Not a Place but a Way.

Well, 2020 is almost over, and I got my Christmas shopping all done already. Yay!

I’ve had a full month of feeling much better too, praise the Lord!

So, let’s talk about that.

What happens to someone when they are first taking the stumbling steps out of the hell of constant trauma symptoms, to the middle terrain of starting to break free, before really moving into their new life?

At first you almost don’t believe it. My first few days without gagging, I really wasn’t sure what to think, I’d had a respite before. Then after 2 weeks I began to hope. At 4 weeks, I think I might have weathered the worst of this problem.

But I’ve had a month or so of respite before, it’s still a daily choice much of the time if I will believe this is more than a respite, but actually a change.

Especially when a flare up of allergies can cause similar tightness and gross feelings in my body, and I can’t tell which it is.

For me this is physical, but many people have psychological symptoms exactly like this (I do too, they’re fun), a small problem for one person might be the harbinger of a huge relapse for another… or it might not, in the beginning you don’t know.

I’ve heard in Christine Caine’s sermons where she mentions A-21, that after you rescue a girl from sex trafficking (there’s a few boys in it too, but the bulk of the victims are girls) they don’t know whether you are just going to continue their suffering, or you are actually here to help. Some are hostile, others timid, all of them are scared.

Abuse it pretty much the same, as with any kind of bondage, you go through a really terrible time, and then you’re so used to it that if that time begins to end, you’re scared. You’d almost choose the dank dark dungeon over the open highlands, because you know how to survive in the dungeon (barely) but you have no clue how to thrive out in the open. Like an animal that has acclimated to one terrain only.

Perhaps God would like us to become animals that can migrate, thrive in multiple places, and transition easily between them, but would we really like that?

In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes a chapter titled “Counting the Cost” where he warns that we shouldn’t think that Jesus will solve only the problems in ourselves that we think are bad, he will take all the problems, all the ones we secretly like, all the sins we want to pretend we don’t commit, and he will get rid of those too. “Give Him and inch and He takes an ell” He commands us to be perfect, “You shall be holy as I am holy.”

Being holy for us is like being free is for a victim of abuse, unnatural, new, frightening. Oh, it may be better, we know in our heads, but it’s just so gosh darn painful, can’t we just be “okay.”

God certainly would be one to say “It’s okay if you’re not okay” but what He will add is “Because I will make you more than okay.” Far more than okay. (My sisters and I once named an imaginary band of characters we liked “More Than Okay” as a nod to how God goes above and beyond what we envision for ourselves–yes we are geeks who imagine bands for our faves. Everyone has weird habits.)

I think another good analogy for this is the difference between getting a message and going to the Chiropractor. I’ve had my sister massage me for a long time, she’s gotten pretty good at it, I like really hard massages too, deep tissue. Sometimes he’ll spend an hour on it.

And it brings relief, but no matter how good it feels, within an hour or so, I can feel my muscles prickle back into a strained place, or a few days later, I need it again. A massage just brings relief, it doesn’t fix anything. Massages really are just meant to be temporary solutions. But some people make regular appointments, and some businesses have in-house masseuse, because they want that relief constantly.

When you think about it, it’s a great example of how we spend a lot of money to enable our unhealthy life choices like sitting at desks staring at screens all day. I’m not against a massage now and then, but if you need it every week or even a few times a week, you’re probably doing something wrong, even if you have no choice about it, your body knows it’s not meant to move that way.

By contrast, an adjustment at the chiro feels a lot less good, I personally feel a lot less period when I get adjusted. It’s a relief, but the real difference is how you can move afterwards. I feel looser, more balanced, or less bunched up in certain places. A massage just doesn’t get the same effect. But, I can feel weird for days afterward, and it’s a step by step process, improving a little more each week, but full relief does not come everywhere at the same time. Plus, it’s hard work to walk the right way, to choose purposely to stand on both feet the same way, to sit up straighter and not strain my neck as much.

But, I’ve been reading “Get Your Life Back” John Eldredge’s latest book (at least as far as I know) and he talks about something very similar, the difference between relief, and restoration.

He pints out how all our distractions like food, TV, Social Media, or alcohol, provide a short relief from our pain, but they don’t provide restoration, and they can actually prevent it because it becomes harder to tune in to what we even feel anymore.

I’ve noticed it in myself, one reason I am stressed so much is I moved more and more off relaxing activities like reading, being outdoors, and using my creativity, to things that involved my technology.

I have gotten into some bad habits, but even so, I spend less time online than the average person, if I feel this tired and drained by it, how much more does everyone else? (In the West anyway.)

I didn’t realize till this year how much of my approach to negative emotions was about wanting relief. I might give lip service to the idea of deeper healing, but mostly just wanted to feel better in the moment. The same with the physical stuff, I don’t really want to think about my body’s alignment and my digestive track being messed up from years of anxiety, I actually hate thinking I have bigger problems.

It turns out God was after Restoration in my life. As the Word says “I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten.”

A locust is much like an abusive cycle, it devours everything it can get it’s little claws on, and leaves you nothing. Locusts are a plague, we have grasshoppers in America, or used to, did the same thing, no getting rid of them, you just have to wait till it passes.

