Friday, May 23, 2014

From the Depths of my Heart.............

  
I have never been one to share the very private areas of my life through my blog. But, I have been pondering this post for some time and felt led of the Lord to share this part of "my story........." 

On November 28, 2008 my life took a nosedive downward.  It was that day that my Mom had a massive stroke  and died two days later, on December 1st.  Her death came without any warning and once she had the stroke she never regained consciousness.  I sat with my Dad by her bedside for hours awaiting some word of hope from the Dr.  That word never came and after the Dr. telling us she had no brain activity, my Dad made the decision to remove her from all life support.  My Dad, one of my brothers and myself were at her bedside when she drew her last breath. I would not trade that moment for anything!
The next days were spent planning her funeral, supporting my Dad, and just going through the motions.  I was pretty much in a daze and hardly even remember any of those days following her death.
Once family returned home and life was returning to normal, the harsh reality hit my Dad like a ton of bricks.  He had lost the woman he had loved for 58 years and he was as lost as a lamb. He leaned on me and I put my grief on "hold" while I helped him to deal with his.
The next year and a half was full of ups and downs and then 2 1/2 years after my Mom's death, my Dad was stricken with Guillian Barre Syndrome. Once again, this came as a total surprise and caught me totally unprepared.  My Dad was a spire 80 year old man who led a very active life and in a matter of 24 hours he went to being completely disabled.  The weeks ahead were spent with him in a hospital about 100 miles from where we live with us not knowing if he was going to live or die.

Dad was not able to go back home following this illness, he had to go into a nursing facility because he could do absolutely nothing for himself.  He was in extreme pain and miserable and I was totally overwhelmed!  Again, just going through the motions and trying to keep my head above water and survive.

Daddy did begin recovering within 4-6 months and was a candidate for an assisted living facility, so I moved him into it.  It was a tough adjustment for him and he was well aware of the major life adjustment he was going to have to make and he was not happy about it.  I spent my days doing what I could to try and make him happy.

In the meantime other stressful life issues occurred, and I was spiraling further and further into a state of hopelessness.  I just simply could not wrap my head around all of it but I continued my day to day activities, kept putting my face on and never bearing my heart to anyone outside of my husband and the Lord.

I am blessed with so many precious and wonderful friends that were so supportive and I knew they were praying for me.  But, I also knew that they had no idea just how deeply I was hurting and how desperate I felt. I could not bear to share with them my hopelessness.  I thought that would certainly be a sign of weakness and of course, I did not want to appear weak. ~shame on me~

By last summer I felt so hopeless and desperate that I began seeking the Lord's direction for help. It was as though He audibly spoke to me and told me that I needed to seek professional counseling. Tommy and I knew of a Christian Counselor that was highly regarded and respected and I called to make an appointment. That was probably the best phone call that I have ever made in my life!!! 

Near the close of my first session, my counselor told me  that I was depressed.  Oh, my, not me, I thought.  I mean, I thought depressed people stayed in the house, withdrew from people and crawled in the bed and pulled the covers over their head and I had done none of that.  Well, I thought wrong!  People react to depression in various ways.

Through sessions of Biblical counseling my counselor was able to lead me through the deepest, darkest, valley of my life.  I came to grips with the pent up grief, the overwhelming task of care giving and other life issues.  I was beginning to see clearly again and I could feel my life coming back together.  

I am now an advocate for Christian Counseling and I share this with you in hopes that I might be an encouragement to someone else that is struggling, dealing with depression or walking through a dark valley.  I did not take any medications to bring me through this time but I would never be so bold as to say that there is not a place and time for medication in some instances.  It just so happens that counseling was all it took for me. (if you live in the NE La. area and have need of a Christian Counselor, I would love to give you my Counselor's name and number, so do not hesitate to contact me) 

I will never allow myself to  fall into such a place as this again.  While I am no longer in counseling , I will not hesitate to return should I feel the need. 

Through counseling I was able to find closure to my Mom's untimely death, and a healthy balance in my care giving responsibilities. And, I was reminded that God always uses the trials of our life to our good and His glory if we allow Him to.

Does this mean that everything in my life is now perfect?  Absolutely not and it never will be.  What it means is that I now have a peace I haven't known in some time and  I stand amazed at all HE has taught and continues to teach me through these trials.  And,as I said,  I pray I can be an inspiration and encouragement to others because of what I have been through.

These and many more scriptures took on very special meaning to me during my "valley time." 

  Isaiah 40: 30,31  “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
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  1 Peter 5: 6,7  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  
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James 1: 2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

While I never lost my joy, I had lost my happiness, and it has felt so good to have a "happy heart" once again! 
~a big, big smile~ 

16 comments:

nancygrayce said...

Thank you.......I think there are many of us who can relate to this....especially the part about putting a smile on our faces so others won't know how deeply we hurt!

Joyce said...

I think so many can relate to what you are saying. Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable, which is never easy in this format. Hugs xo

debi said...

