Tag: crisis

peace

Three coping mechanisms for an trouble-filled day

Some days are just full of problems” aren’t they? Sometimes it’s big troubles and sometimes just annoyances. And sometimes it’s just a busy day and that alone causes us angst. I don’t know about you but I hate days when I have lots of errands to run and none of them fun.

Here’s my practical tips for any day when what is facing you is causing you anxiety.

First of all, step inside yourself for a moment. What are you really upset about? Is it the situation right in front of you or has your mind wandered off to past issues or future concerns? If you really stopped and analyzed your anxiety, is there a path to calmness you can find?

peace

Here’s a recent example from my own life.

I needed a tiny little replacement part for my mom’s hearing aid. Seriously, it would’ve have taken all of about three seconds to put it on but “everyone was busy” and “could I come back later?”

“No”, I replied somewhat shortly. Well, “Could I wait fifteen minutes”?

To which I promptly and tersely replied, “I don’t have fifteen minutes. I’ll leave them”. And I left in a little bit of a huff.

Now you might judge this situation and say, “Goodness, that was nothing to get upset about.” And you’d be right -as far you knew.

But here’s the backstory and this is where my mind immediately went.

This particular hearing-aid establishment had been calling me pretty insistently once they knew I was interested in buying my mom the top-of-the-line hearing aids. I mean they were so excited they even paid a visit to her house.

I felt they were quick to take her money but not nearly so quick to take care of a three-second fix.

(Of course I realize the clerk didn’t know that. It wasn’t her fault.)

 

On top of that, I had a number of errands to run that day, x-rays and blood work I’d been putting off for weeks because of my mom’s situation, and a number of other necessary errands. Had I taken just a moment to look inside I would’ve have realized that I was reacting to the stress of the last few weeks more than to this delay. That’s what I mean about going inside yourself to figure out what is really, upsetting you.

Secondly, choose to be as content and peaceful as you can in each moment. When I look back on the ordeal I went through with my mom for a few days (I haven’t shared the details with you because it is my mother after all, and I respect her privacy.), I am amazed at the peace I did feel. I felt God’s guidance every step of the way and am very happy with all the choices I made.

But the body can only handle so much before it requires us to step back and take care of ourselves. Pay attention to your body’s physical responses;  step back and find the peace you need. It may mean walking away from the situation and from everyone while you collect your thoughts. It may mean walking away inside when you can’t walk away outside. This last part is an art that needs to be learned. It doesn’t just happen.

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Third, take responsibility for your own well-being. You notice I didn’t say happiness. I think happiness, as an experience, is highly overrated. I think well-being more closely captures the kind of happiness God promises us. As long as we know our “being” is “well”, we can handle just about everything.

I hope this helps you when you have some of those days.

God bless and have a good day.

What’s is the secret of the spiritually growing Christian?

Don’t you wonder sometimes about the strength of other Christians? I do. And often I come up short by comparison.

Many times I feel “flawed”. I mentioned yesterday that I have met some very inspiring people these last eight days. (In order to understand this post you will absolutely have to read yesterday’s post.  I don’t want to have to reiterate it all again. Besides, it makes me cry.)

I visited my mother this afternoon and once again I am hopeful. Bringing her home and canceling all the scheduled caregivers, nurses, therapists, etc, seems to be working.

It was so good to visit with her in her own home, to talk with her, have lunch with her. As you read last week, I never thought this would happen again. I also shared how God’s grace has seen me through this quagmire of the medical domain. I also shared about the importance of having God’s word in our hearts and how that happens.

I often say to myself after God does something that tickles my heart, “God, how do you do that?” For example, I’m in a quandary about something and God brings the perfect piece of information my way.  “God, how do you do that?” Or I’m shopping for something specific and find it on sale, “God, how do you do that?”. There are some weeks it’s like an everyday occurrence.

As you can surmise, I haven’t had much “alone” time with God recently. But finally yesterday afternoon, I found the time and had another one of those “God, how do you do that?” experiences.

I’m going to quote this verbatim. It’s from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest”, October 19th.

