The Story that is My Life

My life as it has been and as it continues to unfold is a story. One story made up of many stories. One complex, yet simple story. One sometimes messy, but so beautiful story. One story that I wonder if it might be interesting to be told.

This blog is my attempt to put part, or parts, of that story into words, pictures, or whatever form my mind can wrap itself around or create from within myself to express what it is like to be the one inside Cindy's Story. This is an exploration on my part and on yours in reading, and seeing, and maybe even hearing. It is not necessarily chronological. It might not always make sense, but it is my expression. It is me.

You are invited to see how my story unfolds.....

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Letter of Thanks to the Doctor Who Helped Me

I want to share this message of thanks that just I wrote to the first doctor that I saw when I became very depressed. He prescribed medication to me that helped clear my mind enough that I could think clearly enough to be able to work through the things that contributed to the "bad" feelings that I felt in my life which caused me to want to and even try to end my own life. If you are going through these things, please know that It is okay to get help.


Dear Dr. Greg ______,
I don't know if you remember me or not. I have gotten married since I was your patient from 20__ - 20__ or so, so my name has changed. You were my doctor when I was very depressed, cutting myself, and extremely suicidal. The counselor at my church who reached out to me at that time was the one who originally got me set up with you. I was in a dark depression after coming back from being a missionary in Kenya. Anyway, I know I have thanked you before for all you did for me during that time to help keep me alive, and I thank you again, because God has brought me through that darkness now and given me joy and blessings beyond belief. He has shown me his great love for me, a love that was strong even when I was in the pit of despair. He has even blessed me with a kind, gentle, loving, understanding, and Godly husband. We have now been married one year, and we love each other more and more every day! God has given me life again! (I cry every time I say this because it is so unbelievable to me still that God would do this for me. I was dead, and He now has become my very life. I entrust it to him.) I am just sending you this message to share these things with you and to give you the link to my blog. I am sharing very openly about what I have been through and many of the things that God has taught me. It is amazing and humbling to see how God is using my story now to encourage others who are going through similar struggles. I pray that God will use me even more for his glory. Feel free to read and share my story with anyone you feel may benefit from reading it. I believe these struggles, even among Christians, need to be talked about more openly so that, even as followers of Jesus, we can know that we are not alone in our feelings of sadness, confusion, and hopelessness, and that it is ok to seek help and turn to Christ. Thank you again for how you helped me for so many years and for your efforts to make the symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression more well know. Thank you for being a part of my story. In Christ, ~Cynthia M. Wolf

Friday, June 27, 2014

What I "Can" Do (When I Want to Hurt Myself)



The following are some truths I learned during a session with my counselor in the midst of the years when I was experiencing self-hatred, depression, self-harming behavior, and suicidal ideation.  I wrote them down in a journal.  These truths I learned during that time were to counteract the lies that I told myself in my head about life and about myself.  I wrote quite a few short entries in that journal, and this is one:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My...Pursuit, Steps, Mission, Task, Times...

I wrote the following verses down like this sometime during 2001 when I was 25 years old.  This would have been either during the end of my year spent as a missionary in Kenya or during the first while that I was back home in the US.  This is exactly how I had it written down, even the colors are the same.  I pray that God will help me to keep these as desires and goals in my life, and that he will make them true in my life.

MY PURSUIT
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord.  - Jeremiah 29:13-14
MY STEPS
Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.  - 1 John 2:6
 MY MISSION
We proclaim him [Jesus], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.  - Colossians 1:28-29
MY TASK
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.  - Acts 19:24
MY TIMES
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands.  - Psalm 31:14-15a

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Soul's Song

Photo by Allison Van Zanten Photography

The following has been my favorite hymn since I was a teenager.  At many different times in my life, I have suddenly realized, in the midst of whatever I am doing, that I am singing a song to myself in my head or humming it quietly as I go, as if the song is coming right out of what is truly in the depths of my soul, without me even knowing it.

