answered prayer

Isn’t it amazing when God answers a prayer? Even when we know He can, we know He has, then when He blesses us with another provided need, another confirmation, another open door…wow. How blessed are we?!

This morning, He did that for me. We have always had kids, well, teens or kids our boys’ ages around the house. Even now that both the boys are married and on their own, we end up with “kids” around here randomly.

I can’t make myself NOT call them “kids” even though many of them are moving into their twenties now! Many we have known since they were pre-teens from a former church. Their peers seem to always look up to my boys and so even when we left that church, we kept in touch with those kids who really connected with us.

Some of them have broken our hearts many times. Some have made major turnarounds in their lives. Some have disappointed us but then they have overcome whatever struggle they had and made a good life, a righteous life, for themselves. Then some we have never been able to break through with, never been able to get past their hard hearts, their disbelief in a loving Savior. Those we still pray for and sometimes fret over.

This morning though, one of the boys who really carved out a special place with us all contacted me through Facebook. He’s such a sweet boy but from a rather rough home without Christian parents or other Godly influences in the home. That’s always hard to overcome. We have loved on him, laughed with him, helped him fix broken parts on his vehicle so he could get to work and pleaded with him when he fell back into detrimental things.

prodigal son

He’s been gone, away from us at least, for over a year. He lives in the next town, so we didn’t see him anymore other than an infrequent post on Facebook. Most of those were short rants or photos of him with his middle finger extended with sad eyes looking directly at you. 😦 So heartbreaking for me, but we didn’t push, we didn’t pursue him. We gave him his space realizing he’s an adult now, he’s not actually our child although we have worried and prayed for him as if he was.

This morning… what an answered prayer. He contacted me. With his usual opening line,

“Hey momma.”
Yeah, he’s always called me that. We small talked for a bit, then I asked him

“How are you really?”

Forgive

He’s never been an open book, he won’t share what’s troubling him most without a lot of coercion sometimes. The same was true today, although he did at least tell me that he was really struggling, that he knew he’d been doing wrong and wanted to change things. I immediately texted my husband, the boys and their wives to get them praying right then! I pointed him back to Jesus, when he said he didn’t know what to do or how to start, I told him, “You start with Jesus.”

I went on to say, “I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s true. You have to start with getting back in tune with Him before the rest will ever fall into place.”

Then he said, “I have a question.”

“Shoot,” I told him.

“Are you all mad at me or do you think I’m no good now?”

*deep breath* Bless his heart, I quickly assured him that none of us were mad and we all missed him. I told him he’d always had a special place in my heart, that I worried and prayed for him as if he was my own. I told him I wanted him to go to church with us and he said he wanted to go.

He asked me to pray for him, told me he loved me and missed us all and couldn’t wait to see us again.

*long sigh* I’m just SO relieved! Just as if one of my own sons had come to mend a rift between us. Thank God for His mercy, for keeping him safe all this time, for letting him feel secure enough to reach out to me again.

I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do in his life.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
~Mark 11:25

Advertisements

the good old days

That might not be the best title for this post, but I have a lot on my mind and it has to do with trying to “get back” to the way things once were.

Of course, I know “you can’t go back home” and this isn’t about trying to reverse time either physically or emotionally. This is about rebuilding my spiritual self.

WARNING: it’s about to get real up in here…brutal honesty about myself forthcoming.

More than a decade ago, there was a time when I absolutely LOVED spending time reading my Bible. I would get up at least an hour before everyone else to read and pray and journal. I guess that was maybe the second time I ever read all the way through the Bible, beginning to end. But this time, I took notes. I had a couple of notebooks full of thoughts and scriptures and prayers. I don’t remember what spurred me into this wonderful period of just loving my time with the Lord, but it seems like so long ago and I don’t know how to recreate it again.

Something happened. Somewhere along the line, something just happened. I honestly don’t remember what it was. I don’t know if something happened emotionally that sent me into a tailspin or if it was that I got physically sick and fell out of the routine. I just realized one day that, hey, I used to spend a lot of time in The Word…what happened?

I wish I knew. I have been trying, half-heartedly, I admit, for the past couple of years to get back to that place where I loved spending time reading and learning about Jesus.

