when the dogwoods bloom

They bloomed early this year and my heart wasn’t prepared.

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My roommate and best friend, Jean, and I had planned on going to the Dogwood Festival that day. I never had to set an alarm for Saturday mornings; Daddy’s call came like clockwork at the same time every weekend. I loved waking up to the sound of his voice, but that morning, the call was different. “Honey, I don’t know how to tell you this…” he began. Seconds later everything in my life was upside down and my head was spinning out of control. Mama was gone—she died peacefully in her sleep—but she was gone.

I hung up the phone and started screaming. Before I knew it, Jean had booked me a flight to Knoxville and we were headed to the airport. Instead of kettle corn and handmade crafts and a celebration of those beautiful blooms that filled our little Arkansas town, I found myself staring out the car window at the dogwoods that grew wild amongst the dark trees of the mountains. They were like little white lights floating through a veil of tears as Daddy drove us home from the airport. A few days later, I found myself staring in wonder at the two dogwood trees that would stand guard over Mama’s final resting place, one at her head and the other at her feet. I felt that God had planted them there just for me.

I’ve now lived almost as many years on this earth without her as I lived with her. I’ve been through ups and downs, anger and laughter, and too many tears to count. Things weren’t always easy between us—there were times when I didn’t feel quite so loved by her. I wish I had known then some of the things that I understand better now. I wish my teenaged brain and heart could have better grasped the pain she was in, both emotionally and physically. Maybe I wouldn’t have erected such a wall of self-sufficiency and independence. Maybe I wouldn’t have started running, never wanting to look back. Maybe…

I don’t know. I do know there are still things that come up that I have to forgive, and things that come up that I desperately need forgiveness for. If only we could fathom the wounds we inflict on each other through ignorance and pain. I have a feeling Mama knows the full extent of both sides now, even though I’m still trying to figure it all out. She has the advantage of a heavenly perspective—I’m thankful for that. Thankful I can no longer wound her heart, and thankful that my heart is in the process of being healed as well.

She was a beautiful woman, but like most of us, all she saw was her flaws when she looked in the mirror—some of the same flaws I see in myself today. I remember how I used to wish my eyes were like hers—beautiful, silvery-gray with that touch of mischief and love and sadness that could say so much, and with the narrowing glare that was way worse than any spanking because you knew how much trouble you were about to be in if you didn’t change your wicked ways right then and there.

She was fiercely loyal. At the funeral, Mama’s friend Imogene told me a story about when they were young and she had fallen crazy in love with a guy that everyone knew was wrong for her. She said that mama just sat there sewing her wedding dress for her, all the while telling her she was making a huge mistake. She never forgot how Mama loved her through it all—the wedding and the divorce that came shortly after.

Mama impacted people with her unconditional love. When my best friend wound up pregnant at sixteen, Mama loved her through it. She didn’t judge her or forbid me to be friends with her, she was always welcome in our home and when that baby came, Mama loved him like he was her own grandchild.

Sometimes I stare in the mirror to see if I can see her staring back at me. My eyes have turned a bit silvery now and my cousin swears I have the “Aunt Shirley” look—that warning glare that I referred to earlier. Every time I post a new picture on FaceBook, my brother says how much I look like our “little mama.” I don’t really see it that much, though I’m glad he does. I confess, I hear her coming out of my mouth more than I see her staring back at me.

I think we often think of those who influence us in terms of how we have become like them. I’ve come to discover that there are things my mama was so good at that I just don’t even really want to attempt. She was an amazing cook—ask anyone who knew her, especially my brother’s football teammates from Western Carolina University. Offensive linemen can eat a LOT, and they loved my mama’s cooking. I don’t like to cook. I think subconsciously I’m afraid I can’t measure up, so why bother. Food is just fuel, and yogurt works for dinner as well as breakfast.

She had such a green thumb—her plants were amazing. Mine commit suicide if they see me coming. Maybe I slay them with that glare. Maybe it’s just been too painful to try; it would be hard to be surrounded by leafy reminders of her while I try to figure out who I am in light of—or in spite of—who she was. I think that’s why the pictures I have framed of her in my house are from her younger days, the days before I knew her and before things got difficult between us. I like the happiness in her beautiful eyes from those days.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to process my relationship with my mother. I don’t know if I even fully grasp it now, but what I do know is that my heart is at peace with her and we will have eternity to make up for the years the locusts have eaten away. Twenty-four years later, I see the dogwood blooms and I remember the love that seemed hidden at times, but was always there. I’m truly thankful that God chose her to be my mother and I’m thankful for the little white blooms that will forever be a reminder of the beautiful life that was a gift from God to me.

