Whispered in the Valley…Shouted from the Mountaintop

Dear Friend,

Please bear with this entry until you get to the good part. You have to see the dark stuff before, you know, the light becomes clear. What I’m telling you is about how the last two+ years, and really the culmination of 45 years of real life, led to ONE WORD.

This is a conversation between me and God…and you are somehow a part of it, too.

Through breakdown, chronic depression, anxiety, PTSD, toxicity, pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, desperation, hopelessness, meds, doctors, appointments, emergency room visits, terror, nightmares, isolation, marginalization, loneliness, sleeplessness, vertigo, illness, vulnerability, fragility, hypervigillance, therapy, anger, guilt, grief, accident, watching my faithful but weary husband and my sensitive, sweet 16-year old daughter, a job with what seem to be endless unresolved issues and loose ends, losing friends, finding who our real friends are, disappointment in our church community and probably their disappointment with me, suicidal thoughts and wishes, debt, self-loathing, too many hours alone in my room, too many hours watching old movies, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, triggers, tinnitus, constant sensation of movement in my head, nausea, lack of focus, disappointment, missed opportunities, ruined holidays, plans made and canceled, injury, fear, hurt, frustration and more anger…

…doubt, questions…noise, Noise, NOISE!!!

…and by Your Spirit You have spoken and caused me to STOP

Quiet.

Quiet.

Be quiet.

Quieten your mind.

                Quieten your heart.

                                Quieten your body.

Be quiet before Me.

I will help you, but you must be quiet.

Stop talking. Stop resisting. Stop fighting. Stop pushing back.

Be quiet. I am working.

Like a multifaceted jewel in my hands, I turn the word over and over. The precious jewel of Quiet. I hold it up to the Light and it all becomes so clear…

Peace. Rest. Stillness. Stop. Move forward. Listen. Receive. Quiet. Don’t listen to the invading thought-darts. Put your armor back on. Self-control and self-discipline. Stand firm. Steel yourself.

I am working. Be quiet. Don’t interfere. Further, don’t interfere in your own process and progress.

I see; you don’t. Trust me. Be quiet.

Hold still. Hold your tongue. Let it go. Listen, even to the stillness. Watch and pray. Stop spinning. I am fashioning you to be of better use to Me, for your good and My Glory.

Stop. Breathe. Breathe Me in. Let everything else go. Be quiet.

That’s enough. The noise is gone. What you hear are just faint echoes and vague, impotent lies.

Listen to Me. My heart. My words. My Life in you. Give me the weight you’ve placed on everything but Me, including yourself. Let it go. I am working.

Be quiet. I love you.

I love You, Father! Thank You! Thank You for this gift, this treasure. Give me the grace to wear it well!

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Cloudbusting

For much of life it seems like I’ve been “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Worrying, waiting for something to be done with so I can just rest and put my mind at ease, has taken up far too much mental and emotional real estate! One day not so long ago after months of dark clouds, I started to panic about something (I don’t even remember what, that’s how significant that was) when I suddenly realized I was plain weary and couldn’t be bothered to panic. It was taking far more energy to panic than not!

I kind of wish I could say that wonderful weariness had lasted. I wish I could say that the archfiend of panic no longer creeps up in an effort to grab hold. Thank God, I can say He is my rest, strength, hope, salvation, rock, fortress, and refuge. He is my sanity, my ever present help in crazy times.

There is progress. And, at times, some humbling regress! I’m getting my driver’s license for the first time. Through proper breathing and prayer I can gain calm perspective. Seeing a naturopath to balance out body systems has been strengthening and empowering. Having a compassionate and loving husband and daughter has been…life giving. These are God’s provisions, and thanking him has become a constant song in my heart.

Things aren’t easy, but they are good. The clouds roll in, as clouds will do. But rather than be a philosophical and doubtful Eeyore, I desire to be an optimistic Tigger. Well, at least a faithful Winnie the Pooh.

Calvin Miller writes beautifully in The Unchained Soul:

At these moments of utter brokenness, our strength comes not in the cry of our own weak name―the poor identity of our own shabby arrogance. When our souls are in extremis, we breathe the name of Jesus. We sigh like Bartimaeus groping in his blindness, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38). But he summons us to bless the dark times of our lives. It is these which summon the light.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:6-8 (NIV)

Part and Parcel

I have joked for a long time that if ever I was to write my life story it would be called No Rest for the Wicked: The Autobiography of a Very Tired Girl. Lord knows I’ve been weary. But I’ve come to learn that while the devil is my worst enemy, I’ve probably been my own next worst enemy. I am 44 years old and coming out of an epic mental and physical breakdown, a grand “letting out,” as one phrased it. Quite a year. For the lessons learned in the darkness I would trade none of it.

The first major change has been to accept that I am loved by God and therein lies my worth. I am not defined by past, present, work, education, family, friends, and not even by myself. I never believed that in order to love others you have to have a sound perspective of yourself. So accepting this Love has done something…I want to share it, live it, walk it out. It’s not just for my benefit, but it’s part of the Whole. It opens up such new realms of possibility in all relationships and is turning my life inside-out for the good.

Jesus prayed for all of us before He died (and was resurrected!) and the Word is clear: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17 v 23 NIV) emphasis mine.

I’m psyched : )

WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT ON YOUR PLANET?

Mountains…anywhere…The Smokies…Swiss Alps…Tatras.