- Just as some days can be good days, some days can be bad days, some days are happy, and some days are sad, so can a day be changed by perspective. I can unintentionally sabotage my day be imagining my plight is far worse than it truly is. I don’t know if men do this as much as I think women do, but I believe it’s just human nature across the board. I know I do it a lot, and even though it’s difficult to see your own faults, I’m grateful that I’m able to recognize it more. I found myself today falling prey to a bit of a pity party. I didn’t invite anyone else. It was just for me I suppose. I unintentionally found myself in a situation where I was comparing my life to others. This is never a good thing, and I didn’t even mean to do it, but there it was. I found myself comparing career choices and the resultant income, thinking, Well sure they can afford that! A bad thought is like an infection and simply festers as you go along, sometimes even unknown to you how bad it could be getting. I continued on my day, getting ready for a conference at work. I decided I would attempt to dress up a bit since this is something I never get to do anymore. As I scanned my closet and chose a suitable outfit, my thoughts continued on that horrid, self-pitying downward spiral. After I found an outfit I commented to my sitter, who had complimented me by the way, “This sweater was bought before I moved back to Mississippi and I’ve had these pants forever! I never buy myself clothes anymore!” Once I planted this seed in my head, it was ready to take root and grow. As I sat at my table waiting for the meeting to begin, I cultivated my seed of self-pity by looking around at other women and coveting their wardrobes. That looks brand new and so in style. My clothes are so out of style. I’ll bet everyone is staring at me. (Writing this down really makes me feel silly, but I’ve started now, so let’s press on). I had gotten excited about an idea that might change some situations in my professional life. I suppose anytime we think of change that might improve an unhappy situation we get fired up and ready to move forward. I found my idea trampled today, but instead of seeing it as a closed door, I felt sorry for myself. I guess things will never change! I’m just stuck in an unhappy situation! Sigh. I’m so silly sometimes.
- I had the opportunity today to speak with someone who was feeling down about life, life in general for herself, and for the ones she loves. She was unable to understand why circumstances were so difficult, and why things had to be the way they were, why prayers weren’t being answered. I think God often speaks to me when I speak to others. It’s one reason that I enjoy writing this blog so much. When I think of circumstances and why they occur the way they do, I often think of my husband. This may be a repeat for some of you, so bear with me, or simply enjoy the reminder. I certainly do. I think back to when my husband and I were 19. I was so in love with that scrawny boy. I knew God had big plans for us! When our relationship ended when I was 20, I was beyond devastated. I was honestly mad at God for telling me we were meant to be together if it was obviously ending. I felt like He had promised me that relationship, and I was angry and confused and sad and broken. I can now realize He did intend for us to be together. We just had a few things we needed to go through before God could use us as a couple. His promises are always true, He just may not get us to them the way we think He should. His ways are higher, and I try to remain in faith with that thought in mind. When times are difficult or I encounter trials, I try to understand that it is all working towards a purpose and perfect plan He has designed specifically for me.
- If everything worked the way I thought it should, I’m certain it would fall apart somewhere in the middle. I’m just not that great of a designer to iron out each detail perfectly. But my God, He is. It’s okay to forget that every once and a while. Really, He understands. That’s grace. It’s good to keep it in mind though, and try to stop the thoughts that come and make you unhappy with your current circumstances. Most often our circumstances are of our own making, but as you pray and follow God whole-heartedly, you may wonder why those can’t change already. You’re praying faithfully, so what gives? Ahhh, it comes back to the orchestrator of the universe. And He’s not simply toying with you like a puppet on a string. He’s lining up every situation to be carried out perfectly, and He’s also changing you, growing you, and perfecting you as you wait. I’m also a big person on perception. If you ever read my blogs then you know I’m a huge optimist. I got it all wrong today! Earlier my three year old had made a huge mess of the living room. This happens daily, but I’ve been trying to teach her how to clean up after herself. Today I told her she would have to pick up all those toys if she wanted to play on her iPad. She started bawling. When I asked in frustration what was wrong she replied, “It’s too much!” I then instructed her to just focus on one toy at a time, picking up just one until they were all gone. Well, it worked. And we can do that too. Instead of focusing on a conglomeration of our problems, focus on one thing at a time, dealing with it in a state of peace rather than frenzy. It doesn’t seem that big that way. In speaking to someone else about their problems today, I was reminded of my blessings. I don’t have a lot of things others may have, but I also have a lot of things that others don’t have. Make sense? Instead of focusing on the mess of my toys, I can focus on the fact of how many toys I have. I can focus on my blessings not my lack there of. I can focus on where God is taking me while appreciating where I am in the process and enjoying the ride.