 This has been a huge encouragement to me because I remember many of these times of me realizing that I was singing this song were during happy times in my life, when it was easy to say to Jesus, "I love Thee," but more often than not, this song came from my soul when times were not happy and my soul was hurting.  There were some very dark years even when only one line or two lines would be able to come, and I would not be unable to hear the other lines or verses.  At those times, the song came more as a cry and pleading, rather than the easy humming or soft song floating in my mind.  But the song could not ever be completely uprooted from it's intertwining in the depths of my heart and life, so that as more years went by, and the darkness began lifting more and more from my life, I found that the truth of the song in my soul had taken an even deeper root, and now came out as a cry of utter devotion and a bright, flowering spring of joy!  Such a resting place for me.  Yes, I rest, and I sing, and I know that Jesus has saved me once and for all, and in every place and time.   Thank you Jesus! ...


Here is my soul's song:


My Jesus, I love Thee   (English)

William R. Featherston, 1864

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou:
I f ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I'll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
"If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now."

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
"If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now."

#364
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration

...And as we sang it in Kenya as I lived with the Kamba people:



Jesu Ningwendete   (Kikamba)


Jesu, ningwendete, Mutangui wakwa;

Mawendi mthuku ndimenda nongi,
We Muovosya wakwa, nzuvia kwamo.
Ndikakengwe nimo, ni thayu kuku nthi.

Yesu wiisuitwe ni wendo muno,
Nundu wambendie, ni mundu mwathe;
Na nthakame yaku yanthesya nyie vyu,
Na yuyu ningwenda kukuvitukya mbee.

Na yila wambiwe mukelanyoni
Nthakame yetika-ni nthembo kwakwa,
Na yu ndi navata kuthemba ingi,
Nundu nthembo yaku nimbianie vyu.

Yesu, watw'ikie o ta mundu ngya,
Watiie usumbi na ithe waku,
Watheeie kuu nthi uthine ta mundu,
Ni kana naitu twose uthwii waku.

Wikalo museo nuseuvitye,
We kuya kwa Ngai musyini munene;
Naw'o ukekalaa ala atheu ngoo,
Mendete kuthew'a ni Veva Mutheu.

#193
Mbathi Sya Kumutaua Ngai


AMEN...and AMEN!

~Cindy

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Guard My Life and Rescue Me."


A few questions for you:

  • Do you ever feel like your very soul is hurting and confused?
  • Are your enemies all around putting pressure on you to do what is wrong or trying to drag you down?
  • Do you wonder about the path you should take?
  • And, "what is truth?" you may wonder.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To Breathe - Do I Want To?

Breathe

(Warning: Part of this post is a difficult read. It may be triggering to some people.)

Breathing is normally something that we don't even think about.  We just do.  We breathe in and out throughout the day over and over again.  It is something we don't consider until we find there is a change in our breathing, there is a challenge with our breathing, or we feel like we can't breathe at all anymore.  At least, that is the way that it has breached my awareness in many ways in these years I've been breathing.

During my sophomore year at Redmond High School in Central Oregon, I swam on the high school swim team. At first as I swam, I would just swim one stroke after the other. Then I learned to count the stokes I took between breaths. I think I probably started out taking one breath every two strokes, but then I got to it being most comfortable for me to breathe every three strokes. During practice, our coach would have us swim with taking fewer and fewer breaths between stokes. This built up our lung capacity so that during races we could go faster, taking less time to breathe.


There were other times that I would see how close I could get to the other end of the pool while swimming under water before I had to come up for a breath. I would swim and swim and swim pushing myself further and further until I could stand it no more. My lungs would be completely depleted, and I would be just about to suck in water, when my head would breach the surface, and I would gasp for a breath. Later in life, I found, when I had a membership at a gym and would go to swim laps just for exercise, that counting my breaths as I swam was very relaxing. It would take my mind off the concerns of the day and put me in a rhythm which seemed so natural. 

