Friday, March 12, 2010

A Bibliography of Non-Fiction

I was realizing yesterday that I've been diving deep into the non-fiction this past 6-9 months - well, deep for me :}. At any rate, I'm about to get another book (and I'm quite excited about it) and so I thought I'd share a list of these books that have been blessing and encouraging me lately.

1-Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, by Edward Welch
This book was a huge encouragement to me over the last year and I've been recommending it like crazy.

2-Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem
I've been studying through this with some other women and it's been a huge blessing. We'll be reaching the half-way mark in a few weeks. Woohoo!

3-Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, by Bob Kauflin
I've started reading through this with a couple other ladies on our worship team. So far I've found it very accessible and it has been encouraging a right and renewed heart toward what we do as servants in this ministry.

4-Transformed Into Fire: Discovery Your True Identity as God's Beloved, by Judih Hougen
This is the one I just ordered so I don't have a personal endorsement at this point. But, it was recommended to me by the person who hooked me up with the first book so I'm optimistic :}. Hopefully I'll have more to say about this one soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is that a light I see at the end of that tunnel?

How am I feeling? Pretty excellent, thank you for asking. And you know what? I've been in that excellent mood pretty consistently since Friday night. Yep, that's right, Friday night.

Consider this my "Praise Ye the Lord" post.

Seriously.

I praise the Lord for the gift of this excellent mood. I can't remember when I last felt this good for this long.

(Note: I'm coming off an 11hr+ stint of programming. My thoughts are a tad...gelatinous...so please forgive me if I wander into incoherency)

Thanksgiving 2008 marked the beginning of a long, dark journey with that new flavor of depression I've been blogging about here. And I think I was dealing with a bit of depression even before then.

There are a few landmarks that stand out in my mind since that Thanksgiving:
- December 2008 is a blur
- January 2009 marked the onset of my anxiety issues
- I believe it was in March that I visited the doctor to see if there was a physical cause behind my fatigue, short-term memory & concentration issues, depression, and anxiety
- Around April I talked with Mike Cosper about what I was going through and he challenged the sorry state of my spiritual disciplines & got me the Depression book I've been raving about ever since
- In August, at work, I felt like I had suddenly awakened and wondered what had been going on for the last 6 months - I believe this was the result of my fatigue and concentration issues beginning to abate - I thanked God for this since I had started facilitating the Women's Systematic Theology class during the summer and was about to see what it looked like when I tried to do that while co-leading a CG; I also began to notice a cycle of anxiety issues
- Around the holidays (Thanksgiving - New Year) I had a set back into numbness; the fatigue returned but the anxiety issues temporarily abated
- Around January 2010 the numbness began to lift again and the anxiety returned but without the most dramatic episodes
- Since Mid-February I've started to feel more...capable...that's probably the best way to put it
- Sometime last Friday night, during the DPR CD release show, when I was mentally exhausted from a 47+hr week of programming, something shifted and I slipped into an *excellent* mood

I don't know what all God has used to bring this about, or how long it will last, but I will praise Him for this excellent mood as long as it's here. And I pray I grow in praising Him through the not-so-excellent moods as well.

Here are a few of my guesses as to what God's been using to bring about the shift I've seen just since February:
- I've had a couple good "clearing the air" conversations where I was able to talk out, with the relevant individuals, things I'd been suppressing for months. Even the thought that I could talk about those things was a change from before and I consider it a gift from God.
- The first of those "clearing the air" conversations came with an epiphany that shed significant, helpful light on my ongoing struggle with identity and contentment.
- I've been soda-free for almost 2 weeks now and have, therefore, broken the sugar-high cycle
- I've been enjoying my work more and more (which is itself a gift from God: Ecclesiastes 3:13)
- I've been feeling astonishingly free of fear (which also traces back to those "clearing the air" conversations and the aforementioned epiphany)

I thank God for these things.

Since I've shared my depression with you, O anonymous people of the internet, I wanted to share my joy with you as well. Please join me in saying "Thanks be to God!"

And let me also say "thank you" to those who have been journeying with me through this season. I'm so relieved by this good mood that I'm finding it easy to forget all the hard work & struggle that went on through the dark season (which, for all I know, will return tomorrow, but let us praise the Lord for the sun as long as it shines :}). I believe, by the grace of God, that I've grown in my ability to suffer well and a lot of that has been because of the help, encouragement, wise counsel, and accountability of the friends God has blessed me with. If this season had come a few years ago things would have looked much different.

Thank you God. Thank you for your faithfulness through this season. Thank you for growing me through it. Thank you for the *incredible* blessing of the community you have built up around me. Thank you for the moments of brightness along the way. Thank you for all the lessons I've learned (and am still learning). And thank you for this moment, for this excellent mood, however long it lasts.

Praise Ye the Lord.