretty much did all the awesome.

Ellie