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Gratitude Day 2: Forgiven

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Last night as I sat down to do this page I thought about the biggest thing I have to be grateful for. The Lords sacrifice. This is what brings the peace, the joy, this is what reminds us who we are in Him, this is the reason why we sing and praise Him. When we think about The Lord, who He is and what He has done you cannot help but thank Him.

He lowered Himself and stepped out of eternity to become a man, He felt pain, He felt tired and He felt hunger. He was completely sinless. He kept the Jewish law (Gods law) fully.  He knew what was going to happen yet He still went ahead and allowed them to take Him. Those judging Him found no fault in Him but due to a tradition they were compelled to do as asked and let go a convicted murderer and kill The Lord Jesus in his place. He was beaten, He was mocked, He had to carry His cross to Calvary. We all know this story, (well I think most of us do) But it’s when we understand one important thing that we then turn to Him and humble ourselves before Him and thank him.

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While on that cross Jesus took on the guilt of every single sin of the world, everything that man has ever done in the future and in the past. Everything. He who is perfect took on the guilt of the world. Why? He loves us.  So that is why we rejoice because we feel that love and we know we are undeserving of it as He knows everything in our hearts yet He loves us and died for us anyway. And we rejoice because He didn’t leave us, He was risen again as He promised and now He will be with anyone who turns to Him and when we accept this gift and turn to Him we are justified in the eyes of God The Father. There is nothing we can do to earn this gift of salvation, it is all pure grace.

So, yesterday I thought about this and reminded myself of the best reason I have to be grateful to God. There is nothing I can do to express that gratitude and it is a debt I will never be able to repay. And one I am very very grateful for.

Romans 3:24 (KJV):  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

 

Gratitude Journal Day 1

???????????????????????????????I thought I would pop by again with my thoughts on my first day of documenting my thankfulness to The Lord.

This was actually done yesterday and I was hoping to get the page finished today however I woke up today not feeling too great, I am very tired and I was very tempted to just not bother blogging but I realised it’s days like today that this is all the more important. I may feel ill and be struggling with anxiety but I still have a lot to be grateful for.

So yesterday while working on this page I was thinking about all the physical things I have in my life that I am grateful for. My family, my home, my bed, the fact that I have a husband who takes really good care of me, the fact we have food to eat. All these things I have and there are many people out there who would wish they had them. So why be grateful to God? Because it says in His word:

1 Chronicles 29:11 (King James Version (KJV)):
11 Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Everything I have has been given to me by Him, He owns it all, He created it all. Nothing I can do can earn anything from Him and it has nothing to do with who I am or what kind of a person I am. Its all down to His goodness and mercy. Why He chooses to give some things to some people and not to others I do not know. I cannot see into anyone elses heart or lives like He can so I don’t know what He has given others, none of us do. I try not to take things on face value (which isn’t easy) as we never actually know.

???????????????????????????????All I know is what He has done for me and given me and I find myself taking for granted these things. So I am thanking Him and giving Him the glory for my being alive, for having the people I do in my life and for my home, my bed, the food I have to eat, my cats, my clothes as I have not done anything to deserve any of it. Thank you Lord.

God Bless

Trials

It feels like it been a long time since I posted something here, and it actually wasn’t. Its just a lot has happened.

Things are continuing to improve and I am still getting out more, I have managed some walks into town alone (wow) and have been out shopping with family a couple of times too. I am still seeing more of my family, we had a lovely bonfire night celebration at my sisters new home.

We are still continuing to do home improvements and are starting our living room at the moment. The garden is all packed up and hubby has a couple of pumpkins that he is very excited about trying.

However I am not sure if that’s all that I should be focusing on anymore. It is so wonderful to share how the Lord has been helping me in practical ways and I do love to share (and still will!) but it’s what happens in my heart that is more important.

