Who? Me?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have walked in to a situation and thought, “What in the world am I doing here?”.

I do that at work, a LOT. I look at God incredulously a LOT and ask Him, “Do you REALLY think I belong here?”. You know, those days were you feel SO different.

Not smart enough. Not young enough. Not old enough. Not thin enough. Not “Holy” enough. Not male enough. Not female enough. Not “hip” enough. Not quiet enough. Not “soft” enough.

I do alllll the time. Now, I know you can say, we need to remember God created us all beautifully for a specific purpose! And I hear what you are saying because I get it. I just feel completely under-qualified 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I think I’ve got it.

Last night Chad and I were invited to a function. It felt like a hush-hush deal so I didn’t bring it up much at work. I felt privilege to have been afforded an invite. I was excited to see who would be there.

When we arrived, it was a small, narrow building and I saw some familiar faces right away. (Now remember, I am VERY socially awkward with small talk, even with people I love.)  I saw wonderful people from the worship and production teams and only a few others. People that I REALLY like and admire…but rarely have words to use around them in my awkwardness, so Chad and I were thankful to have a couple faces that we could connect with.

As the evening began, I was YET AGAIN in awe of the leader of our worship team. He truly has a heart for God. I am not close enough with his wife, but I can safely assume she does as well. As he started the evening, he took time to thank each and every person that had helped with the release of their first EP (“First” ironically is the name and you can click here to purchase it on Itunes now). As he walked through each name, you saw each person feel honored and hold their head a little higher because they were SEEN and Valued.

As I was looking around thinking, what am I doing here, I was praising God for such amazing people. We were in a room full of people that use their time, energy and gifts pouring their talents back out to the Lord who provided them all of those things.

And then, the leader said MY name. What?!?!? He said he was thankful for my support. Through the thick and thin they new I was always cheering for them and praying for them. Soooo, I teared up, because I couldn’t believe he’d point that out!!! Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love and support each other? Pray for each other? I felt like it was a privilege and honor to have a position where I can support and pray for them. Shouldn’t we all be doing that for each other?

So as I stood there praying my heart out, asking for God to show people His love and His mercy. I felt God strongly say there is someone here that NEEDS to know THEY ARE SEEN. I looked behind me and thought WOW, God must love her a LOT to be having me awkwardly step over and give her a big hug in the midst of it all. He wanted HER to know that she is KNOWN. Did I have a chance to truly explain that? Nope. But I am hoping she felt it through my look and hug. Sadly, she left before I could get to her again. I prayed God would stay with her.

Who in your life are you not SEEing? Who did He put in your life that you can support and pray for. Not in a big way, but in a way that says YOU MATTER.

What I learned today…Be thankful for those in your life. Acknowledge and honor the gifts God gave them. I need to always thank God for the opportunity to work for Him. And to constantly ask Him to show me who He needs me to tap on the shoulder, hug and let them know they are SEEN.

 

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Depressed, Heartbroken and Angry

I am both heartbroken and angry as I write this.

Losing 4 friends, their kids or friends spouses in the last 6 months, due to suicide or overdose is breaking my heart.

Are they doing it because they are trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”?

Because they can’t find happiness?

Because they aren’t connected to authentic friends?

Because they don’t feel like the best man/woman, husband/wife, son/daughter?

Some of the people were connected to small groups and a church! If we are telling people that helps, why didn’t it?

The only thing I can think of, is that it takes AUTHENTIC living with others in community to help. Will that cure all problems, of course not. It is HARD.

Letting people in to see the ugliness, self-doubt, depressed, frustrated, whiney person we can all be is not easy. Some people will let one or two in, but not everyone.

I am part of a group where there are 3 people who battle extreme depression. The one I have seen make HUGE strides, attends small group, completed a step study (a Celebrate Recovery program that goes down to the roots of the “why” we are feeling what we feel) and continues to grow reaching out to take any class he can to try and learn more information to better himself and his situation.

Yet another one has gone the route of getting a psychologist, and is making great strides, if not totally comfortable opening up to the group.

And the third has chosen some friends to confide in but leans mostly on their family. Has not reached out, YET, for help as doctor’s haven’t worked in the past, nor has sharing it with others. And the depression comes back in a crushing way with each difficulty in life. The only thing that seems to help lesson the intensity and/or frequency is by staying busy being needed. It doesn’t take it away, but isolation, though sought after, makes it so much worse.

As I talked with my husband about our friends who have passed recently, we started talking about the men. How I wished they had mentors to talk to, like my husband. He, of course, responded how he is no one special. How could he lead other guys as a mentor, he still doesn’t know what he is doing and is on a day to day struggle with his life.

I replied, “You WENT through what some of these guys are going through. You were at a point you felt so guilty you couldn’t ‘keep up’, and you weren’t enough for your family. You KNOW that desperation and loneliness and you made it through. All you need to do is let them know they CAN get through it. You did. And then listen.”

If you are battling depression, talk to someone who has been there. Talk to a doctor. Talk to a friend. Talk to a pastor. Talk to someone. If that doesn’t help, talk to someone else.

There are people who have been there and made it through. You can too. It is worth it.

And if you feel that your family is better off without you, THAT IS A LIE. It is SO much worse for your family with you gone. If you can’t stay here for yourself, do it for them.

If you have battled depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and have conquered them and/or continue to conquer them…help someone by sharing it! You don’t know who around you needs to hear it. You might save someone’s life by having the guts to share your story.

What I learned today…life can be hard. But others have gone through what we are going through and made it. There is help. We need to find it. Hike up your britches, and ask for help…and then put in to action the direction you get. You are LOVED.

**Please don’t be offended by this post. I have only felt the pull of depression for the first time in the last year, and can’t begin to imagine what it is like on a daily, monthly, yearly basis. Praying for each and every person that reads this post and fights this battle constantly. XOXOXO