No denying it, having a dad like mine robbed me of a lot in life, I’m beginning to acknowledge that loss and I learned new ways he hurt me all the time, it may go on for a while.

And, I’m not like those people who deny they lost anything. “I don’t need that jerk anyway! I’m doing just fine without him.”

There’s a speech from a popular show, I don’t know the name, where a deadbeat father fails his son again, and the son talks to his real father figure, saying at first that it doesn’t matter, he begins listing all the things he learned how to do without his father, like drive a car, and such. The other man just listens in silence. Finally the son ends it with the honest, upset question “So, why doesn’t he want me?”

And yeah, I have to say, that’s a question that never goes away. I’m not sure even God can answer it.

You see, God, He can’t imagine not wanting us. He lives to Love, He Is Love. If there’s one thing that puzzles God, (if I can speculate about such things) it is probably when we humans don’t want to love each other, even the most innocent people to us, our children. God would never beget a child He didn’t want to Love, yet we humans are foolish enough to do it.

My dad began rejecting me when I was an innocent baby, how do you reason with a man like that? When asked, he told my sisters “It’s just the way I am.” Yeah, but you shouldn’t be that way Dad, you’re seriously broken, you need to be fixed.

So, I am left wondering why my father doesn’t want me.

There are some questions that can’t be answered because they are beyond reason, some people simply are incapable of love. It’s hard to accept, but it’s true. They can change, but they have to want to. Becoming dead to love is a choice, but it’s often made long before the person even realizes fully what they are doing, when they do, they may choose to stay that way in order to protect themselves.

My dad decided I wasn’t worth it. That cut deep, and still does. But I know that humans cannot motivate each other to change, very often. There’s exceptions to that, but usually, it can’t be done.

Its really nothing wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with you either. Even if you’re a bad person now, and you know it, that’s not why you weren’t loved. Humans are simply broken, often empty creatures. It’s rare we are able to become good parents without God’s help.

So, since I did nothing to bring this on myself, I also can’t fix it. That’s why it’s about restoration. I need to be given back what I lost. Security, Love, Joy, Self-Worth. Things that were ripped away from me, I do not exaggerate (I think people with good parents can’t imagine how cruel bad parents can be, and that’s probably a good thing for them, but sometimes Victims get dismissed as being over-dramatic about our lives by people who just haven’t lived it. So, let me just say, I try not to exaggerate, when I use strong language, it’s because I think it’s appropriate.)

I guess in closing, I’m trying to say that Healing is not always fast. In the church, we often talk and sing as if healing is one prayer away.

That’s a product of our instant relief mindset. If you read the Bible, both OT and NT, you’ll see deliverance often takes time and patience, and we’re even told to be glad when it does (working on that still). There are the big time miracles, but things like trauma just don’t go away all at once.

There’s a misunderstanding in much of the Church, though not all, that all problems are alike, just attacks of something at random, or when we’re weak. Some problems are that, but many stem from patterns and years of trouble in our lives. Especially like in my case where the church was bound up in the trauma of abuse, though it was unwittingly so. It’s sickening to me how people like my dad can use the church as a tool, but within any human group, there are blind spots. At least if you look for them.

We sing that God is just one prayer or song or moment away… but what about when God chooses to make us wait longer than that?

The Bible has lots of examples for us, but we seem to forget the context for them. It’s something I had to reconsider of late.

So, praying for relief, and singing about it, have not got me very far. My anxiety isn’t calmed when I’m still focusing on it.

But when I slow down, and breathe, and just let it be, I get a little bit of traction.

Which is why I think this Oh Hellos song sums up much better what many of us need right now:

At the edges of my fingers, never quite closing round it, that peace like a river always flowing, never getting. Seems like maybe it’s not all that much a place, as it is a way. And ways don’t ever seem to want to stay too still, too long./

Isn’t that what’s it’s all about? The slow trickling that sets the banks in half, the sweet melody it makes as the canyons crack. I want to give it all I got, and I want nothing, no I want nothing back./ Whatever kingdom come, it probably won’t come quick, no might clarion to announce it, no single use ark to discard in an instant. Like Theseus’s ship, we’ll fix the busted bits. Till it’s both nothing like, and everything, it’s always been. It’s a wonder we expect a thing to stay the same at all./

Isn’t that what it’s all about? We keep fixing what we know is only bound to break, what’s worth saving’s never worth letting go to waste. I want to mend what I’ve got instead of throwing it away./

Ain’t nothing comes easy, no nothing comes quick, it’s gonna hurt like hell to become well, but if we set the bone straight, it’ll mend, it’ll fix, and we’ll be well.

Ain’t nothing come easy, no nothing comes quick, but I want for you this:That you are well. I want for us this: That we are well.”

The Bible says Peace is like a river. Isn’t it odd that it does not say Peace is like still water? A lake or pool maybe? No, it’s a river. Seems more like something Pocahontas would like, because it’s always moving. It’s not much like the eastern idea of serenity is it?

