Not the morning we had planned

We were just going to pick up a few things at the grocery store. Including cold medicine and cough syrup, since we’ve both been hacking all week.

It’s 30 degrees, so we decided to get a car wash first, and park in the sun so the locks wouldn’t freeze. There were 4 cars in front of us, plus the vehicle in the wash; we guessed we’d wait in line for 30 minutes. But the Kia is filthy, so we knew it was necessary. We pulled forward, turned off the car and chatted each time a vehicle went into the wash.

Finally, it was our turn. We paid for the Deluxe Wash and waited for the car in the wash. We saw the brake lights through the door, and pushed the Kia’s start button ignition. Nothing.

Tried again. Just a click. Dead battery sound. The car wash line behind us was now 5 long – oh, they were going to be so mad at us!

Hubby got out and told the woman behind us that our car was dead. Then went to the hood and looked at the battery. All connections were tight. Got back in and tried it again. Nothing. Another try. Nothing.

Lady behind us pulled out of line, leaving a space for us to back into. We put the Kia in neutral and hubby started to push us backwards, with me cranking on the wheel to turn. Gentleman in line got out and helped push us into a parking space. He got our already-paid car wash as a thank you.

We Lyfted home and got our other car and tool chest. Then went to Walmart to buy a new battery. There was one left! Back to the car wash. Now hubby is installing it.

So, no groceries. No cough syrup. No car wash. We’ve now been at this craziness for two hours, and we’ve accomplished nothing.

Update: new battery and Kia started right up. There are 5 cars in line at the car wash – we’ll go next door and have lunch – maybe the line will be shorter when we come out.

We’ll stop at the grocery store and get our much-needed cough syrup on the way home.

And here I was wondering what we’d do today!

Grieving vs Depression

I’m posting this because of its timeliness for me. My Aunt Peggy, my mom’s younger sister, died two weeks ago, and I’m grieving. She’s in heaven celebrating with Jesus, so I’m not without hope (I Thess 4:13). But that doesn’t fill the hole she left behind. And it reminds me of how close we were to losing my mom last year. I’m at that age where parents die, and it’s hard.

It’s important that I monitor myself to be sure my grief doesn’t turn to depression. The timeliness of this blog post has to have been God’s perfect timing.

Click here to read: Staying Stable While Grieving by Pastor Brad Hoefs

Missing My Aunt

When I got the news that Aunt Peggy was in hospice care, I immediately cried in advance of her death (3 days later). Then I prayed. Then I reminisced.

I cried because I’m going to miss her consistent encouragement and prayers for me and my family. I cried for her husband and children, grand- and great-grand children, for the sorrow they feel over missing her daily presence. I cried for my mom, the only one left in her immediate family, for losing her beloved sister.

I prayed intercession for my uncle and my cousins and Mom, for comfort for them as they miss talking to her. I prayed thanksgiving for my aunt, for the celebrating she was doing with Jesus as He welcomed her home. That she was no longer in discomfort or pain.

After I was done crying and praying, I began reminiscing. I couldn’t sleep for all the memories.

I remember being five years old and telling Aunt Peggy how I loved that she was named after me; the world revolves around a child!

I remember visiting our cousins, and my uncle and aunt taking us all out for ice cream – in our pajamas!

I recall getting in trouble with Aunt Peggy, when she caught me wearing the Barbie Head makeup. (I especially remember the blue eyeshadow!) I told her my mom didn’t mind – and she busted me for lying.

I remember swimming in their kidney-shaped pool. And putting on dance shows for the grownups. And learning to play billiards. And her little schnauzers.

I regularly dream about my aunt and uncle and cousins, and all the special times we shared. Is that weird? I think I dream of them so often because I love them so much.

Aunt Peggy was an amazing encourager. She always read my blog posts, and often told me to keep writing, told me I had a story to share to help others. She regularly prayed for me and my family – I knew we were being lifted in prayer. She gave me the example to pray consistently for my own nieces and nephews.

I know she is with her Lord and Savior, and she has no more pain nor sorrow. And for those of us left behind, we only grieve for ourselves and missing her, for we know just a glimpse of the joy she has from being in heaven. And we know we’ll see her again, when we all join her in eternity with God.

Memories

The funny thing about memories is they can’t be trusted. Images burned into the brain may not be real. Details can be lost.

I was recently writing about a mental health day I took, early on in my depression. I wrote about how luxurious the cool sheets felt as I woke up. I remembered the sun streaming in the front windows. I recalled listening to praise music, writing lyrics down in my journal. I had a vivid memory of turning up the music and turning myself around, with my arms raised above my head in praise to God as tears warmed my cheeks. I made a lovely dinner for my husband and me. It was a gentle memory, full of joy and light.

But when I opened my journal to that day, my writings revealed that my memories were wrong, distorted.

I actually woke with anxiety. The morning was rainy, and matched my depressed mood. I watched a movie in an effort to make myself cry. I drove to the local state park and sat in the rain, listening to the melancholic sound of drops on the windshield and dozing to sad music. I’d forgotten all about the sad morning.

The worship part is true. I did push the coffee table out of the way and dance to praise music. I did write lyrics in my journal. And I did make dinner, but for the kids and me – my husband was out of town.

I think the memory is the way God wants it. He doesn’t want me to dwell on the negative, so He helped me remember the worship part of the day

On many occasions, God called the Israelites to remember. To build monuments to recall His faithfulness, provision, and grace. To worship Him fully, with heart and soul and mind. Maybe that’s what He was doing for me. Maybe that’s why what I remembered was the worship, the praise to God for His love and care.

I like the memory.

What is Depression?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.” (mayoclinic.org)

Depression is more than just feeling down or blue for a few days. There are strict criteria for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, including 5 characteristics that must be present for two weeks or longer to result in such a diagnosis.

My depression started as adjustment disorder.  That’s a diagnosis for when a stressful situation – in my case, relocating – creates out-of-the-norm reactions for such an occurrence.  Usually, adjustment disorder resolves itself within a few months. My story is that I had moved back to the town where we had lived for many years, and while I knew that relationships would be different, things just didn’t pick up where they’d left off. Yes, I went back to the woman who had always cut my hair. And I found a new doctor who I liked very much. But my friendships had changed. The church leadership was different, and I wasn’t supported in my volunteering with Vacation Bible School, which I had previously directed many times. I was lonely even with old friends around, and everyone was so busy with their lives, I felt alone and isolated.

I was easily irritated, though I tried not to let it show. I was anxious and worried about a lot of things, which had never been a problem for me before. I began to experience physical symptoms – backaches and headaches. Stomachaches, feeling a hole in the center of my body.  I had trouble sleeping – either too much or not enough. It became a chore to do simple things, like take a shower.

I got my old job back, and found a new church where I was accepted and given leadership in Women’s Ministry. From the outside, all things looked good. But my mood was consistently low and I had no joy.

When the adjustment disorder didn’t resolve within in a timely manner, it became Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). My mood continued to darken, I found it very hard to concentrate and focus, and life seemed blah. I began to feel hopeless, like things would never improve.

In my case, depression was a progression from adjustment disorder to MDD. For others, it can seemingly come out of nowhere. It can be related to past hurts or abuses. It can manifest itself as anger. There is no single cause of depression, which makes it difficult to treat.

For me, the prayers of others, the proper medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy were hugely instrumental in my healing. It wasn’t an easy path – it took several years to find the right medications.  But that’s a topic for another blog post!