Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NO LONGER I- the study! Coming this fall to a church near you!

So, starting in two weeks, I will be teaching a ladies' Bible study at my church.  The study will take place every Thursday morning from 9:00-11:30, with content derived from my life and from this blog.  I know some of you go to my church, while others of you aren't even in the U.S., but I wanted to give you all this information in case you are local and would like to attend.  The cost is $25.  The study I will be teaching is my own, entitled NO LONGER I.

For more information, or to register, please visit:  http://www.woodsedge.org/adults_ministry.php?id=32&tab=61

This is a little blurb I've written about what I will be teaching.

"No Longer I -- Galatians 2:20-21 says "For I have been crucified with Christ and it's no longer I that lives but Christ who lives within me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me." Join us this fall as we walk through the scriptures, learning what it means to be Crucified with Christ. We will learn what it means to lay self aside and let Christ live and love through us. We'll discuss practical applications as we work towards becoming the wives, the mothers, the daughters, the sisters, the friends.... the women that God created us to be."

Let me preface the study by saying this- I am no expert.  I am about as far from perfect as one can get.  I've messed up royally time and time again, but I've learned much and am still learning every day.  I know that God is using my story and the stories of those just like me to encourage, teach, and bring hope to others.  I am not a know-it-all (though it may seem this way).  I am just an ordinary girl who is extraordinarily loved by her creator and loves to share this with others so that they, too can experience this!  

I hope you'll join me this fall as we walk through this journey towards living a life crucified with Christ- learning to live, to love in His strength.  

No longer afraid of my calling, 

No longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Postpartum Depression... and friends who fold your underwear.

So I've told you about my depression.  It started out as postpartum and just never really went away.  So while I'm looking around at a house full of random stuff, I'm anxious on the inside because I don't have the energy (or the time) or emotional capacity to get it all done (and my brain is at odds with my body because I also wrestle with OCD). In fact, sometimes I just get emotional because the old me could conquer this mess in no time- and still have energy to spare.

As it is right now, I can clean all day, literally, and at the end of the day it sometimes looks worse than before.  But I also know that's the life of a mom with so many active, young children.  In keeping with the warrior spirit, I have made it a point to fight back against my constant, nagging desire to sit and stare at the wall or go to sleep.  In fact when I'd much rather put the kids in bed early and find my way to my own comfy pillow, or  clean, I've chosen to sit and read a little longer with them or play a little more with them. I want them to feel loved and not second in line to a clean house or to mommy's depression.

So anyway, I have this new friend... who feels nothing like a new friend.  In fact, she feels like someone I've known my entire life.  It's crazy that in the couple of months we have been acquainted, we've gotten uber close- likely because neither of us has anything better to do than to text when the kids are in bed... just sayin'. But this friend has invested time and energy into me- like diggin deep to find out about what makes me tick, and what makes me feel loved and encouraged.  She has been a true God-send in my time of need.

So any how, yesterday she came over to my house... to help fold laundry.  Seriously.  Six loads of miscellaneous laundry and she dove right in, laughing all the way.  So I thought for sure since she had helped with me that, I'd be able to clean my house, but I wasn't.  I cooked tonight's dinner last night, then cleaned the kitchen and other miscellaneous things until the hottie came home from school (at 11:00).  Then I stayed up with him so that he wouldn't doze off while trying to finish his school work. (That's right... I'm workin' the brownie points.)  But then as I finally closed my eyes at 1:00 this morning, it felt like fifteen minutes of sleep and drool before my alarm went off at 6:15 this morning... and at this point, I may or may not have let out a wordy dird.

But in typical "Christi" fashion, I decided today I would conquer this never ending (and honestly, unrealistic) to-do list.  I thought I could somehow will myself to have energy.... but clearly my brain had other plans.  I tried to get motivated and I started working this morning- while trying to wrestle a cranky one-year-old and a needy three-year-old.  I realized quickly that work was not going to get done in that moment and put Shepherd down for nap and retreated to read with Jacob.  In no time, I was back in zombie mode.  Jacob was busy "reading" and I tried to make myself get up and get busy, but all I could do was stare... and there might have been drooling in there at some point.

After this, I cried because I felt hopeless.  I want to be a warrior myself, but during a wonderful quiet time the other day, I asked the Lord to give me some verses.  This was one that stuck out to me:  "The best army cannot save a king.  Nor is great strength enough to save a warrior." Psalm 33:16  My take away was that just because I am strong doesn't mean I can conquer it all.  I need to depend on the Lord for strength to get through this depression (NO LONGER I).  During a quiet time about a month and a half ago, I felt like God was saying this to me "Nothing to wake you up.  Nothing to put you to sleep.  Press in to me- for I am all you need."

So I cried out to Him and asked him to send me some help... a prayer which I received the answer to in the form of a friend with way too much free time. :)  I'm kidding. She texted tonight and asked if she could come over tomorrow and help me knock out this to-do list, once and for all.  She said "I figure if we are going to do life together, we should actually do life together."  Ah, what a wise woman!  Whereas I like to offer help to others, and not necessarily receive it myself, I think I am in a new season- learning to accept and appreciate when a friend chips in to help with the kids or the laundry.  I mean- heck!  Only the good ones will fold your tidy whities and still love you at the end of the day!

