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

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

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

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