Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

From Depression to Victory

There's three things you can do when consistently depressed.
You can be it, and take everything around you down with it.
You can do yourself in, and hurt everyone around you.
Or you can figure out the problem, and get on with it.

I've been noticing more and more issues with myself recently - just come back from an energising walk and was thinking on the way back. Don't even want to write this blog post, because it means addressing the issues and a major part of me doesn't want to. I'd rather just sit down, look at things and think, I make everyone around me depressed. I am depressed. I'm always so tired - emotionally, if not physically - and I don't want to do anything.
I like doing things that give me a buzz. I just went out and got some shopping in. And thought, shall I buy myself a frozen meal cause I really don't want to spend the time cooking tonight. I'm tired. I just want to sit down with a movie and nothing else. No contact.
I take phone calls, but I don't make them. I answer chats and texts, but I don't start them. I'm a far cry from the girl who was abounding with energy, vitality and curiosity about life and humanity not even ten years ago. I loved people. I wanted to help them. And now...I just don't want to be around people. Well, part of me still does. Part of me still loves humans. Part of me doesn't trust them, doesn't want to be around them, doesn't want to do anything apart from huddle up, in a chair, with a movie, and lose myself in a story - but not one I wrote.
I can partially blame the group that kicked me out and the guy who left (though the latter, I don't - maybe I should) for the way I've become. But I can't for all of it. I'm choosing this...this path of least pain that leads to long pain and more pain - not just for me, but for those I love.
I look around the house and yes, while I start to develop into a housewife when I'm at home for a long period and when on holiday, I love unpacking and putting everything straight, on a working week, catch me doing anything productive on a Saturday and Sunday. Nah, it's a comfy chair, a movie, a couple of snacks. I begrudge spending the time cooking or cleaning. I live in a house that's often untidy and a week's worth of piled dishes and I'm like, meh, that's what I'm like. I suck. I'm valueless. I haven't got the energy. I'm too tired. Life's just going too fast. I make everyone's life a misery.

Mememe. III.

Problem is, when I do break out the cycle to try and be who I used to be, deep down who I want to be, I end up so. Fricking. Tired.
Wish I understood this.
Now I just need to work out a way to break free.
A way that doesn't involve making one small difference to watch it just become untidy/dirty again.
How do I do this?

I don't know.

But for now, I'm going to wrap this up, grab my cherry bakewell and apple juice, curl up in the chair, watch an episode of The Crown, go unpack the shopping, cook my meal, cook the waffles, wash up, change the bed, start the washing and see what else I can do. Before bed.
And another weekend over.
What has happened?________________________________________________________________

It's been a while since I wrote this.
My house is still a mess.
I'm still tired.
And I'm still reaching for the stars.

Because I went to a conference in February, called The Sword of the Spirit Conference.

God used every session to speak to my heart.
From living in defeat, from living in shame and fear of my sin and fear and pain of rejection.
One key message I carried away from the conference is "I have only One to please, and it's not you."

Christ first and foremost is now my goal.

My sins still haunt me.
But as I stated on Facebook on March 3rd:

'I have sinned very badly in my past.
I have repented and cried over it over and over again.
I had a screwed up life to start with and I let it affect my choices.
Now God is making all things new.
But I have been letting the guilt and the shame hold me down for so long and I’m scared to do anything to make a difference or stand up in case that past follows me there.
But God forgave me. I keep asking Him for forgiveness for something He already forgave me for over 2000 years ago.
Before I even sinned.
I have carried the pain from rejection in 2013 with me almost every day of my life since. It’s a burden possibly from my sin - I don’t know, as I was judged and rejected without ever being told why.
But I think it’s time to face that and move on.
To ask forgiveness from those I sinned with and against in my past.
To forgive myself. To stop hiding in shame and fear and to accept what’s coming.
I made my bed. If someday I have to take the shame of it in this life, then fair enough. I know in my heart that I am forgiven it all.
And to move forward into a future owning it, and owning how God has used my screwed up youth for His glory, in spite of me.'

I am no longer ashamed, cautious and fearful of proclaiming myself as a Christian and aligning myself with the viewpoints that so many despise.
I do not have to hate to do this.

Because, you see, something major has happened.

Jesus Christ, God Almighty, lives in me.

And that knowledge...has somehow sparked alive.
It's raised my eyes from my problems, my frustrations, my fears - from the ground to the Cross.
Watching God move majorly in my family's lives over the past month has left me shaking my head with my jaw dropped. I wish I could tell you about it. I do. But I know that the three prayers of my heart, for each 'New Year Resolution' of the last few years, are being answered. In front of my eyes.

Sure, rejection still hurts.
My sins still shame me.
But if the God Who created the universe loves me - why am I so hurt?
If the God Who took the penalty of the curse of all creation for me lives in my heart - why am I hiding and afraid?

I can take steps forward, in His Name. He has made me new.
I don't have to live the rest of my life cowering in fear, because that is where Satan wants me hiding.
A hiding soldier is about as useful as a dead soldier.
Look at 1 Samuel 17 for a good example of that. Goliath came and the Israelites were like, Whoa, no one can beat THAT. He's huge. He's tall. He has an army. We'll be slaves. Let's play stalemate and wait for God to deliver us.
Instead of stepping out in faith to face the giant.
Sometimes sitting at home waiting for God to move in my messes and fix my problems isn't good. Not when the answer is in my control. To work hard and to pray hard. To give to Him what is beyond my control and to act in faith on what is in my control.
The problem is when we turn inwards, look down at our messes and look in at our fear. We are hiding behind a black wall of our own creation.
In Christ is freedom.
He is the Way.
He is the Truth.
He is the Life.