Often we notice our breathing when we are doing different forms of exercise. Take backpacking up a mountain as I have done in the Willowa Mountains and in the Sisters Mountains as one example. When strolling along the flat trail at the bottom of the mountain, I didn't think about the fact that I was breathing. As the trail began to get steeper though, my breathing became a bit deeper. After a while, the continual straining of my leg and other muscles as I carried my loaded down backpack caused me to huff and puff so that I would have to stop for a break to relax and catch my breath again. Then, we would continue on up the mountain again. The great thing for me when backpacking was the sigh of relief and amazement upon reaching the summit of the mountain and looking out over the land on all sides. Seeing God's creation like that is breathtaking!

Breathtaking, literally though is something else.  There was a time, when I lived in Kenya, that I thought I might suffocate from not being able to get enough air to breathe. Mary Kamu (the mother of the Kenyan family that I lived with) and I had taken a bus to a very remote location one day because it was too far to walk there. When the day was almost over, and we were ready to go back home, we went to wait for the bus along a dusty road.  Now, there was only one bus that would be coming that night so we knew that we would have to get on it if we wanted to get home. We didn't want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere for the night with no way of getting home. So, when I saw the bus coming with men hanging out the door and riding on the top because it was so full, I wondered what we were going to do. The bus stopped and men jumped off for a moment and started pushing us through the packed bodies into the center of the bus where people were holding on to what they could, and others in seats were holding babies and live chickens.  I was pressed in on all sides and could not move. I couldn't get enough air in my lungs in the crushing pressure of the bodies on all sides of me, so I grabbed the bar above me and leaned my head out over the ladies, children, and chickens that were lucky enough to get to sit on top of each other in an actual bus seat. It was only by doing this that I was able to breathe for the ride home. Oh, what a great feeling it was to squeeze off that bus at our stop and be able to breathe again freely!



Breathing When It Was Hard:

My breath has not just been affected by physical issues and exertion, but also by emotional and mental issues and exertion.  There were times that I was hurt so bad emotionally that I thought I was going to die from the pain, that I was going to lose my breath all together. I remember specifically two incidents like this. In both, it involved someone that I loved at the time more than anyone else. 

When I was 23, my Australian boyfriend flew me to Australia to see him and meet his family.  I had been living in Northern Ireland apart from him for an entire year. I believed with all my heart that I was loved by this man, and I thought that he might even ask me to marry him when I was in his country. Once I was there in Australia and had met his family, he took me on a drive in the "outback" to a beautiful secluded spot. There he proceeded to tell me that he had not really wanted me to come visit him. The pain that I felt stab my heart in that moment, in the middle of a country in which I knew not another single soul, was so great that I could only cry, sucking in gasped breaths between sobs. That trip ended any hopes for a relationship with that man I loved.

At another time in my life, I had a friend who was one of the few people whose love and caring I truly trusted and counted on during some times of intense sadness and struggle in my life. One day, my friend turned against me suddenly. I remember cruel statements being directed at me as we talked on the phone one night. I don't remember exactly what was said now as I think back on it, but I do remember that the phone was hung up on me in anger, and I felt a gut wrenching pain like part of me was ripped out. I found myself crying so hard I couldn't breathe, coughing just to get a breath. Trust was broken, and something I needed was gone. 

Later, as depression took over my life, fear and anxiety became a big part of my days. This came in many forms including panic attacks. I found it very difficult to be in rooms with crowds of people. This meant that going to church and sitting through a service was almost impossible for me at times. I would sit in the very back of the room near a door so that I would be close to an escape route if anything were to go wrong. Many times, my anxiety did become too great for me to bear, and I knew I needed to get out of there right away. I would start feeling my chest tightening up and giving me pain. I would breathe in quick short breaths trying to control myself and almost start hyperventilating because of it. The problem was that even though I was close to an exit, in my panic and fear that everyone was looking at me and that they could tell what was happening to me, I was unable to move a muscle. So, I would stand or sit there frozen in one spot with tears brimming in my eyes while I tried to breathe in a such way that the people around me would not notice that I was about to die or maybe go crazy in the midst of them all. It is amazing to me that I did not completely pass out from panic and lack of oxygen to my brain at those times. It was so hard to breathe. 

