JESUS JOY

Happy New Year!!!

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JESUS JOY

I am not going to blog or write about my expectations for 2020. Yes, even my daughters were shocked.

I have my goals and what I want out of 2020, but I am choosing to move silently, allowing GOD to direct my path. Anything God has for me, I am ready to receive.

However, our prayer focus for this morning was perfect, and God placed it upon my heart to share my journey to JESUS JOY.

If you have not read my post over the past 4 years or my blog, I lost my late husband in October of 2016. I suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, I was an understandable mess. But God was not having it, and honestly, neither was I!

I have moved forward with my life and I have so much JOY and genuine happiness in my life!

I had to dig deep to find the Joy that God had placed in me when he formed me before I was placed in my mother’s womb. It was JESUS JOY

It is something that has carried me for the past 3 years going in my 4th year.

Year 1 Restoration
Year 2 Renewal
Year 3 Rejuvenation
Year 4 Discovery.
(I will write about these at a later date)

Joy, true JESUS JOY is rooted deep within our soul, and only Jesus can give us that pure Joy!

NO ONE can be truly happy without JESUS JOY.

I can tell you, I am a living witness… it is a facade, it is fake happiness.

The Lord saved me from my dark place, and I am not the person I was three years ago. HIS JOY was, and is definitely my strength!

Happiness in a surface emotion, but the true JESUS JOY that comes from the LORD is deeper.

It requires something from us…
It requires us to take some action…
It requires us to have something…
It requires us to be somewhere

What does it require? 

It requires us to have something… FAITH

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My faith is a foundation on which I have always stood, so holding on to my faith was not hard. I just needed to be reminded of and remind myself that God is still with me no matter what! Faith is something that does not just happen faith some after you have been through some things, and we have sought God, and he has been there. Faith is not in the CHURCH faith is IN GOD and only GOD!

It requires us to take some action… pray, petition, and or (if needed) seek therapy

We have to want Joy in our lives. I know for me I did not want to feel depressed, I knew that deep down I did not want to commit suicide, but I also knew that I had to do something about the thoughts that were tormenting my mind. I had to pray, and others were praying for me. I mention the prayer focus above that comes from a prayer line where we get together Monday through Friday morning to pray for each other, our community, and this country. The saints on that prayer line and others prayed me out of the darkness, and God let me to therapy. Believe me, both were desperately needed.

It requires something from us… total surrender

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We cannot give something over to God and keep picking it up. Ether, we give it to him and let it go, or we keep worrying about it.

Worrying will prevent you from having JESUS JOY.

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It requires us to be somewhere… In a position to receive

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JESUS JOY just won’t come and perch its self on you. It requires you to be in a position to receive it. After you have kept the faith, prayed, and given over whatever is keeping you from God’s Joy, then you are in a position to receive true JESUS JOY. It will not be easy because the enemy will try to convince us that happiness and Joy are the same things. THEY ARE NOT! He will try to convince us that we do not need JESUS JOY.

I believe we were created and born with Jesus Joy, but life circumstances will cause us to suppress it. Think about a child they are joyful. Think about a baby’s belly laugh; it will bring a smile to our face and warmth to our heart. They are experiencing pure and true JESUS JOY. It is the strength that sustains us.

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I am the poster child for choosing Joy regardless of my circumstances. I refuse to give the enemy any joy, kudos, or accolades over my life. God has been way too good for me to allow this to happen.

If I am declaring and promoting anything publicly for 2020, I am declaring that I continue I choose and promote that I still choose to have JESUS JOY over anything.

When you think about Jesus Joy, it’s clear and straightforward…

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10)

Day 8 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Survival (continued existence)

Day 8

October 23, 2019

Survival (continued existence)

On Day 8, three years ago, as I sat and watched a beautiful, well-lived life diminish from this reality, I could not help but think about my own existence. When you are faced with someone else’s mortality, you can’t help but think about your own.

However, on day 8 today, we are faced with another life gone too soon by their own hands. Another mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends left in the aftermath. I have always been very intentional and upfront about my own experiences with suicide and depression, and I have promised that I will tell my testimony when it is needed and requested.

