He Heard My Cry

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

 

God is our refuge, he is our strength and when you are in the pit of despair he is there with you. He is calling to you and telling you that he loves you, he cares for you and you are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God loves you and I love you.

God hears your cry and he will help you out of the pit of despair. Sometimes people pray to God and they are immediately lifted out of the pit but others times you have to do the work, to help get out of the pit. You have to talk to people, tell them how you are feeling and be open to getting the help that you need.

God has not left you, he is steadying you as you walk. And when you are on solid ground he will give you a new song.

This is true for any despair that you are feeling. No matter if it’s fear of bouncing a check or not having enough money to pay bills, or if it’s fear of going to the doctor and getting bad news, or if it’s a partner that has died of suicide and you don’t know how you will go on, God is there. He has not left you. He NEVER will. He loves you.

At one of the many church conferences I have attended, they asked us to picture our darkest moment, the one where we felt the farthest from God. Then they asked us to ask God where he was in that moment. All of us saw different moments but no matter what the moment was, God was there. For me, I was in the pit of despair and God was reaching his hand down to lift me up.

Take a moment and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep slow breaths and think about a time when you felt like you were in the pit of despair. Can you see it? Think about the setting, is it a room? Is it a pit? What is it? What do you see? Now pray to God and ask him, “where were you? God can you show me where you were?” Now give it a minute or two and really listen and open yourself up to seeing where God was. (If you don’t see anything try again tomorrow. God will show you where he was and where he is. If you are not a visual person think about what you hear or feel and then ask God to tell you where he was. Don’t rush yourself, give it time and really be open to what God will say.)

When you see for yourself where God was or where he is now, share that with someone. That is your new song. That is the praise that you will sing and others will come to know God through your story.

God meets us for us, but he also meets us so that we will share what has happened with others. What is the new song that you will sing?

Dear Lord, we pray that all those who feel like they are in the pit of despair will get the help that they need. That they will talk about it and find what they need to get out of the pit. Lord we thank you that you never leave us. That we are never alone, that you are always there. We ask that as we go throughout our days and nights and weeks and years that you will continue to show us that you are with us. We thank you for being the God that never leaves. We thank you for our new song. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sings

Nikki Nelson created this to see more go to NikNak Wreath Design.

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Today’s applications/ resumes

Just for fun today I thought I would post about the resumes and cover letters I sent out today and the ones I didn’t. In my times of unemployment I feel like the most asked question is, “What are you applying for?” To which I often respond, “What am I not applying for?”

Truth be told, I’ll apply to almost anything, even if I’m not qualified. To these in my cover letter I explain why I’m applying even though I do not meet their qualifications. I lay down my passion and my other qualifications and how they would assist me in the position and I beg them (that might be a little strong but you get the idea) to please consider me for this position. To look beyond my un-qualification and see that I might just be the person they are looking for.

The first job I applied for today is with Community Linc. It’s a job in fundraising and research and would have a good deal to with writing and anyone that knows me, knows that I love to write.

The jobs I don’t apply for are the ones that I really don’t meet their qualifications and there is no way to get around them. For instance there was a transitional coach position open today but you need to have a social work degree (and there’s no give, sometimes there is give and they list other degrees they are willing to accept) and you need to have a license in social work. Those two things I do not have. But if you do you might check out this job opportunity on the nonprofit connect page: http://www.npconnect.org/jobs?cl_v=ra&cl_aid=831387

I also don’t apply for jobs that are offering pay way below what I want. For instance, there’s a job today: Youth Volunteer Team Leader but it is only providing a stipend and that stipend is way below the poverty line. It’s also a full time job with flexible not set hours so it would not lend itself to having another job with it. I apply to full time and part time gigs in the hopes that even if I get a part time gig I can get another part time with it and hopefully make enough to stay afloat. But below the poverty line, full time with flexible hours is not conducive to working another job to get above the poverty line, so I passed on this one too.

I get daily emails from CareerBulider, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and Nonprofit Connect. Nonprofit Connect usually has stuff I want to apply for each day but the rest are usually way off the mark. The kind of job stuff they send me is complete crap and no where near what I want to be doing. It’s very annoying to open their emails because it feels like a waste of time but every once in a while there will be one job that might be worth my time so I continue every day to open the millions of emails I get in the hopes that there might be one job opportunity on the page that I might want.

Here is another social work ad for today, again I don’t qualify but maybe you do: http://www.npconnect.org/jobs?cl_v=ra&cl_aid=831379

The last thing I applied for today was an Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator with Swope Community Health Care. It’s the last thing I applied for today because it took me an entire hour to fill out. Long applications really take it out of me but obviously I thought this one was worth it.

And that’s today’s applications and resumes. I spent about 2 and a half hours today working on this stuff. It’s enough to keep me energized and continue to work the next day but not too much that I feel depressed and want to quit searching.

Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera Daisy

I Can’t Go Alone: Self-Care

How do you do self-care when your job is literally to care for others? How do you do care for others when you cannot care for yourself?

I know self-care is important because I have neglected it and sometimes feel like I’m falling apart at the seams. I spent a good portion of my life learning to hold in all of my icky parts and have spent years learning that holding it all together only leads to more of it spilling out at awkward times. My icky parts are my feelings and as the years have progressed I have learned that feelings are not icky. They are important and need paying attention to.

Feelings are as important as the pains and aches of life.  A fever turns you towards a flu or doctor so tears should turn you towards the feeling and figuring it out. What makes you sad? Why are you happy? Do you know why you anger so easily or do you simply sweep it under the rug?

This week I was slapped in the face with my lack of self care. I had noticed it: it came in my inability to enter some rooms or my inability to see past my own pain.

So this week when I had learned that one of my favorite aunts was very sick and possibly even more sick than we thought. I couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t even go to rooms on my unit. I couldn’t sit in meetings and not think about losing her.

Being slapped in the face like that got me thinking about how I was caring for myself.

I was throwing myself into this internship, throwing myself into the work I must do and neglecting the inner workings of me. Sure when I lost it in a room or two I would take a moment to reclaim myself but what about those moments when I simply ignored it? What about those moments when I just let it go?

So on Thursday when I couldn’t force myself to go on the unit I asked one of my group members: Is it okay to say, “Today I can’t go”? Is it okay to say, “I need help today”? Is it okay to say, “I can’t come in because my mental health is at it’s breaking point”? Is that ever okay?

One of my fellow members, John, asked people all day long for help. He passed the pager on to someone else, asked me to  go with him on a call and used us all to help him through it. What would he do when he was there alone? How would he get through it without us?

The time I spend on-call, I don’t worry about the job I do, I just do it but when I am not on call it’s harder for me. It’s harder and I’m not sure how to ask for the help that I need. It’s harder for me to say I need someone to go with me.

It’s almost as if the emotional drain of being on-call takes it’s toll and I do not wish to go into any more rooms, I don’t want to feel that anguish, I do not wish to subject myself to anymore emotional onslaught. I do not wish to cause myself anymore pain and going into those rooms is pain. It hurts my heart. It causes triggers each time, whether I realize it in the moment or if it takes weeks for me to realize it.

So how do I go back? How do I go on? I realized yesterday that this internship lasts for about two months more. How in the heck do I continue to go? How do I get myself to let go of the anguish and focus on the joy of hearing someone say, “That was a great prayer, thank you”? How do I get myself to go on?

This is a hard internship, much harder than any other so how do I continue to do the work I do without letting it consume my entire being?

How do I manage better self care?

Am I strong enough yet?

For those of you that don’t know, I have been passing a stone for the last four days. And throughout the agonizing pain I have had “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson in my head.

Hopefully by now everyone has seen the video made by the children’s cancer ward. I think I watched this video about 20 times when if first came out. I’m in no way comparing my battle of the last few days to this video. I cry every time I watch it but I still think it is an awesome video, and an awesome song.

The lyrics that keep running through my head are:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger/stand a little taller.”

The whole song is about surviving a bad break-up but it has more applications than that.

In my case it is about passing a stone and having the worst pain imaginable. It’s not even a constant pain. For instance, this morning I was feeling so much better but then tonight I am crying because I am in so much pain. Passing a kidney stone is said to be more painful than the hardest labor pains.

I’ve never had a baby, I’ve never even fully passed a stone. But I do know that this is some of the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. What sucks about the kinds of stones that I get is 1) they are huge and 2) I cannot prevent them.

Some stones can be prevented by diet. You control your intake of pops and other harsh sugars and you are all good. My stones are not related to my diet. They are related to the acid build-up in my body. They are related to infections I get that I don’t know I have.

I have a high tolerance for pain. I always have. It could have to do with the issues of my birth or my low weight or all the testing I had to go through when I was a kid. It could have something to do with many many things, I don’t know. I don’t really care. I am thankful for my high tolerance for pain. But it does get in the way, especially when it comes to my production of stones.

Most people are in excruciating pain when they get a bladder infection or a UTI. I never feel them. I know right! I’m so lucky. But the problem with that is that if you don’t feel a UTI it turns into a bladder infection because you never have it checked. And if you don’t feel the bladder infection you are really screwed because it turns into a kidney infection and lucky me I actually feel that crap. That hurts.

Since the infection travels up to my kidneys I also get to produce a kidney stone. Lucky me.

I do drink cranberry juice because it is supposed to kill infections and I haven’t had an infection in a very long time.

But still tonight I am dealing with the pain of passing a stone. Oh joy (sarcasm).

As you can tell my mood is improving by the day. I have watched almost all of the movies I own and most of the ones my parents’ own. I have watched so many movies I cannot tell you which ones I have watched. Today alone I watched: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Friends, Twister, American Pickers, Harry Potter 8, and X-Men: First Class.  That was just today.

