Saying Goodbye Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Saying Goodbye Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Hey Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our minds are enslaved to the things that we enjoy. There are so many things that we enjoy that keep us in the very prison we want to escape from. I’ll give you an example.

You know the hit television show, Game of Thrones, right? Well, I am such a huge fan, my family and I named our cat after one of the popular characters, Khaleesi. Needless to say, I love everything about the show. From the dramatic sword fights with blood spewing everywhere to the sexy, nude love scenes. I’ve been like an addict checking YouTube for updates, predictions, and new trailors for the upcoming, last season of the show.

But, God revealed to me that this show is very unhealthy for my spirit. Last season, I remember feelings “not right” immediately after I watched a episode. I was restless, unable to sleep. And once I feel asleep, my dreams were weird and eerie.

Bondage is like a prison cell and the deception of the enemy is the darkness. God is telling us to trust the light in front of it and follow it (Jesus). God is providing one light for each step at a time, but we have to put on foot forward. Sometimes he’ll even light up 2 lights in front of us for encourage. But ultimately, our goal is to walk through the prison doors, which have already been opened by the blood of the lamb. We just have to follow the light of Jesus as a guide to make sure we’re following the right directions.

Me watching Game of Thrones keeps me in the darkness. The violent and sex scene keeps in my mind in a warped prison which in turn penetrats my heart. It’s breaking my heart to know that I cannot watch my favorite television show. But guess what? I can sleep at night. I can rest knowing that I am pleasing my heavenly Father and He is rewarding me for acknowledging my weakness and staying away from it. He loves that I am renewing my mind in His word and not in the ways of the world.

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

In the long run, it’s helping me relate to my family, friends, and even myself. I am able to love and find comfort in hard times and not become angry or discouraged when things get tough. What does that have to do with a television show? Well, if I’m constantly watching violent behavior, then I will eventually begin to emulate violent behavior when I am faced with my own challenges. But…if I fill my mind with God’s love and grace, then that is the kind of behavior I will emulate when I am faced with my own challenges. See the difference?

Thank you guys for reading my thoughts today. I pray you guys are having a good day. Please remember to pray for one another.

July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing

July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing

Hey Friends,

The past few days have been filled with much needed up’s and downs. The ups are always wanted and appreciated, but down days are filled with learning and worship. Does that make sense? I know it may sound crazy, but I’ve learned to take my bad days as learning experiences from God. Like little pop quizzes from what I have learned from good days.

Instead of allowing my mind to be filled with doubt and despair, I’ve learned to rely on the strength of the Lord to get me through. It doesn’t feel like the end of the world anymore. Better yet, it feels like God is giving me more time to correct my life so I can become who he needs me to be for his glory and kingdom.

********************************************************************************

My down days have forced me to deal with bitterness that I didn’t know I was harboring. I thought I was over it until my ex-husband decided to make a decision that would not only change the lives of our lovely children but everyone in our family. My ex-husband decided to move to another state despite how it would affect our children. Needless to say, I was angry. Mostly because I knew the pain that my children would feel since I experienced the same abandonment and rejection by my own father.

Right after the move, I concentrated on making sure my children felt loved more than ever. I initially ignored my feelings so I can concentrate on theirs. I felt as though I was over it as the days and months went by because of the feeling of “I want to rip his head off” became less and less. But then, he would say something rude or selfish and those “I hate you” feelings would come rushing back.

Unbeknownst to me, I was becoming bitter. Or maybe I was already bitter and didn’t know how fast it was growing inside of me from the moment I heard “I’m moving!” Recently, I began reading this book called Chaos Beneath The Shade: How To Uproot And Stay Free From Bitterness written by Tracey Bickle. It shined a light on how I truly felt and what I need to do to get over my feelings. I don’t want to “hate” the father of my two oldest children. I most definitely don’t want how I feel to spew out onto them. That would break my heart even more.

So, I’ve come to the realization that I need to heal from the situation. I’m not the first woman to be left to raise her children without the father and unfortunately, I won’t be the last. Plus, I have a wonderful husband who has gladly stepped in to pick up what my ex-husband has left behind. So, first I began to pray, Lord, please heal my heart. Please remove this hatred stirring inside of me. That wasn’t enough though and Tracey Bickle let me know why.

