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Break It Down

Walls.  Easy to put up and difficult to knock down.  Am I right? I have one or two…..okay maybe like 1500 BUT I recognize I have a problem.  Isn’t that the first step? Ha. We get burned, hurt, brushed aside, downgraded, defeated and with each one a wall goes up.  For a long period of time, a wall went up with Christians for me. Okay maybe just people in general. I’ve touched on this a few times. In my deepest pain, the ones who ran the fastest were Christians. Those closest to my core threw me for a loop when truth was spoken about the sexual abuse, and they were Christian. I grew up in a Christian home, how can pain strike so heavy if that were the case.  Wall after wall after wall came up till I got to a point where I questioned any and every relationship. In the end though, the walls hurt us. We block any healing or healthy relationships from coming into our lives. We think we are protecting ourselves when in the long run we are slowly pushing everyone out. 

These walls we built start to seep into our everyday lives.  Walls that started only with a simple brick have now manifested into a full blown house. The core of the issue is trust and I so totally get it.  Once it’s broken in any capacity, it’s flip’n difficult to allow back in yet at some point we’ve gotta overcome that fear with courage. The courage to allow others in.  The courage to see that others are human too. We’ve gotta let go of judgement towards others and honestly let go of judgement towards ourselves in order for each brick to slowly get knocked down. Now, there’s no problem in having boundaries.  Many times they are needed. I’m not telling you to go and run the streets naked, becoming friends with every person you meet. I mean, if you do, each to his own but be careful…..haha. What I’m saying is that it’s okay to be on your guard and protect your heart. That’s where prayer comes in. That’s where you’ve gotta trust that Jesus has your back. 

I always fall to peace.  In John 14:27 it says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  Walls do not equal peace.  Walls equal anxiety, fear, sadness, pain, things that aren’t from Jesus.  As we begin to tear each brick down, we begin to allow the peace of Jesus to enter into our lives.  I quickly needed to let go of my need to put a wall up towards Christians, towards people in general.  I mean, I was one so that was an issue, but more importantly, it was hurting any opportunity I had to build new relationships.  No one could get in. I wouldn’t let them. I still struggle with it today, I think we all do. It’s natural to protect ourselves but in the end, we need to continue to throw grace our way while hammering down one brick at a time. 

“Anyone can try but the only person who can really take those walls down, is the one who put them up.”

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Time to Say Goodbye

Everything changes.  It hangs different, looks different, sags different.  What we saw 15 years ago, heck maybe even one year ago, just isn’t showing up in the mirror anymore.  Stinking getting older. We should be able to go to target and purchase a magic pill to fix this, ya know what I’m saying? It’s got everything else and lord knows no one can walk out of there without spending at least $100.  They would put amazon out of business if they could figure this one out. I digress, let’s focus Heather. We change inside too. Circumstances change us. Life changes us. Tragedy strikes and the person we once knew has officially left the building. I’m wondering if letting go of the old self would do us some good though. You needed to be who were at that exact time yet who you are today is also needed even more.  

You’ve been betrayed, rejected, beaten down and who you were before then is who you are trying to find now, yet that beautiful soul was only meant to carry you so far. When hardship strikes, it can change you. Moving forward may now look different and honestly, that’s ok.  God is working on you and healing you which in turn, helps you become the soul He needs you to be now. Truth be told, you have more insight now than before. You see things different and face the world from a different perspective than you did before hardship came your way. We need to use that to shape the being we are becoming  instead of grasping to find the person we were yesterday. You didn’t have the strength that you have now or the knowledge of God’s ridiculous grace. Your joy will now shift to fit you and only you now. Proverbs 4:25 says “Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you.”  Letting go of what you once knew yourself to be could allow your heart and soul to bring you to another level of freedom and peace. We need to start looking forward, allowing yourself to mourn what could have been or what you think you lost and see the amazing person you are becoming. It’s not gonna be the same. I’ll tell you straight up. But the longer you live trying to find the old you, the shorter amount of time you have to enjoy the new you. 

“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

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Swinging It Through

In college, the heaviness really started to creep in. I could feel things starting to come to the surface but I had this image to still put on. I was known as the worship leader, funny girl next store, always be there for you type of gal so losing my crap at that time just wasn’t an option. Down the street from where my dorm was were swings.  I would walk down there all the time and swing my brains out. If I did that now, I’m pretty sure I’d throw up. Oh the joys of getting older, ha. This was my place where I could just let it out. Scream ‘why God’ at the top of my lungs and just cry. 

