Continued Cycle of Forgiveness: July 19′ Monthly Theme

Continued Cycle of Forgiveness: July 19′ Monthly Theme

Hey Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hope Is…

Hope Is…

Good Day Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

Why does God want us to have hope?

Hope is:

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

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

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

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

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

Life Still Happens

Life Still Happens

Hello Dear Friends,

It’s been a minute, eh? Well, over a month to be exact. My issue started in the middle of April when I began to experience a Lupus flare. If you are new to my blog, please read click here to see what it’s like to have Lupus. The emotional rollercoaster you experience during and after a flare, to me, is the worst part. At any moment, your mind becomes vulnerable to attacks that you thought you have overcome. Staying strong becomes more difficult by the day, by the hour, by the minute, by the second. Until, finally, you’re sulking in days old dirt because you don’t have the energy to shower.

Your mind begins to play on tricks on you. You begin to wonder what’s the point of fighting if this is going to be your life every few months. Then you begin thinking about the fight, what it entails. The reaching, the clawing, the crying out for help, for redemption, for air, for anything besides physical and mental anguish.

You pick up the phone for support, but then you think, people are tired of hearing the same cries from you…”I’m in pain. I need help. Please pray for me.” Day after day you begin to sink lower and lower into the abyss of self-pity and hopelessness. You cry out asking, God why aren’t you here with me. You softly here Him say, “I AM here with you. I love you, I adore you, I miss you.” But you don’t believe Him because you feel alone, you feel the pain, you want to feel nothing.

Your children look at you with pain in their eyes, trying to figure out when things will go back to normal. Your spouse becomes overwhelmed with work and housework since you are unable to lift a finger. You lay in bed, staring at the ceiling begging God to just end it already. You aren’t made for this life. You aren’t “it”. You wait for the day to magically feel better, but that day never comes.

There are so many things you want to do, but your body and mind won’t let you do it. So you find yourself at step one; growing closer to Christ because he has saved you in the past and he will save you again. But even praying has become a chore. So you pick up your bible, you say the words, hoping, believing that God has sent his Angel warriors to fight whatever is holding you down, even if it’s yourself.

This is it. This is life. This is the fight. Minus all of the outside drama and responsibilties that has to be done because life doesn’t care if you’re sick. Life doesn’t care if you are experiencing mental anguish. Life still happens.

 

It’s All About Perception

It’s All About Perception

Good Day Friends!

Today I’m thinking about how we perceive certain things in our lives and how much perception makes a difference in whether or not we have a good day or a bad day. Sometimes, we are unable to avoid bad days, but overall, I believe perception determines whether we allow those bad days to control the decision we make.

I believe that one way we overcome life struggles is to perceive our struggles in a positive aspect. I see a lot of post about how changing our mindsets is important to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves. Even God says that we have to renew our minds each day in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  -Romans 12:2

I love how it says that God’s will for us is “good and pleasing and perfect”!

I used to think that being diagnosed with mental illness, lupus, and fibromyalgia was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I truly thought my life was over, but then I realized it was just the beginning. Changing my perception helped me to realize that I can use this new diagnosis to my advantage.

Changing our mindset or how we view our circumstances helps us forgive those who have hurt us, it helps us to accept our current situation; good or bad, it helps us to have courage to overcome future obstacles, and it helps us to let go and not sweat the small stuff and become more appreciative. Changing our perception also helps us have more faith in God; that He will deliver us from whatever is going on and like scripture says, it will be “good and pleasing and perfect”.

When I decided to change my perception, I asked God for His help and of course He came through with His promise of changing how I think. Fact of the matter is, God will pursue us. He will find ways to get our attention. He will allow things such as illness’ to get our attention so we can actively seek Him, so we can have a close relationship with Him.

He will use our struggles as a chance to get closer to us. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to spend time with Him, just like a Father who wants to have a relationship with his children. His love is neither conditional nor passive. I believe God has used mental and physical illness to get my attention so He can have a close relationship with me. Let’s face it. When I was healthy, I really didn’t seek God. I wasn’t concerned with having relationship with Him. I was so wrapped up in my own life, only seeking what I wanted.

