Monday, March 28, 2011

A Dog's Life: Part II....

The Dailies is proud to bring you another hard hitting interview with my dog Bailey.

Me: Bailey, you've recently had some health issues, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Bailey: I would love to, Katie.  Thank you for having me back.  A week or so ago my ears started hurting really bad and I couldn't do anything about it.  I tried to tell you guys that something was wrong, but it took forever for you all to figure it out.  It wasn't until I started shaking my head every five minutes that you finally looked in my ears.

Me:  Your ears were really red and gunky.  Ew.  I'm sorry that you had to go through that for so long without any help.  I'm glad you kept coming to us and trying to show us you weren't feeling well.  You didn't seem too excited when you realized that you were at the vet's office.  As soon as we pulled up outside you started to shake really badly.  Why are you so afraid?

Bailey:  Oh, I don't know, Katie...maybe because every time I go in there somebody sticks something up my bum and prods and pokes me everywhere.  Yeah, I think that might be why I start shaking.  In what world is that a good time?

Me:  You, know, you're really sarcastic for a dog.  Don't you know that we take you there so that you can get better?

Bailey:  Um, no!  I guess I must have missed that message.  What could possibly be better about having some lady stick a Q-tip down into my burning, painful ear?  First she gets this other lady to hold me in something that you would normally only see on the WWE, and then she fills up my ears with some cold liquid.  Do you like having water in your ears?  I didn't think so.  The final straw was when she stuck those Q tips in my ear.  Hello, lady!!! It's red and gunky because it HURTS!!!  What was she thinkin'!?

Me:  Obviously, you're a little upset.  I understand that it is super uncomfortable and painful to go through all that, but all of that had to happen in order to make you well.  If we didn't clean all of that junk out of your ears then the infection would just keep coming back and you would stay in pain.  You don't want that do you?

Bailey:  No.  I definitely don't want to stay in pain.  But, why does it have to hurt worse before it gets better??  Why can't you just find a way to make it all go away without the pain!?

A very unhappy puppy
Me:  Oh Bailey girl, you have no idea how much I wish I could make all of your pain go away without having to dig around where it hurts you the most.  I hate watching them hold you down and see that scared look in your eyes.  My heart breaks when you are in pain or scared.  I hate to see you shaking and looking at me with those sad little eyes.  But the only way to get you better is to get all that nasty stuff in your ear out because that is what the infection clings to and grows in.  We have to wash your ear clean and then put the medicine in.  The medicine is what will heal you and take away your pain.

Bailey:  I don't understand how you can just sit in the doctor's office so calmly, knowing that they are about to scrape through my raw ear!!  Don't you hear the cries and barks of the other dogs???  Something isn't right about that place, I'm telling you.  I know you try to calm me down by petting me and telling me in a soft, calm voice that it is going to be alright, but honestly...I just don't believe you.  Because every time you do that...something bad seems to happen.  Do you remember the thermometer???  Do you remember where they put it!??  I can't even look you in the eyes.

Me:  Don't worry about the thermometer.  I won't tell a soul.  I can sit there calmly because I know that everything is going to be okay.  I tell you that over and over again, but you don't hear me.   I've been through some pain myself, so I do know what it's like to go through what you're going through.  In the end, the temporary pain of getting your gunk cleaned out is so much better than leaving it to get worse and worse.  Look, Bailey, I love you, and I never ever want you to experience pain.  But I also want to do what is best for you, and sometimes what is best for you can cause you some discomfort and pain.  You will never have to experience any of it alone because I will be there making sure that you are safe and secure.

Bailey:  Okay fine.  Once I could deal with.  But you keep washing my ear out and poking around in there every day!!  What don't you understand about the fact that it hurts!!??

Me:  I understand that it hurts, but I have to keep cleaning it until all that gunk is gone or else the infection will have something to cling to and it will spread again.  While we're on the subject, I do have one request.  If you could stop trying to bite me and just sit still and let me clean your ear and get the medicine in, then things would go a lot faster and smoother.  Every time you wiggle away from me, or bite my hand, I can't do what I need to do to make you better.  You bite me because you feel like you have to protect yourself from me, but all you are really doing is hurting yourself by not letting me help you.  I know how hard it is to sit still while I do this, but if you would just trust me, then things would hurt a lot less.

Bailey:  I love you and I want to trust you, but it's hard to trust you when you are the one causing the pain.  It's your hand that has the Q tip in it.  It's your hand that is holding my mouth shut.  It's you that is restraining me.  It's so hard for me to lay still while you poke around in my infected ear.  I trust you with the other ear, but this one is just too painful.

