Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tempted in the Wildnerness (Part 3 of 3)

****Before reading this post, you may want to start here and here first.*****

Taking care of my mother has been perhaps one of the most painstaking experiences that I will likely have in this lifetime. While grieving and coping with the changes in my mother that the stroke caused, I had to step up to the plate and provide A+ care for her. I couldn't let my pain, my disappointment, my sorrow, my depression get in the way of what I needed to do for her. I couldn't let her know how messed up I was. I knew if Mama realized how hurt I was to see her in that condition, she would become discouraged and wouldn't push as hard to overcome the disabling effects of the stroke. So, instead of me taking time to deal with my pain, I put Mama in the front, and took care of her, without taking care of me.

And that has been where I've been for the last seven years. I've put Mama, along with her children and grandchildren, in front of me in the line of people I should and actually do take care of. I've neglected myself, perhaps for noble reasons, to take care of others. I've put my mental health on the backburner, while trying to help my family retain a certain degree of sanity. I've fallen off the weight loss bandwagon, picked up weight, basically killing myself, while trying to help Mama stay alive. I have basically sacrificed myself and my life, with the hope that my family will hopefully choose life over death.

And now, I'm suffering for making those choices. I'm feeling the affects of not taking care of myself. I'm feeling the pain that I neglected to deal with so many years ago. I feel myself breaking into millions of pieces.

I decided a few weeks ago that I should seek counseling. I started going to Celebrate Recovery at my church, with the hope that I would find strength to manage as I try to reclaim my life. I started planning/strategizing/brainstorming on ways I can turn this thing around.

Before I go any further, let me clarify something. No, I do not want to stop taking care of my family. I just want to start taking care of myself first!!!!!

I heard a preacher say something over ten years ago. I now understand the magnitude of the wisdom he spoke.

"Fill your own cup first, and nourish others with the overflow."

How profound!!!!

When I first heard it, I thought it was selfish, but now I get it!!!!

I've been filling others folks cups first, and getting mad when they don't realize what a sacrifice I've been making. LOL

And that was part of my problem the other night. When mayhem broke loose in my house, I was mostly upset because, despite my best efforts, despite all the sacrifices I had made for my family, they would not stop fussing long enough to consider me. I was hurt that they put themselves before me.

I think they are the ones that got it right!

I should learn to do that too!

I should learn to put myself, my desires, my motivations at the top of the list. Of course, I shouldn't be selfish and hateful. However, I'm learning from my family that the first person that should look out for Angie should be Angie. And I should not ever expect anyone to look out for me as much as I should look out for myself.

The other night, I felt the pain and sorrow of what I've been enduring for years. I felt trapped. I felt like I had no way out of this life. The enemy came to tempt me in the wilderness. He came to make an offer for me to escape this pain. He suggested that I end it all. He tempted me to abort all that God has placed inside of me for this journey.

When he tempted me with such an offer, I was startled. I hadn't felt like that in a long time. I hadn't experienced suicidal ideation in years. So, when the enemy was standing in front of me, calling my name, trying to usher me to turn away from this life I have, I paused to hear his voice, my voice, and the voice of God.

All of those voices in my head... I could hear them all at once. Sometimes, one voice would be stronger than the others.

The enemy telling me it's not worth it.
God telling me that He wouldn't have guided me into any experience, without giving me the provision to survive it and gain from it.
My voice, admitting that I'm tired of this situation...

I decided to take a hard, strong look at what was being told to me.

I considered my voice and questioned the validity. Was I really tired? For sure! Do I feel that God has and continues to equip me with what I need to survive in the wildnerness He guided me into? I do believe that. The one voice that I knew would lie to me, that consistently lies is the voice of the enemy. I rejected him with fury!

I made up my mind, yet again, that quitting is not an option. Yes, this life I have is hard, but it is manageable. I just need to approach it differently. I need to seek God and other wise individuals to help me navigate better. I need to put my mental, physical, and spiritual health at the top of my list of priorities.

I chose life over death! And I lived that night to live the life that God has given me.

Am I still in the wildnerness? Yep! I now know more than I've ever known that there are lessons, gifts, and triumphs that I will encounter in this wilderness. The wildnerness is not a place of punishment, it is a place to get closer to God. That night, I got a little closer to God.

**God, I thank you for all that You’re teaching me in this wildnerness experience. Thank you for continuing to reveal Yourself and Your plan for my life. Help me develop the strength that is necessary to continue to resist the enemy, and to develop into the Angie You’ve designed me to be.**

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