Category Archives: Broken

Hidden Pain…

HiddenPain

Sadness.  Gloom.  Darkness.  Despair. 

Headaches.  Digestive Issues.  Sleep Problems.  Low Self Esteem.  Back or Muscle Aches.  Exhaustion, Fatigue, Lack of Energy.

Changes in Appetite.  Changes in Weight.  Chest Pain. 

These are just a handful of the things that can go along with depression.

Over 120 million people in the world suffer with depression.

Depression is real.

For most of my life, I have struggled off and on with depression.  There are times when I’m sure I wasn’t clinically diagnosed with depression, mostly because I tend to avoid everything, especially doctors, but there have been times when I was treated for depression.

It’s ugly.

It’s sometimes scary.

It’s lonely.

It affects everything in your life.

It’s often hidden.  It’s a problem that’s not always visible to those around us. 

I don’t know how it varies from one person to another and that’s not so much my point in this post.  What I want to stress is that sometimes, we as Christians, aren’t making things any easier for those suffering with depression.

We say well meaning phrases like…

“God will see you through this.”

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

“God will carry you through this.”

“This is just a season.”

“It’s in the past, live for today.”

“Don’t let it bother you.  God is on your side.”

That’s just a few of the phrases I’ve personally heard from people who care and love me but I’m here to say, those aren’t really that helpful.  While I may believe some of those and disagree with others, none of them offer validation for a depressed persons struggles or feelings.  Phrases like these only lead to more withdrawal, feelings of worthlessness.  Frankly, these kinds of comments just pave the way for a deeper depression.

We end up telling ourselves things like…

“You’re not worth anyone’s time.”

“They don’t care about your problems.”

“Yeah, get over it already.”

So, how can you help someone who’s feeling down? 

Is it okay and acceptable for Christians to have bad days?  Bad weeks?  Months?  Do we allow room for sadness, pain and suffering?

There are many things people face and we all have something.  Some are faced with horrible tragedies like the loss of a loved one.  Some may be fighting daily battles with diseases and disabilities.  Others may be facing extremely difficult times with finances due to job loss or other circumstances.  All of these can also lead to depression but the difference being, most of these are visible.  What about someone who’s suffering from depression because of a history that still haunts them?  What about the person who still mourns a loss from 20 years ago.  Or perhaps someone who’s struggling in their marriage, a wife who feels inadequate, a young person who feels lost in the world around them, an elderly neighbor who’s lonely.  There are many, many instances and life situations that can lead to depression.  Few of them are truly visible unless the person reaches out and most people suffering with depression tend to pull away rather than reach out.

On any given Sunday morning, our pastor calls out names of those in the hospital and suffering from different diseases and disabilities.  He goes on to pray for our hospital staff, emergency workers, law enforcement, etc.

Many times, I sit there and think about the broken hearted.  How often do we stop to pray for the broken hearted?  When do we take time to pray for the hidden pain?

Depression hurts.

Depression is lonely.

Depression can kill.

Depression can lead to withdrawal, self-injury, suicide.  Depression is not a pity party.  It’s an ache deep inside your heart.  It’s tears unable to flow or unable to stop pouring.  It’s a lump caught in your throat.  It’s anxiety and fear.  It an inability to focus.  It’s missing out on the important things in life – not by choice, but because there are underlying issues that we’ve faced.  It’s hard times and broken homes.  It’s a lifetime of hurt and heartache.  It’s loss after loss and mounds of life so heavy it feels we can’t carry it anymore.

Sure, it’s up to us as individuals to work on healing ourselves, no matter what our circumstances are but speaking from my own struggles, sometimes wanting to heal just isn’t enough.  While I welcome prayer as much as the next person and I most certainly appreciate prayer, sometimes the feelings can be so overwhelmingly lonely that we need a friend.  We need someone to break through the walls.  Someone to share all the pain with.  It’s a heavy load to bear and knowing that makes it all the more difficult to put on someone else but sometimes, just knowing another person cares means the world.

Unfortunately, many who face these dark times don’t ever get that chance.  They don’t give themselves a chance to reach out to others because they feel shame, because they feel unworthy, because they don’t want pity, because they’ve heard too many times, “just get over it.”

Please take the time to ask how others are doing and even when they can’t find the words, let them know they aren’t alone.

If you are someone who is struggling with depression, please, please know you are not alone.  As I said above, over 120 million people in the world understand.  There is help.  There is hope.  You may have to let down your walls and seek help for yourself, but you deserve it.  Don’t let someone tell you your pain isn’t real or that you should be over it.  Your pain is real and you deserve just as much love and concern as the next person.

Reach out!

