Clarity

“Every day this never ending pressure, tries to take its claim over my heart,

I have tried to hold it all together, but time and time again, I fall apart…

But that’s where I find my life was never mine at all

You are the one inside… always in control…”

Lyrics from ‘Out of my Hands’ by Jeremy Camp

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Something that I struggle with, and have for years is control.

…and in turn I carry, and have carried way too much on my shoulders by monopolizing myself in this cycle.

It is only recently that it dawned on me the reason ‘why‘.

The answer was obvious, but I was too deep into denial to realize it until recently.

God brings clarity to chaos, and on one of my hikes he met me on the trail and everything just made sense to me finally.

He showed me the following things about my life…

Growing up I never felt safe, never knew from one moment to the next what was going to happen, and I suffered alot of trauma.

In turn it was also safe to say that I did not trust anyone either, which led to me making sure no one could ever hurt me again…

…so if I am always in control no one or nothing ever could.

I control to protect.

Whether it be me, my husband, my boys, or those I love.

It’s debilitating

It leads to a vicous rollercoaster I make myself ride…

Wanting everything to be in such a way that everyone is happy..and as long as they do it ‘my way‘ only then will I believe they are going to be okay…

Therefore making me okay?

But the truth is that I never feel okay because I’m too busy worrying about everyone else, because if I’m not making sure they are okay all the time then I can’t be?

I just end up chasing my tail, and never actually allowing myself to be okay.

And where is God in all of this?

Where am I allowing God to just do what he desires to do?

To love and protect me…

Where is my trust for the Almighty?

I claimed it when I asked him into my life, I believed it when I read the scriptures, felt it when I prayed, experienced it in my everyday life…

….I keep proclaiming these things but then turning my back when it counts most and by doing so I say “my way” is better”?

That’s bold, naive, foolish, and wrong….so wrong

There were no words to describe the sadness I felt when God brought this clairty to my mind, I sobbed, and he was gracious….

My way” only gets in my way, causes chaos, and stops me from furfilling his purpose for my life.

So now that I understand the ‘root‘ of my control issues am I cured?

…ummm no! Not yet…I am a work in progress, and daily being intentional to surrendering to his will only, not mine.

With God revealing the cycle, what triggers me, and the ‘why‘, I am now better equipped to disrupt it…with truth and the wisdom only he can provide.

His mercy is something I don’t deserve but he gives it willingly.

I am thankful he takes the time and patience to teach me, to help me grow into the woman of God he wants me to be.

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Letting go of worries I can’t measure, holding onto truth that’s healing me,

Knowing I can trust you is a treasure, with eyes wide open now I finally see…”

Lyrics from ‘Out of my Hands’ by Jeremy Camp

Being Seen

“I’ve learned to slam on the brake…Before I even turn the key…
Before I make the mistake…Before I lead with the worst of me…”

(Lyrics from ‘Waving through a Window’ from the musical Dear Evan Hansen.)

I recently had the chance to watch the movie Dear Evan Hansen, and it hit home more than even I expected.

All the lyrics just hit home for me, stirred up some emotions, thoughts, and really shone some light on my journey to self discovery…

Self discovery?

Yes…

I know who I am in Christ, but I am 40 and only now am I discovering who I am, who he made…what makes me me, not what the world labels me or who someone thinks I am.

I have spent my whole life being told who I am, what my interests should be and are, and most times I was a chameleon, changing and adjusting to suit what society or someone said was acceptable….

And somewhere along the way I forgot to stop and ask myself what I liked? what I wanted? how I felt?

Recently God has turned my attention inwards, made it necessary for me to face myself, to discover what makes me me, to see who it is that he made…

I have been avoiding her for a very long time, when I get a glimpse of her in a reflection I look away, and I retreat within myself often, too scared to really be seen

Growing up I was constantly told who I was, what I liked, who I needed to be if I was to be accepted by the world. And probably in mere survival mode I relented and just went along with whatever I was being told…silenced, no understanding then that I actually had a voice…

It just became easier for me fall into the titles or roles that were placed onto me. I was his wife, their mother, her best friend, an abuse survivor….

The only thing that has ever brought me comfort is that I am a Daughter of the King, it was my choice, one that would root in me and begin such a journey in me…

I have often said it is a rare thing for someone to really “see” me, other than the Father. I can count on one hand people whom I trust and love that have really ever seen me, but I am not one of those people, and God says it is time…long overdue…

All I know is that in order for me to get some necessary healing, I need to pull back the curtain and finally “see” her, and it scares me…

So it is time to roll up my sleeves, dig deep, and get to work…

Exciting, but scary…I can imagine when explorers were discovering new lands they were unsure, weary of what they would find…now I am not an undiscovered land…but I am undiscovered to myself…

I ask myself so many questions…

What if I don’t like who I am?

What if no one likes who I really am?

What if in this self discovery I am finally set free?…….

Wait…am I scared to be free?

Now that is a thought to sit with for a while…

By avoiding, relenting, ignoring the necessity for me to know who I am truly, I have kept putting the shackles of fear that have held me in bondage back on, every time the Father kept trying to take them off…

Do we really get so complacent in the monotony of this world that we have found comfort more in denial, lies, confusion, and fascade?

