Forgiveness

Currently going through Lysa Terkeurst’s book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget with my mentor. I am loving this book for so many reasons and highly recommend the book and the journal if you struggle with forgiveness or are going through the process of forgiveness.

This week I was challenged with really looking inward and finding the pains I still hold onto so deeply.

I was reminded of something that occasionally pops up, the comments made by some of my closest friends when I was going through my devastating skin disease.

Comments like, “You deserve this because you’ve always had such perfect skin.” “You’re paying your dues since you’ve never had acne.” “Good luck finding a husband with that face.” And more.

Now this skin disease I have destroyed my face. My eyes were swollen shut, my face was at times swollen three times the size, and extremely painful lesions that wouldn’t stop filling up with blood completely covered every inch of my face. It was debilitating and I couldn’t leave the house. Most nights were spent wide awake because the pain would not let me sleep and I would be screaming in agony for God to take the pain away.

Since then I’ve been through numerous treatments, surgeries, and injections to try to fix the painful scarring left over. And I still deal with the scars refilling with blood. I’m still in daily pain because of it.

That all being said, I need to forgive those friends for making those comments. I need to process through forgiving them for how painful those comments were to me, and how alone I felt during that time.

That currently looks like uncovering the painful comments that I’ve shoved down deep inside of me, acknowledging them, and asking Jesus to help me heal as I forgive them for what they said.

Will this make the pain I sometimes still feel from those comments go away? No. But we are commanded to forgive those who have wronged us. And forgiveness is apart of the process of healing.

God take this pain from me

I really just want to be at the whole clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future part of my life now please.

I don’t feel strong enough to survive this pain much longer.

Key word there being “I”, I guess.

God needs to be my strength. I need to let Him in and allow Him to cover me in His strength and comfort. Because the reality of all of this is that I’m weak and fragile and broken.

I tend to do everything I can to attempt to numb my hurt because being out of control and being in pain is killing me. And the more I can numb the pain the better I feel like I can survive my days.

But the attempts to numb the pain are actually emotionally crippling me to the point where I’m not healing, I’m not thriving, and I’m certainly not relying on God or giving control over to Him.

So I sit on the floor in my tears, post panic attack, and I’m begging God with the last few ounces of strength in my body….to be my strength and my comfort. So that I may move on to a period of healing and be able to help others heal and be in relationship with God.

Lord, take this devastation and brokenness and create something beautiful for You.

Stop Worrying

Can you do anything about what you are worrying about? Or are you giving yourself a panic attack or stomach ulcer over something you can do nothing more than pray about?

Philippians 4:16 Do not be anxious about anything.

I didn’t occur to me until recently that my constant anxiety and worry about literally everything going on not only in my own life, but also other people’s lives, was not adding a day to my life. In fact it was creating more problems. What I view as caring too much, is actually an incredible unhealthy way of trying to control life.

Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone.

My not relying on the Lord for the things keeping me up at night is exhausting. Not just because I’m not sleeping because I’m so anxious, but because my brain literally never stops all day long. If I’m not worrying about finances, I’m worrying if I gave all the correct medications and dosages at work, or worrying if my man is going to get home from work without dying in a car accident, or worrying if my friends hate me, or worrying if my friends are going to be able to afford to move when they need to move, or worrying about every single thing I have zero control over. I’m not giving anything to God. Instead of handing it over, I’m holding onto it and I’m pretending it is my responsibility to have control over every aspect of life. Worrywart does not even begin to describe it.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So how do I relinquish this need for control that only fuels my already crappy anxiety? Well to start with I recognize it as a problem that needs attention. I recognize that God needs to be number one front and center in control over all things big, small, and in between. I recognize that my anxiety needs to be treated by a medical professional who specializes in mental illnesses. And I pray. I need to pray day in and out. Pray about everything. Pray that I can release the need for control, the need to worry.

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength. -Corrie Ten Boom

Stop worrying because it’s not good for you. Stop worrying because life is too short to feel like the world is going to collapse every second of every day. Stop worrying because you are not putting your trust in God when you worry to the point of needing to have control over everything around you, Stop worrying because you are not appreciating the here and now. Stop worrying because it accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Matthew 6:27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Time

Speaking of schedules…

Something I learned during my Covid quarantine is I need me time. My schedule leading up to quarantine was dangerously packed. And if I didn’t have anything scheduled I was almost guaranteed to have a mental breakdown. Not exactly healthy.

Now I am intentional with what I schedule into my life. I want to make sure I’m not scheduling so much in that I forget my cup also needs to be filled, that my life also needs attention. I want to make sure I have actual time with my boyfriend. I want to make sure that I have openings for a friend or student texting me, “Hey can you grab coffee today?“. I want to make sure my Bible gets cracked open more than just once a week on Sunday mornings. I want to make sure my mental health gets taken care of. I want to make sure I don’t implode when change happens, but embrace it and lean into God. “Okay Lord, my time on this earth is a gift from You, use it.”