But, with the help of this brilliant song, I began to understand why the Bible might use the image of a river.

I found that peace if I chased it, and tried to treat it like a place to camp out, was fleeting. What comforted me one day didn’t the next, what worked one day didn’t the next. I can move one way and feel better, the next day I might feel worse.

But my understanding of healing and health was off. I wanted to just lie down and be at peace. But if I lay down, my mind would dwell on my fears. If I held still, it would catch up.

But trying to move, to make myself think of other stuff, didn’t work either. Trying to pray or worship out of it didn’t work. I was often scared even doing that and my mind went right back to worrying (I still have this problem).

What started to change that was when I realized a little that this is a journey of learning how to walk differently, to walk with God step by step, as Rich Mullins sang, and walk in straight paths. It really is a way, and Jesus actually calls Himself The Way, not a place. God is a shelter, a strong tower, but Jesus, our savoir, is The Way. Being saved comes by learning to walk in Him. God bails you out, but Jesus changes you until you no longer need to be bailed out (of course it’s more complex than that, but I’m trying to give a vague idea of how it works here, not a whole theology of who does what).

How can I describe it? I think the song puts it better than I can. Peace and Healing is the slow trickling that wears down the banks and cracks the canyons, which you might see as our problems and obstacle to change, just like water erodes rock now. It happens so slowly you don’t notice, it’s not loud, it’s not announced with a clarion.

It’s not something you can pray once for, not like the reference to an ark, this isn’t the Flood, a one time disaster, it’s an ocean we have to keep crossing, a river we have to float down.

And when our vessel (which can mean ourselves, in the Bible, and also a ship) is fixed bit by bit, it will be nothing like it was before, because it’s new, and yet it will still be us, far more ourselves than we were before, so it is everything it’s always been.

I think when the song says that I want to mend what I’ve got, be cause what’s worth saving is never worth letting go to waste, it means that if we think we are worth saving, we must believe we are wroth healing. That we should not hate what we are, but be willing to be fixed bit by bit, and not throw out our whole selves. We are given this raw material to work with, what we let God make of it is another matter, as Lewis pointed out.

Finally, the song reminds us that a truly good person will want us to be well. and tells us that it is never easy or quick, that it hurts like hell to become well (and often physical therapy is more painful than the original injury, if you totaled it up) but if you set the bone straight, it’ll mend. In other words, you have to correct what’s been wrong, you have to be set on the right path, you have to be changed, and then you will heal.

I will only heal when I have been changed, but you could just as easily say, I will only change when I have been healed. Both are true because it’s a simultaneous process.

That’s why human cures rarely work for stuff like this, many people I know chase a healthy diet, exercise, and outdoorsy lifestyles, and many are still sick all the time with serious problems. But they are only trying to heal, they are not trying to change who they are. They probably can’t.

And people who try to change how they are by force, will fail even harder. The bone has to be guided and held back into place, you can’t do it yourself.

Which of course, is why you have to be careful when you think about that river. Remember that you can ride down a river with no effort on your part except staying straight. That’s how Peace is, you let yourself be moved as God moves you. Not by your own power, not trying to stay still. It’s more work to stay still in a river than it is to move.

This turned into an essay, but I kind of like it. Until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.

Curing Anxiety with the Cosby Show, and other things.

Sorry it’s been so long, I got kind of busy last week.

Whew! I may keep this short (which for me is less than 1000 words, of course).

I am starting to do a little bit better with anxiety, and I thought it might be a good time to share some of the ways I deal with anxiety, some are light, some are deep and heavy, but if I’ve learned one things about mental problems, it’s that you have to take a holistic approach to them, it’s never just one change, it’s a lifestyle.

The fact is, people who are anxious live an anxious lifestyle until the symptoms become indistinguishable from the cause. For example, not getting enough sleep causes anxiety, then anxiety causes you not to sleep enough, thereby creating a viscous cycle.

In my case, I have led a love deprived life for so long, it’s become hard to even recognize that as the source of my anxiety.

Lately, the anxiety has gotten worse with me trying to resist it, going so far as to have an attack, because you get anxious about being anxious. (Sanders Sides anyone?)

Anyway, let’s get to the meat of it.

1. Prayer

Praying Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Before you do anything else, you have to prayer. Some people say meditate, I say that’s hogwash. Perhaps it can help some people, but for me, left to my own thoughts, I find no peace. I have to get outside myself, focus on a Higher Power being able to help me.

I will say, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of times God has felt blocked from me, by the heavy cloud of dark feelings I have. I don’t think He was ever gone, or even really silent, but my receptivity tends to wane with the more fear I feel. But prayer is still indispensable, especially if I am alone.

I do find it’s better, if someone else is around, to ask them to prayer for me, hearing them say it aloud builds my own faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

2. Physical Touch

On the note of asking people for help, something that’s been doing wonders for me is just being hugged when I start to have an attack of panic or fear. Even when I feel sick, as I do a lot when I’m afraid, if someone hugs me for 10 minutes or so, I feel calmer, able to deal with it.