When He uses such things are illness’ to get our attention, God doesn’t just sit back and expect us to fight it alone. He fights for us!

The Lord is a warrior: Yahweh is his name. -Exodus 15:3

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still ad watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” -Exodus 14:13,14

Truthfully speaking, my life has gotten better because of it. Why you ask? Since I’ve embraced that this is the current season in my life, it has inspired me to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do. For instance: I am unable to hold a full time job because of this condition. Since I cannot work, I am able to spend more time with my children. I am able to be at home with them more. I am able to connect with them more. I am able to put more time and effort into starting my own business. I am able to concentrate on starting and sustaining my writing career. And more important, I am able to help people by sharing my struggles and helping them overcome theirs. It truly is the best feeling.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve grown closer to God which is awesome! I feel His presence more and more. I feel His unconditional love like never before. I am able to appreciate life more. I am able to slow down and enjoy sunsets. I no longer desire death when I become overwhelmed. I no longer desire to give up. I’ve shed most of the pain that has been apart of me most of my life. I am free from shame, guilt, and condemnation from the enemy. I’ve been able to forgive and forget. I’m eating healthier and I’ve been motivated to work on my dreams.

My diagnosis has been the best worst thing that has happened to me. It has given me a testimony to share with others who are in same boat as I am.

When changing our perception, it is helpful to remember:

  • Gods love is faithful and good (Psalm 36:5)
  • All we have to do is slow down in our self-efforts and allow God to guide our steps (Psalm 37:23)
  • We are safe and secure in Gods love (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • We are sheltered by His presence (Exodus 33:14)
  • Allow His knowledge to wash over us (Romans 1:19,20)

“Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of Gods working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” -Paul David Tripp

Thank you all for reading my thoughts today. I pray that you all are having a wonderful day. As always, I appreciate everyone who takes the time out to support my blog. Please remember to pray for one another. God bless you!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. -Isaiah 64:4

 

For the Easily Offended

For the Easily Offended

It seems as though when dealing with mental illness, it is easily to take constructive criticism the wrong way. I desperately try not to, but when the world is kicking me down, one incident after another, it is possible to take something that is not supposed to be offensive, offensively.

You don’t have to have a mental illness to become easily offended and become defensive when something you don’t want to hear is brought to your attention. If I’m not making sense, let me clarify.

Let’s say, for example, you are severely depressed and a good friend who has been having a bad day says, “I didn’t like that you did…blah blah blah.” Now, a healthy minded person would be able to resolve whatever conflict that was created by what was said to hurt their friend’s feelings. Or at the very least being honest enough to let them know you are unable to confront those issues right now. But since you are severely depressed, you may feel like it’s an attack on you or even just take it the wrong way.

A person could argue that a friend would know that it would be a bad time to talk about whatever was said or done to hurt them if they know you are severely depressed, but then not everyone can recognize the symptoms of depression and mania. Anyway, that’s a different discussion.

Sometimes, talking to someone with a mental illness is kind of like walking through a minefield when they are going through a rough time. You never know if and when you may say or do something that will push them over the edge. Personally, I think it is unfair for my family and friends to walk on eggshells around me because of the mental instability I sometimes experience. One day, I hope that people will find it easier to talk to me about important topics without the fear of me spiraling into a further depression or having a preconceived notion that I wont be able to handle what is being said. Or even fearing my response will be that of a toddlers.

Plus, I want to be confident enough in myself that anyone could approach me about anything and I will be able to either let them know that I am unable to deal with confrontation, or most importantly, being able to have a conversation (resolve issues) no matter how I’m feeling.

It is in my opinion, that people with mental illness should understand that it is just as hard for our loved ones as it is for us. It is easy to scream that we want to be understood and shown compassion, but living with a disease not only effects the host, but the people who surround them.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray you all are having a wonderful start to your week. Please remember to pray for one another.

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. -Nido Qubein