DON’T HARSH MY MELLOW

By Lisa Huddleston

And … the journey continues. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I was beginning a trial with my 5th antidepressant and since that time the 6th. I am currently on a self-imposed fast of all medications (with my doctor’s tentative approval and an upcoming appointment). I want to give my brain a chance to settle and see who is the real me. I know that giving up on meds is a common occurrence for many (most?) mental health patients, but I promise that I am not giving up altogether. I will see my doctor in a few days, a counselor soon after that, and then we all will decide where to go next.

In the meanwhile, I want to share some wonderful encouragement I received. You know how people always say God will never give you more than you can handle? Well, I think that may be wrong. I think He gives us more than we can handle all the time so that we are forced to (allowed to) see what He can handle when we get our little selves out of the way.

For example, last Tuesday. This has been the summer of dental appointments, and I once again had a very sore tooth. I was also suffering difficult side effects from med #6—insomnia, crazy dreams, anxiety, and so on. Therefore I was up very early and FINALLY decided to turn to some scripture reading. I read from several different passages, but took the time to write down the words I read in Joshua: “Be strong and very courageous!” That was it. Hours of reading, and that was all I took away.child-dentistry5-200x300

By the time office hours arrived, I moved one doctor’s appointment so that I could get in to see my dentist, and I left a message at my psychiatrist’s office that I needed to speak with him about the side effects of #6. I was on a steady roll. But when I sat in the exam room at my dental office and my big, burly dentist all dressed in black (can you believe it?) said, “Root canal,” I was not prepared. “Now?” “Yes, now.”

 

He left the room, and I bolted from the chair. Not to escape but to grab a tissue. I was scared to death! I fought tears (so embarrassing), tried to breathe my way into peace, but it just wasn’t happening. I was as stiff as a Barbie doll in a plastic chair. But literally seconds into the procedure, I noticed a tiny, white cloud begin to materialize in the high windows. Just a tip at first, then its pillowy body following. And I don’t know why, but that cloud brought the words I had read that morning: “Be strong and very courageous!” Yes! Better than breathing. I repeated those words in my shaky brain, and I actually felt the muscles in my entire body just melt. From hard plastic to pliable peace. It was stunning and incredibly faith inspiring.il_340x270.775647355_rq64

When we took a break about an hour into the procedure, I was still mellow. I sat up and asked the dentist to talk me through what we’d done so far, and then (totally unlike my normally uptight self) I TOLD HIM ALL ABOUT WHAT I’D READ IN JOSHUA AND HOW THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE HAD COMFORTED ME.

Okay—awkward silence from him. But WOW! I had faced a huge fear and God had seen me halfway through. I had zero doubt about Him bringing me the rest of the way. Yes. I, Lisa Huddleston, had zero doubt! And I even testified! Take that, Fear!

I survived, thrived, and came out alive. I talked to my psychiatrist that afternoon with novacaine-deadened lips and asked for a breather on the anti-depressants and once again felt the victory of Peace overcome my fear.

And now I wait. I don’t know for sure what my next step will be, but I just wanted to share the last couple with you, because I know that someone else could use the same encouragement I have received. Don’t give up. Not even when you have more than you can handle. It’s not too much for Him.

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Peace out, peeps. Don’t harsh my mellow–I hope you find yours.

 

(P.S. This does not mean that I oppose the use of medications for depression. They most likely have helped to save my life.)

OUCH! MESSAGE RECEIVED!

By Lisa Huddleston

First, there was the Instagram post from an amazing fiber-artist friend. She crochets and knits and felts and sews amazing, whimsical things I adore. But this was a short video of her FIRST attempt at spinning. GASP! It looked nearly perfect—to me anyway. She insisted I just couldn’t see the flubs. Ha! I wanted to cry when I considered how long I have been striving to spin that well. I did whisper a few hateful words to myself, but I fought the tears of despair. Some people are just naturally gifted—I thought encouragingly—others have to struggle. But, crud, why do I have to be a struggler?

Second, there was a Facebook post written by a young friend bemoaning some mistakes in his past for which he is still paying the price. I tried to encourage him writing that mistakes make the best teachers. He “liked” my wise-old-woman message, and I hope he took it to heart. Heck. I hope I did, too.