And - I'm not saying it, He has said it, and I don't just believe it, I know it to be true - 'no man comes to the Father except through' Him. (John 14:6)
To be rid of shame.
To be rid of guilt.
To be rid of fear.
To be rid of sin.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Guilt I Carry

I had a breakdown this week, probably due to exhaustion.
It wasn't pretty.
Atul and I are working really hard right now to try and get our house within the time limits imposed by lenders and visas and money.
Love that last. It's a pain in the neck.
I walked from work on Tuesday evening to get a hug from my husband at his workplace (he was on night shift). As soon as he put his arms around me, I started crying - and didn't stop for an hour.
Then on and off for the next day.
Took a half sick day off work. Ugh.

Since my marriage, I haven't seen much of my friends. And even less and less, I've been drifting offline. Well, apart from playing Farmville or watching Netflix.
Part of me is guilty for abandoning people.
Part of me thinks I can't handle staying with people.
I had a dear friend once. Someone I adopted as a daughter. And a mutual friend betrayed her and me. When I had helped her get out of the mess, I drifted away because I was cracking and I didn't know how to help. And her life...well, it's totally screwed now. I blame myself for that.
I used to be there for people, all the time. Like, when I was a teen and first came online, I would run up to twenty chats a night. I helped people. I was there for them.
And then I failed.
And failed again.
And screwed up.
Then my 'family' let go of me because - I think - I was too messed up and people were scared to be around me.
I remember the night they told me they didn't want me to come back to the conference in the US because of the parents that were up in arms about me going and threatening not to send their kids if I came.
I didn't ask why. I ended the conversation because I was so pained, so bruised. It was only three months since I'd lost the love of my life and I couldn't handle. Still haven't asked why.
I remember the wracking tortured sob-screams in the bathroom and my mom hugging me so, so tight. She still hasn't forgiven them, I think, for how much they hurt me.

I fell asleep in the middle of the floor that night, in the living room, lights blazing. People walked around me and went to bed and I woke up, alone, in the middle of the night, lights still on. I guess they figured it was best to let me sleep and heal. Well...I woke up and - I don't know how, because half of my mind was perfectly rational, like it is when I'm in suicidal depression, and the other half was screwing - it told me I was an actual monster, that people knew and had known it all along, that I didn't know myself and couldn't remember when I was the monster and people were too kind to tell me but they all knew and that was why they were scared of me and pushed me away. I knew it wasn't true. Partly. But something in my head has been terrified of my mental illness and depression since that day, although I try - have and will again - to fight, stand up, and be the victor over this through Christ.

And then there's the time that I thought I knew who had backstabbed me to the people who kicked me out. I was walking to work - God alone knows how I handled a job and this at the same time, I couldn't have without His upholding Hand and mercy - and I knew, without the shadow of a doubt, I could kill the person who had hurt me if they were within my grasp. With no remorse.
...that terrified me too.

I don't know how to let go of that.
How to stop being scared of myself.
I'm no saint. I've tried to help and to handle, even when it's been the wrong way to handle. I've tried to do the right thing and screwed it up time and time again. God has been so patient and gentle with me. I have a f***ed up past, but God and my husband know and they love me. I am. So. Incredibly. Grateful for that.
Another reason I can't handle being online. Watching people I know and love turn and walk away from the God Who has always been there, Who I - and they - wouldn't be alive without. Claiming credit for victories He has given and mocking Him. Sometimes I'm glad some of them have unfriended me. Others who haven't - I don't know. It grieves and I pray, but I still can't handle the hurt.

The flashbacks are insane. I had one recently that was pleasant. That is so rare. Flashbacks from when I was a child to the pain of being told I wasn't wanted, I wasn't loved, the memories of my brother attacking me, my mom, sexual instances I don't want to remember - gosh, that was a bad time last June. I bumped into that guy at New St at the same time I learned the guy I'd loved was in a relationship and my mom's best friend passed away. Yikes.

My memory is shot through. I struggle to remember so much, probably because I keep trying to remember the past so I can use it in the future. I want to record it, so I can let go.

There's times when I forget birthdays. Anniversaries. Meet-ups. Chores I've been asked to do. Emails I've promised to send.

I have 30 unread texts, 1400+ unread emails, unread WhatsApps, unread Instagram messages.

It's so much easier to back away from it all.
To hide in a game with cute animal noises, wind in the trees, fruit falling, fishing, the sound of running water on my little farm...or to watch Reign and absorb myself in the only form of story and character left to me, since I don't write any more.
I'm so scared I'll drift away - and I do try to reach out sometimes and then drift away, because I'm scared. I don't know how to handle people right now. To keep talking. Reaching out. To handle connections.
But I'm a fighter.
With a story.
For a reason.
So I won't stay hiding forever.
Just...let me get through this rough patch...and the next...and get up again.
I'll get there.
Keep praying for me.

