Some Updates

Just a quick update.  I’ve been pretty grateful this past week as I have continued with my treatment.  I finished the partial hospitalization program on Friday.  This week I just have therapy and a doctors appt. I’m on the road to healing and I could not be more grateful for that. The struggle is very real though and I still appreciate prayers.  Another excitement that happened this week is that I reached my First goal of $3,000 in fundraising.  I still have $5,500 to go, but I know God has provided so far and will continue to provide.  Remember to visit my Fundraising Page located at the top of this blog to learn how to best donate.

Another thing I wanted to bring up is that I changed my blog name.  It used to be “Journey to Mission School” now it’s “Mission School, Depression, & Grace”.  I have realized my blog has evolved since I have first started it.  I made it initially with the sole intent to blog about the Mission School and support my fundraising efforts.  As that will still be the main focus of my blog, I also wanted to include my battle with depression in there.  I realize a lot of my friends and family want to stay updated on how I am doing in that area of my life as well.  This way I don’t have to relate every post to the mission school in some way.  Although, I’m sure a majority of my posts will have to do with the school as that will be the main focus in my life.

With that said, the Mission School is coming up fast.  Just a couple more weeks to get my stuff together before we move in.  We have an open house this Thursday to check out where we are going to live.  I’m getting incredibly excited.  My heart kind of flutters every time I think about it.  Our first couple day we will be going on a camping trip.  I think this is such a great way for all of the students to get to know each other. It will also be a great opportunity to get away and truly begin our immersion into God’s word.  I’ve learned you can experience a whole different side of God out in nature. Keep me and the rest of the students in your prayers as we prepare for this next chapter in our lives.

God is moving.  Everywhere I see him.  Daily I need him.  Daily I need grace.  I’m humbled to be a part of such an extraordinary plan. Even if I’m just a little piece of God’s plan, I’m still a piece.  If the puzzle was missing a piece, it’s just not the same.  I guess what I really want to say is I’m glad I’m still alive and able serve God.  I’m glad I’m still alive to carry out God’s plan in my life.  I’m glad God saved my life multiple time when I’ve tried to end it.  He’s not finished with me yet.  I’m glad I won’t be known as the girl who killed herself and I hope instead to be know as a girl who loved the Lord and did everything she could to help others experience that same love.  Yes, I’m happy to be alive.  Praise the Lord.

I’m excited to be able to share these thoughts and experiences with people that love me.  

Stay encouraged my friends.

 

 

 

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Questions

Some questions I have been asked a lot post hospitalization is “Are you still doing the mission school, now?” or “Are you well enough to do the school at all?” Let me answer both if those questions with one simple word, Yes.

One thing that has plagued me during this whole process is people’s misconception about depression. People seem to correlate being depressed with not having enough faith. Let me nip that in the bud right here. I am depressed and I still have faith! Jesus is now and forever will be my rock, my salvation, my comfort, my healer, etc. Yes, I added healer. Like I have said before, I fully believe God can and will heal me, but that doesn’t me I’m going to ignore the blessing of medication and therapy that God has given me. Even though I’m depressed, even though I have attempted suicide, even though I have hurt myself because of this hurt in my heart, I still believe in Christ and he still loves me. I also believe he has been here with me through it all. He’s holding on to me. He loves me. I love him.

With that said, the mission school is still a go. I am so passionate about this new chapter in my life that is about that is about to begin in less than a month. I’m passionate about others and that’s exactly what this school is about, serving others. If anything, I think it will be good to take my mind and focus on something other than myself for awhile. I know God will use me through my depression to help relate to others better than I would be able to had I not gone through this. I’m so in love with the idea that God is here with me in all this and that God has a plan for my life.

All I want to do with my life is serve The Lord. My depression has not and never will change this. If anything, it makes me want to serve him even more. I want to help people who are hurting and give them the same hope of Christ that I have. How awesome is it that I can do that!? God is awesome. Awesome.

Let me end with this, my God is a gracious God who draws near to the broken hearted. He can also use the broken hearted to do BIG things.

