Today I am continuing on my journey with other bloggers through the book “Behind Those Eyes” by Lisa Whittle and hosted by Lelia at WriteFromTheHeart.
I begin this post by saying that I really don’t want to write anything. I know part of this journey is to be authentic and real, but my heart is just so void of emotion that I don’t want to be real today. I don’t want to be authentic and I don’t want to be honest. I want to put on my Ms Happiness face and go on with my day. But that is not what I am to be learning today. I am to be learning to be real, authentic and honest. Today, I don’t like it but I will do it.
Lisa begins this chapter with a quote from Job. “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy”. (Job 8:21) The message reads: “God will let you laugh again; you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy”. God will let me laugh again. I am waiting for that day. As many of you know I haven’t cried in 5 years. I don’t think it’s been quite that long since I really laughed but probably close to it.
It seems as though the past few years have been filled with one disappointment after another. My husbands’ illness has changed our lives and our marriage. The loss of my job, ministry, church and friends last year nearly sent me to the grave due to overwhelming grief. My children are grown and really don’t need me any longer. I am going to be 50 in just 10 short days and I feel as though my life and purpose are over. Is this what they call Mid-Life Crisis? I honestly didn’t think it would happen to me.
Ecclesiastes 3 says in part that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. I think I must be in the mourning season. So, someday maybe I’ll dance again.
As I read this week’s chapter I could closely identify with each tactic and thought Ms Happiness uses and searches for. I search for happiness through work, food, friends, relationships, my children and granddaughter, ministry, blogging, or any other person, place or thing that might bring some joy to my life. All of the above bring momentary satisfaction but no real lasting joy.
Depression comes when you lest expect it and affects every aspect of your life. It is not just your ‘feelings’ that change. Everything about you is affected including your physical health, which if you have read any of my blog posts this summer you will see I have struggled physically over the past few months.
I do know where joy comes from. I know the source of lasting joy. I know God loves me and desires to have my heart find joy in Him. I trust God with every aspect of my life. I know He cares for my family and my relationships. He is my redeemer and my source of strength. He is my strong tower and my refuge.
Lisa states: :True joy comes from within when we are operating in our life in the way that pleases God". I suppose that today those words mean I am not operating in a way that pleases God. Guilt and depression loom larger.
I would love to say that this chapter lifted my heart and I am filled with joy right now. But honesty is needed here and I cannot say those words. I know in a few days or weeks I will feel better, but today, not so much. I have closed off my feelings for so long that I am numb to them. Some day the joy which seems so elusive today will return as I sit at the feet of my Jesus and am once again filled in His presence but today I cannot grasp it.
Ms Happiness is calling my number so, after I have hit the publish button and this whiny post is made public, I will close the door to my home office and put on Ms Happiness and go to work. The emptiness, loneliness and pain will be tucked away for another day. I will purposefully place one foot in front of the other when I would rather be in bed or worse. I will carry out the duties of the day with a smile on my face and then host a ladies night at our church. I will come home and go to bed pulling the covers over my head, not wanting to ever get up, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.
I won’t forget the words I have read this week and I will pray fervently regarding them but God will need to do a lot of work to penetrate my heart and reach inside to awaken my spirit again.
I am sorry this post is such a drag. Honesty is ugly sometimes.
Don't feel sorry for me today. It is just a season of life. Change and transformation are hard. Being faced with the realities of life at times cause us to reflect on what used to be. I know there is hope for my future but today I just don't see it. I will! In time!
My prayer is that each of you were able to grasp on to the truths Lisa wrote about in this chapter. Her words are honest. I will leave you today with a scripture Lisa quoted in her book.
"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11 NLT
Considering It All Joy,
**As I sat on my bed this morning with my Bible in my hands thinking of the scripture: Why so downcast O my soul, God took my to Psalm 103 instead.
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise th Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits~who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's". Psalm 103:1-5
I cannot say that I am dancing, but I have hope today. I am going to the Grand Canyon this weekend with my husband and boys. It will be our first trip together in 19 years (we never travel). Please pray that as I stand and search the vastness of who God is and what He has created, that He meets me there and joy fills my weary soul.**
Oh Cindy...I could have written that post, too. I have had times of vibrant joy in my life, but I'm going through that same type of stage as you...the mourning. I haven't had the same kind of trials as you, but have had trials none the less. We AZ girls will just have to be there to help each other stay on the path to Joy Junction, ok? We may not be there yet, but we'll get there. I love you, LeeReplyDelete
Thank you for your honesty, Cindy. I'm so sorry you are hurting right now. I will continue to pray for you.ReplyDelete
I ache in my heart for you. Those words you just "spoke" could have easily been my words at different times in my life.