I am so glad that on the night I was home alone and I was faced with the agonizing decision if I wanted to end my life that Lord inserted into my head visions of my babies, and not just my babies I gave birth to. Still, my babies, I have adopted into my life over the years.

What would life be for them if I took my own life?

Would my daughters survive my death after their father’s death?

How could I have preached and taught that the love of Christ is there for everyone who accepts it, and I did not?

How could I have said all these years, God can get you through anything if you only trust him, and I did not?

”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John: 10:10)

That night I had the potential to burst every dream, turn hope into despair, betray love, and turn trust into doubt in the minds of young people God had allowed into my life. God trusted me with their minds, hearts, and souls, and I was about to betray them and the LORD. I cried and cried that night and then the next day when I went to Munson Army Health Center, for a doctor’s appointment. I checked the, “Yes, I have thoughts of suicide in the past months” That statement was not looked over, actions were taken that day, and I was sitting before a clinical social worker to get evaluated. Within the next few weeks, God led me to an excellent Christian therapist.

Disclaimer: (as I have said many times)

I do not doubt that God can and will get you through anything, even suicide. HOWEVER, for me, my heart and my mind is so clouded with sadness, anger, and hurt, I could not hear from God. I was in a deep depression.

But, he heard me, and he pulled me through darkness into His light. Once I was able to deal with my depression, I was able to handle the guilt, sadness, hurt, and anger. I was then able to hear from God clearly.

Depression is not a fad that will go away. Depression is real and very prevalent in our society, including young people and the African American community, whether they want to admit to it or not!

We can no longer sit idly by and say they are too young to have those feelings or thoughts or black people don’t go to therapy, or you are weak if you go to therapy!

IT HAS TO STOP!!

We are losing too many of our young people to suicides!!

If you are having feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness

If you are feeling angry, of frustrated of small things

If you are having a loss of interest in your normal activates

If you lack energy or you are tired all the time

IF YOU ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF DEATH AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

I BEG YOU… PLEASE SEEK HELP

See your family doctor, clinic of a mental health professional as soon as possible!

If you are reluctant, see any of the above. PLEASE talk to a friend, loved one, your pastor, or anyone you can trust!

Call the suicide hotline number:

‪1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)‬

IF you are a VETERAN use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line

FRIENDS, FAMILY, and LOVED ONES:

If someone tells you they are contemplating suicide if they say they are hurting and the pain won’t go away, PLEASE take them seriously!

Stay with them until you can get them to a mental health professional, the ER, if you can’t, do not hesitate or call ‪911‬.

We need you!

The world needs you!

I chose to live, and so can YOU!

I love you all with all the love that Jesus has for you!

😘♥️😘

The Road to Restoration

Friday, August 30, 2019

My word for this Friday is Restoration. 

Restoration means a lot of things:

Refurbishment

Repair

Renewal

Rebuilding

Transformation 

Rejuvenation 

Reconstructing 

Restoring

For me, restoration means reestablishing and discovering who I am outside of who I was. I am learning to find my own way with my rules.  I can tell you in the past three years I have made tons and tons of mistakes.  There were so many things I was not aware of or had never done.  You must realize I went from my grandmother’s home to my husband’s house. My life was completely turned upside down in every single area! There are things I wish I knew, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, and many there are many things that I have done that I am very proud of. But…

 

For a while, I did whatever I wanted because I seriously was not planning on living for long.  (Don’t be surprised or shocked... depression and grief are real, and I was suffering!) But then after hours of prayer and therapy, God convinced me of my worth on my own and that I was NOT going anywhere! He said He had somethings I needed to do; He was not finish with me. Now I needed to get my act together! I do have some major cleaning up in my life to do, but I know that I am not alone! 

 

My life now is nothing like I thought it would be.  Nothing worked out the way I wanted or the way I planned. However, my life is not bad, it’s not easy, it’s pretty good, but I am also learning every day how to move forward with the hand I have been given. God has placed some extraordinary people in my life that pray for me, check on me, and will continue to love me in spite of my defects, flaws, and imperfections.  

