What Was I Thinking?

What Was I Thinking?

Hey Friends,

I’m back! Didn’t take long did it, ha! It’s not because I have figured things out and I am back to being able to live life without questioning my own existence. Oh no! It’s quite the opposite. I am back because I continue to doubt and question myself and of course, I feel I am crazier than ever?

I had to remind myself of why I blog in the first place. I am a writer. It is my safe haven and my place of peace. Why did I think I can find peace by cutting out the one thing that helps me? If you look at my description is clearly states, “To share my journey of mental and physical illness while inspiring others along the way” or something like that, since I’m too lazy to double check the exact wording.

So, I asked myself, whats the point of taking a break when I am at my lowest? It is literally defeating the purpose of why I began blogging in the first place.

I can tell you what happened. I got caught up in the logistics of blogging. The “when to” “how to” “what to” of blogging. I began comparing myself to other bloggers, their views, and likes. I obsessively began to check my stats like I was actually getting paid to go this. I did what many of you say “What Not To Do As A Blogger”. It seems everyone has a post like this.

But, I didn’t get into blogging to get paid, although it would be super nice. I got into blogging to save myself from mental illness entrapment. I needed a place to express my feelings, hoping that others would be able to relate and blogging provides that.

I feel I owe the people who come to my blog as inspiration a sincere apology. I was being selfish. I forgot the true integrity of my blog and why I started it in the first place. Am I not being a hypocrite if don’t share the darkest moments of mental illness (which by the way, is my current state)? I became afraid and like a coward, I ran. Just being honest.

Facing scrutiny and judgment while living and telling your truth is expected. This is another reason why I look to God for strength. Also why I want him to use me to touch the lives of those who are going through what I am going through.

Anyway, this is my truth and my journey. Thank you to everyone who left kind comments under my last two post. I will respond to them as soon as I can because right now, it’s 1am and I couldn’t sleep. It is dangerous for someone who is struggling with mental illness (or any illness) to not get enough rest…it will literally make me even more insane (which would explain a lot), and who has time to deal with a manic Ashley?!? I sure as hell don’t.

Love you guys! Stay safe. Please, love one another as God loves you. Pray for one another as the Holy Spirit does for you. And save one another as Jesus did for you (you don’t have to die, but you know what I mean 🙂   )

 

*Image borrowed from google pics*

Being Eeyore At A Tigger Party

Being Eeyore At A Tigger Party

Hello Friends,

If you are unfamiliar, Eeyore is a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne. He is well known for his gloomy, depressed personality. Truthfully speaking, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized why Eeyore was my favorite character out of all the others. I could relate. No matter what was going on, he was sad. The difference between Eeyore and I was that I felt the need to mask my sadness, even as a child.

I remember being told a few times throughout my life that “no one wanted to be around someone who was sad all of the time.” This forced me to put on such “mask” because I didn’t want to be shunned by society. Honestly, I love people. I love the energy that people provide, I love their smiles, I love helping them when they are in need, I love humanity as a whole. So, I did what I had to do to be a part of society. I hid. Hiding created anxiety because I didn’t want to be discovered. I didn’t want anyone; family, friends, co-workers, God…to see my sadness. I needed everyone to know I was ok, like everyone else. But let me tell you, once you suppress something long enough, it would eventually bubble to the surface. Trust me.

Recently, I’ve been faced with social anxiety. My sadness has reared it’s ugly head and I can no longer contain it with my own strength (if you guys haven’t been able to notice), thus causing extreme anxiety. Sadness is not something I can’t control, nor is it something that I voluntarily chose to have (like some would like to think). This is why it is called a “mental illness”.

My church started offering a social event called, Parents Connect. It’s a night where parents come together once a month, without their children, and socialize. I tried to attend the first event. I drove the twelve minutes to get there, grabbed my purse, stepped out of my car, checked the rearview mirror to see if I had anything on my face, walked to the door, and looked through the window like a creep. I suddenly felt the need to turn around and run (which I did, well more of a fast paced walked). My palms became sweaty, I began to shake and tremble. It was horrible. It was the beginning of a full-blown anxiety attack. I saw all of those parents who were well dressed, smiling, laughing, enjoying themselves. Honestly, I just felt like I wouldn’t fit in. So, I ran. Sat in my car for the next hour reading a book…in the church parking lot because I was too ashamed to come home and tell my husband that I couldn’t handle it.