To the sweetheart who left this message for me this morning:
"Good morning. It's Mother's Day, here in the U.S., and I just wanted to thank you today for being a mentor to me during some of my most difficult times. ❤️"

I have no idea what to say. I feel I barely reach out and I'm just about holding on. I feel like I'm looking at myself and my failures all the time instead of reaching out and pointing you to the One Who is the reason I am still here.
And I'm sorry for my failures.
But thank you - so, so much - for blessing me and for letting me bless you - in whatever way God has used me in your life. <3 That means the world to me.

I'll leave you with a song. Hang in there.

In Him,
Still marching,

Sunday, January 22, 2017

~The Romance of the Kumars~ (Part 1)

Once upon a time is how all good stories begin.
Ours began with a baby boy named Atul, who was born in 1989 to a loving couple in Jamalpur, India.
Three years later, halfway around the world, the other half of our story was born - a little girl named Siân, born in 1992 in Walsall, United Kingdom.
Atul and Siân both had happy childhoods.

When Atul was 9, he moved to a Scottish missionary boarding school. Life was hard and strict; he only saw his parents once a year.
In an environment full of boys, young Atul grew mature at a very early age.
Siân, on the other hand, was homeschooled alongside her twin brother.

Atul graduated from school and went to college, where he met some of his lifelong friends. He studied in Bangalore and became a coding engineer before deciding to go abroad and take a Master's degree. First he tried Canada, but for some unknown reason, they rejected his application. Atul gave up. His dad didn't; he applied for a UK visa for him, which was accepted.

Siân's teenage years were full of uncertainty. Her school days ended quietly due to family problems and she took a job at the age of 19 after her parents' rocky divorce. She made lots of friends in the USA, including a guy she fell in love with, and flew overseas once a year to see them at a writing conference.

In 2013, the American guy Siân loved broke her heart, and in early 2014, her American friends kicked her out. She carried on, empty and shattered, but trying to live.

Atul, meanwhile, arrived in the UK in September 2014. He got a job in a call centre in Birmingham, UK and managed both that part-time, his degree full-time and daily communication with his family in India and his girlfriend in Utah, USA.
Then in December that year, his heart got broken too. His girlfriend dumped him for no known reason, and all he was left with was his loneliness and his determination to achieve his degree, to pay back his parents for all they had done for him.

In April, 2015, a work overload in Siân's department caused a slight effect that would forever alter their two lives - the girl broken-hearted from the man she'd loved for 5 years, and the man, broken-hearted from the girl he'd been semi-engaged to, heading back to India once his degree was over.
You see, Siân and Atul worked at the same company - Atul calling people via phone to complete surveys, and Siân creating codeframes for the open text response.

Atul and his university friend Kwesi were sent downstairs to help Siân's department with coding and cleaning responses for a rush job. He arrived late that first day...
Siân, being less introverted than her colleague, ended up looking after the two of them.
By the end of the first couple of days, she'd nicknamed Atul "Hedgehog", due to his spiky hairstyle, and Kwesi "Kiwi", as that's what his name sounded like. What she didn't admit to anyone, except for herself, was that she'd developed a huge crush on Atul.
He was pleasant. He was a gentleman. He was adventurous. He had loyalty. He had passion and he wanted to see the world, a flame that instantly flickered a recognition in Siân's own heart.
But he was a Hindu, and she was a committed Christian - and he was headed back to India. She was definitely staying in the UK, now.

Once the boys had finished helping Siân out downstairs, she moved upstairs to the call centre to make some extra money. This lead to late hours, and the boys would often walk with her to the bus stop for her long trip back to Wolverhampton - Atul in particular.

In June, two months after they met, he sent her a video link on Facebook with the accompanying message - "Ignore the lyrics, just watch the video." The song was "I Really Like You", by Carly Rae Jepsen. Siân watched it, and wondered, but as in the past five years of loving one man in a different country, she began to try and remove her crush from her mind and heart again.

On June 27th, Atul and Kwesi came over to her home to bring her flowers (Kwesi) and a bottle of wine (Atul) in celebration of her birthday, two days previous. This courtesy having never been extended by any colleague before, the meeting was a little awkward, but the time soon passed.
In the following months, the boys and Siân saw less of each other, as their shifts altered and Siân lessened her call centre hours.

It was early September when they finally met again for more than a few passing minutes or a friendly wave. Atul and Siân had spoken on the phone one or two times, for an hour or so - not only did his enthusiasm for life, his thirst for adventure and his desire to travel appeal to her, but also - his broken heart, a condition which she deeply understood but equally, had no idea how to relieve.

Occasionally, Siân was going home via train at night, as the buses were arriving home at 10-10:30pm. One night, Kwesi caught the bus into town and Atul chose to walk with her. He told her, on the way, about a girl friend of his he had taken to dinner to celebrate her birthday, but that he'd really felt her pushing him to begin another relationship and he knew she liked him.
"I would move on if I could, but I don't know how."
"I wish I could help you," Siân responded, deeply sympathetic to his plight.

A few nights later, he walked with her again. Somehow, they got onto the topic of her crushes - yes, she had five at the moment, yes, two were in the company, yes, one was in the call centre.
"Is it Kwesi?"
"What does he look like?"
"Look, I'm not telling you!"
"Is it Glen?"
There was a long pause of silence.
"I think I know who it is."
"I'm still not telling you."
As they walked to New Street station together, he simply and naturally reached down and held her hand. She didn't pull it away.

