If you can take me as I am

I’m gonna write this a little bit more like I used to write some of my posts. I used to be really open about the things I struggled with; I wrote and dealt with them more in my posts. But I learned that sometimes there was a time and place for that kind of disclosure, so I pulled back some. Also, some of it became less intense, less all-encompassing, less severe, so I had less to write about.

In case you haven’t read most (or any) of past blog posts (on here or MySpace) about my journey (and/or if you don’t know me), I had my first deep depressive episode at 14. At age 17, I spiraled down and was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder.” Since then, I have continually been on medicine, in and out of counseling/treatment as needed, and dealing with the low(er)(est) times of depression as they came.

This week, I felt the depression kicking in. Hardcore. Had several very low days in a row, and then yesterday my mood was determined to kick my butt. I had to go home from work, having worked myself up with anxiety to the point of getting physically sick. I went home and tried to numb myself out with a TV show…but of course it was sad, and then suddenly I was crying…and then I was sobbing. Like, the gut-wrenching sobs that you think are going to tear your heart out. I’m familiar with it,  the pain that takes over my mind and spreads into my chest, the despairing anguish. I double over just to contain the agony, to keep it from tearing me apart. And the world is bleak, and I’m more than alone, and I’m hopeless. I sleep just so I can shut my mind off, and shut the world out.

In case that’s not enough info for you, at this point I’ll take it a step further: all I wanted to do was die. I long for death. I constantly fight to not go back to the self-injurious habits I’ve had in the past. When I think off the years and years of this cycle, of feeling and falling into and living in these dark, dark places…where my mind betrays me and won’t think in Truth or accept any Goodness or Hope…where I lose motivation or joy in anything…when I think of all these things, first I fight not to hurt myself, and then I beg God to take me home. I beg Him for relief, I beg for death, the one thing that will take me to the place I long for, the place without pain. And I hurt, and I’m angry, that this is a battle I have to face day after day for far too long.

25-year-olds aren’t supposed to pray to die.

And yet, here I am. In that place. Again.

I asked people to pray for me. I prayed for today, that I could make it and endure after the terrible, hellish bleakness of the day before. And it was ok. I still had some of the lowness, the anxiety. But I started to smile some. I started to make people laugh, which made me happy. I had people show they care, and that made me feel loved. And then I met with a group of people, and for part of our meeting, we dove into Scripture and talked about an amazing passage and what it meant.

And I came home tonight and felt…peace. I sat here with a smile on my face where last night I sat in tears.

To me? That is a picture of God’s grace. He doesn’t have to be the lifter of my head, but He is. He doesn’t have to give joy that sustains me, but He does. And He doesn’t have to be the Love that still saves me every day from myself…but He is. He is beautiful, and the most precious thing in my life. Nothing compares with Him; I have no reason to keep living and fighting without Him. But He is mine, and I am His. And that is good news, my friends. It is beautiful, life-changing news.

If you need to know how He can change your life or save you, get in touch with me. And if you’re needing some encouragement, I’d be happy to pray with and for you.

Also, a special, precious tool in my life has been To Write Love on Her Arms. If you’re struggling with some of these issues, this group has encouraged me along my journey for the last 4 years. They would be a great place to turn.

Thank you for letting me be real. I hope I have not shared more than I should have, but I hope that if I can let you see me at my rawest, you will see even more how good God is to replace the dead ashes of my life with Beauty…and I believe that Beauty is knowing Him.

So much on my mind…

It’s fair to say I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I think about the difficult last week I went through, with stress and hurt and painful decisions. I think about a relationship I had to lose. Most of all I think about all the staff and children around me who are dealing with the most painful loss of a relationship–the death of a loved one.

It’s been hard to know how to help right now. I’m a newcomer to the children’s home: I have only worked here a year while most have been here for many years, several over a decade. I grieve Malinda’s death, as little as I knew her–how much more must everyone else? And how can I be there for them, to help the staff and house parents in their responsibilities, to love the children and offer comfort? I wish I knew better.

I have hugged some of the girls while they’ve cried. I’ve heard several of them talk about what a great example Malinda was and how she helped them become who they are today. One girl wrote an especially poignant note about her “mother.” She said that her mother was supposed to help her pick out her wedding dress, to make her wedding cake for her. She wasn’t ready for her mother to be taken from her, she wrote, and now she feels lost. Pray I know how to love these girls who have truly lost a mother. I have found this situation pushing me back to the priorities and focuses I know I need to have in order to make a difference in these girls’ lives.

After my difficult day on Tuesday, I’ve gone back to sleepless nights. Hopefully I can reclaim a good sleep schedule soon. Tuesday night I fell asleep at 4 AM, and the following night I didn’t sleep till 6 AM. Last night I finally did sleep at 11, but I woke up off and on after 3 AM. So much keeps running through my mind:decisions made, losses, memories… Finally last night was I able to break down and truly cry about all that has happened the last several days. Fortunately I have also had the uplifting music of Hillsong United in their new album A_Cross//the_Earth: Tear Down the Walls. It’s a pretty-much-amazing album.

But I did have a good day today. I cleaned my apartment, got to chill watching TV, take a nap, and then spend six hours with very dear friends. I haven’t connected with several of them lately, and they truly are some of my closest friends. It was a fun evening with lots of laughing and making fun of each other because we were all so goofy. It was good for my heart.

Please pray: house mother died suddenly

I’m asking for your prayers for the children’s home I work at. It houses almost 30 children who, for one reason or another, cannot live at home with their families (neglect, parent in jail, etc). We have about five different houses, two boys houses and three girls houses. Each has 2-8 kids who live with house parents.

Today one of our house mothers died suddenly. She had gone to the hospital yesterday with some flu-like symptoms. She had had some heart problems in the past, and this morning her heart simply gave out. She died at 6:30 am.

Needless to say this was very unexpected. She left behind her husband; they have two sons, one married with a baby. She also left behind the seven girls she is currently a house mother to today, aged 7-16–as well as dozens of other girls she had been a mother-figure to during her 10 years at the children’s home.

I don’t have to tell you how much these girls are hurting right now. The children’s home as a whole–kids, staff, and house parents–are all in shock. Please pray for everyone as we deal with the grief, especially her husband, biological children, and the girls who have become her children. Pray especially for me and the other staff that we will be able to minister to, comfort, and love the girls and other children who will be grieving.

Thank you so much for praying. If you know of others who would pray for this, please share this with them as well.
Thanks again.