Where?

Panic!

Terror!

Fear!

God where are you in this?

You say perfect love drves out fear,

but all I have some days is

overwhelming

FEAR!

Tears.

Frustration.

Helpless.

I come once again,

to pour out myself to YOU.

Crying Out!

Come Help!

Tears,

Release my soul to YOU.

I chose YOU,

every time.

I need YOUR perfect love!

Pain, Panic, Vulnerability, and Whitespace!

The week before the Women’s Retreat full panic mode had set in. I did not want to be there. I should just cancel.  Let someone else be blessed.  Through some journaling, I figured out what was triggering me unintentionally. Feelings of being dismissed and insignificant to those around me, especially on the team I was placed.

Julie Rose, Dani, and Jenni were not in my group, however, the three off them knew what was going on. Dani, Julie Rose, and I had come up with a plan to go to prayer room if I was being overwhelmed with panic. Knowing the plan ahead helped. That first night I still questioned why I had decided to walk into my fear, instead of hiding or running from it.  I was rooming with Julie Rose and Jenni, friends who knew me well. I told myself I could do this and l would be OK.

Another fear I had, was leaving my husband and his chronic illness. Would he be ok?  What if something happens?

There was spotty coverage for cell phones.

I did wake up in middle of night panicking is he all right?   I went out to lobby of dorm room and managed to have a signal. I called Matt and talked to him at 5am. He was fine and I went back to sleep.

Later one of my biggest fears happened. Someone came running up to me with message to call C at Wal-Mart. (Matt is working day cashier now, and C, is a manager.) I ran to where I had cell coverage earlier and I had none at that time. Even though I was crying, I kept trying. Others saw me trying, so people got out phones and finally something was ringing. I got a hold of Wal-Mart and C wasn’t there. The operator was friend, who knew of Matt’s health issues. She asked if Matt was working. She found someone who knew what was up. Matt’s heart issues had happened and he had passed out. I called home he had just been driven home by C.  I called Matt, hearing his voice, something inside me broke open. He told me to stay at the retreat because he did not want to be a bother.

I couldn’t hold it together any more hearing Matt’s voice and wondered if I should go home. Pure panic and tears. 4 ladies gathered around and prayed. I couldn’t decide what to do. Jenni was there offering to take me home. She told never mind what Matt wanted, what did I want.  She gave me permission to figure out what l needed, not what others were telling me to do.

I went to prayer room, sitting and praying and laid out crying forever it seems. Laid it all at God’s feet, giving up control once again. God showed up in amazing way! I left with peace went back to hear the conference speaker.

At the end of this session,  we wrote something we struggled with, took it to the altar and tore the paper to pieces. I wrote one word: CONTROL!  I had peace the rest of the conference.   I did phone calls to check on Matt the rest of the day and we were going home that night. I continued to have peace the rest of the day.

I keep remembering a Larry Crabb quote, “Pain is your friend.”

I think I get it finally at least a little bit. Without the fear and pain and walking into it, then I would not have experienced God in such a big way this weekend.

I see Him in all the little details. How did ladies know to tell me to call work?  How did some else have cell coverage when I did not? The first manager on sence when the ambulance was called had known my husband for 13 years and had worked with me the last year I was in the bakery, so he knew details of Matt’s health that another would not have known.  K, saw it was my husband,  so went to another friend, J,  and said we need to get a hold of Katie.  J knew I was out-of-town and texted a mutual friend on the retreat with me.  I understand how ladies knew to tell me to call Wal-Mart now.

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Jenni, Julie Rose, and me. Photo was Jennie’s posted on FB.

There was lots of fun and games.  There was time to enjoy the fall colors and a bonfire. I had time to talk to friends.  Yet as much as I enjoyed those times, true Spiritual Whitespace came through pain. God is in the details.  In skin friends were there. God is with me in the pain and fear. Breaking down, being real and vulnerable, I was not alone, He was there. Spiritual Whitespace was found in the midst of it all.

Spiritual Whitespace Linkup

Faithful

How do you know if you heard God or if you missed it all together? I tried something new to me. It was outside my comfortzone. I offered to lead Bible study. I was safe snd comfortable in my recovery group as a leader. Why try something new?

I love the book Finding Spiritual Whitespace:Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray. I have thought about doing this study since before I received the book. Bonnie is my friend. I dismissed this idea though because I did not want to go out of my comfortzone. After reading the her book, correction, devoured her book, I read her book two more times. I still dismissed the small voice inside me, others need spiritual rest too. But then I saw the invite from the Women’s Ministry Leader, asking someone to step out of there comfortzone. I knew God was saying it was me they were talking to. I said yes. I stepped out of my recovery group leadership.

