Seeds Worship

Standard

Ohmygosh, I’m so excited we got to go see Seeds Family Worship perform in person. I was checking out their FB page and noticed they had some events in CA, so I googled to see if any were nearby. Luckily, there was one about 2 hours from us. I asked my best friend if she wanted to join us, and she did, so the two of us and the two kids headed down and enjoyed singing and dancing along to my favorite Bible songs.

If you have never listened to Seeds, I highly recommend it – they put actual scripture to catchy music, which is great for encouragement, learning verses yourself or teaching them to your kids. My method is to buy one CD at a time and then not get the next one until I’ve memorized all the verses from the prior CD. LOVE LOVE LOVE this ministry.

Beth Moore Conference

Standard

Beth MooreOn Saturday I got back from a real quick trip down to San Diego for a Beth Moore conference. This was the second Beth Moore conference I’d attended and somehow this one topped the first.

Our church bought tickets and reserved hotel rooms back in April, so I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. While many people like to choose their roommates, I often like to remain open and see where God places me – I’m always happy to meet new people and get placed in the random spots; so this time I had no idea who I was rooming with.

Whereas before we attempted to coordinate rides, this time was a kinda figure-it-out-yourself sort of thing. I was planning on sending a mass email asking for a ride/people to join me when my daughter got hit with the flu. Feeling like it might be likely that I might come down with it by the time Friday rolled around, I decided that if I was still well, I’d just drive down myself. This turned out to be a great decision! I had the 3 hour drive down and the 2 hour drive back completely to myself. I got to listen to the news, a trivia book on tape, music, and simple silence. It was fantastic.

I arrived about an hour before the conference started Friday night. I was the last one to check into the hotel. After figuring out where my wristband was, I headed over to the venue. Thankfully, I ran into some of the other ladies at the hotel who were leaving, so I knew where our group was sitting. Even better, as I was leaving my car in the parking structure, I heard someone call my name – it turned out it was one of my favorite friends from church – along with her mom and my other good church friend. Of all the people to happen into run into…

Beth Moore ConferenceWe made it inside and found our church group, but there weren’t enough seats together, so we moved towards the back. If you don’t know who Beth Moore is, she is a fantastic Bible teacher and writes great Bible studies that really dig into scripture (and usually involve a lot of homework). If you don’t know about her conferences, each one is unique. She prays about the specific location and what message that place is supposed to receive. So even though she tours for several months, the message at each location is different.

The message over the course of the weekend was about the Greek word “symphoneo” meaning agree, accord, or harmonize. Beth pulled scripture from various locations utilizing the word agree, disagree or even harmonize and used them to make points varied and poignant about arguments, forgiveness, marriage, purposeful prayer, the lost coming home, etc. I think my favorite phrase was early on referring to Matthew 18:15; she said “it’s about winning relationships, not winning fights” (paraphrased of course).That’s a thought I will be rolling around again and again, especially when dealing with my husband and family members. The other thing that struck me was her comment on Matt 18:19-20. Basically, we need ‘to stop thinking we all need to be pianos banging on middle C. We are different instruments playing different notes. We need to harmonize and follow the conductor (God)’

IdentityBesides enjoying the awesome message, I was able to spend time with my friends, as well as get to know my roommate (my daughter’s friend’s mom) a bit better. It was a great time – 26 hours from the time I left home to the time I drove back in the driveway. I enjoyed the entire time and deeply appreciate the ability to relax, reconnect with friends, and rejoice in the Lord.

Depression Sucks

Standard

Ugh. Just ugh. I’ve been feeling so down lately. It’s been hard to get motivated to do much, even to blog (and just when I got my site back up and running). It’s especially frustrating because I honestly have nothing to be depressed about. Life is grand! …  I guess. What’s more, I’m not naturally a depressed person; I’m naturally cheerful, upbeat and optimistic.

I don’t want to answer emails. I don’t want to return phone calls (or pick up the phone at all). If fact, I’d rather just avoid all people completely if at all possible – even my friends (sorry friends). I don’t feel like getting the house cleaned or doing dishes or laundry, but I do those things because they need to get done. Work (stamping) is kinda enjoyable because I get to create something and I am bringing in money (which helps with our sinking fund and school loans), but it’s not fun like it usually is.

So what’s with me? Well, it’s probably my thyroid. I’ve been here before, when I hadn’t yet started my synthroid and I was dealing with brain fog, hair loss and inexplicable sadness. Now, after diet changes (fasting), extreme stress (hello Women’s tea!) and a few missed doses of Synthroid (grrr doctor’s office, call me back!), my body seems to be needing a break from everything, and that seems to be including my cheerful, upbeat outlook on life.

It’s an extremely odd feeling: almost like I’m a stranger looking in at myself telling me to “COME ON, CHEER UP!” After all, I am deeply familiar with people who are in much harder situations, I have so much to be thankful for, and everything in my life is honestly wonderful. But the depression won’t quit; it’s like a cough that just won’t go away – you may be on the upswing, but there’s that cough again, attacking and leaving you paralyzed at just the wrong moment. But you know that eventually, you will stop coughing because you can’t cough forever, right? Right?

I write this because my depression is not who I am, but it is something I experience. It’s not something I enjoy, but it is something I have learned from. For one, depression to me has become a physical state. It’s hard to mentally pull myself out of the physical gloom, but they are two separate things. There’s that little cheerleader inside of my going, “everything will be okay” that keeps me feeling fine, even when all I want to do is go back to bed in the morning.

But the real secret? That little cheerleader inside isn’t me. I on my own could never manage to be continually positive in the face of the physical heaviness depression causes day in and out (though I grant you, this spell has been blessedly short thus far).That cheerleader is the Spirit, speaking truth to my soul, encouraging me that I am not alone, that I do not need to fear. For each time I find myself ready to break down and cry, ready to give up or just go back to bed, I hear that quiet voice whispering (or sometimes shouting!):

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6-7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, Psalm 46:1-2

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:12-13

…And countless other verses. I am not alone, and therefore cannot be lonely. I can be sad, but there is always someone there to comfort me. No matter how lost, sad, anxious, or afraid I may feel, there is a ever present peace that reaches out to cover me. And while I generally prefer the rejoicing and thanksgiving, I will certainly take the comfort and peace when I feel lost. I certainly am grateful to be able to experience both aspects of God’s love in my life. And even though the darkness sometimes seems overwhelming, it is never pervasive – it never swallows or consumes me because there is something much brighter dwelling inside.

Funny enough, one of the drafts I have to work on is titled “Joy” – I think I need to save writting that post until I’m a little more, um, joyful.