Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love- the Path to Emotional Freedom

1 John 3:18-24 (The Message)
18-20My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
21-24And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

This was part of my bible reading this morning. I was thinking especially about verse 19, (that love is the way to shut down debilitating self criticism) because what it said to me is that LOVE is the path to emotional freedom. Love takes all the focus and attention off of SELF, so if I practice LOVE, then I am free from tormenting thoughts, burdens of my past, and perfectionistic expectations of self and others. Love makes FREE.

I also liked verse 18, that love is something we will need to Practice. It's not something that will come naturally, it will take discipline, repentance, and forgiveness. To love is going to take some practice.

And in verse 22 (we recieve what we asked for, because we're doing what pleases Him) is a key to answered prayer. (A key to Healing from Depression.) Love is that key, not because He won't give you anything if you won't love (none of us will ever earn His grace), but because when we love, our attention is off of ourselves, and "all the reasons that we don't deserve it", and "can't expect to recieve it from God". It places our attention and intimacy in Him and then we are relaxed and free to let Him do His good, pleasing, and perfect will in our lives.

Today is a new day, with many opportunities to practice. Let's love, because Love is of God.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kim and Large Family Logistics

The first blog I started reading was Kim Brenneman's Large Family Logistics. That blog is inactive now, however it is still a treasure trove of wisdom to the young mother. Her practical advice on how to manage a home would be a great help, not just to someone with post partum depression, but to anyone with any number of children! God gave us these blessings, but it does take some investigation of His word, and some listening to the sound counsel of other mothers for us to know how to manage our blessings; to know how to manage our home!

She has done a really great series called Beyond Survival. I noticed that the links on the sidebar for the series are inactive, but if you scroll down and find the link for February and March of 2007, that should take you to the right pages. There are around 12 entries on Beyond Survival. You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of February to find entry number one.

Now I know that someone who is battling depression doesn't often have a heart for housework, or anything else. But when I read what Kim has written, it doesn't make me feel obligated, overwhelmed, or despairing. It gives me hope, it encourages me! It builds a vision on the inside of me of what our home life could really be.

Go take a look: finding her blog, and allowing God to work in me through what she said has truly changed my life.
P.S. Kim has a new blog going at this address.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Link (Biblestudy, and Scriptures on Depression)

I came across a great bible study today on freedom from depression. It's very simple, not a long read, but has the real foundational truths as to why a life without depression is possible. I haven't looked around the site much yet, but I am looking forward to doing so! : )

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Walk in the Spirit, Free from Depression

I've been thinking so much the last two weeks about the difference between flesh, and spirit. If those terms don't make sense to you, I mean: the difference between our body, and our inner self: our real self. The very heart of who we are.
It started I guess when I decided to fast for a couple days. It was a very good fast, and I could see that God had done some healing in my body during that time, but I also noticed how loud that voice of my flesh could be. It made me feel very humble, and human, to experience the way human beings need food to live. I must say, my flesh did not like it. Not much at all.
But only hours after I'd finished my fast, I was thinking how great it had been! You see, my spirit liked it! It liked the way the fast forced me to depend on God and let Him be my strength, because I had no other source. I knew that I just couldn't do everything I had on my list without some supernatural intervention on His part. I'm not trying to brag on myself here, but to brag on God. He came through for me every time I asked, and I was so thrilled to complete a fast of any length, really. I guess I had thought that because of hypoglycemic reasons that I couldn't really fast. I can see now that it wasn't really so: if I'm not eating anything, then there is nothing to cause my blood sugar to spike or drop.
And the second thing that made me think about the difference between our flesh and our spirit, was that I listened to a set of cd's by Gloria Copeland, called "Walk in the Spirit". It was one of the best sets of teaching cd's I've ever heard. Actually, I've had it for awhile, and I've listened to it probably at least twice before, but it was really revolutionary to my thinking again.
Gloria talked about how the desires of our spirit are strongly against our flesh, and the desires of our flesh are strongly against our spirit, so that we can't do what we want. Yeah, I'll say. As I listened to her preaching over the course of a week, and as I finished my fast, I began to see that MOST of what I do, I've done in the flesh. A lot of what I say, and think, is motivated by my flesh. And the trouble with that is....
The desires of the sinful flesh lead to death. Jesus called us to walk a narrow road, one that neccessitates the suffering of the flesh. (Resisting its desires and whims so that we can follow the desires of our spirit, our reborn self.) Why else would He have said, Take up your cross, and follow Me? Or, If you love your life, you will lose it.
So I've been really taking a look at what's on the inside. (Ouch.)
As far as depression goes, there is no depression for the born again spirit. It's not that it's all in your flesh, as if it was all in your mind; but your spirit is the part of you that is one with God. It is the part of you that has total dominion over depression. In the flesh you may not have that, but in the spirit, YOU DO. The born again spirit is in the heavenlies. Part of a different kingdom. The reborn spirit is no longer under the dominion of the flesh, but rather the Holy Spirit, Who is our Strengthener, our Standby, our Advocate, our Encourager. You have your own personal cheering section Who will never leave you or forsake you. Don't give up, don't quit. He will not let you down. There is hope for your life: a life that is FREE FROM DEPRESSION.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Save Time, Money, and Keep it Simple!

