04/04/2013

1 Year Blogaversary!*

Posted in General, Musings tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:49 pm by The Water Bearer

HappyBlogiversary

It seems crazy to me to say that Inner Angels & Enemies has been up a running for a whole year! It has been a truly wonderful year, especially as I have come to find that I am not at all completely misunderstood. This was a huge discovery for me, because once my Dad passed away I thought I might have no one left to share my left field perspectives with.

Big huge thanks to those who have read the ramblings which I have the nerve to call writing, and for the constant support your feedback has given me. I am here to serve you, and when something I have shared here may connect with you, even in some small way, it brings me so much joy.

How awesome are my readers!! You have comforted me in my lowest moments, encouraged me when I am in fear. You have reassured me in my self-doubt and accepted me as I expose both the good and the bad. You have humbled me with your compliments, and inspired me by sharing your own stories honestly in your wonderful comments.

I hope we can continue like this for a long time to come. It’s all about connection! If you want to connect further, tell me how you are going, let me know if a post related in some way to you, do you have a favourite topic? Share your questions and opinions with me. I love to hear from you all. I am so glad to be able to open up to you in this special way, & I wish you so many blessings!!

****

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Blasting to the past with the link to my very first post – I hope my intentions are shining through a whole year later. 😉

So Far so Good

31/12/2012

What a Year!*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:55 pm by The Water Bearer

Fear

13 years ago God called me to write. It has been a long road from then until now and even though I never forgot my promise, or turned away from it, I have not exactly finished the book I promised to write. 😦

A few years ago, I was given some advice by the man who performed the memorial service for my Dad when he passed away. This celebrant had helped other writers to get published and told me to join up to a particular writing club in my State, and to start a blog.

So I began writing blog posts for the next 2 years, while battling grief and depression, I hadn’t joined the writers club and had still not created a blog site on which to publish my posts.

Here I was procrastinating, unable to face my fear and let the world into my place of intimate writing. In March 2012, God gave me a small taste of the most painful time in my life, a time I had been through a few years earlier. I won’t pretend I wasn’t scared. Reliving my worst nightmare is not something I take lightly. I was desperate to not have to go back through anything like that again. A huge upheaval shook my peace and after a few coinciding signs, one sentence stood out to me which I could not disregard. It spoke clearly into my heart.

“2012 could be your worst year or your best year. The choice is yours.”

In light of the threat of reliving my worst year, and the promise I had made to write, I made a choice to go forward to bite the bullet and push past my fear and so created Inner Angels & Enemies.

The level of growth, peace, connection and joy that I have received since I began blogging is paramount compared to anything I have experienced before. Yet, I had all but forgotten that warning back in March, at least until last night….

In a very casual manner, I was relaxing and enjoying watching some episodes of Boston Legal (both mine & my Dad’s favourite show, we used to watch together). Funnily enough, 3 episodes were based around the Christmas/New Year Holiday Season. As the last episode on the disc came to a close, the two main characters, played by James Spader (Alan Shore) and William Shatner (Denny Crane), were sitting out the balcony reminiscing on the past year.

Denny – “Shoot a bad guy, save the life of someone you love, what a great year!”

Alan – “I have thought of myself as many things Denny, but being loved is not one of them, yet twice today I have been told that the opposite is in fact true.”

Denny – “Happy New Year my friend”

Alan – “Happy New Year? How could next year possibly top this one?”

They clink their glasses and the credits roll……

“How could next year possibly top this one?”

Up until I heard those words, I had forgotten that warning earlier in the year! However, God did not let the year end without giving me a clear reminder of all He has done and ALL He can do!

We can only go forward in faith when we push past the fear and hold tight to the promises of the Almighty! Is fear preventing you reaching God’s promises in your life?

With God’s power, next year has the potential to be far better than our wildest imagination!

