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Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo Card Friday - Free Printable



This art is free for you to download and print.

This is one of my favorites!  I love the visual reminder that we are WARRIORS!  This passage from Ephesians through the Message translation always brings me encouragement to stand up and fight!

Fight back!

Don't take what Satan throws at you!  You are a daughter of the Most High God and you have been given weapons to fight against him.

Simply right click on the photo and "save as" to save it to your computer.  Then you can simply print it out on your home printer, or send it through a photo service and develop like a photo.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Drowning: My Journey Through Depression - Part 5



Welcome!  I am glad you are here!  I am sharing a series about my experience with depression and anxiety.  Feel free to catch up with the first four parts of the series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

After having a long internet conversation with my downloaded friend Susan, I knew it was time to get serious.  I had been drowning with this episode of depression and anxiety for well over 2 years by now, and I was just completely exhausted by the whole thing.  I'd never had an episode last so long or cut so deep.

I knew it was time to gather the elders of my church so that I could be prayed over.  If you aren't familiar with that, it's nothing weird, it is just a time to call the leaders of your church together to pray.  They pray diligently and specifically for a person during the prayer time, and then for up to 6 months afterward.

I got in touch with the elders to set up a time, and then invited my small group and several really good friends from church to join us.  Most in this group were aware of the struggles I had been having, but not all of the pastors and staff knew the depths of my struggle.  So we gathered together in a large room at church on Mother's Day, 2016.

It's a day that changed my life.

CHANGED. MY. LIFE.

I sat on a couch with dear friends who held my hands, girlfriends sat at my feet with their hands on my knees.  Pastors stood behind me with hands on my shoulders.   Friends gathered in a circle to surround me.  And my husband, always near, always supporting, always loving.  And they prayed.

THEY PRAYED.

Prayers were laid before the Throne of my King Jesus in ways I never could have expressed.  The Holy Spirit stirred prayers and petitions on my behalf that shook me to my core.  They denounced Satan and all of his lies, betrayals, doubts, tricks, and strongholds.  I was swept up into the holy arms of Jesus.  This crowd of beautiful, Jesus loving people lifted my heart and soul into the healing hands of God my Creator.

I wept the entire time.  I gave it all to Jesus.  I surrendered....again.

It was a sweet, sweet time.

I was humbled and oh so grateful.

I left church that day feeling as though a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  Was I healed instantly?  No.  I knew God had so much more in store for me.  I could feel that this was just the beginning of our healing journey together.

For the next two weeks I was patiently waiting for my prayer retreat in North Carolina, where I would stay with Susan. During my wait, I started making a list of things that I wanted to pray more deeply about during my stay.  As I began writing, and my list grew, a new truth was revealed to me that completely caught me off guard.

I was stunned.



Join me next Wednesday for Part 6 of the series, Drowning: My Journey Through Depression.



Linking up today:

  Woman to Woman Ministries/

Women With Intention Wednesdays

Friday, February 17, 2017

Photo Card Friday - Free Printable


I love trees.

The shape and structure of them fascinate me, their strong outstretched branches reaching to the heavens in praise of their Creator.

This huge old tree is one of my favorites, towering over the shoreline of a lake in a nearby park.  A picnic table sits beneath it, perfect for enjoying the afternoon breeze and shade the tree provides. It's a good thinking spot for me.  A great place to rest in the shadow of Almighty God.

Please feel free to right click the photo and "save as" so you can add it to your collection.  I hope you will print it out and enjoy the reminder to rest, just rest in the Lord.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Drowning: My Journey Through Depression - Part 4



Welcome!  I am glad you are here!  I am sharing a series about my experience with depression and anxiety.  Feel free to catch up with the first three parts of the series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

When I awoke from my hibernation through the month of May, summer was upon us and it was full of doctor and counseling appointments.  More prescriptions than I care to count were filled, to match my growing list of ailments.

I began a series of psychological tests to determine if I had Attention Deficit Disorder, as well as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  I still rarely left the house and spent a lot of my time alone.  As so often happens, prescriptions meant to treat one issue would cause a complete and different issue.  I was on a roller coaster of emotions and energy levels, which nearly drove myself and my husband over the edge.  I went from sleeping the entire month of May, to rising at the crack of dawn in June, full of so much nervous energy that I couldn't sit still.


I was living a nightmare.  It was uncomfortable to be in my own skin.  Despite trying to explain to others what I was going through, I felt no one understood, and many I am quite certain, thought I was just making it up or faking it, and I should just snap out of it.  I was drowning.

When school began in the fall, I was relieved knowing that during my leave of absence, I would have time to heal.  I knew taking the year off was the right thing to do, as I was still no closer to feeling much better.  I was eager to have the house to myself again, with all the quiet I could take in.

I had high hopes of spending time healing through some of my hobbies, but I just did not have the motivation or concentration to get much done.  I did a lot of reading to escape my restless mind.  The months slowly passed and I was doing all I could to just hang on.