It was that night he travelled with her to her home station for the first time.
It was bitterly cold, and she waited with him for his train back into Birmingham - the 10:10. He put his arms around her to keep her warm, as she was shivering violently.
"I'd like to spend more time with you, if you know what I mean. I think you do."
"Maybe," she answered evasively.
"Do I have to write it in a letter?"
"Okay, I'll write a letter. And address it to Miss Garner-Jones, at the Cottage?"
"If you like."
"Or I'll just ask you now, since you're here. Would you like to go out for a meal or a coffee with me sometime?"
The train pulled in and he moved to go. He swears it was her, and she that it was mutual, but their lips met for a brief two seconds before he pulled away and boarded the train. She waved, and left, and made a frantic phone call to her best friend.
"Help! I've kissed him."
He sent her a text: "Thanks for that sweet peck. I don't know what else to say."

(As written in their love book)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 ~ A Life is for Changing

Once I thought I was going to do something big, not change the world, but make a mark on it for the good.
Then I mucked up.
Then I struggled back with the marks and the stains and the scars.
Then I got married.
Then I realised that my life was going to consist of losing/distancing friends, working incessantly, budgeting like crazy, a few hard-clung-to times with my new husband while realising more and more that family and parents are getting older, bigger, growing, moving on. There are new goals in life - saving money, buying a house, having kids.
Social life reduces down to a few shared news articles, playing a few e-games people tag you in, and sharing other people's posts. Any significant news in your life may not want to be shared by another person, so you leave it in the quiet.
People 'like' or 'read' your news in decreasing numbers.
Your impact on life is minimal.
And your days march on.

I like change. Within a controlled or known measure.
I don't like uprooting. Or limitations I haven't imposed.

When writing my husband's Christmas card, I included a little timeline of all the achievements from this year...and realised that most of them were his.
He moved in on January 1st. We applied for the marriage licence on January 11th. We got married on March 5th. He left his job on the day his visa came through - April 11th - and started his new job in London on April 17th. He travelled between the two for three months, and then got a new job back up here in August. In October, his friend recommended him at another company and he got a fourth job there in November. He started driving in September and passed his test within a few weeks on a crash course.
I got married, worked and gained a new job role in December this year (for which I hasten to add, I am very, very thankful) as Coding Supervisor. Oh - and I got my family started on drinking raw milk again. :D

Am I being jealous? Maybe. Maybe it's an aftermath of the Rebelution - we can all do great things. Well, we can - I'm not dissing that. But not everyone in life is going to be captain of a Navy ship at the age of 14. Who would be the cabin boy? I tell myself. But it doesn't feel very good to be the cabin boy.

Does it feel great to be shoving through life in a half-depressed state, wearing away at myself and the people around I'm clinging desperately to. How to let go? Verbal batterings of "welcome to the real world" or "about time you got your head out of those clouds" don't help the adjusting. In fact, it makes life look even darker.

There's a list of goals here that I've set myself for 2017, but looking at them, I know that even half of them won't be achievable, because of - mainly - trying desperately to make money (see first goal).
I guess the courage behind that is carrying them forward until they are achieved.

*Buy a house
*Attend a Con and cosplay again
*Pick up my friendships again
*Get a singing coach and work towards becoming a professional singer #dream
*Learn Hindi to converse in basics
*Pick up learning Welsh
*Start dancing
*Learn rock/mountain climbing
*Travel round the UK with my favourite guy

There's a verse in the Bible that it's really hard to do right now.
Colossians 3:1-3 reads: "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

I have only one life. Yes.
I want to live it to its fullest. Yes.
I love/d people. Yes.
I can't do everything. Yes.

And when all of this passes away and only one thing is left - eternity - my soul is the only thing that will matter; not necessarily what I've done in my life, but what I've done with it. The small things done to the best of my ability, for Him; the money raised for my family, for Him; the work done hard and faithfully, for Him.

I keep telling myself all this, but struggle keep track on it. Eyes are down, not up. I'm glad not many people read this any more!

Keep marching on.
In Christ,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Walking Through Forgiveness

I apply the last bit of mascara and blink. There. Perfect. Only wearing mascara today because, with blonde lashes, I look bald without it. My husband prefers no makeup on me, because he says I'm beautiful with and without, so I'm trying to accept myself without, spots and blotchy skin and all.
I'm about to leave the house in half an hour to go and meet him after work. He finishes at 4, and then I'm going to talk him into an evening walk in the park with me before we go home.
Ever the romantic!
Plus, it's healthy, and it's Autumn. Haha! One of my favourite months.
I did something today.
I've been changing a lot recently. Marriage is a great changer of people. Especially when compared often with the relationship of Christ and His church.
Today, I made a plan and ditched it. Ever since my life messed up five, almost six years ago, I've had a passionate fondness of plans. Order. KNOWING what is going to happen. Living in a situation where you don't know what's going to blow up around you next for a long time makes you like that. 🙂 So making a plan and then it going to ruin - that's hard for me to accept. True, I forgave myself for messing my plan and order of the day up, which is probably a LOT easier now than it will be when I have kids and am homeschooling and have to do that one far more frequent occasions, but it's a start. I've learned to accept baby steps and cheer them as victories. If you belittle baby steps, it's far harder to recognise or take another.
One of a woman's - especially a wife or mother's - greatest skills is to make a plan and then ditch it at a moment's notice - with a smile on her face. I don't know how I'm going to do that one, but I'll pray and try!

