Tuesday, April 28, 2015

God has restored my...[Giggle]

For those who know me since forever, I giggle it's like a known part of who I am. 15 years ago I lost that. I lost my ray of sunshine. And I didn't even notice it.
Thank god I found it again it's only been back 4 years and I am so grateful to have the ability to find joy in every situation given to me- I do search in odd ways only I get- but still I can giggle. Again. Finally. What ever you are going through don't lose who you are, not your joy, it's so hard to recover it. And thanks again for answered prayers I don't have to fight anymore. I can giggle."
For 15+ years, like me, my friend Tara has struggled with life:  depression, anxiety, sadness, inability just to enjoy life and especially friends.  Socializing, for me, has been next to impossible.  It's very difficult being around people and pretending to feel fine when in reality, I'm screaming and wanting to do nothing more than curl into a ball and die.  Pretending to be fine is a LOT of work.  It's very exhausting.

But Tara said that in recent months, maybe for a few years, she's been able to giggle again--for real--from deep inside her soul--without pretending.  A real, true, honest-to-goodness, heartfelt Giggle that says to me, "Life is good.  God is good.  I am good.  I am even happy--experiencing the true Joy of the Lord."

Tara said exactly what I have been feeling lately.  While her testament to Life/Joy/Laughter returning has been finding her Giggle again, mine has been finding not only a desire to be social again (to go to parties, friends' homes, social events, etc.), but to truly ENJOY being SOCIAL again.

Pretending was just too difficult--to hard--too exhausting--too painful.  But God's healing power is evident because I want to do things again.  I actually have FUN again in BEING in social situations.  No more anxiety!  No more shyness!  No more pretending!  Wow.  It's ONLY through God that this is possible, my friends.  The pain runs deep.  The anxiety has been--was--real.  Debilitating.  The despair made me consider ending it all.  Yes, suicide was a very real possibility.  My marriage was all but destroyed.

God's miraculous power is evident in Tara being able to Giggle again.

God's miraculous power is evident in my being able to be around people again.

God's miraculous healing power is evident in both Tara and I because we are finally able to LIVE in and through Christ again!!!

Praise the Lord!!!!  Hallelujah!!!!  Thank You, Lord!!!!

I'd much rather be LIVING in Christ than wallowing in the despair and misery of the past 16+ years.  The pit of despair is a debilitating place to be.  Living life through and in Christ is FREEING!!!

"My chains are GONE!  I'VE BEEN SET FREE!!!"

Wow.  That song has new meaning for me...

Thank You, Lord, for setting me free--for freeing Tara.  May we never be locked in those terrible destructive chains again.  May we continue to grow--to live--to find Joy in You.  Continue, Lord, please, to pour out Your anointing oil of Joy on me more than on anyone else.  Thank You, Lord.  Thank You.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

He is my Bridge-Builder!

In Sunday School, we are doing Ann Voskamp's Bible Study One Thousand Gifts based on her book by the same name.  I highly recommend it.  In Lesson 4, she brings up how God is our bridge-builder and we demonstrate our trust in Him as we place our planks and walk across the bridge.  It's a beautiful image that I, surprisingly, have never understood before.  I have hard the song that goes "Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay me down" and loved the song.  I have heard about bridges over the years in religious terms, but until doing this particular lesson, I have never understood the symbolism of the bridge so clearly.

In the study, the question is asked:  "What is the connection between trust and joy?  How can trust in God become a bridge to lasting and growing joy in our lives?"  As we were talking about this connection between trust and joy, I had this image of someone getting to the other side of a broken bridge and jumping for joy because she made it.  So as we take each tenuous step across the bridge He has built, we are "laying our planks of trust" (as Ann refers to it) that He will get us to the other side.  So once we are on the other side, we have experienced His strength and power and we feel true Joy in Him for getting us to the other side!!!!

So even taking a step is an act of faith, trusting in Him to have built the bridge to carry us brings us great joy!

Isn't that an awesome thought?!

It also reminded me of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indiana has to take the step of faith out onto the bridge he can't see--until he actually takes the first step.  Even when we can't see the bridge--the planks of the bridge, God has laid them and He is there, ready for us to take the first step of faith--and trust in Him.

So the question I have for you is this:  Are you trusting in the bridge-builder and taking even the first step to get to the other side--the other side where His pure JOY awaits?  I'm sure looking up more to Him rather than down in fear and wondering if the next plank will be there.....!