Thursday, September 20, 2012


there are so many things I could write about BUT I'm working on not thinking quite so much :)

With Corey's recommendation, I found a new coffee shop that I'm obsessed doesn't even matter that it's in North's that good. Sola. love.

God is gracious and He answers prayer. The most evident lately is His provision of a paid tutoring job! I've been looking for a way to make extra money and turns out I actually love tutoring...even math! crazy! AND it's for a family that I absolutely LOVE. I just couldn't ask for a better deal.

I'm praying about eventually moving in with this family from church. I made a pros and cons list and the pros FAR outweigh the cons. Now God just has to shake all the details into place...pray with me!

I feel better today. Life feels less overwhelming. maybe because I've only been letting myself focus on 3 things:
1. not eating lunch or dinner alone
2. exercising every day
3. observing my patterns and habits and giving myself some grace instead of judging and condemning

Eventually, I'll have to add life things back in one by one but for now, it's ok to focus on a few things and make it through this "crisis" season. it's ok. it's ok. it's ok. I have a hard time letting that really take root but it's just gonna have to.

happy Thursday!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Come quickly, Jesus!

I was reading the Jesus Storybook Bible before bed and I read this: "and John knew, in some mysterious way that would be hard to explain, that everything was going to be more wonderful for once having been so sad. And he knew that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun. 'I'm on my way,' said Jesus. 'I'll be there soon!' John came to the end of his book. But he didn't write The End. Because of course, that's how stories finish. (and this one's not over yet.) So instead, he wrote: 'come quickly, Jesus!'"

One day, everything sad will come untrue. Oh how I long for that day! And I pray that my hope lies in the certainty of its coming..


A sweet friend sent me a message today in which she described me as a “courageously honest woman” and I think that might be one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. I love to write. I love flowery language and big, descriptive words and those of you who read this blog know well that I don’t hesitate to use them. But more than anything, I long for authenticity, for honesty in what I write. I want to paint a picture of the reality of life in this fallen, broken world in beautiful juxtaposition with the reality of the beauty of the gospel and the restoration that Jesus brings. Honestly, I only know of a few people who read these words I type. This blog is mostly for me as a way for me to process through what I’m thinking and what God is showing me on a somewhat regular basis. This blog is part of therapy and healing for me. It’s raw. There’s something about clicking the “publish” button that allows me to let go of some of the things to which I’ve clung for years. Sometimes God uses it to pry my death grip off of certain things one finger at a time. There are parts of my story that may never make it to these pages but God is teaching me that we all have a story and that everyone’s story is worth being told. Even mine. I confess that I still have a hard time claiming that as truth. I still wonder if my story is really worth being told. It’s not very exciting, sometimes deeply depressing, and sometimes just plain boring. And there are parts of it that I haven’t even told myself yet, which, at the age of 26, makes the thought of exploring them a bit daunting. Alas, along with my journal, these pages have helped bear some of the weight of my story these past few months and that is worth the time.

I love the concept of story. The idea that God is the author and the narrator of our stories fascinates me and the truth is, as a literature nerd, it makes me a little giddy. I just love stories of all kinds. I love digging deep and finding patterns and motifs and exploring language and theme. I love the way that stories unite us. Picture a room full of toddlers who are distracted by each other and lots of toys. What would happen if I walked into that room with a book and started to read a story? I would bet money that 2 pages in, the majority of them would be sitting in my lap or next to me or in front of me, trying to help me turn the pages and wanting nothing more passionately than to see the pictures. Stories unite us, they help us find common ground in our humanity when it seems we have nothing in common. Dan Allender wrote a book called To Be Told.. about how God writes our stories and longs for us to be involved, to join him in the writing of the rest. The book talks about theme, pitching the idea that God weaves certain themes in and out of our lives that can help lead and direct us to who and what and where He is calling us. I think it’s true. It’s beautiful to see how God has given me a heart for women and children who struggle with many of the same things that I have wrestled with throughout my own life and a deep desire to be a part of bringing some redemption and restoration to that arena. My themes are strong and it’s the very places where I’ve experienced the most brokenness and despair that I long to revisit with younger women and children as one coming alongside and fighting with them for freedom. I’ve thought many times that maybe therapy is as much, if not more, for the people that I will love and minister to throughout my life as it is for me and my own healing. I, for one, am so glad that Anne decided to go to therapy when she did. It’s amazing how God has equipped her to walk alongside me through this process. And I can only pray that God would one day multiply that healing by using me to come alongside someone else.

