When we look for a shortcut out of our misery and wanting…

DEPOT HILL 3

DEPOT HILL SWAMP

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own way of doing life that we forget all about the One who is life.

We choose to sin, thinking it is a shortcut out of our misery and wanting.

It never is and we wind up going down deeper into a black pit of our own making.

Testing God and His goodness at every turn with little gratitude for who He is and all He has done for us in the past.

We whine, complain and moan, focused solely on our own soul’s longings.

What we lack, what we dislike, what we seek to change or control.

Instead of lifting our hearts and minds to the heavenly places where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father praying His heart out for our wayward hearts.

At times like these we stop truly believing in God and His glorious power to not only save us, but provide and protect. And give us joy in the journey even when the road is long and dusty and we keep twisting our ankle on the rocks strewn along the way.

But God.

And praise God.

He never forgets us and is never late.

And He is never remiss to catch us when we are falling, arms outstretched like they were on the cross. He knows what we need and supplies it all. He understands that our hearts and flesh are weak.

And in the weaknesses of our lower nature, we can choose to sin – in pride, fear or jumping to conclusions of the most negative sort. Yet we believe we are right as we fall prey to the lies of the liar. And it can take a while before we can feel, like Paul, the anguish in our souls from having fallen again.

Yet He pours out compassion on us time and time again, mercy unending.

So let us not forget that He is King over all, holding all, in control of all, and we are here to serve Him through our obedience.

Serving Him not us.

Bowing, recounting His blessings and humbly asking forgiveness…

~sheila

 For more reflections like this one, click here.

 

 

Treasures of darkness…when depression swallows you silent and what 21days in a dungeon taught me

HAMMOND DUNGEON

So I am sitting here in the dark and the cold.

Our home is still and he’s asleep but I am wrapped in a black woolen shawl pulled round my shoulders with a cup of steaming tea between my palms.

Staring weary at a screen flashing 3:17 AM.

So I read words written by a woman who cannot see.

And it’s the very last line of her post that opens my eyes and makes me catch my breath.

May He give you the treasures of darkness…Isaiah 45:3

Because just last week I posted this and those same words hit a deep chord and now I am asking Him what it all means. And so much of His teaching to me comes through this blog as feelings process and words flow and stories evolve and both you and me helped.

TEA AND DARKNESS

Yesterday evening I met a friend for tea and we were talking about how winter, even in spring, has refused to give up the ghost and the deluge of drab and dreary days has left us all needing significant sunshine and warm breezes and flowers bursting color.

I tell her that the last few weeks had been difficult for me battling SAD and black lace with wee hours wakeful bringing negative thoughts and worries of this world weighing heavy on my shoulders aching.

No amount of 85% dark chocolate was making things better.

And the Word which is the Light seemed dim, too, and laughter which always rolls easily from my lips jammed up. And I started shutting down with my world all sombre and scary and the serpent hissing lies.

Hard to write and harder to feel and my fingers refusing to fly over the keys because words were stalled in the shadows, locked away in depression’s dungeon. And my one flesh dearest felt the freeze. And all I wanted to do was nap in a dark room, shades drawn, so I did.

And the lie that lingered lazy, with anger closer than my next heartbeat, kept repeating: I just don’t care.

Now my brain recognized and remembered that seasonal affective disorder troubles me slightly each year, usually in the last couple of weeks in February, but never lasting longer than 10 days. I reminded myself the negativity and sense of hopelessness would pass but when it lasted twice as long I was about ready to pluck my eyelashes out.

It was a very long winter.

And looking to the hills for help all I saw was dirty, ugly snow and I wondered if my Help was hearing my cries both inside and out. Typically my passions bubble over with cares deep about life and Love and my beloved loved ones, but this season of SAD was so full of nothing — virtually no feelings, nearly no delight, and almost no hope — that I thought morning might never come.

Faith floundering weak and friends praying strong kept me putting one foot in front of the other, pushing through the fog and sometimes falling down grumpy. Poor husband! Thank you for grace.

But help finally did come in the mourning and He, our Lord and Savior, makes me dance. Cranking up the Latin tunes I salsa round the family room, kicking serotonin into gear and working up a sweat.

CITY HALL

And the next day I am traveling out of town, back to where I began with my son who lost his birth certificate. As we climb steep stairs to City Hall a strong, chill wind whips my hair in front of my eyes, sending shivers across my skin, yet in the twinkling of an eye scales of sadness slip away right there with help coming on that hill overlooking the fourth largest city in New York.

Holy Spirit rush fills me, every cell tingling alive and in the bright my heart is sunny, too. Smiling. I thank the Son for holding me through a long, tedious season of dark.

And the treasure take-away from this experience is priceless.

Here’s what’s worth remembering: {And if you are struggling with depression that absolutely will not quit, or having seriously dark thoughts, please contact your health care provider immediately.}

>>God showed me that I must be ever diligent to choose my thoughts wisely being positive even when I feel negative.