Years ago, through my most difficult walk with depression, I had no hope.  As I have grown closer in my walk with the Lord, I can assure you my head knows all the right things, I know the right verses to read and the right prayers to say.  I know the right things to do and who to seek for help.  It’s my heart that stumbles.  I know the Lord will carry me through these times but the truth is, it doesn’t make it easy.  Knowing that doesn’t make the pain disappear.  That’s why it’s so important for us to encourage and embrace each other instead of dismissing someones pain as if they’re just wallowing in sorrow waiting for a pity party.

Matt Maher “Lord I Need You”  – This song is very near and dear to me right now.  Perhaps it’s just what you need to hear :)

 

 

A Bad Day Wrong…

BadDay

↑ See the picture?  Ever had one of those kind of days?

How do you handle things when something goes wrong?  Does it depend on the day?  The situation?  Who’s with you?  Or do you carry a similar response in any situation?

I ask because as Christians, we are often put into a category, one where standards are higher, room for failure is minimal and everything we do and say is used for or against us.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth was Jesus Christ himself.  Even he dealt with problems, hurt and pain.

Do you feel like you are truly able to express things when you are having a bad day?  Or do you feel you have to push your feelings aside and wear the “happy mask”?

I am fully aware that tomorrow might be better but I think sometimes, we try to help one another by saying things like, “Give it to God” or “In God’s time”.  While we mean well, these don’t actually address the issue.  Sometimes, we can go a bit further directing someone to a verse that fits the subject, a prayer or both.  These may very well be just what we need and often times, soaking in God’s word has been the pill that fixed my problem at the moment.

But…

Other times, I just want someone to hear what’s on my heart.  I want someone willing to let me say it, even if it means I say it over and over until I’ve completely forgotten what I was saying.  Sometimes it feels like what I need is just to have my feelings validated, to hear “That really stinks and I’m sorry you feel that way” or “Yes, I’d be upset too!” or maybe even “Sure, you have ever right to be angry!”

More often than not, I think we just don’t know how to respond so we fall on easy phrases.  We depend on familiar words and overused lines.

Would it be so bad to dig deeper into each others heart and soul?  Aren’t we worth the effort?  The extra time?

Instead of saying, “tomorrow is a new day!”, why not validate each other by saying…

“Tell me more.”

“What’s really bothering you?”

“How are you feeling about that?”

“What do you want?”

I’m sure I’ve been the girl who’s used those common phrases but the thing is, I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to be her because I know how it feels to stuff all the feelings down, to feel like it would be wrong to dredge up things, to feel anything, to express any anger or sadness.

I’m also the Christian that others look to for guidance, for hope, for something more so I’m already worried about the things I say and do and how they affect those around me.  I’m already stuffing away some thoughts and feelings because I don’t want to offend or hurt someone else or because I know I should set a good example.

So today, I leave you with this…

We are all broken people.  We all have things that bother us.  We all have bad days.  We all need someone, even if we don’t want to admit it.   Sometimes, I just want to hear that it’s okay, to feel justified in my feelings.  Sometimes I just need reassurance. Sometimes I just want to let my defenses down enough to cry, which is a really big struggle for me.

Being head over heels for Jesus Christ doesn’t make me perfect like him.  It just makes me a girl who knows the standard Christian answers, who knows that God is the almighty and that yes, with him, I can get through anything, but also, a girl with real feelings, who might just need to borrow and ear or a shoulder sometime!

How about you?

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Got Questions?

GotQuestions

Do you have questions?  Questions about the real possibility of a God?  Questions about trust, hope, peace?

Me too! 

I’ve always had questions and I’m guessing, I always will!

It’s seems so easy for some to say, “Oh, you just have to believe!” or “Have faith!” but for many of us, that’s just not comprehensible.  We live in a broken world and so many things don’t make sense.  Everyday we are faced with more death, more trauma, more heartache.  Everyday, we hear stories of unjust acts, theft, murder, war and more.

So how can we believe?  When there seems to be so much wrong, how can you believe there is a God, greater than anything, who would sit back and watch us suffer?

I don’t have any fancy words or pretty theological answers.  I can’t back up every question with the perfect Bible verse.  I can’t sit here and tell you that I have physical proof that my God exists.

What I can tell you is that my life has changed.

I can tell you my story, the story of a broken little girl who was abandoned, abused, called names, mistreated, hurt and alone.  I can tell you of a young girl who lived in darkness, who felt invisible and even when she thought she wanted to be seen, she couldn’t bare to let anyone in for fear of more hurt, who carried shame and guilt that wasn’t hers to carry, yet she embraced it.  It became who she was.  I can tell you of a teenager who was so angry with the world and the God she had heard about that she ran as far into her pit of darkness as she possibly could.  She hid from the world around her.  She refused to let anyone close, close enough to really know her.  No one could really see her or know her.  She silently wanted to die.  She engraved marks into her arms every time the least bit of hurt and pain started to emerge.  She shoved away the memories of her broken past.  She was consumed with nightmares, fear, worry.  She was dead to the world around her.

