Breakthrough

Day 15 of my medication change. It is the first day that has been without an intense sobbing hyperventilating mental breakdown. My brain hasn’t been spinning with morbid thoughts of immediate doom and despair. It’s been a good day. A very good day. A genuinely happy day filled with joy and rational thoughts and laughter.

The past 14 days were probably the deepest depression I have ever been in. To say I was not handling it well at all would be an understatement. The inability to leave my bed, not cry, or breathe normally was overpowering. I was not functioning and I was unable to cope or self regulate at all when I was alone.

My already amazing ability to filter my thoughts before they leave my mouth was completely gone. I wasn’t turning to God when the panic attacks were inevitably about to start and I wasn’t turning to God when I couldn’t summon the strength to get out of bed. I was just trying to survive. I wasn’t even able to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully this is over. Hopefully the chemistry in my brain is done messing around, but that’s probably not the case. I still have 2 months until I titrate up to the amount my psychiatrist wants me on for my meds. I’m hoping that if I do go back into a deep depression I at least know to cry out to God and continue to worship Him despite the nightmare going on in my head. My hope is to rely on the Lord.

I am enjoying this breakthrough. It is now day 16, and so far so good 🙂 I’m so beyond grateful to my boyfriend, friends, and family for their overwhelming love and support and distractions. They mean the world to me.

Run to God

“I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me – tell me the charge you are bringing against me.” Job 10:1-2 NLT

Job loathed his life. He lost everything. But he didn’t run away from God. In fact, he ran to God.

Week 16 “Run to God” The Weekly Prayer Project

I have gone through many seasons where I absolutely loathed my life. I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I ran away from God instead of running towards Him. Running from Him every time I went through seasons of suffering prolonged my pain. I didn’t look at the bright side, I didn’t look for His hand in my trials, I refused to think it could have been worse than what I was going through. I dwelled in the pain, I dwelled in the suffering. How much better would my life have been if I had run towards God instead of running from Him.

Youth Ministry

In July 2018 I began to burnout serving at church. At the time I was the preschool and nursery lead, junior and senior high girls youth leader, part time front desk helper, part time assistant to the communications director, and a menagerie of other things.

In April 2017 I went through a much needed breakup and returned home and returned to the church. In an attempt to justify my actions that happened while I was away from home being a reckless stupid moron…I threw myself into serving at church. I spent every waking second helping at church or thinking about church.

I never sat in the service. Instead I would serve all three services either at the desk, in the children’s ministry classrooms, or the sound booth being the assistant to the communications director. I didn’t fellowship. I didn’t worship. I was working. I was trying to balance the last 5 years of transgressions with burning myself out serving. My heart wasn’t in the right place. My intentions were to say yes to every need.

In July 2018 I was also saved. So I wanted to start sitting in the service. I wanted to start worshiping. I wanted to start pouring all I had into my students at youth group. I wanted to build relationships with fellow Christians. But I was being pulled in so many directions that I started to hate church. My idea that fixing my sins by serving was starting to ruin me. I met with the director of student ministries and told him what was going on. He had me seriously pray about each area I was serving in the church. He told me it wasn’t my responsibility to say yes to everything. That it was okay to say no. And it was not my responsibility how other people would react by me stepping down. And it hit me like a truck…my heart is in student ministry. My heart is with those teens.

So I stepped down from everything else. I still serve 2 times a month in children’s ministry but that’s because I have a heart for those preschoolers. Since then my relationship with God has flourished. My faith has grown stronger. I’m still at church at least 3 times a week, and I’m still meeting outside of church with students, but I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what God wants me to be doing.

My point to all this is you don’t have to say yes to filling a need just because it’s there. Pray about it. Talk to God asking Him where He wants you. It is so easy to burnout and want nothing to do with the church or God by over-serving. It totally is possible to over serve. Trust me.

If you’re burning out – take a look at where you’re serving and what you’re filling your time with. Are you serving just to fill a need? Here’s some daily Christianese for ya: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I would sooner quit my job then leave youth ministry. That’s how serious I am about pouring into those kids.

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Alone Time

I fail daily at alone time and spending time with God. I try to fill up every second of my day with something. Work, serving at church, talking on the phone whenever I’m alone, time with friends, video games, youtube…anything to keep me from being alone with my thoughts. I don’t intentionally take that alone time seriously until I am at my breaking point and can barely function.

That is when I escape to the lake for at least half an hour of just silence and staring out at the water. Usually, if I am at the lake it means things are going pretty terribly. I can’t stand being alone with myself, my depression is worsening, and I am allowing my anxiety to control my life. I shouldn’t let it get to the point where I’m not functioning.

My mom wakes up early every morning and has her intentional coffee time with God. She has been doing this every morning for as long as I can remember. It sets the tone for her day and her interactions with everyone around her. She quietly has her coffee, reads her Bible, journals, and talks to God. I’m not saying I am going to start doing that, because I also need as much sleep as I can get for my own mental health…but I need to change how I spend every second of my day. I need to be setting the tone for my day in a healthy way that benefits myself and my relationship with the Lord.

