Exciting News!

Hello Friends!

I have some very exciting news. I have officially launched my YouTube channel called Healing with Harotian to go along with my blog.

I am very excited that God has chosen me and given me the opportunity to share my story in order to help my brothers and sisters. Although I am nervous beyond comprehension, I am confident because I know this is my purpose in life and I LOVE IT!

Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me. It has helped me realize that my talent, passion, and desire to help people is very real and God-given. This is an assignment called on my life that I am no longer willing to ignore because of fear and intimidation from the evils of this world. God is bigger and we are all going to get through this together.

I hope you all enjoy it! Love you all and please remember to pray for one another. God bless.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31

The Day I Felt Nothing

The Day I Felt Nothing

Hello Friends,

It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.

On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.

As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.

I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.

This beautiful women is not me, by the way! ☺️

There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10

Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.

Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*

A New Creation

A New Creation

Hello Friends,

Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Some of you have been following my journey since day one. Thank you to my new followers as well. The past three years have been a roller coaster ride. Not the fun kind, but definitely necessary.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried around fear and sadness. It has caused me to make decisions, good and bad, that most people wouldn’t understand.

Three years ago, God started to gut me like a fish, removing all of the remnants of each encounter, each bad decision, each mistake. All of the shame, guilt, fear, sadness, etc. had to come out in order for me to walk in the purpose God has set for me. And that crap hurt! Sometimes still does. He has removed certain people out of my life that I once thought I could never live without. God has helped me forgive those who I thought I would never be able to forgive. He has given me the strength to love those I was determined to hate.

What’s the difference between the Ashley three years ago and the Ashley today? Complete and utter surrender. Understanding that my life is not my own and when I try to control my life and the outcome of certain situations, I get in my own way and fall straight on my face. Ugh! And man, that hurts, too! I ultimately create my own misery.

I used to believe people when they would say, “Life is pain. You just have to deal with it.” That’s not true. I’m going to shame the devil by dropping this fun fact: once we accept Jesus, surrender to God’s will and not our own, life becomes beautiful. Reread that. Everything is possible that once felt impossible. We are able to pour into other people what God is pouring into us. We begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I’m not saying things arent going to be challenging, but I have good news. The more challenges we face, the more opportunity we have to draw closer to Abba Father. The closer we draw to God, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the easier we are able to see our circumstances through our Fathers eyes and not our own, which is awesome because my vision is tore up from the floor up. OK, maybe I shouldn’t bring that phrase back, but I tried. 🤪

The picture above is me in 2018; sick, depressed, 99 pounds soaking wet. I was stressed all of the time. I was trying to do everything in my own strength (which as you can see wasn’t much), including trying to control those around me to fit my agenda on what I thought life was suppose to look like.

The above picture was taken five days ago. I am a healthy 100 and something pounds 😁 and have completely surrendered to the Lord who’s agenda for my life and the lives of my children is so much better than my own.

The road to recovery is not a easy one, nor is it for the faint in heart. Every morning I have to pull up my big girl draws and remind myself that Gods will is better than mine. Surrendering is tough, especially when you’re stubborn, selfish, and arrogant like myself. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ that I get a fresh start each morning to do better than the day before.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I love each and every one of you. Please don’t forget to pray for one another. Remember, we can disagree and still love on each other.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17

Drum Roll Please

Hello Friends,

It has been a while since I’ve since this bright white screen waiting to be filled with thoughts, dreams, and feelings. So much has happened in my life since my short sabbatical from blogging and I cannot wait to share it with you guys. Quite honestly, it’s going to take a lot of courage to talk about some things, but my words, my experiences need to be shared. For the sake of beautiful people suffering in silence.

But, this what this post is about. I want to dedicate this post specifically for this occasion. **Drum roll please**

As of five minutes ago, I am officially done with school. Yes, that is right. I officially have my Associates degree. I started an accelerated program last year shortly after my husband left. Shortly after I started school, my relationship with my husband began to severely decline. Then Covid-19 happened. And then homeschooling, then lawsuits, divorce, bills, sobriety, I can go on and on. I spent so many days and nights believing that I wasn’t going to make it. I’ve completed many homework assignments in the middle of the night sobbing over heartache and circumstances. I continued to pick up my textbook when I watched my brothers and sisters lose their lives for their beliefs and skin color.

I cant believe it. It is truly a miracle. The odds were stacked against me in every way possible. Yet, God sought me through. He gave me strength. He provided way after way after way. He did this for me. I’m still in awe a bit. My feelings are all over the place.