I don’t want that for myself anymore…time to peel off the mask of fascade and really “see” who I am…see who God has made, and I will embrace her regardless of what the world finds agreeable or not.

Unnecessary Burden

I am a fixer, a helper…

I see someone I love hurting, sinking on a ship, and I dive in with no regard to myself just to ease their burden

That’s the way it has always been with me…

I dive in, even if the ship is sinking…

I blindly ignore the ramications it has on me.

Nor have I ever really stopped to care, because it is easier for me to ignore the loudness within my mind than it is to drown on a sinking ship with those I love.

Here in lies the problem…

A problem I was vaguely aware of until recently…

Until the burden on my shoulders became too great, that I found myself so broken I was sobbing on my bed, hyperventilating, and the sad thing…

I had brought it all upon myself, I picked up one too many things from those I love around me, no one asked me to either but it broke me.

As I ly there the problem became crystal clear to me, denial was gone, there was no more vagueness.

I often tell those I love around me not to focus on the waves of the storm of life, fix your eyes on God…but I hadn’t been following my own advice…

I had done a pro job at distracting myself, convincing myself I was okay with helping everyone at whatever cost to myself, and I was pretty damn naive to think I could ever help anyone first before helping myself, and secondly and more importantly that I could ever do what my heavenly Father’s job is!

Thing is I already have baggage, we all do, we carry our burdens, God is right there waiting for us to lay them down and let him do his job, but we hang on to them, we convince ourselves we got it, we can fix it…

With me I took it one step further, I went into complete avoidance of my own burdens, and started picking up everyone else’s baggage, and I can imagine God watching me as I struggled to carry everything, watching me lie to myself, and being so foolish.

How that must of made him sad, because I should know better by now. But thing is sometimes our flesh screams out, and we take the easy way out…mine was to ignore myself completely, and get on to a sinking ship and convince myself everything was okay…

In this particular situation I found myself being given the following words that have literally woken me up

“I love you to no end, but I can not love you to my end.”

Those are the words God gave me as reality of my denial came crashing in as I laid on my bed with a tear soaked face.

I had told someone in my life several times I loved them to no end…

…but God made me realize the harsh reality of the second part of that phrase, and that I needed to say it to that person.

I had to put up that boundary, even if it meant it was going to hurt like hell.

And when I finally said those words, it felt like the scene from the movie in Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian is finally released from carrying is huge backpack, his burden. He was free in that moment, at peace, and I felt that way after saying those words…

For the first time I understood what laying down your burdens really meant, and felt like…and I am realizing I need to work on not carrying anyone else’s burdens either.

I need to find balance

I need to know when enough is enough, being sure that I know the difference from caring about someone, showing compassion or sympathy, and to getting on to a sinking ship without no regard to myself.

God is never done teaching us, and when we get out of balance he is right there to help us, to walk us through our growing pains, to ease us as our flesh cries out, to keep us in check when we dare to think we can do it all, fix it all…

Where does that leave me now?

Well…I am learning about boundaries, and how deeply necessary they are, because without healthy boundaries it can cost you…

…and the only one who paid that price…who loved us to no end, and to their own end was Jesus Christ!

And I am so glad he did, it is a burden we could never carry, we were never meant to, only he was designed to…and we must remember that.

“At the top of the hill stood a cross, and a little below at the bottom was a stone tomb. In my dream, just as Christian came up to the cross his burden loosened from his shoulders and fell off his back. It tumbled and continued to do so down the hill until it came to the mouth of the tomb where it fell inside and was seen no more.”

(Quote from the Movie Pilgrim’s Progress.)

One Question

“I am a little unstable…
Loose wires always getting tangled now… I am a little bit difficult…

I can be a little self-critical now…
I am a little unable to put all my cards on the table now…
But somehow You’re still with me…”

Lyrics from Love me like I am by For King and Country

Yesterday was a normal day for me, I ventured out with my bestie to do monthly errands, groceries etc. Just her and I, music up and the open road…

And God showed up…

How?

Through one question spoken through my best friend…

Conversations with my best friend are always rich with laughter, love, and this time….honesty…and not just with my honesty….

God was showing up, and wanting me to take notice, he wanted me to face myself…

The question?

“If you were faced with your Mother today what would you say to her?”

I was immediately flustered, my thoughts chaotic, tears welled up in my eyes, and then a slow burning sensation started to rise up within my body…my pulse quickened, and my body felt like it was vibrating inside faster than a hummingbird…

This feeling…..was anger.

All this rose to the surface in a matter of seconds just from me picturing being face to face with my Mother…it was intense…but at the same time I felt God telling me it was necessary

Sidenote: my bestie is amazing, and she always provides a safe place for me to be raw, vulnerable, and doesn’t ever tell me to shy away from feeling whatever I need to in any given moment, she just is there for me, no judgement, just love, and an ear to listen…

So what did I say? What was my answer?