It came to the first night, three ladies showed up. We got started. Slowly for their own reasons they dropped out, until it was me and one other. I called her and asked what she wanted to do,out o respect for her and her time. I would be more than willing to continue, but it was decided to stop the group.

Did I fail God? Did I even hear him right? Where are you in a dissolved Bible study?

I called a friend to share my grief with. She pointed out that I had courage to step out in faith. I shared with another friend, she pointed out often when called to lead a study it is because she needs it, not others.

I let Bonnie know also. She reminded me of the list of those who were called faithful in Hebrews, stumbled and did not see the results. I am still sad it is over. I still fight feelings of failure.

God is good.
All the time.
All the time.
God is good.

I trust now that I chose to follow Him. The results were up to Him.

Do you struggle with knowing you heard God? I do. You are not alone. Read Hebrews 11.

Trust God even when it doesn’t make sense.

Katie’s World

I haven’t posted for a long time.  I am sorry to those that are my friends and who follow me.

I was all set to do some writing when my hard drive crashed over the weekend.

My world:

work: I have moved to cashier at Walmart.  I really enjoy it.  I like interacting with people and seeing the kids come through my line. One day last week a little boy found a flower in his cart and handed it to me, and he said for you.  He  stole my heart and made me glad.

home life: Matt and I are still dealing with his heart health and learning how to adjust and live.

My spiritual whitespace: I am continuing to seek rest in finding my own whitespace with God.  I have been through Fidning Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray several times since I received my copy.  I have started a group this fall with my church.  I have been learning to continue to bring ALL of me to God.

I have time off in October to go to the Women’s Retreat in the fall with my church. I am excited.  I am still writing just  not posting much right now.  Hope to talk to you all sometime later.  Love you all.

Spiritual Whitespace: The Honest Truth With God and Others

In the past when I have been upset and angry with God, I shared it with him.  After all he was my best friend and I knew he could handle all of me and my emotions.  Since about January I have been experiencing flashbacks of several different assaults I have had.  My anxiety and depression has skyrocketed.  Panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares would leave me exhausted.  I started to become angry with God and instead of sharing I shut him out.  I told him, I don’t want to talk to you right now, I am angry.  I had no clue how to breakthrough to him and my own barrier I had built between us.

I still prayed for other people I was concerned about.  I still loved singing the songs on K-Love Radio.  I shared my heart with in skin friends and my recovery group, who I know listened to me and prayed for me.  I was working through it all with a Christian counselor.  Yet the one thing  I refused to do was talk about why I was angry with God, to him personally.  It has been several months since I really shared and wrote in my journal, “Dear God….”

I have been reading Bonnie Gray’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace. This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds.  

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Bonnie is also the author of the blog Faith Barista.  I have been reading Bonnie’s blog now for about four years.  We have become kindreds on  journey together.  I remember two years ago as she started to write a book and began having trouble writing and blogging due to her own struggles, praying for her regularly.  She has become a dear friend who I have never meet in person, but we have exchanged emails and talked on each other’s blogs to one another.

She has been emailing me encouragement to keep going and walk the journey through.    She assured me the anger was a normal place to be in and to tell it to God.

“But there comes a time when it takes more faith to fall apart with Jesus than to stay strong enough to stop it from happening.”  pg 32

I also have another person who I remember telling me that walking into the dark parts of me with Jesus is better than walking in the light without him.

After work one day last week, I was doing some errands. I stopped and got a drink at Sonic and went to Pertle Springs. I sat in my car under a shady tree listening to K-LOVE radio watching the sun sparkle on the lake. The song Just Say Jesus came on. I just screamed out Jesus and broke the silent treatment I had been giving God because of being angry with Him. I poured to him that I was angry and how come things couldn’t be easier and when would this go away and whatever else came to mind. Another song… I didn’t know the name of it…. but the line, “I AM … holding onto you” is what I heard. I have since looked up the song,  I AM by David Crowder.  It is all still there the anxiety, depression, and flashbacks but I have more peace than I have had in awhile.

 

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Even the past couple of days have been harder, since that one moment last week.  I have had several triggers and moments of overwhelming tears and panic.  I am struggling to hold it together. I have had several friends and my dear husband, who I have been able to tell about the flashbacks and panic attacks.  I am not only walking with God in my mess, I am sharing with trusted friends.