Sisters Hugging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This is part of my story, I was touch deprived as a baby, briefly; and then i developed a hypersensitivity to being held, kissed, or touched at all, and I started hating it, as a result, my family slowly stopped touching me for several years of my life, except every so often, or if I initiated.

I had no clue this caused deprivation and a lack of feeling loved, I began to feel the loss as a young teen, and reach out more for it, but my ad, as if in some kind of punishment, then said he’d respect my wishes about not liking touch, after ignoring them for years when I said I didn’t like it, as soon as I said I needed it, he wanted to “respect that” he’d already stopped touching me, but you’d think he’d be glad to get a chance to work with me on this, and figure out what I’d be comfortable with, y dad was never one for subtly.

The rest of my family really didn’t get it either, and up until the last two years, it stayed that way, I wasn’t hugged very often.

Now, they are starting to realize I need this, and reach out and do it, I still have to ask a lot of the time, but I am learning not to be embarrassed about this too.

Note: I am not saying you should push an anxious person to let you touch them a lot, even if they do need it, that trust may not be there to let you work with them on it. I recommend asking them what they are comfortable with, and starting with very small touches and if they don’t respond negatively, try hugging lightly. I’d say never do a bear-hug or full-frontal hug with someone who still acts nervous when you touch them, it’s just too rough. That’s just my experience though, not professional advice.

3. Moving

My sisters actually found out about this technique, and have been employing it longer than me, but with their encouragement, I’m starting to do it more.

Getting out of the room you’re in, especially if you can get outside, is a great way to stop anxiety, especially if you are having an attack where you can’t breathe. That time you feel so trapped, being out in a wider space makes it better.

Also, for me, walking, even if it’s just in circle, up and down, helps. When I get anxious, especially early in the morning, my body is stiff and tight and I carry tension in my back, throat, and shoulders. So walking in an upright position, stepping lightly, and trying to walk the way my chiropractor says to to practice stretching out the right way, relieves some tension. It seems to decrease the chances of a nervous reaction to food, or stress.

Pacing a Trench - TV Tropes

Walking outside is the best combination.

4. Drink Water

So many things feel worse when you are dehydrated, my appetite gets worse. When I feel anxious, my instinct is often not to eat, but also not to drink, to just hold still and try not to do anything to make it worse, which is the worst thing to do.

Here's how drinking water can help in reducing diabetes - Times of India

When I can’t eat, drinking lots of water keeps the nausea down to a more manageable level, and usually helps bring back my appetite. It’s important to stay hydrated after being adjusted too.

5. Relaxing Entertainment

This won’t be the same for everyone, but I find that watching a lighthearted, wholesome piece of media while I eat helps me feel less anxious while eating. Playing music will help too, but the more my focus is taken off myself, the better.

One show I’ve been watching everyday while I eat is “The Cosby Show”. say what you will about the actors, this had to be one of the purest, best, most wholesome shows ever made for TV, at least at that time.

Where Is the Cast of 'The Cosby Show,' 26 Years After the Sitcom Ended? |  Inside Edition

I can’t even describe how good the writing is, subtle, heartfelt, true to real life, without disrespecting a particular race, gender, or age group. Most of the episodes don’t have a “lesson” per sec, but are just about a family loving each other, doing kind things for each other and other people, and spreading that love around. Weathering life with each other.

Perhaps it’s because my home life was not like that as a kid, though it is becoming more that way now, that I like watching this. It shows me what could be, and reinforces the changes I am trying to make. I don’t have to roll my eyes and say “that’s such a toxic way to handle it” like with most shows.

There’s some movies I go back to also, when I need to be uplifted. Usually it’s not inspiring movies for me, just movies about family, and getting through life while finding meaning in simple things. Perhaps what I most need encouraged now.

Inspirational stories are great, but at a time like this, they can put pressure on me to heal faster than I can really heal. We are in such a hurry, as a generation, to outgrow our problems, and overcome, but we don’t want to learn patience in order to do it. We just want to be better Now.

And we can get better, quickly, or slowly, depending on God’s will, but what everyone needs to hear is that you will do both, if you life to adulthood and face struggles.

Sometimes healing is like getting surgery, you go in, it’s done, and you just have to recover afterwards.

Other times healing is like physical therapy, months and years of work and reinforcing and changing how you do things until you’re on the right track.

And if one thing gets to be quick for you, something else will be slow. It’ll be different things for different people.

Mental illness is often a long process, I’ve heard of people who got delivered of it in one go, and that’s great for them. God can do anything, but the majority of us have to walk a path. God is glorified whether it’s fast or slow, because it is still by His grace anyone recovers.

I believe even non-Christians owe their healing to God, who else gives us the things that cure anxiety? Most of them are God created things, Nature, Music, Love. Even art is just reflecting God’s creation.

Perhaps it’s even good to notice this stuff while you are still young, because if you walk it out for a few years, and get through it, you have the whole rest of your life to be free.

I may not like having this now, but when I’m 30 or 40, I’ll be glad not to have waited till then to realize all this, by then I’ll have been practicing living without fear for a very long time, maybe when I’m 80, I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be anxious.