I struggled at first, my mind was chaotic like I said, I wanted to be organized with my words, but something I have realized is when anger is involved there is always chaos

My words came out like this to my bestie friend in response:

“I would probably shake my head at her in disgust…I’d tell her how are she be given a beautiful gift of a child from God and then actively try to destroy it…I’d yell at her, I’d go on and on about everything she took from me, I would tell her how she abandoned me, rejected me, and how I did not deserve it….and that I could never hurt my children the way she did, that I was not a mistake, and how it wasn’t fair I was treated as such…”

During this anger filled, tear flowing rant my best friend just let me be, she gives me that freedom, and she knew she asked the question, and she knows me, and knows I’d have quite the answer…

I continued…

“….and not only did she take alot away from me, she took away my chance to say goodbye to my Nan, she knew where my husbands Grandmother was, she had her contact information, any normal person would of reached out and given me the chance…but No! And the lies, oh the lies! I would ask her if anything she ever told me was the truth? I would also tell her that I am angry at myself everyday, because I can’t seem to escape some things she has programmed into me, and it makes me question myself as a Mother all the time, and that I strive everyday to make sure I am not like her…and I would tell her that I am fine now, just fine! and it wasn’t because of her! And all I ever wanted was for her to love me for me…”

The whole time my bestie just let me cry and get it all out…there is such freedom in that, and if you have been following along with my blog you know freedom was a foreign thing for me

As chaotic as my rant was it felt like a giant weight lifted off of me, and it felt good but I was exhausted as well.

The one thing I realized later last night as I lay in my bed reflecting on that moment was one major realization…a two fold realization if you will…

I am not ready to be face to face with my Mother anytime soon, and I have alot of anger built up that I need God’s help with…

He showed up, and he made me face myself, and he met me where I was at…he made sure I was in a safe place, and he walked me through the fire…

Things is what do I do now?

I get to work that is what…I want to get to a place where when I am asked that question again I can say things that my logical side already knows, like:

“…you did what you did because you did not love yourself so how could you ever have loved anything or anyone…you suffered great trauma in your childhood that just hindered you emotionally and you could never get past it, and then you became ill and you changed, you were surviving, and I just happened to be collateral damage as a result, but it is okay because I still made it, I survived, I was saved, and then delivered from all of it, and I forgive you.”

My emotional side is not there yet though, that is where the work comes in, this is where I need to get uncomfortable, I need to walk outside my comfort zone, God will walk through the fire with me, and I come out better on the other side.

And I will know I am better because when faced with that question again there won’t be chaos but there will be a calm peace.

Shattered

“Excitement was building, my best friend and my husband were making plans for a little celebration and the day came for celebration, and just a few hours before, I was given some devastating news…”

It’s been three months since I wrote the above excerpt from my previous blog post titled Crossroads. It has been quite a challenging time for me emotionally and mentally since that moment…

“In the blink of an eye, life flashed, right in front of my eyes, never knew that the fear could cripple my chest, in the blink of an eye the light left…”

(Lyrics from For King and Country’s song Need you More)

Those lyrics perfectly explain what happened to me in the moment I received my devastating news…

Now in order to give you the full picture I need to go back a bit in time, so please be patient with me for a minute…

Last May for my husband and my anniversary he finally got me a Ancestry DNA kit. I have wanted one for a long time, but I always found excuses to why I didn’t need one right away. I at that point had no knowledge about alot of things in those regards, I had longed for answers about where I came from, and in hindsight looking back I think that little girl inside of me had hoped to make some connections with family that had been cut off from me by my abusive mother. So the time finally was upon me, I spit into the vial, sent it off, and I waited.

When I received the e-mail that my results were in, I was happy, but hesitant…still I dove in, learning all kinds of things…and that was that, or was it?

About a month after I got my results I received an alert that someone through ancestry had sent me a message…I froze, who was trying to contact me? isn’t this what I wanted? Should I open the message now? I was getting ready to leave in a few hours to celebrate my 40th at my best friends house…I didn’t argue with myself long, and before I knew it I was talking to my cousin, my biological father’s niece…

I have never met my biological father, the only things I know about him were that of what my mother conveyed to me and she had nothing good to say about him, only that he didn’t want me, and that he abused her.

Immediately I had questions for my cousin, one of them being if she knew my father? As the chat bubbles danced my mind raced with thoughts…

Maybe he has been trying to find me? Maybe she is going to tell me that he really is a good man? The little, lonely girl inside of me was desperate, so desperate to hear that her father wanted her all these years…

Then finally the chat bubbles stopped, and a paragraph popped up…

This is the part where those above lyrics came in to play for me…

She regretfully informed me that my biological father had passed away February 7, 2020. (2 years ago today)

In that moment I couldn’t breathe, or move, I was paralyzed… I just stopped…tears flowed down my face, I just sat there staring at the screen, my husband confused as to what was happening…minutes later she sent me a link that took me to my father’s obituary page, I couldn’t speak, I just turned my laptop to my husband…as soon as he saw it all made sense to him.

My cousin in the meantime felt so bad to have to give me this devastating news, she could tell I was increibly hopeful, and probably could see I was desperate to not feel so alone in this world.

