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

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

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…

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