Our pastor just did an amazing series of classes, four weeks, on how to have a devotional time and how to pray. Seriously, it was awesome. I had such high hopes that it would kick me into action, but it hasn’t seemed to do that. Even though I learned SO much, it just didn’t seem to do whatever it is that I need to reawaken that desire for The Word.

I don’t know about you, but being saved at the tender age of eight in a small Baptist church in the seventies, I didn’t get a discipleship class. I had never even heard of such a thing until my kids were in their teens! Did they not exist back then? Are they something new that just came to be in the past couple decades? Maybe it was because I grew up in a Christian home? Or maybe our little church just didn’t offer them for some reason? I don’t recall any other people having a time of mentoring and “lessons” about how to be a Christian after they were saved. I often wonder now why that wasn’t just a routine. I mean, even when I was part of larger churches, there were no such ‘classes’ for new Christians.

That’s something my pastor spoke about in his prayer/devotional classes. He said he felt like he’d failed for not thinking to do something like these classes sooner. He spoke of a couple who had spent hours each Friday evening years ago with him and his wife, sharing with them the things he was teaching us. What a blessing that must have been!

Maybe that’s the issue with me right now? Maybe, since I’m in a place where, having been “a Christian”, in church, ‘serving the Lord’ for so many decades now, and I’ve honestly just grown cold, satisfied, complacent…maybe that’s why I’m finding it so hard to rekindle my fire? To regain my thirst for Jesus? Maybe if I had had some training or at least some guidelines when I was a brand new Christian, or even a few years later after I was a bit older, maybe then I would be better at this?

As it is, I feel like a failure. I have to MAKE myself sit down and read my Bible and I feel at a loss for anything to write in my journal and praying? I have never been very good at that.

I learned from my pastor some great tips for how to just pray from scripture though…and how to keep a separate prayer journal or list. How to read scripture, aloud, emphasizing a different word each time. Like this: Genesis 1:1 King James Version says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”

And so, you would read this aloud, giving emphasis to a different word in the verse each time. Try it and see how it draws out the meanings and changes what the scripture says to you. (yes, it’s important to do it out loud…I know, it feels weird, but just try it.)

IN the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
In THE beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
In the BEGINNING, God created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning, GOD created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning, God CREATED the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning, God created THE heaven and the earth.
In the beginning, God created the HEAVEN and the earth.
In the beginning, God created the heaven AND the earth.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and THE earth.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the EARTH.

I got so many things out of the classes that are honestly very helpful, but I just don’t seem to be latching onto them or finding any excitement.

He also taught us that doing these things has nothing to do with our feelings. That we should study and pray even when we don’t “feel like it”. So I am trying.

Right now, I have this cool little graphic that I’ve been using. 30 Day Thanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan

Isn’t it awesome? I had never seen or heard of anything like this before. And I’ve started using it, although I sometimes end up doing a couple days’ worth in a sitting, but so far, I’m keeping up with it. I figure if I can’t “feel” the excitement that I used to for God’s word, at least I can write it out each day until I do feel it again.

Is that a good plan? I don’t know. But if you search for “scripture writing plans“, you will find pages like this for each month. I plan to try and keep up with this.

my scripture journal

I just finished writing half of Psalm 136 where every single verse ends with the words “for his mercy endures forever.”

That’s good to know because I sure need it these days. Even if I was enthusiastically devouring scripture, I would still need His mercy every single day.

If you have suggestions or ideas for ways to reignite a hunger for studying God’s word and spending time in prayer, would you share it with me? Let me know if you’ve ever used a writing plan like this or if anything here helped you.

Maybe learning from you or hearing that you are progressing too will help me get back to “the good old days” when I had a deep thirst for God’s word!

I thank you in advance for sharing!

Deuteronomy 31:12“Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:”

taking on the taboo

I’ve had a couple of discussions about it in the past couple days. I saw several posts and vlogs about it lately. I know many people who suffer with, from and through it. Heaven knows I have dealt with it enough myself.

So let’s just discuss it. I feel like maybe I’m supposed to speak about it.