Me:  I know it's painful, Bailey girl, but in a few days your infected ear will feel better than ever.  It will feel so good that you will forget the pain you experienced before and get back to living your doggy life.  I love you too much to allow you to suffer.  I love you too much to let you stay in pain.  I love you too much to just walk away when you fight me.  I love you enough to do what is best for you even when you don't trust me and try to bite me.  

Bailey:  Wow.  That's a lot of love, 'cause I bite pretty hard.  Okay, I'll try and not bite you next time, but it's an automatic reaction to pain, so excuse me if it takes a few practice runs.  I feel a lot better now that we've talked about it.  Now I understand.

Me:  I appreciate any efforts you make to not bite me.  You're a good doggie.  I'm glad that you understand.  You're a dog, you should be rolling around in something dead or chewing up my underwear, not laying around in pain.  Thank you for talking this out with me here on my blog.  Your story will help other hurting puppies out there.

Bailey:  Anytime, Katie. Glad I could help.  One more time I'm laying shaking on the floor of the vet's office with drool coming out of my mouth, how 'bout you don't take a picture of it with your phone and post it on your blog?  After the thermometer incident I am really hoping to maintain at least a modicum of decency.

Me:  Will do.  I'm sorry about that. 

Bailey:  Awesome!  Thank you again for having me over to The Dailies.  Now, it's walk time!!! I have to tell this dog down on Florida Street that his buddy Dino is locked up down at Buckhannon Animal Clinic.  

Thank you all for joining us once again for an honest look into A Dog's Life.


Katie and Bailey girl

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breaking News...

...I'm not perfect.

I know.  I was just as shocked as you are when I found out.  I hope this doesn't ruin your St. Patty's day.

Or at least I think I was shocked.  I found out I wasn't perfect so long ago that I don't have a real concrete recollection of the intense shock and awe I experienced at that moment of realization. 

Thank you, Bianca for giving me the push (check out her vlog) I needed to publish this post.  It's been sitting in my post box for a while now.  I would MUCH rather offer you another interview with my dog, but God is asking me to take a risk today. 

Knowing I'm not perfect and am far from having it all together isn't so much a tough thing for me to know about myself.

I'm not perfect.  I don't have it all together.  I accept it.  However, it is extraordinarily tough for me to show and tell that fact to other people. More than extraordinarily hard, actually. 

I'm not silly enough to believe that there are any people out there wondering the Earth with the false idea that I am completely and totally perfect.  But that doesn't stop me from trying to protect you all from what I feel is the seething, disgusting horribleness that awaits you if you were to get too close.  This horribleness camps out deep in the recesses of my soul; waiting to catch you unawares. 

These beasts I keep locked away are always clawing for freedom. Always trying to tell the secret of their existence.  In there quest for freedom, they steal mine.  The longer I keep them locked away, the more they scratch and claw at my insides.  They started off so small, but the longer I hide them, bigger they grow.  They say things that make me feel like I am the only one that struggles.  They say that if I really knew Jesus and really really believed Him, then I wouldn't feel this way.  They tell me I'm broken.  I don't belong on display in God's beautiful china closet full of His perfect and beautiful creations. 


If only there was just one beast to lock away, I might be able to do it.  But there are several.  They all threaten to expose my humanity.  My imperfections.  My deepest fears.  My mistakes.  And worst of all, my vulnerability.

Being vulnerable means that you can hurt me, judge me, reject me, make fun of me, pity me, take advantage of me, abandon me.
The only thing they don't want to expose is that I am a new person because of Jesus and that there is nothing to fear.  That.  That they want to keep hidden.  And they've done a really good job at it.

The ones that cry out and claw the hardest are my secret (or not-so-secret if you know me well) struggles with anxiety and it's BFF depression.  I've written about this before over on Alises' Blog.  The more I try and cover it up and pretend that every day my life is easy-goin' and that fighting my biggest fears is a cake walk instead of something that makes me drained, sweaty, and running for the nearest bathroom (ugh...the worst!), the louder and more violently it rages.   My desperate need to be "normal" and "like everyone else" and not someone that embarrassingly battles this beast makes me want to pretend it's not there, run away, pull the covers over my head, and never come out again.

I don't want you to see me this way.   I do all I can so that you don't.

I don't realize I am hiding all this until someone gets close enough to me to hear the cries of my captive secrets.  The closer someone gets, the louder the beasts rattle the cages.  The worst part of all of it is that I can't control it.  I can't "talk" myself out of it.  I can't breathe myself through it.  I can't do anything accept either run back to the "safe" confines of my comfort zone, or push through it even though I would rather stab myself with a rusty nail.

Not many people have been able to make me feel comfortable enough to let them get that close.  Until I feel like someone won't reject me or judge me for my imperfections I like to keep them at a safe distance.

