When it Doesn’t make sense

I hate him.

Yes, I know. Hate is a really strong word. But I do. I hate him.

I try to avoid him. I keep myself busy. I pray, a lot. I bury myself in scriptures. I do everything I’m suppose to do, according to experts, to keep him away.

And yet, there are mornings like today. His hold captures me from my first waking breath and no amount of prayers shake his grasp. He shoves fear into my mind, and rattles my body. 

Depression/Anxiety. He is brute.

I look at my world right now, and logically it doesn’t make sense for the grasp of this mental monster to have a hold on me. I love my job, I have my loving Daddy, my incredible sons, and a really awesome Christian boyfriend. Logically, depressed is the last thing I should be. 

Mental health is a real battle, hurting a body and mind with its cancer-mimicking ways.

So just breath. Remember God has not abandoned you. And don’t do anything rash.  Rest in Christ. Just breath. 

Daughter of an Eagle

For those who are not aware, today is National Eagle Scout Day. (Read more about the holiday here: (National Eagle Scout Day)

The Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, looks very different after over 100 years.

My Daddy, the Eagle Scout

gran crop 3

(Above, my Granny pinning my Dad for his Eagle in 1974)

I don’t know much about my Dad’s time of earning his Eagle. Hopefully, GOD will permit me the time to have that talk with him. Perhaps even record it, to pass along to my sons someday.

Growing up Under “Daddy’s Wings”

My Dad is by no means perfect. But for the most part, he raised me under the the Scout Law:

A Scout is …
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful,
thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. 

(Source: Scout Law)

One such example of this was in how he insists, still today, that I refer to others as Sir or Ma’am. Shortly after my oldest son was born, I attended a local event honoring area piano players and worship leaders. At the event, my Daddy introduced me to a new minister that had moved into the area. He was close to my age, so I called him by his first name. My Daddy, in love, leaned over to me and said “Unless he said otherwise, you should honor this man of GOD by saying Sir”.

In so many ways over the 19 years I lived at home, my dad would bring up various aspects of the Scout Law in his loving way of trying to help his fiesty, auburn-haired girl grow into a woman of integrity.

Flying under Daddy’s lead

Years later, I find myself feeling my Daddy’s lessons filtering through my life. So, here on National Eagle Scout Day, I make my own declaration:

  • May I live a trustworthy life
  • May I be loyal to CHRIST, to my sons, and to (GOD willing) my future husband
  • May I live in a helpful and friendly way towards others. How people respond to that is not on me.
  • May I be courteous and kind to all of those I encounter in my day, be that in person, on line, or on the phone.
  • May I be obedient to the Holy Scriptures, obeying CHRIST’s commands to the best of my ability, and repenting for the many times I fail or fall short
  • May I be cheerful. This is harder than it sounds. I have Severe Anxiety disorder, which I have been diligently seeking treatment for over the last 3 years. Regardless and in fact, because of that fact, I need to focus myself on being cheerful (ie, content) in the here and now of my mundane life
  • May I be more thrifty. Those who know me best know that I have a bit of a gift for this. But I want to begin to use this gift to also serve those around me.
  • May I be brave. Again, going back to the anxiety. I need to be intentional about reminding myself that:
    The LORD is my strength and my shield

(Psalm 28:7, KJV)

  • May I be clean. Now, mind you, I am sometimes a bit lazy in keeping house while other times I will clean for hours just to relieve my anxiety. But I can do more to guard my heart and mind from unclean thoughts.
  • May I be reverent. May I show respect to all of those who I work with and work for, not only in my job but also in my community and in service in a church
  • One added: May I be LOVING. To Christ, first. My family. To my coworkers, to strangers.

Contending with The Past

Sorry for the delay in posts. WordPress issues and work have hindered my regular posts. This post was intended to be published on Sunday, July 16th

The Opponent 

As Superman fights Lex Luger or any good guy fights the bad guy,  I have my arch enemy. She is a strong, loud dragon whose fangs could pierce concrete. Her name: The Past.

She lurks in the shadows of the night or in the loneliness of the crowd and whispers, ‘you are failure’. Mind you, she doesn’t whisper that I have failed but that in fact my failures define me.

In the last 7 years, I have been divorced twice, went through five jobs, moved three times, and went through two cars. Come on, that screams FAILURE. Yes, I hear you.