My time is not my own. My time is the Lord’s. What am I doing with this time? Am I glorifying Him? Serving Him? Leading others to Him? Am I working on my mental health, my relationship, my friendships, my communication with my family? Or am I so busy I’m not living in the moment, I’m just pushing through a crammed schedule so I don’t feel anything?

I need to be an intentional steward of my time starting with making God #1.

Change

I do not like change one bit. I will probably say that I like change but that’s me just trying to convince myself I like change. The reality being change sucks. I think it’s a mental thing, I get used to things, I create expectations of life that can be met, I like schedules, I like knowing things. But with change you don’t get that. Change isn’t consistent, change you don’t know what to expect, it’s scary, it’s not something that can always fit nicely into a little box and slide gracefully into a preexisting timeline of life. It’s messy. It’s demanding of flexibility.

But do you know who can handle the things that make me completely bonkers? God. God is all over everything even when I’m scrambling to handle the most mundane change, God is already there. He is already in the mess. He is my rock. He is my refuge among the crazy. I just need to lean on Him, let Him be my strength, let Him take over. Because if I ignore God when I’m in the eye of the hurricane of change, I will completely implode and lose focus on what actually matters.

And what actually matters is loving others like Christ loves me no matter the circumstance and no matter my schedule.

He does not ask for perfections, He asks for my surrender.

Where is God?

Most days I ask myself where is God in all of this?

Well I just haven’t been looking very hard for Him because He is everywhere. He is in every single detail. He works through my boyfriend. He works through my pastor. He calls to me on the days where I’m unable to crawl off the couch and He comforts me. He is always there. Always.

So where is God in all of this? Just look around.

Support System

I don’t know what I would do without my support system.

My very small close knit to me circle of people is astronomically important to me. They get it. They deal with their own mental chaos as well and they don’t drop me when I accidentally go four months living as a shut in because I can’t find the strength to leave the house let alone answer my phone.

But, while I’m drowning they’re praying. They’re making sure I’m alive. They’re waiting. And when I resurface from survival mode they’re there. No questions asked.

And I don’t know what I would do without them. I hope I am able to love them and support them as much as they do for me.

When you are going through the highs and lows of life and of mental illness there is nothing more important than your relationship with the Lord and your support system of people who love you and the Lord. That combination is my rock.

My support system reminds me to go to God, they challenge me to read my Bible and take a shower and get out of the house. They encourage me to call my doctor and actually be honest with him about how I’m doing.

Sticking to my treatment plan has been so incredibly difficult. But each time I fall off the horse they are there to help me get back up.

I can’t do this alone. Mental health is not something you go through alone. You go through it with your doctor, support system, and God.

God is Amazing

This past week I had two seperate meetings with girls I am mentoring and they both brought up a topic I’ve been struggling with since COVID started. It had nothing to do with the book we are reading together, or the topics we were discussing in our meetings, they just felt that topic so heavy on their hearts that they both needed to talk about it.

They have no idea how badly I needed to hear what they were talking about, or that God was talking through them. But because of them I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart, and I felt convicted to work on that area of my life.

I love these moments where I can see God’s hand at work.

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

 

Lord, Be My Strength

Anyone who has depression understands the disconnect from responsibility that happens far too often. During these lows you neglect tasks that need to be done because you can’t even begin to think about getting out of bed or doing anything that might require a thought process. There is a total shut down that happens. And I encourage that behavior. I despise it. But I allow it. I enable it for as long as I need to. But I am so done with that mindset. I’m furious with myself for becoming this person who gives in to their mental illness. I live my life in a constant state of anxiety, denial, and disconnect. And I’m done.

Important mail piles up, piles pile up, laundry doesn’t get done, my floor becomes a pathway of items instead of a floor. The house can be completely clean and dishes need to be done…but I can’t function enough to keep my own room organized. My room becomes a direct product of my depression.

I’m breaking up with my depression. I’m breaking up with avoiding my psychiatrist. I’m breaking up with the inability to keep my life together. This week is the beginning of the new me. I am NOT my depression. I am NOT my anxiety. Or my PTSD. I am Kait. I am a daughter of God. I am a fully capable woman who can handle life without giving in to my diagnosis. Not only handle life but dominate it. And not because I am strong. Not because I am able. I’m not. I am fully aware of my own shortcomings, trust me. But I can do all things through God who gives me strength.

I will start my day talking with the Lord, and continue my day talking with Him. I will get ahead of this illness. I will take my meds. I will meet with my psych on a regular basis. I will not give in to the behaviors of my illnesses. I refuse to be that person. It is not who I am.