So here's to the new friends, and the old friends.  Here's to doing life together and encouraging one another.  Here's to fighting off depression- together- and giving the Lord victory.  Thanks for praying!

No longer I,

The real life (really depressed, but amazingly hopeful) mom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meet My Papa

Meet my Papa.  Jim Nash.

Today would have been his 91st birthday.  This man is one of the most amazing men I have ever met.  He deeply loved the Lord, passionately loved his wife.  He loved his two sons and his two granddaughters more than life itself.  He was such a passionate man (yes, I know this apple didn't fall far from the tree).  All in all, when he passed away almost nine years ago, he left an amazing legacy.

For instance- he knew how to love.  I would walk in to the kitchen where he was sitting doing a crossword or playing solitaire.  He would stand up from his card game, wrap me up in his arms, and whisk me around the kitchen, dancing to whatever tune was forever playing in his head.  Then my grandmother would be cooking and after nearly fifty years of marriage, he would walk behind her and affectionately pat her on the back side, causing a little giggle from her.  He would sit with me at the table and teach me card and domino games... he even taught me how to talk smack.  (Because, yes, awesomeness does run in our family).  He taught me how to garden, how to drive a riding lawnmower- and loved on me when I wrecked it in his garage. In this, he taught me forgiveness and unconditional love.

He disciplined me when I was stubborn and encouraged me as I grew.  He made me laugh and comforted my tears.  He showed me the joy in eating a peach picked fresh from the tree in his driveway and honey fresh from his bee hive.  He taught me how to pick strawberries off of the bushes growing in his yard and then enjoyed time with me as we sliced them over some fresh Blue Bell on a hot summer day.

He was so funny, so smart, so genuine.  I'll never forget his laugh or his smile.  I'll never forget the way he loved my grandmother and the Dallas Cowboys... almost equally.  In fact, the only time I ever heard him use and wordy dird was when he was watching the Cowboys lose to someone... those days were sad days in the Nash household.  In fact, I'm pretty sure if he were still alive today he'd have a few choice words for the boys... but I digress.

He was a beautiful man.  He was always reading, always studying the Word... or playing cards.  Every year when August 25 rolls around, I get a little sentimental as I think of this man and the life he lived.  I truly believe that the world was a better place because he was in it.  I truly believe my life is better because he was in it.  I wish you all could have known him and caught a glimpse of what we were so blessed to have.

My heart misses him, but at the same time, is comforted knowing he is so very much better off than he would have been on this earth.  He is with God and one day, I'm sure we will meet again where he can wrap me up in his arms and spin me around to whatever tune is then playing in his head.  Until then, I'll continue to be a part of the legacy he left.  I love you, Papa.  I hope I've made you proud.  Happy birthday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Nine years.  Nine years ago I walked down the aisle towards my best friend- the man who would forever change the woman I was to become.  Nine years ago I was a scared kid, walking into what I thought was going to be my happily ever after.  I thought marriage was all fun and games, but I had so many lessons to learn.  I had so far to grow.  So this year for our nine year anniversary, we were exhausted and wanted to relax, so we went to see Harry Potter- yes, the newest one.  Don't judge.  It wasn't half bad.  Whereas I typically have not enjoyed the rest of the HP movies, I kind of liked this one- not for any specific HP reasons.  I liked it because I felt like I gathered some really cool blogging material from it... and yet, somehow I have only blogged once in the past month.

No, I haven't been off on some amazing summer vacation.  And no, I haven't forgotten about the blog.  Actually, it's been quite the contrary.  We've been on a huge roller coaster in our home for a while now so I have taken a much-needed break to focus on my family.  That, and I honestly have just been overwhelmed.  I felt like I was in deep, way too deep.  With Kyle in school full time and me practically becoming a single mom while he is gone, I found myself deep in depression.  I was on a medication to help with the depression, but for me this only made the problem so much worse.  I became a zombie almost over night and I couldn't function, so I stopped taking the medicine.

So that means that for the past month, with no medicine, I have been battling this depression alone.  I know what I should have done was reach out and ask for prayer, but my vision was already too clouded and the enemy had blinders set up to keep me from seeing the truth of what God wanted me to see.  Oddly enough, during the course of the past month, while the enemy has covered my home with his attack, the Lord has been so faithful to protect the hearts of my children and my husband.  He has sustained all of us through what could have been a devastating season ending in divorce and destruction.

For this, I praise Him.  But the season is not over.  I know God is still working and thus, the enemy is working equally as hard to try to prevent me from seeing God during this time.  I realized that during these last months, while my two oldest children were at home, I had limited quiet times (time to read, time to pray, time to just be still).  There were days when I had no quiet time at all.  And trust me- on those days, EVERYONE knew it.  I had no self control.  I screamed at my kids, I disrespected Kyle, I was generally a joy-less woman.  In this, I had given the enemy victory.  But praise God that those blinders have been removed.