Now some of you might be confused as to why I responded with such grief, and others who know about my past and know me more will understand it perfectly. But for those needing some perspective I’ll do my best…

Most of my life I grew up alone, no full siblings, only two half sisters who couldn’t care less about me, I had an abusive mother, and my step father saw me as prey to molest. I spent alot of my childhood wondering what my real father was like, I mean really like…not what my mother told me. I would see other kids with their Dads and long for that connection, instead my mother would just inform me at random that my real father was a monster, and never wanted me, to which she would add…why would he want someone like you anyway?

But I still hoped….. and I was determined one day I would find out for myself…and she couldn’t take that from me…

So on October 30, 2021 when my cousin informed me of this news it crushed me, all hope was shattered, yes I could still find out information, that is easy, but I was never going to have the chance to look him in the eyes, and for him to see me…

I cycled through so many emotions in that moment, sadness, confusion, and anger…

It was only when my cousin started to share how she herself grew up alone, did it get me to stop cycling for a second…

It was there I found myself deep in grief, shattered, feeling empty, God made himself present and shone his light the brightest and I found myself asking through my tears…

“What is He trying to teach me now?”

Her and I talked for quite some time that day, she informed me she never knew my father, and her father and mine were not close at all. She was able to fill in a few things for me but not much.

It was the obituary that brought me some new info like…

I have 6 siblings, 3 brothers, 3 sisters, I being the oldest, and my father was ten years older than my mother, which brings a whole new perspective to my view of her. She had a toxic relationship with her father, perhaps being so young she was looking for a father like man to bring her comfort? Filling a void perhaps? It also asked for donations to the Mental Health Association, did he suffer from a mental illness?

Sometimes when we ask for answers we get more questions…

My cousin and I had to end our conversation because I was getting ready to celebrate my 40th…to tell you the truth all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and cry…so I dug deep, wiped my tears, and carried on.

It was a great night, I was thankful to have people around me who loved me enough to celebrate my life…there was a moment though as I watched my best friends father interacting with her where I had to excuse myself from the room. I went to the bathroom and I wept for a moment…No one did anything wrong, for me my heart just ached, understanding that I was never going to have that, and then I was also crying because I was blessed to be able to witness such an amazing example of a father through her Dad. No one at my party except my family and my best friend knew what had happened…and she found me after I came out, she just gave me that look, the look that says “I see you, and I’m here for you”.

For a week after I had a dark cloud over me, tears came easily, my heart was just so shattered…still is if I’m honest…

I became clear to me that I was at a crossroads, God had called me to be still, to be silent, to wait, and allow him to work within me, and I’m still there, I am still struggling with my flesh, because my flash wants answers and it wants them now…but to go in haste would be foolish right now, not good for anyone.

I have kept all of this close to my heart and not shared it with really anyone other than my family and two close friends, normally when I am going through things I don’t hesitate to go to my ‘people’ and get advice or support, but I can’t explain it I just couldn’t.

Perhaps it shows others who think I have all my crap together how human I really am?

Some might be confused as to why I am so shattered for losing this chance to know my earthly father, when I have a Father in heaven who is ultimate and amazing and all I need, to which I agree wholeheardly! But he picked my mother and this man to make me, and I just wanted to have a chance to see for myself what he was about, he made up half of me after all. I hope I make some sense to someone out there?

Where does all this leave me now?

I’m still at a crossroads, I can’t just rush in and message my father’s widow and invade her life, or my siblings life. I have to tread lightly, like I said before I cannot go in haste because it would be foolish.

I feel like I have alot I need to work on within myself first before I make a choice on what the next steps are for me on this part of the journey. I have since discovered I have alot of anger still towards my mother, and I need to be free of that before I continue on.

My flesh has had me questioning my identity, am I the result of two abusive monsters?…that has plagued my mental health for a while now…

But answer is NO! I am the Daughter of the King most high, my Father in Heaven crafted me in my mother’s womb, I may not know the reason why he chose who he chose, but he wanted me…HE WANTED ME to be created, and that is all that matters!

For now I keep going, I don’t know what he wants to teach me in all this yet, I don’t know his plan, and that is okay, because no matter what I know he has me by the hand, and as long as I don’t let go I’ll be okay.

…to be continued…

Crossroads

It is funny how time can just get away from us…

Then there are times where something happens that takes us by surprise and time just comes to a halt, leaving us at a crossroads

At the end of August I finally was reunited with some dear friends, it had been 18 months since I had seen some of these wonderful people..the time away had made my heart ache, but I kept moving forward in whatever form I could….

I had gotten my Diabetes in order, become more active, lost 50lbs, and while “in the desert” with God, I had gained some perspective on my life, clarity, and walked through a few fires that were necessary in order for me to be refined, to become better, for my soul to have peace finally.

