Anxiety & Depression


Anxiety and depression the marriage from hell, seriously.

I had my first anxiety attack at the age of 15. Unexpected shortness of breath, chest pain, and feeling of despair, came up to me and punched me straight in the face. I had no idea what the heck was happening to me at the moment, honestly felt like I was slowing dying. By this time I had already accepted Christ into my heart, attended church regularly and lived what I thought a normal life. So I would question and wonder, why?

Truth is depression doesn’t make exceptions. You could be mentally the strongest person out there and still be vulnerable to fall in it’s trap. I think of it as quicksand, step in and you’ll slowly start to sink. For some reason I thought being “Christian” automatically ruled me out of that sinking hole. Only to find out that there’s a greater risk because of it, i’ll explain.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

In this whole chapter Paul advises us to take up the whole armor of God.(Read about the armor in Ephesians 14-18) So that when those harsh and evil days come we may be able to stand our ground. I didn’t know what this meant back then honestly. I guess because I had never gone through it before till it hit me.

Around that time I had my first heart break (they suck, am I right?) relocated to a different city, puberty acne was pounding on my self-esteem and was soon to start high school as overwhelming as that already is. I was basically on my own since all my friends went to a different school. I was not realizing that I was slowly drifting into depression because I chose to ignore and hide all my feeling instead of facing them. Suddenly it was harder to get up the mornings then usual, my energy was lacking, motivation was quickly out the window. This horrible feeling of despair would linger over my spirit unlike anything else I had felt before. I was in a battle, not with anyone physically but within myself. It took a great effort to show happiness around my family since I was secretly miserable inside. Eventually like I said in the beginning I had the first anxiety attack. Which in my opinion is the aftershock of depression. That was my body physically reacting to all the emotional mess I was carrying inside.

One of my biggest mistakes was not speaking about it to anyone. I thought I was strong enough to take it and go through it I guess. Wrong! I needed help, and fast. Life isn’t perfect not even when you are Saved. It’s not always a walk in the park. I was young and mistakenly thought that’s how it had to be. Not going to lie, I allowed depression to settle in and question my Faith. Depression AKA the devil, said to me.  “Well if God is love, why don’t you feel loved? “If God is your Father, why do you feel abandoned? “If God is your strength, then why are you broken?” the list goes on.

Remember I said that being christian puts you at a bigger risk. Yes, it makes you a target! the devil will never rest until he has you under his feet. He’s angry about the great plans the Lord has intended for your life and aims to rob you of all blessings. He attacks not only physically, and emotionally, but mainly spiritually. Because that’s where your Faith is. That’s why Paul writes about the danger around us, that we can’t see with our eyes-but certainly exists.

So, how did I overcome?

The same solution to my everything. JESUS! You see I simply surrendered. All my troubles, all my tears, all my failure, all my fears, all my heartache, all my pain, all my burdens, and all my shame. I allowed Him to take control of my life, He became the captain of my sinking ship. He reminded me that on that cross I received freedom. Rest for those weary days, and shelter from the adversary.

Am I still at risk for depression?

yes! Everyday, and so are you. But it’s a choice remember that. You are not destined to be miserable and chained down. Choose to set your eyes on the one that saves and gives Love, Hope, Peace. It’s a daily decision you have to make as soon as you open your eyes each morning. It’ll be hard, you still might get that flat tire on the way to work. You are still going to have disagreements with spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, and family. Economy might be difficult at times. They’ll be days where your stress level is higher than your self-esteem.

But remember when you’re tired and feel like you can’t go on anymore.

Let Go! He’s ready to catch you.

 

 

Advertisements

I knew there was a God.


At the tender age of 7 years old. I knew there was a God.

It was a normal night, nothing out of the ordinary. My school uniform was laying by my bed as usual, waiting for me in the morning. I whispered “goodnight” to my sister, and off to dreamland I went or so I thought. It might have been around 3am when I noticed she wasn’t beside me. I found that strange, I disliked the dark but even more loneliness. So I got up to look for her, in failed attempts to find her. I decided to go into my parents room, hoping she would be there. But instead I found my father with one leg over the balcony rail, yelling with complete assurance “I’m gonna do it”!

At that very moment my whole life changed.

I was 7 years old as I mentioned in the beginning. My brain was not capable of understanding why he wanted to do that. My eyes quickly scanned the room searching for my mom, but she wasn’t there. In complete shock I ran down stairs, looking for someone, but no one to be found. Ran outside and hid behind some front yard bushes. Occasionally peeking out in hopes of seeing at least one person to run to for help. Then in the distance I noticed 2 people walking towards the house. My heart sighed with relief, it was my mom and sister. I ran to her arms and squeezed her like never before.