You’re there or you been there.  You feel like if anyone really knew what was going on they would be floored so heaven forbid you just let yourself go and be what you feel.  You assume the world would probably come to an end. We think we need to keep it all together in order for this world to keep spinning. We’ve got a job to do, a family to uphold and if we lost it, what would happen.  Well, what would happen? Maybe just maybe, you’d be free of many things that have been holding you down. We’ve all hit these points of ‘Why God!’ We scream in our minds, why the heck is this happening or why did that happen to me.  You’ve gotta give yourself permission to break. Holding onto my abuse and not speaking my truth was slowly killing me inside one day at a time. I felt like I needed to protect so many people so instead of protecting my heart, I took it upon myself to focus on everyone else’s.  Because of that, things just got worse, the cutting, suicide attempt, everything inside of me wanted to get out but I held it until I broke. Can I be real for a second? The most difficult part for me was being surrounded once again by so called spiritual folks. I grew up in a Christian home, I went to Christian schools, and now in a Christian college.  At this point in my life, I wanted to punch someone in the face if they brought up any scripture or say they would pray for me, etc. At this point, I had a hard time understanding why this great God would allow me to be abused and why in the heck am I hanging out in some serious pain. BUT, big BUT here, it’s at this point that I found my own personal love for Jesus.  No, He didn’t make everything disappear but the more I screamed out in pain to Him and let me just tell you, some of that was big time anger toward Him, the more I wanted to come back to Him. He met me there. He sat with me on the swings and listened. 

Psalm 46:1,2 “God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.  That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart.” You may be feeling like your world is falling apart and honestly, I’m not gonna sit here and spew scripture (except that one ha) at you or be all spiritual.  I am, though, gonna tell you to tell Him. Driving in your car, in the shower, having coffee, swinging on a swing, shout it out. Jesus can take it. You are not meant to walk this life alone. Allow Him in. 

“Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can.  Allow. Embrace. Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal.”

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Time to Get Out

It’s time to let go of the victim card but every piece of me wants to hold on. What he did to me took away pieces of my soul that I will never ever get back. It took me into dark corners of my life that I thought I’d never get out of.  I walked around life assuming I was trash but you see, hanging on to the victim card only validates it more. Playing victim means I can hold onto the anger of anyone involved which in all honesty only hurts me in the end. You go from feeling like the victim to becoming the victim and then you can’t get out. I have to start accepting the reality of my sexual abuse in order to step into the freedom.

I’m literally speaking this in present terms right now cause I’m living this reality as we speak.  It’s just a difficult truth. It’s so easy to sit in the pain of what has happened to us and not get out.  Whether it’s because it’s comfortable there or we just don’t want to move. There may be a fear of the unknown.  What will it be like not holding onto the past? What will the future look like? But as I type those questions, there’s a piece of me that gets excited for you and for me.  What if we did let go? Imagine what could be written on our new chapter, the one we decided to start this new year. Screw all the stupid weight loss programs that the world is throwing at us.  Let’s instead go from the inside out which is 110% more important anyways (sorry, had to put a little dig into all that BS haha) But seriously, when you really take an honest look inside, do you sit in victim mode? I do. I find myself constantly going back to things like, but you have no idea what I’ve been through, or I feel like the same things are happening over and over again. Dude, just typing that makes me cringe.  This girl needs to get it together. Thankfully, we’ve got a Jesus to help.  Psalm 60:11 “Give us help against the enemy; human help is worthless.”  Truth!  We just get in the way.  We need Jesus to just step in. 

With the help of our awesome Big Guy, we can take responsibility for our own life regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now. There are so many situations that are not our fault.  We need to see that for what it is but then move passed it into a place of acceptance. Stepping out of the role of a victim means no one gets control over you anymore. Isn’t that freeing? You have the power to play the hero in your life, not the victim. 

