From my daily devotional by Ann Spangler (Praying the Names of God Week Five, Day One), personalized:
Yahweh Yireh, the Lord who provides for me, thank you for all your blessings–for forgiveness and faith, purpose and hope, food and shelter, family and friends, strength and wisdom, rest and work, laughter and light. Your blessings never come to an end because you are a God of infinite grace. Amen.
For forgiveness and faith – and forgiveness for when I lost faith during depression…
For purpose and hope – as I search for my purpose here – that it draws me closer to You; and thank You for restoring my hope from hopelessness…
For food and shelter – for food on my table, for this wonderful home in Virginia: may I not take them for granted but count them as blessings each day…
For family and friends – especially since they live far away: great friends and all of my family – watch over them and be with them in their joys and trials…
For strength and wisdom – I am oh so weak yet You are strong, and You promise wisdom if we ask – help me to lean on Your strength, and seek Your wisdom and not my own as I live each day here…
For rest and work – for rest: thank You for good sleep and for vacations; and for my work: may I be a light for You in my job…
For laughter and light – thank You for the laughter I share with my husband as we journey this part of our lives together, for bringing laughter and light into my life after the silence and darkness of depression…
Thank You for rescuing me from depression. Thank You for doctors and medicine and friends and family who helped me when I couldn’t see a way out. Thank You for life after depression. Thank you for the opportunity to tell of Your faithfulness to me during my journey through it. Thank You for Your blessings that never cease, Your infinite grace, Your eternal love. In Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.
I always thought that my children would move away from home, but never considered that “home” might move away from them…even though this happened to me. Oh, how life repeats itself! My parents moved out-of-state during my sophomore year of college. I had no idea then, but am guessing now that it was hard for them to move far from their daughter.
My husband and I moved to FL two years ago during my son’s freshman year of college, then last year we moved to VA. Kids don’t come “home” for their breaks, because this isn’t home to them. They come to visit Mom and Dad for the Christmas holiday – we get to see them for a week or two then.
In the meantime, we travel to visit them. We just got back from a 5-day trip to Colorado Springs, where our son is interning for the summer. We had a great visit, and explored his new temporary home with him, enjoying Garden of the Gods, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, a drive along the scenic Arkansas River, and even the Colorado Springs Rodeo Parade in the downtown.
My husband and I lived out West when we were first married, and so we really enjoyed being back in the red rock mountains. The whole visit was good, but the best part was just being with our son.
A couple of months before that, we celebrated my daughter’s college graduation with the entire family. While it was only for a 3-day weekend, we packed it full of fun and memories.
We’ll see our daughter again in a few weeks at the annual camping trip we take with another family – we’ve been camping with them for 27 years now! This will be the first year without our son, and one of their daughters got married last year, so we’ve added to our group. But again, what I’m most looking forward to is seeing our daughter.
Our visits with the kids are not regular, but do seem to be consistently frequent. The couple of weeks at Christmas, plus these visits we can do in between. I wish it were more, but it’s the way it’s supposed to be. We raise our kids to be independent people, and then they go and do that – be independent!
I can’t help but think that if we lived closer, we might drop by more often. For one of my daughter’s shows, or for my son’s concert, or simply to take them to dinner. But we’ve never wanted to be hovering parents, so maybe this is better in the long run.
My husband and I are learning to be empty-nesters. Everyone told us it would be a challenge, they just didn’t tell us it would take so long to get used to it! But we are learning to enjoy our time together – just us – and the freedom that offers to see and explore what we want to do. So much of our lives has been about the kids – it’s good to get back to us.
I haven’t been depressed for a while. But I said it out loud today. “I’m not depressed.”
The move to Virginia certainly brought up feelings like depression – loneliness, fatigue, a little hopelessness. For me, that’s different from depression, which is lots of hopelessness. But the transition of moving was hard, like a mild depression without all the full-on depression characteristics. I wondered if the feelings would intensify and change to depression. I think I lived with some fear that it would come back due to the move.
But today, in my psychiatrist’s office, I told him that I’m not depressed.
We’re going to reduce one of my meds, which makes me a little nervous, because it’s the med that brought me out of depression in the first place. But it has a weird side-effect – chewing. I chew my teeth together all the time; I’m grinding my teeth all day. In an effort to keep this from becoming a permanent motion, we’re cutting that anti-depressant in half. I’m a little nervous about it, about the depression returning without the full medication to keep it at bay. But I think I’m in a better place emotionally, and so I’m willing to give the reduction a try.
It’s nice to not be depressed. My days are full of light, not grayness. I can hear when birds chirp – the finches found my feeder, and seeing them flit around gives me a brief joy. I don’t dread each day, which I had been doing after the move here. I have energy, and am seriously considering adding exercise back into my routine. This was never a workable plan when I was depressed: I knew I should exercise, but couldn’t work up the energy to do it. I still probably sleep too much – I nap almost every day because I have nothing better to do. But I’m sleeping well at night, so I’m not worried about it – I’m napping from boredom, not depression. I’m eating and sleeping well. I look forward to seeing people. Looking forward – that’s not depression.
I still have brief bouts of sadness or anxiety, but can usually recover pretty quickly with prayer. Getting my eyes off myself and back onto the Lord – who He is, how He sees me and loves me – eases those emotions. When I was depressed, I couldn’t lift my eyes from my misery, and sure couldn’t see God in it. I had to trust He was there, because I didn’t feel Him at all. I depended on the truths I knew from Scripture about God’s goodness, because I didn’t sense it, didn’t believe it with my emotions. I had great friends reminding me of His presence and companionship, His faithfulness and care. That’s the emptiness of depression – so self-focused that I was unable to see God with me. Those negative emotions have lessened. Now it’s just occasional – normal – feelings.
So in an effort to live here now, my husband and I are taking in the local and not-so-local scenery.
Last weekend, we enjoyed people watching at the Shenandoah Wine and Jazz Festival at the Frontier Cultural Museum. It was a hot day in the sun, but we found some wonderful shade, enjoyed a sangria and beer and some blues vocals. The Museum is an interesting place, too. Shows homes of the original settlers, their homes from their country of origin, not necessarily their homes here. We liked walking around and seeing the homesteads, and chatting with a young girl in Irish costume on the Irish Farm.
This weekend, we drove several hours to Colonial Williamsburg and walked the streets. It was very hot, but we saw some cool stuff. And it was amazing to be in a part of our country that is so historical. We also went to Jamestown and checked out the Fort and ships similar to those that landed here with the original settlers. Such small quarters for such a long passage! The Museum was very interesting, as it tracked Jamestown from the early 1600s, with the Powhatan Native American culture through colonization, and compared life in early America to England and even Africa.
We left the Fort and found an American bistro where we drank refreshing white wine and ate caprese salad, then stayed overnight in Williamsburg and got up early to drive an hour to Virginia Beach – got there around 9am before the crowds came. We sat on the part of the beach where the surfers were – that was fun to watch! The water was refreshingly cool, and we stayed for several hours. My oh my, the beach filled up! It was really crowded by the time we left. Probably typical for East Coast beaches, with their large populations nearby. Not what we were used to – the Florida beaches where we lived had more room.
Today, the 4th of July, will be low-key. We’ll grill out for dinner and maybe watch a movie. Just enjoying the present.