January 08, 2014

I know who I am (and who I am not)!

I have been in a bit of a tired, sad, angry funk lately.  To you who have been pregnant, I can explain it like morning sickness.  (To my husband I explained it like gas.)
Only those closest to me can even tell that I'm not feeling well.  (Can you tell?)  I am functioning, just not really enjoying.  This isn't my first bout with morning sickness.  I have learned to press forward with faith and I do this quite well most days.

I've been pushing my emotions deep into my throat knowing that any moment I could loose it all.  Small smells, memories, experiences could crack my defensive dam and I would begin to drown in dark waters.  

I was fighting the idea that I was depressed (because everyone said depression would come and I was determined to prove them wrong).  I was so worried that a year of bed rest, pain and healing had broken me.  I wondered if I was changed or ruined forever.  I felt that I would never regain the joy I had previously felt living my normal life.  

Deep down I knew that this darkness was deeper than anything I could control- if I wasn't careful it would kill me.  Part of me wanted to die and another part of me was absolutely terrified that I was dying. Please forgive my dramatic flare here- I'm being very sincere.

Meanwhile I just keep walking forward through deep mud- doing what I had always done and waiting, hoping, to feel what I had always felt.  There were moments of light- beautiful, glorious sun rays through the clouds and I clung to them.  But- the storm, like morning sickness, lay just under the surface.

I cracked a tiny bit when one inspired friend asked how I was doing.  I was embarrassed by my emotion and the strength of pain, disgust and anger that spewed forth as we were talking.  I hated myself for being so negative.

With one sentence, I felt my load lighten and my head brighten.  You might not like to hear what she said to me.  It is not politically correct or socially acceptable.  

She said, "Jen, this isn't you.  You know that right?"  

I was quiet while she explained that my surgery put me in a physically weak place.  It is when our defenses are down (from illness, fatigue, sin or drugs) that we are most vulnerable to attacks from darkness.

That darn Scratch had tricked me again!

I believe in God, and I believe in Satan.  I believe in angels and devils.  In one moment I recognized those thoughts as what they were- the hopeless whisper of a desperate, pitiful and very real force.  I was being buffeted.

To me, there was great hope and power in recognizing that my dark thoughts and feelings were made even more dark and powerful because I was under attack. 

We don't talk about Satan much- because he grows more powerful by manipulating our fears and worries, insecurities and weakness.  But I think we need to call him out more.  Don't be afraid to say it. Voldemort... ;)

For me, it was easier to fight against Satan with all my strength and power, than it was to believe that my own brain was sick, tired and unstable.  I didn't need tranquilizers I needed the absolutely real and infinitely strong, healing power of God.  

I can cast out something easier than I can fix my own broken mind.  See how important that understanding is?

I know talking about Satan makes me sound crazier than talking about depression.  But, I think a real diagnoses leads to more a more effective prescription.  Yup-- I know how controversial this sounds.

Even as we spoke, I tried to feel that awful, drowning feeling inside me, and it had fled.  Just recognizing the darkness inside me had made it weaker.
I have always imagined I have a little devil and a little angel on my shoulder.  Now, my devil seemed pretty powerful- so I needed to feel a strong, flaming sword angel that would protect and defend me.  I continue to pray for and envision strong, powerful, defending angels surrounding me and my home.

My friend prayed for me.  

She encouraged me to write down all my anger and then to burn that paper.  On a different sheet of paper she told me to write out everything that I was grateful for.  My experience was inspiring and powerful.  I learned a few things...

-I was most angry at my greatest blessings.

It was so weird to me that my strongest negative feelings were also my strongest grateful feelings.  It's almost like darkness was trying extra hard to keep me from my greatest source of joy!

Just one example:: My body-- I was so angry at my body!  As I acknowledged that anger (which was strong and real) and burned it, I felt my soul open to the beautiful truth that my body is strong and blessed and alive! 

My heart stayed beating through over 200 blood transfusions!  My body created EIGHT beautiful and healthy children.  Doctors, nurses and therapists are in constant awe at how quickly and miraculously I have healed.  My body is a beautiful strong gift from God and I am NOT angry at it... I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for it.

Everything on my list was like that.  My greatest blessings were under attack.  Anger and darkness were trying to cover up my greatest sources of joy and light.


-Really strong, unusual emotion is a sign you have found a source.

As I was combing my soul I would feel this weird emotion attached to something gentle-- like intense anger when we would sit down to plan our budget.  As I pondered this feeling I opened a dam of strong emotion, I wrote them all down.  I was pretty ticked off at money.  

Recognizing and burning those feelings opened me up to see and FEEL what is real and true.  Truthfully-- I am SO blessed financially.  Before I knew it- but couldn't really believe it because I was blocked.  It feels good to get the grateful, hopeful feelings flowing again!

And finally, (I could go on and on but eve is getting restless playing by herself)

- Light is stronger than darkness!! 

Joy wants to grow and expand!  I can expose darkness and choose light.  I know him better now.  I know that he is not me!  With the power of God, divine inspiration and faith, I can crush his puny head- and so can you.