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Shirley Morgan Reagan, February 23, 1942 – April 24, 1993

 

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getting past tragic

I went to see the movie The Shack last week. I read the book when it came out years ago and I remembered it to be a very different view of God than my Bible Belt upbringing had instilled in me. I loved the book, but I didn’t really have any expectations for the movie. I was in for a shock. I cried through the whole thing. Actually, not the whole thing. You would think that I would have bawled when the little girl was taken. Or when the dad broke down sobbing. But what actually made weep was the beauty of the love of God portrayed in the Trinity.

As much as I wanted to process my thoughts and feelings with my friend after the movie and impress him with my amazing spiritual depth, I could only be silent. I didn’t have words. Thankfully, he understood.

In the days following, God kept bringing people to my heart who are experiencing soul-crushing, tragic events. This one’s wife went a bit crazy and left him and even cut off her relationship with her children… That one has a brain tumor or maybe even something worse… Another one lost is job after twenty-seven years of faithful service. All around is suffering. Pain. Sickness. Tragedy. Like the dad’s situation in the movie.

And then there was Palm Sunday. The church service was beautiful and I cried. A lot. I cried at the reading of the Word from Matthew about all the people shouting and praising God as Jesus entered Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His disciples. This was their Savior and they were thrilled. But they didn’t have the foresight to know what was about to happen. My pastor talked about that adoring crowd and he speculated that there were probably some who were shouting “Hosanna!” in that moment and were probably shouting “Crucify Him!” only a short time later. That could be; we are often easily swayed by the crowds. Unfortunately.

But the thing that really caused me to stop and think was the way he described the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus. He used terminology like the most tragic event in history. Tragic. That word that kept leaping out to me and I kept thinking, “yes, but…”

Yes, it was gruesome and horrible and He was innocent and it was unjust…but, in John 10, Jesus says, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (vs. 17-18, NKJV). I kept thinking about it as the days passed and my pondering took me back to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The first exhibit shows the beginnings of anti-semitism and there is a statement posted there that reads that Christians believe that the Jews were responsible for murdering Jesus. It is worded as if it’s still a fact and that all Christians still believe it today. It broke my heart and I just wanted to stand there and tell everyone who read it that those of us who truly love Jesus know that it was His choice. It wouldn’t have mattered if the crowd was red or yellow or black or white; it was always His decision and we do not blame the Jews. In fact, it was our own sin that nailed Him to that cross. 

He did what He did because he loves us so much. The event of the crucifixion was indeed tragic, but what it accomplished, to me, outweighs the tragedy by far. I just can’t label it tragic alone without including the whole story and the enormous good that came out of it.

I’m pretty sure that my pastor will tie in the victorious, beautiful part this Sunday, but it just made me think a lot about how we choose to see things. That’s really what The Shack is about, and the reason that we find it so difficult to get past the hard, devastating things in life is that our finite minds are not capable of seeing beyond the pain unless we choose a heavenly perspective. God gives us His word that He works ALL things for the good of those who love Him… (Romans 8:28). And that He will give us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). And that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, among others) But how much do we really believe this when all we can see is that life is just so hard?

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When we let God interpret our situations, we begin to see things differently. I have experienced heartache and tragedy, but the experiences have made me who I am today, which is hopefully a bit better than yesterday’s version of me. I am more compassionate because I have lost. I am more loving because I have been rejected. I experience joy more deeply because I have lived through such sorrow. I have more faith because I have seen God’s faithfulness in the hard times. I am more willing to take risks because I have seen the redeeming power of God.

I guess I am a pretty optimistic person, but that optimism is based on who God is—not on who I am or on this world or my circumstances. I think that goes so much deeper into the heart of it than the word optimism implies. When someone I love is experiencing pain, I really feel it with them, but I also do my best to open up the window to the bigger picture, to God’s redeeming power and His goodness. That’s a place where hope can live and grow into faith and love and healing. And that is not tragic at all.