*sidenote- is it weird that i feel like singing "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.  I can see all obstacles in my way." CLICK HERE for the full song.  I digress... yet again.

Anyway, those of you who have not seen the most recent HP movie need to know this is a spoiler, so don't read on if you don't want to know what happens.


There is a scene during the movie where Voldemort's army is moving in on Hogwarts School (where all of the main characters are located).  So the elders go to the perimeters surrounding the school and they cast a unified spell.  Their spell creates a dome of protection that will kill Voldemort's forces if they try to cross the boundary created by the spell.  Then there are also soldiers made of stone that are protecting the wizards inside.  It's a really powerful scene if your mind works like mine.

While watching this scene, I cried.  Seriously.  During a Harry Potter movie I cried.  I know- it's okay to judge me now.  I wasn't thinking about the movie in terms of Harry Potter.  I was thinking in terms of real life. That scene struck me because I felt as though, unlike the elders in that movie, I was not prepared for battle- for war.  I was ignorant in trying to defend myself against this invisible enemy.  I didn't strap on the sword of the spirit or any of the rest of the full armor of God (CLICK HERE TO READ THE VERSES ON THIS).

What was happening in my mind was not even a small battle- it was a full on war and I was losing because I was fighting this battle alone.  Isn't that what this blog is supposed to be about??  NOT walking in my own strength, but really finding power walking through life in HIS strength?!?  Clearly I allowed one too many distractions to come into my life and to thwart my thinking.  I was not responsible for my thought life which really sent me on a downward spiral.

So while I was watching this Harry Potter- it hit me like a bolt of lightning- I need to be preparing for war.  I know it's a constant, ongoing thing in my mind, but when I get comfortable, I let my guard down.  This is when the enemy rushes in.  1 Peter 5:8-9 says this: "8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."  

Ladies and gentlemen, there it is.  In black and white.  1- I'm not alone.  I'm NOT alone!!!  "the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."  2- I NEED to stand my guard and strap on this armor because we have seen the effects of what can happen when we don't.  He is a lion and we are his prey.  My marriage is his prey.  My mind is his prey.  My children...  they are his prey.

I met a woman the other day at the gym who referred to me as a warrior.  I mean, clearly she must have seen me working out, right?  (mental image in the moment = XENA, warrior princess- thanks to ADD.)  Actually, she was referring to me as a woman of God. But I haven't felt very much like a warrior.  I have felt more like a failure and have somehow lost my sense of purpose, of direction.

But, I'm back.  No more sitting idly by, watching the enemy take control over my household, my marriage, and my children.  I am taking back control and putting it back in God's hands.  Kyle and I almost separated during these past couple of months, but we have recommitted to one another and to God and let me say this- this warrior is in it to win it.  I don't have any magic spells to cast a dome of protection around our home, but I do have prayer and the rest of the armor of God- and that is ever-so-much more powerful than any silly "magician" could ever imagine.  So here's to nine more years and then nine more and nine more and however many more the Lord has for us!

No longer fighting on my own.  No longer I,

The Real Life Mom.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Behold, The Power of Words

So I got a card in the mail today.  It's about 5 days early, but when I saw the card, my inner 6-year-old jumped for joy, for I recognized the handwriting on the outside of the card.  It was that same handwriting that I had tried so hard to forge in the third grade... unsuccessfully, I might add.  It was the handwriting of my beloved mother.  And the card wasn't just any card.  It was my birthday card.  Yes, folks, I will be a whopping 29 this year... again... for the third time.  :)  Too bad my kids know my true age (and broadcast it EVERYWHERE), or I might try to stay 29 until it's time to turn 39 repetitively.

Anyway, I have been having one of those days... one of those months, really.  It's just been kind of a difficult season for me.  So naturally, I've been having to battle the war in my mind.  And today was one of those days where I was inches from tears when the kids brought the mail to me.  On some levels I've felt like a failure and on some levels, I feel undefined and unaccomplished and just... blah!  (I love that my vocabulary is so large at midnight)

So I expected some kind of cutesy-tootsie card from my mom- because that's just how she is.  They usually make me laugh or make me smile, but it takes a lot to reach my core and affect me the way this card did.  When I opened up my card, I read this:  "I see a young lady out in the world, following her dreams, doing good, and making a difference.  Then I think, Hey, that's my kid. (open card) That's my pride and joy.  Happy birthday to a daughter who's so inspiring.  And loved."  

So clearly my love languages are changing...  words of affirmation is moving on up the list.  This card affected me deeply.  All of those feelings of worthlessness, of doubt that I'm making any kind of a difference, of frustration with my life... all of them are gone.  I feel affirmed. I feel valued.  I feel loved.  And I don't share this for any other reason except to say- next time you think a friend or loved one needs to hear from you...  send them a text, drop them an e-mail (or, Heaven forbid, a hand-written card) and let them know how much you appreciate them.  You never know how much a single sentence can dramatically change the course of one's day.  

So, thanks mom.  Thanks for helping to make this birthday (this 29+th birthday) so special.  Thank you for reaching out to me with these words and encouraging me.  You are a blessing, and you are loved.

No Longer I,

The Real Life (young) Mom