It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.
On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.
As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.
I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.
There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10
Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.
Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.
P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*
Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Some of you have been following my journey since day one. Thank you to my new followers as well. The past three years have been a roller coaster ride. Not the fun kind, but definitely necessary.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried around fear and sadness. It has caused me to make decisions, good and bad, that most people wouldn’t understand.
Three years ago, God started to gut me like a fish, removing all of the remnants of each encounter, each bad decision, each mistake. All of the shame, guilt, fear, sadness, etc. had to come out in order for me to walk in the purpose God has set for me. And that crap hurt! Sometimes still does. He has removed certain people out of my life that I once thought I could never live without. God has helped me forgive those who I thought I would never be able to forgive. He has given me the strength to love those I was determined to hate.
What’s the difference between the Ashley three years ago and the Ashley today? Complete and utter surrender. Understanding that my life is not my own and when I try to control my life and the outcome of certain situations, I get in my own way and fall straight on my face. Ugh! And man, that hurts, too! I ultimately create my own misery.
I used to believe people when they would say, “Life is pain. You just have to deal with it.” That’s not true. I’m going to shame the devil by dropping this fun fact: once we accept Jesus, surrender to God’s will and not our own, life becomes beautiful. Reread that. Everything is possible that once felt impossible. We are able to pour into other people what God is pouring into us. We begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I’m not saying things arent going to be challenging, but I have good news. The more challenges we face, the more opportunity we have to draw closer to Abba Father. The closer we draw to God, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the easier we are able to see our circumstances through our Fathers eyes and not our own, which is awesome because my vision is tore up from the floor up. OK, maybe I shouldn’t bring that phrase back, but I tried. 🤪
The picture above is me in 2018; sick, depressed, 99 pounds soaking wet. I was stressed all of the time. I was trying to do everything in my own strength (which as you can see wasn’t much), including trying to control those around me to fit my agenda on what I thought life was suppose to look like.
The above picture was taken five days ago. I am a healthy 100 and something pounds 😁 and have completely surrendered to the Lord who’s agenda for my life and the lives of my children is so much better than my own.
The road to recovery is not a easy one, nor is it for the faint in heart. Every morning I have to pull up my big girl draws and remind myself that Gods will is better than mine. Surrendering is tough, especially when you’re stubborn, selfish, and arrogant like myself. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ that I get a fresh start each morning to do better than the day before.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I love each and every one of you. Please don’t forget to pray for one another. Remember, we can disagree and still love on each other.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.-2 Corinthians 5:17
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.
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
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*
*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
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.
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:
I’ve definitely grown closer to God
I pray a lot more
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.
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.
I have the courage to face my own flaws, such as, codependency, unjust love, and the hurt that I have caused others.
I have stepped into forgiving myself while realizing I am forgiven by the Lord
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
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.
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.
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
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:
We must give ourselves grace for not “getting over it” when we think you should be over it
We cannot rush the grief process. It is something we must power through with the help of the only true and living God
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
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.
If you are feeling any of the feelings I mentioned above, know that it is ok not to be ok.
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 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.
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.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” -Colossians 3:13 NLT
This is the scripture that comes to mind when I think about how much I don’t want to forgive a person that has hurt me. I feel like if I don’t forgive them, in some way, I would be hurting them the same way they hurt me. In my last post Continued Cycle of Forgiveness I mentioned how not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If you haven’t read it, click the link above. Choosing not to forgive someone will hurt you more then it will ever hurt the other person.
Today, I want to talk about unforgiveness’ first cousin, resentment. According to dictionary.com, resentment is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” I like to think of it like it’s unforgiveness marinated in a coat of anger. You could be unforgiving and be sad about the hurt that was caused. But then there is the anger that comes afterward when we fester and think about how we were wronged over and over again?
Have you ever been in an argument and once it was over you thought about what you could have said? I have. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I would become. “Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I really speak my mind? Why did I hold back?” But if I chose to let it go after an argument or experiencing a confrontation with someone, and I would let it go immediately afterward, it wouldn’t hurt, I wouldn’t be angry, I would never think about it again. I would be at peace.
Truthfully, this is why I don’t like conflict It would take me forever to get over it. I would think about it. I would think about what they said, and what I should have said in response. I would replay words, body language, etc. until I would be in tears all over again. So since I don’t know how to move forwards, most of the time, I chose to dodge it like the bullet that it is.
Unless we check our unforgiveness at God’s doorstep as soon as it rears its ugly head, we will find ourselves drenched in bitterness, indignation, anger, and hard feelings. We create a wedge between ourselves and God. And resentment is very subtle. It’s sneaky like a thief in the night, robbing our peace without us even knowing it. All we’ll know is that we are waking up angry or frustrated. Resentment feeds on your peace and joy like a plague.
Sometimes it starts at the very beginning when we choose not to say sorry when the Holy Spirit leads us to. Or when we choose to gossip about the mishap with someone else instead of talking it through with the other party involved. Or when we choose to stuff our feelings, numbing the pain with drugs, binging on Netflix, or ignoring that person completely because it feels better to be mad and play the victim.
When untreated, resentment will eat away at our peace, our joy, our happiness, and our soul. We would find ourselves becoming triggered by unrelated events because it reminds us what that person said or did, thus making us angry all over again.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been holding onto resentment towards someone I love. I thought that all was forgiven and in the past, but then, something happened to bring all of those old feelings up. I began experiencing extreme anger and disgust for this person, but I didn’t know why. In my mind, I had forgiven them for what they have done, but God knew my heart.
He knew it was getting in the way of Him and I. So my Father began peeling away at it, like a good Father would, to ensure His child would be equipped with all I needed in the future for if and when this happens again. He’s ripping off the bandage that I put over my broken leg and taking me into surgery so that I can become completely healed. If you’ve ever broken a bone before you know exactly what I mean. The healing process is painful and very uncomfortable, but then, you’re good to go afterward.
So how do we start the healing process?
Saying yes when Jesus asks us, Do we want to be healed? It’s not a literal question. It’s more like, will we do what it takes to become healed? He knows it’ll hurt, but our Father equips us, never leaves us. He tells us to lean into him for comfort and strength. As long as you take one step at a time, He will do the rest. I assure you.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. -Psalm 23:4
Know that this is a lifetime commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the journey is worth it. Soon you will begin to see the fruits of the Spirit blossoming from your spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22, 23
I believe God asks us to forgive, not just because it will heal our own wounds, but because almost 100% of the time when someone hurts us, it has more to do with the storm brewing inside of them than us personally. We only hurt ourselves when we allow their storm to spill into our hearts, making it’s home in our spirit, causing a tidal wave of destruction in our lives.
It’s hard not to take a transgression that has been committed against us personally. All we can do is look to Jesus, ask him to replace our hearts with his, so we can move forward without bitterness holding us captive and resentment getting comfortable in our souls, thus, stopping the blessings that God has in store for us.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray this blesses you as much as it has blessed me. This was a long one, but I truly believe that I am not the only one who needed to hear this today from the Holy Spirit. Please remember to pray for one another and I love you all.
‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’ -Proverbs 4:23
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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