Before the reunion I felt a whirlwind of emotions, fear, excitement, mostly fear though, why you may ask? Well 18 months had passed, I was no longer the same person, my essence was still there, same with all of them, I knew we had all changed in some form, you can’t go through isolation, seperation, a pandemic, and come out the other side the same…

Looking back now I was foolish to have any fear, God had aligned me with some amazing sweet sisters in Christ and when we were reunited again it was like no time had been lost, and better yet my cup was running over with so much unconditional love as each one not only hugged me, but held me…there was no need for acceptance, because it was already there, unconditionally, I shouldn’t of ever questioned that, but in fairness when we are seperated, isolated like that the enemy can pry himself in and cause worry, fear, and doubt, and our flesh can scream back at us…

It was a beautiful evening, one I’ll hold dear in my mind for a long time, a sweet lesson from the Father for me, to keep the faith, trust in Him, don’t lose heart, He’s got me…always.

I would like to continue on and tell you it has been smooth sailing since, but I have actually been struggling alot these past few months. My weight loss has stalled, I’ve grown tired mentally, and recently discovered I am awfully angry with myself.

Which was not easy for me to face or admit to myself.

Why am I so angry with myself?

It starts with my weight loss stall, I then put so much pressure on myself because I need to lose lose lose right now! I find myself quickly forgetting all the progress I have made up until now, and all the negative garbage comes crashing down on me.

It sends me into a frustration because logically I know that there are so many victories I have accomplished, and I know that is what I need to focus on. I get that the enemy wants me shaken, distracted, and worried. And instead of recognizing this and leaning on God I just get angry and disapointed in myself.

So I am at a crossroads now, I have had to take a pause in a sense from the obsession of losing more weight, I have needed a reset in a sense, I need to stand back and get mentally refocussed again, because I had not stayed on top of that apparently, and moving forward I think it’s not something that gets refocussed and just expected to remain that way, I will need to work on that continually.

Which brings me to a realization while I have been at this crossroads, and that is I need to return to therapy. This all feels like a constant juggling act for me at times, and I have found balance before, right now I am struggling, but I know balance can be acheived, and I know what my God can do, and has done in me, and that has always brought me hope while I have been on this incredible journey.

After understanding my next steps on my journey I quickly shifted my focus that I was about to turn 40…and I am not one that gets hung up or worried about aging at all, but I recognized it was quite a milestone for me.

Excitement was building, my best friend and my husband were making plans for a little celebration and the day came for celebration, and just a few hours before, I was given some devastating news, literally had the wind knocked out of me, and I found myself at another crossroads….and I am still there…

My 20’s I was naive, new, just starting life, my 30’s I gained some perspective, dealt with trauma, refocussed my life, gained some amazing healing, and now my 40’s have begun, and God’s not done yet……I have some decisions to make, thing about being at a crossroads is you have to pick a path, and I am at a loss at the moment on which way to go, so in the meantime I will wait, I will wait on His guidance, this can’t be what my flesh wants right now, I can’t run away, I need to face it no matter what, for now I will stand in this new fire with the Father next to me, knowing He will not leave me or forsake me…

What is He trying to teach me now?

I haven’t a clue, but I will lift my hands up and surrender to His will for me!

“Prepare for the worst,
Hope for the best,

Won’t you steady my heart,
For whatever comes next?”

Lyrics from “Need You More” by For King and Country.

………to be continued………..

Awake

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior!”

Lyrics from the song Oceans by Hillsong United.

For as long as I can remember I have always lived with a great deal of anxiety, depression, and fear…rather chaotic at times, quite hindering at certain points in my life…

All of those things have been thorns in my side for many years…

But God always has this way of holding our hand and leading us gently down the necessary path to relieving us of those burdens…

Thing is with me, for many years I would start on that necessary path, holding on to my Father’s hand in earnest, but like others, I would become too afraid and let go and run as far as I could from facing what needed to be done.

Until a few years ago this was my pattern…

The summer before the pandemic happened God met me where I was at, which at the time was on a trail that was kicking my backside, and He spoke very clearly to me, preparing me of a journey He was about to set me on….this was Him taking my hand again, but this time He was more stern, making sure I heeded His words, that I stayed on this necessary path…

And I knew this time I couldn’t run, it was time to face myself, it was time to submit, and trust without borders

I had no idea of what was coming my way, it was terrifying, but with my heart pounding, hands shaking, I raised them up in surrender…

2 years later I find that I am not the woman I once was…

Just recently I had a long time friend visit me, she had not seen me in over six years. I have known her for just over twenty years. Six years ago I had moved from the city we both resided in and moved about four hours away, she was not happy about the move, but God was calling me, calling me to walk upon the waters

Before we moved she told me it would be a big mistake…

Fast forward to her visit six years later…

I found her constantly just staring at me, and we discussed all the blessings that have unfolded since our obedience of answering His call…

There was a point she looked at me and said…

“you are really truly happy here.”

To which I smiled and nodded in agreement.

Then she said something that caused me to take notice…

“you have found peace”

It made me speechless for a moment, which anyone who knows me knows that is hard to do…

I smiled, and went on to explain that it has taken alot of work to get to where I am now, and I was only where I was because I first surrendered to the Father’s will for me and I allowed Him to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

It was the first time I have ever felt someone seeing Christ in me, I am sure others have before, but this time was different, she could see that He had worked within me…

And I could finally see the fruit from all the fire I had walked through …

Thankful is the only word that made sense of any emotion I felt for hours from that moment…

God had delivered me from so much, relieved me from so many burdens, calmed the chaotic storm within me…

All confusion the enemy had veiled over my mind, my eyes, was all cleared away…

I am no longer stuck, I am moving forward…

When your in the midst of the fire, it can be hard to see past the pain, or even fathom the possibility of finding peace, but sometimes it is necessary to walk through the fire, your faith will be made stronger, you just have to surrender and keep holding His hand…

It has been quite a journey so far, and I must say I feel the most content in my life, the most peaceful, and the most awake.

