Anxious Anxiety…..

So today I had to be a grown up and drive on the freeway….alone….by myself….with nobody driving for me. And while this may not be a big deal for most of the earths population it is a BIG deal for me.

I am afraid of driving on the freeway, especially to and through areas that are unfamiliar.

It sounds looney I know, but it is something I deal with.

Irrational

Stupid

Dumb

Baby

Idiot

My heart rate speeds up, my hands shake, my breathing becomes impossibly shallow and my chest feels tight.  Then the lump in the throat with evil butterflies in my stomach and when it gets really bad I get mad and start crying and doing a whole lot of cussing.

Totally irrational, I have never even been in an accident, nor have I ever witnessed one happening.

I have learned a lot about the hypermobility issues and one of the components for it is anxiety and depression.  I could go into the why of it but I don’t feel like it right now.  I just feel like I want to barf….hence the writing it out because that helps me somehow.

Anxiety is a part of my life.  I fought against admitting that for a very long time.  I thought that I just had a lot of fears, not necessarily anxiety…..but here I am two years into some very stressful things and the anxiety is almost every day right now.  I know it will abate, but for now it is here and I have to figure out how to live with it.

For years I prayed against fear.  I prayed for trust.  I prayed that I would have peace.  I prayed those things hoping that at some point the fear and anxiety would disappear forever and magically I would feel peaceful and fearless.  For some people that is what happens.  My story is not quite playing out that way.

I feel so stupid having to say that I am afraid of driving a car on the freeway.  I feel so stupid saying that I am afraid to go to the dentist or the doctor.  I feel so stupid that my anxiety level goes into hyper drive when a curve ball is thrown my way.  I just feel stupid.

I tell myself to grow up.  I tell myself to quit being a baby.  I tell myself that my anxiety is irrational and I try everything I can to make myself rational.  All to no avail.

Like pain, like fatigue, like depression, anxiety is a part of my life.  I can’t get over it or under it, I have to go through it.  ugh.

Knowing though that the anxiety isn’t about a made up thing in my head but it is a physiological issue is helping me to feel not quite so stupid.  It helps me to know that it is just something I have to make it through and get to the other side.  It helps me to understand I may not always be able to calm my anxiety but it doesn’t have to paralyze me.  It helps me to know that it is not about me getting myself worked up and there is not a lot I can do to stop it from occurring.  I could go live under a rock and leave reality but then I would probably be anxious that my rock is going to crush me in my sleep. LOL

And you ask, where is God in all of this?  If you prayed shouldn’t you be healed?  If you trusted God enough you would be healed.  If you have faith…..don’t you know the promises of God for an abundant life?  Don’t you understand that by His stripes you are healed?  After all you are an OVEROMER!

Here is the thing.  I feel God more closely when I am afraid.  I feel more grateful when He walks with me through it.  I feel peace knowing that God is in control of when my feelings and emotions are definitely not in control.

Yes I prayed. Yes I have faith, after all, I had enough faith to get saved.  The promises of God are not that I won’t suffer, but that I will have abundant life even in suffering.  And I do.  I have a great life, a beautiful life.  A life I could never have dreamed of when I was growing up.

I don’t have the answer to the whole healing thing.  I have known wonderful, Godly, faith filled Christians who have been sick and died.  Who have had the faith to move mountains yet their limbs did not regrow.  God heals who and what He chooses and I don’t believe that He chooses according to how one ranks in the faith department.  If that were true a lot of dead people would be alive and still preaching the gospel today.

Anxiety definitely sucks and I definitely hate it.  Like I hate the chronic pain and the chronic fatigue.  But at this point to not have those things would likely mean that I am dead and in heaven.  And I am just not quite ready to leave this earth in exchange for the full healing of heaven.  What God has given me here is far to precious.  And I don’t think Gods purposes on earth are complete just yet.

And yes I am an overcomer.  I made it here and I did not take the easy way out and let my husband deal with it at some later date.   Which I do often.  In a couple hours my heart rate, which never really came down that much, will peak, and I will sweat and shake some more.  I will get on the freeway and drive home.  I will breathe a sigh of relief the second I am off the freeway and on familiar streets.  I will have overcome.