Breathing can be intense. I know you probably won't like to hear about this next example, but it is part of the story of my breathing so I have decided to include it. During my time of emotional sickness, I often did things on purpose to harm myself physically. It was a way I had of coping with the pain that was inside me. By causing myself physical pain, in those moments, I could forget the emotional pain. These moments were so intense and focused that I wouldn't be able to breathe while doing completing what I was doing. I would hold my breath to concentrate and to stand the cutting pain. The problem was that once the deed was done and I breathed a breath again, the emotional pain was back, right there waiting to have my focus back on it, and now to add to that emotional pain was the pain and shame of what I had just done. 

To go even further than that example, there were the times that I didn't want to be breathing at all. This next thing might seem kind of funny to you in a way, but sad too, considering my state of mind at the time. Back when I was really depressed and wishing I would die, I decided that I would try smoking cigarettes. I thought that maybe I could get lung cancer or something, and I could die that way. So I tried smoking a number of times when walking alone to the MAX lightrail train at night in Portland.  It wasn't nearly what it was cracked up to be, breathing smoke into my lungs. Yes, it did hamper my breathing and even make me cough and choke a few times, but I decided that it was going to be too annoying in the long run and would end up making me feel stupid. I didn't need that. I already felt bad enough about myself. Besides, even if it is said to be bad for your life, smoking was going to take much too long to kill me, so I gave up on that idea.
If smoking wasn't going to end my breathing fast enough, I thought maybe I could just hold my breath and will myself not to breathe again.  Could I die that way? I tried many times while laying in my bed at night, but every time my body won over my mind, and I would breathe again. I could not push through until I lost consciousness. Plus, I was smart enough to figure out that if I did hold my breath long enough that I blacked out, as soon as I did pass out, my body would make me breathe again, and then I would eventually wake up alive. 

I used listened to this song when I was wanting to breathe no more.  Maybe you can sometimes also identify with this feeling.


"Breathe No More"
(Evanescence)

I've been looking in the mirror for so long.
That I've come to believe my soul's on the other side.
All the little pieces falling, shatter.
Shards of me,
Too sharp to put back together.
Too small to matter,
But big enough to cut me into so many little pieces
If I try to touch her,
And I bleed,
I bleed,
And I breathe,
I breathe no more. 

Take a breath and I try to draw from my spirits well.
Yet again you refuse to drink like a stubborn child.
Lie to me,
Convince me that I've been sick forever.
And all of this,
Will make sense when I get better.
But I know the difference,
Between myself and my reflection.
I just can't help but to wonder,
Which of us do you love.
So I bleed,
I bleed,
And I breathe,
I breathe no...

Bleed,
I bleed,
And I breathe,
I breathe,
I breathe-
I breathe no more.

Encouragement to Breathe:

There were a few people of God in my life during those years in which I just wanted to stop breathing that encouraged me to keep breathing. They prayed to God for me. They were there for me and encouraged me to talk about my pain and to keep struggling to survive until breathing could come easier. Many times they just sat with me and let me do nothing but be with them. They loved me unconditionally even in the midst of my feeling of dying.  They showed me the love God has for me when I have nothing left.  

Sometimes I imagine that my loved ones were singing these songs to me to help me breathe:


 

"Just Breathe"
(Pearl Jam)

Yes I understand that every life must end,
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go,
Oh I'm a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love..

Some folks just have one,
Others they got none

Stay with me,..
Let's just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win,
Under everything, just another human being,
Yeah, I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world
To make me bleed.

Stay with me..
You're all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't now I'm a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, 
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take,
Nothing you would take,
Everything you gave

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't now I'm a fool you see..
No one knows this more than me
As I come clean.

Nothing you would take,..
everything you gave.
Hold me till I die..
Meet you on the other side.