>>Mild, seasonal depression must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit

>>Darkness is a gift that makes us cry out for more of our Father

>>In the darkness He can shine His light on things in our souls that He wants to remedy

>>Scripture is solid gold truth and we need to focus our hearts on truth regardless of what emotions scream

>>Receiving the treasure of darkness yields a chest full of wisdom jewels

>>The sun will shine again because the Son is always loving us no matter what our critical inner voice says

>>Eat, sleep, pray for talking with Him, exercise, solid sleep, and a diet high in omega threes helps

>>Tickle your funny bone by distracting yourself for awile with movies that make you laugh like For Richer For Poorer and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

~sheila
All our longings end in love

City Hall image credit

View from Longings End…Letting worries fly away like the birds in the sky

BINOCULARS

That is why I say to you, don’t worry about living—wondering what you are going to eat or drink, or what you are going to wear. Surely life is more important than food, and the body more important than the clothes you wear. Look at the birds in the sky. They never sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you much more valuable to him than they are?
Matthew 6:25-26

Last couple of weeks have been challenging in more ways than one.

And my eyes hurting and uncooperative necessitating time away from the computer screen. Grateful to God that they are now greatly improved.

But while unable to work online or read those beloved books stacked on my nightstand I still.

And get my binoculars for we have just started feeding the birds.

Amazing array of feathered friends now visit us each morning for breakfast which can last well into the afternoon as they peck all day giving me delight watching from my comfy office chair, writing desk next to the French doors, birds-eye view of sweet avian souls.

CHICK

Brave little chickadees land on the far side of the deck almost as soon as I open the door, waiting and watching as I dole out seed, letting me toss it near and talk to them and them standing their ground.

Juncos and Jays, a pair of purple finches with the female resembling a striped sparrow and him looking like he was dipped in raspberry juice, and sparrows. Starlings — who I like to call the boys in the band — swoop in and then out.

TMOUSE 2

Tufted titmouse with a face that would make any farmers wife drop her carving knife and smile.

MORNING DOVES

And a pair of cooing morning doves, gentle and calm.

WOODPECKER

Perky house wren with her slightly curved beak and upturned tail feathers and a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers who seem to be misnamed because the red is on the head of the male and the nape of the female’s neck. And him not very nice to his mate, often chasing her away from where he is feeding.

MR AND MRS CARDINAL

So unlike the gallant and gracious Mr. Cardinal who’s kind to his Mrs. and her so timid taking days before she felt secure enough to feed from our deck.

SQUIRREL 3

A squirrel and his notched-ear buddy gorge all the black oil sunflower seeds until I chase them away, only to return when I am not looking.

Winter world is frozen white all crusty except for the flapping and the fleeting of tiny wings.

And me sitting still as they flit and float, nibble and nosh.

Until my worries piled high like the dirty snow refusing to melt start to dissipate under the Son, drifting away one by one with every beat of feathers flying.

My Michael — at the tipping point with a job-related issue — says God would have us focus on verses in Matthew 6, 19 through 24, and the heading in our J.B. Phillips New Testament says,

Put your trust in God alone

Who else can any one of us ultimately trust in? And the trials flinging in our faces ring with truth that our faith always needs tending so it will keep growing and as it does, hearts mending.

For no matter what swirls in my life — health issues, money concerns, family members lashing out hurt — I can trust in the One who is worthy of my trust. And you can, too.

He feeds the birds in the sky without them sowing or reaping because He loves them.

He loves us so much more.

And all the worries in the world will not change an iota of the outcome. Our lives and times are in His hands and He has called us to stand strong even though we may fear and falter for He has called us for such a time and purpose as this.

Trusting Him changes everything and burdens lift and fly away and His heart no doubt delights when daughters trembling and sons put their tiny hands in His and start to walk forward, future unknown, to His glory.

Over and over I read in the gospels as Jesus talks about our faith and I do not want to be found small. God calls us to come and step one foot into the Jordan and He will make the way clear. He tells us to reach withered hands towards the One who sustains and to go and cast the line to catch the fish.

Father giving us His children good gifts and no good thing withheld as we walk uprightly, baby step after baby step.

Veil of black lace lifts from eyes and hearts and everything fills with Light.

Hands humbly lifting towards Heaven.

And hearts opening wide…

~sheila

 

 

To the wife who holds her breath…

BREATHE LONE TREE

She holds her breath but she can’t fill walking on eggshells cracking.

Emptiness inside splitting her heart and her head pounding because he’ll be home soon.

And there’s a stray piece of dust on the hardwood floors.

He won’t notice the whole house sparkling, delicious dinner simmering, kids working on homework or a baby sleeping peacefully.

He will only notice that one piece of dust.

