Yielding

Have thine own way MercyIsNew.com

Over the last few months God has been whispering a few words to me. Simplicity. Yielding. Keep the main thing the main thing. Surrender.

These words aren’t easy to hear. But, even harder than hearing, they are harder to implement. Major life changes – character changes – lifelong habits – are hard to change. As a teacher I prided myself on the best behaved kindergarten class in the building. As a busy woman, I found energy in being well, busy. I thrived on a calendar with lots and lots of writing. I was a planner. I was organized. I was on top of things. (And yes, before I had kids I can vaguely remember at some point saying, “my child will never do that…”)

Yes, God certainly does have a sense of humor. And no, I’m not proud of that pride I used to have. I thought I could handle 22 little 5 year olds, and handle them quite well. So, God gave me 3 kids in 3 years (that weren’t necessarily planned, disrupting the planner in me.) But, when that wasn’t enough to deter me, He took my hand and guided me into the wilderness. He allowed me to become so overwhelmed with life that depression took over my body -my heart, soul and mind.

Even as a young mom with 3 little ones, I continued running and running…serving at church everytime the doors were open. Volunteering to have playgroup at my house. Playing in a band. Playing for church. Organizing music. Teaching piano lessons. Organizing playdates and homeschool co-ops. Homeschooling. Baking bread. And the list goes on. And on.

Time after time, I find myself back to that “overwhelmed” state of life. Why is it so hard for me to say no? And, even when I am not that busy, I find myself overwhelmed. Again. Depression creeps back in…and for the first time, God begins to show me the meaning of yielding to Him and His plan for my life. God led me here. He brought me to a place where I was forced to slow down. To pay attention. To notice Him.

Have you ever thought about what a yield sign means?

yield_sign_page

As you are driving down the road, if you see a yield sign that means you need to slow down, possibly even stop. Stop for what? To wait. To wait for other cars to go by. To wait for a light to change. Slow down and wait. Pay attention to what is going on around you…and when it is clear, you may proceed.

How many times do we get going so fast, full speed ahead, that we don’t yield? We don’t yield to the cars zooming past us — and cause a bit of a traffic jam. We don’t yield to the voices of our children. We don’t yield to the quiet whispers of our Lord.

yield: verb, to surrender or submit, as to superior powerย 

Yielding requires being attentive. How attentive am I being to the Lord’s movement in my life? How attentive am I to His voice? How attentive am I to the needs of my family? He may be whispering: slow down. All those many things on that “to-do” list may be good. They may be wonderful…but they may not be what I have for you, says the Lord.

Listen.

Slow down.

Simplicity.

Keep the main thing the main thing. (what is the main thing for you right now?)

Yield.

Surrender. God took me into the wilderness for a purpose. His purpose. His ways don’t look like my ways. His ways are higher than my ways. Yielding means waiting on Him. I can’t “hurry” myself out of this stage of life. I can’t “fix it” though I try with all my might. I must yield. I must wait on Him. Surrender. That means giving up my rights. Going along with His plan. Going along with His purpose. Yielding.

May this be the prayer of my heart…

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way.
Thou art the potter, I am the clay!
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way.
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now.
As in Thy presence, humbly I bow.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way.
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power surely is Thine,
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way.
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

3 Years Off of Anti-Depressants

I would love for you to read an update now that I have been off all of my anti-depressants for 3 years and am thriving. God has been so good to me. My mindset has changed. My health has changed. We are never truly hopeless if we have Christ. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us giving us the power to make the steps necessary to BE TRANSFORMED.

My Journey Off of Anti-Depressants

My wellness journey & 51 pound weight loss!ย 

Come Be My Light – Mother Teresa

When making our school plans for studying the country of India, I decided that in addition to teaching my children a little bit about Mother Teresa, I’d like to find a book to read about her myself. I am SO glad that I did! I am in the middle of 2 books about her life and spiritual life and am already putting more on reserve from the library. I have been inspired, encouraged…and did I mention inspired? Wow!

Did you realize that Mother Teresa secretly dealt with a “darkness” that some would call depression for the better part of HALF of her life??

Did you know that Mother Teresa was completely in love with Jesus and considered Him to be her spouse?

Did you know that she never wanted these letters (that she wrote to her mentor) published for she didn’t want anyone to think less of her God?

I am amazed, convicted and inspired by this woman of God whose birth name was Gonxha Agnes. As one who struggles with depression and at the same time is growing in her prayer life, I come away from this book, Come Be My Light, with a deep appreciation for a woman who suffered in much silence yet continued to serve the poor around her with a deep determination and faith. What a beautiful testimony of her faith and trust in God.
I do not claim to understand every little part of this book, as Mother Teresa was obviously Catholic, and there are bits and pieces of that faith that I do not completely understand. A big portion of this book is the actual words of Mother Teresa, from letters that she wrote to her spiritual mentors and fathers. I love that I am reading what she actually wrote as I feel like I’m getting such a glimpse into this amazing woman’s life.
This “darkness” in her life, often described as silence from God to her, never swayed her faith or love for Jesus. She felt an emptiness and darkness in her life that I think many of us who struggle with depression can empathize with. Yet, “only by such faith could Mother Teresa know that Jesus was there but keeping silent.” Her continuing acts of service to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, as well as her deep prayer life, serve as an example for each of us that claims the name of Christ.
Oh that we all could have such faith!

Hope

Tonight as I was walking just before a rainstorm came in, I happened to look up at the clouds. I am fascinated by clouds, they are so beautiful! And each one so unique. Tonight, what I noticed, though, was not their uniqueness…but a hole. A hole in the clouds.