At some point, when there was nothing left, no pain left to feel, no love left to give.  When nothing but the thought of death seemed peaceful, she gave up.  She cried out to God and if there was really a God, this would be the point where she would know.  If there was something greater, this was the time she needed it.

I can’t tell you to just believe, but I can tell you that girl, who is now a woman, started believing.  That woman is me.  It didn’t happen instantly.  I fought for years against this thing called religion and even today, I think much of religion is all messed up.  What I can tell you is that I am changed.

That broken little girl who was lost in the darkness, afraid to live, felt no life in her, she’s alive!

As time passed, my world started changing.  Instead of every.single.day feeling like a chore just to get out of bed, I started waking up with a purpose.  It was small at first – as simple as brushing my hair and smiling at my son.  Then maybe it was making a phone call, reaching out just to say hey to someone.  Eventually, the bad days that had filled my world with darkness had a glimmer of light.

Today, I am ALIVE!  I am breathing.  I am hopeful.  I put my trust in something I can’t see, something I can’t really explain, something I can’t even be sure of but I know in my heart there is a Savior.  I know this because He saved me!

There are many stories I hope to share with you someday, stories of hope, peace, overcoming, forgiveness, life.  In the few short years since I made the choice to believe, my whole world has changed.  I have every reason to believe!

My heart aches for the lost.  I’ve been there.  I honestly have and I know where you are.  I know the questions that plague your mind.  I know the doubts that fill your heart.  Some of those questions will never have answers but you and I, we can have peace!

Most days, that’s enough :)  Some days, my mind is still filled with questions and occasionally, doubt still seeps in.  The difference is that my days are brighter and I am alive.  I truly feel alive.  I feel like my life finally has meaning and purpose. 

What’s holding you back?  What questions fill your mind? 

Check out this song by Natalie Grant “I’m Alive!”

“Who could speak, and send the demons back from where they came with just one Name?
What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?
You. Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is Alive.”

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Perception is everything…

Perception

Perception is everything …

And mine has been so wrong!

Is it black or white?  Is it big or small?  Is it up or down?  Above or below?

Are your problems too much to handle?  Or just enough?  Or possible with help?

Are you fixable or broken?

How we view these things makes all the difference.  Perception is everything.

For most of my life, I was broken.  Simply that.  Broken.

Today, I am still broken, but there’s no period after broken.  I am broken but I am healing.  I am broken but I am fixable (maybe not completely, but my wounds can be bandaged).  I am broken but blessed.

For the longest time, I didn’t want to believe there was another way of life.  All I could see was that my world was filled with darkness and there was no light to find my way out.  Sometimes, I didn’t even want to find my way out.  I was comfortable in the darkness.  Even though that darkness was filled with pain and misery, it was what I knew and that was comforting.

Along the way, people unknowingly impacted my life in positive ways.  Most often, I was annoyed.  I was aggravated.  I thought they were butting in or they looked down on me.  I judged them.  I gave up on them just as I had given up on myself.  I felt unworthy and couldn’t figure out why they would waste their time worrying over a mess like me.  I still struggle with that one!

I continue to find myself unable to accept love from others.  To accept love from another person without owing them anything?  How could they possibly love me just for being me?  Do they have hidden motives?  How do I know I can trust them?  My heart is full but my head becomes cluttered with thoughts of doubt and insecurities.

But at some point, I realized that perception is everything.  It was finally clear to me that people were reaching out.  They weren’t there to hurt me.  They weren’t trying to take anything from me.  They were simply showing love and concern.

I don’t have all the answers on how to move past that but I do know that God is working on me in that area and I pray that someday, I learn to accept it.

For now, I hold to the blessing that he has opened my eyes.  He has given me eyes to see things more clearly.  He has shown me that things don’t have to be black or white or gray.  He has shown me that there was a hint of light in my darkness.  There were blessings in the midst of my suffering.

When all hope was gone.
When the lights were off but no sleep would come.
When my heart overran with tears of pain but my eyes couldn’t shed even one tear.

He was there.  I couldn’t see that then, but I can clearly see it now.

That is why perception is everything!  It gives me hope, it gives my life purpose.

“The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”  Matthew 6:23

 

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All Glued Together

This week in the Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study on the book, Unglued, by Lysa Terkheurst, we were asked the question …

“How are you applying the Unglued messages in your life personally and bringing God’s Word alive in your life?”