And in it all, in the pain, the fatigue the anxiety God is with me and for me.  Helping me, leading me, holding me.

Advertisements

grieving without community…

I read a blog that was written after a very beloved woman left her family and friends too early due to breast cancer.  It was titled Grieving in Community and the blog is called Mundane Faithfulness.  It was about what it is like to grieve with others through loss.  How comfort and healing come with sharing laughter and tears together after a loved one has died.

It is an opportunity that I have sorely missed.

Most of the time grieving is done with family and close friends.  But for some of us grieving happens alone.  Grieving happens in places that are so inappropriate, like the gym or the church bathroom.  Grieving takes place watching a commercial on t.v. or walking down the aisle in Walmart.

It happens in those places because grief must be let out.  It must be poured out while sitting over coffee or tea laughing and crying hysterically. If it isn’t, grief takes it upon itself to seep out in places you don’t think it belongs.

You can have family and friends and not have  a shared community of a love one who has died.  It makes the grieving process a lonely thing to walk through.

There were times after Sams death that I felt as if he may have been a figment of my imagination.  I knew that he wasn’t, but he may as well have been in that moment.  It is a hard thing to grieve someone no one else ever knew.

I have family and I love them, and they love me.  But we are not a community.  We are not cohesive.  We are fractured, some of us talk, some of us don’t.  Some of us see each other, some of us don’t.  None of us interact in each others lives enough to have a community to grieve with if one of us dies.

Like with Harriet.  I grieve with my foster sister, I talk to my foster brother occasionally, but I didn’t know her friends and she didn’t know mine.  And the rest of my family, well, we don’t share that kind of deep hurt.

It was the same when Sam died and the same when my father died.  Although with my dad fortunately  there wasn’t much to grieve.

I think walking these deaths alone has made the grieving process much longer.  More chronic if you will,  It has made it harder to process and to let go.

I could have attended some kind of grief support groups over the years.  But I didn’t need that, I needed people who knew my loved ones like I did.  I needed someone to remember getting our butts handed to us by Harriet, I needed someone to reminisce about the heart of a man named Sam.  I needed a community of people to walk through all this mess.

Not that my friends and loved ones have not loved me through and been supportive of me.  Not that they haven’t hugged and held and reached out to me.  They have.  My friends and my family absolutely love me and are awesome to me.  But our lives are so separate.

And it is a seperateness that I cannot fix.  And I hate it.  I hate grieving alone.  I hate missing alone.  I hate crying alone and laughing alone.  Because whether you are sobbing or cackling hysterically in the bathroom at church all by yourself people kind of look at you funny……if there are two of you at least people think you are laughing at a bad joke….or crying at it because it was so stupid.

If I were being fake I would start in on the “So lesson learned I am hopping out there to make some community”.  Or “now is the time to build that community and let this be a lesson to me for next time”.

But really all I wanted to do was say that grieving alone is a reality and it is hard and it sucks.

I am not trying to figure out answers to the great dilemma. I am just pointing out that there is a dilemma.  and to ask you that if you know someone who is grieving alone please be patient with them.  Please let them take to long to get over it.  Let them hang on to their grief, let them muddle their way through.  Sometimes for some of us, all we have is the grief to proove that someone once loved us.

 

 

Can’t go over it….

It’s a book called We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. it’s about a family going on a bear hunt and encountering all kinds of obstacles, like tall grass, deep rivers, sticky mud, blowing snowstorms, dark forests and narrow and dark caves.

It’s amazing how so many times real adult life relates to a children’s story.  Or maybe it is just me and I still have growing up to do.

Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, EDS type 111, EDS Hypermobility. They are all the same thing but since my diagnosis this is how many times the name has changed.

Here is a link to learn more about Ehlers Danlos Syndrom (EDS)

What is EDS?

I was diagnosed sometime in 2009 or 10.  At the time I had thought I had finally found a reason for all of my symptoms.  But neither the Rheumatologist nor my general doc seemed super concerned nor did they offer much info.

So I went on a hunt to find my own info.  What I found though was not much.  Much the info I found was from other countries. American medicine did not seem to acknowledge the depth of the issue of my type of disorder .

