2nd Stage of Grief

Hello Friends,

Today it is hard to write about this stage because I don’t find myself in this space right, although it very possible I will find myself at this stage again; anger! In the last blog post https://harotianessentials.org/2020/04/07/shock-and-denial/, I stated that during the stages of grief, it is not a one and done situation. We may find ourselves going back and forth between stages. I’ve spent many sleepless, teary nights wondering why I feel angry when I thought I had accepted my situation. When we find ourselves in a devastating, life altering circumstances, we have two choice that we can make; we could allow ourselves to feel the emotions or we could stuff them.

Accepting Our Emotions

When we accept our emotions, yes it sucks. It really sucks. I really, really sucks, but there is an upside. Accepting our emotions means letting go the thought that we can control how we feel. Feelings aren’t bad. Feelings can’t hurt us. But feelings can lead us to do harmful things, such as, abuse our loved ones, become or feed our unhealthy addictions, or allowing ourselves to fall into deeper depression.

When I was first diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder I, I didn’t accept it. When I felt those highs and lows, I covered them up with destructive behaviors which played a part in the dissolution of my first marriage (probably my second), loss of great friendships, loss of family relationships, and my inability to hold a job for longer than six months. Some of those losses haunt me til this very day, yet they are learning experiences, contribute to my growth, and has helped me to forgive myself.

Now that I am trying to accept and deal with my emotions, especially anger since that is my go-to, I am able to reach out for support, go to counseling, and find other ways to deal with my emotional discomfort before I make other terrible decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I still make horrible decisions when I am emotional, they’re just not as damaging or consistent as they used to be. I’m able to step back and look at the situation from the perspective of my support system and do what is right for my family and my recovery journey.

God gave us emotions for a reason. We live in a broken, painful world so God knew before the world was created what we would be up against. Throughout the Bible, He gives us comfort by not only validating our feelings, but by also giving us comfort and ways to deal with them. Whats so awesome about God is that no matter the emotion we express, good or bad, He will forgive us and help us cope.

When we accept our emotions, we are able to open our hearts to Jesus and allow him to heal our wounds, all the while relinquishing that right that we feel like we have to hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness. And trust me! Holding onto to unforgiveness and bitterness is the worst because it is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. It controls our lives, how we treat ourselves and other people.

During this stage of grief, I find myself angry with a lot. I am angry with myself for not seeing this coming. I am angry that I’m in this position at 34 years old when I saw my life being so different. I am angry because a lot of times I feel lonely and depressed. And I am angry that I can’t control that I’m angry, but…..

I can control where I place that anger, in the hands of Jesus. He is the only person who knows my true feelings, where those feelings are coming from, and how to deal with them. Most importantly, he will comfort me and heal my wounds. There are so many days and nights that I would cry and imagine myself sitting in the lap of my heavenly Father. I know that He is with me, holding me, comforting me, making sure that I make it through this season. EVERY SINGLE TIME I cry out for Him, Gods presence is so real and I ALWAYS feel better and have hope at the end of my tears. What a mighty God we serve. His peace and love is everlasting, meaning it never ends. His peace and love never fails, meaning it always works. His peace and love is living inside of us, meaning we can access it whenever, wherever we want.

Stuffing Our Feelings

When we stuff our feelings, we are more prone to participating in destructive behaviors.; drug addictions, promiscuity, overeating, decline in mental and physical health, etc. Holding onto unforgiveness and bitterness is one of the most damaging things we can do to our mind, body, and souls.

I always tell my kids that forgiving someone is not about the person that wronged you, but about allowing yourself to move on and continue to view the world the way Jesus does. Trust me, it’s hard and it takes a lot of prayer, but it’s so worth it. You experience so much peace from it. Not human peace because that would be impossible. The peace I’m speaking of is biblical peace: when the storm is all around us, when everything is going wrong, but we can still be thankful and sing songs of praise to our God because we know that it’ll work out for our good. Amen.

So, what does God say about anger:

“Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.”

Psalm 37 : 8

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15 : 1

“Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge.”

Ecclesiastes 7 : 9

Now, how does God help us with anger:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6-7

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.

Philippians 4: 8

Ultimately, it is OK to be angry during our grieving process, but it is very important that we do not hold on to it. Give it to God because we weren’t made to take on such a burden. I find myself angry a lot, but since I have been in recovery, I no longer find myself angry for a long time.

My “anger routine” is get angry, soak in it and feel sorry for myself, realize I’m being silly, pray my forgiveness prayer, get frustrated because I feel like its not working, call my mentor so she can give words of encouragement, cry, laugh, reread my forgiveness prayer, feel better, and move forward. Sometimes the process is shorter, sometimes its longer, but in the end I must tell you, it is all worth it. And I’ve found that I become less angry at things and people that I used to become angry at, at the drop of a hat. It’s really working! Who knew? *I say sarcastically*

Anyway, thank you for reading my thoughts. I pray that I was able to encourage you if you are dealing with anger right now. I promise, with God in your corner, you will make it through. Feel free to email me at harotianessentials@yahoo.com if you want to vent or talk. God bless you and please remember to pray for one another.

When Your Bed Becomes Your Desk

Hello Friends,

What a fruitful week this has been. I cannot say that I have been able to accomplish all of the things that I’ve wanted to do, but I can say that I am not easily overwhelmed as I used to be. I am forced to accept things as they are. It’s either that or have a nervous breakdown annndddddd who literally has time for that?!?

Yesterday I would say has been the best day I have had in a very long time. It was just like any other day accept:

  • God granted me the serenity to accept the things I could not change
  • Courage to change the things that I could
  • Wisdom to know the difference

Whew! Thank you Jesus. The kids were fighting, the house was (well, who am I kidding?) IS a mess, and I’m a little behind on homework, me and the kids. But it’s ok. I also found myself giggling at the sounds of my kids arguing with each other over who’s fart smells the worst after eating the easter eggs we painted. Or walking into a room finding Rj dancing like a wild man, Christian cheering him on, and Hannah recording it. It was like….pure bliss. PLUS, I still made time to do the things I wanted to do, not what I had to do.

  • I started researching how to start my new up and coming podcast! That’s right people! I’m starting a podcast. I’ll keep you up to date on that.
  • I doodled in my notebook
  • I attended my online support group
  • And drum roll please…….I got the kids in bed before 10pm. BOOM! *drops mic*
What I would literally be doing if my hip didn’t feel like it was able to pop out of place

*Picks mic back up cause Im not done* To sum up, in the words of Ice Cube, “Today was a good day…” And I thank you all and many others for your prayers. God is an awesome God, but prayers definitely make a difference, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So, why did I title this blog, “When Your Bed Becomes Your Desk”? Well, this is the first time since my separation that I don’t feel so alone in my bed. Since my kids prefer to sleep in their own beds, tonight I am surrounded by the things I enjoy the most: my bible, writing equipment, my kids art work, reading material, and complete silence.