Third, I fought my sleep-deprived way out of the house this morning forcing myself to attend a flow yoga class. It has been quite a while since I’ve practiced vinyasa, and my strength is seriously waning—both physically and emotionally. I was definitely the oldest and the heaviest participant there, and at one point I landed with an ungraceful thud when I just couldn’t balance my bod for even one more unflowing moment. Oh! How embarrassing—what was I thinking coming here in this kind of shape?

Fourth, on the way home from said class, I listened to an interview on NPR with Ryan Holiday, the author of Ego is the Enemy. One premise of his book is that our social media culture mainly shows us the highest highs and the lowest lows of those we follow. The thuds and flubs and mistakes along the learning process are usually carefully staged, filtered, and posted very rarely—if they are ever seen at all. It’s the perfect apple pie or always-happily-smiling family or oiled, rippling abs that we see. And who can compare with that? I mean–why even try? Holiday believes that this culture keeps many from achieving what we could if we were more willing to fall and tangle and struggle and crash. And you know what? So do I.

Okay then. I have gotten at least four communications in less than 24 hours telling me to keep fighting the good fight. Message received already! Write. Knit. Weave. Spin. Twist. Tangle. And balance! You cannot learn to walk, Lisa, if you don’t land on your butt a few times—unless you’re just naturally gifted. Ugh! And there’s a blue bruise on my hip to remind me that that’s not the case. I am a warrior (a bff told me recently), and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Be a warrior!

Be a warrior!

 

Go in the strength you have, my friends. And I’ll keep going, too. Namaste!

 

 

FAITH IS A GIFT

By Lisa Huddleston

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I can’t really publish this as I would like to, because it’s meant to be a song, and I have rarely ever written a tune (ONCE). Therefore, I’m just going to throw these words out and see what happens.

As many of you know, I often battle against despair–I doubt God, I doubt salvation, I even doubt doubt. But, many of you also know that God never lets go of me! I attribute much of His tenacious faith to the beautiful place I live and commonly refer to as “Hudfarm.” This land has been in my husband’s family for five generations, and it is still a nourishing place in which to raise a soul. What a gift!

So … my kids all write music. Maybe one of them will feel moved. And many of my friends are also talented musicians who just may see through the simplistic words and hear the melody of my heart–I imagine it to be acoustic with a slightly, minor key. But who knows? Maybe it’s a rap or a polka or something? Okay, then. Here goes nothin:

“Faith is a Gift”

Faith is a gift, Believing is a gift   (repeat kind of chant-like)

Verse 1

When I feel the sunrise lifting

When I watch it as it sets

Then I know you’re near me

Then your gift I get

Verse 2

When the blossoms flower

And even when they dry

Your colors quench my thirsting

Your love’s the reason why that–

Bridge

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

Only to be given

Nothing I can buy

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

As needed as the raindrops

Falling from the sky

Verse 3

When wind chimes ring so softly

When thunder roars then dies

When lightning bugs just flicker

My soul lifts up a sigh

Verse 4

From springtime unto summer

In both wintertime and fall

I feel your Spirit warm me

My heart can’t help but call that–

Bridge

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

Only from the Spirit

Dripping from His lips

Faith is a gift

 Believing is a gift

Drowning out the hatred

With just a single sip

Faith is a gift, Believing is a gift (repeat to end)

DIRTY ANKLES AND STREET LIGHTS

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By Lisa Huddleston

When the street lights came on, we were supposed to head home.

And our baths were drawn. And Mr. Bubbles and Mommy were waiting. And our Daddy was shrilly whistling out the front door meaning, “Come home, little girl. It’s time to scrub off the dirt ring that’s gathered around your Keds and thank God for another good day.”

And now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake–I hope Mr. Bubbles is waiting and the scum still soaks off with ease and just a little extra rubbing around the ankles. And I’d love to put on clean seer-sucker baby doll pjs to wear to bed.

Amen.

ARE YOUR EYES OPEN?

By Lisa Huddleston

I listened on the radio (NPR, of course), and I watched off and on on television (C-Span, NPT, and the networks), and I can’t stand seeing what’s going on in America. Yes, I used to cheer the snide comments, the digs that hit right where I wanted them to. But now–I hate it all. Politics seems so stupid. Like–where did logic go? Did it die somewhere along the way? Is it suddenly okay to plagiarize? To shout slogans with no meaning behind them? To wildly applaud when nothing true has been said? Ugh.

