“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

All I Want is for My Daughter to be Whole
and off those Antidepressants...

After a couple of recent conversations with some very amazing women, I have felt prompted to re-surface this post.  I pray it will bring you either compassion, mercy or at least consideration.

Originally aired on July 21, 2009

"But I have prayed for you, Simon,
that your faith may not fail.
And when you have turned back,
strengthen your brothers."
Luke 22:32 NIV

I had never met her before. I had joined my mother for a luncheon and I just happened to sit next to her. A godly woman... perhaps almost 70 years old... well-put together. She explained to me that her daughter, a mother of fourteen children, was dealing with depression. And then she boldly exclaimed, "All I want is for my daughter to be whole and off those antidepressants!"

My eyes widened. My throat got tight. My heart hurt. And immediately I began the self-talk.

If you're going through the study Me, Myself & Lies, you know what I'm talking about... the talk that goes on in our head... often destructive in nature. And if not properly taken captive can tempt me to destroy everything that God has instilled in me.

And the self-talk in my head that was prompted by this woman's exclamation sounds like:
"Those anti-depressants... That's you, Sheri... you're on those anti-depressants. You know what she would be thinking if she knew you were on those anti-depressants... if only you trusted the Lord more... prayed more... were more godly. Christians shouldn't be on those anti-depressants."
This particular conversation with myself has occurred many times. And since I am on anti-depressants... and most likely will be on them for the rest of my life... I have had to "speak truth to my issues." I have sought the Lord in prayer. I have sought His heart through reading the Bible. I have worked with Christian counselors. I have done medical research. All of this to combat the damaging self-talk.

I have begged the Lord to take the depression away from me. And wondered... why would He not do it instantaneously. Why not an instant miracle of healing? But through reading the Bible I find it is not always the case.

I consider Naaman in 2 Kings 5 who had leprosy. He went to Elisha for healing and was disgusted to find out that he had to dunk himself seven times in the muddy dark waters of the Jordan. "But Naaman went away angry and said, 'I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.'" 2 Kings 5:11 NIV Ultimately he did go to the Jordan... did the dunk... and was healed by God.

Or I consider the man who brought his son to the disciples for healing. He said to Jesus, "I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." Mark 9:18b The disciples in all their proximity to Jesus could not heal his son. So the man went to Jesus... and then the son was healed.

These people were not healed instantly. They had to pray and then pursue and act and then receive. It did not happen as they thought it should.

And what about the shame I feel in regards to taking medication? I realize that there are people with diabetes or thyroid cancer or arthritis or asthma or IBS or irregular heartbeat... who are on life giving or pain relieving medication... and we shame them not. So, why should I feel shame over taking medicine for a medical condition?

I have done my share of medical research. And due to sexual abuse under the age of five... and due to hereditary issues from my father who had mental illness... and due to the effects of thyroid cancer... I come about my depression honestly. The effects of the abuse, heredity, and thyroid cancer cause my synapses and serotonin to be out of whack.

Still when the exclamation was made... it sent me into destructive self-talk... but I immediately covered it with the truth. And later that day, admitted to my own mother that I am on anti-depressants.

And in writing this post... and revealing this weakness... this vulnerability... I realize that someone could decide to leave a comment that could send me back into that self-talk. But I also know that I am not alone... and that by "confessing" my issue, I am taking away some of its power over me.

My thorn does not define me, but instead refines me.

At first I didn't think of it as a gift,
and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap and
began appreciating the gift.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 The Message

Dear sister, when you are prompted to start the destructive self-talk... take courage. Press into the Truth... read the Truth... pray... and find someone in whom to confide. 

And may God's grace be sufficient in your weakness.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Welcome Summer. Please feel free to stay a while...

Me and my most favorite Panther
Field Day at our School

It's one of those days in Portland.  A day that hypnotizes you.  Makes you forget about all of the rainy days.  And you think... Yes, I could live here.

So nice, in fact, that we decided to NOT go to the Oregon Coast for the weekend.  Yes, we will take one warm Portland day over three rainier and cooler days at the Oregon Coast.  These types of days are hard to come by... and we treasure them.  Not letting any ray of sunshine be wasted.

So, laundry and dishes and all of the things that I have left unattended for the last week are going to have to wait.  Because today, the sun is out.  And the weather man has predicted a wetter and cooler (by 20 degrees) Monday.   And so, Monday will be a housework day.  But not today.  Today is all about soaking up the weather.

I've been busy this past week.  Busier than normal.  A kind of busy that I normally avoid at all costs.  But it was unavoidable... somewhat.  And I survived.  No ugly cries or over exhaustion or bad attitude.  But a lot of things that went undone around my home and with my family.  But that was then and this is now.

School is finally over.  Yesterday was the last day.  Lots of farewells and good-byes.  The last day of school ends up being bittersweet.  I like it and loathe it at the same time.  Hate good-byes and farewells.

My now 8th grader left for his church youth choir trip today.  He is five days and four nights on the road to Seattle and back.  Singing at about 11 concerts... hopefully seeing one of his best-est friends that lives in Seattle while he is there... and spending a day at a water park (rain or shine).

So, hubby and I are on our own.  Not heading to the beach.  Instead, we are heating up the grill for some Portobello Mushroom burgers.  Then we might head out and visit a spice store or a vegan restaurant.  You know the kind of things that an 8th grade boy doesn't really like to do.

Not that I miss him.  Not yet.  Although he did butt-dial me earlier this morning and I did listen to his conversation for about four minutes.  I guess they were talking about what movie to watch.  Of course, he wants to watch Nacho Libre, right?  Okay, so I am obsessed with that kid.  Sue me!

Welcome Summer.  Please feel free to stay a while...

Monday, June 11, 2012

"And to whom I was like to give offence..."

 "Good fences make good neighbors"

The Mending Wall 
By Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each. 

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 

Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 

He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows. 

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence. 

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. 

He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors." 

The Mending Wall 
by Robert Frost

Friday, June 1, 2012

I am not sure if it is a "good" or a "bad" thing...

Sunrise Over The Sea Of Galilee
photography by Anthony Kaetzel

(Feeling a little more peaceful this morning.) 

I had this epiphany the other day.  

I noticed that I had been having a hard time getting into my current Bible Study.  I love the teaching time (different women from our church taught about a Minor Prophet each week), but the homework portion was dry to me.  Admittedly, the homework was not the 5-day style I have been used to... and the Minor Prophets are not an easily applicable study.  But it just didn't engage me.  And I was frustrated with myself.

So, I am not sure if it is a "good" or a "bad" thing, but I when I opened up Kelly Minter's Nehemiah Bible study and started to prepare for my upcoming Summer Bible Study... I felt right at home.  It was like I was meeting with a friend.  Studying with a friend.  I am looking forward to meeting back with her on the page and hearing her "voice" while I study scripture.  It felt so good.

Why I say I am not sure if it is "good" or "bad" is because I started to wonder if I needed to grow in the area of being able to do a Bible Study that does not have a "voice."  You know, just me and God.  Or is it okay that I like having someone come alongside me during the weekly homework and make it more of a journey?
I thought I would share this epiphany because I think we can be hard on ourselves, can't we?  Here I am enjoying fellowship with God when I study the Bible in a certain format... but at the same time condemning myself for liking to study it that way.   I have to remind myself that I don't have to have fellowship with God in the same way that others do.  

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you... 
James 4:8 ESV