Saturday, 4 March 2017

Combatting the Darkness

It's been quite a while since I last wrote a blog post on this page. I did start up another blog page with another provider but I had not motivation for it. My motivation to return to this blog page is that this is where I grew the most through the difficult times. I'm hoping that by blogging now I can grow through the difficult time I'm experiencing now.

My depression and anxiety have returned. I'm not happy about it. In fact, I feel very angry about it all.

I'm angry because I know that it is because external factors are contributing to me feeling as though I'm falling further and further into a pit. It's a pit that I'm familiar with, but this time there are some different variables to take into account. 

Tween daughter. Different job. PTSD. Fear. Aloneness. 

There are approximately 7.4 billion people in the world. I Googled this earlier when I was "having a moment of despair" because I wanted to know why, with the enormity of the world's population, I feel so desperately alone and helpless. A sad but true fact.

I know that answer, and that answer for me is because it's not people that will fill the hole in my heart (aka soul). It's Jesus. 

Now, this post isn't about getting all "preachy", but merely the means to share my heart so that it can be free of some of the angst that it holds. Jesus is part of my journey. And anyway, I don't do "preachy".

As I type I can feel my anxiety easing. That could also be because it's 1:48am AEST and I've had a big ugly cry, a hot shower and a cup of tea. But I also know that it's because I happened on a friend's blog page and her words have helped me immensely. 

You see, Jess is also going through a similar thing (I say similar because everyone's journey is different and I don't do comparisons). Jess is a fellow Tasmanian girl who needs a blog page, needs her hubby, needs her mum, and also needs help to heal the hole in her heart.

Aloneness aka loneliness (I usually separate the two, but tonight they are one and the same for me) is a cruel enemy that preys upon those who are weakened physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Social media is not filling the hole. IRL (in real life) connection is not filling the hole. But it seems that typing these words is. Oh, and Jesus.

I'm going to be brave and post more. I'm going to share my heart and my weaknesses (and strengths once they start to return!). I'm going to move forward and not let the darkness take over.

Paula xo

Friday, 10 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014: Four Days In One

"Spring Break", as it's called, is over for uni. That has meant that this week was all about getting back on track with my study. I wasn't going to take last week off from study but spring cleaning, catching up on TV and visiting with friends seemed more important. I kind of regret that now as I could have used at least some of the week (think not watching TV mainly!) to read and research for the five assessments I have due over the next few weeks. Argh! After a mild meltdown after the realisation that I wouldn't be able to keep up with my assignments hit, I regrouped, applied for an extension for one assessment, and got on with it.

I enrolled in four unit this semester. I now realise that it was one unit too many, but I will scrape it in! I feel I've done well for someone who left school in 1985 and hasn't done any major or serious study since. Thankfully I love to read and learn so the transition back to student in that regard wasn't difficult. Organising myself as a mum, cleaner, cook, etc was.

Semester Three is approaching and I've decided that I am only going to do one unit. I had hoped for two, but what I want to do is being taught at the same time. Grrr! So, one unit it will be, which will mean I can finally finish my spring cleaning, organise my art work, do all the online art classes I have paid for, and just be a mum. As well as the cleaning, cooking, etc. Speaking of cooking...

I've made a switch to gluten free eating this week. My fibromyalgia has been flaring up for the last few weeks since the warmer weather arrived, and is also excaserbated by hormones and what I eat. I had a full body massage on Wednesday (which was a killer!) but between it and my new eating habits, plus some slightly cooler temperatures, my fibromyalgia hasn't been playing up as badly. The bonus is that I have not had any serious (think 9 on the 1-10 scale) hip pain over the last two days. I'm looking forward to launching myself more into gluten free eating and taking care of myself better. I am actually on Weight Watchers (since May) and while I have put on some weight over the last month, I am still less than what I was when I started. It's back on the WW bandwagon for me too.

From now on my Blogtoberfest posts won't be every day due to my study load, but I will keep posting as I find blogging a great outlet for all the adult conversation I don't get to have as a mostly external uni student and single mum!

In Him Always,

Paula

Monday, 6 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014: Day 6 - Rambling

It's 10:44pm and I should really be going to sleep but I wanted to post something for Blogtoberfest first. I have no idea what I will write about so excuse me if I just ramble on for a bit.

Today was fun. My daughter and I went to two theme parks that we have a yearly pass for with another single mum and her two children. I spent the day dry while they got wet at the water park. I sat back and took photos of all and sundry while they went on rides at the theme park. It was a fun day. Tomorrow life returns to its normal routine. School holidays is over, my daughter is back home from spending two weeks with her dad and his family, and I must return to my university study tomorrow. I don't really know if I'm happy or sad about it. I guess tomorrow will tell.

I have five assessments due between now and the 5th of November. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my first semester at uni, I will be glad when it is over. And it's not because I don't like studying however, it's because I did four units this semester and I am worn out. And I mean WORN. OUT. My eyes hurt from reading, my brain hurts from thinking, and my butt hurts from sitting down so much! But still, I plan to keep going. The uni I attend has a third semester on offer. A summer semester where I will be doing one, if not two, units. I'm really looking forward to doing that as well as dealing with a house that I have to finish spring cleaning, creating art and taking some lessons, reading books, and finding a part-time job.

And with the end of semester comes the end of the year. Out with the old and in with the new, once again. Christmas will arrive with the New Year not far behind. A new year will begin with a child who starts her last year of primary school and a mum who begins the second half of her first year at uni. It will be a great year. However, getting through this year still has to be done. To say it has been an interesting year is an understatement. From working full-time to studying full-time, 2014 has been a year of major change and transition. My "because I know there is more year".