Tonight, while doing my bible study, I came across this scripture:

…he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit

Titus 3:5

To me, this is God reaffirming that everything will continue to be ok because that was His intent when Jesus died for us. He never promised sunshine and rainbows everyday, but after every storm, the sun shines and the rain….bows (even the wind and waves obey him -Mark 4:41). And yesterday, was my sunshine and rainbows. Without his mercy, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my kids smelly farts and messy tendencies, their flaws overcrowding my flaws because the same love that my Father has for me, I am able to extend to them. The same grace and mercy my Father has for me, Jesus’ overflowing water runneth over to them. And that is the best gift that the Lord can ever give to me during this quarantine.

Thank you for reading my thoughts tonight. It is currently 1:25am and I should really scoot this stuff over and go to sleep. Nah, screw it, I’ll get comfy on the couch and sleep there. Anyway, love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

A Dollop of Gratitude

Hey Friends,

If you have been keeping up, I’ve kind of been going through it. The past couple of post were written in the middle of night when my mind refuses to turn off and only concentrate on what I am missing. Like I said in my “Do I Have A Future?” https://harotianessentials.org/2020/03/28/do-i-have-a-future/ post, there are many nights that I miss my best friend and companion. It’s funny how no matter what a person has done or said, your mind will always remember the great times that was shared. I believe that my mind kicks into self-preservation mode so I won’t become to overwhelmed by the reality of what has lead to our current circumstance. It definitely doesn’t help that the kids and I live in the same house that we shared and having a constant reminder of our wedding vowels from tattoos that we got together. Lesson learned!

But, I am so tired of whining. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of giving life and attention to something that no longer exist. I love that I am able to get our my feelings in a healthy way, but I also feel like it’s keeping me stuck. I’m ready to move on, move forward, and move directly into Gods purpose for me. This tragedy is suppose to teach me, strengthen me, and direct me to become the Ashley I’ve always wanted to become and more. It reminds me that God says that our faith in Him will allow Him to do more for us than we have ever imagined.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. -Ephesians 3:20

As I’ve been doing some self-reflection and mediating through godly counsel and secular counseling, I have come to understand that the trauma that I faced growing up has carried into my adulthood. Although I am hurt, I fully understand that I played a large part in the dissolution of my marriage. I asked him to repair hurt that only God can heal. I’ve asked him to love me in which God only can. And because he is hurting and broken from his own issues, like the rest of us, he buckled under the pressure. I am not, by all means, excusing his behavior, it’s just God has allowed me to see things from my husbands perspective. It has allowed the forgiveness process to run a little bit more smoothly. I find myself having compassion for him, when sometimes I think I should still be angry.

In order for me to be happy and move forward, I have to begin to grieve what was lost growing up. Some where along the way, I learned that I am only worthy of conditional love, where my self-worth is that of a non-human being. That is not my husbands fault, nor is it his responsibility to fix it. Not only is it Gods responsibility, but He wants to do it. The amazing thing about God is that He knows exactly what I need to heal those broken parts of me so I can move on to something more real and substantial even if I don’t understand it. Which is amazing because my plate is already full.

In order for me to allow God to move in my life to fill my hurt with His love and my brokenness with His grace, I have to move out of my own way. I have to let go of what I thought was perfect for me so He can do what is actually perfect for me. Recently, I have been writing down the benefits that I have experienced since the separation:

  1. I’ve definitely grown closer to God
  2. I pray a lot more
  3. I take my meds more consistently. Before I used to be so distracted by what was being said and done behind my back, it was hard for me to focus on anything else.
  4. I’m allowing God to make me better, not bitter. I am constantly asking God to help me to not only forgive him, but other people that have hurt me.
  5. I have the courage to face my own flaws, such as, codependency, unjust love, and the hurt that I have caused others.
  6. I have stepped into forgiving myself while realizing I am forgiven by the Lord
  7. I am able to concentrate on loving and seeing myself the way God sees me, thus, being able to love my children the way He does

And this is just to name of few. I am excited that God is working within me. Sometimes, yes, the hurt is unbearable, but that’s when we hold onto those promises:

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. -Psalm 94:19

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. -Psalm 40:2

Well, that is all I have for today. Wait, ha! I finally made a short post. In your face self-pity! Anyway, thank you all for reading my thoughts. I love you and please remember to pray for one another.

God provides the core needs of our life for love, acceptance, and significance. There is not a person in the world who is able to give us exactly what we need except God Himself. And we can claim the promise of Philippians 4:19: ‘And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus’. But remember, God will meet your true needs, not necessarily your perceived needs.

-Stephanie Tucker, The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook

Shock and Denial

Hey Friends,

In the past couple of post, I’ve gotten really candid and transparent. A part of me has been tempted to delete them in fear that the person(s) that I am speaking of has read them. Why do I care? Why am I concerned about what they think about my feelings? When the truth is, it is very clear that I am not being thought about and that’s okay. So why am I so concerned? Why am I hung up on what other people think of me? The only answer that I can come up with is that I am still on this roller coaster ride called grief.

I thought that when we go through the grief process, we are done after each step, Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! Well, I’m here to tell you that is not AT ALL the case. Grief isn’t limited by time or space. It kind of has a mind of its own. One minute you’re feeling ok, next you’re feeling like the trauma happened all over again.

7 Stages of Grief

Did you know that there are seven stages to grief? I know right! I absolutely hate it because not only can you jump back and froth between each stage, but there isnt a time limit on how long we could stay in a particular stage, no matter what we do. Sometimes the process has to happen organically.

Today, I would like to talk about the first stage; Shock and Denial pertaining to my own personal life. It is exactly what it sounds like. When we are faced with grief, our minds will go into “rest mode” if you will. We don’t know what to say, think, or feel. So, we’ll just deny it altogether. Not on purpose of course. When I was faced with my separation, I was totally shocked, which sounds so crazy because in the back of my mind I knew it was going to happen. I remember I would ask him all of the time if he was going to leave me. Side note: I wonder if I brought life to that concern by speaking on it or was it inevitable? Either way, I’ve always struggled with rejection and abandonment. You can say it is my Achilles heal.

Anyway, I cried for a while but soon became numb. I would call and call asking question after question, hoping that his answer would some how be different. My mind was so confused, disoriented, lost, and broken. During that time my mind was already weak from stress and abuse and now that I think about it, it is truly a miracle that I am coherent today. I devoured every lie he told me like it was best meal I’ve ever had. See, the thing about staying in denial is that it doesn’t hurt as much. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I was willing to do just about anything to avoid it., include trick my own psyche into believing that we are better together.