I’m bored and to be honest, lonely. I mean I spent all day yesterday on the couch with my mom but I was still lonely. I have left the house once a day for the past 4 days. I’m going stir crazy and I’m not taking it well. Add to the that the pain that has me up most of the night and I’m not sure I even want to hang out with me.

I went to a conference in Pasadena at HROCK when I was there a few months ago. And at this conference one of the main speakers talked about the idea that when you find yourself in a difficult time you should look to God and ask him what you are supposed to be learning from this.

They say that pastors encounter the most difficulty so that they can be present with the people in their midst. I’m sure that this kidney stone is just teaching me to be more compassionate towards others who are suffering. But guess what the other stones, the past surgeries and injuries have all taught me to have a compassionate side. So what the heck is this stone trying to teach me?

Is it’s sole purpose to make me stronger? I’m already pretty strong. I really don’t know what this time around is supposed to teach me. I’m just ready for it to be over. I’m ready to stop alienating the people I love. I’m ready to be smart again and get off these pills that make me act stupid.

I’m ready to be done with this battle. I’m ready to get back to being me. I’m ready. But my body is not agreeing with me.

My body is still in pain. I’m tired of becoming stronger. I’m ready to be whole.

I agree with Kelly Clarkson that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger but the journey to becoming stronger really sucks.

Am I strong enough yet?

The Complexities of Vulnerability

Thursday I got another lesson in vulnerability and it is has been something I have been considering for the past few days.

Since I was abused by people who were supposed to care for me and who I was supposed to be able to trust I have found it difficult to trust others.

I’ve been working on this because I know it is an important step in all relationships. Being able to share yourself with others is something that we all need. We all need to find a way to let go of our guard and really share who we are.

I have no problem being transparent with my life. I can share my hopes, dreams and desires. I can share my life story and how I process things but there are certain parts of myself that I hold back.

One part has been my feelings. For the better part of my life I thought that my feelings were bad and I had dissociated them. I would start to feel something and then immediately I would push it away. This happens to me a lot in therapy. I will start to feel sad and the moment I try to connect to it, it goes away and I am left feeling blank.

I have started to share my feelings. I have started to share my needs which is another huge step for me. I used to keep my needs to myself for fear that no one would ever meet them. I have gotten better at telling myself as well as my friends and family about my needs. For the most part, they seem to be able to handle and/or meet my needs but that doesn’t mean that they always do.

This is part of being vulnerable, you have to open yourself up to the possibility of either being loved or being hurt. You have to be wiling to take the gamble.

So I have been learning to be vulnerable with my feelings and that is hard enough but now I have to learn how to be vulnerable with my expressions.

I have this weird tick if you will. Whenever I am mad at someone or upset or even sad I will start to smile.

A few therapists ago, I had one who told me some upsetting news and then he asked me to read his face. It reminded me of a scene from Bones where Sweets is trying to teach Brennan how to read facial expressions and then manipulate people  into opening up to her.

My therapist showed me his face and asked me what I saw. They only thing I saw was anger. Then he started reading my faced and when he told me I looked sad I started to smile.

He asked me why I was smiling and I said that I didn’t want him to be sad that I was sad and I didn’t want him to see that I was sad.

I was vulnerable in that moment and wanted to end the moment by smiling. In this case I knew what I was doing but in some cases I will be smiling at the wrong time without even knowing I am doing it.

Thursday in therapy I was trying to tell my therapist how much him saying that I was a burden last week had hurt me. He explained that we had different meanings for burden. He didn’t want me to feel like I couldn’t take up space which is what it sounded like I was struggling with. And I realized that our definitions of burden were very different.

Anyway I brought up how upsetting that was for me and was inadvertently smiling while doing it. He asked me to try to show him with my face what that was like. So with my words and my face I showed him. I teared up and said that it was hurtful and that I didn’t like thinking that I burdened my friends and family that when he said that it felt like he was confirming the lie that I believe. The lie that no one wants to spend time with me, that they are forced to spend time with me.

While we were having this conversation I began to sit up and he began to scoot to the edge of his chair. By the time the conversation was over we were closer both in proximity and in intimacy.

And I began to realize that hiding my expressions from my face was denying myself and my friends the intimacy of seeing how I actually felt. He said he could actually see and feel what I was feeling. My feelings did not become his own but he could begin to see how much he had hurt me and in allowing him to see it I allowed him to get closer to me.

Of all my therapists this last one has really helped me relationally.

I actually said out loud, “Crap” (except if  you know me, you know I didn’t say crap 🙂 ). I realized that if I want all my relationships to be this close I have to let others see how they effect me. I have to let them see how much their influence in my life changes me and if they hurt me I have to let them see that as well.

Which just means I have to be even more vulnerable which is exciting and scary.

I am just now realizing all the complexities that are associated with being vulnerable and even though I know they are scary they are also worth the journey.

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