How to Begin to Heal Emotionally

  1. Pray for the person that has wronged you. At first, I didn’t like this idea, but there are a couple of reasons why praying for the person that has hurt is effective:
    • Forgiveness breaks the cycle- So my children won’t be affected
    • When you consistently pray for them, your heart will begin to heal itself
    • Jesus said so…But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! -Matthew 5:44
    • Why did Jesus say so? Because “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.” Matthew 5:46
    • “[Forgiveness] softens our heart to see the temporary nature of the conflict.” -Tracey Bickle
  2. Going through the process of forgiveness is helping you trust God and because you are being obedient, He will bless you. He will then hold the person who offended you accountable for their own actions. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” -Luke 6:37
  3. Talk it out. Seek counseling or talk to someone who you trust that would be able to help you look at the bigger picture. We need those who can see what we don’t and with compassion, tenderness, and kindness, they can help us walk through it.
  4. Let it go. It was hard for me to let go because I felt like he is “getting away with” abandoning his responsibilities, while he’s living his best life; doing as he pleases when he pleases. But I have to trust that God will hold him accountable for the real reason that he left. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” -1 Timothy 5:8

Simply put, this is not my fight, nor my worry anymore. I love my children more than anything! I will do anything for them to have great lives. And if that means letting go of the bitterness that I hold against their father, then I HAVE to do that. Plus, bitterness causes illness and I’m already sick enough, so this is my declaration that I am letting it go.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. I pray that if you are holding onto any bitterness from someone that has hurt you, that you are able to hand it over to God so you can begin to heal. I love you all. Please remember to pray for one another.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32

**Pictures borrowed from google pics*

Lupus Awareness Month

Lupus Awareness Month

Hey Friends!

This month is officially Lupus Awareness Month. Until I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I really never knew what Lupus was. I’ve heard of it here and there through conversation, like, “Hey, so and so has Lupus.” The only thing I knew about it was that it made you really sick. Now, since it is a struggle that I am now facing, I’ve had to educate myself about it. Ways to live with and cope with this illness, and how to overcome it.

Image result for lupus

So first, What Is Lupus? If you are a new follower and have never heard of it, Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body.

Lupus can cause:

  • Organ damage/failure
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Damage to Joints/Skin/Kidneys/Blood, Heart/Lungs
  • Other illness’ such as Von Willebrands disease (blood clot disorder), Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Disease (numbness in fingers and toes), Cardiovascular disease, etc.

Image result for lupus

There are 4 different types of Lupus:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is the most common form of lupus.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus causes a skin rash that doesn’t go away.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus causes skin sores on areas of the body exposed to the sun.
  • Neonatal lupus affects newborns.

Image result for sle lupus

Lupus is known as the silent killer. Why? Because most of the time, you become extremely sick before you know anything is wrong. Most times, there are no warning signs. For me, one day, I didn’t feel well. I gradually became sick over a 3 month period. Until finally, I became so ill, I had to stop working.

Please read my Lupus story When It Rains, It Pours

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Lupus, but fortunately, there are ways you can ease your symptoms.

How can you support a loved one with Lupus?

Annoying things to say to a Lupus warrior?

  • “But you don’t look that sick…” – Looks can be deceiving
  • “Have you tried…” – We love your suggestions, but trust me, we’ve tried everything
  • “…but everybody’s tired.” – I get that, but not everyone is “lupus” tired.
  • “I wish I could spend all day in bed.” – Uhhh, no you don’t!
  • “You’re STILL sick?” – Uh, yea, bish, it’s Lupus.

Now, when my loved ones say these things, I know they are coming from a place of pure and utter love. Also, it is coming from a place of confusion. Honestly, doctors aren’t even able to fully comprehend what Lupus really is and it’s origin. There are so many unknowns, it would be unfair for anyone to “blame” others for not understanding themselves.

So, here are helpful tips on things you can say to a loved one with lupus

  • “I understand you couldn’t make it…” – This helps with the guilt we carry for always missing important events and parties
  • “I’ll be praying for you…” – We sure need it
  • “What can I do to help…” – I’ve found that most Lupus warriors don’t like accepting help. It hurts an already fragile pride, but knowing that you care helps tremendously.
  • “I’m going to educate myself more on the topic.” – Just offering support and understanding will lift our spirits. It’ll help us feel less alone.

Lupus is extremely expensive. All of the medications that I take equal up to about $300 per month. If it is in your heart, please donate Ashley’s GoFundMe Medical Expenses. Thank you all in advance for your prayers and well wishes.

Thank you guys for reading my thoughts. Have a wonderfully blessed day.  And if you see one, hug a Lupus warrior today!

Image result for lupus encouraging funny meme

 

 

 

 

Funny Friday

img_0559

Hello Friends,

So, approximately 3 weeks ago, we added another member to our family. I would like to introduce you to Khaleesi Diva Smeed aka Harry. My husband wanted to name her Khaleesi since we are huge Game of Thrones fans. My daughter noticed that she has a bit of a diva attitude and Christian thinks she is pretty hairy, so we call her Harry. Oh, and Smeed is a combination of my husband, Christian and I last name with Hannah and Rj’s last name. Leesi is around 10 months old and she was rescued from an abusive home. It took her about a week to warm up, but once she did, we found out that she is just as crazy as we are. Needless to say, she fits in really well.

img_0758

In celebration of Leesi aka Harry arrival and rescue, I would like to share a funny cat video that my daughter, Hannah, thought was hilarious. Hopefully, you guys will find it funny as well.

