Tag: Loneliness

God promises that joy will come in the morning, but I couldn’t feel it…

 

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”~Psalm 30:5

I am so glad that I have learned that joy is not a feeling based on circumstances. Yesterday, I had to make the difficult choice to end the life of my kitty Sam. It was not expected that he would get that sick so quickly. I have been caring for a blind kitty with cancer over the last few weeks and I was trying to prepare my heart to let her go, but Sam took me by complete surprise. I am grateful I was strong enough to be there loving him until he drifted off completely. Right before the first injection, Sam had kissed my forehead one last time. He stretched out his paw onto my arm. I could swear he knew it was time to go and wanted me to be okay with it. At least that thought helps me a little. It was a sweet and peaceful rest for him, considering the circumstances. Man, I cried like a baby letting go of him. It would have been cruel to keep him alive since there was nothing that could be done for him. But even so, it didn’t make that decision any easier. The pain of having to make that choice is cruel to my heart, but that’s life. I am trying to focus more on the blessing of having such a long time with that wonderful creature. I have good memories and I am grateful for that. I cried way past midnight. I would be okay for a bit, then the tears would come again and they came hard. As the night went on, the pain in my heart got worse. It has been a long time since I had to say goodbye to a beloved pet. It was like it was a first time again — soooo hard to deal with.

Today was the first day of Spring semester for me. Bad timing!! It was very hard to put my broken heart aside this morning and show up to be a student for 6.5 hours. My eyes were red and puffy and I was tired from crying so much last night after losing Sam. This morning, my heart was just not feeling the student thing. This is only my second year after quitting 20 years ago, but I wanted so much to blow it off. I wanted so much to numb myself again, but reality kicked in and I know how much I stand to lose if I go back to my old ways. So, I pushed through the pain again. As hard as it was, I got out of bed and I showed up. And you know what? So did God. He always does and that is why I continue to push through tough times even though quitting sounds really good sometimes.  God gave me what I needed to be a student today. He put the desire back in my heart. I like my professors and the students. Even being the oldest in the classes did not bother me. I may entertain thoughts of quitting at times, but I am so glad that I know better. Even though I walked with a sad heart today, I was encouraged at how I was able to push through and focus on my mission of being in school to earn a degree. That is surely God’s strength in me. I am way too weak on my own.

When the long day ended and I sat in my car for a moment, I completely lost it again. It was weird how it seemed to come so quickly after being strong all day. I cried…a lot. I got an errand done, and when I got home, I cried some more. I really thought after last night’s tears that I had run dry, but nope. Even as I write this, my eyes are welling up. I hate when my heart hurts and I cannot do what I used to do to lessen the pain. Of course I can if I really want to, but deep inside, I really don’t. I don’t want to undo the great things of God in my life. I am alive and sober and I don’t want to go back to the darkness of being dead and drunk. I just can’t go back.

I am grateful for how God’s Word helps me through the night. The Holy Comforter is with me. Listening to “Joy Will Come” from our worship songs at church makes me cry more, but I find comfort since it’s about God’s promise that joy always comes in the morning. His joy always comes even if it’s the kind of joy that we can’t feel. I hold on to that promise along with many others because God’s Word never fails. So I keep giving my all to Him no matter what because I believe His promise that He is with me and will never leave me. Today was amazing proof of how He helps us through and gives us a supernatural strength to move forward even with such a heavy heart that without Him, would have had me going the wrong way.

I’ve got 21 days to the 6 year mark of sobriety. I will not throw that away. Satan cannot have me ever again. I am holding on even if I have to cry through it. It’s the only choice worth making now and I will keep making this choice to keep pressing on and keep feeling my feelings no matter how much it hurts being sober. I will have to do this all over again when Zoe shows signs that it’s time to let go. Before letting Sam go, I didn’t think I could handle it at all, but now I know I can even through a river of tears. Thankfully I can remember clearly that numbing always made things worse for me. The temporary relief was always followed by much worse pain than what I have been experiencing since yesterday, if you can imagine that. I think some of you can.

So tonight, when I’m all alone and it’s quiet and the sweet creature from the last 17 years does not come by again, I will remember and believe that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning — just as it always comes in the mourning. The Joy of the Lord is the only joy worth holding on to. The Lord has promised to always be there for us no matter what we’re going through and I believe Him. I pray more of you will believe too. I would not be here today if that were not true. Thank You, Lord. ♥

I just needed to pour out my heart again, thanks for listening. This is me and my boy Sammy moments before he fell asleep with his head resting on my hand. 😦 It was a bitter sweet moment, but my heart is still grateful for the blessings.