So instead of getting up, eating breakfast, washing my hair, tidying our room, making FIMO characters, watching my TV shows, chatting some friends and then going to meet him after work, I've got up, watched a wedding video, written an email, sat and chatted to my stepdad while eating lemon tart, had a shower, washed my hair and am tidying my room. Not much of a plan change, but still, annoying. I have my mother's bad habit of getting angry with myself if I feel like I'm underachieving, or not living to equal her busy schedule. 😝

The email I wrote was to long-ago friends who, coming three years ago in Feb/March, hurt me badly. Three months after my heart had been ripped open by the guy I loved finally giving a closure to us. Bad timing. It didn't hurt so bad at first, until they completely kicked me away. Then it grew into hatred. I knew I shouldn't hate, so I bottled it down with a couple of other things and pretended it didn't exist. But I knew it did. The flashbacks and the hatred kept happening, especially when some news reached me that made a heck of a lot of sense of things. So bad I knew that if revenge was in my power, I would. Which scared me so I bottled down harder. Earlier this year, God started dealing with that.

If there's one thing I've learned over this many-times-painful six year so far growth into maturity, it's that you cannot rush healing - and you cannot rush forgiveness. Both need to be lived through, worked through and battled through. But they - like your Christian life - cannot stay bottled up or stagnant, or they will ruin something. Usually you.

I wrote to them to tell them I had forgiven them for what they did, and asked their forgiveness for my hatred. I don't care if they never respond. I hope they don't. The friendship can never come back. But I needed to, because I can no longer take the Lord's Supper or worship with His people, knowing this blackness in my heart for those He loves too.

It doesn't mean that a magic wand has been waved and I'm full of love. Nope, forgiveness has many battles on its way to victory. But I've physically started - it's all well and good saying 'Oh yeah, I've forgiven them' and possibly even fooling myself, but a physical action of gruelling humbling means that I have to mentally acknowledge without lying to myself.

So here goes.

I said to Atul recently that I'm changing. Growing. I'm ready for stuff now I wasn't even ready for a year ago when we first started talking about marriage - a house, kids, a life. You're never actually 'ready' for stuff until it hits you, but I'm mentally ready now.

So hi.
I'm Siân Kumar. I'm 24 years old; I have a past, which I like to be brutally honest about. I'm married; not the most idyllic marriage, what with our culture, nationality, faith and language being different, but to the best man for me, whom I firmly believe God brought into my life at a time I needed him most.
I've been through a lot; people tell me God has great plans for my life, though living in one bedroom, working a lot to make ends meet and barely talking to any of my friends (my fault, so tired all the time!) doesn't seem like a great plan. I'm not changing the world, I just live and talk about it.
So if you like that kind of thing, stick around. 🙂 God's not done with us yet.

In Jesus' mighty Name and His love and peace,

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To Walk By Faith and Not By Sight

When I rededicated my life to the Lord in my late teens, I began what seemed to be a lesson a year. First it was love - God began to teach me how to love with His love, to see with His eyes, as I prayed for it. The next year was faith, and the following faith and trust. It wasn't like I picked these to work on - love was what brought me back to Him - a breakthrough from my friend Taylor W. - and faith and trust have always been struggles, partly because I like to understand things, and partly because I've never learnt to trust deeply, easily.

Faith, as you know if you live by it, is a walk in trust. The two, though different, are deeply and intimately connected. To walk by faith is to walk in trust, and to trust fully means utter and complete faith.

One of the joys of following Jesus has been to see His love through different aspects of my life - as I like to say, "God's love is of the same beauty and diversity as a many faceted diamond."
First, I learned His love through parent-child relationship - with me as the child, obviously.
Next, was His intimate love as a wooer and lover, as my best Friend through the lonely years when my life turned upside down and, more recently, in the traumatic last three years of abandonment by the man I loved and my supposed "friends/family group" in the US.
I learned how He could love the dirty and the societal/Christian "unforgivables"; how He could bring in strength when emotional and physical strength was gone. I've seen Him through wonder and laughter and tears, in the baby sparrows and in the vast sky, and how He could love someone so small as me and make me so big.
And most recently, marriage.

My husband and I haven't had the easiest start to our marriage. (!) He and I often laugh and say that nothing in our lives has been easy. He sees it as a test, a challenge - I see it as a trial, a storm in which the eye is God's peace and...well, the end is Heaven? :)

We began dating in September, September 17th; we talked to my parents about the possibility of marriage around the middle/end of October. He proposed to me on November 28th and we were married in a beautiful ceremony on March 5th of this year. (If you want our love story, ask. I want to write it up some time anyway. :P)

Within three days of our honeymoon, we had the stress of his marriage Visa kick in. (If you think I'm a worrywart, he can stress as bad as me. :D) He'd had a job offer lined up since the end of February, but his company wanted us to try for his marriage Visa before they'd attempt a work Visa. Once that was approved (thank God!) on April 11th, he left my workplace (where we met) and began his job in London on the following Monday. Now, you may not think Britain is particularly big, but when you get up at 4:30am, leave at 6:30am, get into work at 9am, work until 5:30pm, catch the 6:20pm train, reach home by 8:45pm and be in bed for 10pm, every day of the week, it suddenly becomes enormous. With the travel strain and the financial cost of the ticket (£1062.60!!!!), we decided it would be best for him to stay in London and come home weekends - or when his shift starts, to work the four days and come home the four days he's off.