So if the medical community ignored it, it must not be very real.  Which allowed me to go into denial that it was even a real “thing” and I could keep searching for a cure.   Denial really only leads to further frustration, further anger with God for not helping me figure out how to make myself better.

The other night after weeks of hip pain I decided to do some more research to see if possibly the EDS 3 could be the cause of the problem.  This time around I found so much new information.    I found lists and lists of symptoms.  My symptoms.  I found stories and stories that were my stories.   I found the end of my denial.

All of my adult life that I remember is filled with pain and fatigue.  For the rest of my life that is what I will feel.  There aren’t any cures.  There is no diet or pill or exercise that will change the fact that the collagen in my body is somehow defective.

I know I have said I have accepted this fact before, really I haven’t.  Really in the back of my mind I kept looking, searching, praying, hoping and begging for it to be different.

But reading my life in the stories of others have changed everything for me.  I can do things to help support my body, I need to lose weight. I can strengthen my muscles to support my joints better.  That’s about it.

Headaches from tension to migraines a given.  Mind numbing fatigue, all over pain.  Arthritis, those are a certainty for me. It hurts to walk, it hurts to not walk.  It hurts to work out and it hurts to not workout.  I am damned when I do and damned when I don’t.  But still I find myself grateful.  There are six types of EDS and within each type are differing levels of severity.  I think I am luckier than most.  If you read about what others have to deal with, I am on the mild side.  Thank you Lord.

And that book keeps going through my head  “Can’t go over it, Can’t go under it, Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!”

I just have to go through it.

I so often think about what I could do, what I want to do, what I should do, what I WOULD do if this thing didn’t plague my life.  Some days I feel like I am grieving a life that I think I might have had if it weren’t for fatigue and pain sucking all the motivation out of me.

We as humans spend our lives trying to figure out ways to get around things.  To get over and under issues so that we don’t have to go through the hard stuff.  In reality we really only make it much harder on ourselves.  The journey over the mountain is dangerous and draining, and it takes much longer.  The journey under the mountain often takes us deeper into our crap and our tunnels always collapse in on us. In trying to go around the mountain we usually end up lost and off of the path frantically searching for a way back or staying hopelessly lost. That is me, staying hopelessly lost until finally I decide “Oh no, I’ve got to go through it!”

Denial has held me in bondage, acceptance of truth will set me free.  Time to turn my energy in a more positive direction.  But if I am being honest giving up on the idea of a cure is heartbreaking to me.  I hate giving up and I hate giving in.  I hate admitting failure.  I hate not being able to control and fix this.  I hate feeling weak and less than.

But the truth is that I am tired of beating my head against a brick wall.  This EDS thing takes enough out of me and I really don’t need to give it more of me.  as the Borg from Star Trek say….resistance is futile.  And in the end it is harmful.

It is time to let God fight my battles for me and for me to trust Him in this.

 

 

 

 

The hardest thing..

The hardest thing is having a heart full of things you want to say but knowing you can never say them.

Wanting to pour your heart out and express deep hurts, but to do that you must uncover someone else.  You have to strike a blow that you would not want stricken against you.

Or you know your declarations of love and loyalty will be met with a wall that goes up at the first mention of deep relationship.

I used to champion speaking the truth…..at all costs.  and I still believe that truth should always be spoken.  I am just no longer sure that I should always be the one digging it out and speaking it.  I am not sure that it is always my job to expose everyone and everything.  I am no longer sure that my assurances of love and loyalty will fix anything.

So I sit and think about all the things I want to say.  All the things I think I should say.  All the things I think I should have the right to say.   And I say nothing.  and it is a hard thing to hold so many things in my heart.

But in the end my belief is that if words are not used correctly no matter if they are loving or hurting words, they bring destruction.

I have spoken more than enough destruction in my life.  All in the name of truth or to work through whatever it was that was bothering me.  I am losing interest in speaking to hear myself speak.

There are times to speak up, and sometimes in my caution I have missed an opportunity to speak truth or love into someones heart.   I am sure that when those things come to light I will feel a sense of regret in that moment.  I am not sure what will be the bigger regret, speaking or not speaking.  But I am sure that I would rather ere on the side of caution.  I would rather be a bit too careful than to be careless with others hearts.

and for a yapper like me silence feels as elusive as patience.   We all have a desire and a need for others to hear us, to hear our hearts, to validate our words.  Living choosing to sometimes be silent goes against our very nature.  I mean seriously why did God give us mouths to speak if He didn’t want us yapping?