How did Eeyore do it? How was he so sad all of the time, yet was able to have fun with Tigger and the rest of his friends during social events? If you are unfamiliar with Tigger, he is also a character in Winnie-the-Pooh. His personality was very exuberant, friendly, and energetic. The complete opposite of Eeyore. I believe the reason why Eeyore was able to be sad but still have friends was that he didn’t put on a mask. He didn’t have to suppress his sadness because that’s just who he was. He accepted it and his friends did too.

Which brings me to my next point, anxiety just isn’t anxiety. Anxiety is the result of a deeper, rooted issue. For me, my rooted issue is fear. Fear of being discovered. Fear of judgement. Fear of rejection. When I saw the other parents living it up like it was 1999, I was afraid. I was afraid that I would walk in like Eeyore at a Tigger party, except they would judge me or treat me like a leaper because “no one likes to be around a person who is sad all of the time.” So I ran and spent time with the only person I knew wouldn’t judge me; Jesus. If you thought I was going to say myself, that would have been a whole lie because I judge myself all of the time.

I’ve been feeling really anxious lately, but then God revealed to me it is due to fear. Once I thought about it, I couldn’t help but agree. I am truly afraid. I’m afraid all of the time. I’m afraid for my children’s future. I’m afraid of what people may say about my appearance or health. I’m afraid of certain family members and their judgement. I’m afraid of the choices I’ve made and the result of them. I’m afraid that I may never get better. Any of this sound familiar? If not, it wouldn’t surprise me that I’m the only crazy worrying about this kind of nonsense because let’s be honest, who cares what people think? Or better yet, why do I care? Because I’ve always cared. It’s been a driving factor in my life to do well and be in the “elite class” of humanity. And when I fall short, I am judged, thus creating fear. I wish I wasn’t like this. I pray every day for the Lord to take it away, but then if I don’t have it, will I still have the passion that I have for humanity as a whole? Ok, I think I’m going down a rabbit hole with this one.

Louie Giglio, a pastor at Passion City Church, wrote, “The antidote to fear is faith, and the soundtrack of faith is worship.” When we are feeling fearful or anxious, this is the time to draw closer to God.

We must remind ourselves that he is able by refocusing on him and his plan for our lives. Did you know that in the Bible, God tells us to “fear not” 366 times? That’s every day of the year including leap year. Fear and anxiety is not something we are supposed to carry.

It is easy to say, I will not let fear reign over me when it feels like my chest has an elephant sitting on it. I have to remind myself that God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 

I know his plans for me aren’t to walk around in fear, that’s what Satan wants. He is not of God of fear, but a God of mercy and righteousness. His gift of grace does not include fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, anger, hopelessness, rejection, nor judgment. Those are the enemies tricks and lies.

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. -Romans 3:21-24

Next time you feel anxious about anything, I recommend you to do two things: (1.) Find the root of the anxiety so whatever fruit you bear will be free of it (2.) Draw nearer to Jesus because he bore that fear and punishment for you on the cross. Give it to God!

Remember, as I stated Prayer Is The Best Medicine. Pray for yourself, pray for others, pray for those in need, which is everyone! We all need Jesus. I love you all and have a wonderful day.

Goodbye For Now

Goodbye For Now

Namaste Blogger Family,

Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts and staying with me throughout this journey, but I have to step away from social media for a while. For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been doing well emotionally and social media intensifies what I’m feeling. So, I’ve decided to take a break and spend more time focusing on my family and my relationship with God.

I so badly wanted to have a successful blog 1. so I can monetize it and 2. because I wanted to help people realize that all isn’t lost when you are struggling with a mental and/or physical illness. Turns out, I am unable to accomplish neither task if my mental state is in the wrong space. And social media has a way of offering false hope and idols, allowing the enemy to further distract me from the ultimate goal; becoming a God-fearing mom for the children.

So I would like to say goodbye for now, but not for long. I will allow God (and health professionals) to let me know when it would be safe for me to return.

I have a post scheduled for later this afternoon and since I feel it is important, it will still get posted. Hopefully, you find comfort and hope in what I was lead to say.

I love you all dearly, and remember, pray for another as the Holy Spirit prays for you…love one another as our Abba Father loves you. God bless you each and every one of you.