During this process, I was forced to ask myself, why is this my reaction? I was taught NEVER MAKE A MAN TELL YOU MORE THAN ONCE HE DOESN’T WANT YOU! I have lived by that mantra for years. It has never been so hard to walk away from a relationship. Ask my first husband. So what was it about this one?

The shock from devastating news protected me emotionally until I had no choice but to come face to face with my new normal that prevented me from being overwhelmed all at once. This stage can last for days, weeks, or even months. I can find myself getting through the other stages and some how find myself back to this one. Well, like I said at the beginning of this post, sometimes I find myself caring about what this person(s) has to say or think about me and it’s natural for me to retreat back into denial so I wont have to face the reality of “this is really over”.

So what does God have to say about me living in denial? It’s simple. If I stay in denial, I will not be able to heal. It reminds me of when He delivered the Israelite’s from Egypt. Needless to say it took Him a while, but when He did it, our Father provided everything that they needed to survive; food, water, clothing, light, and most importantly, fellowship with Him. Matter of fact, He was providing for them during their enslavement; sustaining them, strengthening them, preparing Moses for them to lead the way., but I’m sure from their perspective, they felt like He had forgotten about them. When the Lord delivered them, they had been slaves for many generations. They were used to it. So, when He gave them the opportunity to be free, I’m sure it was scary for most of them. They didn’t know what to expect. I cant help but to wonder if some of them were in denial about their freedom and stayed behind out of fear or a false sense of loyalty towards Pharaoh. The same reasons I stayed and would like to stay.

Staying in denial only causes more hurt and confusion in the long run. When we don’t face what is happening right in front of us, we only prolong the inevitable. Like I said, in my gut I knew this was going to happen. I guess I just hoped that it wouldn’t., that it would get better in the way that I wanted it to get better. But thank the Lord He doesn’t take advice from me. We would all be jacked up. And when I entertain the idea that what is happening in my life isn’t real and that my husband will magically change his mind and come home, I find myself even more heartbroken when reality says “hell no” with a kick in the gonads. Then, I am moved along to the one of the other six stages, which I will talk about next week.

Currently, I am holding onto this scripture:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41: 10

Sometimes I am afraid of the future and that is one thing I have never been afraid of until now. I am CHOOSING to hold onto the His promise that He will strengthen me, help me, and uphold me. Truthfully, He has been doing just that. It’s funny because right before I started this post, I was crying to figure out how to get through the night. Now, I feel a hundred times better; thank you Jesus.

Anyway, thank you for reading my thoughts. I am trying to shorten them, but there is so much on my mind, I cant promise anything. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

Funny Friday

Hey Friends!

It is my pleasure to reintroduce Funny Friday! It is always important to laugh, especially during a time like this. Whether you are experiencing heartache, financial hardship, extreme loss, or illness, remember, nothing is too big for God. Please enjoy this beautiful Friday where ever you are. Love you! And please remember to pray for one another.

Teacher vs. Student

Teacher: “Kids, what does the chicken give you?”
Student: “Meat!”
Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pig give you?”
Student: “Bacon!”
Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?”
Student: “Homework!”

Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me’. — Genesis 21:6

Love Letter From Depression Part 2

Hello Ashley,

This is Depression. How are you? Well, don’t answer that. You know I really don’t care. You know what I do care about is why we haven’t been spending time together like we used to? I mean, I see you every once in a while. Every time I think we are going to get back together, you leave me for a guy name Jesus. Like, why? What does he have that I don’t?

You cannot deny it, Ashley. We were so good together. You loved me, I loved you. All we needed was each other. And then this Jesus character came along and told you that you would be better without me. I was shocked! I never thought you would see me for who I really am. I honestly thought we would be together forever.

Remember, we used to have the best times together. I miss your tears of loneliness and hopelessness. I miss how we used to stay in bed together for days, even weeks at a time. I miss how you used to put me ahead of your family. Now you act like you never had such a wonderful, miserable history. You used to tell me how I was the only consistent entity in your life. Now I feel like I am nothing to you.

It’s pretty obvious that whoever this Jesus is that he means more to you than I ever have. That’s how I know he’s powerful because I used to be your whole world. Now all of a sudden he is. I’m angry and hurt because now I know I’ve lost my best victim.

I will never let you go. I will always come back and visit to see if you’ll take me back, I will never stop loving you. But because I see that you are stronger than you have ever been, I’ll have to bring my A game.

Love,

Depression

Click here to read Love Letter from Depression Part One

Do I Have a Future?

Hello Friends,

I’m so glad that God has given me the strength to write today. It has been a hard few months. There is something that I want to talk about, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid of being judged. I’m afraid of what people would say. But mostly, I am afraid of facing the truth and shattering the fantasy world that I have built around me. This fear is crippling me because I am distancing myself from my craft in order to survive. There are many times that I want to write, I yearn to write, but I don’t trust myself to provide the quality that you all deserve. Yes, I’ve been self-loathing and feeling sorry for myself.

Well, no more I say, no more! I have to tell my story. I have to get this out. I have to reach as many people as I possibly can so you know you are not alone. So, this is me, taking off my mask and diving feet first into the pool of the unknown and sacrifice.

My husband left me nine months ago. It was warranted. A part of me knew it was coming. Yet, I wanted to stay in denial. Staying in denial hurt less than facing reality, but it was causing more heartache and confusion. This is my second marriage to fail, so I can’t help but to question what it wrong with me? I truthfully didn’t plan for my life to go this way. At first, it felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. It felt like he died. The pain was excrutiating. I cried all day, every day for months. What made it worse was that it sent me into a very deep depression, triggering manic episodes and outbursts. It caused traumatic memories to surface that I’ve spent a life time burying.

I began seeing a counselor and adjusted my medication, but that wasnt enough. I’ve never been so heartbroken in my life. I’ve never felt anything like this and I’ve been through some pretty horrible situations. I felt alone, abandoned, and rejected. Some days, I still do. The lies, infedility, and abuse all came rushing back not knowing what to do or where to go next. My heart and my brain were reading two different books, forget about being on the same page?! In my mind, I should have supported his decision to leave, instead, my emotions took over like a freight train and it hasn’t stopped.

I reached out to my church for support so I could grow closer to God, but it was so hard to expect God to help me though this since it was His fault that this was happening to me in the first place. It was His fault that He brought my husband into my life. It was His fault because He allowed my husband to do the things that he did to me. It was His fault because He allowed me to get myself into this situation. Now, I am left alone holding the pieces of my shattered life in my hands.