So I will leave with this: This is only the beginning. I know and see the strength living inside of me now. I have an army of angels behind me every single day, every single moment of every single battle. I can walk in victory trusting God to do what He always promises to do. After the past 13 months I’ve had, nothing can stop me now.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Please remember to pray for one another more than ever. I love you all!

10 Mental Wellness Ideas

10 Mental Wellness Ideas

Hello Friends,

This has been quite a year and it is only June. I’m not going to talk about what is happening in the country right now. If you have a television or on social media, then you know what is happening. If you are like me, you’ve probably even gotten into a heated debate or two over your views and opinions.

Instead, I am here to offer a solution or help for the unrest that may be happening in your mind. Before we found out about the sinister death of George Floyd, I began working on a presentation detailing ten mental wellness ideas that could help us get through qauratine. But now because of the unrest happening in our communities, this same list can help you calm your mind and nerves during this time as well.

Please click the link to download your free copy. I pray it helps you.

Please remember to pray for one another. God bless each and every one of you.

How Many Trauma’s Can One Person Have? Sheesh!

How Many Trauma’s Can One Person Have? Sheesh!

Hello Friends,

Last week, I spoke about codependency. Please click this link to catch up https://harotianessentials.org/2020/04/28/codependency-you-say/.

I’m learning during this season of life the many ways that one could become codependent on our spouses, friends, family members, etc. Being codependent on anything other than God can cause a lot of heartache because people will always disappointment us. Not because we intentionally try to, but because we live in a broken world and no one is perfect. I have disappointed plenty of people and I pray that they all forgive me one day for it. I’ve allowed my own hurt and pain that I’ve experienced in my life to lead me to do things that I have since regretted.

One doesnt wake up codependent. There are traumas in our lives that trick us into believing that we have to depend on others, even unhealthy relationships, to help us get through this life.

One way that we find ourselves becoming codependent is when we aren’t able to heal from our childhood traumas. Hmmm, traumas?! Such as small word with ugly actions behind it. When I think of that word, I think of extreme situations that only “count” as trauma, such as, beatings, rape, molestation, mental, physical, and spiritual abuse. Yet, I have learned there are subtle “traumas” that would cause us to retreat into a codependent lifestyle because we feel we aren’t good enough for the world.

So what do unhealed childhood trauma’s look like:

  • Are you fearful of rejection and abandonment?
  • Have you experienced loss of a parent or caregiver?
  • Do you find yourself over-sharing, over-giving, and/or over-explaining?
  • Do you consider yourself a people pleaser?
  • Do you find yourself needing excessive validation?
  • Do you lack healthy boundaries?
  • Do you find yourself in and out of toxic relationships?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, like me, then you probably have unresolved childhood traumas. So, our next question is what kind of trauma’s could have occurred in our lives that lead to codependency and tolerance of toxic relationships? This list doesn’t always lead to codependency, but it will give us a good idea on how to acknowledge and begin our healing.

  • Did you grow up with an emotionally absent, or physically and/or emotionally abusive parents?
  • Were you bullied or isolated by your peers or family members?
  • Did you grow up with emotionally and physically abusive peers and/or family members?
  • Were you often ignored by your parents, family members, or care givers?
  • Were you often peer pressured into doing inappropriate things?
  • Were you left alone for long periods of time as a child?
  • Was there inconsistency in love, care, and affection by your parent or caregiver?
  • Were you shamed about eating habits? Too much? Too little?
  • Was there inappropriate sharing of personal details by your parents? (emotional incest)
  • Did you experience “helicopter parenting” where the child isn’t allowed to differentiate from caregivers/parents?

Now, you may be like me and say “Oh, crap! This is me!” I have not only experienced some of these things in my own childhood, but I have done some of things to my own children. When I came to this realization, it prompted even more forgiveness for my own mother and how I was raised. I believe that although my mother made many mistakes, they weren’t intentional. She did the best that she could with the training that she had, or lack there of. Also, realizing that we could do things to our own children without being consciously aware of them. As parents, we can just try to do better and be better.

The only way we are able to do that, is to heal from what was done to us. This means forgiving those who have hurt us, including ourselves. I remember crying for days when I realized the ways I have hurt my children. Anyone who knows me will tell you I will go to war for my children, no matter who they are. So to realize I was one of those people, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Either way, this reflection is to understand why we are doing the things we are doing so we can repair our hearts and heal from them, not to shame us. I have to admit, because I deal with a lot of shame (that’s the enemies go to when he wants to make me feel really low), it is very easy for me to look at this list and have little to no hope for the future. But then I have to remember the promises of God when it comes to shame and codependency.

