Starting Place

i didn’t know this

was my starting place

until You ended my suffering.

 

This yanking war of soul and flesh

Soothed to peace by Your sacrifice.

 

I became a fledgling paragraph developing purpose

in the womb of just one word

 

hope

Dressing in Delight: Changing our Outlook on Life

Numbers 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 

Playing dress up was not on my agenda yesterday. I have been battling a cold that is moving in and picking out curtains. To say I was miserable yesterday is an understatement . . . I was even second guessing going out on the planned date with my husband.

But, grandparents arrived to watch the kids and I prepared to leave, such as I am. . . enter Natalie. “Can I pick out your dress?” Dress . . . I was doing well to get out of the house in jeans and a nicer shirt. But, sigh, who can resist a pretty little redhead with big brown eyes who just got to be her daddy’s princess at the Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it is.

 

Ready to Dance
Dancing the night away!

A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up. I laughed and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the wardrobe fairy. He was transformed into dress pants, my favorite of his blue shirts and a tie put it all together. We even took a picture, just as she and he did for their dance. All because a little girl expected elegance for our date.

There is something about putting on a different attitude in the circumstances we are in that can help change the course and pattern of our lives.  When we put on grace, forgiveness, or gratitude that can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and unforgiveness. It doesn’t just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts and pull them back up out of the pit. Sometimes we need someone to come in and say, ‘You aren’t going out dressed like that!’

Story Telling
Keep those smiles looking good.

 

Make a date this week and then dress, not based on feelings, but on the event planned for.

Some suggestions that perk me up:

  • A hike in the woods
  • Out with your spouse
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
  • A local band
  • Photography
  • Art class
  • Surprise me

I would love to hear how your date went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find your countenance improved?

Seeing Through the Pain: Message of Hope

Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 

Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she was at my window a year ago, her strange behavior the same. She is more interested in what is going on inside our house than anything outside. She sits, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she lands on the sill to get a closer look. Neither the barking dog, nor the kids frighten her away.

She is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me! I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and many layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I can forget He loves me, when the mess of the years problems seem insurmountable. Having her suddenly appear as I walked into the office took my breath away. God knew I needed to be reminded of hope. He knew that I was struggling in my exhaustion to even look for his many provisions for my family. So he made his promise clear through my little feathered example.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good, because all you see and feel is bad? Frantically scrambling to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be that little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind you that God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers!

 

Love,

Karisa

Suicide and Pain: The Silent Epidemic

Chronic pain is one of the most difficult aspects to overcome in depression. It is constantly with us. No sunny disposition can make it go away, I think it’s important to note Gretchen’s story.

I also have a high tolerance for pain and do not follow through in management. But, I am beginning to see the importance of better management in addressing my depression.

EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

Pain Medicine News – Suicide and Pain: The Silent Epidemic

On Oct. 26, 2003, two patients of mine, Randy and Helen—a married couple in middle age and both weary with chronic pain—attempted a dual suicide.

Randy succeeded by overdosing on the methadone that was prescribed for his pain. His wife was either lucky or unlucky, depending on your point of view. She survived and was afterward confined to a psychiatric ward for several days.

A pile of papers, suicide notes and a will left for family and authorities to find seemed to indicate that the plans had been percolating for several months at least.   

View original post 749 more words

Sailing Devotion

When demanding circumstances

have tattered faith and still

the needs of today grab.

You invite my soul to

sail. A sea of stillness,

where none can touch,

there restore with sweet

and salty parables of faithfulness.

Fighting Dirty For The Ones We Love

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. 6 For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.…

When was the last time you fought dirty for the one’s you love? Or for an enemy? I’m not talking cheating, I am talking about getting dirt under the nails, sweating, and digging deep into all you’ve got and then giving some more. Valuing that spouse who has hurt you deeply. Treating the bully at work with kindness. Fighting dirty is not based upon changed behavior, it is deeply rooted in who Christ is in us!

We love because he first loved us. God didn’t just give us a list of do’s and don’ts, pat us on the back, and send us on our way. He was and is involved in creation! So much so, that at just the right time, while we were still sinning he came to earth in the form of a human child. He experienced sweat, he had splinters in his skin, and scars on his back from loving us. He knew our struggle with temptation. He knew we were oppressed, and he knew our depression. He fought dirty for us!!

Depression, suicide, hopelessness is a dark and dingy place, because hopelessness is wrapped in lies about our identity and the character of God. I was once smothered in those lies. My son died in those lies. How do we counter such a devious and destructive attack that often begins when we are children?! We battle by getting to know the character of God and acting on the hope he offers to us.

I didn’t know God. Scripture is like sitting across from God and hearing him tell his side of the story. Prayer is a constant conversation (both speaking and listening) with God. Fellowship with other in process believers encourages, challenges, and brings me out of my shell. This is my foundation. As a result, I can’t sit idly by and put on blinders to the suffering of others. I have my hands in the dirt of humanity. Be all in because God was all in for us!

 

Let me know your story in the comments. How can I fight dirty for you!?

Dancing the Sanguine Blues

Forecast called for blistering blues . . .

Shame soaked in a raging torrent of emotions,

I put on defiant dancing shoes and

shaped prolific pools of hopelessness into

a halo of dancing rainbows.

Until bones broke to life and support the

impossible flesh of my reality.