Maybe you’ve figured out by now I’m talking about depression. Sadly, even in the 21st century, it’s still a taboo subject. It’s still cause for shame or at least embarrassment in America.

depressed2

I’ve shared here and other places online about my own struggles with depression. I have had discussions publicly and via private message with people about it.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m not dispensing clinical advice to you or recommending you do a particular thing. I am just sharing MY experiences, MY “what works for me”, MY findings while researching the problem. You do what’s best for you, seek professional advice first and BE WELL!]

My motives are pretty simple and very straightforward. I think it’s important for people to be aware of depression…of the signs and symptoms, of the treatments, of the facts that there are many of us who suffer with it and how it would surprise you to find out how many of your friends, family and acquaintances are living with it right now.

First let’s look at what depression actually is and what it isn’t. What I have is referred to as “clinical depression” and it’s what many of the folks who have reached out to me also deal with.

    [NOTE: Please make use of the many links I have put in this post. (the first one is in the previous paragraph!) If you don’t live with depression yourself, at least be educated enough to understand and help those around you who are living with it. I guarantee you there are more than you’d think.]

Clinical depression is that “black cloud” that sticks with you. It’s a “sadness” that you can’t explain or shake. I find that the best way to explain it to those who don’t understand is that I KNOW without a doubt I have MUCH to be thankful for,
I K-N-O-W it. But I can’t make myself be happy. And it’s not that I’m overtly sad or anxious. It’s just an indescribable inertness, if you will. A complete lack of energy, or perhaps an inability, to feel joy.

Depression

If you read all through the link for clinical (or major) depression (and I urge you to!) then you’ll see it lists the symptoms and then states “when it’s not caused by a medical condition or medication” and that’s where I depart from the medical book, as I usually do. (ha) I DO have medical conditions that can cause those symptoms. I even have a chronic disease which makes me much more susceptible to being depressed. (diabetes, to name just one) so I don’t fit “neatly” into a particular diagnosis. Lots of us don’t and that’s okay as long as you have a medical professional who can deal with that.

There are currently several types of depression recognized by the medical community. Some of these you’ve probably heard of, like “clinical depression”, “major depression”, “postpartum depression”, even PMS has its own depression called “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder”! That last link will take you to webmd.com’s list of these with links to more info on each of them. I’m not sure how valid some of these are, but perhaps medicine is just trying to give a name to the things we deal with all the time but never know what to call it. (for instance, on the list is “situational depression”…who on this earth hasn’t experienced that before? I’m not sure the emotions tied to various temporary events deserves a medical diagnosis, but that’s fodder for another post, right?–HA!)

Let me say that I don’t want to “push” depression and make it like so many things these days, cool or in any way desirable or something to be envied. That doesn’t make much sense I guess, but stick with me while I try to explain… Like so many things in our society, people try to put labels on various people and behaviors. Sometimes to make them ‘hip’ or whatever, sometimes to make them seem acceptable. (first thing that comes to mind is how ADD became a buzz-diagnosis so quickly and then, even though it can be a genuine problem for some people, it soon became the go-to excuse for not doing your work, not being dependable or responsible, etc., etc.) I don’t want to do that here. Depression is serious. It can be life-threatening at its worst, debilitating or at its very best, it can make living feel like a burden. So it’s not something to be trifled with in any way. I guess I just don’t want to come across as if I’m just tossing the word around and diminish the real significance of the disease.

Okay, so here, I want to share with you a video by a pastor I’ve met a time or two that I really admire. For one, he’s now an avid cyclist. (Seriously, the man’s a beast on a bike!) For two, he’s an honest-to-goodness Bible-believing man of God who isn’t afraid to speak truth. For three, he’s a loving husband and father and he also suffers from depression. I already like him, but after he posted this video on Facebook, I admired him even more. See for yourself as someone with a position of leadership and somewhat notoriety goes very public with how he struggled with and then overcame the monster that is depression: Pastor Greg Locke on Overcoming Depression

As you might guess, one of the reasons I so love this video is that he says cycling helped with his depression. Of course, not everyone can jump into this the way he did. Since I’ve been watching him for years now, I can tell you that he first got “into” bike riding when he went to the Goodwill and got a bike to ride in a charity ride. From there, apparently, he was hooked. He has since done a 3,000+ mile ride (IN TEN, that’s 10, one-zero, T-E-N DAYS!!) to the Pacific shore and also the Tour Divide, an unsupported mountain bike ride from Canada to Mexico! He’s a beast, I tell you!