Our pre-marital counselors once told us that if we have an issue we think we need to bring up with our spouse to first pray about it.  Then after we have prayed if we still felt as if it needed to be addressed to pray and ask the Lord for His timing, for our words to be directed by Him and finally to prepare the spouses heart to receive it.  That worked really well…… when I bothered to apply the principle.

But like so many of us I usually only applied that principle in that one area of my life, ignoring the advice in the rest of my life.  Carelessly speaking and venting and “truthing” to my hearts content and not really worried about the effect my words would have.

I have hurt many with my words.  Not all of them intentionally or cruelly, but I am tired of causing hurt.  So my decision is to do the hardest thing for me to do.  That is to keep silent until I feel God’s prompting to speak on things that concern others.

As for speaking about my life and my issues, I don’t really care what others know about me.  I am a pretty open book.  There might be someone out there that can be helped by my personal story.  Or someone will just be entertained lol.  Who knows?

Some things are better left unsaid.  I think I want that on my tombstone.

 

BFF’S

I am going to be calling a few people out this morning.  Yep, I am naming names.  Today there will be no where to hide if this blog is about you.

Roberta Fisher

Colleen Metzler

Laura Nevarez

Rhonda Burchett

Ashley Felice

Deena Volk

Denise Grace

These girls are my oldest and my dearest friends.  They are my best friends.

I used to think I didn’t really need friends to much.  Like I could take them or leave them, but really,  I would be o.k. without them.  I mean I was grateful to have friends and I loved the ones I had but you know, hold on loosely and all that.

I have even have argued the point with my friend Laura.  She just laughed at me and said “right”.  LOL  it’s what good friends do when you talk crap.

But I was reminded this morning by my friend Roberta just how precious girlfriends are in our lives.  I was reminded of beautiful and joyful memories that were the building blocks of a friendship that has survived through some hard stuff over 25 years.

Nowadays I think I was kind of crazy to believe that I didn’t really need friends.  Now I know my survival, my growth and my abundant life depends as much on my girlfriends as anything else.

My girlfriends are the ones who remind me I am better than I think I am.  They are there when I fail to remind me of grace.  They believe in me when I don’t believe in myself.  They love me when I am unlovable and without reservation.  My girlfriends encourage the best in me. They have walked through my ugliest moments with me…..

Conversely they call bull**** on me when I need it.  They are there to let me know I am acting and thinking crazy.  Sometimes when I trip…..they LAUGH at me……and help me not to take myself soooooo  seriously.  My girlfriends have not so gently let me know it’s time to get my head out of my butt.

Who would have ever thought that I would be the one saying we all need girlfriends like that?  Not me.  But here I am typing away to tell all you girls out there to take the risk and find your lifer friends.  The ones who you will hurt and be hurt by in return, the ones who you will love and be loved in return.  The ones who you will accept as they are and who will accept you as you are.

They will be few and far between.  They will take time to find.  It is almost like mining for gemstones.  You are going to have to sift through sand and debris, dig through mud and get in and get dirty to find them.  You will find a lot of fake gems out there, but keep going.

We think we can live in isolation on a desert island like Tom Hanks from Castaway.  But isolation changes you and not so much in a good way.  It makes you some kind of crazy.  I mean for crying out loud his best friend was a popped volley ball. If that isn’t crazy I don’t know what is.

Rhonda sees some crazy good stuff in me.  I don’t even know how she sees it but she does.

Deena rejoices in my happy with me, and sends comfort when I am down.

Ashley, now she is something.  20 something years younger than me and she ADORES me.  I didn’t even have to earn it.

Denise has a real kind of grace and wisdom that touches deeply.  She speaks not from things learned so much from a book but from a life lived with truth.

And Colleen, she is my other kind of crazy.  The good kind of crazy that makes you snort water through your nose.  We have laughed at each other and cried for each other.

I have been privileged to have them in my life, and privileged to have been allowed in their lives.  I have been well loved and been allowed to love well by these girlfriends.