I don’t think anxiety is a permanent condition. The people who say it is usually have only been dealing with it for a few years, and usually without God, even therapists and counselors tend to deal with the same patient only for a few years. how do they know it wasn’t eventually possible to kick this stuff completely.

It may always be a part of your personality to be tempted by anxiety, but all us anxious people know the difference between being tempted, and actually becoming afraid. The suggestion flashes before your mind, and you either latch onto it and sink, or you ignore it, and swim ahead.

I have been anxious since I was a kid, but not all the time. If it can go for a season, surely it can go for a lifetime.

I may not be out of the woods yet, friends with similar problems to me say it’s taken them a few years, or longer, to get free, some are still in the process; but they did get free.

It probably takes 2 years on average to change your lifestyle enough to not encourage anxiety, and it may take 5 years or more to not be tempted by it hardly at all. If I had to guess, assuming you were working on trusting God, and building up better habits all that time. For those of us who give up on it, of course it takes longer.

My dad has had anxiety since he was born, pretty much, and is now almost 60. I have come farther in one year than he has in his whole life. Though I think there were times he did better, but from his stories, he’s never been rid of it.

But my father doesn’t try to be rid of it. He prays, but makes no lifestyle changes with that prayer, and doesn’t seek the kind of counsel and reassurance that would help him, unless a lot has changed since I last saw him.

Me? I’m changing everything, one step at a time, and my life is becoming the kind of life I wanted for so long. It’s far from finished, and it will never be perfect, but what is Possible in my mind had expanded a lot.

I think that’s a good place to stop. I hope you found some of this helpful, or enlightening, or fun, and that you are continue to fight your battles. If I helped even a little, t was worth it. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Being a jar.

Well, it’s been one of those days…weeks…months…

I am still feeling very sick, I’ve barely eaten since Friday, and I am sore from my chiropractic appointment that was supposed to help, but has made my entire body feel inflamed (I got worked all over, like bread dough).

I don’t know where my miracle is, it’s starting to feel ludicrous to even expect one.

Of course, I don’t want to write a post just to gripe, or I’d review a movie or show I don’t like ūüėČ

But I’m being honest, that is my theme, right?

Drybonestruth.

You know it was 4 years ago when I started this modest blog and picked that name out, at the time I was interested a lot in the Ezekiel 37 story, some of you who read my homepage probably know that already.

I was as arrogant as most young authors when I started writing this, I thought I’d write these profound posts and people would comment on them, and be like “wow, that’s so deep.”

I planned to write mostly ideas, observations, theology, etc.

But pretty much no one who blogs can avoid the self-reflective posts forever, if they can, I’m amazed at their self control, or else I pity them because they must fear being exposed.

When I did write about myself, I only presented my best parts, even up till this year. I didn’t lie, or anything, or try intentionally to put on a facade, I just saw no value in telling people about my problems and struggles, who wants to read that?

But I started doing it as a way to stay accountable, and then I began reading other people’s blogs where they shared their issues, and I found it encouraging myself.

I never intended for this to become a Recovery Blog, and while it still isn’t only about that, it strikes me as interesting.

I got to thinking about why I named my blog drybonestruth again partly because one of my pastors preached a sermon on Sunday about our dry bones needing to be brought to life. And it resonated with me because with these physical struggles, I’ve literally told my mom “I feel like I’m dying.”

That’s how the emotional struggles felt too, like a part of me was just dead. I didn’t think Christians could or should feel that way, we’re reborn after all.

But I was thinking this week, Paul actually wrote that we are perishing daily

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,¬†that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.¬†8¬†We are¬†hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;¬†we are¬†perplexed, but not in despair;¬†9¬†persecuted, but not¬†forsaken;¬†struck down, but not destroyed‚ÄĒ¬†10¬†always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,¬†that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.¬†11¬†For we who live¬†are always delivered to death for Jesus‚Äô sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.¬†12¬†So then death is working in us, but life in you.

13¬†And since we have¬†the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,¬†‚ÄúI believed and therefore I spoke,‚Ä̬†we also believe and therefore speak…

16¬†Therefore we¬†do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward¬†man¬†is¬†being renewed day by day.¬†17¬†For¬†our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding¬†and¬†eternal weight of glory,¬†18¬†while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen¬†are¬†temporary, but the things which are not seen¬†are¬†eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

And upon rereading Ezekiel 37, I noticed something else

”¬†Then He said to me, ‚ÄúSon of man, these bones are the¬†whole house of Israel. They indeed say,¬†‚ÄėOur bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!‚Äô¬†12¬†Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‚ÄėThus says the Lord¬†God: ‚ÄúBehold,¬†O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and¬†bring you into the land of Israel.¬†13¬†Then you shall know that I¬†am¬†the¬†Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.¬†14¬†I¬†will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the¬†Lord, have spoken¬†it¬†and performed¬†it,‚ÄĚ says the¬†Lord.‚Äô ‚ÄĚ (11-14)

If both these passages are any indication, feeling more dead than alive is not that unusual for a believer. God can raise the dead, but it’s more usual to see Him use that as an example, instead of just healing and freedom, which is what caught my attention.