A storm was coming in; the clouds were very dark. Yet, there was a hole in the clouds. Through the hole I saw blue sky, yet there were gray and stormy clouds all around it.

A hole in the clouds.

A light at the end of the tunnel.

A ray of light shining through.

A rainbow in the storm.

Hope.

Peace in the middle of the storm.

As I walked, I was reciting scripture verses that I’ve been memorizing and praying through these verses. God showed me hope through one of my all time favorite verses from the past.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1

God is my light. He is my Hope. My hole in the clouds. My peace in the storm. Whom shall I fear? I do not need to fear the darkness, because HE is my light. Not my feelings, not my children, not any other person, not my anything. He is the light in the darkness. He is the hope in the night. He is a little ray of light when the darkness surrounds. He doesn’t always choose to remove the darkness or storms from our lives, but He does provide a hole in the clouds or a light in the darkness. A light to show me the way. A light to give me hope.

Hope. He is my Hope.

Surviving hard days…

So, I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas of “fun” things for my kids to do while I am just barely hanging on by a thread. To gain entrance into the “survival folder” of ideas, they must be:
1) LOW maintenance on mom,
2) independent for the kids to do,
3) FUN for the kids, I want it to actually take up some time! and
4) fairly simply clean-up, preferably cleaned up by the children. ๐Ÿ™‚

One blessing that I have encountered is that school in the mornings doesn’t stress me out. That is actually probably the most enjoyable part of my day. I really do enjoy doing school with my kids. I can’t explain it except to say it is all grace. I’m so thankful!

However, after school or anytime “other than” school time the kids have been pretty much running wild or driving me wild. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, the other day I had the bright idea to find some very low-maitenance, but fun, ideas to pull out here and there to keep us sane. I do realize I am a bit blessed in the fact that my kids are *generally* pretty independent and can play without me for awhile. I don’t have any in the “baby” stage anymore, which probably makes some things on my list impossible for those of you with wee ones. But, maybe some of these ideas will spark some creativity for those of you who might be needing it!

Yesterday, on the way home from Bible study we stopped at a local park. It has been raining for days, weeks…it was so nice to be able to let them play outside! I actually took my Bible, my Bible study workbook and sat and READ while they played for over an hour! Bliss! Fun for them, low-stress for me!

Today we played with playdough. When I say “we” I mean my children! I bought a few new packs in a few bright, new colors and they were thrilled!

So, what are some creative ideas that you have that we could add to the “survival folder” of ideas? Share your creativity, please!!

*playdough

*playground (I do want to add here, that on some days it is beyond my ability to even get them all dressed, out the door and TO the park…so on some really bad days, the park may not even be an option, but on the days that aren’t quite as bad, the park is a good option!)

*watercolor trays and paper. No assigned picture to paint, no art lesson, just free painting.

*forts/clubs – my kids have been making what I call forts, they call “clubs” for days, weeks, months now. They are ALL into this. They take every known pillow to man, bring it into said room of the day, start building and stretching blankets on top to make a fort/club. They love this! I do not love the mess, but it is keeping them happy and I have a feeling they are making memories. That is my goal for right now! I don’t want them only remembering crazy, looney, crying mama all the time!

*any *new* craft item or kit. We have lots of craft items available to our kids, but if I pick up a cheap craft kit at Hobby Lobby or such, they can go to town with something new and it will hold their attention

*fun, exciting read-alouds (this might work for your family, my kids aren’t big on chapter books yet, but if you have a really FUN or FUNNY one that we could try, let me know!)

*get a big cardboard box and let them color or paint on it all day…that will probably turn into a fort/club as well!

So, I need more ideas…what do you think??

9 years ago…

9 years ago today, I was a young, naive and teary eyed girl walking down the aisle on a bright Saturday morning. 9 years ago today, I was thankful for the man God had given me…and I am even more grateful for him today.

9 years have brought a lot our way…as they probably have with most families. Finding out a baby is on the way within 6 months of marriage, then 2 more children to follow…all in 3 years time. Learning about how depression can rock your world, job changes, huge church changes (huge for us,) losing friends, huge family “traumas” on both sides of the family, homeschooling…but I would not change a thing. As hard as some of these times have been, I’m so thankful for the growth God has given us in our marriage and individually throughout the hard times and the good. You and I have learned quickly, through the difficult circumstances in both of our parents marriages, that we have to WORK at this thing called marriage. Neither of us came into it prepared, but both of us have fought with all we have in us to not only save the marriage God gave us but make it better.

You have been my rock. You don’t give yourself credit for all you have been for me…but it is true. When we got married you thought you were marrying a fun, organized, very “together” kind of gal. That is not at all what I have turned out to be! You have learned with me through my times of depression. You haven’t known what to say to me…but knowing you are there and that you aren’t leaving has been enough encouragement for me. We married “for better or for worse” and you definitely have been through “the worse” part with me…and have stood beside me without fail. You have been such a servant to me, when all I could do is lay in the bed and cry. Not many men would have put up with a basket case like me! ๐Ÿ™‚ But, I am so thankful for you. Words aren’t really adequate for how grateful I am that God gave you to me.

We often talk of the things we’d like to do in 15 years or so when it’s “just” you and me. While it makes my heart grow sad thinking about *this* stage of our lives being over, with little ones in the house, I look forward with anticipation the years to come. Having seen how God can bring beauty from ashes in our own lives, I know He has much in store for us down the road. And I can’t wait to share that with you. Thank you for loving me.