These girlfriends have spoken life in my broken relationships, they have watered my soul.  They have built me up and helped me grow.  Every season of my life they have been there loving me.

Thanks girls, this life is so much more beautiful with you in it.

 

 

Good Good Father

I’ll be honest, the first time I heard this song I not only hated it but I also made fun of it.

I know why, I cannot and  choose not to relate God in any way shape or form to a father figure.  Because to me that lessens who God is in my heart and mind.

I had a father that was supremely more interested in forgetting his shame (read children).  A father who would rather lie in the puddle of his alcohol than play in the light with his kids.  A father who made promises and never, ever kept them.  I had the father that left us, left me in situations he knew were dangerous and we could and would be harmed. And I was.

He did not protect, he did not fight for us, rather her deserted us.  He deserted me.  I keep including my two brothers because I feel that we were such a unit.  But I keep correcting myself because it is not for me to tell their story.

With age I understand that my father was a wounded man.  I know he wanted to be different to some degree.  But he never wanted it enough.  He never wanted me enough.

Why would I ever want to lump the God of the universe into the same category as my father?

I am unable to wrap my brain around a fathers love.  I see it.  I see men who are fathers that I admire and respect.  Both of my brothers for instance are amazing dads.  I know their kids love and respect them.  I have seen them protect and sacrifice and love their kids without hesitation.  But I still can’t ……. I can’t feel it.

If you tell me about a beautiful ocean I can feel the description in my heart, I can see it in my mind and I can love and appreciate a beauty that I am not seeing with my eyes.  But the dad thing I just can’t get.

And so this song bugged me.  It was ….sappy….ugh.

And then one Sunday the band at my church played it.  I can’t explain it but for some reason I liked it.  Sam I am, I like green eggs and ham!

Now every time I hear this I feel a sense of peace in that place of chaffing.  I believe the song.  I believe that He loves me and that I am loved by him.

I still don’t understand a fathers love, at least not in a personal way, but I believe it is real.  I have an assurance that a fathers love is real.  I have never felt that way before.  Ever.

I was blessed with a man once who loved me unconditionally.  He chose me when I had nothing to offer him and he gave me everything that he could.  Every day that he lived I knew I was loved by at least one person, that I was chosen, that I was valued.  I knew that I would always be a choice he made.  It was kind of like being adopted.

I understand that part of God.  I understand the God who loves unconditionally.  I understand the God that chooses me.  I understand what it is to come into a relationship with absolutely nothing to offer and everything to gain.  I totally get that.

I love this song.  This song about a concept that I don’t get.  This sappy song that repeats itself.  I don’t know that I will ever get the father part.  But I get the love part…I totally get that.

It is amazing that something like a simple little song can change everything without anything really changing.  It doesn’t change what kind of a father my father was to me.  It doesn’t change the fact that I never knew his love.  It doesn’t change the fact that I grew up in much worse circumstances than if he had been a good father.

My father is like a cracked mirror.  Every time I looked into it to find my worth I saw a warped little girl.  I saw a warped love.  I saw someone who was not worth loving.  Every time I see myself through the eyes of my father there is less and less to appreciate and approve of.

Somehow this song causes me to not look at the warped reflection from my father but to look directly into the eyes of God.  and what is reflected back for me to see is a love that is not warped.

I am not my fathers daughter.

Who I am is loved by God.

 

SEE? He is doing a new thing…

Isaiah 43:18-19

I have been torn between two lovers lately.  That sounds a bit dramatic but it gets the point across.

I am so lonely that some days I feel like the loneliness just drips off of me like beads of sweat.  I am happy, I am content, I have joy in every other part of my life.  But in the friend department…..well, it’s a bit sparse.

But I am also an introvert.  An introvert who has stuck my neck out more than a few times in the last few years and gotten whapped in the face for the effort.  I like to be alone…..a lot.  I like my phone not ringing….but I hate it when it does…..and I hate it when it doesn’t…but then I feel relieved…..

I think to myself often that who really needs new friends anyway?  I have my old friends…when they are not living their own lives…..when they are not teaching and leading their jobs and families.  We live in such a busy world, gone are the two hour chats on the phone while we all did dishes and our little ones trashed the rest of the house.