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

As the big start date approaches, I’m getting more and more nervous.  I also realize how much I need to trust God as I still have a lot of money to raise and a lot of questions left unanswered.  Trusting God is something that is a simple concept, yet so hard to do.  I hear people often say, “Oh, just put your trust in God.” When I hear that, I think to myself JUST trust him!?!?!? Why is trusting the creator of the Universe so hard to do?  He has only proven himself to be loving and just.  He has proven that he has our best interests in mind.  So why should we hold back parts of our lives that should be his?

Marriam-Webster defines trust as: a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.  Now, I go through that list and I’m certain God fits all of those qualities, even the mystery filled “etc.” I think the hard part of trust, however, is not being in control.

I hate not being in control.  I can’t be the only one.  When we lose control of a situation, isn’t the only thing LEFT to do is trust in God?  Maybe us losing control of certain situations is just God nudging us and gently saying “Trust me.”  Do we?  I know I don’t.  No, even with situations far from my control, I still tend to hold on to a situation by worrying about it.  Oh, how the worry consumes my already worry filled mind.  That brings me back to trust, because isn’t worry just a lack of trust?  

God clearly says he wants us to trust him, that he is in control, and that we should not worry.  Yet, we so often forget these things when situations arise that we are passionate about.  That passion quickly can turn sour when we don’t give aspects of the situation to God.  From things as small as driving to things as large as performing a triple bypass surgery, so much is out of our control. We need to trust God that he is going to do His will in the situation.

With that said, this Mission School thing is coming up faster than I expected.  I have plenty of things I need to be trusting God with.  First of all, finances are a big thing I need to trust him with.  Yes, I do have to put in the work to fundraise, but ultimately whether I get the money or not is God’s decision and I have to TRUST that it is His will.  Second, there are tons of questions that are left unanswered that I need to trust Him with.  Stuff as small as, “Will we need furniture?” to things as big as, “Will I be able to do the school and go to intensive therapy for my illness?”   Things like this are completely out of my hands, yet I still worry.  That habit needs to stop.  There is nothing more satisfying than laying your burdens at Jesus feet and saying, “Your will be done.” 

I’m free. I no longer am burdened with worry.  Christ is holding onto me and this Mission School.  He knows exactly what lies ahead and knows how I will best serve him.  How exciting is that?  I know I’m excited for the future not worried about it.  Are you? 

I Want to Live

I want to live.  That’s right, I said it.  I want to live.  Man am I happy to be back.  Once again, I was hospitalized this past week and I made this life changing decision.  My Doctor asked me “Well, tell me, do you want to live or do you want to die?”  As silly as that question sounds, its actually been the question I struggle with everyday.  This week I finally made the decision.  I want to live.  Man, I can’t say it enough. I want to live. 

I want to live for Christ. HELLO? He’s the reason I’m alive in the first place!!  I wouldn’t be here without him.  Seriously, if he didn’t want me here he wouldn’t of put me here in the first place.  No, today I stand (or sit at my computer rather) before you today alive and filled with Christ’s love, grace, and forgiveness.  He has a purpose for me and I fully intend to fulfil that purpose (with his help of course).

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139: 13-16

I want to live for my family.  They love me.  They are here for me.  They would not be better off without me. I’m so blessed to have them.

I want to live for my friends.  They love me.  They are here for me.  They would not be better off without me. (Sound familiar?)

I want to live for the people I have yet to meet.  Can you imagine how God could use me, little ole’ me to change someones life someday? 

I want to live for me.  

I’m not going to lie, this has nothing to do with the Mission School.  I just wanted you all to know the decision I have made so you all can hold me accountable to this.  Remind me.  Tell me.  Ask me. I want to live.  Thanks for being here for me.  You have no idea how much you all mean to me.  I have been overwhelmed with love since my last blog post.  I could not be more blessed.  Thanks again.  I simply leave you with this quote..

“I don’t just want to survive, I want to live.”

 

Fighting the good Fight

As mentioned in my last blog post, I do struggle with depression.  For the past 19 days I have been hospitalized with this life changing illness.  I have thought long and hard about whether I should share this part of my story with the world and I think it is time.  I’m not sharing it to gain sympathy (but prayers would be appreciated). I’m also not sharing it because I think the world needs to know.  I am sharing it because I believe the way to end the stigma of mental illness is to talk about it.  I also firmly believe that this is such a huge part of who I am and a huge part of my journey here.