The past month I have been fighting tiredness, fatigue and confusion again, I am not very motivated and I have been feeling a little down as I haven’t been able to do as much as I was and I haven’t done much at all in the way of creativity, there are reasons for this that I am not ready to share just yet. But I do really want to battle this though and the only way to do so is by immersing myself in Gods word, worshiping Him and thanking Him for the blessings He gives me. That is why I have come here as doing things like this online helps to motivate me and encourages me to be a little more disciplined. I have to say though this is nothing compared to what I have been though before and some of the reasons I am going through this are good ones. I know this will pass and I just want to use it as an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus and I haven’t been doing that. I am hoping blogging about it will help me.

I ended up having to move my blog, it looks a little different now, I simplified it so I can just concentrate on getting through this down time and, hopefully I can share how knowing the Lords helps this. Just because I have become a Christian doesn’t mean that bad feelings go or illness or pain yes, He does take these things away for some people, but I don’t know of any instance where He takes it all away. I have a few theories why, but who am I to know or question this? However if you wish people to come to you because they want to know and love you, giving everyone what they want isn’t really going to achieve that. Plus, how do we grow and change if we don’t go through trials? How do we get stronger in Him, how do we learn to care about others if we don’t understand what it feels to hurt? And the wonderful thing about knowing the Lord is He carries out burdens when they are too great so we don’t burn out and we can come out stronger for it, leaning in His strength.

I know that if I have the right attitude about this I will come out with a stronger faith and a closer walk with Him. I have to admit my attitude hasn’t been great so far but everyday is a new day.

So, one thing is, I am going to start a gratitude journal again, I am ashamed to admit I have fallen into some old thought habits and have been a little self piteous. There are so many people suffering so much more than I ever have and have a better attitude than me and I have a great many things to be grateful for.  I shall share them here as I go along.

God bless

 

August

I am a little late with my overview of August. It has been a very busy time and so I am now very tired. However I am finding I am recovering so much quicker than I used to.

A few more milestones were reached in August though that I wanted to share…

This month I reached a huge milestone.. and that was I actually ate a meal out! I went to my in-laws for dinner, for the first time in 6 years and a week later I went to MacDonalds. I am actually not a fan of MacDonalds truth be told but it was the only place we could think of where I could try to sit down in a public place and eat where it would be quick and I could leave and not worry about leaving the food behind and wasting money. I haven’t eaten a meal out with husband since 2007. It was hard, I will admit. Even though I am slowly getting better, I really believe that, I am left with anxiety and agoraphobia. I am not surprised by this given how long I was isolated. But, with the Lords constant help I am getting out more. I really couldn’t do it without Him.

I have been spending some time at my sisters new house as she and her husband are refurbishing. It has been pretty amazing as it wasn’t that long ago my Mum moved and I couldn’t even go and visit her new house as I felt so unwell let alone help with the jobs of moving. They actually bought me the hatch to the loft to clean just because I felt so bad that I couldn’t help. And this past month I have been helping strip and prepare walls for painting, doing tip runs with hubby and generally trying to provide support to both my sister and her husband as it is a very stressful time.

We celebrated a birthday this month, my nephew turned 5! Usually I know we would say it went by quick but considering what has happened in that time and the fact that my life used to go by painstakingly slowly I have to admit I don’t feel that way ;) It is wonderful to be able to spend time with him on his birthday though, before I would spend a maximum of 20 minutes there and be so poorly afterwards it would take a long time to recover. I was there 3 hours and even played pass the parcel.

I am still continuing to go into shops and that is going from strength to strength I have been wallpaper shopping with my sister and I have done a couple of weekly shops with husband, which, to be honest I am still struggling to believe.

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 Our lovely new heart, above our bed, a pressie from Little sis and her hubby.

We decorated our bedroom, we have lived here for 7 years and never decorated our bedroom, for many years it was left in darkness for somewhere for me to go when my symptoms became unbearable. Now as I sit here typing the curtains are open, the windows are open and it is clean and looking nice again.

I have still been doing a little exercise and have actually been out a couple of times for a jog! I never even did that when I was well! Starting off very small but even small was too big for me at one time.