That is all 🙂
- The smell was horrendous, like nothing I had encountered before. Almost a decade later I would smell it again while working in the operating room at the Naval Hospital, but at this time I had never smelled burnt flesh. I was speechless, stunned really, as I looked around the room. There were tiny pieces of flesh and bone scattered and stuck in a spray pattern across the wall. I offered to help clean it up, but he wouldn’t let me, and would bear that burden on his own. She was at the hospital then, recovering from her injuries. As I smelled the smell of spent gunpowder, I could still remember the sound it had made that night before. A loud bang, too loud for something to be heard inside. It had sounded like a gun, but at the time I couldn’t imagine why I would be hearing a gunshot. As I stood, frightened but preparing to investigate, she had come up the hall, with a bloody towel over her wrist. She managed to whisper, “It accidentally went off. The gun.” I sat her down, looking behind me to see if the little ones had been awakened. Thankfully they had not. I was unsure of what to do, so I tried to remain calm while fashioning a tourniquet from the little boy’s belt laying in the floor. Later, in the emergency room, she would swear to the questioning physician that it was an accident, that she had heard an intruder. We had to believe her. Only many years later would she admit the truth to me.
- The next generation. The sadness has been there, lurking in the shadows for as long as I can remember, threatening to overcome me. I tried taking my own life as early as eight years old. Thinking of it now, I’m not sure what kind of pressures I could have possibly been under, but at the time the sadness was so intense that I didn’t want to go on with it all. I never told my parents of my botched attempt, and somehow managed to keep the rope burn hidden from them until it faded away. I can recall feeling the melancholy take over me countless times over those developmental years. I remember simply wanting to sleep my time away, and having little interest in things around me, even food. I would periodically emerge and fight to get past the sadness that stole me, fight to be happy and get involved in life. I would for a time, but the dark times would always return. I started an antidepressant for the first time as a teenager, and tried out several different ones. I was once given the tentative diagnosis of bipolar disorder by a community health psychiatrist. He gave me a paper with orders for blood work to be taken at a local hospital, and orders to return after they resulted. I drove away with no intention of being told I was crazy. That was what I felt like, unstable, and didn’t want to know if it was true. I threw the order away and never returned. I went through cycles over the next decade, feeling sad, feeling good. When everything around me was good, then I was good. If things around me were bad, then I was really bad. The sadness never overtook me to the point of being unable to function at work or around others. It waited until I was alone, and then would fall on me like a building, crushing me into a sobbing wreck of a young woman.
- About four years ago I made a decision to taper myself off of my antidepressant. I had been on and off one for years and knew how to do it safely (in my opinion anyway). I didn’t like the fuzzy side effects, and the way it sometimes seemed to not only take away my sadness, but rob me of any emotion whatsoever. This isn’t a decision that is good for everyone. I have no prejudice against medication for illness, it’s just something I personally decided to do without. I’ve spent a lot of time in thought over the spirit of depression that tries to hover over my life. Is it a genetic predisposition? Likely so. Is it a generation curse, with there being an unseen war in the spiritual realm? I believe so. Can those generational curses be broken? I definitely think so. Is depression often situational? I believe so. Can I control all of these factors to ward it off? Not at all. I have made decisions over the past four years or so that I think help. I avoid depressant substances, even though I use to depend on them to chase the sadness away. (That never really worked as well as I thought it did). I began to cast my burdens on The Lord rather than bury them inside my head. When my situation in life changed, and I became a mother, leaving behind so many things that brought me down, I wasn’t suddenly cured, or free from that heavy spirit of defeating depression. On any given day, even now, out of no where, it can threaten me, falling on me like a heavy weight around my neck. I am able to recognize it immediately, and immediately launch into prayer, asking Jesus to take it from me. I do believe this helps me, but I can still sense the sadness there at the edges, waiting for a weak moment to slip back in. I persevere, but also with the knowledge that this is not something I have to bear alone. My God is with me, always, and that lessens the heaviness of the load. I’ve watched the cycles of sadness change, and become less and less. I believe in healing, and believe it in my life. I know trials will come, some I may not be ready to even think about, but I know He is with me, to comfort me, to guide me, to rescue me from any darkness that threatens to consume me. Some people may not be healed of depression completely until they enter the perfect peace of Heaven, even me in a way, but I have found it an easier burden to bear here on earth by placing it at His feet.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