Please enjoy the start of your weekend. Remember, you are awesome and I pray for nothing but true happiness and peace for each and every one of you. God Bless!

If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way. -Mark Twain

Social Media Fast Update

2370150Good day all,

So, you want to know how I’ve been doing on my 30-day Social Media fast? Well, I’ll tell you anyway 🙂 To catch up, click here My 30 Day Fast From Social Media to read the details of my social media fast and why I am doing it.

I was doing really well. I really was, until…I received a notification on my phone from the Apple News app saying, “Kylie Jenner reveals the birth of baby girl.” This was a trigger because social media has been in a frenzy since September due to pregnancy allegations. No one has been able to provide tangible proof of this “alleged pregnancy”, until Tuesday. I looked at the headline for about two minutes arguing with myself. I wasn’t sure if Apple News counted as “social media”. It is a news outlet, right? So, I clicked on the article.

After I read it, I felt a bit ashamed. I was excited that I had gone a week without reading celebrity gossip. I was able to convince myself that this is more of an announcement than gossip, so I hit the link to watch the video that she made during her secret pregnancy. I was so curious, but later felt robbed of the 7 minutes of my life that I gave to watching her video. It left no satisfaction at all.

I thought long and hard as to why I was so interested in this girl having a baby. Millions of women have babies every day and I’m not lurking on Apple News to read about their experiences.

I am going to take my little slip up as continued motivation to complete my challenge. Honestly, it has left a nasty taste in my mouth.  I’m not sure what made me more upset, the sudden urgency I felt to check her pregnancy video or me giving in and watching the video. Either way, this incident has further proven why I NEED to do this challenge. I should have control over what I read and watch, not the other way around.

If you are trying to overcome any addiction right now, I am proud of you for taking the first step. I also want you to know that if you have a slip-up, forgive yourself and keep pushing forward. You may have thoughts of self-doubt, but give yourself some credit. You taking that first step to admitting that you have an addiction and setting a plan in place to subdue it is a lot more than many of the people living right now.

We got this!

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

img_0598-6

Photo Credit to http://goaliefights.blogspot.com/

My 30 Day Fast From Social Media

*Yawn* I wake up, roll over grab my phone to see the time. I then determine how long do I have before I actually have to get out of the bed. If it’s more than 2 minutes, I scream “yes!” in my head because that’s enough time for me to hop on Instagram. Specifically, to check gossip blog pages. I know, I know, I have a weakness for gossip. I’ve been able to bring it to a halt in my personal life by living by one rule, “minding my bizness!” But celebrity gossip is a completely different monster.

0201-beyonce-twins-pregnant-instagram-8.jpgWhen Beyoncé broke the internet by announcing her pregnancy (both times), I religiously checked the gossip blog sites for updates on maternity shoot photos and gender reveals. I was an addict. I found myself getting sucked into her life and drama. When I found out Beyoncé got cheated on, I was angry. When I found out she had a miscarriage, I was devastated. It’s crazy when I think about it because I’m feeling so many raw emotions for a person that I don’t even know! And I wonder why I’m depressed.

Before, I lied to myself about saying deleting Facebook was enough, but my addiction to Instagram has proved otherwise. My husband made a snippy little comment about how much I love Instagram. I have to prove to him (and myself) that he’s wrong. So, I’ve decided to start a social media fast. It actually began at approximately 8pm (CST) this past Wednesday night and I’m jonesing a little bit. I’ve deleted all of my social media apps (except this one ☝🏽☺️) so I won’t be tempted to “check something really quick”. That’s usually how an hour long binge of trying to find out who cheated with who begins. Nah!

gossipNow, usually, when people decide to fast, they abstain from food. In my case, abstaining from food is not a problem since I’m limited to what I can eat. So, I am offering Instagram as my sacrifice because it really is something I enjoy, but it’s bad for my mental health and just simply a waste of time. I could be doing something more conducive to my recovery. I want to be able to use social media for business only. This is what I pray that I will accomplish at the end of my fast.

My faith teaches me that fasting, or “to abstain from” pleasurable things will bring me closer to Christ through prayer(1 Corinthians 7:5) which is what I want to accomplish as well.

fasting-monks-250x179But I believe the idea for fasting should be an open idea for anyone who wants to evolve from depression and anxiety. Maybe, abstaining from some of your desires will give you a sense of control and pride when you accomplish it. Plus, it’ll help you focus on something other than your own thoughts. Making such goals and sticking to them will be awesome for your recovery. It’ll give you pride and self-worth. Most importantly, it will feel grrrrreat! I’m more than positive that taking this step will boost my mood overall and I can’t wait!

Here are the tips that I plan on using to fast:

1. Find something else to do when I get tempted

2. Consider the personal and spiritual consequences if I give into the desire

3. Don’t think about it, pray about it.

If you guys have any tips I can use, please drop a comment below. I would greatly appreciate it. Wish me luck 🤞🏽

“The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them.” -Tariq Ramadan