Lately, I’ve felt pretty lonely. But this weekend, I spent hours with my pseudo nieces and nephews and brother and sister, today I spent hours with a different set of pseudo family and tonight, as I sat around a table of women who love the Lord and love me, I realized that I am so far from alone. True, no one really knows what’s going on and there’s only so much they can do to help but they are doing so much. More often than not I am too scared to admit that I need help and too prideful to ask for it when the truth is that they want me around. They want me around. I need to work on believing people when they say that instead of coming up with 100 reasons why there’s no way they’d want me around. It’s a worth issue. I know, I know, you’re shocked! But the truth is that my worth comes from Jesus and it’s rooted and grounded in his love for me and the significance and purpose that he brings to my life. I’m worth it because Jesus is worth it and no one can really argue with that. Not even me. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

not for a moment

in my hurt, at my worst, when my world falls down...not for a moment will You forsake me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

If you were diabetic...

Depression is officially worse than Diabetes. For years, I've fought it, at times able to hold it at bay without help. Well, last year, I finally had to admit that I was tired of fighting so hard all the time and I asked for some help. I remember so many conversations with Anne about the pros and cons of medicine, most of which consisted of me being stubborn and her actually knowing what was best. (hm, that's still kinda true..) She said "If you were diabetic, would you take insulin?" yep. well isn't that just ironic? ha! Amidst several of these illustrations, she said "Amy, if I felt the way you do, I'd take something." Well, that did it. I respect her so much and care so much about her opinion and God used her to move me, through many layers of history, resentment, anger, uncertainty, fear, and sadness, to a place of acceptance regarding medication. I argued that treating it wasn't the same as having Diabetes or some other physical disease, but then it helped. It gave me back my life. It reminded me that depression is not my identity, that I don't have to live in this fog where life is too much to handle. It reminded me that I love to laugh. It lifted the darkness just enough to give me some strength and some hope that my life could be good and fun again. It opened a door for there to be real progress and growth in therapy instead of just the sadness police. I remember being amazed at how fast it helped, yet still skeptical. and I also remember when one pill wasn't enough. I felt so much better compared to where I had been that I had a hard time realizing that there was still more freedom to be had. My meter of what is "normal" was smashed a long time ago by years of sadness and hidden grief. I was told multiple times in multiple ways that I wasn't getting the full benefit that meds could bring. Still, I felt crazy. Not only did I need depression meds, I needed 2. Well, they were right. I need 2. The darkness continued to lift and I felt like I could breathe deep for the first time in years. I remember times of lamenting in my car over the fact that I am dependent on these medicines to function in life and I remember times of rejoicing in my car just singing praises to the Lord for these 2 pills that I have to take everyday. I felt rescued and cared for.

