I have gone through many trials in my life. And I hate to admit that most of the time I felt picked on. I just wanted life to be different. I wanted people or my circumstances to change. Thank goodness, I am finally learning that I can walk through my trials with a different attitude. I would like to share with you what I am learning and applying in my life.
My Mom was recently diagnosed with dementia. She is my fourth family member to be diagnosed with some form of mental issue. My grandmother and father suffered from this horrible disease. My brother was tortured by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Watching people in agony from mental disease is not fun! So when I learned about my mom, the reaction I felt inside myself was, “Not again, Lord! I cannot do this again. I am done. I have nothing left in me. Please, take this away!” Typical reaction for me. I felt sorry for myself and what I knew was ahead for me.
I really didn’t know how I was going to cope with another family member with a mental problem. (I have enough of my own!) The agony, torture and pain that comes from a mental illness is overwhelming. But—in the midst of all of my fears and worries—God placed two vital tools to help me. One was, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa’s book has vital information for anyone who has gone or going through difficult times. Her book is helping me look at trials differently. The other one was seeking out my counselor who I have been seeing off and on for 20 years. She brings so much wisdom and healing into my life.
Of course, scripture is one of the things that I cling to the most. Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” That is what God is doing for me. He is making a way in the wilderness. He is supplying me with the tools and the people I need to move through my hard times. He wants me to see what He is doing. He isn’t leaving me alone. He is helping me cope with the stresses of my life.
I have always wanted my life to be different. If I just had a different Dad. If I just had a stable home. If people would just be nice to me. If the abuse would just stop! If my brother would have just been accepted and not rejected. If…if…if… That is how I thought. I thought that changing people or my circumstances would make my life better. I went from one disappointment to another. The cycle was unending. I just wanted comfort. Is that such a bad thing to ask for?
I am learning that life isn’t comfortable and I am not sure that it is supposed to be. (I can’t believe I just said that. I am changing!) Lysa has given me a new way to think about things. “But what if life settling down and all your disappointments going away would be the worst thing that could happen to you?” That’s an interesting thought isn’t it? I think we all tend to think if something horrible would just go away then things would be better. But, sometimes that horrible thing is making us into who we need to be. It is making us stronger and giving us more knowledge to fight our battles. That is how I am finally looking at this new battle with my mom.
“We think we want comfort in the I-don’t-know times of life. But comfort, isn’t a solution to seek; rather it’s a by-product we’ll reap when we stay close to the Lord. What if the comfort and certainties we crave today are a deadly recipe for complacency that will draw our hearts further and further away rom God?” TerKeurst
I really hadn’t thought about seeking comfort in that light before. I thought seeking comfort was a good thing. I had no idea that it could be a bad thing. But, now I realize that my comfort has to come from God and not from my circumstances. His comfort is the absolutely the best comfort I could ever have. (I still want hugs every now and then. There is just something about a good hug that helps me feel better. So, if you know me, give me a hug please!)
I have seen so much harm in my life. But, I need to have a higher perspective that believes God is good. He has a good plan for my life. His plan is to prosper me and give me a future and hope. My hope has to be in Him. I can’t place my hope on anyone or anything else in my life. Psalm 25:5
Lysa states in her book that there is a difference between news and truth. They aren’t always one and the same. “I have access to a truth that transcends news. The restoration that is impossible with man’s limitations is always possible for a limitless God. Truth is what factors God into the equation.”
When I heard the news of my mother having dementia, it brought back many painful memories and fears I experienced with my brother and my dad. I went into panic mode. I wanted to crawl up in a ball and hide. It took awhile for me to have the right perspective. (If I am honest, I am still a work in progress.) But, because of what I am reading and studying, I am able to handle it better now. I am going to focus on the truth and not the news. “God will be my possible in the midst of what can sometimes feel so impossible.” TerKeurst
“If we have a misunderstanding of God, we will most certainly have a wrong understanding of our circumstances.” TerKeurst I have to choose to trust Him with my mom. I have to give Him my feelings and concerns. He is truly the only One who can help us anyway. Sure there are doctors, diet and medicines, but He is the only hope I have to cling to. And that is how He wants it to be. He has a plan and a purpose for all of this. He can turn destruction into destiny.
God’s truth is so important when we are in the middle of a crisis. I have to read scripture all the time. I have to carry it with me. If I don’t, then I will focus on the crisis instead of the solution. God’s word is the solution for me. His words bring comfort to me. I have to stay focused on it.
“Using God’s truth as your fighting words will not change what you see, but it absolutely will change how you see.” TerKeurst Can I get an “Amen?”
This has been revolutionary for me! Because I saw so much abuse, destruction, evil, pain, torture, sadness, anger etc. in my life, the notion of “what you see is what you believe” became very real to me. My mind automatically went to a dark place when I saw something bad happen. Like for instance, seeing my mom start having hallucinations, hearing things, hiding things and thinking people were stalking her, at first scared the crap out of me! My mind went to all the dark things in my past. But because of God, scripture, Lysa’s book, and my counselor, I am fighting back with the truth of God’s word. His word isn’t changing what I am seeing, but it is changing how I am seeing the situation. It has taken me a long, long time to get here! Whew! There are still days I blow it, but it is easier to get back on track now.
God’s perspective is so very different than ours. He sees things that we don’t. He knows how it is all going to be used for good. My goal is to trust His plan and ask for His perspective. I want to see things through His eyes, not mine. It’s like He has to be my filter. “My circumstances hadn’t changed, but my certainty in God’s plan being good had. I could see with my own eyes that none of my tears would be wasted.” TerKeurst
So, that is where I am right now. It is hard to see my mom the way she is. It causes great pain inside me to see her mind play tricks on her. I have to pray like crazy when I am around her. I have to focus on the certainty that He has a plan for all of this. He never promised us life would be easy, but He promises us He will be here right by our sides to help us. Let us have eyes to see Him!
Until next time dear friends……
Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything too hard for me?”
*Please pray that I will continue to fight with God’s truth. That His words would continue to change how I see and not what I see. Thank you!
3 thoughts on “Not What I See, But How I See”
Hang in there Laurie. I know your mom has been a cheerleader for you and I am sure some of your struggle is the realization that you are losing that. I am right there with you in all the things you are learning and I am so happy you are finding the Lord as your comfort. It is hard and with each hardship we grow a little more, but is sure “ain’t” fun! Keep writing. I enjoy this blog so much and it helps me to understand what you are going through and I will pray. It also helps to see I am not alone in my own hardships and struggles. I love your honesty. We need more of that in our Christian circles.
Very encouraging Laurie, I really feel what you are saying because I have been on the same journey of mind shift and learning to trust God in the situations that I have now accepted that I have to go through.
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It is definitely a mind shift. Thanks for reading and commenting!