God says that when our troubles are too heavy to bear….

You (God) keep track of all my sorrows. You (God) have collected all my tears in your (God) bottle. You (God) have recorded each one in your books.

Psalm 56:8, parenthesis added

How awesome is it to know that not only are we forgiven for our wrong doings, but we are also loved so much that God tends to our wounds and despair? Yes we mess up, but it doesn’t matter to God because He has seen us at our very worse; past, present, and future. Jesus died so that we have a life filled with joy even when things seem lost and overwhelming. Having joy doesn’t mean leading a perfect, stress free life. It simply means that we recognize that we aren’t perfect, but it’s because of our imperfections we are loved and adored by our Lord Jesus Christ, which in turn gives us His perfect peace.

After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!

1 Thessalonians 2:19 NLT

Codependency is not our final story, nor are the trauma’s that happened in our childhood. Once I was told, “pain is weakness leaving the body”. When our eyes are opened to the mistakes that we have made, the pain that we have experienced, and the character defects that need to be fixed, this is our chance to allow God to come in with His mighty power and do His mightiest work within us. He wants nothing but good things for us (Psalm 57:2). So let’s allow Him, shall we?

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. A lot of the information I received, was from this awesome psychologist that I follow on social media. You can find Ginger Dean, who specializes in recovery after toxic/abusive relationships, on Facebook and Instagram @lovingmeafterwe. She has helped me tremendously set healthy boundaries with the people in my life that I have had toxic relationships with. Although I am a continued work in progress, it is helpful to be surrounded by a community of people that know exactly what we are going through and specialists that can help us along the way. Please love yourselves and remember to pray for one another.

Codependency, You Say?

Codependency, You Say?

Hello Friends,

Today I would like to talk about something that I have been dealing with. Something that has recently come to my attention. It all started after my husband and I first separated. I was so confused as to why I was so devastated. Like I said before, I knew that it was coming. I could feel it. He was becoming more distant from our family each day. So when he left, I was genuinely surprised that I had the reaction that I had. It felt like all of the negative feelings that I’ve ever felt in my entire my life came flooding out. I mean, it makes sense. When I would experience trauma in my life, I learned at a early age to ignore it. I would numb them with something or somebody.

For months after our seperation, I felt frustrated because I couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I think it is normal to feel upset when our marriages become rocky and troubled, but there was something very abnormal about my reaction. I’ll talk about what I went through in a seperate post. Now I can say that I am in a healthier place. I find myself toggling between acceptance and depression. I miss my husband very much, but I have come to the realization that I cannot control nor manipulate this situation to fit my own feelings or agenda. How did I come to this conclusion, you ask?

Well, have you ever heard of codependency? Codependency is “a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as ‘relationship addiction’ because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive” according to Mental Health America.

I remember when my husband and I started marriage counseling last year, our Pastor brought up that we both may be struggling with codependency. I immediately dismissed it. It was hard for me to admit that this may be something that I could be struggling with. Quite honestly, I think I ignored it because I felt like I was already dealing with so much, I couldn’t add one more thing to my plate of messed-upness. “I’m not codependent on nobody” I told myself, yet, I sought validation from my husband about how I looked, how my cooked, how talented I was, and how I was as a mother. I felt so low about myself for so long, I wanted, no, I needed my husband to make me feel like I was enough. And when he didn’t, I believed the lies that came from the world that said I had to look, act, and be a certain way to be accepted.

How do we know that we may be struggling with codependency?

Codependency Character Traits

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions

When I first read this list, I couldn’t believe it. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and relieved. I’ve always known that I was different, that my struggle with my emotions was different from those around me. I would always wonder why people handled circumstances and situations in a healthier fashion than I did. If someone hurt me, I would always find some extreme, over the top way to hurt them back instead of crying and overeating ice cream like normal person.

The more research I did on what codependency is and how it can effect our lives, it was undeniable. This is why I felt so devastated. I made my husband my everything, so when he walked out the door, it felt like he literally took a piece of me with him. Being someones everything can be very exhausting. Thinking about it, I feel bad for him. I can see how he felt like he was trapped in a corner, while at the same time expecting things from me, his wife, to give him that I wasn’t able to give. When dealing with codependency, it is a tricky monster that must be stopped, but we must be very careful how we approach it.