I too,suffered from depression, panic attacks and a dreadful menopause at age 42 that was surgically induced by a total hysterectomy. Wow, the depression and insanity that caused is without equal in my life!
I also know how it feels not to cry. I think it was over 3 years where I was totally incapable of feeling anything. My mother passed away and while my brother and sister were practically inconsolable, I read a poem and delivered a eulogy! I really loved her, but my heart was numb.
Please let me know what I can pray specifically for you! I want to make a prayer list of women that are in this group and really go before GOD on my knees and facedown on their behalf.
Blessings and prayers,
Cindy, I'm praying for you and trusting He will bring you joy! Hang on and trust - He is faithful!!ReplyDelete
I have felt the heartsickness of hope deferred. Disappointment was the word for last year and the year before... It's hard, really hard... you feel so emotionless. You remember I turned 50 last year and will turn 51 the day after you.
I was so depleted hormonally as my body pushed into menopause... and on top of it life was just bitterly hard. So much stuff hidden inside me began to rise up to the surface. There were days I longed for heaven.
I know you will be better as He comes to this place inside you and reaches in and holds you close. That is my prayer for you.
What I discovered in those times when I couldn't breathe a word to Him....was ....that He reads my heart.... my tears, my aches and my groans. Jesus comes to those places and gathers all those things up and puts them into words of intercession before the Father.
You are living in "enduring" days of grace...one baby step in front of the other... And somehow, strangely in the midst, He is having His way in you.
I understand, friend...though details are different, I understand
I hurt for you as well.
I know this journey you are on. I understand some of the things you are feeling (or not feeling). I have been there... I am just slowly leaving that place. I don't have the same circumstances that brought you there. But I do recognize myself in what you wrote. Thank you so much for being this honest. I do understand the necessity of putting up that mask to get through the day of the things you are supposed to do, while really wanting to stay in bed or worse.
I pray that God will hold you in His lap, so tangibly, that you will know it is Him. I pray that you will allow Him to ever so gently take down that wall in your heart you put around your feelings, and that you will allow yourself to feel the emotions, a little at a time, as you are able to handle them.
It has taken me time. If you read through some of my older posts, you will see.
I wrote today about the depression I have struggled with, in my Chapter 4 post. I don't know if it will help you any.
But I will continue to pray for you.
May God bless you, and fill you, and may He bring you to a place where you feel safe enough to truly mourn and grieve through your losses this year, and let out those feelings.
What a convicting post, Cindy. Been there, friend. But I usually just put on Ms. Happy and go on. Your honesty has opened my eyes to ways that I do this that I've never thought of before. Thanks for walking with me in this quest for authenticity.ReplyDelete
When I was in a season of deep darkness, God was sure I saw this scripture:ReplyDelete
"5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow,will return with songs of joy,carrying sheaves with him." -psalm 126:5-6
being true and authentic also means sharing your pain honestly. You do not have to worry about being whiney. Even if others don't like it, God wants to hear it all. Keep taking it to the cross. I pray that your darkness will be behind you soon, and that you will be returning with songs of joy.
Cindy, my heart can empathize with many of your feelings. I've gone through them all, and still do, over the last 15 months. I understand the feeling of JUST putting one foot in front of the other. Just going through the motions to get through another day just to have to do it all over again.ReplyDelete
Keep your faith in Jesus. He will bless you for your honesty. I've not followed your blog long so I won't proclaim in glorious encouragement.
Trusting the Lord to touch you.
Oh sweet Cindy~ReplyDelete
As i read your post...I could relate...as I've been there too...not so very long ago.
Like you....we lost a ministry...and trying to find our way back....because the call...the tug at our hearts is just too real.
We are soon empty nesters.....and going through different seasons of our lives (hence the title of my blog)...I say all of this to say...when the darkness seems to bury youm like dirt cover you as you stand at the bottom of a deep...dark...long pit....I encourage you to step up.....and shake of the dirt....then the next time the darkness creeps in like dirt....step up....and shake off again, and soon you will be able to find your way out of your pit.
Hang in their friend....God see's EVERY tear...every depression....every sad day....and you know what??? He LOVES YOU....and he's so proud of you and your honestly.
You are right...some days...it's not pretty....but it's in those days....when you are open and honest, God can continue the healing work in your life.
I''m praying for you.
Not feeling sorry for you only saying a prayer that you will soon put on those dancing shoes again!