So I am lonely but not particularly motivated to do anything about it.  Because of past disappointments, because it is hard to make new friends and I am tired.  Because I am kinda crazy and it is difficult to find people who are not repulsed my oddities.  And being the sensitive type rejection in any form is hard for me.

I had a friend once who didn’t care who liked her and who didn’t.  She never understood my caring what others thought….but I never understood her not caring.  She did teach me a lot about not getting offended at stuff like that, but even though I am better in that area, it is still a battle I fight.

But then I remember the amazing women I have had in my life on a daily basis.  Women who have poured so much wisdom and grace into me.  Women who would sit and have theological discussions with me.  Women who laughed with me and at me.  Wept with me and rejoiced with me.  Women who have prayed with me and for me.  Women who have allowed me to be all of these things in their lives.

I have been privileged.

And I miss that.  I miss them.

And so I am torn between two loves.  The love of my introverted ways, and the love for my life with friends.

I break into a sweat every time I walk into church and think about having to greet anyone and I burst into tears every time I walk out having no friends.

I don’t know how God is going to do a new work in this one.

My heart is screaming JUMP….but my soul is screaming just as loudly STAY.

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. 19“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert

I cannot live on past friendships.  Not that they still aren’t my friends, but I need people in my day to day life who connect me with where I am now.  I need to have others who’s roots are planted where mine are.  I need community not just out there, but in here, where I live.

I never thought I would hear myself say it, but I need friends.  I need women in my life.  I need to be a friend to someone else.

So, I will keep this scripture in front of me until I can close my mind long enough to take the leap.  But I have to not know what I am doing.

Taking a leap off of a cliff into a deep, blue pool of water is dangerous.  I have missed the pool more times than I can count and it hurts to jump to shallow or miss the pool altogether.  So my mind can’t know I am doing it.

The alternative is to not jump into that water.  To stand at the top parched and dry and watch everyone paddling around in the pool. And while in the short term the isolation sounds appealing, in the long term I am not so sure.

It’s a conundrum for sure.  And I have no answer for it right now.

I love my aloneness and hate my lonliness.

that is just where I am at right now.

 

 

 

Failing Love Tests

So last night I did one of those little  things on the internet that said “8 ways you can tell your husband is still madly in love with you”.

I read through each statement thoughtfully and mentally checked off which ones proved my husband was still madly in love with me.

To my growing horror he only scored 1 out of 8……………………………….OHMYGODISHENOTINLOVEWITHMEANYMORE???!!!

So then, I read them out loud to my hubby, he of course just looked at me and wisely said nothing .   By the time we got to the 5th statement we were 0 for 4 and things were looking pretty dismal.  Then came the statement “he still surprises you”…..He got this little boy twinkle in his eye, and trust me you just don’t want to know what he surprised me with next…..

Here’s the thing, if I compared my marriage to so many marriages out there we would look like a complete flop.  If I compared it to things I had read in a book, whether fiction or non-fiction I would wonder why we were still married.  If I compared it to the standard upheld in society I could possibly think “what the hell am I doing here?”

Which is why I gave up the testing of my marriage against other things long ago.  First of all the only standard I need for a good marriage is a biblical standard.  That is a standard that requires that both parties love and serve each other not just based on our love for each other, but on God’s love for ourselves and our spouses.

Just like the rest of the world marriage comes in all shapes and sizes.  I had a friend who’s husband wrote her love letters.  That is just the kind of guy he was.  Laura loved them.  I on the other hand might look at my husband a little wonky if he was that romantic with me.

We would probably fail every marriage test out there simply because we are not trying to fit the mold the world tells us is the right mold for our marriage.  We are trying to fit the mold that God created in us.

My husband comes home from  work every. single. day . to me.  He doesn’t ask to go out with the boys because he would rather spend the time being us.  He also is very sensitive to a deep insecurity I have had in that area.  He wasn’t bound by it, he just cared enough that it was a difficulty for me that he never pressed it.

When he goes on  a trip for work he doesn’t let his trip get extended if he can help it.  In fact he tries to get an earlier flight….so he can come home and we can be us.