Depression is deceitful. It makes you forget those times of freedom. It surrounds you with doubt and paints despair where there once was joy. It comes quick and it's sneaky. and all of a sudden, you feel like your life has been flipped upside down and smashed into the ground. Guess what; when that's your life, it's hard to see the reality of what is happening. Sometimes it takes some scary things to shock you into the truth that you need help. again. And then the shame comes. again? really? I feel like a problem child, always asking for favors and concessions to be made for my health. I have appointments and bad days and other diseases that complicate matters. I'm so tired of not being able to handle my own life. and I have a hard time getting out of bed and going to work in the morning but doesn't everyone have a hard time getting up and going to work in the morning? it's so hard to know. but I know that I have had mornings where I have been glad to get up and go take care of those precious kids. and I know that it's been a while since I've been glad. I'm not a vegetable. I still laugh and I still smile. It's just not as full, not as rich, not as real. Depression dulls things. it makes everything seem dull and heavy. Even my forehead feels heavier, like it's going to press down and usurp my eyes. It seems like moving or making decisions or pressing on to another day is like walking through thick gooey mud. You have to keep moving or you'll get sucked under but it's hard as hell and sometimes you really wonder if it might be better to just stop and let the mud wash over you and sometimes you wish you had gone a different way and when you come out on the other side, you're still covered in mud and wondering if you'll ever know what it's like to be clean again and trying to brush it off just spreads it everywhere and eventually you just give up and accept the fact that you're the messy girl who trudged, ever so slowly, through the mud. A good friend of mine said "Don't forget, you can't take God out of the equation." Of course you can't. He's the one who made the mud and made the girl. He's the one who knows that the mud is really making her clean. He's the one who trudged through the mud already, who knows what it's like to taste despair and darkness, who is powerful enough that at any moment he could snatch the girl out of the mud and paint rainbows and butterflies around her. If he wanted to. Job says to God, in a weak moment, "I wish I had never been born..." and God says "Where were you when I put the stars in the heavens?.." among many other things. For real, though. Who am I to know what is best or why this is part of my story?

There's this song I love...shocker, I know! it's called "No Fight Left" by JJ Heller and it says "there's no place I can go where you don't already know how to reach right down and pull me out...I need you, I need you, I need you.." I've probably written about this song before because it's one of the few that I've found that really express how I feel when I'm in the midst of this. There's no fight left in me, but maybe that's where I should be. Maybe that's what God wants from me. He wants me to give up trying and give it all to Him. I could be mad at God because I know that if he wanted to, he could jerk me right out of this place tonight. but I'm not mad at him because I know that if he wanted to he could jerk me right out of this place tonight. He could rescue me here and now but he's choosing to leave me here and I've lived through this enough to know that he's a God who has beautiful, powerful purpose behind the things that he does. He hasn't forgotten me but instead he says in Zechariah 2 that he is a "wall of fire" around me and that he "will be the glory in [my] midst." Piper says "He is never content to give us the protection of his fire; he will always give us the pleasure of his presence." After all, he knows when I sit and when I rise and even when I settle on the far side of the sea, his hand is still there. and eventually, the night will shine like the day because even the darkness is not dark to him. Praise God that the darkness is not dark to him! I'm restless until I rest in him and there's nothing that can satisfy my soul but him and he loves me and will always be enough. He just has to remind me sometimes. Such a severe mercy.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

the Bell Jar

I've never been much of a home body, which I speculate is mostly a result of my rather ostentatious extravertedness. I love people. I love being around people and pursing people and gathering people together around a table or for a cause. I guess even extraverts get tired. I'm tired. There are so many things to think about, so many things to deal with or decide or work through. The past few days have just been rough. I can feel the bell jar hovering over my head ready to drop down and trap me. Most of you probably don't know what I'm talking about when I say 'bell jar'...There's this book, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It's a favorite. She uses beautiful descriptive language and metaphor to describe the experience of severe depression in a time when mental illness was gravely misunderstood. One of my favorite quotes comes when she is talking about memories. She remembers everything that has happened to her, everything good and bad, all of the cruel and inhumane "treatment" she underwent for major depressive disorder, all of the side effects and the confused looks and the lack of understanding. She says "Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, would numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape." They were her landscape. Sometimes I wish a kind snow of forgetfulness would just come and cover all of me and my thoughts and my broken body and that I could just melt into this couch with the snow. But a wise friend once said to me as I wrestled with the "whys" of my own diagnosis of major depressive disorder, "Amy, maybe depression is just a part of your story, maybe God is going to use this experience to allow you to love and help other women someday." Maybe He will. maybe he already has in a way that I can't see. I know, deep down, that there is purpose to all of this. and even in the midst of my unbelief, I know that God is not abandoning me. It's just so hard. My heart is so weary. When I think about my landscape, it feels desolate and dark and dry. It hasn't always felt that way. Depression is a beast of a disease. It traps you in a cycle of defeat and even when you break free of the cycle, there's always this tiny fear in the background that it's coming back to devour you again. it's like being chased. always looking over your shoulder, wondering if this is the time it will catch up and engulf you. It's scary but I know I'm not stuck here. People I trust, who love me and know way more than I know, tell me everyday that I will get through this and that this is not forever. now I just have to believe them :)