 

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Hey Friends,

Remember when I said I Suck At Maintaining Friendships, well I also meant online relationships as well. I apologize if many of you feel as though I don’t reciprocate the same love on your blogs as you do mine. I blog to release my feelings and share God’s words. So I apologize and will try to work on it. I truly love you all and are very proud of each and every one of you for doing what you love to do day in and day out.

Now that is out of the way, I want to share what happened to me tonight. Right now, I am currently reading a book by Christine Caine titled Unashamed. This is such a great read, especially if you are like me who has been carrying around the burden of shame since adolescent years.

While reading, it kind of ties into what happened tonight. So, as I was getting ready to head out to one of my classes at church, I looked for what seemed like an eternity for a shirt that didn’t show how skinny I am (current shame); anything too baggy or too tight would reveal an alarming skeleton frame. But, Eureka! I found a white shirt that I felt fit perfectly.

I get to my class, sit down next to my classmates, pull out my bible and notebook, look down only to see two large orange stains on the front of my shirt. Those stains led my eyes to a large brown stain on the left side of my shirt. My first thought was, “what the hell! This shirt was clean when I left the house 15 minutes ago.” After further inspection, it seems as though the stains were “sat-in” stains…meaning, even though I had washed it, those stains weren’t going anywhere.

Needless to say, I was embarrassed. I began to think about what other people would say to themselves when they noticed the stains. Would they think…“Oh, she’s dirty? She’s nasty? Why would she leave her house with a dirty shirt on?”

I would have never left the house in a shirt with stains all over it, for this exact reason…shame. Then I realized the lighting in my room and the lighting in my class are completely different. The lighting in my room made the shirt look nice, white, and clean. But the lighting in our classroom made my shirt look dingy with stains.

This made me think about my relationship with God. Before I began my journey, I felt like my life was nice, white, and clean. But then the more I sought God and the closer I became, the more He began to reveal that my life was just the opposite; gross, dingy, and stained. But he did this out of love to show me that the only way to “change my shirt” was through him.

Sitting in class, as embarrassed as I was, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me. Since this week has been emotionally tough, I needed to hear hope. But God didn’t speak to me during this class…or at least I didn’t listen to what he had to say. The chatter in my head about the stain on my shirt (and other nonsense I have no control over) was too loud for me to hear anything God had to say to me. So he chose to speak to me through Christine Caine.

The more we draw closer to God, the more God shines a light on our shortcomings… it may make us feel ashamed, embarrassed, just as Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” Genesis 3:7). 

When God shines his light on our shortcomings, it’s not to shame us, it’s to draw us closer to him. We were created to feel no shame. We were created in his image, his likeness (Genesis 1:27-28). Is God ashamed of us? No, quite the opposite. He made us “reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28). 

As yourself, you would give that kind of authority to someone you were ashamed of? Would you kill your only Son for people you were ashamed of?

That is what’s so amazing about his love. God forgave Adam and Eve, even though they didn’t listen to the one and only rule he had given them; But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:16-17.

God still gave up the most precious gift he had, Jesus, so we didn’t have to feel shame, or guilt, or regret, or hate, or anxiety. He gave us his word as a guide and his promises that through him, we will see better days. Remember folks, the enemy has already been defeated on the cross…that battle has been won, through Jesus name. But I was told that even if you’ve cut the head off of a rattlesnake, his venom can still harm, or even kill you. Meaning, even though Satan was defeated on the cross, his “minions” are still working hard to turn you away from Jesus and shame has become one of best tactics.

When you walk into the brighter light and see of all of the stains in your life, don’t turn away from it. Don’t turn off of the light, but embrace it. God will tackle all of those stains one by one. Turn to Jesus when Satan throws another stain on your shirt because he is the only one that can get the stain out.

Love you all. Have a wonderful day. Please pray for Guatemala, each other, and anyone else you know who is suffering. The enemy is busy, but God is almighty. Blessed be, family.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you…” Isaiah 54:4

 

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

Hello Friends,

I saw a video on Facebook this morning that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I don’t remember the creator of the video, so know that the information that I’m about to lay on you didn’t come from me. Then again, are any of our ideas original?