There are many ways to battle darkness- this really is not a post about HOW, it is a post about WHAT.  For me, I can figure out the how if I can identify clearly what the problem is.  As GI Joe always said "Knowing is half the battle."

Today I feel happy, strong, hopeful and grateful.
I do not believe I have found all the answer nor do I believe that the darkness will never return.
But I feel strong.  I am not afraid.
I am humbled by what I have lived through and I know that there are unseen powers in this world.  
I have felt evil and I have felt good.  
I know that life is hard sometimes but I also know that life is blissfully beautiful and oh so good.
(She shall find that which is lost, by Brian Kerjenick)

Satan is real, but his power is nothing when compared to the beautiful power of love, truth, gratitude, joy and light.
We are children of an infinitely loving, abundantly blessing and powerful Father in Heaven. 
His ability to heal body, mind and soul is real and unmatched.

Perhaps this is too sacred for me to share on my blog- but I love you and I want to be the friend that whispers to you... "You know this is not you, right?!"
I know it and I am SOOO grateful to be alive.
Let us all battle darkness and seek light, arm in arm with our eyes wide open!!

(Look who fell asleep on my lap as I read over this post one last time.  She is joy!)

Yup- life is good!

Ps- I love Supreme Court Justice Scalia!  He also believes in the devil.  

At one point, Scalia leans in and whispers, "I even believe in the devil."

Asked to elaborate, Scalia said, "Yeah, he's a real person ... that's standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that," rejecting a suggestion that many Catholics do not.

But he adds, "You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things. He's making pigs run off cliffs, he's possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn't happen very much anymore. ... It's because he's smart. ...

"What he's doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He's much more successful that way."

The justice tells Senior he's in the "mainstream."

"You're  looking at me as though I'm weird. ... Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the devil! It's in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so ... removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil."


Becky said...

I had to say thank you. What a beautiful post. A friend had posted this on her facebook status. I am amazed because this is exactly what I was looking for and teaching in my next lesson for Relief Society. As I have been preparing this lesson, I have found so many sources that talk about this. It recently came to me and I was blown away at that information! What a difference it makes! Thanks again!

AJ said...

How great to see this post when just yesterday I had a simiar revelation for myself. I was in a funk thinking some things and knowing this is not my usual self. But I have been feeling like this more lately. Then suddenly I remembered that scene in A Beautiful Mind where he comes to terms with his hallucinations and just repeats to them "You're not real!" and so I was just thinking to myself "these feelings and thoughts aren't real" and it helps me to not attach to them, to let them pass without being significant or putting more thought/analysis into those feelings.

AJ said...

PS. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. It would be a great blog post.

click this link and read this "inspiring" blurb.


We hear this a lot nowadays. This kind of talk is very common in the self-help/motivational/health sector. but I don't think its Christian. Where's the balance between reaching out to someone who is needy and letting that relationship drain us?

jenifer said...

AJ- thank you for your thoughts and comments. I know that we each can and will receive revelation as we seek it. I am not an expert- to me, the feelings are very real just not inspiring. I agree with your idea that we should put our thought/analysis into more powerful and positive emotions like kindness, service, gratitude and love.

jenifer said...

I did spend a minute reading this post which basically says we should free ourselves from negative people.
Obviously this is a good tactic if we feel weak and vulnerable. (You can't lift someone when you are drowning.) But, in general, we are all down sometimes and where would any of us be without friends who could help raise us up. Positive energy is stronger than negative! I always try to help and love without getting sucked in. Recognizing Satan helps me to love the person while seeing very clearly what they are battling against.
I am not a fan of whining, complaining, gossipy conversation- ever.
Sometimes blaming or accusing others of pulling you down is another way that we are actually stuck in a trap ourselves. We can gently pull back from any relationship for a time without announcing on Facebook how negative other people are. :)

jenifer said...

You're welcome. Good luck with your lesson. You are braver than I am. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you to stick to doctrine in what you teach and to be careful with class comments...

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Jen, you have a way with words and explaining things that can be hard to explain. Well done! Having good friends around us who can lift us up and tell us what we need to hear (not necessarily want to hear) is a huge blessing!

And don't you just love that print by Brian Kerjenick?

Amber said...

Interesting. I was having a very bad night Tuesday and didn't know where to turn. I didn't want to burden anyone with my frustrations yet again. It was late and I was sitting on the couch with a pad of paper but not writing. I just felt like I HAD to do SOMETHING so I just started to write. After I scratched it all out - my hurt and anger- I felt inspired to burn it. So I did. I've never done that before but it did help. Just thought it was interesting. I like this post- This is not who you are- because sometimes it's hard to feel that.

Diana said...

Thank You for sharing these private, sacred thoughts! It's touched a chord deep in my soul, where I need to take a moment to dig deep and see what's hiding under the surface, and find the lies that are trying to cover the greatest blessings in MY life. The hurt and the pain and the fear is there, and I need to get it out.

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