I am still working hard to get my uni work done and a few more jobs in the garden have happened. Plus I am trying to do more around the house and lift husbands burdens he has been carrying for so many years. I am finding I am having to stop for periods at a time as I am getting very tired. I am still sleeping a fair amount during the day especially the mornings. It is a long process but one I feel more and more confident about each day.

Doing normals things is such a wonderful privilege denied to so many, I am finding that being able to do things such as house work, paint a room, go for a walk, go shopping, all things that used to seem like such chores and like there were better things to do now are such a wonderful things to me. Everything I do I do for the Lord. He sustains me, He renews me, He builds me up and He comforts me. When I get tired I know I can spend time in His word and talk to Him and He will guide my steps and reveal Himself to me He will speak to me and answer my prayers, relive my worries, and comfort my soul.

I look back to that day when I called out to Him, I was the lowest I had ever been, I felt I had no one to turn to, no one to help me out of the constant anxiety, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, pain, every muscle in my body was so tense and I had forgotten how to relax. Everything moved constantly and had for so long I didn’t know what it felt like to feel normal, to have normal feelings that weren’t extreme and unpleasant. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to relax. But now as I look back I am struggling to remember how it felt to be that unwell. All I remember is that, when I finally turned to Him I was helped though it by my wonderful savior. How he sits with me when I am scared, how He comes to me when I need Him. And how even though I came to him with selfish intent, wanting to be healed He still saved me and took me a better way, a way that brought me to know Him, an understanding of who He is and that all He wants is me to love Him, nothing more. He could’ve have just healed me then and there, I know he could but instead He has strengthened me, He has taken me down difficult paths and with His help He has taught me what it means to be a follower of Him and I am so glad He did this. By revealing Himself to me He has revealed myself to me also, I learned who I was and I didn’t like it.

I reached out my hand

 

Everyone has problems in this life, no one is exempt from pain, grief or worries. It is only by leaning in Him we come to realise that He is the only way to get though these times. And that His only priority is that we have a relationship with Him, forever. So He will use those times to teach us to trust in Him and His strength, He will use our pain to heal us and to change us. And, ultimately we realise it is not, nor ever was about us, its about Him. It was or never is about what He can do for us, but about what He has already done. That is when we come to a place of true healing. He didn’t have to create us, He didn’t have to give us this life, He didn’t have to come down and sacrifice His own life to get us out of the mess we had got ourselves into. He choose to do these things because of who HE is, not of who we are. Forgiveness is there we just need to accept it and receive the true healing of the soul.

Garden

I was going to post this last week but it ended up being quite a busy week as I was helping my sister with her new home doing a few jobs, tip runs with hubby etc as there is a lot of work to be done.

I was glad for the distraction as our pet bearded dragon died early last week and I was surprised to discover how used I was to having him in my living room, we got him not long after we moved here so it felt very strange for a while after he was gone. I also didn’t realise how much I talked to him! (I am not afraid to admit I talk to my pets ;)) not being able to get out meant he was company for me for a long time. Plus I had to face the fact that I couldn’t just leave the house to take my mind of it until hubby was home, I had to face it full on, this was a tough lesson I have to admit.

Anyway. What I wanted to talk about was my garden. Last year I shared how I wanted to grow a few things in pots to get me out a bit and hubby was very happy about this so he bought me a little potting bench for my birthday last year. Well I enjoyed it so much and the weather this winter was so mild that we decided to do some actual work in the garden as it had been neglected for so long. Hubby tried his best to keep the lawns down but holding a job, a business and then studying as well as taking care of me and the house meant the garden wasn’t a priority. But things are different now.