“You have power over your mind-not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

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New Year

Twenty years ago knives were flying people. I can see myself sitting in my apartment with a piece of broken mirror in hand. Blood pouring from my arm.  It was New Years Eve 2000 and little did I know it was approaching one of the hardest years of my life. My approach going into a new year was just to survive.  Nothing more. The good news is……..I did! Ha! After that year, I’ve always had a difficult time with New Years. This whole idea of restarting or resolutions was difficult for me.  A lot of pressure. It got me thinking. Maybe the approach of the New Year needs to be a bit different. 

Why can’t we carry with us the courageous person who brought us into the new year, YOU!  ME! All that hard work to get us to where we are now deserves to be celebrated and brought into this new year.  I’ve talked a ton about our lives being chapters in a book and that is how I want to approach each new year. I do think it’s refreshing that we get to turn a page and start a new chapter, a new year but without the pages before, we would never understand the depths of the character, the path that was walked, the freedom that was discovered, the experiences that made that character stronger.  Who you are right now, who I am right now is rock solid amazing. If we want to reset a few things or be a bit more mindful, awesome, but bring with you pieces of the old you that carried you this far. Don’t leave that person behind from 2019 who fought like a champ on those terrible days to make it to the next. You rose above circumstances that you thought for sure would knock you to the core yet here you are.  Take that with you as you begin this new year. 

Now, on the flip side, I do want to encourage you to shed any negative drama that you feel as though encompasses your life and brings you down. I’ve said this before, not sure if I’m just getting old or what, but I’m so done with drama.  I’m trying desperately to step back and understand what truly feeds my soul in life and what doesn’t. I encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s certain individuals, social media, circumstances we can control, business of life, whatever.  Get on your knees and start praying. God is really good about making that stuff pretty clear. He is a God of peace and wants that for you in this coming year. Make room for Him, make room for family, make room for you. 

2020 here we come.  Let’s do this. 

“Happy New Year!”

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And I'm Done

And then there were words.  Spewed in my face. Harsh, filled with anger, not kind, not what I needed.  After a hard week, the last thing I needed was to walk into an anger filled soul that needed a sounding board, but ya know…….it happens.  I’m gonna believe that this person didn’t mean to devour me with words but in the end, I just wanted to wave the white flag! Done people! I surrender to all humanity! Ha! 

Been there, done that right?  All of us have. Man, it’s crazy how that saying can totally feel true, when it rains, it pours. I am normally one who can be like, ok, you’ve got your issues so I’m just gonna walk away but no, the flood gates opened and I lost it. So now what? It’s easy to sit in the defeated when we get knocked down over and over in a weeks time or even a day or a years time.  Throwing in the towel sounds a lot easier than putting on our big girl pants and trucking forward. That’s where our control can come in though. There are many situations or people we can’t control or fix but we can decide how we will move forward and react. I love how Isaiah 43:18 puts it so bluntly, “Do not remember the former things. Or ponder the things of the past.”  Jesus knows us so well.  We sit in all the crap. We let all the past events swirl around in our brains until we are sick with trying to figure out how to make it all better.  He’s like, you done yet? Because in the end, it’s His to take. We will just mess things up even more. 

You see, sometimes it’s as easy as seeing the bigger picture.  And what would that be you ask? There’s more positive than negative in your life.  Don’t shake your head at me, it’s true! You’ve just gotta make sure your eyes are looking at the right thing.  Happiness is a result of your approach to life, not necessarily what happens to you. Let’s make sure our souls are attached to the beauty of goodness not the negativity of nasty. 

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward….Just take the next step.”

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Pull Me Through

My daughter stopped the noise in the car and said, “We need to pray for mom quick.”  We were heading into painful territory for me and little did I know, my kiddos wanted to make sure I was covered and loved.  Gosh darn those loves. Tears. She did just that. Lifting me up. Asking for strength as I walked through the day. My husband and I lost it. Not two seconds after she says ‘Amen’ did one of my boys pop to the front seat to show me a funny YouTube video. “This will totally help you mom!,” he says.  Hahaha. Gotta love em.

