Unconditional Love

Has there been someone in your life that has influenced you spiritually? Growing up in a Christian home I was surrounded by many people that had some kind of influence, but there is one in particular that had the greatest influence and it was not until he passed away I truly understood.  As a child, you really do not pay too much attention to certain things. However, as you become an adult and start having children you suddenly remember and it becomes more important than ever.  My greatest influence was my Maternal Grandpa, Grandpa Smith, he was a Southern Baptist Preacher for 50 years before he left this earth.

He was a loving and caring man, soft spoken, but as a preacher, he could belt out the word for all to hear. I remember many times going to hear him preach, sitting in the front row with Grandma.  I wish now, as an adult I would have paid a little more attention.  I would love to hear him preach again. Even though I did not pay too close of attention as a child, the message I still heard. God Loves us all; unconditionally.

My grandpa taught me many things growing up, and I remember vividly one conversation that I had with him years ago. I was about 7 years old, I asked, “How do we know that God truly exists if we cannot see him?” His answer has stayed with me through the years and I refer to it many times. He said, “Can you see the wind,” of course, I answered no, he continued, “You are right, you cannot see the wind, but you see the effects of the wind. You can see the blades of grass sway, and the leaves on the trees move to the rhythm. This is the same with God. You cannot physically see him, but you see the effects of him all over. You just have to look.”   Wow, what a profound statement.

This is just one example of the many lessons that he taught me through the years.ethics-project-3-728

I have fond memories of my grandpa, but I do not want to forget my grandma. Grandma Smith was such a Godly woman. She was the submissive wife to her husband, and a quiet but stern mother and grandmother. She radiated loved and doted on her husband and children. She was an inspiration to her church and family. She illustrated what it meant to be a wife, mother and a preacher’s wife.

I feel blessed to have had these two wonderful people in my life. My grandpa always encouraged me to follow my dreams and he always loved my writing. He was proud of my God given skill. I only wish he could be here to see how I have developed my skill through the years. I always try to incorporate God and the Bible into my writing, knowing he would feel proud that I have followed my teaching.

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Grandpa and Grandma Smith and me on my 5th Birthday

 

As a mother of three children of my own, I have tried to instill the teachings of God into their daily lives. We may not go to church every Sunday, but they know the importance of being within the building. It is more than just a place to go on Sunday.

So why did I just write and tell you all about my grandparents; it is not like you know who they were. I choose to share my inspiration with all of you because I feel it is important to know where your influence comes from, whether it is a family member, friend, clergy, teacher, or coach. Knowing this will take you far in life.

In the bible, there are many influential people that had an impact on other peoples lives.  moses and basket Moses is just one example, he was born in a time when Pharaoh’s decree to kill every Hebrew male. This prompted his mother to hide him in a basket and send it down the Nile to save his life. He was found by the daughter of Pharaoh and she gave pity on him and asked to raise him. Pharaoh’s daughter was granted this request and she appointed Moses’s Mother(unknown at the time) to nurse him. He was later raised as an Egyptian (Exodus 2:1-10). Moses grew to eventually be the leader of his people and he led them out of slavery and into the Promise Land. Although they were granted freedom, it was not instantly, there were many obstacles that were put in their way. What does Moses teach us, his lesson is that if you keep your eye on the prize, obey God, have faith and presentence than God will deliver you to the promise land as well.

David also comes to mind as an influential person. He took down a mighty giant with a slingshot and a rock (1 Samuel 17). This story teaches that no problem is too big to tackle, as long as you have God on your side.full_davidgoliath

Job, he teaches us that no matter how much can go wrong, no matter how much Satan is knocking on our doors, it will be alright in the end as long as we keep our years on God. People are going to lose their jobs, people are going to experience death, and possible homelessness. It is part of the real life experiences God choose for us. JobHeadingHis ultimate idea was to live in peace and walk with him daily, but he gave us free will and Adam and Eve chose to disobey his order and because of this we have heartache and strife at times. What makes the trouble and sadness worth it, the calmness and light at the end that states that it will be okay.

I can go on and on with example after example of people in the bible that are influential, but then this would turn into a book.

I can go on and on with example after example of people in the bible that are influential, but then this would turn into a book.  The whole point of all this is the love that God has for us, it is unconditional.  We sin daily, not one of these men I wrote about was perfect, they all gad doubts at one point or another. They were all scared, but God they trusted.

My grandpa’s love was unconditional, just like the God he followed and served. He was a wonderful example, he passed this on to my mother, and I have passed it on to my children. Someday when they have children of their own they will pass on the unconditional love as well. we should all strive to live the life God wanted for us all.

I miss my grandparents a great deal, but they are always with me in spirit and mind.