Something that I've found saves me money and time (as well as contributing to healthy eating in our home) is shopping wholesale. Not just Costco, but a wholesale outlet for restaurants. I know that shopping in the States is probably different than it is in Southern Alberta, but shopping wholesale can be a benefit to our family in that: I spend less overall, I buy only a few things which we enjoy, and once I've picked up my few things, I do less shopping trips. It also saves me time in the end, for example:

This week I picked up a 50lb bag of carrots for half of what I would have paid in the grocery store. I brought them home and washed, trimmed, and rebagged them. I sent some through the food processor for stirfries, etc., then made a large bag of carrot sticks. The rest I will make into carrot juice, with my Breville juicer. (They make a fairly sweet, tasty juice. I drink about a litre a day right now.) Now I always have a healthy snack of carrot sticks in the fridge for the kids, or an extra side dish at lunch with a sandwich. With only a few minutes prep, I have now have precut carrots to throw in any soup, stew, or casserole.

I also bought 50lbs of Granny Smith apples. These are very high in antioxidants, and they keep really well! I keep the box in my garage where it is cool (I don't have a cold room right now), and they last for weeks. Again, they were less than half of the cost that I would have paid at the store, and when kids come over and need a snack, I place a huge bowl of apple wedges on the table, and they can have as many as they like! Almost everybody loves apples!

So that's my tip for keeping things simple, and check out Tammy's Recipes for more great tips!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Post Partum Tips...

The months after a woman has had a baby are by God's design a time to slow down, and to nurture. Just look at my kitty: the majority of the time she is now laying around nursing. This is not laziness, it is God's perfect plan! Too often in our North American mindset, we are running, running, running. This is part of what has contributed to the post partum depression of many mothers in the first place! They are accustomed to running from one activity to the next, and when baby comes, they are already depleted: emotionally, physically, mentally... Then the combination of a new baby's demands, plus all of Mom's previous commitments (such as work, family, friends, school, practices, games, and church) can leave Mommy exausted. If she doesn't know to turn to the Lord, or doesn't have some kind of a plan in place beforehand, then those first post partum months can be shocking. Discouraging. Far from the nurturing and restful ideal she had imagined.
What I'm thinking here, is that many more of you than myself have great tips as to what worked for you in your post partum months. And after all, that is the essence of Titus chapter two. That we teach eachother, and that the more experienced mothers can lend a helping hand to those who may not know how to cope with the demands of a new baby and family.
So what I propose, is that you leave a comment here with your best tip as to what has helped you to:

Bond with your baby and other children,
Keep the needs of your family met during the tired times,
Maintain a relationship with the Lord and His Word, even though you were busier than before!

I'll start things off with my best bible reading tip, and best napless napping tip!

1. When I wanted to read the bible, but was just too tired, I would make myself do it for just 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes isn't long, and I could stick it out for that duration, even if it was at naptime, bedtime, or before breakfast.

2. When I really needed a nap and couldn't get one, I would lay the baby under a play gym, and lay down beside her on the floor. Often this would keep the infant entertained for long enough for me to snooze for 15 minutes, and then I would be ok again for another couple hours.
Now if this is your first baby and she sleeps well, then you may not need to try this; but there were several years for me when my children were all young and there was usually a baby in the house. Those were some tired times, and a fifteen minute nap here and there would help me to get through those days. There is always another side, if you will just be patient.

I encourage you to stop in at Prairie Prologue, where Prairie Chick has recently done a series on home management. These are things I didn't know when my children were small, but would have helped to make life a little less stressful!
Also Tammy at Tammy's Recipes has a new baby girl, and posts occasionally about working in the kitchen with children, and chores with little guys. : )