I’ll admit, when he first left, he promised that he was going to come back. And just like a codependent basket case, I beleived him. My heart was so broken, I held on to the fantasy for as long as I could before I couldnt anymore. It as causing more and more pain, confusion, and heartache. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it wasnt Gods fault that my marriage failed, it’s the world. My husband loves the world more than he loves us and that is not my fault nor Gods.

God tells us in His Word that Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.’ -2 Corinthians 4:4

And…

‘And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. ‘1 John 2:15-17

It’s not my husbands’ fault. Yes, he has a responsibility to chose to do the right thing, but when you’ve experienced trauma, sometimes all you can do is run and hide when things get tough. He is only doing what he has been taught to do. It just so happens that my kids and I are the collateral damage. Since then, I have started to move on. He has made it very clear that our marriage will not and cannot be saved. So now, my time is filled with improving our mental health, growing closer to God and my kids, and getting healthy overall.

There is so much to share, but for now, this is just laying the ground work for sharing my journey. Going through the grief process, my emotions are all over the place. One minute I feel hopeful for the future and other days I feel the whole world has abandoned me. There are days where I miss him so much and other days I’m grateful he’s gone. And I’m learning that is ok. This is a process. This is a journey. We will get through this. In a couple of days, I will be talking about the grief process and what to expect and not expect.

If you are going through a devastating situation while trying to heal from years of trauma, I want you to tell you that you are not alone. And if you are willing, we all can join together as a community and get through this together.

Love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6,7

My Favorite Coat

Hello Friends,

Thank you for joining me on this wonderful Saturday. What makes this day so wonderful, you ask? Well, for one, I’m not experiencing the weight of an elephant on my chest anymore. I am able to have hope for the future. God has been sending so many people to encourage me during this time. All whom have experienced the same trauma and heartache as I. He so is wonderful!!

Although I haven’t been “blogging” I’ve been coming up with so much material. Sometimes I am unable to fall asleep until I have it written all down, or at least cliff notes and it always feels so good.

A few weeks ago, I was able to conjure up a poem. I haven’t written a poem in what seems like forever. In another attempt of stepping out of my comfort zone, I will debut it here.

Stuck

This coat I’m wearing, I love it,
It fits my curves and everything above it.
I’m so proud because it will be mine forever,
As long as we’re together we can battle the worst weathers.
After a while it was all I wore,
The comfort and embrace it provided felt so secure.
Not realizing the more I wore it the more I outgrew it,
But it was mine and I felt good just to own it.

But one day it began to tear at the seams,
I tried my best to patch up what was lost,
But the more I tried the more it cost.
Until one day it was gone, never to be found again,
The devastation killing what was left of my core.
“What else could provide the comfort and loving care?
What would I do with myself? Who would even care?”
See, to you it may be a simple coat that can be replaced,
But to me it was everything I was missing in the first place.
In my life where things seemed so dark, until my coat came along and pulled me out,
Well, looking back, at least I thought.
The more I mourn, the more it becomes clear,
That the struggle wasn’t the coat but something deeper than what appeared.
The coat would have to become distant memory,
Letting the seams tear is a sign that I should move on to make new memories.
We all deserve to have a great, secure coat,
We just have to know where to look.
I began to seek my Father who told me that my story can be rewritten,
It’ll just take a little grinding and pinching.
“But hold on to my promises, Beloved” He says,
I’ll always hear Him repeat to me especially in time of despair.

This poem was inspired by the realization that I have been operating in codependent relationships. It wasn’t clear to me why I was experiencing extreme heartache towards someone who clearly wants nothing to do with me. In God’s gracious character, He has been removing my heart so I am able to heal and move forward.

I don’t have all of the answers right now, but right now, I am resting in His promise that “this to shall pass”.

Thank you, friends for reading my thoughts. It has been my pleasure sharing my story, although it has me terrified. Please remember to pray for one another, especially during a time like this. 

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen and guard you from the enemy. -2 Thessalonians 3:3


Life Changing Anomaly

Hello Friends,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Years. I haven’t been blogging because there have been unfortunate events happening in my life that I’ve had to work out. I am not sure if I mentioned in my last post (and frankly I’m too lazy to check) but July of last summer, I suffered a devastating loss. I’ve been afraid to talk about it because I guess I still don’t know how to process it and fear of judgment, rejection, and ridicule. Yet, I feel that sharing my experience is something I’m obligated to do.

The stages of grief have been unexpected, torturous, and lonely. Right now, I have good days and bad days. Just when I think I have a handle on the good days, a bad day will come out of the blue to remind me that this agony is far from over. Although this loss was probably for the best, it doesn’t make the hurt, hurt less. It doesn’t make the loss more bearable. And it doesn’t make the good memories go away.

To be honest, I’m really confused. My reaction to this loss is unexpected. At least, I didn’t think I would be this devastated. The event is something I thought would happen but didn’t see it coming. I still had hope for reconciliation and restoration, but it has become clear that I’ve been wearing blinders while living in a fantasy world that I built for myself to avoid pain and heartache. Thinking back, it is how I dealt with trauma from my childhood. I simply stuffed my feelings down, put on a “mask”, and became who I thought people wanted me to be only so that I could feel accepted. So it would only make sense that during this loss, all of those other feelings have bubbled up to the surface all at once.

In this situation, this person had me to believe that they saw past the “mask” and they loved me unconditionally anyway. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to hear those words from someone I loved, no matter if they meant it or not. Looking back, I’m unsure if they meant it. I only know at this point, it doesn’t matter. So, the blinders went on and common sense and logic went out the window.

I was hoping that when I began digging into my past, it would help me not only heal from specific experiences I’ve had throughout life that resulted in feelings of abandonment and rejection, but it would also help me better deal with my present. Yea…not so much. I’ve been wanting to skip the grieving process and get this over with already. I don’t want to feel what I feel. I don’t want to feel unloved and lied to. I don’t want to feel hopeless and worthless. And I don’t want to feel like every bad thing this person ever said about me is right and that I am the cause of such an extreme loss.

While suffering through the stages of grief, I’m finding it extremely difficult to do the simplest of things. Imagine depression 2.0. I’ve had moments of happiness, especially with my kids, but most of my days are spent trying NOT to completely fall apart. I’ve neglect things that I need to do for myself because my home and children come first, and even those things seem impossible at times. Once that’s out of the way, I don’t have the energy to do anything else. For example, I can’t even tell you the last time I washed my hair. Yea, yea, I know, gross, but it’s the truth.

Although people go through this every day, it feels like the end of the world to me. It feels like I’m hanging on by thread without life support. It feels like this person has died versus only walking out of my life. Its obvious something is wrong, so when people ask, I give the generic, “I’m ok”. I mean, what else am I supposed to say? Repeating my sorrow over and over, to me, is invading the curious person’s positive energy, thus making them leave me as well.