More encouragement for me to keep on breathing when I didn't want to:

"Breathe"
(Superchick)

Please tell me you'll fight this fight 
I can't see without your light 
I need you to breathe into my life
Don't tell me this is goodbye 
I won't grieve - it's not yet time 
Each breath breathed is keeping hope alive

So keep breathing
Go on breathe in 
Keep on breathing 
Go on breathe in 
Just breathe

Each breath breathed means we're alive 
And life means that we can find 
The reasons to keep on getting by 
And if reasons we can't find 
We'll make up some to get by 
'Til breath by breath we'll leave this behind
All you have to do is breathe

Finding Easy Breath Again:

In my quest to find easy breathing again, one thing that I started with was meditation.  Not meditation that empties my mind, but a focused meditation on items of truth and imagery that brought moments of rest and peace for my mind.  Meditation often begins with focusing one's mind on one's breath, and breathing in a controlled way. 

One example of this meditation is to imagine a stream or a babbling brook.  Each drop of water comes down the stream, passes by, and keeps going on it's way.  Next imagine that you are a pebble. The pebble is dropped in the stream and slowly drifts through the water landing on the sand in a protected spot at the bottom of the stream.  Then you, as the pebble, look up to the sky through the water from your peaceful resting place.  You notice a large leaf that is floating on top of the water coming down the stream.  As the leaf comes closer for a moment it blocks the light from shining down on you.  At this moment, as in life when something bad blocks the calmness of our mind, instead of focusing on the leaf and becoming angry and depressed about it, we just think to ourselves, "Yes, this leaf is here (or this bad thing in my life is here).  I acknowledge it, and now I will let it go (my anger, my frustration with myself, or my hopelessness), letting it continue to float by on it's way down the stream until it disappears." 

I also like to meditate on comforting Scripture verses.  My favorite, and the most comforting to me is to just sit with my eyes closed, to picture my Shepherd and Daddy, Jesus, sitting and holding me, his arms wrapped around me with such love and unwavering strength and gentleness.  We are silent.  I feel his warmth around me.  His chest rises and falls with each breath he breathes for me as I rest completely, with my weight against him.  I hear his heart beat.  My muscles, every one of them, completely relaxes in his arms.  Then I hear him ever so softly whisper, as if thinking to himself, "I love this girl.  She is my daughter, and I will always take care of her."  Then bowing his head to my ear, he says quietly to me, "Come to me, weak, weary, and worn down, and I will give you rest.  I love you.  Now rest."

Day by day in real life I breathe in.  I smell the fresh smell that comes after a long awaited for rain.  I take a deep breath of the roses while I walk through a garden. When I walk in to a bakery, I breathe in the welcoming smell of freshly baked bread or cookies.  And on a day when I get to see one that I love and his scent comes upon me, though I may not even know it, I breathe in and am happy.

Breathing out, I breathe with a happy sigh of happy moments in real life: a moment of seeing my newly born nephew for the first time; a moment when I know I am now free from the bindings of a sin in my life; a moment of pure joy and rejoicing when I see a follower of Jesus being baptized, showing their commitment to Jesus to all those around them; a moment when I know that that person who was dead in sin, is now going to be alive with Christ in heaven forever more.  Yes, I breathe out a sigh of thankfulness to God.

Finally now in my life, I find myself breathing in and out easily and contentedly, knowing that I am not the one who struggles to find my own breath or stop it, but that God's presence living in me is the very air I breathe. My life is his. 

"I need you, Jesus, my Lord and Savior."


"Breathe"
(Michael W. Smith)

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I I'm desperate for you
And I I'm I'm lost without you

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
your very word spoken to me
And I'm, I'm desperate for you
And I'm, I'm lost without you
And I'm desperate for you
And I'm, I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you.
I'm desperate for you.
I'm desperate for you..
I'm lost, I'm lost, I'm lost without you.. 
I'm lost without you
I'm desperate for you

I keep breathing because of Jesus, what he has done for me, and his desire that I be alive to draw others to himself.  Jesus will be the air I breathe into eternity.

The Word of God says, "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life..." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a).  

His very presence living in me; the air I breathe.

~Cindy




Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Piano's Expression

[I wrote this short piece while I was in a high school English class about playing the piano.  I still find that what I have written can be true.  It is so good to have a way to express feelings, if not through words, then for me it is through the intensity that can come through music notes on the piano.]