Depression and Anxiety is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy.  It’s a self defeating illness.  When you get sucked into the pit of hopelessness and despair, the mind tricks you into thinking there is no way out.  This in turn leads to more hopelessness and despair. It is a never ending cycle. Depression can be situational, biological, or a combination of both.  I believe everyone in their lifetime will experience moments of depression.  The key word there is moments. People who struggle with biological depression stay in that moment for a very long time. This is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  That means depression is just as physical of an illness as say cancer.  People struggling with this illness fall into the pit and no matter how hard they try climbing the pit just grows deeper.  Imagine the pain you experience when you first find out you lose a loved. Now imagine being stuck in that pain forever. It surrounds you until you can hardly take another breath without being in pain.  This pain is not just mental pain either.  It’s also very physical.  Depression makes it hard to eat, sleep, wake up, and just about do anything in life.

With that being said, my struggle with depression began in high school.  It went undiagnosed, however, up until last year.  I’ve been fighting this thing called my mind with every ounce of my being.  The worst part is that I so often want to give up the fight.  I’m sick of fighting with myself everyday.  Imagine it this way,The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

Now with that being said, I hope you understand I’m not trying to scare you all.  I just want you to know the reality of what we are dealing with here. I am fighting and I will win, but it’s a disease and like every disease it is treated with medication and rehab (or in this case therapy).  This isn’t to say I don’t believe God could take away my depression.  I certainly believe God can do all things. Yet, I also don’t want to ignore the gift of technology and medication that God has provided us with simply to put him to the test.  To say depression is just a lack of spirituality is just silly.  It’s just like saying the same thing about diabetes or cancer.  How many diabetics would stop taking their insulin to say the Lord would cure them?  That would be putting God to the test which is clearly unbiblical.  No, instead the diabetic uses the insulin God has provided him and trusts that if God wants to heal him, he will.

My God is a God of healing and I FULLY believe God will deliver me from this pain I struggle with everyday.  Whether that be via medication, therapy, or a miracle, I will be delivered.  Sometimes you have to bear with me though, because I am so sick of the pain.  I appreciate all those who have been by my side through all this.

As far as my mission school goes, I am still going for it.  Not only am I going for it, but I am going for it arms up and fighting.  I’m fighting for my life.  Everyday I’m struggling to survive this life threatening disease.  I will win, however, because I know God has a purpose for me.  He wants me to attend this Mission School and serve him and thats exactly what I plan on doing.  I plan on being a fighter, I plan on trusting God to work through this, and I plan on having a bright future.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions PLEASE do not hesitate to ask. I also provided a few quotes on the bottom that I think do a better job describing depression than I do so go ahead and read them if you are curious and would like to know more.

 

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel

 

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
Stephen Fry

 

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
Sally Brampton

 

Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 55: 2,4,5 My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. 
Fear and trembling have beset me:  horror has overwhelmed me. 

My Journey here. My Testimony.

So far, I have written a lot about what this summer will be like as I approach this Fall and start my Mission School journey.  I think it’s time to share a little, however, about how I got to this point in my life.  It’s time I share a little about how I came to know Christ in the first place and what inspired my passion for him and his people.

I grew up in an extremely loving, Christian home. I feel very blessed to have grown up in a place where I heard God’s word daily and was shown who he was.  My parents were and are great examples for me in the faith.  When I was younger, I attended a Christian elementary and middle school.  I learned about God’s word daily.  The problem was my heart.  As I grew older, the bible became more like homework to me than reality.  I knew the facts but I never had the relationship with him.  That’s why when I entered high school I struggled so much.

In high school I was hit from every side.  Having a firm knowledge of the bible I knew what was right and wrong, but I fell into temptation because I didn’t know the creator. I had low self esteem and just wanted people to like me. That’s why I rebelled a little bit in high school.  I hung out with the wrong crowd and did a lot of things I today regret. I still went to the church I grew up in, but  I really didn’t understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ at this point in my life.  I didn’t abandon the faith completely as I still had a moral compass about me and I still had my wonderful family members to be an example to me, but something was missing.