Why the name drybonestruth still applies is that, honestly, if I can’t tell the truth about myself, how can I tell it about anything else. It’s always hardest to be honest about yourself.

And I don’t just mean griping about my problems, many people do that, it’s no more honest than anything else, often they just blame everyone but themselves.

Me? I tend to blame others because I expect them to blame me, people usually do. I look for an accusation before I even hear one.

I’ve blamed myself for the crappy way I’ve been feeling, but some of it I was born with, some of it was injuries, some of it is likely genetic, and some of it is beyond my ability to really trace the root cause of. I can blame everybody and everything, I can blame me, but it won’t heal me any faster.

My sister pointed out to me, that as bad as this is, it’s good that it happened when I wasn’t working, or needing to provide for myself financially to pay for all this, or when I had kids, or tried to have kids.

And she’s right, I have 3 or 4 people taking care of me, plus doctors and a very nice chiropracter hwo goes half an hour overtime and doesn’t charge for it.

I feel like an ungrateful (insert curse word I can’t say) when I still want to whine and throw a tantrum about how it’s all not enough. There’s plenty of people who go through stuff like this alone.

And I wonder if people are right when they say bloggers are narcissistic.

I think, I didn’t use to be this way, I used to be able to think of other people.

But, if I was honest, I’d admit that’s not true. I’ve always focused on myself, my inner turmoil, angst, happiness, etc.

It’s not necessarily that I am unusually selfish, it’s kind of how I’m built, to be reflective, I can be selfish because of it, but I can also be hard on myself for not being kinder.

And I do write about things other than me, surprisingly, people tend to like personal blogs better. They like getting a peek into someone else’s life.

I started following Umai Yomu’s blog a while back, because I liked reading about their experiences in Japan, I don’t read the reviews (because I don’t watch any of the anime and couldn’t follow the points) much, but I like the personal stuff (Link here: .https://umaiyomu.wordpress.com)

I don’t know if God is trying to change that I’m reflective, but He may be trying to change how I handle being ill.

While I complain too much, I don’t complain as often as I used to. I don’t get down as often, though I get down plenty. I am more proactive than I used to be.

And if that’s not enough…then I just need to accept that I don’t have to do everything. God is the one who heals.

The longer I study anything related to health, the more I think that’s true from anything to scrapes and cuts, to cancer. Any little injury can be bad, even a bump on the head, and cancer can be cured. Who lives, who dies, it’s really got to be in the hands of some Divine Judge, medicine really can’t explain it.

I don’t believe I am going to die. I don’t know when I’ll feel better. Could be today, tomorrow, or next week. I am exhausted, that’s no lie.

This morning, after feeling bad, I just started playing worship music, because I had nothing else to do, there was nothing else to do.

When everything is a mess, all you can do is worship. Because, to start lashing out at God would cut off my last shred of comfort.

It may not seem that comforting, when I don’t feel any better, but at least I have a hope, a promise that I will, eventually, recover. This can’t last forever.

I miss eating. But the bible says “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes from the mouth of God.”

Despite not eating more than maybe one decent sized meal a day for at least 5 days, and not as much as usual before that, I have not fainted, or been unable to focus on schoolwork. While that’s not a whole lot of comfort, at least it’s a good sign.

Whether I eat, whether I don’t, I know God can sustain me.

Which, is not me trying to say I will just not eat. I’m still trying to do that, I’m not going to be anorexic on purpose… it’s just me accepting not everything is in my control, including my stomach.

My chiropractor did something called “body sculpting” on me, which means he’s literally changing the shape of my body to be aligned right. It was all wrong.

I have a beautiful, strong body in many ways, it just doesn’t work like it should.

I would not recommend body sculpting to the faint of heart, it hurts, it’s tiring, and you’re really sore the day afterward.

I understan the verse about “The potter and the clay” in a whole new way now.

Like Paul wrote, we’re earthen vessels, just clay, easily broken, but with many uses. Holding everything from refuse to precious perfumes and spices.

And I feel how fragile I am right now. I’ve been so angry with myself, and my body, but I am starting to blame it less. It can’t help it, after all.

I feel sad, frustrated, scared… but I’m less angry.

I want God to heal me, but I can’t make God heal me. Like Job, I can only get an answer when God chooses to give it, I pray that like Job, my health will be doubly restored, for I wasn’t as well off before as I’d like to be in the future.

Recovery itself can cause pain, sickness, and other discomfort. So, who’s to say, maybe feeling terrible today is a good thing… sort of.

And no, I’m not a saint. I don’t feel like this most of the time, this is me trying to raise myself up to think differently. Half the battle is in the mind, right?

Right.

And with that, I think I’ll close this post. I hope something in this made sense and was encouraging to you, I’m sure I’ll write something less depressing soon, I have some ideas.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Resisting Resignation.

I have views from Thailand and Belgium today, man, it blows my mind how many countries get represented on this site.

Also, yesterday marked my 9th week of not drinking coffee, after drinking it nearly every day for several years, my family is amazed I did it. It takes 9 weeks to either completely break or build a habit.