During the work

Hubby did all the big work, he chopped down the back hedge and took out a few trees at the bottom of the garden and we discovered our garden was a fair bit bigger than we thought! He built a raised bed there and we planted onions and potatoes. We bought him a little greenhouse as he wanted to grow tomatoes and they took off that much that we had to by another one just for them! He also seeded some pumpkins in there which have now been planted in the garden, also in his greenhouse he has grown some cucumbers, chillies, peppers and melons.  Plus I still wanted to grow some carrots in my pots again. Also just after my operation a neighbor came over with some peas and bean plants for us so we planted them also. How blessed are we?

How it looks at the moment, except that the onions are now strung and the potatoes are out, plus the trees have been moved as we need to cut the hedge again.

It has been a huge learning curve for us, some things have worked, others not so much, we are both really enjoying doing it together though and walking around the garden together with a cuppa discussing what needs doing next. I have missed doing things with him so much, I think that’s been the biggest blessing.

One of the casualties was a melon and a couple of pumpkins, the one on the bottom right is still going strong though.

God willing, next year we would like to do more work and grow more food, I would dearly love to get him a proper greenhouse if funds allow. I don’t think we will do as many things next year, this year was more about learning, seeing what we enjoy growing and what works and what doesn’t. And we have learned a lot. Though I do wish I had kept a journal on it so I think I might try and do that next year.

Some of the produce we have had from our garden

We definitely prefer growing food to anything else, even though I like flowers I like to have a ‘working’ garden. If that makes sense. Hubby has a couple of trees in pots so hopefully we will have some fruit as well. Though when we go on our drives we like to keep an eye out for apple trees and damsons etc. I will share about that in another post though.

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Almost forgot our peas! Didn’t get many but we have learned a few things if we do them next year.

Like I said there is more work to be done, I really want to get our little outhouse painted and more trees need removing but I am so pleased with the work we have done this year. It feels grand to have a project to do when last year I couldn’t spend more than ten minutes in the garden without feeling faint. I still do feel unwell but my stamina is definitely improving.

I thank the Lord for His provision and I thank Him for strengthening me more and more so I can do these things and get such pleasure from working on His creation. And enjoy spending time with hubby again, time is so very precious with our loved ones and I hope I never take him for granted ever again. I have to say being ill is very hard, especially when it was really bad but it has made me very grateful to be able to do some things again I used to take for granted.

God bless

Family

I shared a few posts ago now that I have been spending more time with my family. After my breakdown in 2010 I cut myself off from my family, I did see them but it wasn’t often. Whenever there was an organised event or birthday, I would get very anxious as being around people made me feel so unwell, the stimulus was too much. I found it hard to see and talk to anyone even my husband who had to come in from work so quietly as he knew that just that change would make me feel poorly. This depressed me deeply, I remember one family member going into hospital and I couldnt do anything to help, we nearly lost him and all I could do was sit in my living room waiting to hear any news. I felt like I had let everyone down and they were better off not being burdened by me.

When my mental health went downhill again in 2013 I reached out to my family, my Mum started to visit me on a Wednesday afternoon and chat to me via google hangouts as well. I became afraid to be alone and my family stepped up visiting me and checking in on me. I can’t actually list the amount of times I see and talk to my family now as it is so often. In the beginning of this year I even had my younger sister and her husband over for dinner and my older sister and her family. Seeing her boys is such a joy, I was so worried I would miss out on them growing up. The relationship with my Mum has grown so much in The Lord, when I was born again it was like I saw her for the first time, as I now understand that Jesus is with her.

About a month ago I went to see my 4 yr old nephew at his gymnastics class, it was a amazing. I had such an wonderful day, I went charity shopping with my sister and we spent the afternoon and evening laughing like old times.

A couple of months ago we had a surprise tea party for my Mum and we have had one each month since, yesterday it was at my older sisters and we had my 3 year old nephew as a guest, he got a grown up plate with cake which pleased him greatly and me and his Mama had fun blowing bubbles outside while he showed us how you catch them.

As I look back I now I realise how I allowed my illness to ruin so many relationships, I became bitter, jealous and resentful. I believed that everyone was thinking I was weak and pathetic and not trying hard enough. I thought everyone thought I was lying and making out my illness was worse than it was. It effected every relationship I had, especially my marriage.