“You have no idea of where God is going to engineer your circumstances, no knowledge of what strain is going to be put on you and if you waste your time in over-active energies, instead of getting into soak on the great fundamental truths of God’s Redemption, (that was a little hard to follow but I think he is using the word “soak” to mean “study”) you will snap when the strain comes, but if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in God on the unpractical line, you will reamin true to Him whatever happens,”

I mean really, did he copy me? This is exactly what I wrote about yesterday. What an affirmation.

“God, how do you do that”?

God bless and I really do hope you have a good day.

How to handle life when it explodes

These last eight days have been traumatic and that might be an understatement. So this is a quick post. I was supposed to be in San Francisco this week so I had a week’s worth of posts ready, some of which have already posted. But I wanted to interrupt the flow to bring  you up-to-date.

I won’t go into details. You can find much of the back story here and here.

sadness

I’m no longer in crisis mode although another one is right around the corner.

This is a post about God’s grace. I’ve written about God’s grace a lot. I’m not sure how much more there is to write except here I am doing just that.

Eight days ago, when events took a dramatic turn, I knew God’s grace would get me through. It always has.

But I’m still amazed at the creative ways God shows us his grace. I’ve never doubted a moment that I was in His care and that he was leading me every step of the way.

I said to my husband this morning, that I’ve learned first hand what the Bible means when it states that God’s word is “living” …..

New International Version
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

I couldn’t have quoted chapter and verse from Proverbs these last eight days. But every day for years, (except when there is a crisis, wink, wink), I’ve read from Proverbs as part of my daily time with God. It has permeated my very being to such a degree that it does indeed live within me.

obedience

I will share next week about some of the amazing people I met along the way. I can’t today because my mind is fried and I’m tired. Plus, I want to process all that has happened.

I just want to encourage each of you today but pointing out the importance of daily time with God. As I’ve said often, don’t expect to learn about God, don’t expect to spiritually mature during a crisis. A crisis is when you focus on the crisis; you have to. It’s not the time to try to “catch-up” on all the Bible study and praying you’ve ignored.

God may rescue you without it, of course. He often does. But it’s not ever what God suggests anywhere in his word. And it’s not the best for us. We can make a lot of mistakes during a crisis if we’re not permeated with God’s thoughts.

Think of me today and utter a little prayer for my evening. I will share more with you when I can, but because of my respect for the person involved, I won’t do that now. I may never. Besides, details can quickly become gossip and she deserves better than that.

God bless and have a good day.

 

tears-1

When your heart breaks, what do you do?

I was off the blogging grid yesterday. The last twenty-four hours have found me in crisis mode.

My mom fell again. And we are now making plans for her I prayed I would never have to make.

When I say “pray”, I do mean “pray”. I’ve prayed so hard my mom would never have to leave her home; I’ve worked so hard to keep her safe but we couldn’t convince her she needed to use her walker. This time, she broke three fingers, (she broke her wrist three months ago), hit her head, has a black eye, and has some bruised ribs.

I had already started the process earlier but today we finished it all up. I think she will be going there tomorrow. I’ve cried a lot today. I will be crying harder tomorrow. I can’t even imagine how I can do this.

tears-1

Thank goodness, I don’t have to, imagine it I mean. All I really have to do is “show up” and let God take control.

This is a post about “grace”. The grace of God that is always sufficient (meaning enough). And you see, God’s grace doesn’t mean we don’t cry, that we’re not sad, that we’re a “tower of strength”. It means none of that. So what does it mean?

Let’s look at this verse and those surrounding it:

 Three times I pleaded with the Lord (Paul’s thorn in the flesh. We don’t know what it was. ) to take it away from me. But he (God, probably through prayer or insight) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-13

It isn’t about us. The grace that is sufficient is the power of God that is being perfected through the grace that flows through us. Now we can tap into that grace or not. We don’t have to take this grace. Like many of God’s gifts, we can refuse them. And sometimes we refuse them unknowingly. We do that by not trusting God to get us through whatever we are facing.

I have felt God’s grace settling on me even prior to this event. I can look back a few days and realize I’ve had this increasingly sense of peace and a kind of  “knowing” that this day was coming soon.

