Well, obviously I haven't posted in awhile, and part of that is due to feeling like I didn't have anything worth posting. Today's writing is worth posting, because I decided to stop my antidepressants. I've been on them for 4 years and had a revelation this weekend. I am NUMB. I'm tired of being numb. I forgot a couple of doses while I was out of town (yes, I had them with me; I just forgot) and just didn't start back on them when I got back home.
As I'm a healthcare professional, I KNOW the caveats about working with your doctor to stop, and tapering down. I did neither. I stopped cold turkey, and thankfully I was on one that doesn't have super severe side effects from stopping (can there be side effects if there is no drug?). I'm experiencing "withdrawal" symptoms, but nothing severe, and I'm finding that my impulses to do crazy (good) stuff are coming back. I read something today about always letting those close to you know that you love them, so I undressed and got in the shower with hubby. The impulse was to kiss him hard and tell him how much I love him. On the meds? That wasn't there.
Over the weekend, I had a few GOOD cries, and it was nice to actually feel something again, even if negative at the time. I know the negative and positive will ebb and flow, and that's okay. I'm ready to face both, because without one (the lows), you cannot have the other (the highs). I've started reading my Bible again and am content in both the Lord and my decision. Passion doesn't come from unfeeling. It comes from deep feeling, which is scary and awesome, all at the same time.
I need a break. And I don't mean vacation, from which I've just returned. I just got off a conference call with my regional manager that was a lovely way to start a day off. I'm trying to tell myself not to let it ruin my day, but Father God is using it to remind me that I'm at my breaking point. And when I get to my breaking point, I'm usually WAY past my breaking point. It's been awhile since I've been here. Tired. Broken. Exhausted, even. On the verge of tears. Hoping against hope that I don't have to go to work. Letting every little thing get to me. Joy? Gone. Life? Sucked out. It's almost a place of despair. A black hole that has no exit. In between writing this, I've been checking other sites, and saw this on Facebook: Colossians 3:2 "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." I needed that this morning to get out of my quagmire. I'm not out, but I certainly can say that my focus today won't be my situation. It will be breathing prayers and listening to what my Father has to say. I am absolutely at my wit's end, but He knows that. He may be silent, but I will not fret. He is near.
Back after a long hiatus. Marriage will do that to you -- nothing changes, everything is the same. It's really not a bad thing, just difficult to get away. I understand what Paul meant when he said that married peoples' interests are divided in 1 Corinthians 7.
Today is post-worthy because hubby and I just got back from Brasil, where we met and fell in love. We went with the group that I first went with, that fateful year that Hugo Chavez got overthrown. A second time. They're family to us, and they consider us family too. It was fantastic to serve alongside them, and satisfying to fall right back into the role I had for so long.
The role I have here? Not so easy. I'm the manager of my particular pharmacy and have been gone for a week. What do I walk into? Chaos. What I wanted to say to one man would have cost me my job. Then came the voice. "Jennifer, these people need Jesus." I've become so jaded and so impatient with people who act like they have no sense that I've forgotten why I'm there.
People are stupid. They are rude. They come in looking for a fight. They come into my place and don't feel good. They complain about anything and everything. People are jerks. Jerks that need Jesus. How much more of a jerk would I be if I didn't have him? I shudder to think, because it's pretty jerky around here.
I struggle to marry my mission with my job description. What would the Lord have me do? How would He have me handle the internal and external struggle to mesh the two? His command and corporate expectations. My ministry and management. All I know at this point is that God has been gracious to remind me why I am where I am.
This crazy journey started 8 & 1/2 years ago with the words, "Follow Me." I never, ever thought that the Lord would come to me that closely. But He did. In the years following, He has felt both close and far, far away, but I know that the fact remains that He has been present. He has led me, He has challenged me, He has healed me, He has comforted me, He has shown me that He has been intimately involved in all aspects of my life.
We're already 1 & 1/2 months into 2011, and I'm doing okay. I got promoted at work because my partner quit. The administrator in me (who hasn't been very active until lately) is alive and well, trying to create some order in my store.
I've taken on the goal to read through the Bible this year using this reading plan. A friend's blog referred me to it, and it's nice because there are built-in make-up days -- there's not a reading scheduled every single day, so if you miss one, there's time to catch up! It's been really nice so far -- I've missed days and made them up during the make-up time. Built-in grace and flexibility for a plan is good.
D-man and I are headed to Atlanta next weekend for his little bro's wedding. Little bro is marrying my former roomie (in Brasil), so we'll get to see tons of people we've known for years. It should be a fun celebration.