So there is my rambling for tonight. Ponderings on a fun day, a full year, and the anticipation of what is next. Now it is time to sleep.

In Him Always,

Paula

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014: Day 5 - When You Meet Your Tribe

I'm a bit of a hermit, which I quite openly admit to. I have never been part of a group of female friends who hang out together, have weekend getaways, and do Bible study together. While I have longed for it at times, it has never happened. Lately it has become a recurring theme. One that rises up periodically and I feel anxious about. So, I decided to ask God why that was the case, to which He replied that I am not supposed to be part of a group like that. I asked Him what it is then that I am supposed to be a part of. He told me to wait.

Yesterday the wait came to an end when I found my tribe. A tribe of women from all parts of both hemispheres. A tribe of women who are all travelling on a similar journey to me. A tribe of women who have decided that going to church while still loving Jesus isn't what they need. Yes, you read that right. Not going to church. Still loving Jesus. It's what is referred to as being a free-ranging Christian. My new tribe. 

It's taken me over 18 months to get to this point. I had been attending church regularly for over six and half years prior to that. Three churches actually. "Church hopping" as it was once referred to in a conversation with a friend. A reference that irked me at the time, and still irks me now because it's not about the church. It's about my relationship with Jesus. And that's why I am now a free-range Christian. I don't feel part of the current church establishment. I find it overwhelming. I find it suffocating. And after a revelation from God a number of years back, I find that the practise of devoting oneself entirely to one church and all its activities takes away from the true purpose that Jesus came to earth to live out as our example.

I grew up going to church and the church I attended as a child and teen was my home. I have very fond memories of this church and the relationship I had with everyone there, my involvement, and what I learned there. I miss it actually. I miss the fact that it was small and everyone knew each other and it was home. I think this fact alone has had a huge influence on why I have never felt completely part of a new church. Too big. Too many cliques. Too focused on this or that. You get the drift. 

Of the churches I have attended recently, I do have one particular church that I would still like to attend from time to time. It is because when I attended there I did not feel overwhelmed or suffocated, or alone for that matter. It is still a church establishment by today's standards, but Jesus is there. And I need Jesus more than I need to be a member of one particular church. More than I need to rock up and serve every Sunday. More than I need to devote my time to other Christians when there are so many others in my circle that need Jesus more.

From where I'm sitting right now while typing this, I have a 10 year old who needs Jesus. Looking out my window there are neighbours that need Jesus. When hanging out with my non-Christian friends I see a need for Jesus. And not a "let's invite you to church so you can meet Jesus" type thing. A tangible "Paula is a Christian but is still a really cool person to hang out with and respects who I am and accepts me for who I am and what I do" type Jesus. 

So, getting back to my new tribe. It's a group of women from around the globe who are all free-ranging Christians. Who have all had experiences that have resulted in them either leaving the church establishment or adjusting their views on theology, or both. And I am really thankful for this new group of kindred thinkers. I can be myself and not feel that I don't fit in. I can express my views without them being negated just because I am not doing what "everyone else" is doing. 

I am doing what God wants me to do. I am exactly where I am supposed to be today. I am closer to myself and God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit than I have ever been before. And it's good. It's home. And I have a tribe.

In Him Always,

Paula 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Blogtoberfest2014: Day 4 - Single, Solo, Smiling

I've been a single mum now for eight years and eight months. In that time my daughter's father and I have been through good times and bad times, but we have come out on top. We have a happy and healthy relationship that is helping our daughter regain her confidence and thrive. There was a period a few years ago when changes in his life affected ours. But we have worked through that and life is good. As I write, my daughter is holidaying in Sydney with her dad and his family. She is having a ball, as are his family.

Single parenthood is no joke. I feel blessed that I have only one child to care for as a single mum, but even then it has been tough at times. I have single mum friends who have two, three, four, even five children. Life is a rollercoaster for them, to say the least! What we all have in common though, is the fact that we are blessed beyond measure and were gifted with the responsibility to raise our children.

One mum that inspires me is Chere from A Single Christian Mom's Advice on Making Life Easier. Chere is mum (mom) to her own beautiful daughter and shares some welcoming insights and advice on being a solo parent. One of her posts from last week peaked my interest because it is about comparing ourselves to others. Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak.

I've found comparison with other single mums (and mums/women in general) a real burden, especially with so much being shared on social media. Some seem to have it all together. Their kids seem to as well. I find that pressure really suffocating. For that reason I have unfollowed some single and not single mums, and women, on social media just so I can have a break. And since commencing full-time university study, not having comparisons has been a blessing. I've had to reduce my activities, namely school and church activities, because I just do not have the time or energy to keep up doing everything that I was once doing.

Chere writes that, "Looking at other families and wishing you had a house like they do, or the two parent family, worrying if you aren't giving your kids all the opportunities other people give their children (or you think), stressing that you aren't the ideal mom that you believe the mom across the street is will make you miserable! Don't try to overcompensate and wear yourself ragged to try and prove that you can be just like that other family you believe have a picture perfect life because no one does!" Amen to that!

I'm so glad that God has allowed me to meet the single mums that I have. Whether they be overseas or at university or my daughter's school. I've been blessed by these ladies through their advice and just the common thread that keeps us together - our "singlemumness" and our kids. God looks after the widows and orphans, and I am very thankful for how He looks after me and my daughter.

In Him Always,

Paula