Let’s call him, “Mr. Monk”. He said that the most successful people in the world wake up extremely early. “Mr. Monk” said that he lived as a monk (thus the nickname) for three years, which forced him to wake up every morning at 4am to meditate and do whatever monks do. He even said that some monks would wake up as early as 2am. Yikes! “Mr. Monk” went on to use successful people, such as, Michelle Obama, who is working out by 4am.

Michelle Obama

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m and begins working on his emails.

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Xerox CEO Ursula Burns rises at 5:15 a.m. to email and work out.

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…for examples. I’ve always wanted to be an early riser. I remember being a teenager and I would watch my younger cousin wake up 2 hours before she had to be at work at 10 a.m. just to get her day started. I was always the last minute sleeper. I would wait until, literally, the very last minute I had to wake up in order to get to work during the 7-minute window they gave us to be late without getting in trouble.

Later in life, I noticed that I used to sleep as a coping skill to get through moments in my life. If I was sad, I would sleep. If I were angry, I would sleep. If I didn’t want to be bothered, I would sleep. Starting as a child into adulthood, I slept to escape the realities of mental illness. If I was asleep, I didn’t have to do or think about anything.

I remember when I began down this road of Seeking God (click the link to catch up), I desired to be an early riser. Mental and physical illness prevented me from doing so. When my Lupus symptoms started to get under control, it was more so the mental hell that I was living in that kept me captive in the bed. I slept not to feel shame, guilt, and rejection.

Then one day, out of the blue, I woke up around 6 a.m. while the kids were still asleep and spent the next hour and 45-minutes with God, reading my bible and journaling. It was truly a miracle. My body wasn’t stiff and in pain. My chest wasn’t caved in from anxiety. There weren’t the normal sounds of grunting, ooohhs, and aaahhhs. I felt…regular.

This gave me hope that I can have more days like this again. Soon afterward, I fell into a Lupus flare, but it didn’t matter. I did it!

“Mr. Monk” asked, what would you do if you were deposited $86,400 into your bank account each day. The catch is at the end of the day that it would disappear. But the same $86,400 would reappear the next morning. What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer was, “darn skippy I would spend it, then invest it, duh! Every last penny. Then, do it all over the next day.” 

Then he said, turn that same $86,400 into 86,400 seconds into your life account. What would you do then? What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer completely changed.

I realized that God has been putting 86,400 seconds into my life account each day. Most days I use maybe 8,000 seconds, maybe!…other days I prefer to use none. When I fact, I could use most of it to help shape the world. Just as I would use the $86,400 to better the lives of my children and loved ones, I should use some of the 86,400 seconds from God to help better the lives of those same people (well most of it with the proper rest, of course).

Bringing awareness to God’s grace and salvation has become a goal of mine. Now that I know what is a stake, I can’t allow the seconds that God is gifting me to go unused any longer. I want to be able to be like most successful people in the world; wake up, do what needs to be done for the people who are defenseless to do it for themselves.

I no longer want to use sleep as an escape from reality. Now I’ve found more of a reason to do so. It’s funny how God will use non-believers to make a point and pull your attention back to the original plan of what he has designed you for. I’m not sure if “Mr. Monk” is a non-believer, but he definitely delivered a message from no one other than God.

I pray that each of you feels Gods unconditional love throughout the day. No matter your circumstances, you find peace in his glory, rest in his love, and comfort in knowing that you are a child of God.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

**Just a reminder, images and gif’s are not my own**

 

 

Foggy Days

Foggy Days

Hey Friends,

So, have you guys ever felt so busy or occupied that it is almost like you are in a fog? It seems for the past couple of days, I’ve been really occupied with my kids and maintaining a relationship with God, I haven’t been able to have time for anything else.

Lately, my mind has been reminded of heartbreaking moments in my life…relationships that have been lost in outer space (it seems). I’ve even been reminded by haunting dreams; people that I haven’t thought about in years have suddenly come up as if our relationship was obliterated yesterday.

I can’t help but to wonder, is this the trick of the enemy? Is it suppressed feelings that have stayed dormant for so long that they no longer can stay hidden in whatever God-forsaken area of my heart? Or is because of a recent heartbreak that opened the floodgate of hurt feelings that I’ve tried to ignore for years?

I’m not sure of the answers to any of these questions, so I’ve occupied my mind with two things that I know would bring joy to my heart; my children and God.