Well, my head decided. My heart didn't.
I'm too emotional. :P Always have been.

I was really grateful last night - and today - for the Bible verses my parents made me memorise as a child, and those that I've learned since. Praying as I was trying to sleep in tears, two came to mind:

"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NASV)
" Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

But still, tears and quiet depression today. Which of course isn't making my poor husband feel any better.

I text him earlier: "...I was just saying I trust you to do the best for us, even if all I can see is the present." (With my head; it's still getting to my heart. :P)
He replied: "Yes, and I'll always do the best for us. Sometimes it's hard in the present, but if you think about futuristically, you'd see the benefits."

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, He instantly becomes all the things I mentioned earlier - Husband, Father, Protector, Keeper, Shield, Lover, Closest Friend, Brother...etc. It takes a lifetime of knowing Him to even start to understand all of the ways in which He relates to us in the perfectness of His love.

He is our Husband Who has gone to prepare a place for us - Atul has moved to London to try and gain experience, more money to provide a better life for us and any future children we may be blessed with in the future.
He always does the best for us - even though we can't see it. And how often can we!

I feared the breakdown of communication with Atul away - he calls me three times or more a day, texts me, Whatsapps me, to reassure me that he will stay, he will come back.
God also communicates with us, while He is away - through His Word, the never-changing, never-failing Bible. He has told us, "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." (John 14:2-4, NASV) As we wait for His return, we communicate with Him through prayer and song.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," the old saying goes. I find that absence increases doubt and fears, which have to be conquered by faith, trust and communication. We choose where our hearts go and what they dwell on - and that is the only way to grow the "fondness".
In these last days, our love for the Lord has grown cold. We do hear people say, "“Where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Peter 3:4a, NASV) We prefer the comforts of life and the joys of the now to the dwelling on the distant and invisible. We hate to be scorned and hold our heads down to avoid the mockery of living by faith. (That's me, too, by the way.)

When I fear Atul will go, when I remember how brief and short our lives are, I think about the memories and his promise.
I know the Lord won't leave. And maybe that is a reason why I hold His promise and the memories of His grace so lightly.

I messaged Mama Lauser the other day, asking how she was. She replied, "Learning to trust the Lord again." I thought, Again? Is there ever a point where we rest completely in Him without falling back? And I guess not. (Thank you, Mama. That was encouraging in a strange way. :))

Trusting God.
Trusting my husband.
Learning to trust again. I guess that is the lesson for this year, still. And forever.

In Him alone do I stand,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Handicap or Disability?

I was thinking about some of the people I've bumped into over the years who struggle with depression, anxiety and/or suicidal tendencies.

As I've been going through the counselling process with C., I've also come to realise that while it might trigger the "growing up" bit I missed, and is definitely help me link things together and providing coping techniques to override my body's now-natural patterns of worry, freak out, withdraw, not deal with issues, invert anger and stress until overload, it probably never will cure my depression spells completely. My man tries to reduce all stress levels for me wherever he can and says he thinks it can be healed, but I don't know.
Whether it is a "mental illness", (which, while I am coming to accept the term, is one I dislike due to its connotations of limited capability and inferiority) or whether it's some switch tripped by the years on the rough path, as I subconsciously recognise the symptoms of another bout starting, I'm beginning to realise that now it's here, it's possibly here to stay. And my job is to glorify God in and through it, whatever way I can. Some way. A job easier said than done. Maybe I'll find out some day. :-)

When you take part in a three legged race, your leg is tied to another person's for the duration of the race. It requires more energy, teamwork and logic to reach the end that if you were running alone. It's a handicap, but it's not a disability.
Disability is easily enough defined by splitting the word in two - "dis-abled", not able or lacking ability.

Diagnosis with depression, official or unofficial, is the same as any other handicap. It can only disable you if you allow it. You can choose for it to be a disability or an extra-ability.
Which is really hard when you're going through it, crawling, or when you're at my place now, watching it coming, too drained to try and avert, using your remaining energy to cope with the situation that may have brought you to it or its aftereffects and to brace yourself for it. It's hard to get out what I'm thinking, and for people who struggle day and night without stopping, please be aware that I'm not directing this at you with any intent to cripple you further. It's just some things that have crossed my mind.
That being said, if this isn't helping, stop reading it right now. :-)

Every time I have a bout of depression, I think about the guy with no arms or legs, going around telling his story as an inspiration and encouragement to others as what God has done in his life, how he copes, how he lives.
Bit of a difference to an internal mental illness, where sometimes we don't even recognise we're sick, but it's still a disability and it can still be used. Even if it's just to raise awareness that one can look fine outside and be anything but inside.