 

 

 

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severe mercy

It’s been about 4 months since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It was a wake up call for me. Health-wise, I had been doing better than ever before in my life, or so I thought. But I had a real problem: sugar. In hindsight I should have seen it sooner… the constant thirst, the “coma naps” in the evenings that I could hardly wake up from… even the sheer number of relatives on my mom’s side who have the disease. But when those doughnuts showed up at work, I didn’t want to see it. And those Nothing Bundt Cakes lemon cupcakes…well, let’s just say that self-control was nowhere to be found.

sugar_830I remember talking to my dear friend Claudia when I got the news and she, in her infinite wisdom, called it God’s “severe mercy.” I knew she was right. He was giving me a chance to make a change before it was too late. I tackled it fervently. No more poison-laden desserts, no more cupcakes or doughnut holes, no more Reese’s, no more snacking all day long. Balance out good carbs with lots of protein. Take your super-expensive medicine like a good girl and try not to curse insurance companies and high medical bills.

I have my check-up this Wednesday, so I had blood work done in advance of that. I just got the results and I am over-the-moon thankful to God! I won’t bore you with the details—I had to Google everything line by line just to figure out what all those medical terms actually meant and what the acceptable range was—but let’s just say I’ve never been so happy to see the word “normal” in all my born days! I was in the normal range on every single item listed and I’ve lost about 27 pounds in the process. That presents a whole new wardrobe problem, but I am not going to complain about that.

I can’t wait to see my doctor on Wednesday. He is gentle and kind, loves the Lord, and I know he will be pleased with my results, and let’s face it, I desperately need to hear him tell me that I really am doing a great job. I pretty much live for approval. I wish that need in me wasn’t as overwhelming as it seems at times. But when you think about it, isn’t that what you’re supposed to live for if you’re a Christian—that when you see Jesus face to face, you’ll hear Him say, “Well done!”? I guess it’s human nature that such a desire should manifest on our earthly walk as well.

This idea of severe mercy has been on my mind a lot lately. Time and time again I walk too close to the edge. I entertain thoughts that take me off the path of what I know to be right and good. I say things I shouldn’t say and do things I shouldn’t do. I’m still that little kid whose mom says, “Don’t touch that stove!” a gazillion times and the don’t part of it drives me mad until I have to touch it and that just leads to a lot of pain in the end. How many times does God have to tell me to no before He finally lets me learn the hard way?

As kids we don’t fully understand the love that motivates the “no”; we can only process things from our perspective and no most often seems to be unfair or …because you don’t love me. We don’t see the consequences of our actions until we’re crying our eyes out over the blisters. As we grow up it becomes more of a choice to see or not to see. I chose not to see the detrimental effects that eating all that sugar had on my body. I ignored everything until I woke up one day with a disease. It was a spanking from the Lord, but a much needed one and one that was motivated by my Father’s gentle and infinite love for me.

I don’t want to go back to the way I was. I want to keep growing and learning and to become better. I’m human, so I know there is every possibility that I will mess it all up again. But I remain confident that God’s severe mercy will be there to put me back on the right path no matter how badly I stumble and fall. I’m so thankful for that.

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all the dreams we never knew we had

As Creative Director for Worthy Publishing, I get to work on a lot of books and products that I really love, but last fall something happened that had a profound impact on me. My publisher, Pamela, had set up a meeting to discuss an idea for a book that someone had brought to the table. You couldn’t even call it a proposal really—there wasn’t that much to it. But the subject was something that electrified my heart: my favorite singer/song-writer, Rich Mullins.

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I was serving at a ministry in Texas in 1990 when I first heard “While the Nations Rage” on the radio. I immediately went out and purchased Never Picture Perfect. In that grouping of music and lyrics, Rich took simple, ordinary life and wrapped it in poetry and truth and words so descriptive that they tore gaping holes in my heart and left me longing for more. He was able to transport ideas and people and Scripture to unexpected settings and effortlessly make them feel at home. There was so much contrast—the loftiness and the lowliness, the hugeness of God and the littleness of us, the prophetic and the irreverent. His music gave me permission to experience all the conflicts that existed in my heart without the accompanying guilt for being a little less than perfect.