I don’t foresee myself ever doing such amazing bike rides, and that’s okay. I have impressed myself enough with the longer rides I have been able to do. I’m just happy to be getting out and being active because before cycling, I was pretty much a couch potato. A long day of errands was about as much activity as this ol’ gal ever got! So, praise God that I have this activity to get me moving and inching toward better health!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. I hope you watched Greg’s video. Part of what was SO encouraging to me was the discovery that someone who seemed so alive, so interactive, so “with it” would have a problem with depression. It was like LIFE-GIVING to realize that he KNEW what it felt like, knew how it felt when someone says to you, “Just snap out of it. Just trust the Lord. Just read your Bible more.” When it was all you could do just to get out of bed in the morning, IF you even did that!

And I guess that’s the most important thing I want to do with this post. I want YOU to know that *I* KNOW. If you never meet another soul who understands depression, know this… you’ve stumbled across this minuscule spot on the web, this unknown web address to this post because God wanted you to know that you are not alone. Let’s face it, that’s the only way you’d have ended up here! Ha!

Maybe, if you happen to know me in real-life or you’ve read other posts here, maybe you never imagined that I have depression. Once you start being open about it, researching and talking to others, you will find that many of us who suffer from chronic clinical depression can be the funniest, goofiest, seemingly-up-beatest (Ha!) people you know. Here’s the thing.. it’s easy to fake it for a few hours. At least most of the time. So don’t assume that someone who’s always cracking jokes and smiling could never understand depression. Often, it’s a way to cope. That doesn’t mean we’re not genuinely funny or goofy, it’s just that that part of us isn’t the strongest during the dark-cloud times and so we relish our time of being able to laugh and make others laugh, because once that’s over, the cloud is back. At least that’s how depression is for me.

Y’know, you’d think that for those of us who cope that way, since it does feel so much better to be with a few people laughing it up we would seek that out, but in reality it finally becomes too hard. It gets to be too much effort to drag myself out to be with people, to even want to be with people. The devil and my own dark place will start to tell me no one really wants to be with me. They will just wonder what’s wrong with me…why am I so pale, why don’t I have any makeup on, why am I not talking as much, etc. Then there’s the whole monologue that goes, “You’d need to shower and fix your hair. You don’t have the energy for that. It’ll be too hard to smile enough or to ‘be your usual self’ and they’ll know something’s wrong. They will think you’re weird or sick or they’ll just wish you hadn’t come. What if it gets too hard to try and you burst out in tears. You can’t let them see you cry, and you’ll probably cry. No, just stay home. It’s easier that way.”

Only a few short months ago, that conversation played routinely in my head. I stopped going to the get-togethers with some of the most dear friends I have. I’m sure they knew something was up, but I couldn’t bring myself to just say, “Hey guys? I’m hurting. I’m in a bad spot. Nothing physical, no one in my family is terminal or has died, I just feel like crud and I can’t smile anymore. Pray for me. Tolerate me if I come around– encourage me to come around because it’s entirely too easy to convince myself not to!!”

I finally just had to come clean with them. Some of the reasons were deeply personal, so it was hard to even speak them out loud. Secrets in my marriage that were decades old, but they had contributed hugely to the massive black hole I was in and at that time, I had decided to confront and seek help for that and it had stirred up all kinds of ugly. It was HARD to tell my closest friends where I was and how bad I was hurting. They still probably don’t entirely understand, but at least they have an idea now and when I say that I’m feeling “dark” and need some prayer, they are on it. They don’t hesitate to check on me and encourage me, to ask questions which are not comfortable, not convenient to ask.