God has been really gracious lately to simply show me that He answers our heart's cry. When we had inclement weather last week, and our vendor order was delayed because of ice, He reminded me ever so kindly, "You could have prayed about this, you know." I have no idea if it would have made a difference in the arrival of the order or not. But I could have made my need known. His word to me since September has been, "Come to Me." What I hear Him saying is, "Ask Me anything. I may not answer immediately, but please feel free to come to Me and ask Me anything. I want that intimacy with you."
My house is a mess. Yet again. I can blame it on Christmas, or the fact that I'm about to travel, or the fact that we're both working like crazy people (D-man got a job a couple of months ago -- yay!). But I won't. I will, however, choose to state it as fact and not as judgement. My house is a mess. Period.
I was talking to a friend the other night and we were discussing the lament of women everywhere: we don't have it all together. That's right. I. Don't. Haveitalltogether. As hard as that is to face some days, it's a relief to see it in black and white. Fortunately (or not), being married makes me realize how true that is. My house is NOT spotless (though there's nothing growing in the refrigerator or anything), I am cranky when I haven't had enough sleep, and sometimes I still like having the house to myself. I can blame my annoyance on D-man trying to talk to me when I'm ready to go to sleep (I do the same thing to him!), yet I wonder if that isn't just the easy way out, because taking a deeper look would mean facing my own issues. Being married really is like looking in a mirror and finding your own issues and worst parts on display. Some days. Other days it's nice to come home to someone who is fully aware that you don't have it all together and doesn't mind, because he knew that long before you did.
Lots has been going on lately -- I haven't had much time to write. Or, more properly, I haven't taken any time to write. What with the emotions swirling around inside my head and heart, I don't really want to sit still long enough to give them headway. Thanks, J, for praying that I'd be more of a feeler. Now pray that I would know how to deal with emotions.
We went camping and to San Antonio over Labor Day Weekend. Stephen F. Austin state park (a short 40-minute drive from our house!) and the Riverwalk make for good weekend spots.
I finally understand why the Alamo was so important, even though we lost bad (read: everybody died).
I have gone from wanting to walk out the door of my job and never come back (several times in one day!) to finally feeling like I have a little bit of traction.
I have one friend who is newly engaged, and am waiting on 2 more in the near future. We have at least 3 weddings to travel to next year.
We are going to visit Big Shady's parents this weekend, and I am so looking forward to what looks to be a refreshing and healing time.
For months and months, I was stuck in John 4. The part with the woman at the well. I was there so long I fell in and couldn't get out. The Lord finally let me move to John 5 a couple of months ago, and I thought it would be really neat to start in Mark, since it's a short gospel and all. No dice. This morning when I turned to Mark, I sensed the Spirit's prompting that I still am not finished with John 5. I went from the well to the pool in a matter of seconds, yet I cannot seem to get up. I am weighed down with the cares of the world, with fear, and with responsibility.
Praises to the Giver of Life, in this world and the next!
We've been in Brasil this week with a medical/construction team, and as much as I've been lazy over the past 6 months or so (I don't like to listen), God has been gracious with me, as always. I am reminded that He always wants to show us Himself, and He is always willing to talk if we are quiet long enough to listen. With the stresses of everyday life (work, keeping a home, paying bills, being married), I have a very hard time getting away long enough to be still. I could come up with a laundry list of other issues, but I won't.
I have spent the last year and a half in a city that is totally different than any culture I've ever experienced, in a job that is, frankly, hard many more days than not, and in a season of providing for the family. And I've complained. Oh, how I've complained. I have worried. I am Israel. I have seen God part the Red Sea, and I've made it to....the wilderness. My memory is shorter than it's ever been, and I have a husband who sees my complaining spirit and still doesn't complain himself. Part of me thinks that this season is to teach me how to be in the wilderness, that I need to know how to be in the wilderness without complaining, for God has brought me here and He has plans for later. For now, this is His plan. He is asking for my obedience, and my flesh keeps objecting.
Being in Brasil has been a totally surreal experience, because I've lived here, but I'm going home. I speak the language, but I'm on a team of people who don't. I realized this evening that I really did leave a life down here -- friends, a routine, an entire ministry. I walked into a life that had been established for me. Now I'm establishing a life for myself (or, rather, we're establishing a life for ourselves). We're going back to reality from a place of rest.
We're headed to Brasil this week for a mission trip. Needless to say, I'm really excited, because it's the first time the D-man and I have been back since we got hitched. He's going to be the construction foreman and I'm going to be the pharmacist. We're working at the leper hospital, in a prison, and in a church.
I have a normal week of work, and I leave Friday night. D-man leaves tomorrow night. I am so excited to see what God has in store for us.