Open-hearted vulnerability.  We seek a deeper level of friendship when stress and anxiety bit us.  We seek friends who are not afraid of the vulnerability, friends who meet us heart to heart.  Being known. This is what we find in the whitespace of friendship.  Vulnerability is what our soul needs to rest.” pg 131 

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Bonnie’s book is NOT just another book about REST.  It is a book that has helped me to look at my own soul.  In all honesty it is a book that I am taking slowly and thoughtfully.  I am not just reading it to check it off my check list.  I am letting myself connect with parts of me that previously I have left untouched and  hidden.  Please go here to learn more about Spiritual Whitespace.  

Faith Barista

Re-learning My Story

Have you ever told yourself that everything is fine and nothing is wrong?  I know I have.  I have pretended life was great and nothing hurt me.  I lied to myself so long that I believed this to be true.  I had walls around me to protect me that were lies and were actually hurting me.

The first time I shared my story my heart was racing and everything in my mind screamed, “DON’T TELL!  IT ISN’T SAFE!”  You don’t know if they can be trusted with your heart.  You don’t know if they will go gossip about you.  You don’t know what will happen.

God whispered to my heart… “Share your heart.  Tell others what is inside.  You are not alone my beloved.  You are safe hidden in my love.”

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God began to crack those walls around my heart and slowly began sharing the hurts inside with a few trusted people, including a counselor.  Cracking those barriers around my heart hurt so much but in a good way.  For the first time I was dealing with hurts of my past.  I began to tell others my story.

I found grace and acceptance and LOVE in telling my story.  I found I was not alone.  Others were hurting like me and just needed to hear that they were not alone either.  I found that telling my story encouraged others.  I found that I was able to connect with others around me by sharing pieces of my heart.

I don’t just mean sharing my story up in front of crowds of people, although I have done that now.  Just sharing parts of my story one on one with someone means I have connected with someone.  In connecting and sharing my heart often others feel free to share their own hearts!

“When we tell our stories, the truth about our lives – the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts – then the gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption.” Shauna Niequist

Telling the secrets I kept deep inside me, gave me freedom.  Sharing tears with others let others see the real me.  Sharing fun and great things that happened with laughter let others see the real me.  God brought redemption to what I kept hidden deep inside.  God was shown to me through telling my story. I have a recovery group I share my story with weekly

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Yet somehow even though I know this is the truth of what God has brought me through in my past, I found myself the last 4-6 months or so shutting down and forgetting this, even though I still told my group.  Overwhelming fears and flashbacks paralyzed me.  I was functional in that I could go to work and do my job but that was about it.  I shared, but realized I needed more help than I just they could give me.

I have sought out a new counselor.  It has been a rough journey, wishing for my old one back, but wishing him well in his new life at the same time.  I have begun to talk through my story once again with someone new.  I am re-learning sharing my story and connecting with God and others in ways I have not before.  Take a risk.  Share your heart with someone today.

What is your story?  Who do you share your story with?

Faith Barista Whitespace Community Link UP

”Whitespace

Katie’s World

In my world this week I have: 

  • celebrated Easter by going to Saturday evening service with my husband.  It was a great time of worship and being able to celebrate the hope found in Jesus Christ. 
  • celebrated Easter by going to my family dinner at my dad’s house. I was exhausted because I had been up since 3 am to go to work first then drive there after work.  I feel asleep in the back room for about an  hour, but then got up and spent time talking with family. 
  • worked in the bakery helping with whatever was needed so others may buy what they needed to celebrate their Easter with family.  The last three days I worked the doughnut shift and also helped bag bread and wash dishes. 
  • been sick.   I had a bad cold or something. I slept for three days and called in sick early last week, but I am feeling better now. 
  • Matt and I went on a drive and found ourselves an hour away at his mom’s house.  It was fun being able to spend see her, since I work most weekends.  I was up late when I had to be at work early, but I enjoyed the time seeing her flowers, talking with her, and just being with family. 

Hope you all had a blessed Easter!  

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Bonnie Gray has a book coming out: Finding Spiritual Whitespace.  I have been reading her blog online now for 3-4 years.  I haven’t read her book yet, but I wait with anticipation as it comes out.  Her words have been a balm to my soul.  Her words so often seemed to come from God straight into my heart with what I needed to hear from Him in that moment in time.  Her book is in the pre-order stage.  Click on the link above or here for information on pre-ordering.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Grateful For….

I am grateful for all the different ways you reach out to me Lord or for what you have given me to enjoy: 

  • a hug
  • a kind word
  • sunshine
  • spring breeze
  • spring snow
  • prayers of friends
  • a listening ear
  • drinking a cup of hot tea
  • curling up on the sofa under a blanket watching tv
  • phone calls 
  • a job which helps pay our bills

I am sure there are many others ways or things you provide for me daily that I don’t even realize. Help me to see with your eyes all that I have to be grateful for.