Bless your heart! I am praying for peace for you. You sound so troubled and so weary. You have been so transparent for us and have touched me deeply because of this, and I believe God will bless you greatly and He yearns to see your heart dancing for joy. Like you say, this is a period of time, and it shall pass, and in the meantime you will be comforted by The One who offers us everything good and true. I have a beautiful exert from a song that I wanted to shrae with you. It's in one of my books (!!!), but I'm still searching for it - hopefully I will find it for you or may even include it in my blog. Blessings. NaomiReplyDelete
Oh Cindy, I don't feel sorry for your but my heart aches for you. Lifting you up in prayer and I know God will see you through this valley and bring you to a new mountian top. How long you will be in the valley I do not know but know that your honesty is appreciated. Some days are harder than others to put on our Happy face and pretend that everything is fine but God sees us inside out and sometimes I think he just wants us to acknowledge what we are feeling on the inside. Praying that God will give you some peace today and if not just go outside and scream real loud, it will make you feel better for a little while.ReplyDelete
Hi Cindy, thank you for opening your heart. You are on your way to healing and deliverance because you have taken an important step and that's acknowledging how you really feel.ReplyDelete
As I read your post I thought about this passage of scripture.
"Praise be to the God and Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4
Know that God lets nothing that we go through go to waste. God is going to need you at some point to minster to others who are where you are today. Keep reading the word,don't stop. It's spirit and its life. Your suffering is allowed by God to be used for His glory. He will bring you out.
Take heart. I am praying for you right now.
Dear Heavenly Father please let Cindy know right now in this very moment, you have her in Your arms. Arms that are strong enough, loving enough. You are protecting her, You are loving her. Help her to rest in Your arms. May she know that she is VERY precious to you. Thank you Father God-AmenReplyDelete
Thank you for your openess in your post. God needed you to write that. He loves you SO much! Take it one little step at the time. You will have joy! Praying for you, my friend!
PS--Have a wonderful vacation!!
A change of season can be hard but keep pressing on. I have learned that just when you think it's never going to get better that's when the doors swing WIDE open.
Your honesty touched me,
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Hi Cindy. I will try my comment again, but without errors this time!ReplyDelete
Well it seems that whether one be nearly 50 or 38, in America or in Australia, we seem to suffer the same trials, and actually could write each other's posts! The joy in all of this is that we know that we have an Almighty God that is watching over us and waiting for us to fall at His feet in total dependence. The enemy causes us to put on Ms Happiness, Perfection and Confidence. God is a God of Good and we must remember that.
I wake in the mornings and wish that it was still night time and I could be asleep again and oblivious to my life that is. But, we rise every morning for a reason, and that is to serve Him, acknowledge Him and not hide behind the face of a charade filled woman.
I pray that your burdens will be lifted soon and that you will really feel the joy in your heart that our Lord wants you to feel. Thank you for such a 'bad' post; it's this real honesty and rawness that is needed to cleanse our souls.
Love In Him, Paula
Cindy, thanks for sharing your heart. It sounds like what you describe would put most people in a funk.ReplyDelete
I am excited about your trip to the Grand Canyon. That sounds very cool.
Cindy, you're so precious. And your honesty is so awesome. I went through horrifying post partum depression with all 3 babies, but it only lasted a short time. I have such compassion for those who struggle with it throughout their lives. I know everyone has their verses, but mine was, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are saved." I would literally close my eyes, face down on the floor, and picture myself climbing up a tall tower, leaving everything that wanted to hurt me on the ground below.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share. I have a feeling He will bless you for it.
Cindy, thank you for being honest and open that you don't feel or resonate right now in your life. I'm coming back to read more of your blog. My heart longs to pray for you and pray specifically for you. I pray that you will see God's glory and feel that joy as you look over one of his mighty wonders.ReplyDelete
Cindy, you touched my heart with your honesty. I pray for you to find the Joy og god, even in those unemotional days!! You can. I know-I have been there, I have expereinced joy in extreme sadness. Did I walk arouund with a fake smile...no. I was still hurting but internally there was peace and joy and it could only come from Him and a tight relationship with Him. Keep focused on Him! You are a blessing!!ReplyDelete
In His Graces~Pamela
"I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness! It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that satan is fraid to touch it. The cords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his friendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else! Satan is always weary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit." ~L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert Devotions
Wow Cindy your honesty here is really cool. I look forward to reading what God shows you this weekend at the Grand Canyon.ReplyDelete
Blessings & Hugs,
rygdutThanks for being so real and honest Cindy.ReplyDelete
Sometimes being real is ugly... but God actually loves our ugly too.
As I read your post my mind kept going back to last weeks study on Joy in my Bible study. Beth Moore taught so many truths about Joy. You see... Ms. Happiness is so unstable. She is so dependent upon the situation around her.
I have also felt dead inside and put on the Happy mask to leave the house... seasons of our life. Thankfully God loves us in every season of life.
Keep pouring it out to God... He can handle it.