When the World Went Silent

83933992_3385442988197867_6800417407056740352_o Art by: Awakened Arts

When the world went silent we truly began to see.
We learned to enjoy what we have and how to just be.

When the world went silent we began to care.
We work together and some of us learned how to share.

When the world went silent our hearts began to cry.
Together we were moved to mourn the loss of many lives.

When the world went silent we fell to our knees.
We cried out for freedom and hearts to be filled with peace.

When the world went silent we saw what held our hearts captive.
We learned how to look to others with renewed compassion.

When the world went silent we began to live anew.
We began to long for our community and love grew.

When the world went silent it was then that our ears were able to hear.
We began to open our souls and walk in a knowing greater than fear.

When the world went silent we saw how strong we could really be.
We opened our hearts and with God, who goes before us, we were set free.

 

Shaey Anthony (Writing4Joy) March 2020

A matter of perspective?

Image  Photo by: Awakened Arts

 

This is an old post from years ago that I had found living in my draft folder.
I am reflecting with fresh eyes, as the winter season that is about to pass in just a few short days. I know even in the spring many rainy days will come.

There were difficult days of course over the years, in fact, I just had a bout of nasty emotions again. but as time has gone on, the Lord has returned me to His truths much quicker than in the past. I am listening to His voice closer now. I am looking now.
As I get ready for spring with excitement, I know that each day will be a joy or a curse, depending on my perspective and where my thoughts and eyes are resting.

Even though this was written long ago, I am finding it still relevant. Be blessed in the sharing.

A matter of Perspective:

I live in a very damp region, often we can have 30 (+) days of constant rain and often the gray dreary weather leaves many people despondent.
One year when I was driving home from work and we had our first rain of the season. I noticed the coolness on my windshield as the tiny droplets began to form into full-grown raindrops. There was a moment of pause and then my tears fell. I knew it had begun. This rain meant a shift in the season that I was enjoying so much.  Gone were the outdoorsy, summery warm evenings and the abundant vitamin D, hello cold and flu season and hidden away like a bear hibernating for winter. My eyes were focused on loss rather than a possibility that comes with change.

The funny thing is, at that moment, I was focusing on what I was dreading and all that was unpleasant. Yet, each and every season for me has greatness as well. It is all a matter of perspective.

I find that those rains bring about the most gorgeous green foliage! Rich soils produce mushrooms, thirsty ferns, and moss! I had only the year before gone on a glorious photo walk and captured so many textures and colors. The colors for a photographer in autumn with the fall leaves are amazing. I had forgotten it in the moment of tears. But now I realize it is just a matter of perspective.

The colder wet season also brings about more movie nights, family game nights and hot cocoa! The evenings seem to spread forever as it gets darker earlier and earlier. I often hear the words, ” It is only six o clock?! We have the whole night ahead of us!”

Each season in our life can bring about life and death, dread and joy, peace and strife. We can look at our season from many perspectives but I want to encourage you this day to look at your season with a new vision.

You can have a purpose in every single life situation. This is a vision of hope and life. Don’t focus on all the dreariness in your season, but the life that the season will produce. What could this season bring to you that will strengthen you and equip you for the next? How can you switch your perspective to one of hope, or at the very least one that sees an end ahead at the end of the tunnel where a new day will awaken.

Even during the tiring, physical struggle of work that may bring your energy down, you can look and see what is being done. When you feel tired and distressed, remember that every season of good cultivating comes to fruition. Each season serves its purpose and as we serve a mighty God with great plans for our life we can rest assured that the outcome will be LIFE producing 🙂

I am not naturally the cup is a half-full type of gal, or at least I don’t see myself as one. I truly have to take pause and work to see all the good that can arise in a situation.
To look at the full picture and pull out the good takes practice and an effort. It is not always easy to see what is lovely at times. But in my pursuit of joy, I realized how very important it is, to see the whole picture and set my eyes ahead to what I know HE has done!

It truly can be a matter of perspective!

Psalm 121:1 – 2

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

Blessings this day~

Help

88965519_10221713207884450_7997061159045824512_n Art by: Awakened Arts

 

Help. Why has this word been so tainted? Why does the word “help” represent weakness to many instead of strength?

When you have exhausted all your own efforts and still banging your head against the wall, asking for help can move you into the greater faster. With help, there comes the opportunity for support and can often bring better results.

I have a vision of a giant city bridge. It is beautiful in structure. But without the support underneath that bridge, it will not stand and extend to fill the gap and do all that it was created for.