And I’ve not been feeling any healthier, honestly. Yesterday I woke up and had one of my mysterious gagging episode, with nausea and neck tightness and back pain. Best guess so far is GERD, but my chiropractor thinks I have pinched nerves, and it’s true, stretching my muscles does seem to help. More fun from having a misaligned spine for so long, all my internal organs got squished together, fun.

My church had a healing service last night, and I got some prayer, the lady must have had a word of knowledge, she prayed for my intestines, neck, head, and even brain, not the usual guess for headaches.

I know many people view Faith Healing as one of the biggest scams of the evangelical/Pentecostal/charismatic church. And I agree there are some real frauds out there, and you will always find frauds whenever anything can get you fame and fortune.

And I’ve never really been healed all in one go either. I’ve wanted it, but it’s not the path I’ve been given so far. Though that may change.

But I still believe in it. I’ve met people personally at my church who got healed, we get reports of cancer being gone and other problems too all the time.

One can believe it was all a misdiagnosis, but after the 20th time, you just start to find that a flimsy excuse.

God truly does heal. At my church we know it does not always happen right away, my pastor says he’s known it to be one or two weeks after the initial prayer, my mom’s read of it being 1 or 2 years.

It does not seem to matter too much. We know that the answer to prayer can be delayed, both the book of Daniel and the New Testament say so. For different reasons.

So, if you were wondering, no, I don’t feel 100% today. I feel better than yesterday, thankfully. Yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t eat, today I ate a bit, usually it’s worse in the mornings and by night I can eat an almost normal meal, like Morning Sickness. Or else I just get so hungry I don’t care anymore.

Half my sick feeling is usually not eating, and I’m working on controlling that, but I am very tired of feeling this way, it all started about a year ago, the first time I had a gagging episode, but I’ve had nausea spells, cramps, and neck pain for most of my life.

I thought my spine realigning would make it better, I was already doing better, and I thought for sure, decreasing the amount of stress on my neck, head, and back would get rid of the tension causing my episodes. My sister massaging my back has often provided some relief, so I thought a professional, definitely.

Instead it was worse than before, I gagged longer, and felt really sick. True, it didn’t last more than 20 minutes or so, and my stomach felt better after a bit of massaging. My chiropractor even walked me through a few things over the phone that seemed to help, though my hunger still upset my stomach. Towards dinnertime I felt almost back to normal, and I actually ate a real meal. This morning I didn’t feel nearly as bad. Good, right?

I have a doctor’s appointment in a few hours to try to find out more about this problem, see the likely solution, and if I can make it better for myself.

I was told, however, not to rely on doctors or medicine, but that God would do a miraculous healing. Which I have been begging for, I hate doctors (not personally, just going) I hate medicine. I used to take pain meds almost every day while suffering stress headaches (which were actually misalignment headaches, in hindsight) and eye strain, and I got to where I felt I was taking it way too much, and it wasn’t even working that well, so I began trying massages, stretches, tea, heating pads, anything natural, and it worked, usually I can get an ache to leave in a few hours if I’m not hormonal (then it’s always harder) with the right treatment.

I always think too, what if one day you have no access to medicine? It’d be much better to know what else to do, wouldn’t it? What did people do before medication? Believe it or not, they were not generally unhealthier than we are now, they just had more diseases without vaccines, and when they need surgery it wasn’t available, so they did die ore, but they didn’t always suffer from the same infirmities more than we do. They had natural remedies that more and more people now are finding work better than medication anyway.

If anything, professional help has added problems to me, I never had jaw aches and headache because of my teeth before I got braces and my jaw line was changed, it still bothers me now, my chiropractor told me my jaw is also out of alignment due to my neck. OF course, no orthodontist ever brought that up, and I even went to one to consult for the headaches. No one said “Oh, if your neck is messed up, your jaw might be pulling on it wrong and causing headaches, sorry we didn’t tell you that before treating you.”

I mean, really, we should require neck evaluations before we make people wear braces or even glasses, because those muscles both on your teeth and eyes, and those things won’t fix all of it. The average Chiropractor visit is still cheaper than either an orthodontist or an eye doctor, figure it out Health Department.

I get it, chiropractors are seen as jokes by many doctors, I read one saying “Don’t ever let those buggers touch you above your neck.”

Well, mine is a full body health specialist, so he’s a bit different, he didn’t jerk my neck or anything crazy. But hey, it’s your fault if you don’t look up who you’re going to before you do.

What I like about the chiropractic option is it relies on your body’s ability to heal itself. Some doctors, bless them, do also take that approach, but many treat the body as a malfunctioning organ that they just need to pump with meds and alter with surgery, and replace parts of, and all that is never gong to work as well as what God designed. 3D printed bones still don’t come close to God’s original, you know why? Our bones produce blood cells, white and red.

I don’t want to get surgery, I can’t afford surgery anyway.

And I don’t want the option some physicians say “Just live with it.” I hate that response, especially from a doctor. I mean, it’s like “Uh, jackass, if you don’t know how to help me, can you suggest a specialists? A nutritionist maybe, don’t just tell me to live with it! What kind of doctor says that!”