Sammy
So Long, Sweet Sammy

In the lonely midnight hours when the pain of life hurts the most…

A Reason To Live

It is in those hours that I find myself thinking and crying about the lives that gave up hope. I think about how many have taken matters into their own hands and ended their own pain. I cry about my own pain and how to this day, even with all the amazing miracles of God in my life, I have times where I am in a fierce battle with thoughts so dark I want to do something so that I will never have to battle again. My mind tells me the only way out of that is death and I know it has to be Satan trying to convince me of that. I cry out to God as usual, and sometimes it seems like He’s not there. My mind will tell me He’s given up on me (more of Satan’s lies), but my heart knows that is not true. However, knowing that does not take the darkness or pain away – not completely, and not right away.

So how is it that I keep holding on and pressing through the pain while so many others, especially those who have also been saved by Jesus don’t? I will never know the answer to that and that always troubles my soul. But with God’s help, I pull out of the darkness every single time. I’m discovering triggers that cause the battle to start over and it seems that it gets a little darker each time. I am grateful that I have not given in to them, I know that only God can give me the strength for that and He brings me back into the light each time. I am trying to avoid the triggers, but I am a slow learner. I am especially slow when it comes to learning from my own mistakes. I also battle all the time with feeling so out of place in this world and it seems to happen more and more as I move forward on this journey. I find comfort and rest in the Lord, but I seem to do a good job of getting myself into trouble over and over again. I grow tired and just wish I could leave this world. I haven’t shared these thoughts with anyone, so making this public honestly makes me a bit nervous. My pastor has an idea that I am battling, it is not easy to let her know but I am grateful for her. She doesn’t judge me. She always helps me to see things from God’s perspective. She is a blessing. But, the battle keeps coming back. So I keep fighting the good fight praying that someday, while I am still on this earth, I will finally be able to overcome. I believe that I will. After all, I am “more than a conqueror” Amen?

As difficult as it is to share this, I strongly feel led to and it is my hope that someone else who is battling with these types of thoughts (which I know are of the devil trying to kill us off), will see this and be touched by God like they have never been touched by Him before. I’m praying more will join me in holding on with God’s strength!!

In all the wondering of why I am still here that I have done, I recently realized that it is my reverence for the Lord that keeps me holding on and pushing through the pain. Jesus could have saved Himself from dying that horrible death on the cross, but He didn’t. He loved us all too much to let us die in our sin so He suffered beyond anything we can ever imagine. If He didn’t end His own suffering, who am I to end mine? I will keep holding on and will keep pushing through the pain for His sake. He died for me so that I could live. What was I thinking wanting to destroy this wonderful gift of life He paid for with his own blood??!! I am so grateful that He woke me up AGAIN!

Thank You Jesus, for saving me over and over and over again. Lord God, I pray that more will develop this reverential fear for You and choose the gift of eternal life with YOU. Thank You for loving us that much! You are our light and our salvation! You are our strength! I lift my hurting friends up to You Lord, help them to keep holding on. Remind them that there will be a day when You will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that will be gone forever. Lord, remind them that this is NOT our Home.

Dear friends, our suffering in this world is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. May you find the joy and hope that only He can give. May you keep Him deep in your heart, and may He help you in finding A Reason to Live…a reason to keep holding on, just like He has done for me. Know that YOU ARE LOVED!!

These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever!” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (TLB)

Baptism day 11.24.13

When I found Hope in the midst of my darkest day…

Many people are struggling with depression, loneliness, emptiness, and other difficult situations that bring heaviness to the heart — especially during the holiday season. It’s a sad truth. I’m so amazed by it because when I was there, I could swear it was just me. Now I can see that it affects so many different people in so many different circumstances. More than I ever could have imagined. It breaks my heart to see others suffer. I know the pain. I still deal with the occasional blues and occasional loneliness, but I’m so thankful that it’s nothing like it used to be. When I was deep in the middle of it, I really did believe that no one else could ever understand my pain so I hid it for as long as I could. I was convinced that something was very wrong with me and it would not be a good idea to let anybody know about it. It was a lie that I believed.

So here were are again. It’s Christmas time, and for most it’s the most wonderful time of year, right? (Darn, now I can hear that song starting to play in my head…) Unfortunately, for many it’s not. So at the risk of being called “Debbie Downer” by those who don’t get what it’s like to be like me and so many others, I thought this was a good time to share some more heartfelt words with the hope that a struggling heart will find THE Hope, the only Hope that can shine light in our darkness. It’s the only Hope that saves lives, and it’s the very Hope that saved my life.