The one she missed in her flustered frenzy to make it all perfect. Everything in place so he would have no complaint.

But it doesn’t matter. None of it. Not how good she is, or how quiet the kids are, or that she did everything he told her even the things she knew were somehow wrong. But he said they were right. That God would have it this way. And he is always quick to remind her that she must obey, submit, keep her mouth shut.

So she keeps holding her breath.

But in the back of her mind it stirs. Deep in her heart Truth raking over the coals with the fire almost out for the lies have nearly extinguished the flame, the light.

Her heart keeps pumping and blood keeps coursing, but his veins keep popping ever angry.

A part of her wants to leave, run away, escape him, but she can’t think straight living like this where control rolls over her and manipulation mangles her soul, heart all shredded. Pieces on the floor like so much dust.

And it all happens quiet without him lifting a hand towards her.

Not like her mother who married a drinker and him beating her black and blue plain to see. Her mom maybe would have left that man she married at 18 only to escape her childhood home where her own father hurt and she held a sick secret all the years of her growing from girl into woman. Maybe her mother would have left her dad, but she didn’t.

And cycles spin forward and the wife who holds her breath — her situation it isn’t so glaring. Bruises lie deep in soul and psyche where the damage is just as killing but far less noticeable seeming easier to excuse.

She keeps holding her breath because she’s caught in a web sticky with lies. Crazy! One minute she feels crazy. The next she knows he’s crazy. Then it all spins crazy and maybe he acts less crazy and she thinks and hopes and holds her breath a little longer while her heart skips a stone across a pond and the ripples keep moving outward and she hopes with a ripple of hope that he will change. That things will change, that life will get better. That maybe she will wake up and realize she had fallen asleep reading a story.

But this story is real and it’s hers and it hurts. And he keeps on hurting her and doesn’t change because maybe he can’t, maybe he won’t.

Same old same insane churns sour like her stomach and she tries to stay sane.

And she becomes that piece of dust, made of dust, needing to be swept into the arms of the Everlasting One, but her marriage swirls like leaves dead caught in a wind twirling fierce.

She promised for better or for worse. And she thinks it could be worse. Or maybe better if somehow she was better. And she just wants to be loved.

And that one piece of dust on the floor, the only thing he squinty sees, it riles him red and he whips in ways that won’t show, but the Maker of all things visible and invisible, He sees.

She holds her breath and holds on tight and the ride gets scarier and she thinks she’ll lose her lunch only she isn’t able to eat because she really is losing her mind and she wants to scream “Stop” and run and hide, taking her babies far and away.

From insanity seething.

But she is caught and keeps doing the same thing over and over expecting different to come but it doesn’t.

She can’t scream because he will hear and make it worse. And she can’t speak because she can’t barely breathe with holding her tongue all tied and she’s got to untie the ropes that bind.

Breaking free of the hold he has on her, death grip squeezing dry her life drop by drop.

She fears.

Phantoms lurk and she wonders how can she stay and she prays she won’t disappoint God. She has lived so many days under his roof and under his thumb that she has forgotten how to think deep and trust herself without him telling her mighty all what to think or how or when.

And the Word that was made flesh is mangled like bodies on a highway divided from breath by some driver drunk wild whose life will go on with one more drink, or one more line; one more word or one more lie.

Repeating, not stopping, and collateral damage that takes forever to heal.

For words twisted evil under the guise of godliness gone mad wield power and that is all it is. A power play. Except he isn’t playing and she can’t win.

Is she going mad? Because it’s crazy to stay when you have to hold your breath and you can’t breathe and you can’t be the woman God has made you to be because he wants to control everything and especially you.

A little each day she dies inside while on the outside he tries to be Christ repeating words holy, except he isn’t and it’s all unwholesome. Him denouncing sin in others but never seeing his own. Saving the lost when he is most lost.

And love is only a label for lunacy.

So he bullies with syllables that slap hard and hurt as much as if his hand had hit her head. It all spins fast and she talks fast to close friends or maybe her mother. They tell her to get out that it is no marriage when it’s only abuse, control, and violence washed down not with whiskey but the Word.

A six pack of lies and more lies and she lies there trying to sort it out but can’t for only one of the two-as-one is trying and it feels like dying and it’s so sly, selfish and sick.

Evil.

She holds her breath and she keeps holding on. She took a vow and she won’t let go, won’t let God down. But it’s living vacant and there is no air, oxygen gone. Code blue.

And she wonders how it ever got this bad.

Worries what people will think and what will become of her children but life is not life in a house of horrors where unspeakable transpires and it is later than she thinks. Little ones learning what they see and getting all broken.

Time to go.

For she can never change him when he doesn’t want to change, doesn’t see the truth in a true, real Way. Won’t bend His knee to the Almighty when it’s the throne he desires.

She is pulled and she is pushed and the walls are coming down and she waits to hear from God. And someone who was once in a place so dark it demanded her soul as ransom speaks.

