Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hope, Not Despair

I've mentioned in previous posts (here, here, here, here, and here) that although I suffer from OCD in this life, I look forward to being in Heaven where there will be no more tears and no more suffering.  I will be free of this brokenness!  I've been reading through the New Testament slowly, and I Peter 1:3-9 was part of my reading this morning:

Hope not Despair I Peter 1:3-9 suffering soul anchorPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

What an encouragement!

  • He has given me hope (an anchor for my soul) through Christ
  • God's power is shielding me 
  • I can greatly rejoice even though I suffer (intensely at times) from OCD
  • Suffering increases my faith and results in glory to God
  • My faith brings "inexpressible and glorious joy"
  • The end result of my faith is the salvation of my soul

Praise the Lord!

What verses have you found to be encouraging in your life?

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Letter to My Five-and-a-Half-Year-Old Son

Dear M.,

Tomorrow you turn five-and-a-half.  Five-and-a-half!  You are still just a baby, and yet…not.  A couple of weeks ago, your face looked older to me than it had just the day before.  Other people are noticing how much bigger you’re getting, too, like your great-aunt at lunch today.  And KINDERGARTEN!  I’m so excited to start officially homeschooling, and I know you’re almost as excited as I am about our new school room in the basement.

There are so many things I love about you.  Your joy.  Your expressions and vocabulary.  When you think something is genuinely funny – a huge grin covers your face, a giggle pushes its way out, and your shoulders shake with laughter – and you tell everyone in the room about whatever it was that you thought was so funny.  You love that stuffed Ninja Turtle, and it was so great that you filled your Spiderman bag with past birthday and Valentine's Day cards to take with us to the restaurant today.  Your little brother and sister adore you, and it's so fun to watch you help them learn and play.  You offer your snack if you know I’m hungry, and because I don’t like “bad guys” on shows/video games (I really said that for you because I don’t like YOU watching anything scary), you do your best to shield me from them. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Confessions of an Overthinker: I Wish That OCD Affected...

***NOTE: All posts on this blog are related to my experience.  Obviously not all mental illnesses are the same, and I don't pretend to understand anything other than what I have experienced.  My hope is that my story will bring you encouragement and that you will seek the help that you need to manage your mental illness in a healthy way.***

Mental illness is not a death sentence.  I should know.  I have struggled with OCD, anxiety, and depression for over 25 years (I'm only 34).  Even with the presence of mental illness in my life, I've been able to manage it (mostly well, but with a few serious hiccups) and live a joyful life filled with friends and family.  I thank God for the tools He has provided to help me in my mental health journey (medication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/Exposure Response Prevention, etc.).

This post came about as a combination of two of these tools:

  1. identifying positive ways that mental illness has affected my life instead of having a victim mentality (see a recent post on this here), and
  2. humor.

It is in this spirit that I give you areas of my life that could actually use a little dose of OCD.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hope of Rescue - My Soul Anchor

The Storm
Life is messy.  Pain and heartache.  Broken relationships.  Illness, mental and otherwise.  Sometimes these things are expected, and other times they hit us out of nowhere.

The disciples experienced this once when they were in the boat with Jesus.  "And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves..." (Matthew 8:24a)  The waves and the storm overwhelmed them.

Some days, I've felt this way with mental illness.  My brain is totally overwhelmed - stormy, even.  Overwhelmed by the waves and the wind and everything else that comes with a storm.  Broken tree limbs, hail, thunder, lightning, sleet.  It's a tornado.  Or hurricane.  Or tsunami.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Caring for the Weary Mind, Part 3

This post is part of an accidental series on taking intentional care of our minds.  Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

I didn't really intend for this to become a series, but it seems to be a theme, and I think it's worth mentioning.  I have got to take care of my mind - for my own health, for the health of my family, and to be a good steward of the mind that God has given me.

Just as I drank fluids to heal from the stomach flu or refrained from lifting anything too heavy after giving birth, my mind must be cared for to return to a state of health.

One major way I care for my mind is to avoid unhealthy stress.  I do preventative work by not overcommitting and not becoming too busy.  Or, more accurately, I should do that preventative work.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Positive Spin

Six days after I turned 34, I fell back into the pit that is mental illness.  I had given birth to my third child exactly 10 weeks before, and I spiraled.  Fast.

This was nothing new, unfortunately.  I have dealt with OCD, anxiety, and depression for about as long as I can remember.  It's part of my makeup.  It tends to flare postpartum, so I should have expected a lapse.  I was not prepared, and that mental illness took. me. out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Weekend with OCD

OCD checking over and overOCD: a lifetime condition with seasonal intensity requiring daily maintenance.

It's the daily maintenance part that I've failed with most recently.  I haven't been exercising consistently, our schedule has been way too busy, I haven't gotten enough sleep, I've been stressed...and I made the mistake of scratching that OCD itch.  I gave in, checked, prayed one more time, etc., etc., etc., and the result was a holiday weekend with anxiety woven throughout.

My husband loves to spend time with our kids, and he took our oldest son out in the afternoon to do a fun activity.  The plan was for him to come back to pick up our middle son after he woke up from his nap, and then he would be back in time to order pizza for a family dinner.  The afternoon wore on, and they never returned to pick up our 2nd son.  6:00 came and went with still no sign of them.  I called multiple times, no answer.  I texted, no response.  My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion (a habit of mine) - I was afraid that they had been in an accident and were dead, I was going to have to raise the two other kids by myself, I would have to figure out how to provide for them, and how would I live without them?!?!?!?!  FINALLY I received a message that they were on their way home.  Turns out that they were in a place where he had zero cell reception, so his phone did not work.  The lump in my throat from the fear I had lost both of them stayed long after I knew they were safe.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


I've never been a big fan of screen time, especially for my kids.  The TV is only on if someone is watching it, and kid-time on the tablet is an end-of-the-day reward for good behavior.  TV shows are limited, and computer time is non-existent for the kids in our house.  I don't really watch TV during the day, and I try to be very available for my kids as we spend our days together.  It's not that I think that screen time itself is a bad thing, but it's very easy for us to get out of balance and lose sight of our relationships and responsibilities as a result of too much screen time.

So I basically do okay with limiting screen time, except when it comes to my phone.  I (like most people) am very dependent on the black hole otherwise known as my phone.  The information that is literally at my fingertips can distract me in a way that is unhealthy.  Like when my son is trying to talk to me and I just want to look at Facebook.  Or when I really should be making dinner, but I would rather read an online article instead.  I don't totally ignore my relationships or responsibilities, I just don't give them my full attention if I'm doing something on my phone, which is more often than I like.