In the last 7 years, I have developed one incredibly unhealthy self-image. Worthless. Insignificant. Unwanted. And Yes, she has been winning. In seven years, I have actually grown to hate myself.

You have messed up too much. You will never be any good. You will never______ (fill in the blank). 

She is fiercely strong, and well armed with nearly four decades worth of mistake after mistake.

The Fight, so far

Flanked by anxiety and an incredibly unhealthy dating relationship, The Past has battered me dawn till dawn until I am shaking, crying, pleading for some comfort.

I’ve tried to wield a general hope and faith, finding myself instead weaponless. Again, The Past, she is a fierce enemy.

But Then, comes GRACE

I didn’t know Him when he walked onto the battle field. Small in stature, Grace walked up and placed His firm arm around me just when I thought I had lost for good.

At the beginning of 2017, GOD had gotten my attention. I found myself at the alter of the church, asking GOD to remove the relationship I was in if it wasn’t what HE wanted. And.. GOD did.

I won’t say it was painless. I cared about the guy, though the relationship was highly unhealthy and I ended up with my heart feeling burnt and reburned.

I had to be broken. I am one incredibly stubborn person (Irish-German, what a combination). And it took being financially striped bare, emotionally striped bare and finding myself at an all time high for reasons to absolutely HATE myself.. it took all of that for GOD to get me to see and feel HIS GRACE.

I finally knew GOD’s GRACE was there Mother’s Day of this year. I found myself celebrating my very first Mother’s Day without my sons. My mom, who I have a rocky relationship with, didn’t want to see me.

I found myself sitting and watching the sun come up that Sunday morning, feeling defeated by The Past. Just as tangible as the words on the screen before you, I heard and felt something spoken over me. “THIS ISN’T HOW IT ENDS”.

Speak, LORD, for Your servant listens

One of my favorite Old Testament stories is in 1 Kings Chapter 19.

“So HE said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.”
And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 

After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire;
and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.” (1 Kinds 19:11-12)

It’s a reminder that GOD doesn’t always use the big or showy things to get our attention. Sometimes, HE just whispers.

I can remember when I was eight, we lived in an area that was prone to tornado activity. On one particular occasion, a tornado struck incredibly close to where we were. I panicked. I began to shake and cry and froze where I was. My Daddy kept trying to give me instructions on what to do, but I was paralyzed in fear. My Daddy, in his loving nature, knelt down in front of me and cupped my face in both of his hands. He didn’t scream. He whispered. And I calmed down.

EL ROI, OUR GOD WHO SEES, could have spoken to me on Mother’s Day in many ways. But HE knows HIS daughter full well. So HE whispered.

I’ve probably heard people say that it wasn’t over for me before that Sunday morning. But What GOD spoke over my heart that morning was slightly different. “THIS is not how it ends”.

GRACE and I versus The PAST

I wish I could say that every day since Mother’s day has been easy of that I have won my battle with the guilt and shame and worthlessness that The Past flings at me. I can’t, though. There are still days, or multiple moments through out a day that those thoughts might over come me.

And then there are days, that I grab GOD’s GRACE firmly in my hand and I walk in the victory I have in CHRIST JESUS.

There will likely be more hard days, but I pray daily (and sometimes hourly) for GOD to remind me that I fight not alone.

“for the LORD your GOD is the one who goes with you,
to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (Deuteronomy 20:4, NASB)

 

 

 

 

The Ashes of Pachelbel

I was two decades of age.

Clothed in white.

Pachelbel playing as I walked the brown carpet path to the brown eyed man whom I adored.

I still remember that at the conclusion of the ceremony, he and I rang the church bell together.

The promises Made at 11:07 a.m.

My Dad, being a traditional Southern Baptist Minister, insisted in using a set of vows from his minister’s handbook. Those vows, of honor and love, we made to one another and to our families.

But life is such a more beautiful place when you are 20 years old, and thin and full of hopes.

With all I was that day, I fully intended to be standing still by the side of that curly topped man..

The Ashes of 19 years

Today would have been- or could have been our 19th wedding anniversary. But it isn’t. Sin and selfishness destroyed that marriage nearly 7 years ago.