God’s Blessings to you all in 2013 and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

imagesCAUVGC3B

21/12/2012

A Change at Christmas*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:17 am by The Water Bearer

He came

In a panicked tone I say to my 7yr old daughter. “Put that down, don’t touch, you will break something!” I’m holding up a canvas with a painted flower on it, rocking the pram cradling my sleeping baby, with my other hand. My head is spinning, my chest is tight, and my heart racing as I hurriedly try to finish off my Christmas shopping. All the requirements to survive Christmas in an acceptable manner hang heavily over my head, but I’m not paying enough attention to notice how heavy they are. I am completely lost in the whirlwind of meeting everyone’s expectations and the ticking clock. I believe I am capable, I know if I push myself really hard I can outrun any possible guilt of failing to impress.

A million questions buzz around the racetrack in my mind, it’s anybody’s guess which one I will ponder long enough to be satisfied with the answer… if at all. ‘What do people really want for Christmas?’ ‘How can the gift appear worth something without blowing the budget?’ ‘What haven’t they already got?’ ‘Maybe I could make something?’ What if I run out of time and don’t finish it?’, ‘What if it’s not good enough?’, ‘What if I’m not good enough?’ ‘What if I ruin the meal and everyone will be left unsatisfied?’  ‘What if it falls apart and my facade drops and the quivering failure inside is revealed for all to see?’ ….

“I will just keep going, I have no choice, I will push harder, I won’t fail”… I will just smile and make it feel like a Merry Christmas!

That was me before my car accident…. There were moments I let myself enjoy the company of family and friends, of gifts and carols. There were times of joy, only they were tainted with deep insecurity that creeped it’s way into so many areas of my life.

After my accident I spent the next few Christmases, trying to stay sane inside a mind that didn’t want to play fair, trying desperately to resist the list of unmet expectations. I spent those years numb and defensive against the world with it’s mountain of pressure, which I could no longer push myself to climb. I clung frantically to my faith, begging the Lord to drag me out of bed and into the Christmas spirit. I was crumbling under constant migraines, anxiety, exhaustion, shoulder pain and self-condemnation, drowning in a sea of judgement and depression. Eventually I withdrew, I folded into the smallest version of myself, hoping I could fly under the radar so that no one would notice how useless I was. I took Valium and I slept….a lot.

To add insult to injury, smack bang in the middle of a grueling compensation law suit, and right before Christmas, my Dad lost his battle with cancer. He hadn’t been sick long enough for us to be truly prepared. We knew it would be quick, but even though we thought we were ready, we were kidding ourselves. So many chapters of the book left open and only half read. It sent shock waves through the family and I drowned my sorrows at a wake that lasted for weeks. The weight of his passing distracted me from finding true Christmas joy, so I fed it Vodka and sang carols loudly to the Lord, and I took photos of children opening gifts, like any good Mummy does. Each year has gotten a little easier, yet still carries a sense of dread.

And so here we are…. Has a change really come?…

This is the first Christmas since I began blogging, and the therapeutic evidence it has had over me is overflowing into my life. I have had a number of breakthroughs and a strange sense of peace surrounds me this year. I don’t feel as burdened with the grief of Dad’s passing because I feel him with me so much more since I began sharing our history with others online. I arranged all the extended family’s presents and sent them off early this month. I have taken some extra time off work so I can just relax with my girls and am looking forward to their company of cuddles and conversation. I don’t feel overwhelmed by the back-to-back gatherings and actually feel present rather than distracted, which is becoming a more regular, blessed experience for me.

Christmas has developed a reputation of chaos and anguish, at a time of year when a light might shine on forgiveness, love, acceptance and peace. There are going to be times when these things are overlooked, yet it is possible to discover a change at Christmas, the closer we get to our true selves and learn to put the expectations aside, to strip back the hoopla and reflect on the birth of our King.