This.  Is.  Exhausting.

And honestly, it's a sin.  My not trusting in God is a sin.  My pushing people away is a sin.  My need to control everything is a sin.  My pride that keeps me from sharing all of this is a sin. My fear is the sin.  The root of my anxiety is the sin, not the feelings themselves. 

Sin cuts us off from God.  But we get some good news in James 5:16.  We are told that confessing our sins leads to healing.

I am all about some healing.

The devil would like nothing more than for me to hold all of this in forever.  He would like for me to think that I have some kind of control of my anxiety simply by pretending its not there and that I am totally peachy.  He would prefer that I be content to continue to play it safe and stay within the small confines of my comfort zone and never take the light of God to the world.  He would like for me to tell myself that I should just stop talking since I can't seem to "practice what I preach".

The secret of it all is what gives it the power to cripple me if I let it.  Telling you about it is like unlocking the gates and letting these beasts free.

I am embarrassed of my struggle.  This is my deepest secret.  The thing I don't want you to know about me.  The thing that I fear will drive everyone away.  The thing that I have allowed to keep me from countless opportunities.

My anxiety has been like a prison for me.  Except I have chosen to lock myself away so that I don't have to experience the feeling of being out of control and exposed.  Even moreso, so that you won't experience me when I don't feel in control, together, and perfect.  If I weren't such a fighter and as stubborn as they come, then I suppose I would be content to remain in my comfort zone and never push myself into the unknown.

But I am a fighter.  Even in the midst of my struggles I am strong.  Even when I struggle with anxiety, I know who I am and I know Who loves me.  My struggle doesn't make me weak.

Jesus died and rose again so that we can have freedom.  Life to the fullest!  We were not born so that we could stay locked away in fear.  We were born to show His love and glory to the world.  It's hard to do that when we are busy worrying about what people are going to think of us or that they will reject us if they see that we really don't have it all together and get nervous when we have to do new things.  Jesus' perfect love is the only thing that can drive out all fear.  The only thing that we can trust enough to lean on when everything else is falling apart.   Some of my most recent experiences with anxiety have been because I am pushing myself harder than I have ever pushed myself.  I am taking a flying leap outside of my comfort zone and my anxiety is trying to take me out at the knees.

I don't want a comfort zone any more.  I want to be my own comfort zone.  Wherever I am I bring comfort with me.  Wherever I am,  Jesus is there because He lives in me.  Wherever I am...fear is not.  This is my battle right now.  It's been my battle for as long as I can remember.  I will win.  I already have.  How can I be so confident?  Because I believe that the Bible is true.  The Bible tells me that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7, emphasis mine).  I also believe that Jesus is on my side.  Not because I've done something good or right or perfect.  But because I died to myself the day I accepted Him as my Savior and laid myself at His feet.  If God is for us, then who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?

Those beasts are really just all bark and no bite.  The devil is a liar.  We have nothing to fear.  But sometimes these beasts have me convinced they will kill me or that your rejection will kill me.  Sometimes the panic is so strong I really do feel like I am dying.

Today, I release the Kracken (sorry, horrible Clash of the Titans movie reference. I had to.)!!!  If you are someone that struggles with anxiety, please know that you are not alone.  Anxiety plagues so many of my friends and family that it is astounding.  I can't tell you how many people have told me lately that they or someone they love struggles almost daily with debilitating thoughts and feelings.  And quite frankly, it's pissing me off.  I am taking the dare to push past the fear even if that means that people will see me in my most vulnerable state.  This scares the living crap out of me, but if Jesus wants to poke my open wound in order to heal it, why not let Him? 

If this is your struggle as well, then I ask you....will you join me?  Are you willing to be vulnerable?  Are you willing to let Jesus poke your wound?

Today's blog was brought to you by the letter R for RELEASE.

Do you find it hard to not be in control?  Have you ever felt that people with anxiety or depression are just weak?  Have you ever struggled with anxiety or depression?  Do you prefer the new or old version of Clash of the Titans?

Talk to me....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Behind Door #3....

I know that there are a lot of folks that are impatiently awaiting an update on my life.  The reason I haven't given one is because honestly, I don't want to and have no desire to do so.  More than that...I just don't feel like I can.  I've been sideswiped by God's awesome power and love and I didn't see any of this awesomeness coming.  The things going on are so personal and amazing that I wouldn't even do them justice to try to explain them right now.  I know this isn't the update you were looking for.  But just know this: Jesus is showing me now more than ever before how to trust in Him for my daily bread and how He will give me the desires of my heart that I didn't even know were there or wouldn't dare to allow myself to hope for if only I hold on and keep believing, trusting, and clinging to Him.