I’m still here…

“The wind of the world will distract you from your purpose, but the wind of God will drive you towards your purpose.”   Sadie Robertson.

I’ve been absent from here for a couple months but if I am truly honest, I have been away for over a year now.

Where have I been?

I have only just recently realized that when this pandemic started I was called into the desert.

And I think I have been called long before that, but the circumstances of the world gave me no choice but to finally face myself and answer that call.

Some may get confused as to what being called into the desert looks like or means?

For me it means facing myself in the mirror…it means confronting things I have avoided for years…

It’s a place God has brought me to eliminate all other distractions, where He can work in me…teaching me some long overdue lessons.

I feel like this whole pandemic has been both difficult for me and fruitful….does that make sense?

God laid it out perfectly for me to understand though…

Growing pains happen…when we’re having the Sovreign reach down inside of us and work within us, it is not always easy to walk through…

When He is stretching us, challenging us to venture outside of our comfort zone, it is not easy what so ever…

…but it is necessary.

And by being obedient and trusting in His will for us, surrendering completely to this difficult process do we then reap the sweet harvest..the beautiful blessings!

So it’s been a bittersweet journey for me thus far…

The growing pains for me have been extremely hard…

But necessary!

One thing I have realized about myself and perhaps others can identify with this? But….

I AM MY OWN WORST ENEMY!

I am constantly getting in my own way, self sabotaging, and placing harsh, heavy expectations onto myself.

No one else has put any expectations on me, in fact my loved ones are incredibly supportive understanding…

But for some reason I apply a ton of pressure on myself…

Sometimes I get worked up, so emotional, tears flow, anxiety runs my mind crazy, and it’s during those moments the Father is trying to teach me the true meaning of Letting go and Letting Him just dwell within me, feel at peace, and to feel content with where I am at.

I have often found myself when talking to others saying…

“This pandemic has actually been good for me.”

To which I get mixed reactions to that statement.

Some inquire further to what I mean,to which I explain my journey and it is a fruitful conversation, and others have scoffed at me in disgust…saying…

…How can a pandemic be good to anyone!

I have learned with God’s help that in that moment it’s not about me or what I said…it’s about their pain, and I understand fully….this pandemic has been horrible on so many, and I recognize that.

Everyone has their own journey…

But for me, in the beginning, God knew where I was and what could happen to me and my mental health if He did not call me into the desert to grow…

He knew it was necessary…to keep me from circling the drain…which is a decision I have to make everyday when I wake up…and once in a while I give in, get in my own way, and I circle that drain…but thankfully even in those dark moments He meets me where I’m at and reaches down as pulls me out!

This past year has been a rollercoaster for me…

Alot of victory has been acheived, and I am not quiet about it and what God has done for and in me…

A friend once commented to to me that…

“You’ve got all your crap together.”

That comment just pierced me and left me upset…

I was speechless, felt like the wind was knocked out of me…and I felt the need to defend myself….

I mean, I have also been through hell this past year at the same time…growing pains can be painful…

But I chose to focus on the blessings, the victories, because if I did the latter…

I could start to circle the drain…and that is not what God wants for me or anyone…that isn’t how we thrive during a storm.

Micah Tyler said it best at the beginning intro to his song Different…

In talking about his hardships he has gone through, he found himself praying…

“Jesus can you change the things that are happening around me…”

But he soon realised Jesus wasn’t ready to change those things at that time…so maybe the prayer wasn’t…

Jesus can you change the things around us, BUT…

“Jesus can you change ME so I can handle the things that you are walking me through.”

And that has been exactly what the Father has been doing with me…

One thing remains…

It was just a regular day…another visit…it was time for me to leave, my eyes met her gaze, she smiled, I leaned in, my face now only inches away from hers so she could see me clearer as her eyesight was failing…

 “I love you…” I said.

Her body looked frail, tired, the dementia was taking its toll on her but her eyes were lit up…

 “I love you too sweetie, more than anything…” She replied as she reached for my face, pulled me in, kissed my cheek.

 As I walked home my heart ached as it always did, her mind was fading away so fast, each visit I feared she would not remember me, and there definitely were times she hesitated at the sight of my face, but even in those moments as she studied my face, wheels turning, her eyes would eventually light up, something within her knew I was familiar, I was safe…because one thing always remains…

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It’s been three months since I’ve last blogged…I have taken time to really focus on myself and my family. This year has definitely been a journey, more like a roller coaster! 

Alot of lessons to be learned, harvests to be reaped….

But for me I have discovered that this past year for myself had a theme…

God was teaching me how to love myself…

In the beginning I rejected his guidance, because of course I loved myself, why did I have to start? I already did…didn’t I?  