Fixing my focus on God’s love for us is vital to my mental and physical health. Simply put, when I feel good and I am able to “do good”. I’m able to be a good mother to my children, I’m able to take care of my household, and most importantly, I’m able to see past my own struggles and have hope for the future. And hope is so important when trying to overcome adversity.

I have hope in knowing that God has given the gift of grace and righteousness. I have hope because Jesus Christ died in order for us to live! When I meditate on that thought alone, I have no other choice but to worship and rejoice. Knowing that he has paid the price for my past, present, and future mishaps.

That being said, I don’t know where this feeling of heartbreak is coming from. I don’t know why, all of a sudden, I am hit with past and present foes, but I do know that I will not let them defeat me because Jesus’ death defeated them for me already. And it is a complete waste of time to spend anymore thought or energy on it.

So, Satan I say to you…

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I pray that you are not allowing whatever demons haunting to no longer haunt you. I pray that you put on the armor of God each day that you wake up and fight as if your life depended on it because Jesus’ is fighting for you. I pray that you find comfort in God’s love for us and know that it is more than our mere human minds can comprehend. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Have a wonderful blessed start to your weekend. Sorry I missed Funny Friday…I will be more prepared next week. I love you with all of my heart.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7

Letter To A Broken Heart

Letter To A Broken Heart

Hey Friends,

So, a good friend of mines, who I care for dearly, even though we have never met in person, is suffering from heartbreak. This pain is so familiar to me and I’m sure to you as well. There are very few people, if any, walking this planet who hasn’t experienced a broken heart. Whether it was from a breakup, betrayal, or even loss of a loved one (literally or figuratively).

Heartbreak has been known to claims lives. According to the American Heart Association, Broken Heart Syndrome can resemble symptoms that of a heart attack due to stress-induced cardiomyopathy aka a broken heart.

Personally, the last time my heart was broken, it felt like death had both of his hands wrapped around my heart, squeezing so hard that every breath that I took was unbearable. Every tear that ran down my face was that of physical and emotional twinge. I begged for relief, at one point, even hoped for death to finally claim the pieces of what was left of what used to pump life throughout my limp, lifeless body.

As my friend described her pain, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own grief. I felt helpless on how to tell her ways to overcome such horrific agony. Honestly, I barely remember how I made it through myself.

Then, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me the right words to say which prompted tonight’s post.

My Dear Friend,

I know that you are hurting right now. The pain that you feel is unbearable. It feels as though life cannot possibly go on for one more minute of agony surrounding your mind. I do not have the answers that you seek, nor the cure for your discomfort, but one thing is for sure. The love that Jesus has for you will get you through this difficult time. Our Creator designed us to have needs and wants. He has designed us to love and take care of one another and you were betrayed by a person who promised they would protect you. There is only one person who can fulfill your need and desire for unconditional love, Yahweh. Even saying his name…Yahweh, allows you to create a new breath with every letter.

He created your needs and wants to match up with his. Your desire to be loved lines up perfectly with his need and desire to love you like your hand fitting into a glove. It is natural to try to find our desires here on earth in things and people other than God. So, it is not your fault. Please forgive yourself, friend. No one saw this coming, including you. But you know who did? Jesus! He knew that the world would break your heart. That is why is he waiting with his arms open wide, awaiting you to climb into his lap like an infant so he can comfort you that way a Father should comfort their child.

God promises that he will satisfy all of our needs and wants, including our need and want to be loved. He also promised to never break your heart as the world has. We will never be fully satisfied here on earth because the earth is not our permanent home. His kingdom is. We will find contentment for which we were created when we let our desires become fulfilled by him, and him alone. During times of suffering, he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9). Take this opportunity to draw closer to him. He is waiting for you, friend. I promise he will give you more love and joy that this world has to offer. His word says, So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). 

I love you so much, sis. I will continue to pray that the Lord makes every day easier to bear. Until then, know that I and our Abba Father are here for you.

Sincerely,

Ashley

If you are experiencing heartache, this letter applies to you also. Please know that I am here for you. You can email me, and I will be more than happy to pray for you and try to give you the best advice that I possibly can without judgment. I do not have all of the answers, but I know who does. Jesus and I are tight like size 2 underwear on a size 20 bear.

 

Love you guys with all my heart. Stay safe!

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