Humpty Dumpty – you know the story, right?

He was a fragile egg, sitting on the edge of a bridge and toppled off, cracking his shell.  All the kings horses and men couldn’t put him back together.

That’s how I have been most of my life.

Broken.

Many times I tried to put myself back together, to cover the wounds, to right the wrongs.

I failed.

I saw therapist after therapist.

I was still broken.

I became a wife and a mother and suddenly, I had to put myself together, but the glue wouldn’t hold.

I became UNGLUED.

The smallest things would set me off.  Explosion!

I was tired, irritated, angry, frustrated, still broken.  What was wrong with me?  Why was life so miserable?  I had a great husband, wonderful kids, and yet here I was, stuck in the darkness, sulking, ashamed, lost.

Several years have passed now since I gave my life to God.  Since then, I have seen tremendous change in my thoughts, my actions and reactions, my words, my feelings, my life.  I have gone from wanting to die to being thankful for every moment I am alive.

I have gone from feeling dead to being alive!

I am finally living!

Lysa’s book reminds me that I’m not completely there yet.  I still come unglued.  I still need to be molded and guided.  I still need a little glue to hold me together.  The glue comes from God’s word.  The more I soak myself in His word, the more I find myself secure and stable.  The more I learn to depend on Him and turn to Him in moments of despair, the more I find peace.

I have a long way to go but I know God is not finished with me.  He is working on my through Lysa and her book.  He is showing me and teaching me how to handle my explosions and how to deal better with the situations that bring out the wrong reactions in me.

I’m broken but God has the glue to fix me!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

God is love…even when we’re not!

How easy is it to disagree with that verse?  There are times when we’re angry with God because we feel there’s no way He could love us.  There are times when we feel hurt because it seems that God doesn’t care for us.  There are times we feel broken because we think God is punishing us.  If we have anger, hurt and brokenness that we feel is brought on by God, then how can He be a God of love?  Why does He allow pain and suffering in our lives?  Why does He cause us to hurt and suffer?

Those are all questions and thoughts I’ve faced many times throughout my life.  I suspect many of you have had those same questions.

God does not cause our pain and suffering.  The broken world we live in is unfortunately full of pain and suffering.  It’s part of being human.  Whether you choose to believe in God or not, you still experience pain and suffering the same.  God wants nothing more than for us to be filled with joy and peace.  It’s in those times of pain and suffering, when we call out to Him, that He hears us, wraps His arms around us and carries us through the brokenness, but we have to let Him.  He doesn’t force us.  He waits patiently, gently guiding us, placing stones in our paths to help us find our way.   He wants us to seek and find Him.

It is often difficult to show Christ-like love to people you feel have hurt you.  I have been quick to respond in anger and frustration many times, even especially with those I love the most.  I have said hurtful words and I have held grudges.  I have embraced bitterness.  I have welcomed anger.

It’s hard work breaking those habits.  I have to try really hard to think about what I say, how my reactions affect those around me, and asking that question…are my words and actions showing the love of Christ?  If they aren’t, maybe they aren’t worth saying and doing.  I don’t want to bring hurt and pain to others, so instead, I find myself much quieter than I use to be (many folks are probably very thankful for that, LOL!). 

That’s not to say that I don’t still struggle.  I do!  I have sleepless nights when I just can’t get people off my mind.  I replay over and over in my head the things I should say, the things I want to say and the things I shouldn’t say.  I debate with myself and God over my attitude, my actions, my thoughts and my feelings.  I struggle every day to find that peace God wants to give me.  Thankfully, life is much more peaceful now than it has ever been.

I think a lot most of my peace comes from His word.  Instead of being quick to speak, I am quick to turn to my Bible and see what God has to say about each particular issue I am facing that day.  Instead of acting in anger or frustration, I catch myself breathing and thinking, figuring out the best way to respond.  I don’t always get it right and there are many times when I still just want to shout to the top of my lungs my thoughts but I am slowly learning to change my ways.

Will you show the love of Christ to those you encounter today?  Will they feel His presence through your words and actions?  Will you embrace the love He wants to give you even in times of pain and suffering?

It’s through those experiences that have brought me to my knees, that have left me empty and hopeless, that have crippled my spirit, that I have come to where I am.  It’s through my brokenness that I have found true peace.  It’s through the darkness that I have found the light.  Through my pain and suffering, I have learned to live.  Before, I wasn’t living .. I was waiting to die.  Now, I am truly living, with a purpose, called to share the glory and grace that God has shared with me. 

Psalm 71:20-21  Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.  You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com