So I guess my next suggestion or bit of advice for you is this…get, find or make yourself some good friends. At least one. They don’t have to be people you talk to every day or even every week. It doesn’t have to be the person you do everything with (when you DO go do something)… It just needs to be someone you can count on to see through your hiding, your coping methods. Someone who will confront you when you have slipped into dark mode.
don't give up
One last thing, there’s something even more taboo than depression and that’s suicide and having suicidal thoughts during a deeply depressed cycle. I won’t lie to you. I have been there. I’ve said before, I’m thankful to have my faith in God because I truly believe that’s the only thing that kept me from attempting to end myself years ago when the idea came to me often.

I now know that a permanent solution to a temporary problem is never the answer. It took growing in my faith and becoming solidly convinced that I am worth something to God and even when I feel I’m not worth anything to anyone, not even myself, I have to trust that God’s got a purpose for me being here. A lot of the lies I tell myself are that my family would be better off, my husband could find someone without my problems, who he wouldn’t have to worry about or care for, take to countless doctors or wake from a dead sleep to feed through a low blood sugar, who wasn’t so self-doubting that I paralyze myself and need him to make the simplest decisions… I think my kids could live without wondering if their mother is crazy, without her words that come out so carelessly unintentionally causing pain to them and the ones they love. Even when those quite loud thoughts are going through my mind every single day repeatedly, I can remind myself that God has a purpose. I don’t have to know what it is because He does. I just have to trust Him.
suicide
That kinda takes the pressure off me. *ha* So if you don’t know Jesus, I urge you to learn about Him and trust Him with your life. He will keep you safe if you will just trust Him. He’s the best friend and ally against depression I can recommend to you. He may not choose to deliver you out of the dark hole, but He will be with you in it and make you strong enough to endure it.

Hebrews 13:5“…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.””

tempered

About the first week of May, while we were out of town for Hubby’s conference, lightning must have hit our air conditioner unit. We wouldn’t have realized it was lightning except our son’s renter called to say his central air unit wasn’t working either.

We got a guy to come and look at it. The compressor had been basically fried. Hubby brought up the possibility that it had been caused by lightning and the guy agreed, but wouldn’t put it on the estimate/diagnosis because there was no way to prove it.

It was then a matter of Hubby struggling about whether we should file it with our home owner’s insurance. It was a little infuriating to me. It seemed clearly something we should file! I love my hubby, but he can be super irritating when it comes to things like this because he’ll analyze it to death, worrying over minute things. He asked I don’t know how many of his friends whether they would file it or not. FINALLY, I got it through to him that we pay our premiums to cover damages like this! We filed the claim and set about getting estimates for replacement. The unit was so old it wasn’t feasable to repair the compressor. We had a friend from church come to look it over and got the price. We have a $1000 deductible so we started looking at how we could come up with that amount of money, thinking we could sell our old four-wheeler and get it. We decided that we’d get some more estimates so we could be sure to get as much to cover the replacement as we could. The next estimate we got was almost $2000 over the first estimate. Hubby tried to get a third estimate from the only other heat and air place in town that we hadn’t dealt with before (because the one we’d had install the unit originally did a horrific job, plus sent an incompetent guy to do a repair once) but the guy at that place apparently was just too busy to even give an estimate. It took almost four more days to get back up with the guy only to be told nope, he still didn’t have time to write up a price to install a new unit. (GAH!) He ended up going to the one place we didn’t want to deal with, and they gave an estimate of about a thousand less than the original.

We’d already sent in the first two estimates and since it was beginning to get hot without air, so the guy at the insurance company, wanting to settle quickly, estimated the two, waived the devaluation for the old unit and cut us a check that completely covered the installation of the unit in the first estimate.

God’s so good! However, Hubby had had the friend price an add-on, a duel fuel system that would switch to gas heat when the temps fall to a certain level when the electric heat pump is just not effective. That was going to cost several hundred dollars more, but our friend told us he would go ahead with the duel fuel unit and we could work out the rest of the costs.

That’s scary to me, but we still have the four-wheeler to sell if we need to, but just last night, we were able finally sell my old bicycle after trying for over two months! We got half what we paid for it, so that was great and put us that much closer to having the money to finish paying for this unit!