I send up prayers for all to experience some peace on earth this Christmas, to focus on being present rather than getting presents, and to feel truly grateful and blessed for the gift of Christ to us, a gift of salvation to a world in desperate need of saving.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful  Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Peace of Christmas

24/09/2012

My Mini Mountain*

Posted in General, Musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:24 am by The Water Bearer

After a weekend spent celebrating two members of my family’s birthdays, I feel as if I am peeking my head out from the bunker to survey the damage. I have not been near my laptop in a number of days and so made a bee-line for it as soon as I opened my eyes this morning, hoping I haven’t missed too many wonderful posts by my fellow bloggers.

I tiptoe over my filthy tiled floors, in memory of the numerous tiny footprints which headed in every direction a hundred times yesterday and the day before. I pretend I don’t see the basket of washing siting up on the dining table. I close one eye as I pass the lounge room of destruction, and I am not even game to head into the kitchen to make my morning cup of tea because I know I will get stuck in there, lassoed by the stack of dishes and benches piled as high as the Andes.

I unplug my laptop from its place in my office and run back to bed, diving under the covers, safe for a moment from the task that awaits me.

I would never have made it here if I had taken a moment to view the destruction. I would be in there now, wiping and sweeping, folding clothes and finding homes for each element of the Andes. I will do it, I can’t help myself. Someone will lose their head if I don’t get my home back in order as soon as possible. But for the moment I am hidden away, in my bedroom and I sit letting the ‘Reader’ page spin as it loads how many ‘New posts’ I have missed….. 47!! Oh Lord, and then I recall that I hit a quick refresh the last time I was here so I am guessing that’s maybe 70 posts unread!

I love all the blogs I follow, I want to give credit to your talents and hear your views. I want to soak up the knowledge and perspectives of you all who inspire me so much, so what am I to do??

The good Lord has given me some new voices to use in my novel and I need to get them out of me before I lose their spark. I have a book I am reading, which is helping sculpt the voices for my novel, and I want to absorb God’s word so I keep up my armour and His hand in all the areas of my life. I have about 10 incomplete drafts, waiting for my overly analytical mind to edit and approve of before I can post them. I need to shorten them substantially because I realise that if my readers are as pressed for time as me they will skip over the ones with the word count that gets up into the high hundreds or beyond. I feel if my ideal of sharing both God’s input in my life to inspire others, and the valuable teachings from my Dad with as many as possible is going to be likely, then I need to tailor my work for the audience I have been given. And to top it all off it is school holidays!

Wow that was word 535… I better go…

Hmmm I think I will pray first …. After all faith can move mountains…..

22/07/2012

Why So Fragile?**

Posted in Encouragement, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by The Water Bearer

A few years ago I read this statement by Author Lysa Terkerst and have tried to refer to it ever since.

“Don’t let the compliments of others go to your head, or their criticisms to your heart”

I failed to adhere to this advise recently, and it has become the foundation of a new level of perspective.

Having had a very successful couple of months of blogging, I have become somewhat ‘hyper-enthusiastic’, it has been so wonderful to see people all over the world reading my stuff, then even ‘liking’ some and giving such wonderful compliments. Yet I have fallen into a trap set for me by my inner enemies, I confess that I have come to rely on my ‘blog stats’ to verify the success of my calling. I can hear all the horrified ‘GASPS’ of shock. (*Wink) I imagine this is pretty common.

Unfortunately it is not as trivial as it may seem, nothing ever is with me!

This is dangerous territory, treading way too close to pride than I like to get. By no means can I take any credit for any of this success, I completely acknowledge all glory goes to the Lord for any ability He has given me to write. Besides people always like His stuff much better than anything I try to come up with on my own 🙂 I suppose it is simply that I have become overly animated by the evidence that He can use me.

A big element of my personality is an addiction to WORDS. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very busy mind, often have many thoughts, words and ideas buzzing around inside my head and I am drawn into sharing these with others. Sometimes expressing them and seeing them more clearly brings tremendous benefit to my chaotic state of mind, other times I become manic and fear that my testimony may be damaged as I ramble on in a state lacking control.