I don’t know where I belong. Definitely not with the “gun-toting Republicans” and not with the “baby-killing Democrats.” Where is my place in this world?

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And I suppose that is the point. I have no place in this world.

I pray that you will have a beautiful day. That your eyes will be open to the lovely, natural vignettes of beauty that lie before you. Look. See. Rejoice.

Amen.

SPINNING THROUGH THE THICK AND THE THIN

By Lisa Huddleston

This is not a creative or artistic or poetic attempt. What this post is is simply an informative and hopefully encouraging word for any of my readers who understand what it means to have chronic depression–or maybe any chronic illness.

For the fifth time, I am going through an adjustment period with yet another antidepressant. As the fourth one leaves my system, the fifth is building, and I am experiencing the not-so-lovely effects of nausea, irritability, anxiety, weepiness, self-hatred, and so on. Is it due to losing the previous med or introducing the latest? Who knows? And really who ever knows why exactly they are feeling as they are?

One dear friend calls me a warrior and refers to my experience as a battle. I guess she is right in some ways, but I really just feel more like a crappy scrap of paper being blown whichever way the wind goes.

If this new drug (to me) works–Yay! Maybe I will finally settle down and rest in some semblance of peace.

If it does not–and odds are that it will work some but not without the sad side effects of numbing my brain–I am considering an entirely new approach. Maybe I’ll write about it some time. Time will tell.

13522861_10209613899211009_3249131363915354502_oBut as I wait and see, I am learning to spin yarn from raw wool. (Just go with me here. No segue–I know.) Naturally I see the similarities between this attempt and the other. I see connections between everything!

My first yarn barely resembled yarn at all. It was wooly fat blobs, thin stringy spirals, and spots that wouldn’t hold together when given even a slight tug. Fat, strung-out, and falling apart. (Mm hm.)13584697_10209749803768538_3702832674588222962_o

Now I am actually spinning real yarn. Not perfectly but better nearly every time I sit down at the wheel. Am I a yarn warrior yet? Perhaps not, but I have sweat and cursed enough to feel battle worn and torn by the learning process.  And victory is in sight.

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A long obedience in the same direction is the only possibility for victory. Keep spinning, my fellow warriors. So will I.

 

PLEASANT PLACES

By Lisa Huddleston

10384744_10203953636347975_5879070697872684370_nHave you noticed that when people tell you they’ve heard a message from God that more often than not it is the message they are actively hoping to hear? Call me a cynic–it would be an apt description–but the odds of this happening so frequently seem a little distorted to me. And, yes, it is true that I am noticing this common occurrence, because it is a trait I see when I look at my own reflection, especially the one I see in the rear view mirror.

Oh boy! I could make quite a list of epiphanies I have received. Thankfully I was spared from some of them by good old common sense, others just didn’t manage to work out (maybe God protected me from myself), and then there are those that truly did manifest into God-given gifts.

Interestingly, in pondering this tendency, there is at least one characteristic these false revelations all share; they all play to my ego. God notices how unique and truly gifted I am, and He finally is going to shine His ray of light from heaven to illuminate my genius for the whole world to see. Okay, still being cynical, but there is a lot of truth in this concept. And I fear that we tend to pick up a least a smattering of this idea from the things we learn at church. You are special. You are called. You are gifted. You have a unique purpose. You know, all those ideas that make my writer’s mouth salivate for recognition and acknowledgement of my creativity.

11227401_10207349081111972_7173172355244987238_oHonestly, there is nothing wrong with those messages. God does knit each one of us together with unique talents and spiritual gifts. We do have a purpose in this world, and we have been called to walk in a way worthy of that calling. The only problem with some of this teaching is that we think we are doing it to fulfill our purpose, to gain recognition for ourselves. This life is not about us, and our calling is to follow Him. We are created to bring Him glory–but it is a difficult balance to walk that line between gracefully using our gifts for Him and seeking applause or God-speak that leads us to our own recognition.

And maybe that’s why some of my “epiphanies” have succeeded while others have not. When I only perceive God telling me the things I want to hear, then it’s really no wonder that those messages turn out to be false prophesies. God is God, I am His creation, and He is in charge of how, when, and where He wants to use me. As I sit here typing on my back porch while the birds sing and the breezes blow through the trees, I am thankful. Some days I am lonely in this isolated place and feel lacking in direction, but I am where He has placed me and that has always proved to be good. Today, the boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places, and I say amen.