That is all 🙂
- It was absolutely horrible that first year out of school as a new registered nurse. I remember initially turning down a job from a hospital because they were offering to pay me as a new graduate. I had been delivering care as a Navy Corpsman and felt I was more advanced than your run-of-the-mill new graduate. Then I started my first job in critical care and my tiny mind was blown. I was confronted with the fact of just how little I really knew. I was like a big ole sponge in a tiny body. I didn’t just learn something new every time I worked, but rather learned a lot of new somethings. Bless the heart of my preceptor for her patience in the face of my arsenal of questions. I was basically a nervous wreck. I would pray my way to work, begging God that I wouldn’t mess up too bad and end up unwillingly killing someone. I lost 20 pounds as I was usually nauseated, and seldom had an appetite to speak of. When I arrived for my shift, an astounding 30 minutes early, my first stop was usually the bathroom to suffer from a nervous stomach. I was kind of like a little jack-in-the box back then. I was just one crank away from exploding out of my box of sanity. I watched the nurses around me throughout that season of my life with envy and awe. How could they laugh so easily while chaos ran rampant, telling a joke while a patient lay unresponsive and struggling, but never missing a beat in the orchestra of saving a life. I just didn’t get it, but I wanted to.
- My husband is as cool as a cucumber. When I get worked up about something, which is pretty often, he is like an anchor that keeps me from going adrift. When I got all bent out of shape about overdrawing our checking account, he responded with, “Haha. It happens to everybody.” Seriously, that is a direct texted quote. Yesterday he texted me nonchalantly about the baby having a fever greater than 102. I’ll be honest. I wanted to flip out a little bit. He helped reel me in and remind me that she was non-symptomatic and happy as could be. In the face of trouble, conflict, or mix-ups he is a stone wall. Occasionally I want to peek behind his ear for a microchip or something to indicate he is really a robot. Either that or shake him with unbridled jealousy for his stoic nature. Truthfully, though it sometimes drives me a teensy bit crazy, mostly I’m envious of his calm, collected demeanor in the face of adversity. He continues to inspire me, as I think I occasionally do him.
- This morning when I woke I was bone tired. (Today I actually felt like I could possibly be diagnosed with narcolepsy, for I was certain I almost passed out while standing a number of times). I stood in the shower and realized I felt dread. I don’t like that feeling as I think it’s kinfolk to fear. I found myself a little worried about what my day would hold, and was concerned if I was up for it. I had the opportunity this morning to read a couple of scriptures, and they seemed to be following a central theme even though they were in two different devotional locations.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
So, at that point I was wondering, Oh dear. What kind of day must be in store for me if God is trying so hard to get His point across?! Today was a full day, full of many jobs, many responsibilities, many concerns, many problems. But I had made up my mind before I walked in the door that I would be in perfect peace. I committed that first verse to memory and repeated it to myself before I left my car. Some might say a calm demeanor in nursing is earned after experience in the field. I can agree with that, but attitude is everything. You can decide whether you want to approach your day with dread and spastic worry, or with an attitude of peace and calm, level-headed determination. If you just know it’s going to be bad, then it likely will be. You’ve written the end of the story before it’s even begun. Your attitude will also flow into others. It’s like when a baby falls. If you act panicked or concerned, they’ll cry. Laugh, and they do too. Approach those around you with joy, positivity, and serenity, and they’ll give it back. Any situation goes smoother if those around you feel like you have it under control. I remember a song from the musical The King and I that had the chorus whistled. It went a little like this:
Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid.
The result of this deception is very strange to tell, for when I fool the people I fear, I fool myself as well.