I guess you know by now that's one of my mottoes - use everything in life to the glory of God, or to see a picture of God's character, or His relationship with us, in it. :-)

There have been people I have met who get up every morning struggling to face another day, wishing they didn't have to, feeling life is totally empty, bleak, dark and pointless, feeling numb, feeling hopeless.
Some of these have allowed the pain to twist them, turning them against themselves and others, accepting the darkness and despair because it's too difficult to fight it.
And some others have made it a tool, the depression - it attempts to gore them, they grab it by the horns and ride it. It doesn't make their world less topsy-turvy; they make hope where there is none.
Healing hurts. Fighting it hurts. Worse than giving in. Getting up and trying again is so, so scary - despair beleaguers you with failure before you've even risen to your knees.

Talking about knees, that's the best place to be to turn a handicap into a triumph. God's strength is there, able and constant, if you only turn to Him. However, He's not a tool to the end. He is the end. Battles of this intensity will crush you or make you rise - either result will help shape your character.

Using strength when you have none is painful. There's a point you go beyond trying and He carries you. But you can do this. I'm not promising eternal happy feels. Gosh, just look at my grumpy face and snappy tongue to see that. XP But I'm promising you that you don't have to spend your life, the only one you have, behind closed doors. You can use everything in it for good.

Living with pain can make you cruel or make you kind. It's your choice what you do with it.
Circumstances never have to make your life. You can shape it with the tools you've got.
Living with depression will mean the choice between breathing day to day or living it.
I'm choosing to try and live in it. I don't enjoy handicaps, but I won't be disabled.

Hope this made some sense, as I'm half-asleep while writing! :P

Love to you. <3

In Him,

P.S. I am by no means denouncing medicine, remedies or alleviators for depression. By all means, if you have an informed choice on what's available to you, go for it!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Slipping Through My Fingers...

"Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while

The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny

What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
(Slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why, I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time..."

I can't listen to that song by ABBA without tears. Neither can my mother.

As I lie here in bed at 11 am (which is unusual for me, if I'm in bed at this time, it's because I'm sleeping), I am very aware that this is one of my last days in my own room, that the silence of the house is rarely, if ever, going to occur for me again.

I'm partly relieved and partly sobered...the sudden changes of it all is startling, a little frightening.

No intention of spending the entire day in bed...I'll get up, take some painkillers (for a headache) when I've done writing this - when will I write here again? - shower, sort out the presents, start the thank you notes, tidy my room...

The world is topsy turvy; I'm half inclined to dig my heels in and bawl loudly for it to slow down, and half compelled to laugh at the sheer madness of it all. When has life ever been straight forward? I wanted to dig my heels in when my parents got divorced...slow down everything, examine it, understand it, but life rushes on without ever giving a breathing space and one has to see, think, be thankful for what one has at a moment's notice.

So basically - I'm getting married. Not in a way or a place like anything that had ever crossed my mind, to a man I hadn't imagined and in a timespan like I hadn't dreamed, but that's always been life, for me. Never slow and always quick and life is so short, brief...

I'm 23 years old, and in double my lifespan now, I could be sitting here tapping out another blog post about nostalgic feelings of my own daughter getting married. Now that is disturbing.

So brief...can I raise kids the way I want to, pray to, hope to? Can I be a good mother? Life is made up of the infinite little moments...the short, the precious, the brief...that is where those defining little factors are that make up life, that influence a child, a life, an opinion, a grounding, a faith, a hope, a dream...

I try to capture every long since I last wrote in my diary but there are always people around...lunch break, travelling - hanging out with friends, phone calls, Bible reading, all the stuff I can't do because I'm constantly moving or doing something...get home and plan to do so much but end up collapsing in an I-don't-wanna-move heap on the sofa. Slowly, I'm coming to realise the fact that no matter how much rest or how much sleep I get, it will never equate the amount of tired I feel. I don't understand that. Maybe cause it's brain-tired and not body-tired?
The longing, aching to catch up with old friends as well as the terrified shunning since the rejection is still here. So is the passionate longing to work on From Self-Harm to Victory more. How?

Reception hall is booked...we viewed a house yesterday, too. Possibly changing the church because the reception hall was brilliantly low priced, thank God!
My parents are being very helpful and supportive, and have worked out a scheme for Atul moving in with us to save money for the wedding, for us to get our own place afterwards (he takes my room, I sleep in Mom's, etc.) They've even offered us to stay with them the first couple of months.

And this is December 29th, 2015...I never dreamed I would be here, like this. In pain, yes, with a broken heart, yes, but never this - life turning around again, upside down and inside out.

Life and change and excitement and adventure is good...I just wish the tired would catch up, but I don't think it ever will, now.

Praying and hoping and dreaming and thinking and rushing and walking and climbing and falling and...

I'm so thankful God is with me. The only stable and unchanging thing - Person - in our lives. For all of our claims to love change, we always search for that one security, the one stability - a permanent job, our own place, a stable relationship, a faithful spouse, a natural progression in life and in the lives of those we love.
Naa. Life is made up of storms and tornadoes and hurricanes, but there is always an Eye to the storm and a Rock, unchanging and unmoving, in the middle of it.

In Him alone I trust.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Different Path

"Why do you do this for me?"

Well...why do you walk me 30 minutes to the train station every night, pay for my ticket and your return ticket, take me home on the train, walk me to my door, then leave, go back to the station and travel right back where you came from, then to take your own bus home and making your journey home over 3 hours longer?