 

Writing Prompt: Downcast or Upcast

 

 

Writing Prompt: Downcast or Upcast

Psalm 43:Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Seems like there are an awful lot of words to describe depressed, but not a lot to describe the opposite . . .what is the opposite of depressed? Come up with words that reflect an “upcast” attitude and create a poem. Attach your page link in the comments and let’s cast a brighter light on depression.

Writing Prompt: Downcast or Upcast

 

 

 

Climbing Suicide’s Crag

Rocks crumble encouraging

gravity to finish thought.

But truth, confident with gritty fingers,

belays novice climbers

Reaching for impossible sunrises.

 

Success

 

 

What are Your Tags Showing: REDEEMED

John 19:19 Pilate also had a notice posted on the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

“Your tag is showing.” The lady behind me whispered at church yesterday, as she tucked the sales tag into the back of my shirt. First of all, let me just say . . . I got a killer price on the shirt! But what do you do when your tags of brokenness are showing?

  1. Hide them
  2. Lie about them
  3. Claim them and laugh
  4. Flaunt them

Everyone was labeling Jesus. They were trying to understand this man who claimed to be both God and man. Was he here to usurp power, or lead a rebellion? Was he a prophet? Yet Jesus cared more about who his heavenly Father thought he was. “This is my son, in whom I well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) He did not hide who he was.

For many of us, others see what we think hidden. They see we are unhappy in our marriage; coworkers are painfully aware of our arrogance; friends feel the draft of our hopelessness. Some just laugh and are grateful that it’s not them suffering those problems. Others lean forward and tell us to hide them better. Still others pluck the tags from us thinking they are being helpful.

I can’t hide the tag of survivor of suicide because it permeates from every aspect of my life. I miss that blue-eyed, dimpled chin young man. I miss his laugh, our conversations, seeing him at college, and all the things that were to come. But in this life we will have troubles. I hope you see, though deeply wounded, I will not back down from living! Be encouraged, our circumstances may tag us with heavy burdens. but no matter how may labels show, the original price on my life has been marked out. In its place are the words: REDEEMED! PRICE PAID IN FULL! BEAUTIFUL! WORTHY! JUSTIFIED! FORGIVEN!

Do you still carry the tag of who you were, or has it been marked out by Jesus Christ? Are you convinced, no matter what tags this broken world tries to pin on you, that you are a son or daughter of a risen king! Murderers tried to tack “King of the Jews” above Jesus on the cross. But, I declare that he was and is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Redeemer and gratefully my Savior. That is a tag I don’t care if anyone catches hanging out of my shirt!

Prayer:  Lord, we have tags showing. May your love redeem all of them and lead others to a saving knowledge of who you are. Amen

When Words Fail: Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

Words have been failing me lately. Literally. I try to respond in conversation and I can’t bring what I want to say to mind, or I’m talking about cooking and “cat” comes out. Imagery and laughter aside, it is quite frustrating for a wordsmith to be silenced. So, since laughter is good medicine and the kids and I have been creating an abundance of jokes . . . here are a few of my favorites.

 

Why are suckers always singing? Answer: Because they are covered in rappers.

Why don’t musicians like the police? Answer: Because they place you under a-rest. (Daniel original)

What note can a car tire play? Answer: B flat

Who gets in trouble more, a football player, or figure skater? Answer: A figure skater, because they are always skating on thin ice.

 

Cultivate laughter, plant it in the lives around you and watch joy grow.

 

 

 

Learning to Layer Memories

Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 

Appalachia is a part of me! When everything seems to be haywire returning home, where I met Christ, is a place of retreat, safety, and remembering the joy of my salvation. As my husband departed with work to New York, my kids deposited for some grandma time, I made the solo trip home.

That is my first miracle.

I only got drowsy once, a quick stop, stretch of legs and I was good to go. It isn’t humanly possible to drive almost three hours on the amount of sleep I am currently getting. Yet God was gracious! He knew the journey was too hard, so he provided, kept me awake and safe.

My second miracle was walking where Jonathan and I have walked and having joy!

Engaging Memories
Jonathan’s 7th birthday party was held here, in the midst of a thunderstorm.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of layering memories.  It can be difficult walking a path with major landmarks of pain and sorrow. This trip I met a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years.There is always sorrow attached to remembering Jonathan. But when I create new memories, cherishing and honoring who he was by living defiantly and vibrantly a new life each day what was, becomes what is, and opens me to what will be.

IMG_0714.JPG

Miracle number three. . . friendship!

I do not travel any of this journey alone. The people around me, you readers, are a joy I pack with me. I grow, mature and love more deeply by being with you! Reconnecting with friends, laughing together, hurting together, listening and celebrating life together keeps me honest. Some of the old thoughts of self-worth have been attempting to creep back in, but you remind me that my worth is found in Jesus Christ alone.

How do you choose to remember? You may have difficult memories, but this world is brimming with possibility! We don’t have to be locked into past sorrow or failure. Begin layering memories and mine starts with remembering the joy of my salvation!

 

Father, thank you for taking me home and allowing me to reconnect with friends and your beautiful creation. I am so grateful for the time Jonathan and I had together. I confess that I don’t always remember correctly. I dwell on the failure, brokenness of my past and leave you out of it. I have gained so much from your presence in my life. I am not alone, my life is filled with laughter, and you invite me into new adventures. Bless the readers as they layer memories with your goodness. Amen