Depression, the Invisible Illness

Someday I hate adulting, many days I wish I could just stay in bed and binge watch anything on Netflix. There are times I look at my ringing alarm on my phone and think, “OH Lord, Not today!” However, once my feet hit the ground, I am off and running. This is a good day when my depression is not at its peak. Days that my depression is high and I am in full force there is not too much that gets done. During these bouts, I have zero energy and just want to sleep. Medicine does not always work, but without it, I would be worse.

Depression is a silent killer, although it may not always take the person physically from Earth it takes them away from their friends and family. The ones’ that suffer the most are the ones’ that often hide it the most from all. Robin Williams is a prime example, he was always a funny comedic man, could always bring laughs. However, he was in such a dark place and depression overtook hirobin williamsm. He chose to end his life. The United States was shocked, how could his depression go without being seen? People would say, “But he was so happy,”  Robin Williams was quoted once saying, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it is like to feel absolutely worthless and they do not want anyone else to feel like that.” I think pretty much sums it up.

I have been diagnosed with Major Depression about 10 years ago, I suffer daily with the way my mind and body deals with this disorder. It is hard to understand, sometimes. I have studied psychology for many years, my husband has PTSD, and my oldest has bipolar and anxiety and I still do not totally understand where it all came from and why? Tit-is-not-nature-vs-nurture-it-is-nature-and-nurture-nhere is a history of depression in my family and then there  is the whole nature versus nurture that is a highly talked about subject. I am not one of those professionals that are strictly nature, or strictly nurture. I have always been on the fence, I feel it is a combination of the two.  I feel genetics plays a huge role in behavior, yet at the same time, I feel that the environment that one is raised is a helpful factor as well.

It took me a long time to admit that I have depression. It was always excuses like, I will feel better once we get settled, I will feel better once the baby is born, I will be happier if, if,if… Nothing seemed to make me totally happy. I played it off most of the time, I hid it from most people, but even though I had a smile on my face, I was dying inside. The day the love of my life, my husband left for a year tour overseas for the fight on terrorism was the day that I feel began my true journey into the dark abyss. I was left alone for the first time with a 3 ½ yr old, 18 mo old, and a 7 mo old. We were stationed at Ft Riley, Kansas and I was 1200 or so miles away from family and I was forced to grow up. From this point and before, though I was married and had three children, I really was mature to a point. I always had my husband. Most of the time we both were just winging it. I am not saying we were bad parents, all I am saying is we did not totally know what we were doing. This goes for most all young parents.

I watched my husband get on a bus that was taking him to a plane and I was unsure at that moment if I would ever see him again. I had to be strong, I had three little people that needed a strong mommy. Through the first few weeks of deployment, I found a new gained respect for single mothers. Now please, do not take this the wrong way; I am not comparing deployment to single parenthood by no means, it is just I understood the hardships that they make on a daily basis. Military spouses are similar in the ways of single parenthood, with one major exception; the money factor. We (or most) did not have to work and take care of the kids at the same time. We still had our spouses income, so that stress was lifted, however, it was taken over by the worry factor every day. That time in my life I saw changes in my moods, but I chalked it up to stress. Besides, who has time to go to the doctor with three kids? Whatever it would just go away. Guess what? It did not go away, it intensified through the years.

Stressful moments in my life was blamed. Returning from Iraq, though was exciting, was stressful at the same time, my oldest having behavior issues, and having two toddlers in diapers was enough to make anyone mad. Life would one day settle down and would be calm inside and feel normal again. The sad thing was I could not truly remember what normal felt like. I just put on a happy face.

I am not alone with the way I feel, there are over 350 million people worldwide suffer from some type of depression. It is a daily struggle.depression 2

Depression is a serious illness, and it does not discriminate against age, gender, race, or ethnicity; fortune and fame does not stop it either. Depression can target anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

As stated in the above paragraphs, depression can be caused by many factors, there are the genetics factor. There are some people that are already precondition to get depression, while others can develop because drug and alcohol abuse, or dealing with serious illness and chronic pain can all cause someone to become depressed. One big question is, can it be cured? The answers vary as well as the causes. There are many forms of treatment that help reduce the appearance and helps the individual cope daily.  As for being 100% cured, there is no known cure. Therapy and medicine regimens allow more normal life and allow the individual to experience happiness.

images87MZ13B9Another misconception about depression is that Christian does not experience this illness. There is nothing true about this statement. Just because someone is a Christian does not mean they cannot be affected.  Christians are human and they experience illnesses and sickness. The Bible even talks about depression extensively, Moses, (Numbers 11:1-15) he became spiritually and emotionally distraught. David (2 Samuel 12:15-23)  was troubled and battled deep despair, Elijah (1Kings 19:4) was discouraged weary and afraid, Job, (Job 2:9) suffered great loss, devastation, and physical illness.depression 1

Do not feel as if you are alone in this world, there are many people that suffer from the same invisible illness and God is always there anytime. Turn to him in all things.

Depression is not a curse and it is not contagious, it is an illness. Do not be afraid to get help.