Seven years later, tragedy struck when a horrifying crash took him from us. The most beautiful voice in my world had been ripped away. I was devastated because though we were strangers, still I loved him. I had counted on him to help me through the tough times and laugh with me through the good, and he had never let me down.

Pamela didn’t really even know who Rich was; she basically presented the idea out of courtesy to our team, all the while thinking it would be a quick “no” and we’d be on to the next proposal. But when she saw my reaction (which might have been a little bit overly excited) she did a double take, and the short of it is that she decided to pursue the book because she saw how much I wanted it. Now you may be a ‘Pamela’ and not even know who Rich was, or you may be someone like me, who was profoundly impacted by a voice that was only a short time on this earth. Either way, that’s not really what this is about.

This is about dreams.

When I got back to my office, I just started crying. Could this really be happening? Was I really going to get to work on a book about my hero – the man who painted my skies with his words and whispered stories that left me longing for heaven? I felt so humbled by God’s goodness to me as I realized this was a dream come true, but the strangest thing was the fact that it was a dream that I didn’t even know I had.

And then it dawned on me: my entire life has been this way. One by one, God has fulfilled dreams in my life that I never knew existed until they were well on their way to fruition. I used to read those kitchy little memes on Pinterest that said things like Your dreams don’t work if you don’t. And I pretty much bought into them. Pursue this… Work hard for that… Don’t give up until you get what you want. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that line of thinking; I’ve just come to believe something else is a bit more true and a whole lot better:

God is the author and fulfillment of our dreams.

The dreams I thought I had would have taken my life in such a different direction than the course God had planned for me. I wanted a husband who adored me and six boys who would wrestle and play hard and grow up to be men after God’s own heart. Instead, God gave me so much more than my finite mind could imagine. He let me see the world and experience different cultures. He let me live where Jesus lived and fall in love with Israel, the apple of His eye. He led me to show people His love from Israel to India. Now there are little pieces of my heart scattered all over the earth, making their homes in the hearts of people He has brought into my life along the way.

And now working on this book, I find myself invited into the world my hero knew as I am getting to know some of the people he loved and who loved him just as fiercely. I hear the stories and I see the pictures and I’m still not sure this is even real. I do not feel worthy to be a part of this dream and at the same time I feel so incredibly blessed to be in the thick of it. Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief, or maybe amazement. I’m not really sure which is which.

I know now that God is the author of my dreams. It can no longer be me. I don’t want to have to figure it all out and make it happen—I mess things up way too much. Nope. It’s much better to let God do it. He who created my heart knows best how to make it happy and I find that I’m more than okay with that.

 

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that was unexpected

Things didn’t go exctly as I had planned. The plan was that I would take a couple days off before Thanksgiving, work on some projects and get the house ready for my friend who was coming. Then I would enjoy being thankful for my amazing life and maybe get in some shopping on the weekend. But not on Friday. I hate Black Friday.

On the Saturday before, I found out that my friend was not actually staying with me this trip, but with her sister instead. Happy for her, bummer for me.

Then I got the call at work on Monday from the doctor’s office. We got your labs back and you have Type 2 Diabetes so we need you to come back in. Whaaaaaat??? What just happened? Did a grenade go off in my office? It might as well have. I hung up the phone and started sobbing. Thank God that my office is at the end of the hall and around the corner so there’s no foot traffic to see me. Through the haze of my tears I managed to IM Marilyn. She came and prayed and gave me hugs and sympathy. I managed to pull myself together enough to drive home.

Tuesday was a bust. Basically a pity party all day long.

On Wednesday morning I took the elevator up to the doctor’s office along with the delivery guy from Jason’s Deli. He was carrying a ton of food and my first thought was, “There’s a Jason’s Deli around here??” My second thought was, “Uh-oh. I have a feeling I’ll be waiting while they all eat lunch.” My suspicions were confirmed after 50 nerve-wracking minutes in the waiting room. I finally got to go back to the exam room and the doctor came in and compassionately touched my shoulder and said, “Well, I wasn’t expecting this.” Me neither, buddy. But it sure explains a lot. The skinny: I’ve probably had this for a few years. No, diet and exercise are not enough. No injections though, thank God. Three medicines—two of which are advertised a lot on TV. Pretty sure I’m gonna grow tentacles or something from the side effects.

