Prayer, spiritual development, personal growth, faith, exploration, wholeness,

Halfway

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NIV).

O my God, I am utterly ashamed (Ezra 9:6; NLT).

With you there is forgiveness (Psalm 130:4; NIV).

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).

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You don’t meet us halfway, Lord, 
Almighty though you are –

Instead, you run to greet us
Exactly where we are.

And then you hug and kiss us,  
Though we shrink away in shame,

But you are all forgiveness,
And we’re welcomed home again.

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agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, cycling,, Personal growth, faith, prayer, contemplation, love, oneness,, Prayer

Agoraphobia diary: day 4

Hello to you all. Day four hasn’t been too bad, as expected. I checked out a couple of charity shops and my favourite kitchen outlet, then met my family for an extended exploration of Ely Cathedral. It’s surprising how distracting it is to pay close attention to two small children in a huge public space. Between us, we managed to watch the boys whilst gazing up and around sufficiently to take in something of our surroundings.

We had lunch in the busy Cathedral Cafe, then the boys had a run around outside on the grass. I was beginning to tire, and to long for a rest, but they wanted to show me their favourite charity shop. Again, I forgot myself for a while, helping one to read aloud from a big book about weapons and armour! The inner process of deciding how much further to push myself is a very delicate one. When I’m alone, of course, I only have to stay for as long as I wish!

Eventually, we had all had enough. I exerted myself to do my own very small amount of shopping, then returned to my room, where I immediately fell asleep. Today feels a bit like the calm before the storm. I’ve got used to my room, and feel safe there now, always pleased to return to quietness and rest. However, tomorrow I have to leave this new-found security behind, and move on to Leicestershire, where I will stay with my sister, and visit my 101-year old mother in her nursing home. Meanwhile, the train journey on Thursday morning is coming a little closer each day, and preying on my mind.

Today I realised that being completely honest about my fears has made it considerably easier for me to cope with the days with my family. So this became the subject of my prayer:

Real things

Lord,

I can speak
And write
About real things!

Real feelings,
Real anxieties,
Real fears!

I can be honest!
What a relief!
I’m not ashamed!

I make sense.
I do my best –
And life is good.

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agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, cycling,, Prayer

Agoraphobia diary: 3.30am on day 2

Hello everyone. Spoiler alert: this blog will be mentioning child emotional abuse, so if you don’t want to think about that, you might want to switch off now.

Well, managing the inevitable challenges of day one resulted in a really bad anxiety dream last night. So I’m typing this at 3.30am, whilst thinking about the day ahead. My main worry is that I will be travelling about 20 miles in the back of my son’s car, wedged between two large, fixed child seats and my two grandsons. As yet, I don’t know if the car’s automatic child locks will be engaged, but all aspects of this scenario are a torment to a severe claustrophobic like me. I can clearly remember panic attacks in enclosed situations from before I was 3 years old, so in some ways my claustrophobia is even worse and more longstanding than my agoraphobia.

It’s taken me 65 years to manage this fear relatively well on a plane, but it’s interesting that the fear in a car, a lift, or a loo is still so bad. So, thinking all this over, I’ve decided to briefly tell my son how I feel. We could perhaps then arrange that he will stop the car to let me get out and collect myself, if I ask him to. Not looking forward to it, but ready to face up to it, if that makes sense!

Lastly, I haven’t even mentioned that any lift means going away from relative safety, and having to wait until the driver is ready to return. So there is a risk I will have to deal with a panic attack without a quick escape route I can control. I still routinely turn down kind offers of a lift because of this anxiety, though always giving a socially acceptable reason. Maybe I should now start to review that policy…

 

Why should I be ashamed?

 

Lord,

Why should I be ashamed
Of my agoraphobia?

It’s a standard consequence
Of child emotional abuse.

Why should I be ashamed
Of my depression?

It’s a text-book response
To child emotional abuse.

Why should I be ashamed
Of my anxiety?

It’s a basic reaction
To child emotional abuse.

But acceptance is not
Passive resignation –

Help me to fight back, Lord,
Till my last breath.

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Prayer

Hide and seek

“Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and the earth?” says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24; NLT).

When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you (Jeremiah 29:13; NET).

His mercy is everlasting (Psalm 100:5; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

 

Lord,
I want to hide from you
In shame,
Remembering my sins
Throughout my life.

But instead,
I’m going to seek you out
In faith,
Remembering your mercy
And your love.

 

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Prayer

The gift of prayer

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth (Proverbs 12:22; NLT).

He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do (Psalm 33:15; NLT).

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15; NLT).


Lord,
Thank you
For the gift
Of prayer.

I’m glad
You don’t want me
To tell you what I think
You want to hear.

I’m glad
You don’t want me
To beat myself up,
Or tear myself apart
Before you.

You just want me
To be truthful with you
About my feelings,
Thoughts,
Words,
And deeds –
However shameful
They may be.

What’s more,
You understand
My weaknesses,
And help me learn
To face, and understand,
Myself.

So, Lord,
I’d like to thank you
For the gift
Of prayer.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

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Prayer

Here I am

“Here I am” (1 Samuel 3:5; NLT).

O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you (Psalm 69:5; NLT).

For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

You know of my shame, scorn and disgrace (Psalm 69:19; NLT).

You know everything I do (Psalm 130:3; NLT).

…he knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT).


Lord,
Here I am,
With all my sins
And weaknesses,
My ill-health,
And anxieties,
Low self-esteem,
Depression,
And my painful awkwardness
In social situations.

Please forgive,
And heal,
And help me,
Through and through.

Thank you for loving me,
And living in my heart,
Despite all that I am,
And all I’m not

Or perhaps because of it –
For only you know fully
Why I need your help
So much.

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