I am also compulsive by nature and harbor much nervous energy. I used to smoke irregularly when my busy mind found an empty moment to kill, when I quit smoking I took up Facebooking, filling the spaces by automatically checking for notifications using the app on my phone. On a bad or slow day this simple act can get out of hand, so I knew I needed to once again take action. When I quit Facebook, I took up blogging. You see a pattern here? I am now constantly tempted to check to see – Who has viewed? Where were they? Did they ‘Like’ it?  “Does someone want to share ‘words’ with me?” All stemming from these long standing traits.

A month into blogging, this pattern began emerging (again) so as usual I went on a 3 day Fast. I didn’t go onto my blog site at all, didn’t check my ‘stats’, was determined not to read any comments or reply for 3 whole days! (Luckily God didn’t allow me to be tempted by comments during those three days, as my blog received none, He knows! Lol)

I have come to find that fasting something for 3 days, is extremely beneficial to our development of faith and victory in overcoming the habitual temptations of life. In times when either breaking a habit, or preventing one from forming, or simply going without something we enjoy for God, is a symbol of recognition that we need Him in our situation more. This is because 3 days is fairly achievable, and therefore we are less likely to break our promise and become self-condemning. 3 days is also long and difficult enough to need help to reach the promised goal. Every time the tempting thought pops up during this time, we can  acknowledge the promise we made, and ask God for Help, this breaks up the automatic train of thought. It invites Him into the situation and an army of angels are dispatched to our aid.

So even though I have fasted blogging a couple of times, I must admit that due to all the new experiences it has brought me, my state of mind has become even more excitable than usual and I have allowed the compliments of others to somewhat go to my head (or perhaps rather my hands).

Compulsive nature can be easy fodder for our inner enemy to form habits, dangerous ones that try to to push us off the narrow path. It brings a whole other side to the coined phrase “Idle Hands are the Devil’s plaything”.

Next came phase two, when I received a couple of blunt criticisms which I let go straight to my heart, deeply. I reacted badly, defended, felt guilty, then that old familiar fear began to rise up from the depths of my soul, pressing hard on my heart, it began to choke me, forming a lump in my throat, and by the time this fear got to my head I was lost and consumed by it.

The main focus of these criticisms:- my unruly mouth. A negative response to the easy and common temptation to think too much and share every thought in my head, especially during a bout of psychological ‘mania’. I am aware of this, I have been all my life, it has brought me great shame, I have prayed and confessed about this more than anything else. While I have seen much improvement during the years God has been changing and developing me, this is the one area of weakness that I experience the most regular and regrettable backward slips. Old habits do die hard!

Often the desire to force being different from the reality of who I am causes severe bouts of depression.

When I get attacked with a bout of depression like this a few things commonly happen. I doubt and condemn myself and confess it all to God, I believe the words of people I care about and respect so much that I ask God to help me become what they think I should be. At the same time I try to remind myself that this is how God made me, I need to love and accept myself, and that I need to work with Him to bring about any changes He is guiding me to make. It can become quite a confusing mixture of thoughts as I try to determine which ones I should listen to.

This inner to and fro can lead to thoughts of insanity which creep to the threshold of my mind, leaving me unable to trust a thought in my own head. Battling these types of psychological conditions causes mental fatigue, I refer to this as an emotional hangover’ , a few wasted days spent heavy and extremely sensitive. After this it is common to want to make up for lost time and I can become manic and go into overdrive to catch up and get ‘on top’ of things, only to fall short of my own expectations.

It is common to want to reach out to someone, needing them to help clear away some of the self-condemnation, however often human misunderstanding of spiritual or psychological systems can lead to badly timed good intentions which can clumsily handle a fragile heart. Now while I personally have found much support through professional therapists, they can not cover all the bases these situations require. Only God and His word know how to properly handle this type of vulnerability, so we need to reach out for Him in prayer.