CiCi,
So beautifully written, thanks for sharing your heart with us. What an encouragement to all who will read it.
I wen through similar circumstances back in 2008, would love to have read this then :-)

P.S.
I shared your blog on Wednesday in regard to you recommending
" The All Girls Filling Station Last Reunion"
Loved it!

Hugs!

Debbie Petras said...

I so appreciate this open and honest post of yours! I've learned that behind our smiling faces there's a story. I am with you on this. I applaud you sharing about how you came to go to a Christian counselor. There was a time in my life when I was at the end of myself and clinging to the Lord and I went to a Christian counselor. The circumstances in my life were too much and I too was depressed. I am no longer depressed but of course, I have those days. I'm no longer in counseling but it helped me tremendously and I too would encourage others to not be afraid to reach out for the help they need.

Blessings and much love to you,
Debbie

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Thank you for your honesty and openness. I pray that this post will be a blessing.

Sonja Goodson said...

I really love and appreciate thispost and the honest sharing. I had the same experience when my parents died, it shook my world, my faith and the things that I thought were already rock solid in my life. God lead me through it, but it took a long time. I am so glad you sought a christian counselor. It probably would have been a help to me at the time. My husband was my counselor, but most of it I kept inside, until God unraveled it one step at a time. Life hits ALL of us, one way or another, and there are times when it is too overwhelming. So glad for a counselor who used God's Word to help you back to what you already knew.

Thanks Lea, for sharing so honestly. It is part of your testimony, and our testimonies are not always and only sunshine and roses. It's in the hard things, that God shines brighter.

This was a blog for everyone.

Rachel said...

What a strong woman you are! So proud of you for realizing that you needed help and seeking it out...I totally believe in counseling and therapy. Sometimes people just need to talk to someone outside of their bubble to see things clearly. The Lord has you in the palm of His hand and goes before, preparing the way! It's clearly obvious that you never lost your joy, but I sure am glad your happiness is back! Thankful for you!

Debbie said...

Well I can relate to every word that you have written here. I too am a firm believer in christian counseling, and have sought it out a couple of different times in my life. I pray that your post encourages others to seek help when they need it with no fear of shame or hesitation. I find it encouraging to consider all those in the Bible who were GREATLY used of God but hardly lead the perfect lives free of any remorse or sadness of feelings of just being tired or overwhelmed. Look at the Psalms and David for a perfect example. He only wants our hearts and desire to know and serve Him. He KNOWS how weak we are. THANK YOU sooo much for encouraging us with your triumphs and blessings. I pray that MANY are encouraged to do the same. HUGS

Zoanna said...

Thank you for opening your heart so vulnerably on this post. I have sensed your deep sorrow from time to time and wondered if you were functioning like my husband like my hubby does theu depression--by doing, going, keeping status quo so as to not crack under the pressure of grief. I wish he would see a Christian counselor alone . We saw one together to get thru a really rough marital patch in which my counselor detected root causes that were not my husband's fault. I was grieving the mother I always wanted rather than forgiving and accepting the one I have. By God's grace I was able to forgive and accept her, and now I truly love her. I send hugs to you and am so thankful you humbled yourself to find grace and mercy in the depths of your pit of despair.

melanie said...

Bless you for sharing your honest heart <3

Stephanie Faris said...

I attended a church that had a Christian counselor as part of the church. She was even located on the property in an office. I think it encouraged people to seek her out when they might have otherwise. So often people are hesitant to ask for help when it really could improve their quality of life. You went through quite a bit in a short time...I think it isn't unusual for situations in life to kick off depression.

[darci @ the good life] said...

You are amazing - thank you for sharing this. I think we've all likely struggled with times in life where it just felt like all our joy had escaped us ---- I know I have at least. It's a trying time to say the least, but so awesome to see God's face and be drawn back to Him through it. You are a true JOY and blessing to many I am sure... thank you for sharing your heart and experience!

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

i went to christian counseling in college. i was at the bottom. marrying a widower, after dealing with the divorce of my parents and then the death of my dad was just the last bit i could handle. but i think the Lord, in His grace, gives us more than we feel like we can get through, so we can lean on Him feel a desperate need for Him. Christian counseling is a way He helps us. it was a blessing to me. so thankful it was a blessing to you as well. someone who can sit and listen while encouraging you and letting you cry is so helpful.

Elizabeth Day said...

Yes, so many women can identify with what you have experienced for many different reasons. Thank you for encouraging others to seek professional Christian help and counseling. It can be invaluable. I am so glad you are on this side of your difficult time and felt led to share about it. Love you, sweet friend.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart and I'm so glad you went for the help....((HUGS))

Just a little something from Judy said...

What a courageous and much needed post! I love that you shared this and know that God will use it to bless so many that might find themselves in similar situations. God tells us in His Word, that we are like sheep, and He is our Shepherd. Sheep always need help, guidance, and direction, and I am thankful that He led you to a good counselor.
Thank you so much for sharing this. My heart is filled with joy after reading this.