Why do you look into my eyes and tell me that you know I'm not perfect, but I'm perfect for you?

Why, when I apologised for my clingy t-shirt, did you say it was okay, but please don't wear it outside because other guys would stare and you'd feel like you had to hug me and keep me safe?

Why did you promise marriage before sex?

Why do you spend the time you desperately need to make this university proposal succeed for your future career, studying with me when it's a lot crowded and noisier?

Why do you kiss me and never make a move to touch me inappropriately?

Why do you always put my needs first, try to keep me safe, promise to stay with me and protect me, support me when I'm stumbling, spend three hours in a dress agency just to make me smile and why does it make you happy to see the glow on my face when you tell me I'm beautiful?

Why is this so beautifully simple and what planet did you come from, please?

You say you're a normal guy; I have never met one as kind, unselfish, thoughtful, clever and yes, handsome to boot as you.

So you guessed it. A guy who had been there for six months walked into my life and turned it upside down. Literally. I now have to find time to study again.
There's one thing. He's not a Christian.

In my very tired soul and broken heart, I'm past the point of caring. The Christian men in my life from day one have been either self-absorbed, abusers, sex-starved, married, over-spiritual, too much theologically different, immature and leaning on me or repressed due to character issues.

I came back from Ireland recently with the faintest glimmer of hope that my past 'relationship' would heal. Based on nothing but hope and faith. A week later, I was doing the usual walk-and-cry to the Father thing. I told Him that I had no strength to carry on. No hope. Only faith in Him, and if He wanted me to carry on another five years, He was going to have to give me the strength.

Then Atul walked into my life. It was unexpected and I freaked out at first. Then prayed. And prayed some more. at peace.

I'm losing friends. Why? Because he doesn't profess Christianity.
And yet, were I to be dating the other guys and answer yes, he's a Christian, everyone would be delighted - with probably the occasional caution of, be careful.
He has more of the attributes a Christian man should have than any other Christian guy I have known, but he won't profess to be a hypocrite - except he will come to church with me and pray with me, because he knows it's important to me and I want to share it with him.
I'm sure there are Godly young men somewhere in this country, in hiding, maybe...or maybe I'm just not good enough for a good Christian man. God knows.
Do I worry for his eternal soul? Heck yes.
My life has been hectic and insane. I cannot miss a soul bond/fellowship I have never known in family, apart from occasionally on visits to other homes. (Yes, with Mom when we talk about spiritual things, but it's different, somehow).

It is impossible to explain exactly how broken I was when he came to me. I was depressed, heading for suicidal depression again for the second time in a month and I was terrified of how dark it was getting. I've stabilised - I don't know how or why.
I prayed, and he came.
I don't know if he's God's answer; I'm praying so much about that.
I'm not in love with him - yet - and he knows it, knows he has to win my heart. But yes, we're intending this for the long haul.

A friend came to me and told me they'd been praying for Atul for a while.
My parents - Mom and step-dad - backed me up and provided the following examples for encouragement.

God wasn't surprised when Naomi and Elimelech disobeyed and went into Moab. He didn't fix the mistake with putting Ruth into Christ's genealogy.
Hosea married Gomer the prostitute on God's command.
Samson married a Philistine woman because of God seeking an occasion against the Philistines (not know what I mean...) and he is in the hall of faith.

Am I making an unwise choice? In the balance of things, no. An unwise choice would have been to stay in any relationship with any of the previous guys.
Is it the best choice? I don't know.
Is it in God's plan? I'll leave it in His Hands. He comes first. He always will. And He will use a donkey when nothing else is available to His purpose.

Why does Atul do those things? Because he loves me. And right now...I need that. I need him. So very much. He's doing what no other man has been able to do - showing me the selfless love God intended, pulling the broken pieces of my heart back together, promising to stay - and keeping it.
And in some crazy way, he says I'm doing that for him too.

I don't know what God's doing.
But I trust Him. And I will keep praying and hoping for His grace, mercy and understanding, which right now is more than my friends can give me. And for that, I am very grateful.

In Him and praying,

P.S. I'm so very tired hope this is readable/understandable. :P

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Dog's Taile

Here, enjoy a scribbling I did to enter a competition at my bestie's Pet Day last year. I'd forgotten I'd written this.

I have ridden on a train before. The noise alone brings back scary memories for me. My last owner used to take me to work with him sometimes, and he wasn't...wasn't very nice to me.
So to be sitting inside one, with the people and the noise and all the usually calm trees and buildings was too much.
I sat there panting, shaking, so hot and dizzy. I seriously thought I might die.
My mistress tried to talk to me me. She told me that she loved me, that I was special and her good boy. She called me all her special names and pulled me onto her lap, tucking my head against her shoulder, trying to absorb my terror. I wriggled free, bouncing onto the next seat and attempting to climb over the edge of it.
She tugged me back by my lead until I was on the chair again, at which I gave up and curled into a ball, still shaking.
Don't want to be touched. Don't want to be held. I don't trust you. You brought me onto the train. It's your fault - all the noise and the people and the blurring trees and the darkness.
She sighed.
I think she was sad she couldn't hold me. I felt her cold hand ruffling my fur. There was a moment's pause.
"I think you're acting like me with God. But don't worry, Peps. You'll be okay and the journey will end soon."

Written for my dog, Pepsi