Monday, December 15, 2008

Grateful for... Your Patience, Love, and Understanding

Pick yourselves up off the floor. You're not hallucinating or imagining things--it's true!

I am actually blogging again!

First things first--thanks to anyone who has continued (in vain) to check this blog week after week, month after month, wondering if I was even still alive. Not sure what motivated you to keep checking, but thank you. It means a lot.

I've had a lot of ups and downs since I last posted. Unfortunately, those "down" times were a major contributing factor in my not blogging for so long. For those who aren't aware, I struggle quite a bit with depression (and have for the past 9+ years). I'm here to tell you that it's a very real issue and not something that you can just wish away or ignore. I have so much compassion for those who struggle with mental and emotional issues. It's a triumph some days just to get out of bed and get the kids fed.

I have spent many hours in prayer to a loving Heavenly Father, begging Him to take this trial away from me. I keep reasoning with Him that I would be so much better of a servant if I didn't have this cloud hanging over me. I'd be so much more outgoing and serve so much more if this was something I didn't have to deal with on a daily basis. But in the past few years I've come to realize that it's BECAUSE He loves me so much that I am tested and tried. If life were a bowl of cherries, how would we ever stretch and grow? I look back on the times in my life that have been the hardest and realize how much I gained from those experiences. Although I don't think I'd choose to repeat them, I do stand here now grateful.

I'm not out of the woods by any means, but I can see the Lord's hand in my life--guiding me and nudging me towards better things. I've been able to feel a lot more in the past few months and I know that it's time that I stepped up a lot of things in my life. I've let a lot of things in my life sit by the wayside and it's time to change that. The people in my ward/neighborhood probably think I'm a recluse/hermit and anti-social based on my behavior since we moved here. I'm usually the polar opposite and I think it's about time to start being "myself". So to those of you in my neighborhood who think I've been avoiding them on purpose, please know that's not the case! Give me a call and let's do something! Sometimes all I need is a nudge to get out and I'm feeling much better!

It's also time to let some things go. As many of my stampin' sistas know, I LOVE making cards/being involved with Stampin' Up! It has been a wonderful creative release for me over the past 5+ years. But right now in my life, I need to focus on the MOST important things in my life---my little family and my faith. I have 4 young children that are looking to me to teach them all they need to know to make it through this crazy world as unscathed by evil as possible. I can't do that when I'm being sidetracked by other fun, (still good, but not ESSENTIAL), things.

I attended an LDS Women's Conference earlier this year, and one of the speakers said something that REALLY grabbed my attention. She spoke about a hobby/side job that she had that she really enjoyed. But she found that it started consuming most of her time and was crowding out the responsibilities she had as a wife and mother. She told us that she prayed for direction, and the answer she received was that her hobby would still be there waiting for her when those critical child-bearing/teaching years were over, or that her strong desire for this hobby would simply subside. I felt as though the Lord was talking directly TO ME. I only wish I'd had the courage to follow that council back in May, but I had already committed to not only attend Stampin' Up!'s yearly convention, but to personally head up a major shin-dig for 200 ladies during that convention.

But that's the beauty of the gospel of our Savior. He is ever standing at our door, knocking, and waiting for us to Let Him In. He wants us to repent and change and come to Him. He doesn't care if we've been wandering for a few months or a few years. He loves us and wants us back. He forgives us freely.

So...hopefully that helps you understand a little bit about my blogging absence. I've been wanting to start back up for a while now, but didn't know quite where to start. I actually had great intentions to blog on Thanksgiving Day, fiitingly rolling out the new title/direction I'm taking my blog in, but it just didn't happen. We spent time with family on both sides, including a sister-in-law who flew all the way from Connecticut to be there. But thanks to an INCREDIBLE Bishop who gave such perfect advice to us at church yesterday, I decided that I just couldn't put it off any longer and today was the day!

Thank you to all who made it this far--you're wonderful!!! I haven't decided how often I'll be blogging, but at the very least, I'll be posting once a week (instead of once a year!!!). Thanks again for those of you who have been so very supportive of my ups and can't begin to know how much I appreciate it!