There are times I have been frustrated that help has not come. I have been the hamster on the wheel getting nowhere with all my efforts. I wonder, “why am I in this alone?” The answer is simple. I was in it all alone, because I didn’t bother to ask for help. I kept plugging along trying to figure it all out when some of the answers were not attainable to me.

It is wise to reach out for strong counsel when you need help. It is comforting and encouraging to reach out the God that created you to rest in the Lord’s promise that He comes to help in your time of need.
You can rise with confidence that you are not in this process alone. Help has arrived. Asking for help allows a deeper connection. It reveals our humanness. It leaves you with room to focus on the solution rather than the struggle.

I encourage you my friend, don’t walk in your struggles alone. When you have done all that you can do, ask for help to see you onto your best self. Ask the Lord to comfort you, encourage you, give you wisdom and open the doors to propel you on.

Think of the bridge again. This time we are thinking of a draw bridge that is open. You can make it part of the way, but you can not cross to the other side until the bridge is lowered and connected. You are on one side, standing it alone. Your hopes, dreams, and goals are waiting on the other side. Ask for help to connect your bridge.  Use the effort you have put in, and the effort, wisdom or support of another to fully arrive.

Along with resting in the Lord and His promise of help, sometimes He will use others.
Ask those around you for help. Look to a professional for help. But please stop trying to do it all on your own. Depression, isolation, and defeat is not a sign of strength, rather, it will take you longer to arrive (if you even do). And you may just have been striving for so long and hard that you show up too exhausted to enjoy the fruit of arrival.

Asking for help is not a weakness, in fact, it just may be the strongest thing you ever did in your life. I will start my mornings asking God to help me when morning dawns and I will not be moved in my strength!

A Time to Bloom

87296431_10221670393374114_5608707198101225472_n Awakened Arts

Luke 12:27 
“Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these.” 
 

As spring is approaching, I can not get the word “bloom” out of my mind.
I feel a tugging in my spirit that the long-awaited time will one day be over and the beauty of what God has planted within me will come into fruition.
I do not know what that will look like. But I am reminded that it will be in HIS season. Just as each flower has the perfect time to display her glory, so will I have a perfect time to share what is unique only to me. It will be my time to bloom as assuredly as the sun will rise.

Bloom: 1. a flower, especially one cultivated for its beauty.

A flower can be wild and free. But still needs to be planted on the right soil to flourish. She will still need to take root. She will need to be nourished. She will be cultivated (refined) in her process.

I find that I have had many seasons in my life, where my blooming process has seemed to be delayed. Sometimes this is the hand of the Lord, refining me, cultivating me and preparing me. Sometimes it has been a harder year and I am reminded of a late frost delaying spring, as life circumstances swirl around me.
Lastly, there is also the factor of the soil I have been planted on. In order to bloom, we need proper nourishment. If I am not growing in the areas the Lord needs for me to grow in, I will not find my time to bloom.

I am one that will need a bit of coaxing to step into the unknown and unfamiliar. I do not like change, or trying things that I feel less than qualified for, and honestly, I feel less than qualified in every area.
I have dealt with the lies of the enemy that nobody wants what I have to offer. I have viewed myself as the weed instead of the bloom to be.
I have sulked and hidden away when I am called to weather the nitty-gritty and to grow a nice strong stem. For without that strong stem, it is impossible to hold the bloom up high.

There have been times I am called to step out and ‘transplant’ to the proper ground for the cultivation needed to bloom at the ideal moment.
I am so thankful for the seasons, for the gardener that knows what I need, even before I do.
The Lord is the master gardener. In His care, I do not have to toil and spin.  He cultivates and uses the tools to give me the strength to become what He is calling me to.
He brings those beside me, that helps nourish the soil that builds strong roots.
It is true that in the process of growing there were times I wasn’t sure what I needed.
But the gardener was.  He will bring along all the right influences, encouragements and opportunity to bloom when it is my time.

The very meaning of bloom is to peak at an ideal moment.

I won’t rush. I will wait for the gardener. I will not labor and spin. I will rest in the knowledge that He already sees the day of fruition.
Just as it is supposed to, a time to bloom will arrive.

Dear Daughter-in-law

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Dear Daughter-in-law,

My sons are one of my deepest loves. I will fight for and support them until the day I die.  There is a lie out there that mother-in-law has to be the enemy. I am so thankful that this is not the case but there is more on my heart for you to know.
One of the best ways that I can love my adult son is to be your champion.

Champion: To fight for, defend, or support.

Daughter-in-law, you are a fellow woman but more than that you are now my family. I will shout for joy with your accomplishments, I will walk with you through the trials and be a source of hope when you are feeling less than.