Last year, it was all that I could take. In the low lights of July 10, 2016, I sat in the floor of my bedroom and penned a suicide letter.

After all, what hope was there? I was a 38 year old woman who had endured two divorces. What kind of man really wants a woman like that? After all, I was merely too broken. Shattered. A Year ago I penned the following words in my journal:

I would escape this inescapable situation.

I miss normal. I miss being romanticized. I miss being with my kids. I miss a real house. I miss loving & lavishing a mother in law. I miss my family – who now stir clear of me in shame.

Strip away my hopes. Scrape away the dreams of what I might could have had or or hopes for anything different. 

I must in part die. Bury the carefree wild girl I have been my whole life- bury the dreamer, the fairy of a girl, ….I must lower her into the ground of the past, knowing she will rot away. Be swallowed up in dark despair, sweet girl, & die.

I placed my suicide letter with a copy of both of my life insurances, and a small gold cross necklace and laid them on my dresser. I left my apartment with all full intent to never walk back in.

The very first words spoken to me that morning were by the guy I was dating at the time. Worthless, he had called me. Further confirmation I thought that I needed to end my meager existence.

My work day ended and I drove to the lake. That had been my planned route. I sat in my car, weeping. And then- my phone rang.

In a world flooded with cell phone, one little cell phone ringing doesn’t seem significant. So if you will, allow me to explain why this one phone ringing was significant. My ringer was still on silent. And I had absolutely no service.

Yes, LORD, I hear YOU

I hit my knees there and then. And I made a new commitment to The LORD- a rededication. I didn’t understand then why GOD would have spared me.. but I only knew that HE did.

A lot has happened in my life over the last year. I have changed departments in my company and through that have made some of the best, most supportive friends that I have had in 20 years. I totaled my silver car. And I got out of the destructive relationship I was in. And just recently, GOD has placed an incredible, supportive handsome gentleman into my world who GOD is using to help heal me.

I had a verse come to mind as I reflected on today.

“A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:4 NASB

I’ve weeped enough over today. What’s done is done. I can no more change the past than you can. I have seen over the last year that I need to simply surrender all the ashes of my past into The hands of JESUS CHRIST. I have mourned enough now. Now, it is time to dance.

 

 

To the three: Here’s your Pardon

Today (July 7th) is International Forgiveness day.

Seeing that fact caused me to stop and ask: from whom do I need forgiveness or is there someone I should forgive?

Mark 11: 26 says, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

Eek. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do want to be forgiven of my Heavenly Father for my many failures and shortcomings. So..

1993

For various acts of violence, and verbal abuse I issue you full pardon. I pray that along these vast decades since that Fall, you have gotten help for your anger issues.

2011 

You may not even realize that I am capable of forgiving you. It has taken a lot of tears and a lot of thinking to get to this place. I thank GOD for the grace to be able to say: For the acts of disloyalty, betrayal, and verbal abuse I issue you a full pardon. I will always pray for you every morning and every night for as long as I am able to draw a breath, for you will always be connected to me. And I do pray you find a true relationship in Christ Jesus one day.

2017

You. You are hardest to forgive. And yet, if not for you, I would never have found out how incredibly strong that I can be through Christ Jesus. I laid on my face countless nights just praying and begging GOD to remove the pain in my heart that you created. And now I know why- I need to forgive you.

I won’t make excuses for or belittle your actions. Wrong is still wrong. I fully admit that there are so many things that I could have done better or done differently, but you still did wrong.

So (deep breath, dear heart) .. For the acts of theft, betrayal, manipulation, abuse, and fraud, I grant you a full pardon. With all I am, I truly do pray you will find true peace – which only comes from Christ JESUS.

Who is it that you need to forgive? Who is it that you need to ask to forgive you? Is there a phone call or an email or a drive that you need to make? Sweet readers, there is absolutely no promise of another chance. In three years, I have buried 4 friends all under the age of 40. Let’s put down our pride’s long enough to seek to forgive and to be forgiven. 

 

Identity Crisis

Who am I?

Before you notify my next of kin to have me committed, hear me out: Who am I, really?

I have long scoffed at hearing people talk about midlife crisis. I have thought, ‘how can a person become so confused about who they are’? I remain skeptical about the behaviors that some attribute to midlife crisis, but I do know what it is to be confused about who I am.

