Monday, June 9, 2014

Stress at 45, Part 2

Yesterday I discussed how stress and worry can impact one's health.  I was suffering from immense stress in my life, and it was causing issues with my work life, my home life, my health, and my faith.  I needed to find a way out of the hole that I found myself in.  I determined that my faith needed to be taken care of first before anything else could be fixed.

I had been attending my church more out of habit by this time.  In the past, my relationship with the Lord was always the most important thing in my life.  I was involved at my church in several different ministries, and I enjoyed it.  I spent over a decade as a youth counselor.  After I got married to my wife, Teresa, we lead the drama ministry at the church we were attending.  I was also a deacon.  My relationship with Christ was as strong as it has ever been.  But the church went through a significant transition when the pastor was fired due to some financial transgressions.  In addition, the remaining staff of the church confronted my in-laws since they had maintained a relationship with the pastor, and my in-laws and my wife and I decided we needed to find a new church home.  Teresa and I had already determined we needed to find a church closer to our home, so we ended up at Grace Community Church.  We were pretty burned out after our experience at our previous church, and we were content to just attend for a while instead of getting involved in any of the ministries.

I truly believe that God had a role in helping lead us to Grace.  Aside from the fact that Teresa knew the pastor at Grace, Mark Norman, and his family (Teresa taught his children when they were students at Mt. Hebron High School), when Teresa passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2004, the people of Grace were there to help me pick up the pieces of my life.  Several people on staff at Grace helped me get back on my feet, and their prayers and support made such a difference for me.  It was a long time until I began feeling alive again, but I was still battling with grief, which led to a fairly deep depression.  I spent much of the next ten years (through this year) riding a roller coaster, going up and down through a gamut of emotions, going back and forth between feeling normal and falling into bouts of depression.  The ups were longer than the downs, fortunately, and though I still suffer periodically, I feel good otherwise.

Just prior to this, however, I was promoted into a new job at work that significantly increased my job responsibilities.  I wasn't prepared for how much these new responsibilities would impact me and my job, and I did not handle the transition as well as I hoped.  In fact, because I struggled, I fell deeper into the depression that I was already battling.  Then it snowballed.  Difficulties at work combined with depression and trying to stay engaged at church unsuccessfully, caused me to crawl into this "hole" and I would come home from work and just crash.  I didn't want to do anything.  I was tired all the time and I didn't want to do anything or be with anyone.  My wonderful daughter put up with me, and she was able to stay active with her friends and school activities, but this wasn't a good situation for either of us.

There were a number of people praying for me, though, and I reached a point where I really thought I could climb back up out of the hole I was in, and my outlook was significantly better.  I was truly thankful for the wonderful care of the people in my life.  They were praying for me, too, and I felt like I was able to get myself back on track.  I still have my moments, but overall, I'm doing much better.  It truly is a reflection of God's work in my life.  Sure, I need to do some things first, like seeing my doctor about the health issues I was facing, and placing myself in a better position to deal with the issues at work.  I started sleeping better, too.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about what else happened to get me back on track.

Have a great Tuesday.  I'll continue this discussion tomorrow.

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