Daughter-in-law, your concerns are my concerns. I will not side with my son just because he is my son when you come to me for counsel. I am your champion as well as his. You can confidently know that I will not run to him every time you may come to me with something on your heart. You can know I don’t ever expect you to come but I am always here when you need to.

I champion your success. I champion for you to be joyful, confident and fulfilled not only in your marriage but in your place of this family.
You are to always come first in his life. You are to be his focus and your happiness is his greatest concern.

Daughter-in-law, you are a treasure to never be overlooked as life gets crazy or the comfortable sets in, I will remind him to date you and pursue you forever. To listen to your heart. To be your helper and leader. To put your needs above his own and to love you first.
His greatest duty is to you, his wife and partner. I will forever be your champion because not only are you his, you are now mine.

 

A New Beginning

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As the evening comes to a close and the new year is beckoning, I am blessed to think upon new beginnings.
You see, most of my resolutions and dreams fell short this year. And while I can focus on all that I didn’t do or see, there was so much more that I did.
The wonderful truth is, there were other plans,  that I had not even set for myself, that took root and flourished. There were surprises and joys that blessed the dreamer in me at every turn!

So now, this coming year, I know to look ahead at the prospect of new beginnings, not with complacency but with expectancy. There will be 365 days available to accomplish much.
Yes, there are days that will end and we will wonder where they had gone and what we had done with them, but then there will be those days of the extraordinary. The days that take your very breath away and you think to yourself, 2020 you are awesome!

I am still setting those new year resolutions this year, not to be discouraged if I don’t meet them, but to be encouraged to strive. I was able to see what did not work and what did. I am able to learn from 365 days of the previous year and to know what I want the next 365 days to look like.  A fresh start, to dream and plan and pursue like never before. Each year I learn a little more of the truth, that the next beginning holds even more purpose than the last.

I have seen it written recently, here we go again, all the year-end resolutions being made, just to fail. The eye roll emoji follows. My heart feels a bit heavy for those that are not looking forward to their next with hope and vision. I was once right there with them.

But this year, this beginning is new. My mind is made up that any great thing can happen. The story is yet to be written. There are adventures to be had and amazing things to be seen.
So, I will be in the crowd that is singing as they ring in the new year and dreaming about what is yet to come.
2019 you were good enough for me, but I know there is so much better yet to be.
I have made mistakes and learned from them. I have set goals and been distracted from reaching them. I have had great losses and surprising gains. Yes, there were failures but let us not forget the victories. I can look back and say I am better for having known you.
But with expectations, I will shout, “Welcome 2020!”
 

 

 

Just Get Over It

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The darkness is overwhelming and their head is spinning and I have heard others that have never dealt with depression or anxiety, look at them and use the words, “Just get over it.” And I  see the faces of the ones in the struggle, hearing these words while the shoulders tighten and their head sags in defeat. My own thoughts start to swirl, and I think to myself if they were able to just get over it, don’t you think they would? Who wants to live this way?

There is an ever-revolving cycle when dealing with depression and anxiety that often leads to someone overwhelmed and in a place of isolation. The motivation and even energy to just get over it are lacking, as they might even see what they ought to do but just can’t bring themselves to make the changes that will bring them out.

There are some things that helped me in my own process of victory.
Yes, I may still get smacked in the face with anxiety or depression, but with these tools, I am not overtaken by them anymore.

While people may mean well when they say “Just get over it” and offer no solution on how to do so, I have listed some tools that helped me to actually climb above the mountain and see the joy on the other side. You see, you can’t get over something, without the climb.