So now we have our awesome new air conditioner unit up and running. The house is no longer getting up to over 85 degrees during the day while the temps outside soar to over 90, not to mention what that actually FEELS like. I found out quickly that I have grown accustomed to the house being at a higher temperature than any time in the history of me. I have always been naturally a very “hot-natured” person. Back before my thyroid issue was diagnosed, it wasn’t unusual for me to be in a t-shirt in the dead of winter. I was always “too hot” and sweating. It was annoying and I always hated how easily I would feel overheated.

Now, though, I find myself feeling chilled any time we are anywhere besides the house. When they set up the unit, they set the thermostat to about 68 degrees. It wasn’t too long before I was getting chilly and turned it up to 70. Within about 4 hours, the house had been cooled, meaning the very walls and floors, et cetera, were finally cooled down so the house could begin maintaining a comfortable temperature. It wasn’t long before I turned it up to 72, then finally, after a few more adjustments, I got comfortable at 75.

That’s where the thing is set now and unless I just get super-active or exercise or something, I am completely comfortable at that temperature.

It got me to thinking that while my body becoming tempered to be comfortable with higher temperatures, that was exactly how we are with sin.

Look around. I never cease to be shocked when I am out somewhere, at a motel or some office and I see cable TV… because we don’t have cable, the commercials and news and the content of the programs always seems to shock me. The filth that spews from the screen is just sickening. I will venture to check out a new series on Hulu occasionally, and in an episode or two, sometimes within the pilot, I am slapped in the face with some terribly offensive scene, more nudity, more vulgarity, more cursing… the world is constantly allowing more. I used to get so frustrated when watching a decent program and some smutty commercial would come on. Now it’s all just filthy.

And don’t get me wrong, I know sadly, that I compromise far too much and far too often in what I will rationalize to be “okay to watch”. I try to be cautious, but I know I fail hugely.

So I guess it’s even more surprising that I even get shocked. It makes me think, “Gee-oh! If THIS is so shocking and offensive to me, what does God think?? What does He think of what I don’t find so overly shocking and offensive?” Then I get really sad and angry with myself. I know, I KNOW I let Him down much too often. There are times when I am surprised by what some of my friends watch and enjoy on TV, thinking “Oh MY! They watch THAT?” then immediately the Holy Spirit will whisper And what do YOU watch, Geannie? *sob*

So, while my becoming comfortable with the heat in my house during our 6+ weeks without air conditioning was a good thing, when that happens with our minds and hearts and the things offered as entertainment or as ‘normal life’ by the world, it is anything but good.

Be careful to what you allow yourself to become tempered!

Philipians 4:8 KJV“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Proverbs 4:23 NLT“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

friends and the realization of why that’s so hard for me

I started thinking about a post the other day. But it included using the word “friends” in the context of the way I used to think of friends when I was in high school. And honestly, I didn’t really have friends in high school. I knew people and was friendly with some people. I tried to be nice to everyone, but to say I was “friends” with someone meant something totally different to me then.

By the time I got to high school, I’d had several people I thought were my friends treat me really bad and so I was very slow to give someone the title of “friend”. Very slow.

To me, a friend was someone you loved spending time with, someone you could be yourself around and not have to worry about everything you said or did being misconstrued or turned into an offense. It meant you could count on that person to “have your back”, to not spread rumors about you or desert you when you needed them. It meant that if they came up on some people talking bad about you, they’d be the one who took up for you, who would set the record straight…not just walk on by or even worse, join in with the group.

As a young child, I can remember a few “friend events”. This refers to an afternoon or perhaps a couple of days spent in perfect camaraderie with someone. These were hours spent playing and laughing that you might dream about days later. The time spent was that good.

I learned rather quickly though that just because I’d spent that one afternoon a few years ago in perfect sync with someone did NOT mean they were my friend or that they’d even still like me in a different setting with different people around.

For me, at that stage in my life, that was SUCH a shock! I just was not wired that way. If I liked you, I liked you no matter who was around or what was going on. But I soon learned that was dangerous on my part. That you couldn’t just be all “out there” with people because they would rip you to shreds.