Sheesh. Well, no one’s ever told me that, but I read stories.

I believe almost nothing is incurable. Just that cures for many things have been forgotten because chemicals and minerals solve everything now.

And let’s not forget how many toxins we put on our own food now. My family tries to buy healthier stuff at farmer’s markets, but we can’t avoid every pesticide and GMO.

Some people think that certain chemicals in the food are supposed to make us more compliant, I don’t really buy that, but it freaks me out that many food corporations require GMO products and pesticides in their food.

Luckily, where I live, if you’ve got a greenhouse, you can grow anything, all year round, so I don’t really experience the “out of season” problem even with local food, though it does ripen differently depending on the month.

Anyway, that was a tangent, but someone actually asked my about it in my French class, and it is related to health, especially digestive health, like mine, though digesting the food seems fine for me, it’s just eating it.

I’ve told my family that sometimes, for me, even eating is an act of faith. I can feel so ill, and be so afraid of immediately throwing the food back up, that I don’t even want to try.

Let me stress, that’s never actually happened, I’ve probably thrown up less than 20 times in my entire life, and only once did I throw up more than 2 or 3 times while I was actually sick. My stomach functionally seems to be fine, but I’ve always feared doing it. Like I see it as some kind of ultimate defeat.

I know, it’s strange. Throwing up can be a result of so many non serious things, like over eating, over heating, over exercising, etc. that it’s not like I should treat it as a sign I’m dying, but I loathe being nauseated. And this fear makes me do things to end up more nauseated, see how that works? The vicious cycle is again my real problem.

I hope I didn’t gross you out too much, I mean, this is my life, this is what I deal with. I probably don’t seem like that kind of person in writing, I tend to write with more confidence than I actually think I have.

Plus, up until the last year and a half, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as still having this problem, I thought I was over it, till I had to deal with it all the time.

What I really hate is how it steals my joy. I know a girl who’s been dealing with stomach problems for probably 3 years now, and she is still able to be happy and cheerful, at least at church, which perhaps is not saying much but it’s more than I can be when I feel bad. I can never hide it.

Still, and this is the most important part of this post, if you’ve read this far, thanks for listening to my life story here ūüôā

but the most imporant thing, is I have realized I have certain blessings I never knew I had before, because of feeling so bad.

My family has been very supportive of helping me find new things to try eating and drinking to help. Paying for doctor visits, since my income is still under $100 a week, if that much. Massaging my aching muscles. Sometimes I’m not very grateful, but I shudder to think what going through this alone would have been like.

There are times I take out my frustration on them, but it’s gotten a lot less, it takes a lot more to really get under my grill than it used to, so I guess my patience has increased.

Another change has simply been I don’t get mad at God. I do get frustrated, I have times of asking Him why this is taking so dang long, why I feel this way, and of begging Him to tell me what to do–and sometimes, He does. God is the best physician after all. Nothing too elaborate, just to eat, to go to the doctor, to not go, etc.

I know for some people who live 20 years with the same problem the idea of going one year and getting frustrated must seem pathetic..or it doesn’t, because maybe at one time, they questioned it and were discouraged.

But honestly, for most of us, myself included, it never occurred to us to question it.

I never really found my stomach and neck problems frustrating, until I found out they might be fixable. Some of you know what I mean, once you know, it’s a thousand times harder to be patient. Resignation is such a powerful killer of restlessness.

And when God tells you to rest, without becoming resigned, it’s freaking hard.

Seriously, there are times I just wish I could give up on the idea of getting better, and try to cope. To say to myself “well, I know there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll just have to sit this one out, lie in bed all day, and that’s okay.” It’s not like it’s not tempting, isn’t it? Sometimes even emotionally, we’d like to do that.

But if the reality is, there is something I can do. I can try to find a way. I can believe there is a way, to be better, then aren’t I cheating myself if I resign myself to illness?

From dizzy spells, to stomach problems, to back pain, to skin problems, people accept stuff they don’t really have to live with. We think it’s too expensive, or too much work, or we’re just plain scared.

I relate to all of that. But I will say after months of suffering, you start to feel like none of those reasons are worth it.

So, yes, I’m still going to try.

One more thing, there is something that I’ve done, more because I had to or go insane with self pity, than because I just want to be positive,

But I had to start looking at what I could do.

Did I feel too sick to do everything I normally do today? Maybe, but did I manage to get schoolwork done? Did I write? Did I read? Did I make a YouTube video? Did I manage to run a short errand like buying apples or getting gas.

Most importantly, did I still worship God today? Did I read my Bible?

That’s the real goal of all this stuff, separation from God, and if I don’t give in to that, ultimately, it failed, even if I still felt like crap, but usually, I feel at least a tiny bit better after worship. Scientifically, it boosts your immune system, and I believe releases endorphins.

Anyway, this has been along post (I miss my word count, still don’t know hoe to use it on the new editor) so I’m going to end it here, I hope you got something out of it, until next time–Natasha.