Here I am, as a young girl, at the piano with Mom

"The piano in my room is an old and beautiful instrument.  All through the many hours of the day it has been a place for expression where anger and sadness and happiness and pain have pressed heavily and softly against the keys, where the notes have grown loud in the air, quieted, and then grown again.  For no two successive days are the songs precisely the same.

 Not only do the notes get loud and get quiet in their expressive ways, but the tempo of the song is never the same.  It quickens and slows as the happiness comes and goes, as the mind of the dedicated, hard working pianist tires under its load of thoughts, or as the pages in the piano book indicate the speed in accordance with meaning and loudness.  Today a little more feeling may be in the music, tomorrow a little less.  Always the music from the piano remains a helpful and enjoyable comfort."


I am still enjoying the piano today in this grown-up life

[I hope that you are able to find a way for yourself that lets your expression of what is inside you come out in a freeing and heartfelt way, even when you are still unable to speak what is there.]

~Cindy

Friday, June 6, 2014

Clinging to the Cross through Fire

 The following is my testimony to becoming a Christian and God's work in my life as written by me in 1995 for my application to Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, of which I later attended and received my BA in International Ministries from.  Much has happened in the almost 20 years since this was written to add to the testimony of my life with Jesus Christ, but these were some examples in my life at that time.
Testimony - 1995

I live in a committed Christian family and have seen God's love shine through my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents ever since I can remember.  Even though I was young, I knew that Jesus loved me and that he died for my sins so that I could go to heaven with him someday if I believed.
  
At four years of age I asked Jesus into my heart.  Ever since that day, Jesus has been my best friend.  He has never left me, even when I was ignoring him.  I have found Jesus to be a friend that will listen to me when no one else will.  He understands my troubles and comforts me in a way no one else can.  When I go my own way, I find that he always brings me back to himself.  I am so thankful.  Our God is an awesome God!

The summer before my Sophomore year in high school, after my family had lived in our newly built house but a month, a great forest fire came through the forest surrounding our house.  We were sure that our house was burning, but as we watched the flames from afar, many people throughout the United States who knew us or were told of the fire, were playing to God for us.  Everyone who knew us or who knew any of our Christian neighbors prayed.

A few days later, upon returning to where we lived, we found that the fire had been stopped at the very edge of our property.  It was like angels were standing on that line stopping the flames from reaching our house.  This situations showed me the power of people praying together and God answering in an amazingly obvious way.

Being a part of God's family has brought me the most joy and the most sadness.  Joy because I know that I have been saved from my sins and from eternity in hell, but sadness because I know that many people in this world will never accept the gift of life that Jesus offers them.  I remember the tears of joy that ran down my face the Sunday that I heard that a good friend of mine had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior!  Jesus had used my life as a witness to my friend, and now he would live forever in heaven!  I want everyone to be able to see the love of Jesus shining through my life every day so that they will have the chance to know of Jesus and accept him as well.


Now - June 2014

The testimony of my life and walk with Jesus Christ in, "This story that is my life," has continued to unfold and even now continues unfolding.  Through the joyful and hopeful experiences to the deepest, darkest pits.  From near death, to a life that is not my own, but sustained in Christ.  As sung in the hymn, "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me," verses 3 and 1.  (Text: Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778, Music: Thomas Hastings, 1784-1872):

3.    Nothing in my hand I bring,
       simply to the cross I cling;
       naked, come to thee for dress;
       helpless, look to thee for grace;
       foul, I to the fountain fly;
       wash me, Savior, or I die.


1.    Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
       let me hide myself in thee;
       let the water and the blood,
       from thy wounded side which flowed,
       be of sin the double cure;
       save from wrath and make me pure.


Now, as I struggle and learn little things day by day, I am so shocked and amazed by the blessings that God has and is bestowing on me.  Things I never hoped or dreamed could ever come to me.  I deserve none of this that God has placed in my hands and heart and life.  Oh, how God is using the process of my journey to show my his astounding love to me and to others.  I hope you know it too.

~Cindy