I have a deep longing inside of me that would love to climb into my mother’s lap so I can cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. The little girl inside of me is screaming out for hugs, kisses, and fresh chocolate chip cookies. It seems silly because I’m a mother myself, but I’ve never had it and I feel at this moment in life, now would be a good time to have it. But it’s just not possible, so I’m trying to look to God, other family members, and my mentor to fulfill whatever is missing from my heart and guidance.

My mind is filled with so many things I should do; pray, worship God, read His Word, pray some more, anoint the house, forgive the people that have hurt me, make amends to the people I have hurt, etc., etc. They say to take one day at a time, but when my heart is hurting so much, I can’t help but think of the future and how I can’t wait for this part to be over. So then, I will automatically begin to think about the steps that I need to take to get there. And then there’s that good old, comparing myself to other people. For example, the other party in this circumstance seems to be unaffected by the last nine months, which breaks my heart even more, but hey, what can you do?.

After a while, I started asking myself, “Why am I the only person that is hurting like this? How can everyone handle this pain but me?” Then, I remember an excerpt that I read out of a book titled, The Christian Codependence Recovery Handbook (we’ll speak more about this another day) by Stephanie Tucker. She says:

One of the secrets we learn in walking with Jesus is that when we give Him control, in our weakness we are strong. Why? Because He has control and He is strong. However, if we are trying to be strong and in control, we are very weak. Every resource we need in life is found in our relationship with God. When we surrender control to Him, we come under His provision and protection.

…. when you feel defeated and tired, giving your life and will over to God can be the most incredible experience of your life.

I hate this season of my life. I feel hogtied to a boulder, but then when I read that paragraph above, I was reminded that I can rest in the knowledge that when I am at my weakest, it is at this point, God can do His best work in me, for me, and around me. Trying to control and manipulate my circumstances will only result in more heartache because I am not under His protection and provision. I leave myself wide open for Satan to fill my mind with negative, defeating thoughts and because I am weak, I easily succumb to them. I chose to surrender because it is in my brokenness that my Abba Father can pull me out of the darkness with my head held high, thus, truly living my life and not just surviving it.

This loss is a make or break moment. I believe we all experience at least one; a life event so unexpected, it shakes us to our very core and the only choices we have are to surrender to God and allow Him to mend our hearts while smothering us with His love and grace OR sitting in it, allowing bitterness, hate, and anger to plant roots deep inside our hearts.

I understand that my above feelings may sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself or that I am stuck in a revolving door of self-loathing and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was, but these are my honest feelings. My insecurities are ruining my life. I know for the fact that my loss isn’t talked about because it has become the social norm, but there are so many people, especially women who are suffering in silences that are in the same boat as I.

I’ve been afraid to share my story, although I know it needs to be told. So, this is me. Here I am. Putting it all out there. My insecurities. My weakness. My vulnaribilities. When we experience trials and tribulations, God always seems to have a breakthrough right around the corner. So, after all my complaining in this post, I would like to tell whoever is experiencing a devastating loss, here are some tips that I have learned in the past nine months to help me wake up to do it all over again until God decides to remove this mountain:

  1. We must give ourselves grace for not “getting over it” when we think you should be over it
  2. We cannot rush the grief process. It is something we must power through with the help of the only true and living God
  3. We should allow ourselves to be vulnerable because God will do His mightiest work and the enemy will have no grounds to try to silence you
  4. If you were betrayed, remember that our God is a God of justice and all things right. He will get justice for the wrong that was done to you. Let Him deal with that person as He sees fit.
  5. If you are feeling any of the feelings I mentioned above, know that it is ok not to be ok.
  6. And finally, find yourself a good support system to face those lonely days and nights. People that will encourage you and listen to you complain when you just can’t hold it any longer. Although I long for my mother’s embrace, I am grateful that I have other support systems that help me get through the days when I feel like I can’t go on any longer.

Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts. Although life seems impossible, I know that it is worth living. Let’s move forward together by supporting each other with prayer and honesty.

“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” -James 1:16-18 (MSG)

It’s Been a While…

Hello Friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve stared at this blank page wondering how to carefully place my thoughts in a way that could be understood. To be completely honest with you, I still don’t know how to do that. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to express my feelings in a healthy way. Why? I’ve been asking myself that question for quite some time now. The only thing that I’ve known for sure is that I want to write. I don’t want to stop reaching out to people who are experiencing the same trials and tribulations that I am. I love to help people. It has always been in my nature, but how do I help others when I’m not sure how to help myself?

It has come to my attention that I have been neglecting myself. Not in an “I need to get a massage every once in a while” way, but in an “I’ve completely lost myself and not sure where to find her again” way. Realizing that you’ve completely abandoned yourself can be a shell shock experience. Everything that you thought and knew you loved could be a complete lie like you’ve been woken up from a dream. This realization can be the result of trauma like it was for me.

I’ve experienced a lot of devastation in my life, but my current situation has been a ball buster. It has resulted in a zombie-like presence in my existence that has deceived me into thinking I can’t live without what I thought was true and real. Only to realize with a lot of self-evaluation and God-seeking actions and prayer, that maybe this “shell-shock” was what I needed to zap me out of the trance I was in and self-neglect.

I am proud to announce that not only have a come up with what I would like to write about for my book, but I have actually started to write it! That is huge for me. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but goals always seem so far away when your attention is focused on other things and people around you. When we are left alone to put our priorities, our needs and wants into perspective, we may find ourselves having the will and motivation to complete projects and goals that we have longed to do.

Truthfully, it started to keep my mind off of the trauma circling my mind. I was tired of living in sadness and rejection, so I wanted to concentrate on what I could do and not what I’ve lost. Realizing that I can only control my own life has been a pivotal role in my recovery. Trauma can make you or break it. It could build you or tear you down. It can make you better or make you bitter.

There is a specific way I want my life to go; God’s will. Because God wants nothing but good for me, I’m choosing to believe that following Him is the only way to get my “good thing.” What I thought was good for me, turned out not to be. Doing things my way has caused more heartbreak, confusion, and damage to not only my life but my loved ones.

VWAQ VWAQ-1926B Know The Plans I Have for You, Jeremiah 29:11, Bible Wall Decal #2

I understand now that Jesus will take away the things or people that we want and replace them with the things that we deserve, or at least make those things or people better for not just our lives but for theirs.

Trauma is real. Trauma can be tragic when not carefully attended to, thus the reason for my long absence. Right now, I’m still not sure who I am completely, but I appreciate that I have the will and desire to want to know.