Now things are very different. When I see my family and my husband I see what the Lord sees. I look forward to spending time with them. His love is so vast and He wants us all to love each other how He loves us. But first we have to know Him as on our own that is impossible. His love is pure and immeasurable. When we try to fit it into our own understanding we can’t understand it as its from a small and human perspective which is why we need to know Him. I mean really know Him, giving your life to Him, walking with Him daily. Turning our hearts to Him and putting Him first in everything. Going to Church each week and thinking that makes you a good person without giving your heart and life to Jesus doesn’t produce that love.

I want to share something… When I was a little girl I looked forward each week to seeing my Mama and Papa. Eveyone I knew that met them always said they felt drawn to them that there was something about them. And I felt it too, when I was with them I felt so comfortable they didnt make me feel silly for anything I said or did, they were so gentle, so gracious and kind and you knew it was real. My Papa had such a gentle and kind voice and when he talked everyone was quiet. He was very wise and I never saw him rise to provocation, he met hostility with grace and kindness. The same was for my Mama who had a beautiful singing voice that always quietened the room, they loved each other so deeply that you saw it every time they looked at one another. She would play the piano for us each week and we would all sing together. I loved them very much. When I was ill I used to console myself by reminding myself that they loved me, these kind and wonderful people loved me… I didn’t understand it because I knew next to them I was not a good person.

When I gave my life to Jesus and started to get to know Him I realised something. The love I felt wasnt just my grandparents. It was Jesus. He loved me and had done from the day I was conceived. He was gently calling me to Him. All those years ago. Next to Him I am not just a not good person for he is perfect but He loves me. And He loves my family He wants me to enjoy being with them and show them His Love. Through me He wants to show his grace and His love for everyone. I pray I can be as open and receptive to that as my Mama and Papa. I am very far from that right now. I hope that through me the Lord can reach other people who felt like I did, lost, afraid, alone and scared and so He can say to them, its ok, I love you. Come home.

This Journal page was inspired by a video I saw of my Mum and the home league group she attends at the salvation army, I felt truly blessed by it :) My Mum is the one on the far right.

 

God Bless x

Wherever you lead…

I said in my last post that I had a period of feeling a little dejected after trying something that made me feel unwell, I took a bus to my sisters and back but it was a shock to my system and I didn’t try a little ride first to see what it is like. It had been many years since I had traveled on a bus and I wasn’t prepared to feel that dizzy on it. Before I asked the Lord into my life this would’ve set me right back as I found it so hard to bounce back after years of trying to do it alone.

I have had more than what is ‘normal’ dizzy spells for most of my life. I would ignore them and not say anything but as I got older it just got worse. Eventually after nearly 2 years of going to the doctors asking for help as the spells were getting more frequent and lasting longer the dizziness came back and never went. I tried to keep going back to work, I would take a taxi so I didn’t have to get on the bus but hubby would always end up fetching me as I would be stumbling over and becoming stressed as I couldn’t see properly or do my job. I wouldn’t understand what the customers wanted and all the noise and the lights just made things worse. My colleagues would try to help but eventually they would just end up calling my husband to come and get me. The last day I had at work I broke down in the office as I was so tired of fighting, my colleague, who was a Christian, prayed over me and I left and never went back. I hope one day I can see her and tell her her prayer was answered.

After that I tried to keep going out and carry on as normal, I would go to the local shops and I would get the bus to my Mums, I even went out to the pub a few times to see my brother in law perform despite the noise being so hard to deal with. I tried to fight it no matter how unbearable it got but after 3 years of going to the hospital and trying to keep going I ended up bedridden for a few weeks over Christmas. Once again though I picked myself up and tried to fight, that was really hard as I got to the point were I was afraid to come down the stairs for fear of falling. However I kept getting up even though everything was constantly moving and that year I even went to my sisters wedding and danced for 1 song. That year as well (2009) I had to have paramedics come out a couple of times just to give me a high dose of sickness medication so I could get out of bed. My hubby and my Mum would help me, that was embarrassing for a 28 year old but there was no other choice. (Though out all of this my husband has been an amazing support)

I still kept fighting, believing the GP who went against the specialists advice and took me off my medication as he believed it was depression. But it kept getting worse. I was eventually sent for CBT therapy and ended up having a breakdown. (end of 2010) After that everything stopped and I became sofa bound, I stopped going into town, I stopped going to the seaside and on long rides in the car and I stopped seeing my family and friends.