As spring arrived, I finally felt up to doing a little more and I began writing out scriptures everyday and spent time reading some devotional books.  By this time my anxiety had succumbed quite a bit and I was able to finally head back to church.  My soul was nourished deeply by the worship each week, so I created a playlist of songs we sang at church and other music that was uplifting to me.  I began a practice of singing my heart out with that worship music in the middle of my kitchen.

And slowly, every so slowly, the darkness began to fade, just enough for me to know that My King was beginning to clear away the cobwebs of my mind.

During this time, I had also reached out to my blogging friend Susan and asked her to be praying for me.  (If you don't know her, you really should!!)  We had long "chat" conversations on Facebook.  She spoke amazing truth and wisdom into my life.  I literally cried out my heart to her.  She was so kind and so gracious to me.  Through one of our conversations I mentioned that I was looking for a place that I could take a Prayer Retreat, all by myself to spend a week praying and calling on My Savior to lift me out of this mess.  And my dear, dear internet friend asked me to come to her house in North Carolina.  Her husband would be gone a week in May.  She works from home, so I could have the rest of the house to myself to do whatever I wanted or needed.  It was good that our conversation was online, because at this point I was bawling my eyes out.  I felt God's goodness shine down on me that day.  It would be a long drive by myself....10 hours....but I knew that this conversation and Susan's lovely offer was God ordained, so He would get me there!!

But through our long conversations, Susan had convinced me that there was something I needed to do right away.  I had been thinking about it, but was a bit shy to ask.....but Susan convinced me....it was time.


Join me next Wednesday for Part 5 of the series, Drowning: My Journey Through Depression.



Linking up today:

  Woman to Woman Ministries/

Women With Intention Wednesdays




Monday, February 13, 2017

Art Journal - Miracles


It's been a very long time since I have worked in my studio with mixed media.  I was happy to get some time yesterday to play just a bit.


I recently bought some of the new Tim Holtz Distress Crayons and wanted to try them out.  Not sure I was using the technique correctly, so I want to go watch some YouTube videos about that soon.



A fun little page.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photo Card Friday - Free Printable


I'm running a bit behind today!  But I still wanted you to have a "Pretty" to add to your collection.  Just right click and "save as" to download.  Sorry, no download link today.

The quote is from one of my favorite songs, Unstoppable God.  It is so uplifting!!

Have a great weekend friends!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Drowning: My Journey Through Depression Part 3


Welcome!  I am glad you are here!  I am sharing a series about my experience with depression and anxiety.  Feel free to catch up with the first two parts of the series:

Part 1
Part 2

We returned from Cancun with high hopes that I would get to feeling better after enjoying surf and sun.

But within just a week of returning, my anxiety levels were at an all time high.  I'd been back to see my psychiatrist with the hopes of more medication helping to control the non-stop tremors I was experiencing.   Every noise around me was like sitting next to stereo speakers.  The non-stop busyness of the school main office was more than I could handle.  I couldn't go to church because of the crowd and the high volume music that felt like it beat within my body.  It was physically painful. I couldn't concentrate on anything. The only place I went was to work, and then home to sleep.

One sunny afternoon in late April my husband and I were sitting on the front steps of our home and I completely became unglued.  My depression and anxiety were at a level I had never experienced before.  I truly felt that I was drowning and had no way to get air.  I was in hysterics trying to explain it to my husband.  I remember screaming in frustration at him that I couldn't do it!  Despite all his belief in me and encouragement, I couldn't do it anymore.  I just wanted out.  I felt so trapped.  I remember feeling completely irrational and thinking that I would just get in the car and drive until I reached a destination where no one knew me and I could just crawl into oblivion where no one would notice and everyone would leave me alone.  I was desperate...so desperate.

I had cried and cried out to God for help.  I was at a place where I didn't know what to ask anymore.  I always had faith through many different struggles with depression that God would show himself.  He had always had something to teach me, something to reveal to me through my season of suffering.  I kept waiting and watching....but this time....there was nothing.  No answers, no revelations, no hint of an answer.  I was drowning.

And so on that April afternoon we finally made the decision that I would take a medical leave of absence for the remainder of the school year.  We also decided that I would take a leave of absence for the following school year and take that time to try to really heal and get answers.  The relief should have been instantaneous, but the physical side of this illness had taken such a toll on my body that it took several weeks for that relief to sink in.  I nearly slept away the entire month of May.  My body, mind and spirit were completely depleted. I was empty.

I had no energy left to fight any longer.



Join me next Wednesday for Part 4 of the series, Drowning: My Journey Through Depression.


Note:  Praise God for my family who endured far more than they should have during this extremely difficult time for all of us.  An understanding, patient and loving family is crucial to anyone fighting through mental illness.  They didn't understand, but they loved me anyway.  I love you all.


Linking up today: Woman to Woman Ministries/
Women With Intention Wednesdays