The harsh reality was that I had never been fond of myself, let alone 100% wholeheartedly loved myself…

I spent most of my life rejecting who I was, annoyed that I couldn’t be someone different…

In the beginning as I was rejecting the guidance from the Father he began to slowly show me how I was lying to myself….I’d put others constantly before myself, their needs were worth more than mine, I chalked that up to my love for them, my need to not appear selfish, and my relationships around me were not where they should of been…my marriage? my children?

How could I truly love those around me completely like I always claimed when I refused to love myself?

So I got angry with God, I asked him…

“What does loving myself look like then?!”

And in my anguish he met me in that moment, took me by the hand, and told me it was going to be a journey, but he’d be walking beside me the whole time and as long as I trusted him there would be a great harvest!

Another journey? Ok here goes nothing…

Immediately I realized in order to learn to love myself I had to actually start caring…I had to stop dismissing my needs, which meant my health, my happiness, and my spiritual health as well…

It was all a bit daunting to be honest, I had spent over thirty some years putting myself last, on the back burner, and now God was calling me out of that rut and asking me to do what he has always done and never failed to do…he wanted me to love myself as much as a loves me…

For me it started with my health, I needed to love myself enough to stop looking away at my reflection whenever I saw it, to stop rolling my eyes at my doctors advice, and come to gripes with what I had done to my body…

Very harsh truths were delved my way, a difficult pill to swallow, but I was not alone, the Father was there every step of the way…I started slowly, baby steps, and I found as I kept surrendering to his will, trusting in him, that I gained momentum over time….

And then I realised by taking care of my health, in extension I was not only loving myself, but I was loving my kids, and my husband better.  

Making sure I was in good health would not only better my life but in turn would help me stay around longer to be a wife and mother! Two things I treasure and hold dear in my life.

Once my health began to improve I noticed I was taking more time to be with the Father, meeting him where I was at, and the understanding that I could not do one without the other became understood…

My physical health was improving, and because that was better my mental health was improving, and in turn my relationships were improving, and all of it was because I was waking up every morning and consciously making that decision to love myself…

My obedience was having a ripple effect on my life, loving myself was changing me from the inside out, physicaly, mentally, emotinally, spiritually, and I quickly realised I had been missing out on something special for a long time, and I had to forgive myself for that…

Even then God was so gracious…

I realized then that even though I had accepted Christ into my life a very long time ago, in some ways I had been rejecting his love for me as well…of course I didn’t know it at the time, but I was avoiding it fully because if I had of fully accepted it then the mirror would of been held in front of my face sooner and my lack of acceptance of love would of been clear, thus revealing basically that I did not feel that I was worth it…

…and that couldn’t of been any farther from the truth!

All of this got me really thinking about God’s love, and how it is unfailing…and then I got a song in my head for these past few days….

 “Higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant in the trial and the change…one thing remains…Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out in me….”

(One thing remains by Jesus Cultuhe sent)

This got me thinking alot about God’s love, and how powerful it is…

God says in 1 Corinthians 13:13…

…and now these remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of all is LOVE.

Isaiah 54:10

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you WILL NOT be shaken or my covenant of peace removed…

I’ve seen what God’s love can do, what it did to help me, how it helped me take the blinders off to reality and help me love myself…and help me love others, and show Christ’s love through me…

And then just recently God took me back to the moment I shared at the beginning of this blog…

He showed me that even as an illness like dementia can strip away at someone’s brain, character, and life…

One thing remains….love…

It is the greatest gift he has given us, love stands up against this world and is victorious every time!

He wants us to love ourselves completely, he sees our worth, our beauty, he made us out of his love, he sent his son to die for us because he loves us…

Only by accepting his unfailing love for us and in turn living ourselves completely can we be carriers of his love, and spread it like beautiful wildfire!

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That visit was the last one I’d ever have with her where she was coherant, that was a year ago yesterday…

The pandemic started after that and she began to drift away…four and a half months later she faded from this world…
I hold on to that last moment dearly…

…..because one thing remains……….

Unraveling: Don’t Waste Your Pain

“I dare you to move, I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor!”

(Lyrics from Dare you to Move by Switchfoot)

Last year in a blog post titled “12 Letter Word”where I discussed my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. For some who don’t know what that is:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder of widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, memory, and mood issues.

I’m that post I discussed the challenges in which it had presented in my life daily. I also discussed how God never left my side, and how He helped me navigate through that new normal.

When I was diagnosed over two years ago, I can remember I had alot of hard days in the beginning. I would have no strength in my body to get out of bed, much less lift my head up. I’d lay there, in agony, feeling defeated, but then my youngest would bounce in with a few movies, our portable dvd player, and we’d lay there together watching movies. It definitely helped distract me from the pain. I quickly caught on that this disorder was much like a roller coaster, it had it’s ups and downs, and ‘flare ups’ could occur when I was least expecting. And they did, and at times when they did I would become immobile, and as I said there in immense pain I felt trapped inside my own body, like it was a prison keeping me captive…..those times definitely got dark for me.