10 Steps I use to get over it

  1. Talk with a professional:
    First and so important, when facing clinical depression and anxiety is to talk with a professional. I can’t emphasize enough, how encouraging it was to have the support of my doctor. We discussed medications and my reasoning for no longer wanting to be on them. She gave me solid advice on natural ways to combat anxiety and depression. Most importantly she reminded me that I was not alone.
  2.  Deep slow breaths when the thoughts come: 
    The anxiety may rise up, but does not need to become a stronghold. I can take deep slow breaths and release the concern. This is also where I meditate on the word the Lord has given me or spend time in thoughts of His goodness.
  3. Get to the root:
    Recognize where you may be feeding the anxiety and depression. I find it so interesting that even in the word, it says anxiety leads to depression! And over and over it is written to not worry, not be afraid, not to be anxious. But when you are in the ‘feeling’ of it all, how do you not walk in it?
    I was feeding my anxiety by obsessing on things I could do nothing about. I even recently had full-on attacks because so much came at me at once in the last months.
    This was a root, so I had to be aware of how I was opening the doors and being mindful to close them.
  4.  Journal:
    I get all my thoughts down concerning the situation. Then leave it there.
    There is no health in replaying the hard stuff over and over in my mind. Also often when I journal, I see the picture more clearly of where the root is taking ground, than if I try to figure it out on my own.
  5. Remember your victories:
    This has helped me so much! Recognizing joys rather than all the junk.  There is a plan for good things for your life. It may take some very hard searching for a victory but there absolutely is one there. Start with the simple truths if you must, and grow from there.
    Even though this moment is awful,  it is a moment. I know you have had some good ones as well!
    It may take longer than we would like, but the season will change. Remembering the past victories helps us in the waiting.
    This goes in line with focus. Our health is tied so much to what our thought life is. Find more on my thoughts to a victory mindset here: Victory
  6. Change the environment:
    Sometimes when the anxiety comes, just removing myself from where I am at helps. It may not always be possible, like if you are in the middle of a work shift, but when you have the ability to walk away and regroup, do so. When you leave the stressful environment, work hard at not living there in your mind when you are away.
    As crazy as it sounds, sometimes bedtime can be the most anxiety-filled moment of my day. I finally stopped doing and slowed down and my brain tries to roadrunner all over my peace. Honestly, sometimes I will have to remove myself from trying to sleep until I walk through the steps of getting over it.
  7. Diet/ Exercise:
     I am not going to get over anxiety and depression with a body in stress mode for lack of care.
    I know for a fact that gluten along with a myriad of symptoms, amps my anxiety through the roof. I do not have a marked allergy, it is just something that happens. Is there something in your diet that is triggering your anxiety? It may be time to start an elimination process to figure out what it is.
    My friend can’t drink coffee, another has issues with tomatoes, sugar, dairy, and the list goes on. I have touched on this topic on my post: Don’t eat the doughnut.

    Concerning exercise, I have health issues that make it difficult for me without feeling sick. Even walking makes me nauseated (unless I walk with my eyes closed). BUT exercise releases feel-good chemicals that relieve stress! Not to mention your stamina increases and your overall health improves.
    I was down a few days ill, and then my pup had surgery and just a few days without our walk, I felt the difference in my calm meter.

  8. Do for others:
    Community is so important. Isolation leads to depression. When we are serving and doing for others, the focus is off of all of our worries, our own mess and we reap what we are sowing into others.  Keep your eyes open to where there is a need near you. Also, important to remember in regards to this, don’t have expectations from those that you do for, just do for the joy of doing. Otherwise….more anxiety may follow as it may lead to resentment.
  9.  Don’t delay:
    It takes work to overcome anxiety and depression. The longer I walked in it, the harder it was to climb out. I would sink into my isolation and tell myself that I would do better tomorrow, then the next day would come and I would be in the same mess. It is hard to rise up,  but if you wait it becomes even harder. Nobody can do it for us. We must take action ourselves. We can make every excuse to not do, but we will not have victory if we stay still.
  10. Word, Prayer, and Praise and Worship:
    This is my MUST and listed last not because it is the lowest on my list but the one I want to remain on the mind.
    The presence of God is tangible and available. I have complete peace in those moments I am with him. The Lord is my refuge and hiding place.
    (Psalm 91)
    No matter all the steps I do, I personally did not obtain victory until I put this first in my life.
    People will let you down if you run to them for your refuge. They have their own flaws, their own ‘stuff’ and they can’t meet your every need. They make mistakes and they may be your very source of frustration.
    BUT GOD.
    Word helps me remember what He says about me, shows me other victories if I am in the struggle with my own. His word connects me to the heart of my creator that wanted a relationship with me.
    Prayer is my opportunity to cry out and rejoice and thank. I get to pray for others and their situations rather than let the anxiety overwhelm. It is my communication with him and another opportunity for him to speak into my heart.
    Worship is my intimate time with the Lord. It is my, you are mine and I am in your love and belong to you God moment. and Praise is my rejoicing in all He has done, and will do and all that He IS.
    There was a season where I had shut God out due to anger and frustration because life was a mess. The scars were deep and I had disconnected.
    That season was my most anxiety-filled season and the deepest depression I had walked in. Yes, some may argue that it was because the season was hard. Trust me, it wasn’t. Because with God I have walked joyfully through much more difficult seasons because he helped heal each of those scars. With Him, I can do all things and without Him, I fail in my own strength.