I do like that, but I got to thinking that faith is even better than that. Faith isn’t a deception. Faith is believing the very solid truth that our God is in control. When you can convince your stubborn human mind to remember that, then the panic, fear, dread, etc. dissipates and calm, clarity ensues. I still use a few coping mechanisms as well to calm myself. If you hear me singing while a patient is circling the drain, realize that I’m not a weirdo, that’s just my way of relaxing myself. So, next time you feel afraid, try it. Whistle a little tune. Sing a little song. Pray. Accept the perfect peace. It makes things a great deal easier.
That is all 🙂
- She’s been training for a couple of years now, so it’s only natural that my three year old is finally coming into her own, and really starting to excel at completely trashing my living room, or any room in the house for that matter, especially if I just finished picking up. I suppose she’s like a budding Picasso, and a bare floor resembles a blank canvas to her artistically destructive eye. Asking her to pick up her own mess is the absolute worst torture I can dish out on that child. Her shoulders will sag inward while her chin crashes into her chest, and the most pitiful sigh issues from her tiny peasant, slave child mouth. Today after we played her favorite game of “let me undo what mom just did,” I insisted she clean up the existing mess that completely painted my living room rug with a coat of discarded toys prior to granting her request to pull baby furniture out of the nursery (because playing with her own toys just isn’t as much fun). She attempted the task of cleaning with the reward of making future messes dancing in her head. At one point I heard her groan in angered exasperation. I peeked into the room and her pants were around her thighs while her arms were full of stuffed puppies. “My pants keep falling down! I can’t do it!” I wanted to laugh out loud at her miniature temper tantrum over saggy pants and the exhausting chore of moving a toy from point A to point B (approximately two feet).
- Well, instead of laughing I filed it away. I do that a lot. I see my child do something ridiculous and then I realize, she comes by it naturally. I’ve been on the border of throwing my toys in the air and screaming in frustration most of the day. My day started okay, but for me it seems like a single event can alter the coarse of my perfectly pleasant day in record time. I don’t like that fact, nor do I condone it, but I really have trouble changing it. My day took a detour to Sucksville when I logged onto my bank account. Payday is tomorrow, but I needed milk and other essentials today. I quickly entered my password to see just how much I could spend. I was drying my hair at the time (yes, I frequently multi-task) and almost dropped my hair dryer in the sink when I saw my balance. It was negative! How did that happen?! It seems that your normally put together to the fraction of a cent, financial guru, queen of the checkbook woman got it wrong. In my haste and distraction I apparently forgot to log a large check, one that I’m not accustomed to writing, one that I wrote over two weeks ago, and that was finally cashed yesterday. I have never done this in my twenty years of having a checking account. I almost felt like a man from the bank was likely waiting at my front door ready to slap me into shackles and throw me in the vault along with my useless, bounced check, where we could ponder the error of our ways via overdraft fees.
- I immediately texted my husband. When I want to feel stupid and angry at myself, the poor man usually has to listen. Naturally he sent reassuring texts with cute, kissie-faced emoticons telling me it was no big deal. He even tried sending adult content, suggestive texts to make me giggle (which they did), but I had convinced myself I was a moron. Since I couldn’t stop there, I also began to dwell on finances period (I still needed that milk), which is never really an uplifting experience. I followed up by feeling sorry for myself, thinking, Why are we always broke? I hate being poor! Never mind the fact that we are far from poor and actually pretty blessed as far as hundred-aires (aka lower, middle class) goes. I was on a roll, and I wouldn’t stop until I was sufficiently in a bad mood, and had ruined my entire day with my negative attitude. I’m not sure why I do that, why I allow one bad apple to ruin my entire barrel. But I do. I found myself praying for God to help change my attitude (which is a good thing I think), and also asking forgiveness for such a poor one at that (which is probably also a pretty good idea), but then I also realized something. Some days are just going to be bad. Some days something bad is going to happen. It’s going to really suck on days like that. I may not can fix it or change it, but I can keep going. Once I told myself it was okay to feel bad, I actually felt better. I can not fall victim to giving up. Just because my attitude was poor today doesn’t reflect what it will be tomorrow. I can start new. I found the time to wash my sheets tonight, and similarly I can lay my mind down fresh when I go to bed, pray for God to clean it, and wake up ready for another day. Even if my arms get full and my pants fall around my ankles, I will not say “I can’t do it,” because I can, and I will. I have to. There’s new beautiful messes waiting to be made. Because really that’s where the fun is at. I won’t beat myself too hard for the overdraft, or even for my ensuing mood. It’s like my husband said, “It’s over. It’s done with, and you can’t change it, so move on.”