She read my startled face and said “Sorry baby I had to go make a call, and didn’t want to wake you”. While she was still talking a police truck was pulling up. I looked up to see if my dad was still in the balcony but he wasn’t, I guess he changed his mind when he saw the police. He then approached the house door to go speak with my dad but he had locked himself in. After failed attempts to conversate with him. The police man came back to us and said “is there anywhere else I could take you all, family member? A friend’s house”?

My grandma lived in a town not to far from our house so my mom choose to go there. Since my dad wouldn’t open the door we had no option then to leave as we were. We didn’t just leave our father that night, we left our home, we left our friends and the life we knew. After that point nothing was ever the same. My mom quickly filed for divorce and started working full-time in order to sustain us. After all she was now a single mother, all on her own. There were days where she worked so much I wouldn’t get to see her. But I knew she was doing everything she could to keep food in our stomachs.

Side note* (At the age of 18 my sister confessed to me something I didn’t know because I was too young at that time. She said that night not only did our father threaten to take his life but before that he had a gun to my moms head. If it weren’t for her walking in the room at that very moment and intervened he would have ended hers)

After the day we left our father, began a time of torture I guess it’s the best way to describe it. My father would show up randomly and stalk us. He would be at the corner of the street waiting for us to leave the house. In one occasion we had to hide in a neighbor’s house till he left. I asked my self what was his purpose? Why this behavior? Why just why was he doing that to us. One specific night I remember vividly he tried to break into my grandmas house, in attempts to take me. Basically kidnap me because my mother had obtained complete custody of my sister and I. Luckly my older male cousins were sleeping over that night. My father was utterly drunk and full of rage he began kicking and pushing the door open as my cousins pushed in close to prevent him from coming in. As if they were playing tug of war, he was yelling, cursing you name it. I was behind everyone just watching from a distance. Everything was so surreal as if a movie was playing in slow motion right in front of my eyes. I ran towards the back of the house sat on the cement stairs leading to the roof. Looked up to the heavens and said with a trembling almost whispering voice,

“God I know you’re up there, you have to be. Can you help me now, please”? 

Those words impact me every time. A kid at that age doesn’t completely understand who God is, they have a perception based on what the parents have told them. But they rarely stop and acknowledge him in harsh times, after all kids are just kids thinking about kids stuff. So how did I know to cry out to a god I had never known personally?

I can only conclude that my soul at that tender age just knew, it was certain as if I had met him already. As if my spirit had already encountered him but my worldly body didn’t know it.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

I longed for a Savior to break through and rescue me at that moment. I desperately needed a Father that would love me instead of scare me. In that moment I choose to belive in someone greater than my reality, someone bigger than my situation. I Believed there was a God, my God. King of kings, Lord of lords.

   Later in life at the age of 13 I met my Savior. Jesus the one I longed for all those years, I wasn’t scared to open my heart to let him in. Someone else probably would have had trusting issues, do to childhood traumas. But I didn’t there wasn’t even an ounce of fear, no doubt, no insecurities. I ran to His arms and said,

“Here you are, I knew you would come”!!

I guess this entry should have been the first, but hey! it’s all right. After much thinking and unsuccessful attempts at a blog name, I decided to name this place Selah. That word that shows up 71 times in the book of Psalms. I don’t know about you but for a while I didn’t know what it meant.

The exact meaning of this Hebrew word is still unknown. But various interpretations have been given by Bible Scholars. One of which is “Stop and Listen” I loved it immediately, and seemed like a fitting title for this blog. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not coming out of a sense of pride. I don’t mean you have to drop everything and listen to what I have to say. But this word primarily speaks to me as a reminder to “stop and listen to what God wants to say.”

We get so caught up with life, family, work, stress and so much more that we often forget to do just that “stop and listen.” In the midst of problems our minds race to look for answers and solutions, in occasions i’ve catched myself leaving God as the last resource. Which is so wrong because He should be first in all, and I have to remind myself to stop, be quiet, and listen to what He wants to do through my situation. God works in mysterious ways, sometimes he may allow things to happen to get our attention. I don’t mean that he’s this big bully sitting in heaven picking on us. But if you think about it our vision derails often, we focus our eyes on things that aren’t from him. This world is good at doing just that, robbing us of our attention. Waving candy in front of our eyes as if we were toddlers. And when reality strikes we come back running with broken hearts to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we never lost sight of him? If our fire never dimmed down. If we all walked into church already connected with God and wouldn’t have to relay on the worship leader to get us there. We wouldn’t have to be asked to raise our hands in praise nor to press in to feel Gods presence because we would already be in it. Yeahh! that would be amazing but unfortunately we are still flesh and bone, we are weak and relay on our own understanding and strength at times. We are in a vulnerable position, and we’ll make mistakes.