I decided that I wasn’t going to see another doctor, that I was going to do it alone, I was going to exercise and eat right and make myself well. And I did those things, I lost 2 and a half stone and even though I would exercise  and then go upstairs and collapse in the bathroom, everything spinning and the head pressure getting unbearable, clinging on to the shower curtain and the bath but I kept doing it.  I did this for nearly 2 years, but it kept getting worse. I lost weight and I felt better in myself because of the exercise but I was still dizzy and the head pressure kept getting worse my vision started to go weird and I kept falling to one side. I became tired and struggled to keep up with the exercise and eventually it stopped. I blamed all sorts for it saying it was the (online) work I was doing at the time but ultimately it was because my body could not cope with everything I was forcing it to do. Which wasn’t that much as I look back now, as everything I did apart from the exercise I did in the sofa unable to move much. Plus hubby took me out in the car for a little drive most days to help me get out.

I decided it was time to take some tests, I had a belief that my hormones were playing a part in this so I got private tests and found out I was right, I found out my T3 (thyroid hormone) levels were so low they were at the levels expected for patients in intensive care. I panicked, I knew I had to see a doctor but I was scared because of how I had been treated so my mental health took another nose dive and this time I really couldn’t fight any more. it was gone and I started to feel suicidal. I really didn’t know where else to turn.

Out of sheer desperation I prayed, I called out to God and I got an answer. And things finally started to get better. Now I don’t have to fight and a year after coming to Christ I found myself in a hospital bed having had surgery feeling so calm and so loved despite feeling so unwell.

Now when I fall he catches me and He renews my spirit. When things become too much I run to him and He helps me. With His help I went back to the doctors. I am still far from well but when I go too far like I discussed in the last post I turn to Him and He comforts me.

When the bus incident happened in July I was tempted to fall into my old thought patterns I was tempted to forget that things are different now and He is here. But He reminded me, He called to me and I gave it all to Him. One night I just listed everything that was worrying me, everything that was on my mind and left it in His hands. And I felt at peace. I don’t need to do anything, I don’t need to fight to push or force my body to do anything it can’t do because He will do it, all of it. He helps my mind, my body and my spirit. He helps in practical ways, I have found that every doctor I saw before got ruder and ruder and refused to help, after, I can’t begin to tell you how much kindness and help I have had and when they are hindered from helping because of the system The Lord has provided in other ways. He helps our spirits, by his word and by talking with Him. He comforts our spirit and calms our minds. He is in everything and He is a very present help in trouble.

Thank You Lord.

This week my dizzyness has flared up and yesterday I sat down to paint some fabric for uni and I had a vertigo attack. Once again I panicked thinking that it was all coming back, that I was going to end up so ill I couldn’t move again. But last night I listened to this message from my church and I remembered that things are different now so I talked to Jesus and fell asleep.

So many wonderful things have happened since I came to my Lord, things I didn’t precipitate, all I have done is just turn up and turn to Him. Step out the door, go to the GP and let Him lead it all. He doesn’t promise His way is an easy path, if fact He states the opposite, but I can tell you, it is worth it. Because I no longer have to fight and wear myself out, I just have to turn up and ask Jesus where I need to be.

This has been along post, thank you for reading I pray that whoever reads this feels the peace I am talking about, a peace that surpasses all understanding. If not, then give to Him, turn to Him, He is waiting.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light

Matthew 11:28-30

God Bless x

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