We’re all different, but not so much once we reach a state of darkness. My darkness was depression and isolation. It doesn’t really matter how each of us get there, once we get there, I think we can relate to each other whether we go through similar situations or not. So I’m just wondering…when someone tears a hole in your heart, what do you do? How many times do you allow it to happen? How do you react to it? For me, when I was a very lost soul with no self-worth or self-esteem, I would let it happen to me too many times. It took a few people to cause significant damage to my heart – the destruction of my soul. My dad leaving me at the age of 16 seemed to be the beginning of the end. That messed me up so much, the rest happened because I allowed it to. I wasn’t strong enough to fight it. I didn’t care enough about myself. I figured I didn’t deserve any better. I was a loser. There were so many hurts and tears in my heart I ended up with one giant hole. I was completely empty. I finally decided to put a wall up to protect my heart and keep people at a safe distance. I believed that if I did that, then no one would be able to hurt me ever again. I walked around like that for many years. One of the problems with that is that I didn’t do anything about the giant hole prior to putting up the wall. That was the worst thing I could have ever done. I needed healing and I didn’t get it. It caused many years of depression, isolation, and alcohol abuse to numb the pain as much as possible. The wall was not only keeping people out, it was keeping God out — complete separation from the only One who could ever rescue me from my darkness. I wonder how many reading this might be doing this very thing right now. I hope my personal testimony will speak to you and help you to realize the extra damage being done so that you can stop doing what I did and do something about it. It’s not too late.

I remember my old days of severe depression quite well. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when God made Himself real to me and delivered me from what I believe was a very slow and painful death. I remember the suffocating darkness and how alone I was for such a long time. I can’t blame anybody but myself. I made the choice to be a loner because I was too ashamed and maybe too proud to tell anyone I was hurting and needed help. And the longer I spent my days that way, the more convinced I became that there was absolutely no way out. The bottles — beer, wine, Malibu Rum…whatever…all became my companion. They all became my medicine. The only thing I knew to do was drink the pain away. Of course, that made things much worse. The more I drank, the more I needed to drink to keep the temporary peace going. Eventually, there was no peace at all. I drank more because it turned into a mission to kill myself. It was a losing battle from the very beginning. But when your soul is as lost as mine was, there’s nothing else. I’m sure the devil was thrilled that I believed that back then. The deeper I got into it, the less chance I had of reaching the only One who could save me – that was another lie from the devil that I truly believed when I was in a battle for my life. I wish I knew more about Jesus Christ when I was younger. I knew of Him, but I had no clue that He could save me in today’s world. I thought He was just a part of history. How sad is that. Well, it turns out that it didn’t matter how deep I was or for how long I was in the darkness, all I needed to do was cry out to Jesus. It took a rock bottom incident to make that happen (I’ve shared about it in earlier posts), but the only regret I have is not reaching rock bottom sooner than I did.

Sounds weird to say that doesn’t it – who really wants to get to rock bottom? Not anybody I know. But rock bottom is where I met Jesus for the first time in my entire life. It’s where I found out that He was real and had been waiting for me there. He’d been waiting because He knew it was going to be the only way. I was not going to be able to change my destructive way of living on my own. He knew it. I knew it. I have no reason to be in denial about it.

Even though some amazing miracles and breakthroughs started happening after surrendering my heart and giving up control of my life to Jesus at rock bottom, I used to think that I wanted to help people avoid rock bottom. There are different levels of it. Mine was significant for me, but it wasn’t as bad as others I’ve heard about. I honestly thought that helping others avoid it would be a good thing to do. But as I continue to grow stronger in my faith and in my sobriety — the more I am blessed to witness and experience miracle after miracle, I am seeing that people are not becoming as desperate as they need to be. It’s sad to see because at least for me, the choices I continued to make were very poor ones and I was living in absolute hell. I’ve been set free and I am so not enjoying watching others continue on that path. It literally breaks my heart. I’m grateful I surrendered! My way wasn’t working! I hope someone can see through this story that their own way is most likely not working for them either.

It took full surrender to God in order for Him to reach down and pull me out of the pit to save me. Surrender takes a huge daily effort on our part. We need to surrender every day. We’re human. It doesn’t come easy. We’ll never be perfect at it, but we can try every day and it really is doable. God sees the effort. I’ve been doing it (not perfectly) 24/7 since 2010 now. Life has been amazing. I’m ALIVE and more than well. I believe through my own experience that if we want to activate the hand of God in our lives, we need to give it all to Him. ALL OF IT.