After three trips to the pharmacy, I found out that the first two meds are free, thanks to Publix and a discount card from the pharmaceutical company, but the third one is $715. Seven HUNDRED and fifteen dollars? What about insurance? That’s AFTER the insurance part. But if I want, I can wait to fill that one and go home and check the company’s website for a coupon. Yeah, I’ll wait. Home again, I found a coupon and headed back to the pharmacy to fight the pre-Thanksgiving, last-minute craziness once again and pick up my prescription only to find out that they had reshelved it, so I would have to wait some more.

At this point all I want to do is curl up into a ball and never move again. When I finally made it to bed and turned out the light, the sobbing commenced. You know it’s easy to be a strong woman when everything is going well and you’re healthy. But I just fell apart. I’ve never felt so alone in my life and all I wanted was for someone to hold me and say it would be okay. I wanted desperately to not have to be alone on Thanksgiving Day; to be surrounded by people I love and who love me back. But there was no one and no plan for tomorrow, so the tears kept coming. On goes the light, out comes the Bible. A few Psalms later, my heart began to feel the peace. I knew that God had heard me. That He is with me. That I’m not alone. I went to sleep asking the Lord to wake me up with a thankful heart in the morning.

He did. And with a thankful heart, I texted a few loved ones just to let them know I was grateful for them. Before I knew it, I was at a friend’s house, surrounded by people who are like family. Tons of hugs and lots of love and though there was a lot of food, I only took tiny portions and no dessert. And I’ve probably never felt more thankful on Thanksgiving in all my life.

The good news is that I’m starting to feel a lot better except for some side effects from the medicine. The doctor thinks that I can go off medication once we get everything under control. Yesterday was rough, but no “coma naps” as I like to call them…no running to the bathroom every few minutes and being so thirsty all the time…I’m sleeping through the night – wow…and now sugar looks like an evil monster to me rather than a delicious friend.

The truth is that I am not strong on my own; I’m more of a scared little girl. But God is strong and as He is, so am I. (1 John 4:17). It’s been a rollercoaster week, but I adore seeing God work in the midst of struggle and pain, and I’m so thankful that He showed up in a big way for me this week. Just as He always has.

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eleven years

 

The memories are beautiful and they comfort me. I’m thankful for that because it still hurts something fierce even after eleven years. Does a girl ever really get over losing her daddy? This one hasn’t.

Tears shed, eyes dried for the moment; now let’s remember the beauty. This is one of my favorite pictures of Daddy. It was taken during his days serving at Ft. Hood. I love to remember him playing his guitar and singing those old country songs.

Daddy

And here are some of my favorite memories with Daddy:
• Countless hours of sitting on the front porch working crossword puzzles together.
• When I was in school, Daddy used to wake me up so sweetly; he’d quietly come in with my slippers that he’d warmed up by the heater and wake me with a gentle little rub on the back.
• On Thanksgiving when I was little, he’d wake me up before anybody else and we’d watch the Macy’s parade together.
• I loved the way that he and I were always the last up from the dinner table–we both ate so slowly.
• When I would come home from college, he’d always have a country ham biscuit from Hardee’s there waiting when I got up in the morning.
• When I changed my major from accounting to art in my Junior year of college, Daddy said, “Well honey, I’ll support you in whatever you want do.”
• I loved the way he could always point out different mountain peaks and how he loved the stars and whippoorwills.
• I loved the way he always took care of the Rose of Sharon bush out in the front yard and was so proud of its blossoms.
• I loved the way he always picked wild blackberries – they will forever be my favorite.
• He always sent greeting cards–that’s so precious to me.
• Nobody could skip rocks across the water like Daddy could.
• Nascar Racing, the Yankees, and the UT Vols (his blood ran bright orange). Daddy loved sports and I loved sharing that with him.
• I loved looking at maps with him.
• I loved the way he would always call me on Saturday morning; it was such a good way to start the weekend.
• I loved knowing that he loved me no matter what.
• And my very favorite thing was the way he called me “m’lis” is his soft Southern accent. I hope my heart never forgets that sound.