There was a moment for me, a turning point of you will about 18 months ago…

I was deep into a flare up, lying in my bed alone, weak, in immense pain, feeling sorry for myself, and the lyrics from Dare you to Move by Switchfoot started to run through my head…

“I DARE YOU to MOVE, I DARE YOU to LIFT YOURSELF UP off the floor! “

At first I was annoyed, an earworm stuck in my mind, but I quickly realised it was the Father, He was asking me to “rise up and walk!”. I was baffled, I remember telling him I couldn’t, that it was impossible, that I just didn’t have the strength…And He was quick to scold me lovingly, and remind me in Whom I can receive my strength!

So I surrendered…

And with His help, His strength, I got up out of bed, had a shower, got dressed, and faced the day.

Did He heal me in that moment?

No, but it is not in His plan for me at this time, and I have accepted that wholeheartedly, because there is a purpose for everything.

What He did in that moment was remind me in Whom I can reach to for strength when I feel defeated and at my most weakest.

He was teaching me how to navigate my new normal, preparing me, showing me the path He intended for me…

I am still navigating that new normal today, my 12 letter word still creeps up and bears its teeth every so often.

BUT now I know in Whom brings me strength when I am lacking.

Recently I have found myself drawing on that strength…

10 months ago I noticed something troubling my legs/feet…

I was having sharp agonizing pain shoot up my legs, my feet would burn with pain at times, my feet while bare when touched would feel like there was a thin layer between my hand and my foot, and I wasn’t sleeping well at all. I was lost, I didn’t know what was happening? Was it a flare up? My 12 letter word throwing a tantrum?

My endocrinologist had been checking my feet, especially after I would inquire to this ‘thin layer in between feeling’ and all was well there…or was it?

I’m February I finally went in to bring this to my Doctor’s attention, and this began months of tests.

I think I had a sinking feeling the whole time what was wrong with me, but I refused to acknowledge it…

I went for an MRI, bloodwork, and nerve tests…

While at the Nerve Test Appointment I remember laying on the examine table and just knowing what was wrong…there was a heaviness on my heart, and God spoke boldly to me…

He told me I needed to stop avoiding the truth, and face myself…

After it was done I had to get dressed and go and meet back up with my best friend who had driven me there and was waiting for me (pandemic restrictions).

I lingered for a moment in that change room, tears filled my eyes, my heart heavy.

How could I face her? My Husband? My Kids? Or anyone? How could I possibly admit the truth to anyone? Especially myself?

The truth that was spoken to me late September over a follow up appointment by my Doctor was a 10 letter word…

Neuropathy

It had been discovered that I have moderate Neuropathy in my feet.

Neuropathy is damage of nerves outside of the brain, it can cause numbness, weakness, and sharp pain.

Diabetes can succumb to this, most people with Diabetes that get this is a result from not taking care of themselves….

From not taking care of themselves….

This is what I did not want to face, the truth, my truth, my fault…

I was crushed, struck with guilt, panic, I was devastated!

My Doctor told me not to be hard on myself, that I have made excellent progress the last two years with my health, and it was not all for not, that I can now prevent it from getting worse and there are ways to manage it, to treat it, and I was in the right path already.

I heard her, I heard my Husband’s encouragement, I heard my best friend’s words of love, but the one voice louder than all the rest was my own, and it wasn’t kind. I am often told I am too hard on myself, perhaps I am, but I should of known better!

God didn’t let me dwell in a self hatred lull for long…

He presented a challenge to me…

He asked me to forgive myself…

I was in disbelief…how could I?

Then He reminded me of the day on Calvary when He hung on the Cross to forgive much worse from the world…and immediately I was humbled, and overcome with emotion, tears, and it all led me to letting it go…and I forgave myself.

So in this new territory I still found myself struggling with complete acceptance of things happening to me concerning my health, but then I fell upon Micah Tyler’s song called Different.

Micah begins his song talking at first, He talks about the hardships him and his family are walking through, and how He would pray and ask God to change the things that are going on around him, to stop these storms in his life, but he recognized that Jesus had decided to not do that just yet.

Micah realized that the best question to ask Jesus was not…

Jesus can you change these things?

BUT

God can you change ME so I can handle the things that your walking me through?

This perspective completely helped open my eyes to what I needed to do next…

I needed to ask God that question…

I needed Him to make me different, to change me from the inside out, so I could now handle what He was walking me through.

And when I asked, He answered…the complete acceptance came right away.

I accept that Depression, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, and Neuropathy are apart of my life, and apart of me…

BUT they do not define me!

Knowing my Identity in Christ has been my anchor, my saving grace.

So when any dark clouds roll in, I hit a wall, when I want to run away into the wilderness, when I’m having a flare up and I feel caged within my body, when I’m on walk and sharp pain shoots up from my feet…

I hear the Father clearly, and I ‘lift myself up off the floor! ‘

“I can’t waste a day, and I can’t stay the same…I want to be different,

I want to be changed, until all of me is gone, and all that remains is a

fire so bright the whole world can see, that there’s something

different, so come and be different…in me! “

(Lyrics from Micah Tyler’s song Different)