Little Lost Girl

Though ribbons of shimmering light wove through my childhood, most of my preteen years were filled with sooty ashes. Secret shames I carried, plastered over by silly showy behavior. I was all too entirely lost. As I shifted into puberty and the gates of High School enveloped me, I felt swallowed whole by a life that I didn’t truly want to live yet lived anyways. I stumbled into college with dreams of escaping the life I had lived until that point. College was miles away from those who might see the shame laced in my smile or might stumble upon some stash revealing my guilt.

China Doll

Perfect. Or at least, as perfect as I could get. I aspired to be the perfect student and person and for so long, that is what I thought I became. Yet there was a part of me that knew others who were closest to me could see the blackness of my heart through soot in my tears. I tossed myself into the workforce and church activities, hoping that if I kept on doing the right thing that somehow I would fix myself.

The Day the Wall Crashed: March 12, 2009

I kept up appearances. I got just close enough to people to not be lonely, yet far enough away from them so they couldn’t smell my heart rotting inside me. Deep into anxiety & depression I fell – even with medicine, yet I painted the good girl smile on & to everyone else, all seemed fine. Fine & dandy, indeed.

Until. THAT day.

March 12, 2009 holds little significance to most. As I laid in the big city hospital that morning, the doctor chanted to the the specifics of what would happen next. For that morning, I would look at my daughter, Delani Rose, for the last time. Her heart had stopped.

The next morning, I would go through the process to help remove her remains from my body. The china doll I had been for 12 yrs walked into that hospital & came out a corpse.

Alive & Yet Dead

Existed. That is what I did. My desire to pretend scrapped away, and the ashy existence I had always been shone through.

I wish I could say that I did all the right things following Delani’s death, but I can’t say that with honesty. I knew I needed to reenter counseling, but I just didn’t care about getting better.

People began to see the ugly pain that they couldn’t understand as some sort of rebellion against what I was suppose to be. 18 months of living with the living dead ended my first marriage, & I found myself where I didn’t want to be yet needed to be: ALONE.

Construction Zone

With help from my divorce, I found myself isolated from the earthly family I still had left. All the text books would flag such an occurrence as dangerous, yet it was what I needed – emotionally. Three weeks into the exile, I found Him. I found who I needed.

His name is JESUS.

Now that you have rolled your eyes & scoffed at me, let me share what happened.

When I began my new existence, I had a deep gut knowledge that I needed to be in a church. Church was an all-to-familiar thing to me having grown up as a PK (Preachers Kid), but I didn’t just want to find an ordinary church. I hungered to find something authentic.

I found so many white washed tombs filled with the zombies of legality, that I wondered if authentic church actually existed. A colleague suggested a young church startup in a neighboring town, so I decided to visit. It was there I found an authentic church.

There were no expectations of perfection. There was no pretense that all of life is flowers & teddy bears. It was a church that taught GOD’s Word straight up & talked openly about how when JESUS saves us, sometimes the process to being made whole doesn’t happen it an instant but is rather a process that will bring Glory to GOD & draw others to Christ.

So, on the three month anniversary of me being alone, I stepped into the waters & pronounced to the world that I was ready to find what GOD intended for me to be.

It has been 19 months since I first set foot into that church.

And now, I am ready. I needed time after Christ reclaimed me from the darkness to heal my wounds & to resolve many questions that I had about faith & love. Though my scars remain, I know I have waited long enough & it is time to find who I truly am. In Christ.

I still fight often with my past guilt & regrets, but I must trust them into the hands of Savior who will crumble them & reshape them into something useful in my life. There can be no more pretending for anyone. There can be no more redistributing my load so I can carry more regrets and shame. It is time to delve into greatest adventure of my life: finding out who I am (in Christ) & living that out in a flagrant way.

Delay on The Runway: Getting Real

Out The Window

Life is no longer a hum, but roaring. Rattling. Rumbling at a tremendous speed.

The rumble lulls away the voices of reason and responsibility. The rumble mutes the warning cries.

Flashes of the ebb of sunset waken me to the reality that my life is a total mess.

Surely Goodness & Mercy

Messy is perhaps to kind of a word. Chaos – that is a much more appropriate word. In vain, I have tried so hard to be what others think I ought to be. Those attempts to seek approval have led to me compromising my morals, my reputation and my obligations as a mother.