Thank you, God, for the revelations that You have given me these past few months. Thank you for revealing your undying love for me and the people around me. Jesus, so many of us are hurting, whether we know it or not, so I pray that you draw close to each and every one of us. Save us, Jesus, even if it’s from ourselves because you want what is best for us. We weren’t meant to live in turmoil, confusion, depression, and anxiety. Those are the enemies tactics. Yet, your Word says to look to you because you are the illuminating light in our darkness. Thank you, Father, for your grace, mercy, peace, and love.

Please remember to pray for one another.

Image result for jesus is the light in the darkness

Irrational Fears

Hey Friends,

Today, I would like to share an irrational fear that I have. Thefreedictionary.com defines an irrational fear as:

a. a persistent, abnormal, and phobia of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.

b. A strong fear, dislike, aversion.

For example, my baby girl, Hannah was deathly afraid of pink cotton balls when she was a toddler. I have no idea why. She wasn’t going to daycare or preschool at the time because I was a stay at home mom. I always had white cotton balls in the house, so I guess she wasn’t used to seeing the pink ones. I’m not sure what caused the fear, but every time she saw one, she would scream bloody murder.

I took advantage of this fear by placing them around objects that I didn’t want her touch in the house, like, the old school water heaters. Yea, it was a little mean, but she never burned her hands. She always wanted to touch the heaters, even when they were scolding hot during the winter, but as soon as I placed pink cotton balls around them, she never touched them again.

One of my irrational fears is being judged. Since I was a kid, I would always worry about what other people thought of me, but it has gotten worse in my adult years. I would find myself living for other people, doing what I thought other people wanted me to do. Honestly, sometimes it worked out in my favor, but most of the time it didn’t. Ultimately, I paid a very hefty cost; not knowing who I really am and years of unnecessary depression and heartache.

When I would do something that was more “me”, people would be confused and say, “this isn’t the Ashley I know. The Ashley I know would never say or do something like that.” When in fact, yes, this Ashley would do or say that. No one knew the real me, and quite frankly, a lot of people still don’t.

I keep a lot of my life private because of that fear. I don’t handle confrontation well because of that fear. People feel like I’m not approachable in fear of my reaction. There have been times I have had a full-blown anxiety attack because I was accused of doing something that I didn’t do. Instead of simply saying I didn’t do it, I was so distraught at the fact that someone thought I was capable of doing such a thing. Then I would become worried because then I would think, “Am I capable of doing that?” Then I would think about for days and days and days because of what this person said I did. See how much time is being wasted?

I would like to think that my family and friends can come to talk to me about things that are concerning them when it comes to something they see is happening that I am unaware of. Maybe my addiction wouldn’t have gone as far as it did if I wasn’t too afraid to speak up and say, “I need help!” No. I kept it all in because I didn’t want, 1. My family to judge me and 2. To be gossiped about.

Gossip is becoming the new normal in society because we think that everyone does it. Well, maybe it’s not new since God warns us against it in His Word.

“ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD. -Leviticus 19:16

I won’t argue that the majority of people gossip, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. I have done my fair share of gossiping and to be honest, I never feel good about when I am done. I always feel like I’ve betrayed the person that I was talking about. And I never want to do that.

Venting, on the other hand, is completely different because you are explaining to a third party about what happened between you and another person. Gossiping is talking about someone else’s business, which shouldn’t be none of our business. Even if you are concerned, it should be shared with you and that person, and maybe another trusted person out of love. Not talked about carelessly. I keep a lot of things bottled up in fear that my situation will be talked about for entertainment purposes.

You may be saying I am overreacting. I would agree with you. That is why this fear is irrational. It controls my life. It keeps me in bondage.  I am unable to share what is happening and ask for help in fear of judgment. I shouldn’t care what my loved ones think, but I do. I shouldn’t allow what someone says about me dictate my every move, but sometimes I do.

I am getting better at it each day because I am learning that:

  1. People will talk about me regardless and what they say about me is not my problem. But how I react to gossip is my problem.
  2. God will take care of the people who choose to gossip. Yes, the majority of us may do it, but in God’s eyes, it’s still sin.
  3. People will judge and talk about what they don’t understand. They will always see what’s in front of them and sometimes that is not always the truth.
  4. God knows everything. He sees and hears everything. His opinion of what I am doing and how I am doing it is the only opinion that matters.
  5. In this life, I only aim to please my heavenly Father, which is to live by His Word and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

I’ll conclude with a short story:

When I was a young kid, my oldest sister lived in New York. I admired her so much and so did my other family members. Everyone loved her. I remember when she would come home to visit, she would receive so much love and attention. I wanted the same. A friend of mines gave me a bag of marbles that we used to play with. They were really pretty and were being kept in this awesome fabric bag. Before she moved, my big sister was always there for me. Made sure I had the nicest clothes and my hair was always done. She always took care of me. Looking back, I think I was missing that and didn’t realize it after she had moved away. She was my escape from the chaos that we experienced in a small apartment almost filled with 9 other people. On one of her visits home, my moms living room was filled with laughter, hugs, and excitement for her arrival.

I quickly thought, “I want love, hugs, and kisses”. I was so small, I felt like I was being looked over or ignored. So, as quickly as I could, I ran and gave her my bag of marbles. I didn’t have much to play with during that time, so it was a big deal that I parted with them. As memory serves, she took them, looked at them, and thanked me. That was it. I thought, “I want more”. I craved more. I wanted her to pick me up in the air, smile really big, and give me the tightest hug a person could give.

I wanted her to tell me how much she loved the marbles and that it was the best gift she had ever gotten. But that didn’t happen. My expectations were too high. I immediately began to feel that her reaction had to do with my character. I internalized it, thinking that I wasn’t good enough. That was my first thought of never wanting to share what was close to my heart with anyone. That I couldn’t do anything to make her happy the way that she has made me happy. I felt useless.

Years have passed as I have completely forgotten that moment, that defined, with many other moments, during my youth, what I thought about myself. How fearful I would become of judgment and rejection. Then I didn’t know that I would soon try to find my self worth in the response to what people said about me and make awful mistakes related to that way of thinking. One day about five years ago, my sister was cleaning out her closet. I was resting on her bed, playing with my baby boy Christian, as my sister and I talked about life. Then she said something that brought yours truly to tears. She said, “Hey, do you remember when you were little and you gave me that bag of marbles?” I said, “Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about that. Yea, I remember.” Then she says, “Do you know I still have them. Every time I travel, I take them with me wherever I go. I never leave home without them.”

Wow! That blew my mind. The fact that she has not only kept those marbles for over 20 years, but she never travels without them meant more to me than a brief moment of praise when I first gave them to her. It means that every time she got on a plane or drove a long distance to go on vacation or travel for work, I was always with her. And my sister doesn’t do light traveling. She has always been one to travel all over the country multiple times a year.