Get out before it kills you.

Some men kill flesh, others the heart unseen. And the robber baron steals it all and her future and her gift taken, the gift she is to this world, help she is meant to give others caught in a hell when home is never far away.

BREATHE 2

Until His hand takes hers offered.

Safe.

Women have held their breath for men who were not husbands real and true, not husbands in the image of the Maker who is our husband, but only brutes and them broken, too. All lost and crying and sinful twisted inside, needing a Savior but running away from what lies buried deep in the grave of their own past all hurting. Never seeing or maybe not wanting to see.

But Truth will set her free and she will see.

And she will breathe again…

~sheila
All our longings end in love.

Please share this post. There is a woman, maybe you, who needs to read these words.

If your woman’s heart needs to talk one-on-one with a woman who has experienced and survived no small amount of pain and darkness, you may want to consider C2: Comfort and Conversation.

And if your heart is breaking? Or someone you know is hurting?
Purchase your copy of Heart Cry today by clicking here.

Heart Cry by Sheila Kimball

MKS Headshot POSTAGE STAMP  If you would like to receive new posts as we publish them, SUBSCRIBE now  and receive FREE our eBook, BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of brokenness.
Please LIKE our Facebook page. Or FOLLOW us on Twitter.

Linking with some of the lovely blogs at the bottom of this page

You're Invited to Party Here!

Womanhood With Purpose

Word Filled Wednesday

Multitude on Mondays at A Holy Experience

And always counting…

163. Being able to breathe

164. A God-fearing and very loving husband

165. And him home from work on a VERY snowy day

Hide or seek…

LENOIR MANSION

LENOIR MANSION 2

Sometimes we go into hiding. Somewhere away from the pain and those persistent, pestering negative thoughts.

We huddle in the corner with Fear clutching at us and Doubt knocking at the door of our hearts.

And we tremble all broken.

Pain runs so deep we want to isolate, pull back, withdraw from our closest companions. And even sometimes from our God.

Yet God sees us as we hide. There is no place we can go that He will not find us.

“You can run but you cannot hide,” a voice from the past would often taunt.

Our God, He never torments but with tender mercy keeps His eye upon us and draws a circle blood red around us and He waits while shadows overtake us and sobs rack our soul and the pit inside feels bottomless and the darkness seems to suffocate.

Until we call out His name…Jesus.

He who came to save us. Our salvation riding on the colt of a donkey. Obedient unto death that we might live.

Our King has come with a holy scepter of healing in His hand. Ours for the believing. And the following. Even in our pain.

LENOIR GATE

LENOIR GATE 2

But our tears, so many tears, they tumble, pooling around our hearts and us flailing in the tempest and the dark night of our soul whipping the wind into a frenzy, knocking the wind right out of us.

Then a fresh wind of the spirit blows gently as a whisper hushed.

We are hid in the cleft of the rock even when we think we are unprotected and all alone. Safe and sound until the fire, the storm, and the earthquake which quakes our faith passes.

In His great love for us He lifts us on the wings of the wind and we fly with Him across the dark and watch the stars come out one by one at the hand of the One who cast them clear across the cosmos and calls them all by name.

And we won’t need to wish upon a falling star when we fall in love with the One who is the Maker of the stars and the maker of our heart and our healer. Him holding our hand as we walk through raging waters parted.

Breathing.

Everlasting arms embracing us. He is the One who was and is and yet will come. Him who loved us then and now and all the way till forever as if we were His only one, the apple of His eye.

And He has known all along that this blessed and awful moment would crash into our calm for long ago and far away He set the foundation of the world and fashioned us and our mother’s womb in His secret place and recorded all our days in His book.

LENOIR ARCH and TREE

LENOIR ARCH 2

And in our secret place — where the throbbing seems to never cease — he brings light shining brighter than ten thousand times ten thousands stars. Light chasing shadows away one broken-heartbeat at a time.

Calling so softly to our aching hurts that we might miss it unless we still.

Come away with me, my love, my fair one. Come seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all of your heart.

And His kingdom shall have no end and all these things shall be added.

Open your heart to Him, beloved, for He loves you, he really loves you.

Step out of the shadows…

~sheila
All our longings end in love.

If your woman’s heart needs to talk one-on-one with a woman who has experienced and survived no small amount of pain and darkness, you may want to consider C2: Comfort and Conversation.

And if your heart is breaking? Or someone you know is hurting?
Purchase your copy of Heart Cry today by clicking here.

Heart Cry by Sheila Kimball

Please share this post.

MKS Headshot POSTAGE STAMP  If you would like to receive new posts as we publish them, SUBSCRIBE now  and receive FREE our eBook, BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of brokenness.
Please LIKE our Facebook page. Or FOLLOW us on Twitter.

Linking with some of the lovely blogs at the bottom of this page