But if we made a commitment to stop and listen to Gods voice everyday then we will have a closer relationship with our Father. So I encourage you to hold on to Gods hand, walk by Faith and believe that he is much greater than your troubles. Much stronger than any situation you may be facing.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.

My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise him.”          

Psalm 28:7

Running on empty.

11098776_644197845710208_1384361429_n

What is Faith? What does it mean? What does it really mean?

It wasn’t till a few months back that I realized that I had no idea, I’ll explain what I mean by that. The Bible teaches and instructs us to live a life of faith, to walk by faith and not by sight. I opened the doors of my heart to Christ around the age of 13 if I’m not mistaken. So that means I’ve known him now for 10 years now, and yeah I was certain that I was full of faith. But I was far from the truth.

One night while alone in my room, I laid in bed. My room is usually blasting with worship music but this time was different. I wanted silence I wanted to  be alone, just me and God. For about 15 minutes I laid there, not a single word came out of my mouth. Then suddenly my heart said “Faith” and I knew that was God. I was not thinking or contemplating anything relating  to that. But God wanted to touch the subject, so I agreed.

I thought to myself, I have faith! Then my mind started going through a list of things I typically do in a way to prove it. Such as, I’ve been going to church for a bunch of years, I pray and read the Bible along with the preacher and fellowship. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and so on. As if my actions bought me a front line ticket to faith. I saw and thought of this so-called faith as a reward for good behavior.

God is so kind and so patient, that even though I basically needed a slap right there and then. He kindly and gently brought conviction to my heart. At that moment I began to cry and felt the Holy Spirit moving within me. Clearing my heart of the misconception I had about faith. There was a breakthrough moment, where He allowed me to see how lost I was, how far from truth I had been these years. You see, my description of faith was very opposite to his.

Then I desperately cried out as if my life depended on it “God, give me real faith, your meaning of faith. The faith Moses had in you when he took your people out of Egypt. The faith Abraham had to leave everything he knew in order to obey your word. The faith that man had in Jesus when he said “just say the word and my daughter will be healed”

At that moment I was willing to do anything for it. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. That means that no matter how good of a “christian” I try to be, no matter how good I behave, no matter how much I pray and read the Bible. Without faith I am nothing!   And so I prayed “Teach me faith, teach me to fix my eyes upon you no matter how high the waters get. To desire you and not the things of this world, to put you First and me second”

A woman I admire once said, “Be very careful when you pray. Our words have power, and when we speak God listens.”

Since that wonderful encounter with Faith, my vision is different. Yes! I am still imperfect. Yes! I am still full flaws and Yes! I am gonna mess up time and time again. But faith teaches me that Jesus, gave me access to forgiveness. On that cross he conquered it all. He defeated my fears, He defeated my giants, He lifts me up when I’m RUNNING ON EMPTY. I’m learning to walk in faith everyday, I’ll be lying to you if I say it’s a piece of cake. NO! it hurts, it’s painful at times. The problem is we want God to revolve around us to cater our needs. We want prayer to work like a microwave, demanding answers fast, hot, and now! And truth is, He doesn’t work that way.

Problems yeah I have many, enough to pass around. But I’m learning that through the smallest things I am able to bring him honor. Last week as I sat in the backyard to have my devotional, I began to speak with God, expressed my troubles, worries, concerns, and then I asked out loud, “are you even here with me? are you listening to me right now?” I’m not gonna lie for a second there my eyes focused on what wasn’t there physically. But my heart screamed “FAITH” !!!!

You see, these are some of the moments where faith comes into place. Where you need to straighten your mind and take insecurities directly to the trash. Where you need to toughen up and choose faith over the feeling of abandonment. Choose to see God through the eyes of the spirit, not the ones on the flesh.

Christian Author, Max Lucado said something that touches my heart every time.

“At that moment I realized something.

I could look around and find fear, or look at my Father and find Faith. I chose my Father’s face.

So did Moses. So can you.”