These attacks soften the heart, making it fragile as it prepares to receive the new level of perspective and to break off old unwanted strongholds. Forcing a new level of complete submission to God, depending on Him for every thought and every action, begging Him to take the wheel and drive.

As usual I prayed for clarity and for sanity, I prayed for Him to keep a tight reign on my lips, I prayed for freedom and self-acceptance, I cried bitter tears of remorse, I asked for forgiveness, and I begged Him to meet me in my pit and rescue me.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”. Psalms 51:17 (ASV)

Within a few minutes of intense prayer at the time my heart was at it’s most fragile, I was sent comfort. First I received a pleasant surprise to distract me from my thoughts, a little later an unexpected, warm, lingering embrace and a confession of Love. The next day a special family evening, spent sharing ‘words’ with those I love and cherish most on this earth. Then a days break, a day alone to listen to soothing music and allow me to begin to collect my thoughts. Hallelujah!

Since all this has really taken it out of me I have taken some much needed R&R, which you may have read about in my recent post A Fragile Heart.

When we obey and make steps to fulfill our calling we open ourselves up to the inner enemies attacks to try and put us off track. This may come in obvious ways  through physical circumstances such as a verbal attack from someone unexpected, perhaps burning your hand or cutting a finger while cooking dinner, or disturbed sleep from petty annoyances, perhaps just an unruly household with everyone in a ‘mood’, rubbing each other in the worst ways. Sometimes the enemies attacks can come through more subtle ways, through temptation, or creating a fearful mindset, through psychological weakness, or a moment of confusion at the expense of your faith. These are his scare tactics, hoping we will not follow through in obedience, and you can be sure that if we do continue on the obedient path we will see some of these attacks result afterwards as well. This is the enemies backlash in retaliation to any ground we may have made toward God.

Yet this is the war we are in, and when we are obeying the Almighty and keeping our hearts open to Him, He gives us comfort through faith by knowing He will be victorious. We are on the winning side even if the evidence all around may appear bleak. Depend on His strength when you are weak, find comfort in knowing you are Loved no matter what lies the enemy or the world tells you. And be prepared to suffer and to grow, and to rest and to fight again and to succeed, then suffer and grow, then rest and then fight and then succeed ……..and so on and so on….. Until this war and life as we know it ends, and we are finally free from this battle, changed by Him forever. When the enemy loses all influence and Righteousness Reigns into ETERNITY!

04/04/2012

So far so good!*

Posted in General tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:17 am by The Water Bearer

After years of threatening I have finally done it! Here is the long promised beginnings of my blog.

Now I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen wondering what it is exactly that I have been trying to say all these years. Funny how you can’t shut me up when I’m fighting for the floor, but give me an open and public platform, and it renders me at a loss for words, with nothing seemingly important to say. No deep philosophy to express in English today, perhaps gibberish is my new language?

I guess I could introduce what you can expect should you choose to follow this blog…

My inheritance from my dear departed Dad could be described as somewhat of a deep thinker trait. I do attempt to maintain light conversations however always seem to be pulled to go that step beyond. I have been told I have strong philosophies and perspectives, most of which I feel compelled to share. Insights regarding Human Nature, Faith, Parenting, Mental Health, Spiritual Reality and some of the the Internal Struggles that face many of us who set foot on this planet. I promised my Dad before he died, that I would try and share as much of what he tried to teach me with as many people as possible. His insights completely altered my perspective on every element in my life. I went from being an unaware, emotionally manipulative mess, to being very aware of myself and the mess that usually accompanies me. He also helped me gain the knowledge to clean the mess up and at times even prevent it.

Having had life experiences which could be described as phenomenal, life-changing and worth sharing, I find myself wishing to tackle these subjects, to dissect and better understand them, rather than let the world’s natural current drag me along without any resistance.

If you find yourself searching for a place where you can go that extra step, I hope you like it here, a place to expand the mind and open the gates to explore unfamiliar territory.

Hopefully we can stumble across something mind-blowing together!

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