Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Friends and Family Plan

Many years ago, I was a lost, hopeless girl sinking in a sea of depression and dispair. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and put on anti-depressants so my children would grow up with a Mother. It's a long story, but the good news is that I don't struggle with that anymore like I used to, and I no longer have the need to be constantly medicated. I am keenly familiar with the scars that depression has left on my life and out of that, I am more in touch with people who live with it on a daily basis. I am grateful for those life lessons now, even though it hurt immensely at the time.

More recently, I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. As much as I try to ignore this label, it still manages to creep back in from time to time because Oregon has famously bleak weather in the fall and winter months. Currently the weather is YUCK, but I have checked in with my "depresso-guage" (another title for Mr Nice Guy) and apparently I have had the all clear ever since the skies started turning grey. I don't enjoy this kind of weather, but it hasn't got me down yet like it has in the past. I'm very grateful for that! Truthfully, I can't believe it's taken me nine years to figure out that if I just asked my husband - he would tell me whether I was going through some depression or not! He knows without a doubt if I'm just having a hormonal mood swing or a day of deep thought or if I've tripped and fallen into that deep dark hole again. For now, I'm in deep thought. And evidently I'm not the only one.

As my husband and I stood outside in the dark night last night, we watched in complete silence as the shadowy clouds rolled by in the night sky. It made me think of what our lives are like at this moment. We are in the dark on a lot of things, not sure what is coming because we can't see it, and quite frankly we haven't made sense of where we've just been either. It's not clear yet.

Occasionally we see glimpses of light behind the darkness, little sparkles of hope and glimmers of encouragement, but the path is not obvious. I feel often like I'm groping my way around in the murkiness of life, while holding on to His hand with the other. We both know we're going somewhere, and that we're moving forward where we should be going, we have no doubts about that, but we don't know how we got there or what we stepped in along the way. The amazing part, is that we are not alone. We are being led through the dark, and I have no doubt that this time in our lives will prove to be a glorious example to us both someday of how we put complete trust in God and allowed Him to shape us and lead us.

At one time, I would have been completely afraid of a season in my life such as this. It would have caused anxiety and panic, I would have needed medication or therapy because I couldn't find my way MYSELF. I would have stomped my foot and demanded that someone turn on a floodlight because I wanted to take the path like a big girl. I wanted to know where I was going and I wanted to know NOW. I did not want to trust in God to provide my needs and make me a stronger person, I am an independent woman after all and patience wasn't in my vocabulary! Isn't it up to me to meet my needs? That's what society has told us all for years. Doing what makes YOU happy often has serious and eternal consequences. Doing what makes God happy is what brings you to eternal life.

I am so full of joy right now to know that God is in control. When I turn everything over to Him, and follow Him as he asks of me, I find blessings abundantly! I slip from time to time, and even more when the path isn't very clear, but I thank God every day for my husband, my family and especially my friends who give me that gentle correction to stay the course when I stray.

God blessed me a long time ago with people in my life who practice the words in Leviticus 19, "Don't just stand by when your neighbors life is in danger," and "Don't hold anything against your neighbor, if you have something against him, get it out in the open; otherwise you are an accomplice in his guilt." Yikes! It takes a genuine friend to tell me where I'm wrong in keeping with God's word.

I have made it important to be that kind of friend to others because I know how valuable it was to me. It was live-saving! God was very specific to my friends when he told them...

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him"
Luke 17:3

It takes some people many years to realize that God is not asking others to judge us. God will judge us in the end. This is God asking us to correct others, because if we don't, then WE are sinning as well! Then, God simply asks us to leave the rest up to him and if I should repent after you've corrected me, then he wants you to forgive me. My friends and my family do this for me, and I appreciate them deeply for that.

There have been many people involved in keeping my path straight. It's not just the work of one, or two - but of many. There were times when I was living like I shouldn't be. I knew it, and I felt guilty for it. I didn't attend church because I feared an imaginary judgement. It made me sick because my own self-inflicted guilt was tearing me to bits just like Satan wanted. He was winning. It made me unhealthy both spiritually and physically. I was not receiving God's blessings at this point because I had turned against Him intentionally. My whole household was cursed because of poor decisions and intentional sin.

It wasn't until the people in my life, who were brought INTO my life by God himself, spoke to me and helped me open my eyes to Truth. Most of them don't even know the role they played in, but I do and God does. I am so grateful for each and every one of those people. You have convicted me to do what is right when I wanted to do what was easy or pleasureable. You have reminded me that our time on earth is short, but eternity is forever. You have taught me that life isn't all about MY desires and MY wants, it's about what God has in mind for me.

Until the day comes that I can post a new blog telling you all about where this path has taken us, just keep praying that our family will stay strong, stay huddled together, and keep each other in check in a loving, God-honoring way. In the meanwhile, I'm going to continue to enjoy my first NON-depressed season in eons, and spend more time dancing in the rain because I never know what tomorrow will bring.


Livy said...

I love this blog Lexie... you have a way with words...

If I may gently say something...

I am not really so great at the bible and it's verses. I love it when you put them up because it gives me a moment to reflect on the words.

I don't know that God would really want us to rebuke our friends unless their actions were going to cause our families or ourselves some kind of discord or harm.

I would venture to guess and hope that rather, God would want us to pull those friends in closer so that we could be the example he set for us in Jesus.

I don't know... it's just a thought and I'm not always good at presenting thoughts... as you know. LOL =)

I love you Lexie... you are a gift to those that get the honor of loving you and calling you their friend. Livy

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey CHICKlet!

I truly enjoyed this post, and agree so much with Godly friends settin ya straight if ya start to stray... I DEPEND on my SISTERCHICKS in that area! True story! I love the Lord so much and do not want to take my eyes off Him. But in the occassion that my "light goes out," I am grateful they are there.
AND... IF YOU EVER have any dark days,... you come over to the Potting shed. We'll drink a pot of coffee, eat a few jelly donuts, crank up the PRAISE A NOTCH,... and all will be well with the world. ;)
Keep writing and sharing your awesome heart.

heidi said...

Great post. :-)

Grandma Dora the Explorer said...

WOW. Praise the Lord! with a few tears. . .

We're hangin' on for the ride with you.

Love ya,

Amydeanne said...

boy oh boy can i relate to some of the stuff you wrote here. Hugs. Thanks for sharing!

Miriam said...

Lex, you are an amazing girl. I am so glad to have met you. And I know you are blessed with an awesome husband and a wonderful family. Hugs from here!

Katie said...

*sniff* Ok friend! You have a way of making me cry. I am right here with ya. You are such a blessing to me!

Love ya!

Tracy said...

Hey there girlie,
What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Rejoicing with you that God has worked through your family adn friends to bring about good health to you.

The reflections of your heart are such a blessing to me...

Blessed to "know" you
(even if only in blogworld),

Mokihana said...

Wonderful post! I really appreciate your words; they are very encouraging to me. Thank you.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Wow- how beautiful. You wrote some wonderful and powerful stuff here, girl. I'm so glad God didn't expect us to be perfect, but he does expect our hearts to be honest, whether with ourselves or with others. Thank you sweetie, for sharing yours.