Hello everyone! Happy New Year! It has been awhile since I’ve written. It feels so good to be back at it again. I am excited to see what God is going to lead me to write about this year. There is one topic that is always on my heart and that is mental health. So, why not start talking about it with a new year ahead of us.
As the new year begins, there is a tremendous amount of focus on physical health. Yes, our bodies need to be taken care of, but so does our mental health. Our mind is so crucial to our well being. If you are in a bad place mentally, it can damage you physically.
Because my childhood was filled with abuse, there wasn’t a day that I didn’t experience trauma. I coped by shoving my feelings deep down inside me which caused a lot of intestinal issues. Those issues were a constant problem for me for many many years.
I really didn’t realize how damaged I was until I was in my thirties and depression set in. My doctor told me I had a chemical imbalance and needed to take medication. I had a baby and a toddler at the time and felt so overwhelmed with everything, so I gave in and took the medication. I didn’t even think that I needed to talk to someone about my past. The thought never crossed my mind.
When I turned forty, I started having horrible panic attacks. Anxiety also became a constant companion. I felt like my body was reacting to a five alarm fire! I didn’t understand what was going on inside me. Those horrible attacks made me feel like I was going to die. So, I went to see my doctor to get help and was put on another medication. In the back of my mind, I began to think that I might need to see a counselor. But, I didn’t act on my thoughts until I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine.
Dyan strongly encouraged me to call a counselor she knew. Even though I was desperate for help, I put off calling her for several days. Dyan kept reminding me that I needed to dial the number and make an appointment. So, I finally did. I am so grateful that I had someone in my life to stand by me and push me in the right direction. My life could have taken a much darker turn if I wouldn’t have reached out for help.
I haven’t quit seeking help in some form or another for twenty three years. I take medication to help with my depression and anxiety. Thankfully, the panic attacks rarely happen any more. I have read books, participated in Bible studies, prayed, cried out to God, and written in countless journals to get my feelings out. I have spent hours alone with God. I am happy to report that I am healing day by day. One little step at a time.
When I started writing this blog, I knew God was leading me to do it. My purpose has always been to help people and share what I am learning. I want to point you to Jesus because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John 14:6 He is the reason I am here today. I am stronger in my faith and closer to my Lord than I have ever been. I want that for you too!
I know how the pain of life can become so intense that you just want it to go away. You might think the only way the pain will go away is to end your life. That is not the truth!!! I am living proof there is another way. There are counselors and pastors out there who can help you with your pain. There are people who would love to pray for you and encourage you. There are so many resources for you.
Every December, I read Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift. It’s a wonderful devotional to help you get ready for the birth of Christ. I highly recommend reading her books and devotional. I want to share a verse with you that has meant a lot to me.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Jesus took on flesh and came to earth for us!!! He came to experience human feelings and human bodily functions. He cried. He felt anger. He laughed. He smiled. He saw how people treated others. He ate. He drank. He healed. He worked. He taught. He lived His life doing His Father’s will. He had friends. He loved and cared for others. He came to earth to be the answer we all desperately need. He built relationships with people and He was there for them when they needed Him. And…..He is here for us too!!!
That’s the bottom line. He is here for us. When you think there isn’t anyone who cares—He cares. He feels your pain. He feels your hurt. He feels everything you feel. That’s how much He loves you. He is the Way you are searching for.
I know this, because I live this every day. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Him. I cling to Him and ask for help every single day. I am not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. I don’t always get it right. But, He is still here helping me and forgiving me. There is always a way through with Him by my side.
Before the new year, I asked the Lord again if He still wanted me to continue to write. I was journaling at the time and the Holy Spirit started speaking to me deep in my soul. Let me share with you what He said to me. (It is awkward and hard to share this!)
“Laurie, you have gone through many things. We want you to share your story. Speak, little one, speak. You have a voice. Your story needs to be heard. We want others to hear your story and your struggles. We know how much you want people to know us and have a relationship with us. You were created for such a time as this. Share what you have learned and continue to learn. You were made to do this.”
So, here I am, feeling very humbled and encouraged to keep writing. I really want to know if there are topics you would like me to write about. Would you like to know what books I’ve read? Would you like to know what scriptures have meant a lot to me? Can I help you with journaling? How can I encourage you?
God always has a plan to use what has happened to us for good. He is always good and He can’t be any other way. That’s a fact! One of my many favorite verses in the Bible is Genesis 50:20. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God has taken the evil that was done against me and used it for good. And, He will do the same for you! Please believe that!
Let me share something I read on Instagram the other day. “God is always working. Sometimes you can’t see it. Sometimes you can’t feel it. Sometimes you can’t grasp what He is doing. But that’s what faith is, it’s believing in the goodness of God in spite of what we can see.” From Living Christian
I think believing in the goodness of God, in spite of what I see or have seen, has been one of my biggest challenges. And… it might be for you too. I have to focus on God and not what is happening around me. I have to look at who He is, what His word says and believe Him over what the world is telling me. I know how hard it is to do that!
I am truly amazed at what God has done for me. I am struck by His goodness and mercy. I am so grateful for His work in my life. I wouldn’t want to live my life without Him. I am healing every day. Healing takes time. But, every tear I’ve cried, and there have been a lot!, every prayer I have prayed, there have been a lot of those too, every book I’ve read, every counseling session I’ve had, every single thing is being used for good in my life.
I really hope 2023 can be a year that draws you closer to God. I pray my words encourage you to reach out and get help. There are so many good counselors out there. There are so many resources that have been tremendously helpful to me. I would be glad to share any of those with you. You can message me with your questions.
Until next time dear friends. This is my journey to joy!