God has given me the ability to take responsibility for why my marriage fell apart. I remember saying to him, “why are you doing this to me? what about everything we’ve been through? what about everything I’ve done for you?” God showed me that this was selfish thinking, or as a good friend would call it, “stinking thinking”. When we love someone, there shouldn’t be any expectation from that person. Love comes from God because God is Love. A very wise person told me that the love in our hearts weren’t put there to stay. Jesus said:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22 : 37-39

I tried to hold onto my husband so tightly so he could continue to give me the validation I desperately needed. It’s normal to want to feel validated and wanted, but what isnt normal is looking to people for that validation because Jesus is the only One that can fill it. He is the only One that can make us feel whole.

Unbeknownst to me, I needed my husband to leave in order to draw closer and depend on God more to help find myself again. All I wanted was understanding and now I feel like I have it. It’s like when you have a car and the engine light is on but you don’t know what is wrong. Now I know whats wrong. Now I’m able to concentrate on myself and do what I need to do to get healthy for my kids and I. They need me to be healthy and strong so I can guide them through the rough patches in their lives. The Lord is generously peeling back the onions of my life, while helping me tackle everything that has been keeping me in bondage for decades. Oh, boy, it’s painful, but I am determined to allow God to strengthen me so I can continue to stand firm during the war raging in the spirit realm over my soul.

For the past couple of months, although it has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do in my life thus far, I have been able to genuinely love and forgive my husband. At one point, I never though I would be able to do that. I’m able to think of him without feeling a stabbing pain in my chest. I’m able to listen to love songs and not feel bitter and abandoned. I able to talk to him when needed like a civilized person and not feel hate, sadness, or dis-contempt. And it is AWESOME!

When I began this journey of healing, I was afraid. Healing means we have to face what we need healing from. And when we are used to dodging those bullets, it frightening to know that we must face them. Although it is a painful process, it is so worth it. I am able to have a relationship with my husband that’s not filled with dysfunction all while giving him the space he needs to seek God without my interference. Only God can save both him and I. Our identity, love and affirmation must come from Him alone. The only thing that God would like for me to do for my husband is continue to choose to love him everyday and pray for him. And I’m thankful because that is all I have in me to do.

If you find that you struggle with codependency, there are so many resources that can help you. Just like any 12-step program, the first step is to admit that our lives have become unmanageable and that we need a Higher Power or God to help us get back on track. They offer online Zoom support groups if you would like to hear how other people are dealing with it in their lives. Just go to http://www.coda.com. It has helped me tremendously.

Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for reading my thoughts. Remember you are not alone. Please email me if you want to talk or have questions. God bless each and every one of you and please remember to pray for one another.

Happy Anniversary

Hello Friends,

Yesterday was my husbands and I wedding anniversary. At first, it wasn’t on my mind because my kids and I were so busy getting acclimated to the new online school systems that were assigned to them. That in it self was enough work to keep my brain occupied from any feelings, let alone bad ones. We could have had a hurricane come through our neighborhood and I wouldn’t have noticed, we were so busy.

Anyway, after everything cooled down and I looked down at my phone, it hit me: April 20, 2020. “WOW! It’s our anniversary.” I’m unable to say what I felt because so many emotions began flooding in. The other day, I blogged about allowing yourself to feel your emotions in order to move past them, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t allow myself to feel everything that was happening in my heart. It was too overwhelming. So, I sat down and wrote what was on my mind. I honestly don’t think it makes any sense, but I would like to share it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I will look back at this day, at this moment, and then, it will make sense. But for now, here it it.

Happy Anniversary

Do you think about me?
I think about you.
I’m reminded by my ring finger that is tattooed.
I’m reminded when our son tells a joke,
One that you would’ve said in order to soak,
Up the stress and discomfort that weighed on our chest,
When life became a utter mess.
Thank you for being apart of all of our great memories,
That good, the bad, and the ugly.
I will never forget the joy that you brought,
During some of our most darkest days apart.
But I no longer can focus on what we used to have,
Yet instead I have to focus on my relationship with God.
It’s time to bid ado for now,
Maybe in the future we can say a proper goodbye,
Without the anger, accusation and nastiness that used to come along with it,
Because there used to be a time where this would’ve never been the case.
I have to give my heart to Jesus now,
He’s the only one that can help me so I will take a bow,
From all that I thought was right, pure, and loving,
And focus on my real true love,
Hint: I’m His Beloved
.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. Please remember to pray for one another. Love you all!

“When you pass through the waters, I (God) will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” -Isaiah 43:2

Parenthesis added

2nd Stage of Grief

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

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