HE BOUGHT ME A STARBUCKS MUG FOR CHRISTMAS!!  because he knows that they are kind of an obsession.

Most mornings he makes the coffee and lots of mornings he brings it to me.

I can go on and on about things like this, it would cover pages.  But I think I have made my point.  Every marriage has it’s own flavor, has it’s own architecture and it’s own dna.  Don’t try to make your marriage over into any  pre-conceived notion of what it should look like.

After over 28 years of marriage I can say that although we are very far from perfect, we still have a great marriage.  We have our great marriage, not anyone else’s, ours. After all this time we really are still madly in love with each .  Our madly in love just happens to look a little different than the marriage test.

Here’s to failing another marriage test!

updates

So, I found a new doctor and I think I love him.  I was pretty discouraged when my ambien was taken away with the intent that I be off of it in two months…..really after 8 years you think I am going to be fine in 2 months?  Totally freaked me out.

BUT the new doc isn’t so sure that that is a great idea.  I wholeheartedly agree.

He also didn’t think it was such a great idea to keep me on a lower dose of my anti-depressant, and he actually believed, unlike the last doc that I actually do have asthma and should have refills for my inhaler.

WAIT WHAT?

I mean he actually listened to my story and how I got here.  He considered my words and he HELPED me.

He said something to me though that really caught my attention.  He said, “you don’t seem like the kind of person who just wants to take a lot of pills”

It was at that moment that I fell in love with my doc.  Because he understood the need, but also knew that I am not just an obese, middle aged, middle class hypo seeking drugs to try and make a happy life.  That felt like wow to me.

And he is right.  I don’t want to take pills.  I don’t want to take a happy pill in the morning so that I can function during the day.  I don’t want to take a sleeping pill so that I can sleep and not be in a vegetative state the next day.

I never wanted to be what they consider addicted to ambien.  I never wanted to take an antidepressant for more than a few years…..but here I am.

Over the years I have come to understand though that these are not about taking happy pills or looking for a high from Ambien.  Far from it.  These things are about survival and not being crazy and hurting others because of my depression….depression hurts, not just you but the people around you.

From experience I can tell you that being subjected to someones crazy is not a fun thing.  ever.  And because of my own traumas from that, and from witnessing the trauma that I inflicted on others when I wasn’t on medication, I am staying on my anti depressant forever if necessary.

I came up in the christian culture that if you suffered with any kind of emotional or mental illness then you are not praying hard enough.  If you were still sick years later the question was always asked what were you doing wrong?  Mental illness and issues were never anything a christian SHOULD put up with.  You HAVE THE VICTORY……

Only I didn’t and I was ashamed for many, many years.  I no longer am and haven’t been for a long time. but I still find myself feeling as if I have to justify my use of pharmaceuticals.  I always want to say “well if you would just o.k. pot smokage maybe I would be better….not really an appreciated answer.

The bigger story  is that even though I freaked out and was scared I decided that I would trust God with the whole thing.  I decided that if he wanted me too I would get off the ambien.  I chose to believe that if indeed that is what God was asking that he would provide whatever it was that I needed to get through.  But I was still freaking out.

The new doc did suggest that I read a book called Sleep Hygiene, which I will.  He also asked if I was willing to get off the ambien at some point and to that I said yes.

Because I don’t love depending on it.  I love it and it’s effects.  I can’t lie about that.  I love that big deep dark hole that I get to fall into for a few hours a night.  It is a beautiful thing for a mind that won’t turn off.

But the new doc is willing to help me find a way if possible to get that without a drug.  How cool is that?  So over the next few months we will be discussing that and we’ll see where it leads.

In the meantime I am very grateful that God was so gracious to me in this.  His ways do not always feel gracious, but this time they did.

I feel as if God were leading me to the top of the cliff and saying trust me JUMP……and there I am totally freaking out because I don’t think I can jump AND HOW COULD HE ASK ME TO DO THAT?  and then He says….oh wait, don’t jump…….LOL.  I am not saying that as if the Lord is arbitrary, but sometimes I do think he waits to see if even through our freaking out that we will by an act of our will choose Him over the thing that makes us feel safe.  Ambien makes me feel safe.  Sorry but it does. But I still chose to trust Him and he honored that choice so graciously for me.