There is, thankfully, Mercy. Not the mercy of others. I have all to quickly found these past two years that people truly are not as merciful as we give them credit for. People hold grudges often until death. True Mercy only comes from Jesus Christ Alone.

“As You Will It”

Nationally known radio host Dave Ramsey tells this story as part of his Financial Peace University: Two young men capture a bird as an attempt to trick a Guru. They ask the Guru is the bird alive or dead. Knowing that if he says that it is alive, the boys will kill the bird & if he says dead, they will set it free, the Guru says, “It it as you will it”. (NOTE: I do not own the rights to this story or am I in any way affiliated with Dave Ramsey. I share this story, paraphrased, to make a point).

The point is this: My Life (& Your Life) will only be what we will it. I know that I have to quit pointing my blame finger, pouting like a baby & take responsibility. The problem is ME. Yes, life has happened to me. It happens to all of us that have a pulse. Good things & bad things are all a part of what life interesting. If it were all good, we wouldn’t appreciate it. If it were all bad, we wouldn’t have hope to endure. How we react to those things is OUR choice!

God knows what we are going to face. We can’t control everything that we will go through in this life. But as for me.. I will trust GOD to get me through it & mind how I react. I could very well be the life that someone else is watching.

 

 

Inspecting My Raft (Part 2)

I have begun to think that the bigger problem just isn’t what I eat but when/ how oft I eat. 

Yesterday caused me to have to check things over once again.

I ate a mediocre breakfast – not too unhealthy but not necessarily the healthiest thing I’ve eaten this week either. Lunch rolled around & I had remembered to pack a healthy lunch (low fat ham, wheat bread sandwich). It was good but by 6 P.M., it had burned off & I was way way too hungry. 

So, yes, that meant I let that hunger manipulate me & I chose an unhealthy dinner. All my good efforts yesterday gone in one moment because I simply did not factor in everything.

I find myself again this morning thanking GOD for teaching me a lesson, asking for forgiveness for obeying my body rather than GOD, & starting anew again today. GOD is so wonderful – we can never overexceed HIS mercy. Off to eat a healthy breakfast, pack a healthy lunch – & toss a healthy fruit snack for the day ahead. One choice at a time. That’s how this journey will happen.

Inspecting My Raft (Part I)

I wrote yesterday about beginning this journey, & how it required faith.
It wasn’t all that easy either.

I struggle a lot with keeping myself fueled enough for my day. My day starts at a brilliantly bright & bushy tailed 5:30 A.M. I crash down to my bed around 10:30-11 P.M. at night.
I find that a lot of the time, I am out of fuel.
Guess I should be inspecting my raft more closely.
When you set out on any journey, you need to be prepared. I guess that concept is one I understand easily – my dad was an Eagle scout. Though I understand it, I don’t execute it very well.
IE, Yesterday.
I had a small healthy breakfast packed to eat, but wanted to depend on a high carb lunch. Although the calories for the lunch weren’t particularly high, the high carb levels jumped my sugar levels up very high which inevitably lead to an energy crash later in the day. My ill preparation led to my raft crashing.
I can’t undo it. What it done is done. I know that all I can do is start today by thanking God for what I’ve learned & try to make better decisions today.

Walkin on The Water

Today is Day one.

My life is about to get uncomfortable. And that makes me very happy.

In high school, I began having early signs of emotional eating. I wanted so hard to please a boy that I liked, that I wouldn’t eat. Sometimes for 2-3 days on end. I went to the other extreme after I survived the miscarriage of my daughter in 2009 – I began to eat & eat to fill the empty holes. I sit here today – nearly 45 pounds overweight for a gal that is just barely 5 foot tall.

Weight isn’t all that weighs me down. I admit to not being a good steward of the money that God has left me in charge of & of not guarding my emotions from those who want to jerk me around.

I’m done with it all.

I lay it down. I can’t keep on carrying these things that I was never intended to carry in the first place.

I’m not going to set unrealistic weight loss goals or unobtainable money goals. It is simply going to be one healthy choice after another. For my health. For my finances. For My mind. But mostly, for the Glory of GOD. ‘For JESUS & HIS Glory’

I’m steppin out of the boat with faith that I can walk on the Water.