Do you see how the enemy used me as a young child to stir up the fear and insecurity inside of me? Being a kid, of course, I didn’t know what was happening, but this is a perfect example of how the enemy will even attack us as children to further his agenda; kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).  I told you that story to say, I no longer want to be afraid of what people think about me. Sometimes we never know what people are thinking about us. All this time, I never knew that she held those marbles so dear to her heart. I want to concentrate on the good things that people are saying about me and leave the negative things to God because He knows who I am and I know whose I am.

We have to live our lives for the glory of our Father all while keeping our eyes focused on Jesus. Everything else is irrelevant.

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? -Luke 12:22-26

 

Resentment At Its Finest

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” -Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NLT

Hey Friends,

This is the scripture that comes to mind when I think about how much I don’t want to forgive a person that has hurt me. I feel like if I don’t forgive them, in some way, I would be hurting them the same way they hurt me. In my last post Continued Cycle of Forgiveness I mentioned how not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If you haven’t read it, click the link above. Choosing not to forgive someone will hurt you more then it will ever hurt the other person.

Today, I want to talk about unforgiveness’ first cousin, resentment. According to dictionary.com, resentment is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” I like to think of it like it’s unforgiveness marinated in a coat of anger. You could be unforgiving and be sad about the hurt that was caused. But then there is the anger that comes afterward when we fester and think about how we were wronged over and over again?

Have you ever been in an argument and once it was over you thought about what you could have said? I have. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I would become. “Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I really speak my mind? Why did I hold back?” But if I chose to let it go after an argument or experiencing a confrontation with someone, and I would let it go immediately afterward, it wouldn’t hurt, I wouldn’t be angry, I would never think about it again. I would be at peace.

Truthfully, this is why I don’t like conflict It would take me forever to get over it. I would think about it. I would think about what they said, and what I should have said in response. I would replay words, body language, etc. until I would be in tears all over again. So since I don’t know how to move forwards, most of the time, I chose to dodge it like the bullet that it is.

Unless we check our unforgiveness at God’s doorstep as soon as it rears its ugly head, we will find ourselves drenched in bitterness, indignation, anger, and hard feelings. We create a wedge between ourselves and God. And resentment is very subtle. It’s sneaky like a thief in the night, robbing our peace without us even knowing it. All we’ll know is that we are waking up angry or frustrated. Resentment feeds on your peace and joy like a plague.

Sometimes it starts at the very beginning when we choose not to say sorry when the Holy Spirit leads us to. Or when we choose to gossip about the mishap with someone else instead of talking it through with the other party involved. Or when we choose to stuff our feelings, numbing the pain with drugs, binging on Netflix, or ignoring that person completely because it feels better to be mad and play the victim.

When untreated, resentment will eat away at our peace, our joy, our happiness, and our soul. We would find ourselves becoming triggered by unrelated events because it reminds us what that person said or did, thus making us angry all over again.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been holding onto resentment towards someone I love. I thought that all was forgiven and in the past, but then, something happened to bring all of those old feelings up. I began experiencing extreme anger and disgust for this person, but I didn’t know why. In my mind, I had forgiven them for what they have done, but God knew my heart.

He knew it was getting in the way of Him and I. So my Father began peeling away at it, like a good Father would, to ensure His child would be equipped with all I needed in the future for if and when this happens again. He’s ripping off the bandage that I put over my broken leg and taking me into surgery so that I can become completely healed. If you’ve ever broken a bone before you know exactly what I mean. The healing process is painful and very uncomfortable, but then, you’re good to go afterward.

So how do we start the healing process?

Saying yes when Jesus asks us, Do we want to be healed? It’s not a literal question. It’s more like, will we do what it takes to become healed? He knows it’ll hurt, but our Father equips us, never leaves us. He tells us to lean into him for comfort and strength. As long as you take one step at a time, He will do the rest. I assure you.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

‬‬

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. -Psalm 23:4

Know that this is a lifetime commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the journey is worth it. Soon you will begin to see the fruits of the Spirit blossoming from your spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22, 23

I believe God asks us to forgive, not just because it will heal our own wounds, but because almost 100% of the time when someone hurts us, it has more to do with the storm brewing inside of them than us personally. We only hurt ourselves when we allow their storm to spill into our hearts, making it’s home in our spirit, causing a tidal wave of destruction in our lives.

It’s hard not to take a transgression that has been committed against us personally. All we can do is look to Jesus, ask him to replace our hearts with his, so we can move forward without bitterness holding us captive and resentment getting comfortable in our souls, thus, stopping the blessings that God has in store for us.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray this blesses you as much as it has blessed me. This was a long one, but I truly believe that I am not the only one who needed to hear this today from the Holy Spirit. Please remember to pray for one another and I love you all.

‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’ -Proverbs 4:23

Continued Cycle of Forgiveness: July 19′ Monthly Theme

Hey Friends,

Do you ever feel overwhelmed at how many things we have to do to keep ourselves emotionally at peace? Forgiveness is definitely one of those choices we have to make to ensure our hearts, minds, and souls are at peace. I wish that forgiveness was something that we would learn how to do once and then it comes easy peasy afterward, like riding a bike. If you don’t know by now, that is not the case. Sometimes forgiveness can be easy, sometimes it can feel like the most impossible task in the world, depending on who hurt you and how they did it.

My relationship with my mother has always been fickle to say the least. The hurt that she experienced from childhood to adulthood spilled over into her parenting choices. She did the best she could with what she was given, educationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Yet, she is a great example of what happens when you don’t allow yourself to forgive and move forward from pains that have happened.

(In my blog post, July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing, I speak about bitterness and how when not dealt with, it grows like a weed in your heart and soul, wreaking havoc amongst any blessings and relationships you are trying to have. Please click the link to take a read.)

I truly believed in my heart that the hurt I felt growing up was dealt with and forgiven. That I had truly moved on. That nothing she would say or do in the future would ever bother me again and that the new relationship that we were building outweighed actions from our past together.

I’m here to say, I was sadly mistaken. Recently, she did something that took me back to a space of hurt and betrayal. Let’s just say, my reaction was not that of someone who has forgiven all that has been said and done. When someone would ask me about how my relationship is with my mother, I would tell them, “It’s cool. I expect her to be who she is. She can’t hurt me anymore.” I believe when you accept someone for who they are and expect nothing from them, then the power they have to hurt you is non-existent.

I started seeing a new therapist. For those of you who are in therapy, you know the routine of talking about your past so they can get a good idea of who you are and why you’re that way? Well when talking about my childhood, my therapist asked me if I felt like I needed healing from it. I was so sure when I told her a firm, “No!” But my reaction to my mother’s indiscretion says otherwise.

See, it’s not what she did that is the problem. It’s the expectation that I had that she would be different that is the problem. My reaction says more about my heart then it does about hers. Why? Because she is who is she. I know this. She knows this.