They are my…

Let me leave you with this: Mostly we must know that God will love us, forgive us, never leave us, and guide us no matter what we do. He will always be there for us.  Believe me; it took me a while to get back to this frame of mind and way of thinking. 

What is left now… I continue to move forward, learn from my mistakes, and operate in the attitude of restoration. Meaning I will not be hard on myself for living and making mistakes. I am thankful to be alive, breathing, walking, testimony of HIS great love for me.  I am a mess, but, HE will take this mess and turn it into a great message!

I love you all

Have a blessed an Amazing Weekend!

 

Purging my Life 5.1 Purging the House: Making my House into a Home “Taking the Plunge”

August 9, 2019

After all, that I have mentioned in previous posts, you would not believe that my home was my toughest area to purge. I would please ask that this become a no-judgment zone because you can’t imagine what we were going through to function every day.  This area is tough for me to write about, probably because for me, it brought me the most shame. I was embarrassed that I let my home get into this condition. However, I did learn through my therapist that this is normal when you are grieving such a significant loss. There was no need for shame and condemnation, and I was taking action!

Purging and organizing was a huge deal and a significant overhaul for us, so I will break this up into parts, showing before and after going room by room after I introduce you to our Dream Team.

A House vs. A Home

There is a big difference between a house and a home.  Merriam –Webster stats the proper definition for a house is, “a building that serves living quarters for one or a few families.” The description for home is, “one’s place of residence, a social unit formed by a family living together.”  Those are excellent definitions, but, I believe that a house is somewhere you live, you sleep there, but it feels like a residence, dwelling, domicile, somewhere you exist. A home is a family.  It is warm, inviting, and it is your refuge, your oasis.  It should be your escape from the real world.  When you walk into your home, you should feel joy, love, and warmth.  My house was nothing like that.  I knew I had to make a change in my home life when I wanted to spend more time at work or more time away instead of going home.

I would come home every evening and sigh.  This house was not my haven, and it was not my escape. It was my prison. There was a room in my home that we called the “Man Cave” that looked like Michael had just left and was going to return any day.  He kept that room immaculate and always told us when he left to go TDY to keep his room together.  We all loved to hang out down there.   At first, that room was comforting, and we all felt closer to him when we were in there, then it became overwhelming.  Other areas of our home were disorganized, nothing had a place, and we needed a change, and we needed to purge.

Before: Man Cave Pictures

Turning Point

I started by deciding that it was time for me to do something with all of Michael’s things.  I held on for two years, trying time after time to clean out my closet.  Deep down, I knew that he was not coming back, but when I decided to start, I would get overwhelmed, start crying, and then walk out of the room. I knew It had to be done but, I was paralyzed, and I could not do it.  No matter how much I wanted to or how hard I tried to do this, I could not! I needed help.

One-day months later, I was finally able to pack up all of most of Michael’s clothes and donate them.  We have a free garage sale in our town called “God’s Open Closet,” ran by the Fortress of Faith Church,

GodsCloset
2700 Wilson Ave, Leavenworth, Kansas
If you live in my area…
The ministry of God’s Open Closet is to provide clothes, coats, household items, and furniture to anyone who has a need. Individuals who come are never asked for personal or financial information.

Items are donated by local families, churches and from area garage sales. Tax-deductible receipts are available upon request. To donate: bring items Saturday mornings or call (913) 683-3953, (913) 682-6779, or (913) 704-6033.   Hours: Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon. Closed the 3rd Saturday of each month and Holiday weekends. Subject to weather conditions January to March.

You can donate what you do not need (in good conditions), and they give them away to the community.  I know that Michael is pleased to know that someone in need was able to use his clothes and shoes; this made it easier for me.  That was a big step in moving forward for me, but there was still more to be done.