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
And I’ll take that as my own. You can too.
That is all 🙂
- Well great! I thought sarcastically, as I dabbed at the tears pooling in my lower lids, threatening to spill out down my cheeks. And this would happen to occur on only the second time this year I had worn eyeliner. I was watching a gum commercial. That’s right, a gum commercial. In my defense, it was a very dramatic, and “tug at the heart” emotional gum commercial. I remember as a child laughing at my mother when I would see her cry after seeing an animal hit on the side of the road, or bawl like a baby over make-believe movies. I got older, had kids, and one day, as I cried over the cheerleaders in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (they were so precious), I realized I had become my mom. I had become an emotionally fragile crybaby. Some might consider this a curse, others a weakness. I consider it a testament to the beautiful design that is called woman.
- Earlier a patient and I were discussing our time in Naval service. This led to the topic of having children while active duty, and the stresses of deployment with a family. I explained to him that this was a main reason for my separation from active duty, my decision to not have a family while serving. I actually commend a woman who can be apart from her children for a deployment, as I could not. My patient commented that while he served, if a woman became pregnant, she would be discharged. Even my mother was given the option during the 70s. She chose to be honorably discharged while pregnant with me. When I served active duty in 2001, I held more of a feminine view point than I do now, but I still understood a woman’s weaknesses and her strengths. I have never been a champion for women serving on the front lines. Not only are men typically stronger (it’s simple physiological muscle mass in relation to fat reserves), they also have different mental make-up. Women are emotionally more vulnerable, and even if men try not to, they will usually take the dominant role, protecting their female counterpart. In a combat situation this could cause a male to take different actions to protect a woman standing beside him versus a man. Even as my patient and I spoke of his current medical condition, we were aware of the physical differences of male vs. female. His petite female nurse the day before had required help from a larger male to hold continuous pressure with great force to cease bleeding from an artery. I told my patient I was fully aware of my limitations, and I knew I would have asked for help as well.
- My other patient happened to be a female. As we walked down the hall together, I was proud of her strength, stamina, and ability to recover so well and so quickly considering her recent major surgery. I commented as much to her. Then I added a small known fact, that women tend to heal faster than men post-operatively. And this is true. Interestingly enough, our female patients experience less pain, comment on their pain less, get up and moving faster, and overall have a more optimistic attitude when compared with men. This would lead one to question, “Why would a physically weaker woman heal faster than the dominant male?” I could be wrong, but I personally think that this example is a window into how a woman’s gentle, emotional frailty can be a strength when drawn upon. Women are emotional creatures, quick to weep, and just as quick to love fiercely and completely. The emotional vulnerability that causes a woman to cry also causes her to love others more than herself. It is almost as if any strength she has is poured out to those around her. When faced with pain, a woman has an amazing reserve within her in which she is able to tap and move gracefully through trial and hardship. Her vast ability to overcome struggle is only matched by her capacity to comfort others. It seems, when she is weak, she is strong. Although I’ve always recognized the physiological differences, I haven’t always viewed a woman as the submissive counterpart to a man as I do now. Even early in my marriage, I strove to have the upper hand, wishing to control all situations. As I’ve advanced a little bit in my walk with Christ, I’ve changed my thinking to more parallel God’s word.
Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, …
I began to see how God designed man and woman each with their own specific purposes, strengths, and weaknesses.
1 Peter 3:7 ESV
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
I began to understand that it was a team concept, where each had their God given trait to compliment and enhance that of the other.
Genesis 2:18 ESV
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
A man, in all his strength, protects his wife. When he is weary, she comforts him. Her apparent emotional weakness is the tool with which she pours love upon her family. Her weakness is made strength for those who need her, even if that someone is sometimes herself. I believe that a woman’s beautiful weakness and fragility is a deep well where Christ may dwell and pour out unrealized power when it is most needed.
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
It’s a perfect, beautiful design where everyone has a place, and each weakness or strength is wonderfully blended to compliment the unit as a whole. So I suppose if I cry over a gum commercial, that’s ok. The design that is me is just what it should be.
That is all 🙂