So, as I entered high school, I really didn’t have any close friends. As I continued on through those monumental years, I did have several people who I got close to, who I considered (and still do) friends, but it wasn’t a close, deep friendship that I longed for. It was never a “best friend” relationship.

And maybe that’s where I get this feeling (that still plagues me today) of not being wanted or loved or liked.

Let me state that this is NOT a post to bash my mother. However, it’s recently come to my realization that something she said to me once and then insinuated other times in my childhood has colored my whole view of who I am and how others see me.

One of the few people I DID consider a “best friend”, at least for a few years when I was in grade school, was a girl whose family went to the same church we did and we spent a lot of time together on the weekends. She was about 3 years older than me, so we didn’t go to the same classes, but weekends were always spent together. And this friend had asked me to come home with her for some kind of whole-family thing.

Unlike me, she was the youngest of a family of six kids. I was the oldest in a family of two girls. We were total opposites, but I loved the atmosphere in her family. It was so totally different and I was treated like “one of the gang”.

I know my mother had my diabetes to consider when letting me go and do things, but this was different. I’d spent the night with this family dozens of times, but when I went to ask her if I could go, Mom said, “They don’t really want you to go.”

I don’t think I actually realized it then, not in the chaos of the situation or the feeling of unfairness because I wanted to go so bad and also the crying that I had to do then because I wasn’t being allowed to go… but every time I re-live that moment, those words, now it’s like a sharp slap across the face.

And I realize that I feel that way SO often when I’m in a group of people. If there is the least bit of talk that’s “prior history” for the rest of the group, I will instantly back away. Even if the talk isn’t purposely to exclude me, I will feel as if it is. And I will hear those words, “They don’t really want you.”

I hear that sometimes when my husband tells me he loves me and I’m feeling particularly unloveable. I hear it when my grown sons tell me they love me. I hear it when a friend offers to pick me up to go to lunch or something.

And I KNOW it’s the devil or satan or whatever you want to call him. I just know that it comes from the enemy of my happiness. The enemy of my closeness to Christ. He will even go so far as to whisper it in my ears when I want to spend time in Christ’s presence.

During this last, most horrible phase of the depression I found myself pondering death. Not contemplating it, but just thinking about how nice it would be to just “go on”. And those words came…“What in the world does God want with you? He doesn’t want you either.”

Annnnd, there went my “clinical composure”. Out of all this thinking and writing about one of the most painful aspects of my life, the tears never stung my eyes til now.

And that’s what satan wants when he whispers such horror into my head. But I know The Truth. His name is Jesus. So take that, you wicked creature!

I still have a lot of trouble dealing with that mindset that people don’t really want to be around me. They’re not really my friend. I’m not really wanted in the group. I’m not really liked by those people.

It’s a constant thing for me to fight against and in a world where it’s hard to read people and they DO tend to let you down or leave you behind, it’s really REALLY hard to keep my head on straight where this particular lie comes into play.

I’m just thankful God didn’t leave me in that lie. In the huge vat of that lie where I had been floating for months and was fully convinced that no one wanted me at all. I’m thankful He didn’t give up on me and put others in my life who didn’t either.

God’s so incredibly good!!

[ADDENDUM] As for my definition of friends, as I alluded to in that first paragraph, and how I view the word now… I have friends now. I have some GOOD friends. They will call to check on me if I’m scarce on Facebook or if they hear I’m under the weather. They will even come by to see about me or bring food or other sweet gifts if I’m sick. (and I have one friend who is so precious, she will bring gifts for no reason at all!) I have one friend who was so sensitive to what was going on with me that she insisted I follow her to a quiet room, away from a crowd at an event at camp where I was working, and she promptly sat me down, knelt and untied my boots and massaged my feet because she could see how bad I was hurting. So God has been good to me. I have some amazing, awesome friends!

And after all that, I still listen to that voice, that lie that tells me no one loves me. When I am feeling analytic and take time to ponder this, I wonder why it is so easy for me to believe that. Is it because that has been ingrained in my mind? Is it because I feel unlovable? Is it because I don’t much love myself?

I honestly don’t know at this point. But when I figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know.

🙂

Zephaniah 3:17 — “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”