When I got to college, my first week as a freshman shook me to the core.  It was a new place, in a new environment, with new people.  I hated everything about it.  I felt alone.  I was alone.  That’s when my RA told me about a group on campus called His House.  I knew it was a Christian group so I thought I’d give it a try.  That’s when God took hold of me and shook my beliefs to the core.  He not only gave me great friends and a community at school, he also showed me who he was and what grace TRULY meant. I met people who were living examples of Jesus Christ.  They showed me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.  They lived out what they believed and I wanted what they had. I continued to learn about God and grow in my faith. Two years later, I was baptized in Lake Michigan and Christ claimed me to be his own. He proclaimed a relationship with me that I had long ago left sitting on the sidelines in my life.  Christ claimed ME to be his child not because of anything I did, but because of what HE did for me on the cross. He signed the adoption papers. He made me his beloved child.  He claimed me as his Bride.

“I am my Beloveds and he is mine” Song of Songs 6:3

This is the time in my life when I was on fire for Christ. I was so joyful about what he did for me, I could do nothing else but tell others about him.  God never promised life would be easy as his follower, however.

Last year, I started feeling lonely.  I think a lot of the stuff I had done in High School started catching up with me.  I felt a lot of regret and a lot of guilt.  I started to become depressed.  This began the current season of my life. A season of Depression and Mental Illness. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about this as I am still struggling through it and don’t want it made public. (If you would like to hear more about this side of my story, feel free to ask me in private.  I’m not ashamed of it and would love to help anyone else in need)  There is one thing I think is relevant to the Mission School however that i want to share.

As I have struggled with depression, I have developed a deeper understanding of the human condition.  I understand a level of pain most people can’t even comprehend.  I believe God has blessed me with this knowledge so that I can help others in their pain. My heart breaks for those who are broken.  This gives me purpose.  It gives me hope.  Through Christ, I have a purpose, I have worth.  I want to share this hope with others even more now, because honestly, I wouldn’t be alive without it.

God placed the call to mission school in my life right when I needed it most.  I had no idea where I was going in school and in life.  This reminded me I have a greater purpose. Now, going through this journey, I’ll be able to use the gifts God has blessed me with to share the joy he has given me and tell people about the richness of his grace.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little of my testimony. I pray you now understand a little bit more about why I’m so passionate about this. 🙂  Love you all.

“Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19

 

 

 

Meaningless, Meaningless..

So if you used your detective skills, you could probably figure out which book of the Bible I’m going to reference in this post. Got it?  That’s right! It’s Ecclesiastes.  If you have never read the book before, you should. It’s one of my favorite books. It is assumed that the book is written by Solomon, who was the wisest and richest man living during that time period.  Throughout the book he talks about how he has gained all of these things throughout his life and it has all amounted to nothing.  He gained the whole world and still wanted more. Everything was.. well.. you guessed it, meaningless.

I bring this up because we are studying Ecclesiastes at my church currently.  I have already gained so much though our study of it.  One thing in particular hit me hard today during the sermon that I was able to relate to my upcoming journey to mission school.  The statement Pastor Rod made today was this, “Are you living life for God, or for yourself?  If you are living without God, everything in your life is meaningless.”  There is so much truth in that Statement.

First of all, I know I need to live my life for God. Everyday. Period.  I am nothing without him, therefore, I should worship him with my life.  Second, I must not do anything from a selfish motive.  This is hard to do, but that is why we must daily repent and be born again though him.  Lastly, we must find the meaning in our life through him.  God blessed us with this world, so we should love what he created and worship him for it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

Ecclesiastes 1:1

How does this relate to my Mission School you may wonder.  Well, honestly, it relates to every aspect of it.  This is a new time in my life where I am going to have to stop living for myself and start living for him and for others. Up until this point, I have been thinking of all the great things that will happen for me once I start this mission school and how it will change my life.  That is meaningless!  It’s not about me.  I shouldn’t be focusing on how much my life will change, but how much God can change others lives through me! I’m excited to be Gods tool as I live here on this earth.  What an awesome opportunity.  That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate my life being changed, because that too is a blessing from God.  I just have to make sure God and his work stays my main focus.

God and serving others is what this  Mission School is about.  Actually, it’s what this LIFE is about. God gives our life meaning.  Anything without him is meaningless.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

Ecclesiastes 3: 11-14