We really, REALLY have to want to be made well. More than anything. And we have to be an active participant. That means a lot of hard and many times painful growing doing things we don’t want to do. It means losing things we are having a hard time letting go of. I know this because it’s what I had to do to get better. And, I am truly better today. I’ve been delivered from the severe depression, the isolation, the shame, the unforgiveness, the bitterness, the hurt, the abusive relationship, the alcohol abuse, you name it. I’ve been delivered from everything that was holding me back and being used to destroy my soul.

I have no regrets for my challenging new life. I see how God is using all the hard stuff for good. I have an incredible testimony that He has given me and I wouldn’t have it if I hadn’t gone through everything I’ve gone through. He has given me a divine purpose in life. A true reason to live. My desire is to be open and painfully vulnerable in sharing my story to help others. It’s hard to be vulnerable, it really can be painful and uncomfortable, but it’s worth it to me. I can’t keep the great things of God to myself. People need to know that He can help them too.

In just two months I’ll be celebrating five years of sobriety! That is such an incredible miracle in my life considering how I tried so many times to quit under my own power. I had suffered relapse after relapse. I abused alcohol for over 20 years. Once I reached rock bottom, God gave me the desire to seek Him with my whole heart. He gave me the power to quit drinking and the power to change everything about me. He took away the depression and the suicidal thoughts. I have not relapsed. I haven’t even come close — not one time. My sobriety is just one amazing ongoing miracle in my life. I have so much to write about, so many great things of God in my life to share, but this is it for now.

So that’s my story about when I was finally able to find Hope in the midst of my darkest day. It was life saving Hope — Jesus — my Rock at the bottom. It’s a day I will never ever regret. If you are where I used to be, I pray you will find Jesus waiting for you today. Whether we admit it or not, we are desperate people. That’s a good thing. So I want to encourage you to turn your desperation toward Jesus. And when you do, you will be starting a new and amazing journey upward.

I heard an encouraging message from my pastor this past Sunday and the theme of the message that I want to share with you is this: “Just when you thought all hope was gone — God sends a Savior” I thought my hope was gone. I thought it was too late for me, but my Savior came right on time. I believe your Savior will be right on time too. Actually He’s already there, He’s just waiting for you to call to Him with your whole heart.

Jesus is our only HOPE – the only Hope that never disappoints. May you also find His Hope — The Light — in your darkest days. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Advent

Singleness and Celibacy — A gift from God

A gift? Really? This is such a difficult subject to write about, but I’m going to take a chance and just do it. I’m really glad that I don’t have to wonder any longer about whether or not it’s God’s will that I remain single. I’ve written in earlier posts about having such a deep longing for family. I kept praying over and over for God to fulfill that longing. During that time of waiting, I also had learned how to pray to ask Him to remove the desire if it was not of Him. I waited for an answer either way for a very long time. It was tough waiting. Since initially the desire had not been removed, I kept holding on to the hope that He would send the perfect man of God my way.  Well, just a couple of blog posts earlier, I wrote that God had answered the prayer. He didn’t answer how I hoped He would. It’s truly amazing, the things that God does for those of us who seek Him and His will wholeheartedly. He ended up completely removing the desire for a husband and family that I carried for too long and He replaced it with a desire to fully devote my life in service to Him. Wow. I can’t begin to describe what I feel inside about this. I guess I can simply say that I am happy! I’m in awe of the joy He’s given me with this answer. What an incredible blessing. What an incredible call on my life! And the more I’ve been thinking about it, it truly is a relief that I don’t have to deal with the distractions and complications that can come with being in the dating world. Now, what I can’t say that I know for sure is whether this is for the rest of my life, or for just a season (however long that might be). It doesn’t matter. What I do know is that I am extremely blessed to discover God’s will for me and for that old longing that made my heart ache so much to finally be gone. Today, my focus is on my mission to fully serve God.

There’s a passage in the Bible that really spoke to me some time ago. I wasn’t really sure about what I read back then, but I’ve always kept it in my heart waiting for a confirmation from God. The passage talks about marriage and about being single. When I first read it not too long after I started absorbing and living out God’s Word, I couldn’t forget about it. But I don’t think I was ready either to really accept or understand what God’s Word was telling me in the passage. I wasn’t ready for a long while. But I’m truly happy now that He has answered my prayer and gave me the confirmation I had been seeking. He has shown me very clearly the way He wants me to go.