I'm camping out in Psalm 139...again. The whole thing is a beautiful reminder of how God cares for his children but there's this verse that says "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." vs. 16. Guess what that means. That means that God is not surprised by me, he isn't shocked by diabetes or depression or degenerative discs (alliteration...ha!) but instead, he knew they were going to happen. He knows just how he's going to use them for his glory and my good and to further his kingdom. It's ok to struggle, it's ok to struggle, it's ok to struggle. I have a hard time believing that. I like having things figured out and analyzed and perfected. I don't like uncertainty and not knowing and brokenness and struggle and blind trust. The Lord is loving me, this is his mercy to me. and yes, I'm angry as hell. I hate this, I hate the fact that I can't take a break from diabetes or I could die. I hate that I've gained 45 pounds. I hate that I have such an unhealthy relationship with food. I hate that I am so tired all the time. I hate that I don't really look forward to leaving my bed or my couch. I hate that I don't feel like me. but God can handle my anger. it's not too much for him. I'm angry at the way things have to be and I'm working on expressing my anger (I'm not very good at that). and I'm praying that God brings something beautiful and joyful into my life that distracts me from myself and reminds me of his goodness. and that I begin to learn to really rest, knowing that his hand is guiding me and holding me fast and that he has searched me and knows me and still loves me all the way to the bottom and all the way to the top. Lord, help my unbelief.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

more good days than bad days this week, which is encouraging. it feels like today is gonna be tough. i'm trying really hard to claim truth and trust that my identity and worth are rooted in Jesus and not in what I think of myself or what people think of me. i'm tired. but not sleepy. my new bed has been awesome! waking up in the mornings is a much more pleasant experience than it has been in years and i really do feel more rested. too bad my brain didn't get the memo that we're supposed to be better. i want so badly to be positive and to not overreact to things and to take deep breaths and take things in stride. but i'm having a hard time going with the flow. it's a little turbulent at the moment and most days i just want to jump ship and wait this out somewhere else but i don't really have that option. my neck hurts and i just want to rip my head off. the truth is, i'm angry at my body. i feel like my body is my enemy and like it has totally betrayed me. and i know that i can't really separate me from my body but in my head, i do. i don't want this body to be who i am. i hate being needy. hate it. but i am so needy right now that i don't know what to do with myself. and it's been a couple years of neediness but never to this depth. i have a hard time admitting that i'm not ok and asking for help, usually because i'm not sure what would help, which unfortunately doesn't mesh well with intense need. ahh! i am so overwhelmed that i feel like i'm drowning. i feel like i'm buried in a pile of rubble, stuck underneath and i'm not quite strong enough to get out. it feels like my voice isn't working. like i want more than anything to scream for help but for some reason i can't. i feel like the next thing might just do me in. yesterday i met with an awesome lady, one of the diabetes educators at duke, who is diabetic and maybe the nicest person on the planet. she understands what is happening to me in a way that no one else really does. and she said so many of the same things that Anne says all the time. she was much more like a therapist or just a good friend than an educator. i have a feeling that she's going to become one of my lifelines. so thankful for her. hopefully she will be able to help me. she promised that this is not forever but that eventually, diabetes fades into the background. it's only a tiny speck in the grand scheme of who i am. there's a magnifying glass on that speck right now. a really giant powerful one. hopefully i won't lose my mind before we get past the crisis part.