Moving Forward

For me to move forward, I needed not to let go but discover MY way to embrace my new normal, and I knew that this was one of the areas I needed to conquer.  It is not about erasing what was it is about remembering all that was, what I have learned, how I have grown and built upon the strength that the Lord has given me to stand in my current life.  I had no choice but to move forward because time was not waiting for me.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that God has things planned for me, for my future, and I needed to learn how to embrace my past and also embrace my future.
I love you all

Have a blessed and Amazing Day

Purging my Life: Part 3 (continue..) Mentally Learning How to Breathe Again Purging the Toxins Out of My Mind and Finding Joy Again

July 5, 2019

My Therapy Experience

My experience with therapy has been nothing but awesome and positive.  God had led me to an amazing therapist, which I connected with, and I started my journey to healing and wellness. 

Remember those stages of grief I told you about earlier, I have hit them all and I sometimes bounce back and forth between them depending on the triggers or what is going on in my life at the time. In February of 2017, when I sat down with my therapist the first thing she said was, “Lolita, tell me what is going on with you.” I started to tell her all the things that had been going on in my life thus far. After about 30 minutes and many Kleenex later, I finally let her speak.  She said, “Lolita, I first want you to know that you have done nothing wrong and God is always with you.”  I knew that because she first acknowledged God before anything else I knew that I was in the right place and that God had led me to the right therapist.  

I started out seeing my therapist twice a month.  I had a lot of things I needed to work out and my emotions, my moods, and my thoughts were all over the place. My therapist was able to give me the tools I needed to combat and battle depression.   After attending a few sessions, I knew that there was no way would I be able to do this on my own.  Yes, I did pray and I prayed a lot.  My village was praying for me and getting therapy was the answer to our prayers.  However, I had to get off my butt and seek help instead of sinking deeper and deeper into depression.  God would not let me give up, so off to therapy I went. 

Session after session I felt myself becoming stronger and coping with my emotions. I was able to be a strong mother for my daughters and others who were grieving along with us. I remember after one of my sessions I thought to myself, “I am going to make it,” “The enemy will NOT win,” “I will survive this,” “Victory is mine because I have victory in JESUS.”  

It was because of my therapy that I am writing this blog.  It is because of therapy I am alive to write this blog! I wanted others to know that therapy is not a bad thing. Therapy is not the taboo or this evil that has been wrongly categorized in our community for years.  Therapy is very healthy and I believe that for me it is essential to my self-care.

I have been in therapy for over two years now.  By now, monthly sessions have been crucial to my overall well-being. My head is clearer, I can think straight, and my therapist is helping me to work on future goals, now that I know that I still have a future.  Yes, I believe the Lord always had a plan for me but I also know that I could not see past my own hurt, pain, misery, destruction and whatever negative word you can insert, to accept and embrace HIS plan.  

Therapy for me is a gateway to help me see past any negative thoughts or perceptions I have about my life or myself.  This has enabled me to see the bright and prosperous future that the Lord has intended for me. Remember you are stronger than you think you are. Do not be afraid to seek the help you need. Make that appointment with a therapist today.  You should be afraid if you do not seek help and end up staying in the same depressive state you may be currently experiencing, and THAT is NOT healthy!

It is not about “telling your business,” or “keeping things in the house”. It is about making sure you are mentally healthy.  It is about taking care of yourself. It is about self-motivation, self-care, and self-preservation.  It is about learning how to breathe again and discovering that joy again in your life. 

I know that if I can do it so can everyone else!

 

I love you all! 

Be at peace & Have a Beautifully Blessed Day!

Purging my Life: Part 3 (Continued)

Mentally

Learning How to Breathe Again

Purging the Toxins Out of My Mind & Finding Joy Again

 May 20, 2019

When you are finding it hard to take your next breath, you have to find a way to move forward and breathe again.  Finding the RIGHT therapist was the next move for me.

Finding the Right Therapist

Finding the right therapist is a process and it is not an easy process.  You should meet and talk with them to get a feel for their methods and to see if they are the right fit for you.  If you can find the right therapist the first time around then you are blessed!  I talked with a few therapist before I found the right person. They were all very nice people, but I prayed for God to show me the right one.  I was very meticulous, so I also had a few criteria’s that I was looking for in a therapist.