Even Jesus took time away from people to pray. I need to start being more like Jesus.

God’s Chisel

Josh’s lesson with the youth praise team, as well as an in-depth conversation with one of the member’s of the praise team afterwards, inspired this blog post. I’m sure you’ve seen the Skit Guy’s video God’s Chisel – if you have not here is the link.

The video portrays God taking a chisel to a guy who is struggling with his sins…and he isn’t exactly welcoming the changes to his life. The changes, the cutting out sin, the moving on from our old ways and living for God…it’s a process that is filled with mourning and pain. Giving up control isn’t easy. Quitting sins, allowing God to transform us, it isn’t easy. We cling to our sins, they can be a source of stress relief, and they can be comforting, and feel familiar.

When we actually look at ourselves and fail to see God’s craftsmanship it can be a lonely place. Hiding away completely ashamed of ourselves is lonely. We are either going away from God or closer to Him. There is no standing still. There is no lukewarm. So when we find comfort in our sins, in attempting to control our own lives instead of turning from our sins and living for God…we are moving away from Him.

I should rewatch that video each week simply for the intense and much-needed conviction it brings on.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God. Romans 12:2

If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes. Deuteronomy 30:16

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Joy

Joy has been on my mind lately so I asked my good friend and sister in Christ, Jayme to help me write about it! Thank you, Jaym!

Well what’s poppin people of kaito’s blog! Allow me to introduce myself…..my name is Jayme. I also have a blog called Just Getting Started. 10/10 would recommend. So anyway. I’m just hopping on here to write a little blurb on joy!

The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of joy is a little kid eating popsicle on a hot summer night. Maybe he’s frolicking in a field? You get the picture. Now here’s a little secret. That joy this kid has is going to end. It will stop. The joy that popsicle is giving him at the moment will end when the popsicle is gone. I feel like that’s what everyone is doing these days. They are trying to find joy in something that will melt, isn’t going to last. Everyone is looking for something that will satisfy them. Quench their thirst. Hate to break it to you, but everything on this earth won’t satisfy you, won’t bring you the joy you are striving so hard to find. So what’s the solution? God. God is the only thing that can satisfy you. Bring you real everlasting joy. You may be asking how does he do that?

So when God created the earth, he made man and women. He let them live in the garden of Eden. God gave them one rule and that was to NOT eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One thing let to another and they ate from it. This separated them from God. Separated the rest of us from God. They could feel shame and they were embarrassed. Now every one who would ever live was destined to Hell. We were all going and should go because we are all so screwed up. What did God do? He found a way for us to go to heaven and be with him. A few thousand years after the Fall, God sent his son to earth. This is who we call Jesus. Jesus lived on earth like man but never sinned. He lived the perfect life. The next thing that happened? He was crucified. He died. Do you want to know why he died? For you. This is where I find my joy. Knowing that God sent His son to die for me so I could go to heaven. This makes me want to jump up and down. Go full disney princess and scream it from a mountain top. This is joy will last forever. You will still have it after you die. In heaven, it’s literally a party celebrating how rad our God is. Pretty freakin dope if you ask me. That’s all I have to say so i guess back to kait with our regular scheduled program!

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I struggle with finding my joy in the Lord. I need daily reminders to check my heart and not dwell on my circumstances or try to find my joy in things that only provide temporary happiness. I’m grateful for friends who keep me accountable when I am getting overwhelmed and not relying on God. My joy…my excitement…it all needs to come from Him.

Here are some photos of us being our crazy selves.

Go follow Jayme’s blog for more awesomeness. Jayme’s Blog – Just Getting Started

Self Worth

Unfortunately I am no stranger to low self esteem and self worth. I allowed my circumstances and the lies to dictate my relationship with myself. I allowed being in an abusive relationship to dictate my worth. I allowed my eating disorder to control how I viewed myself. Instead of finding my worth in the Lord, I looked elsewhere and it was devastating. The only thing I found was pain and heartache.

I used to laugh saying I was the type of person to light myself on fire to keep others warm. I didn’t realize how completely wrong that mindset was. I saw no value in myself. Little by little I gave pieces of myself away to keep others happy. I was numb and depressed. There was no joy, no self respect, no value, and no God.

Slowly I am realizing I am so valuable and my worth is immeasurable. Slowly the negative comments from others and myself are being replaced with positive and uplifting comments. It’s taking time, but progress is definitely being made.

My relationship with myself sets the tone for every relationship in my life. I need to love myself and find worth in myself in order to be valuable to others. I need to have a life that honors God. I need to talk to myself in a way that honors God. When I am constantly beating myself up and believing the lies, I am not honoring God in any way. I am insulting His creation. He did not create me to live a life of negativity and belittlement.

As I pray for those close to me to see their worth and their value and see how loved they are…I will also pray that I see those things as well. God is working to change me but I need to put in the work. I want God to work in me so I need Him to work on me.

Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Isaiah 64:8  “Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Psalm 46:5  “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

1 Peter 3:3-4  “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Psalm 143:8  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Proverbs 3:15-18  “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.”