As I sit here remembering with tears and thankfulness, I’m realizing how much my Dad shaped who I am. I think he gave me so much that he never even realized, from his artistic eye to his love of words and the mountains. My quiet mornings with him have translated into quiet mornings with my Heavenly Father, and I know that someday, we’ll sit on his heavenly porch together again.

I miss you, Daddy.  Thank you for all the love and memories. I’ll forever be your little girl.

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שםן ששון (oil of joy)

Here’s my story.

I’m 49 years old and I’ve lived with depression most of my life. My mom died when I was 25 and it got worse, but I dealt with it as best I could. I read a ton of self-help books in the ’90s just like everybody else did. I prayed constantly. I hoped fervently. Still it lingered like a gray cloud, ever threatening to rain on my parade.

When Daddy died in 2005, I sank. I was drowning. I told people I had severe allergies to explain away the tears that wouldn’t go away. I would go to the bathroom at work and cry my eyes out. I couldn’t climb out of the pit and I couldn’t breathe.

In 2005, that was my reality. As a Christian, I had a lot of people in my world who were staunchly against medications for depression, and I had also had a friend on anti-depressants that basically made her numb to the world. I didn’t want to be numb. Being depressed was bad, but feeling nothing at all? I’m an artist. I can’t not feel.

When Jesus started His public ministry, He stood up in the synagogue and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah (61:18-19):

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

He then made the bold claim that (paraphasing) He was now the fulfillment of this Scripture. When you go back to Isaiah and keep reading where Jesus left off, the promise continues:

“To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

I’m no Biblical scholar, so I can’t explain why Jesus stopped where He did. Was He not the fulfilment of the second half of that prophesy? I believe He was. I will always believe it. But in 2005, I was mourning and I couldn’t find joy anywhere. Meanwhile, I began to notice that my numb friend was no longer numb. She was, in fact, one of the funniest, most delightful people I had ever been privileged to know. So I talked to her.

It turns out that she, through a lot of trials, had become very knowledgeable about anti-depressants and how they worked and she was now taking a different one. She explained how it was different and by the time we finished talking, I was calling my doctor to make an appointment. I was desperate.

Within a week or two after taking this drug, I started noticing a major difference. I felt normal – but it was a normal I had never felt before. I could still be sad, but it wasn’t the chest crushing, dark cloud sadness – it was just sadness. And for once, I knew it would pass. I had never felt that before. It would pass. It. Would. Pass. You know what that does? It gives you a hope that you never knew before.

Fast-forward 6 months. I’ve pretty much sold everything and am moving to Israel. Guess what? They don’t sell that particular drug in Israel. I was cut off. I believe that the Lord in His mercy let me go off it with no side-effects. A miracle, pure and simple. I spent the remainder of my 3 1/2 years in Jerusalem drug free. And then my volunteer visa ran out and I had to leave and return to the US. It was a hard transition back and when I felt myself on that slippery slope I panicked and went to the doctor again.

But it didn’t work like it had before. Maybe my system had gotten used to it and it was no longer effective? I don’t know, but there was no need to take something that was not working, so I stopped again. And I was sinking. Hard situations at work made me withdraw into myself and start avoiding people. Oh great, here we go again.

In 2013, I took a job in Nashville, and as transitions can be, it was tough. I cried a lot. At this point you’re probably getting depressed and thinking you’ll turn down that invitation to my house for dinner. I would…except that I know something you don’t.

I have never been diagnosed as manic-depressive, but for the past year or so, I have felt like I was on a manic high. I kept expecting to crash, but I didn’t. Late last summer, I really began to wonder at the change. Had the Lord just healed me? What happened? Days went by and I still felt great. Smiling. Laughing. Loving people. It just wasn’t ending and I wasn’t crashing.

And then it occured to me.

Let me preface this by saying that I have no scientific proof, and that this is my opinion of what happened: In November 2014, I began to use therapeutic grade essential oils. There is a blend called “Joy” that I apply to the bottom of my feet every morning. One night I mistakenly put it on my feet instead of my sweet sleep inducing Lavender, and I found myself giggling. Bing! A light went off. THE OIL OF JOY—SHEMEN SASSON (Hebrew). The Lord had given me a physical Oil of Joy to anoint my feet. All natural. Created by God. No man-made chemicals. No nasty side-effects.

And no more depression.

Come on over for dinner. It’ll be fun – I promise!

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