I needed someone objective who could listen.

I needed someone who would teach practical solutions and help me clear my head.

I needed someone to help me find my courage to fight and not to fear going forward with my life.

I needed someone to help me find my way back to my source of power.

I needed someone who would respect my belief system.

I needed someone to help me pick up the shattered and fracture pieces of what was left of my life.

 A faithful God believing, Bible believing Christian.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:20-21)

My faith is very important to me, so I know I needed a therapist I could learn to trust, who was like-minded and has a similar belief system as I do.  I knew that God was the source and power of my strength, but the grief and pain in my mind was not allowing me to connect.  It is as if you know your cell phone is dying and you need to find a charger for your brand of phone. However, you cannot use any charger, you have to find the right charger for your phone, or it is not going to work. This is why I was having such a hard time dealing with my struggles in my life.  I was plugging in to grief, pain, misery, and to an enemy that not only did not care about me but also hated me with every ounce of his being!  Who is the source nothing but calamity, chaos, and confusion!

I needed to reconnect to the source of my strength.

I needed to reconnect to the Lord.

What I was not going to do was:

I was NOT going to entertain anyone that went against the word of God.

I was NOT going to entertain anyone that went against my belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I was NOT going to entertain anyone that challenged my faith as a believer.

I was not going to compromise or settle because I knew that my soul would not be satisfied until I had gotten my connection to God back.

Specializes in grief therapy and the processes of grief

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

How can a therapist give me the proper tool to deal with my grief without having the proper training in grief therapy? My girls and I were deeply grieving and dealing with anxiety regarding our future.  I was dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. We were broken hearted and our spirits were crushed.  We needed someone who was going to be able to deal with every spectrum of our grieving process. In my own research, as I looked for a therapist I noticed many standards that classified grief.  According to Psych Central, there are five stages of grief:

Denial and isolation

Anger

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

“People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.” (Psych Central)

However, I think that I more related to the article from Proactive Change, which stated, This is not a mechanistic model — the stages do not occur the same way for all people; they can last very little time, or a lot of time; and they can be inter-related.” (Proactive Change)  These are the seven stages of grief that they list:

Shock or Disbelief
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Guilt
Depression
Acceptance and Hope

I know that some people do not hit all the stages of grief but I know that I went/going through them all and not in this order.

I will go into my experience with this later but this site gives you the breakdown of each stage if you want to read more.

https://proactivechange.com/stress/grief-stages.htm

new-understanding-the-stages-of-grief-1

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/understanding-the-stages-of-grief/

My therapist Dr. Jacqueline Pfeiffer has been helping my daughters and myself on all these aspects of this grief journey/process and it has changed my life.

 

My daughters HAD to be comfortable with the therapist as well

It was important for the continuity of our care that my girls saw the same therapist.  She does not discuss our issues with the other, but she use our sessions to help us as a family unit.  That is why I needed for each of them to see the therapist as well and get their input and their thoughts.  God placed an awesome therapist in our lives.  We all liked her and seemed to open up to her easily. It is very important for me to pray for God to send me the right therapist.  If you cannot open up to your therapist about what is going on in your head or be able to tell them your deepest darkest secrets, then you are wasting theirs and your time. Therapy only works if you put your all into the sessions.

My daughters were dealing with their own set of issues and they needed someone other than mom to talk about what they were going through.  I lost my husband but my daughters lost their Daddy.  They will have to deal with the fact that he will not be available for all of their firsts that will continue happened in their lives.  This is something that they could not nor could I navigate on our own.  We needed help and sound advice on how we could take the next steps to the new chapter of our life.

All those stages of grief we experienced and we still experience are the steps we need to take toward our healing process. We took a giant leap of faith in trusting someone, a stranger at first, with the sanity of our minds, and the fragile contents of what was left our hearts.

Once all the key elements were in order and in place, we were able to go forward with our healing and rejuvenation process.

  1 Axelrod, J. (2019). The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 14, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/
2 2019 Proactive Change and Proactive Coach https://proactivechange.com/stress/grief-stages.htm