I see the concerned looks on the faces of some people around me.  I get the questions, "So, how's the job hunt?" or "Did you get into school yet?".  The questions don't bother me at all.  Some people just want some gossip to spread about Randy and Sharon's daughter that's living at home right now.  But in general, people just want to be supportive.  It's my answers to these questions that seems to be so off putting to some and inspiring to others.  When asked, "What's your plan?  What do you want to do?  What's next?"  My answer is always, "My plan is to do God's will no matter what it looks like.  I want to do God's will no matter what it looks like.  My next step is to do God's will no matter what it looks like." 

Is my answer a cop out so I don't have to make decisions?  No, it's not.  Does it sound like it is.  Yeah, I suppose it does.  But anyone that follows the will of God knows that each moment we are presented with choices.  Holy Spirit guides us, but ultimately, we make those choices based on our own will and conviction.  It's far from easy.  It's far from a life with your feet kicked up drinking Starbucks and waiting for the Good Lord to land your dream in your lap.  Following the will of God is a battle.  A real one.  A hard one.  A worthy one.  One with lots of choices and lots of work.

When I decided to quit my job and move to WV, I had a very limited view of "why".  I just knew I had to.  With the knowledge that I had at the time I made some assumptions about why God might ask me to do something so drastic and unsafe.  I wasn't really wrong regarding my assumptions, but I wasn't really right, either.  Each day I understand more and more, but there are still things that are a mystery to me.  It's both exciting and scary. 

God opened the door and all I had to do was be willing to walk through it, trusting that it would be worth it.  We tend to stand on the threshold of these open doors as if our next step is going to plummet us off a cliff Wyle E. Coyote style.  We pray for God to open doors and then when He answers our prayer, we're like, "Um...are you SURE?  This isn't exactly what I had in mind.  If You're taking requests, perhaps something a little safer next time!?"  

Each day I am overwhelmed with the glory and power of Jesus.  Seriously, overwhelmed.  Others may worry about my next step, but I don't.  When some people hear me say that I am living each day one at a time, their eyes tend to gloss over and they smile that "Poor Dear" smile and say, "Don't you worry, sweety, God is going to bless you soon!"  Here's the deal though, I'm not waiting for God to finally bring about my dream, because the dream is HERE....TODAY!  Right NOW!   I'm literally "livin' the dream"!!  That may be hard to understand (it has been for me) given the fact that I don't have any money coming in, no career, no job title, no house to call my own, and no drive to chase after any of it anyway.  I know for most people that would be more like a nightmare than a dream.  We find our identity in our job title.  We find our pride in how far we've climbed the corporate ladder or how much money and "stuff" we have.  Our reason for living is to please others and gain their approval.  But what happens when all of that is taken away and all you live on is the proverbial "manna from heaven"; God's daily provision that you can't store away for another time.   As I am filled, I am to fill others.  Each day.  Every day.

I wish I could share more of what is going on in my life with you, but some of it isn't my story to share.  He has brought people into my life that not only inspire, uplift, and encourage me, but they stand in the gap with me, pray with me, fight with me and for me.  I thank God every day for them.  Watching God move in my life and the lives of those around me makes my heart melt. His love and words cover me like honey.  They are sweet, rich, and impossible to remove.

Sometimes God opens a door for me, and sometimes I get to choose which door I want to open.  He trusts me enough to give me choices.  "Let's see what's behind door number three!!"  Sometimes what is behind door number 3 is the opportunity to face my fear, anxiety, and discomfort head on.  That doesn't feel like a gift at the time (oh boy, can it suck!), but each time I don't let it stop me the more strength and confidence I get. 

Some days are easier than others.  Most days are a little draining.  I'm fighting some big battles right now.  It's been hard in the past for me to reach out and ask for support and prayers, but God has been doing an excellent job of getting rid of my pride.   Pride is nasty.  I'm happy to see it go.

I need your prayers.  I need your support.  I need to know I'm not alone. 

One of these days, I'm going to be able to blow you away with what God is doing right now.  Blow your socks right off!  The testimony that will come from these days will be well worth the battle.  In the mean time, just believe.  Believe that Jesus is God.  Believe it.  Believe that He died for you.  You. You. You.  He loves you.  A fiery, unending, all-consuming love.  He loves you too much to leave you the way you are.  He will never leave you.  He has already answered your prayer.  Dying to yourself is the only way you will live.  Accepting discipline and allowing suffering is the only way you will grow.  Reaching out isn't weakness; it's strength.  Perfect love drives out all fear.  I am living out the fact that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.  All things, my friends.  All. All.  All.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for praying. 

Love and Hugs,