So, I don’t know what the future of my meds look like.  I do hope one day to not need any drugs at all.  I have a few friends that have had some real results with products that are not pharmaceuticals.  Who knows, by this time next year I may be drug free.

But whatever or wherever direction God leads me in, I sure hope I learned a lesson about trusting Him and do better next time someone threatens my meds.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Still Believe

I had a person in my life once. Actually it was a man.  A black man.  The black part is an important detail because I was a little white girl.  He was much older than me, he was a grown up.  I loved him.  He loved me.  We were different races and it was pretty frowned upon to have a friend who was black.  He on his part befriended a little white girl when white people were the enemy.  He could have and probably should have hated me because I was white.  but he didn’t.

He came into my life when I was very young and he left my life when I was a young adult with a child of my own.  I have never been the same since his loss.  Almost 29 years later my throat tightens and my eyes well up because I miss him with all of me.  His was a love like I had never known in my life.

It was an unconditional love.  It was a love that required absolutely nothing from me, I had nothing to give anyway, but even If I had, it wouldn’t have changed anything.  He owed me nothing and gave me everything.  He found value in me even when others didn’t.  I was wanted in his life.  He loved me.

He was a man though, and as all men he was not perfect.  There were times he did things that hurt my heart.  Things I did not understand and/or like.  His love was imperfect, just like all of us he failed.  But he loved me.

I will never not love him.  I will never not appreciate that he was part of a bigger picture in my life.

My faith is always an issue.  My questions sometimes overwhelm me.  There have been days when my head has almost convinced to just walk away from God.  I have wrestled with and for my faith often.

But I refuse to give up.  My heart will never let go of God and here is why.

If I can accept the love of a man who was mere mortal, if I can value the love of a flawed man, If I can receive love from a man who sometimes hurt my heart……how can I not love God?

I believe that I serve a God who absolutely loves me.  I believe I serve a God that I do not always understand.  I serve a God that at times I do not trust.  I serve a God whom I wish I could tell what to do.  I do know how to fix the world after all.  I serve a God that I often feel disappointed with.

How can I?  Because I know that in the end all those things are about me, not the God who loves me.  In the end I know that I don’t trust people, I don’t understand people.  My belief in people fails as often as it does with God.  The common denominator is my heart.  My not so steadfast heart.

Being loved by Sam opened my heart to loving God.  He was a picture of unconditional, unearned love for me.  He owed me nothing he gave me a lifetime of memories of being and feeling loved.  And in a bigger way that is how God has loved me.

Most of us predicate our love and/or belief in God in how he performs to our standards.  If God meets my standard of behavior fit for a God, then I can believe and follow.  If His behavior is sub-standard in my eyes, I don’t believe and I don’t follow.

I asked myself the question this morning

“What if I don’t serve a perfect God?”………..yeah what if?  What if my God makes a mistake every now and then?

I realized I don’t care.  I can’t begin to know God.  I can’t begin to say I understand Him or what He does or doesn’t do.  I can love humans and forgive humans and give grace to humans.  I have let go of disappointment, hurt, betrayal, anger and wounding and continued to love the human who had bestowed those things on me.  But I can’t find it in my heart to do the same for God?

I believe because He loves me.  He came into my life and found value in me.  He chose to love me although I lived as though I hated Him.  He has never backed away from me.  I feel Him even in the middle of my ugly and what I feel from Him is unconditional grace and love.

I am probably the worst evangelist ever.  I should be telling people about the perfection of God and about how absolutely you don’t want to go to hell.  That is a tall order when you fight for your faith on a daily basis.

This is what I can tell people…..

Even if I find that God is not the God I have been taught, even if I find out that He is flawed and makes mistakes.  Even if I find out that all of my disappointments are real…..I still believe in God and I still love Him.  Because He has done no less for me.  I have failed Him, betrayed Him, disappointed Him.  I have walked away screaming and shouting my lack of understanding, my frustration and doubt.  But He stayed with me and loved me anyway.

Just as Sam loved me for who I am, God created me, breathed life into me and has never let go of me since.  I think that alone is enough to warrant my continued faith.  It warrants my continuing to fight for my relationship with Him. It warrants why I still believe.