So, why do we expect people to give what they just aren’t capable of giving? We say to ourselves, “Well, a mother should be this way. A sister or brother should be this way.” When in fact, they should be who God made them to be, even if it’s difficult for other people to handle. This is why God says when someone hurts you, look to Him, because is never changes AND He can fix it.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. -2 Peter 3:9

I never want to make the same mistakes my mother did as we all grew up, but that doesn’t mean my kids won’t be hurt by different mistakes I will make with them. I pray my kids will give me grace and understanding, knowing every decision I made, wrong or right, was what I thought was the best decision for our family.

I try to be transparent with my children about the illness’ I struggle with so they can understand when some things aren’t right with me, it’s not because of them, but because of me.

I know I need to show my mother that same grace and understanding, but it’s so fricking hard when her words and actions cut so deep beyond understanding. I mean, in my opinion, she has to know what she’s doing is hurtful and not right. Or maybe she doesn’t. I’m learning some people can only see what’s in front of them, not the ripple effect of their choices beyond said words or actions. Sometimes I can only see what’s in front of me. Only to learn afterward, I hurt someone that I love.

What does God say about forgiveness? He has a policy put in place for us for exact moments such as these. It’s then our responsibility to reach out to him for help to forgive the person that has hurt us.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32

I was told that unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting that other person to die. Not forgiving my mother would be more detrimental to me than it would be for her. Truthfully, I feel should wouldn’t care one way or another because right now, she can only see what I have done to hurt her.

God forgives us when we curse Him, forget about Him, blame Him, which are all things I have done at least once a day for the past couple of months. He’s so faithful and understanding, more than our earthly counterparts can give us.

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.               -Romans 9:16 

As much as this season in my life is breaking my heart, I know that God is using it to transform me, preparing me for what He has planned for me. And I want His will for me so badly, I can taste it. And if I have to trench through the mud to get there, then it’s time to put my big girl panties back on, stop complaining about what hurts, and be thankful for what doesn’t.

Pain is like an engine light coming on in your car. It’s a warning sign that something needs healing. Listen to it. Pray about it. Push through it. Not by yourself, but with God’s guidance. With your bible in tow and prayers on your lips and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

Thank you all reading my thoughts today. Thank you, God, for this moment of reflection. Thank you for the energy and will to share this today. I pray it reaches the person(s) who needed to read this and it blesses them and those who struggle with unforgiveness.

This month is dedicated to forgiveness, which is something I know we all struggle with because the enemy likes to use it as a cage to keep us imprisoned, but God says we ALL have the key. Love you all and please remember to pray for one another. Also, pray for me; that God gives me the strength to continue to talk to you all through our blog.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. -Psalm 62:5

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

So, when you live with an illness that affects how you process information, it is very difficult to successfully run a blog. It has been for me, anyway.

So, I want to share with you ways I manage a blog while living with Lupus. Please read here if you haven’t already about my fight against Lupus. Right now, I don’t talk about as much because the Plaquenil prescribed by my rheumatologist, has finally kicked in and my blood work is coming back normal. Which is AWESOME-SAUCE! I am definitely in a better place than I was a year ago. I digress.

So, oh yeah…Tips on how to run a blog while living with a chronic illness.

  1. Set small goals: As you know, when living with a chronic illness, your days can be unpredictable. I know for Lupus warriors, one day we are feeling great and the next day it’ll feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. So, don’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Set your own pace. The rest will follow.
  2. It’s ok to take a break: Blogging can be emotionally and physically draining for anyone, especially if you have a chronic illness. For me, pain is an issue. I manage it, but I can’t sit one position for too long before my body begins to stiffen up. If you have a schedule for blogging, set aside times for breaks. Blogging can be exhausting, so make sure you take care of yourself.
  3. Water, Water, and what…More Water!: I know you’re tired of hearing this. I’m tired of hearing it, but it true. Water is known to improve your cognition, improve your mood, and lower inflammation. Which means, the more water you drink, the better you will feel.
  4.  Cut yourself some slack: I know that we have goals that we want to accomplish, but remember, it even took the Lord six days to make the universe, and He is a perfect supreme being. Accomplishing anything will take time and continuous effort. I have to remind myself of this daily, especially when I see other people who have blogs that are thriving and mines is…..

Having a chronic illness can definitely put a wrench in the plans, but it doesn’t have to damage our plans completely. Even if it isn’t blogging. Keep going, keep pushing, keep moving. Even if it’s one step forward, three steps back, you are still making progress.

I’ll be praying for your strength while chasing what you love. Thank for you reading words today. God bless each and every one of you. Please remember to pray for one another.

On the darkest days you have to search for a spot of brightness, on the coldest days you have to seek out a spot of warmth; on the bleakest days you have to keep your eyes onward and upward and on the saddest days you have to leave them open to let them cry. To then let them dry. To give them a chance to wash out the pain in order to see fresh and clear once again. -Tahereh Mafi

 

Hope Is…

Good Day Friends,

Hope. By definition, dictionary.com defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust, want something to happen or be the case”. Having hope can give us fuel to accomplish more than we have ever imagined for ourselves. Hope can make or break our dreams, our realities, and our faith. Hope can be dangerous but in a good way.

Lately, I’ve been lacking hope. At least I thought I have. Hope that I will get through the circumstances that I am faced with every day. During this season in my life, I’ve found that hopelessness is more dangerous than hope itself because hopelessness brings a wide range of other emotions that could possibly burn me to the ground; fear, turmoil, chaos, envy, disappointment, bitterness, etc.

Hopelessness is dark and confusing. It’s tricky and manipulative. Hopelessness will have you thinking lies about yourself and God. But God, more than anything would like for us to have hope. He knows how important it is because He knows that we have doubts. He knows that we are confused creatures. He’s not surprised when we question Him about the decisions He makes or the things that He allows to happen. Yet, our Father doesn’t want us to lose hope.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13

Why does God want us to have hope?

Hope is:

  • Living a life beyond our pain
  • Looking to God with expectation for the good He wants us to have in our lives. He genuinely cares.
  • Trusting that God has good things in store for us
  • Having confidence in His abilities to make all things work out for good

When we fall into hope, we fall into the arms of our loving Father. A Father who always catches us with the infinite promise that He will carry us from our disappointments, pain, and disparity into a new life with Him and Jesus Christ.

Once we do that, we will find ourselves experiencing new ventures and opportunities that get us beyond hopelessness. A place of freedom that we can only experience when God carries and catches us.

So today, moment by moment, have hope. Even if it’s small, you’re still giving God something to work with.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray that you are finding God’s hope for you. Also, please remember to pray for one another. We all need hope right now.