I can’t explain it.

I only know it.

When she fell, I didn’t rush to her home. My brother and friend were there and are quite capable and she was conscious and in no severe pain and an ambulance was on its way.  I knew my time would be better spent getting all the things in motion I had already explored earlier. I had total peace about my decision. Plus, I had to connect with God and think through things. I left within twenty minutes.

We were in the emergency room for seven hours. Finally, they found a reason to admit her.

This morning the administrator from the Assisted Living Facility came up and we completed the paperwork which is when I lost it. It was so hard to even think about her not going back to her home.

I’ve been thinking these last twenty-four hours how yesterday was the last time I was going to see her in her home.

And my heart is breaking, sadness crowding out everything else.

sadness

Even as I write, the tears well up and I have to remind myself that God’s grace will be in full force tomorrow through my tears. That my tears have nothing to do with lack of faith. If that were the case, how would we explain Jesus’s tears over the death of his friend Lazarus, or his tears in the Garden of Gethsemane? We couldn’t.

So like Paul, I will boast of my weakness, of my tears. When I am weak, in the sense of admitting to my fears, God can become stronger.

tears

Think of me tomorrow. We’re not totally sure that will be the day  but it’s pretty certain. And if not tomorrow, then Friday. The point is she’s not going home.

No more holiday celebrations in her home. No more sitting on the deck in warm weather drinking iced tea. No more sitting on the couch while she sits in her favorite chair and while we talk about things. No more just me and her in her home.

But she still knows me. I don’t think that will change. I think much of her memory loss and confusion are due to the bumps on her head. But the cause doesn’t matter, anyway, does it? The condition is still the same.

So there will have to be new memories made. Somehow. Thank goodness I know countless others have been where I am now, hearts breaking. There’s something to be said for that. They lived through it; I will, too. What choice do we have when we encounter life’s really hard times? We either stop living or we move on.

I choose to move on.

God bless and I hope you have a good day

 

 

 

why and how this blog is different

sad

I read a number of blogs about depression before I launched my own. 

I want to be kind with what I say next but I’ve done an exorbitant amount of research and I know what I’m going to say is consistent with that research.

Many of these blogs posts sound the same all the time. They seem to be nothing more than a recounting of the host’s depression, over and over again. The  comments are more of the same.  Everyone reinforces everyone else’s low moods.

Let me be very clear.

Telling our story is a good thing but telling it over and over again is not. That is called ruminating. It’s a classic symptom of depression and if you are prone to depression and even if you are currently symptom free, you can talk yourself right back into an episode by ruminating.

I’m not suggesting that these blogs haven’t been helpful to some people but I question any long-term gains. If you were to visit a therapist, he or she wouldn’t allow a steady diet of rehashing, either.

For example, I posted on a young man’s post a few weeks ago. He was depressed but I didn’t encourage his depression by supporting his depressed mood. Instead, I encouraged him to think through some things rather than offer him only sympathy. I wondered how he would respond.

He responded that he hadn’t thought about what I suggested and was going to give it a try. 

Empathy is good but sympathy can be counterproductive.

 Again, I do not mean to cast aspersions on other depression-centered blogs. I’ve read some that are very good. Their content is honest but also encouraging. But it seems to me that many of them are no more than “dump” sites. They contain the garbage but they don’t compost it into anything else. It just sits there.

You will hear me lament at times too (in fact in just a few minutes) and let you in on my bad days but if that’s what I do all the time, that means I’ve succumbed to the illness and I need to get back on track.

There might be times that someone has to lament and pour out their hearts. I welcome that. I truly want to listen when someone is hurting. I know what that feels like.  But I don’t want this blog to deteriorate into only that. 

I have my bad days too. September is a month I watch out for. The sun isn’t coming up as early and it’s going down sooner. So I stay busy until I get used to the new schedule. That’s why I cleaned out some closets and started a few projects. It felt good to do something constructive.

And on those days when I share my own struggles, it will never be only that. I will always offer some helpful advice.

Feel free to share how you’re doing but don’t be offended if I suggest that maybe you need to turn your attention to more constructive activities.

God bless and have a good day.

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