I’ve been single my whole life. And I’m grateful to be celibate. Of course I wasn’t always, but God has changed everything about me. He’s forgiven me and He’s taken away the ungodly desires from me and I am thankful they are no longer a struggle. I’m thankful He has helped me turn away from sin. This is all so personal, but talking about my singleness and celibacy has been on my heart to share for a while now because I know so many out there are struggling to find their soul mate. I see and feel the emptiness and the loneliness in their hearts. Many times people choose partners without seeking God’s direction first. When someone finally comes along, sooner or later there’s nothing but heartache because one or both end up bringing even more turmoil into the relationship. At least, I’ve witnessed this in so many couples who choose to do things their way instead inviting God to be the center of their relationship. I can see it so well in others, because everything I’ve mentioned is where I used to be. My last relationship was a disaster, I don’t know if I would have ended up taking my own life because of it, but I can tell you I wanted to be relieved of the humiliation and pain the man was putting me through. I was hitting rock bottom with the depression and the drinking so I really think it was just a matter of time for me. (You can read more about my mental abuse story “I wished he would have hit me” in an earlier post if you’re interested.)

I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling out of place for being single, yet I did enjoy the freedom. Before God broke through, I was at a very confusing period of my life. I was quite happy with being single, but as I started to grow older, I really started having a longing for my own family. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I know now that my whole problem back then was that God was never the center of my life, He wasn’t even a tiny part of it. So when I talk about Him today, I love that I can say that He is absolutely my everything in life now.

I’m finally understanding that being single is a gift from God and I am truly grateful for discovering this gift in my life, at this point in my life. For many years some people did a really good job at making me, the single and childless one, feel like something must really be wrong with me. I was always out of place. For so many years, I dreaded a relative of mine looking for a ring on my finger every time there was a gathering. I never said anything, I went along with it, but that sure brought me down every single time. I don’t think the person meant to make me feel that way, but still, it put me in a very bad place. It had such a negative effect on me, it would just keep adding to my depression.

My circumstances in life caused me to be such a lost and depressed soul, I turned to alcohol to self medicate and to numb myself out of reality as much as I possibly could for as long as I possibly could. Today, I see it as a blessing that I didn’t bring children into my dark world. As I have been growing and learning God’s Word and will for my life, He has opened up my eyes and heart to His beautiful gift. I realize how incredibly blessed I am for this call He has placed on my life. ME. The one who for decades didn’t care to know if God was real and then tried so hard to drink herself into a grave since it seemed to be the only way to be relieved from lifelong heartache and despair.  I am SO thankful to God for breaking through when He did almost 5 years ago!

So back to the passage I mentioned earlier — at the beginning of this incredible journey, although I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it at first, I do remember wondering about what I had read in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 — God’s Word translation puts the Apostle Paul’s teaching this way: “An unmarried woman…is concerned about the Lord’s things so that she may be holy in body and in spirit…I’m saying this for your benefit, not to restrict you. I’m showing you how to live a noble life of devotion to the Lord without being distracted…”

I SO want and desire to live that noble life of devotion to my Lord! He has given that to me! Wow. It’s an amazing change He’s done in me. And as for children, I believe He has shown me through His Word that He will bring me spiritual children and I’m pretty excited about that too. I know there are a lot of single Christians out there walking around with a void in their hearts. It’s not easy being single. I always find it interesting how some married people look at a single person’s life thinking “If only I were single…” And then there’s us single people looking at a married couple thinking “If only I could find someone to love who will love me back…” As a single woman, for the longest time there would always be triggers that would have me feeling a giant void in my heart. I always felt it more during the holidays where families celebrate together. I’m not talking about extended families, I’m talking husband, wife, kids…you know, the perfect family. I know there’s no such thing as a perfect family, but that’s how I looked at them. I saw the love, and I wanted that.  But today, I no longer have that desire. I no longer have that ache in my heart. God has given me something better and no matter for how long, I’m going to fully devote my single life to Him and rejoice over it with all my heart. I pray for other Christian singles to discover God’s will for them too. And I pray for the unspeakable joy in their hearts and souls, just like God has given to me.

Well, I am grateful for the courage to share this. I pray that God would reach someone else’s heart through it. Now this life I’m living is not easy. I don’t think it will ever be. There are times that I still feel out of place and even feel an occasional void, but I just keep reaching out to God, I keep seeking Him, I keep asking Him to fill my heart with all of Him and He always does. He never lets me down. What an amazing God I serve. If this has touched you in any way, I hope you will share it with someone who may be struggling in their own journey of singleness so they can know they are not alone in their struggles. Thank you, may God bless you.