I don’t understand why we need to have painful territory, or depression, or abuse, or loved ones passing, or jobs lost, or relationships burned.  What I do know is that without faith, without a belief, without a Jesus to pray to, those gut wrenching parts of life could kill and destroy us. Even children can see that. Can I be honest a second? I don’t walk around my house with a Bible in hand and a perfect non potty mouth ha! But my kids know, when crap hits the fan, you better get on your knees because He is the only one who is gonna pull you through.  That is the biggest thing that I want them to see in my own life. As you can see through my devos, I’ve got some days that aren’t so pretty. They see them. I don’t shy away from being real with my kids but I make sure they know how I walk through those hard days. There may be a few curse words before finally walking into a ‘come to Jesus’ moment but hey, we’ve all gotta do what works for us. I love love how Psalm 18:16 puts it ‘He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he pulled me out of deep water.”  How many times does it feel like we are drowning, soaked in the heaviness of what life is throwing at us? He is right there to grab a hold of our hand through the raging water and yank us from the storm. There’s not a single soul on this planet that can do just that AND transform our heart and soul at the same time.

I don’t know what you’re facing today and as you walk forward.  I can only speak from what I face or have faced. Hope is not a four letter word that should be thrown around loosely. We need to grab onto the sucker with all our might because in that word rests our better days ahead. Hope is knowing that our painful territory doesn’t have to be so painful anymore. Hope is standing on the fact that even just one minute from now, your heart can begin to beat toward a peace driven place of happy. 

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

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It's Christmas Time

Merry Christmas my sweet friends.  May these next few days bring you glimpses of joy and moments of happiness. For many of us, it can stir up different emotions and maybe even cause sadness whether it’s because of broken relationships, deep pain reignited, a loved one not around and the list goes on. You know what though? Christmas didn’t exist because of the perfect gift that was bought or a perfect relationship or a perfect life that was led.  Christmas exists because of the brokenness of the world. Christmas exists because we needed love to come into the world to meet us exactly where we are at. Christmas exists because that baby boy needed to come and tell you and I that we are loved. 

We are all beautifully broken people.  Every time we break, we become a little more alive and every time we break, we allow Christ to show us why He decided to come and walk the earth.  He wanted to know your brokenness. To feel your brokenness. To heal your brokenness. So celebrate that in these next few days. Let your soul rest in the beauty of why He came, for you. 

Love you my friends.  I’m forever grateful to you for allowing me to have a place to unload and be real. Now go get cookies and milk ready.  Santa doesn’t like to be hungry. 🙂 

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Your Move

He bought the ring. The ring. The one I wanted yet it was too late. This was after I had tried to commit suicide and things were starting to really heal. Don’t get me wrong, my boyfriend at the time was super there for me through some super hellish times but also decided to fling it up towards the end with someone else so……..  Once he saw how well I was doing and what Christ was doing in my life, the ring appeared. My new beginning looked different now. He had to understand that. It was a hard conversation and heartbreaking but in the end we both have beautiful lives that God had intended in the long run. 

Sometimes we have to realize that moving forward means that we need to let go.  It could be letting go of things, ideas, people, etc. Going back to what we’ve always known only puts us back into the darkness we’ve been trying to constantly fight our way out of. The relationship I was in was needed at the time. It was one of the darkest times of my life and he was there but as my new beginning began, I was in a different place. You see, sometimes you will heal and move forward and find yourself in a different lane than others. There isn’t a right or wrong lane but there are definitely different paths that we each walk.  This is when you have to step back and say, what do I need? Who do I need? What feeds my soul? Who feeds my soul? I know, this is killer cause we actually have to think of ourselves. Honestly though, maybe it’s because I’m getting older or something, but I’m so tired of stupid. I’m done with the drama. I’m just ready for the simplicity of love and kindness that feeds into my life. You and I have worked our lovely butts off to get to a place of healing and truth that I truly believe we are allowed to decide who is walking on our paths. Ha.  Proverbs 3:17 “Her ways are pleasant; all her paths are peaceful.”  Yes Lord!  I want a path of peace. Can I get an Amen! 

Moving forward.  New beginnings. It’s important to remember that God’s got you. Although everyone’s path is different, there’s always one thing the same, Jesus is walking with each of us.  That’s where our simplicity is. That’s where our love and kindness rests. That’s where there’s no drama. Do you realize how loved you are? Do you realize how incredibly powerful and strong you are? Well, I’m here to tell you that you are. Keep your head held high as you walk your dream. Hold on tight to Him and watch what He does. 

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”

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Been There

Talk about feeling like rockstar status. Years ago I had some good times singing in bars and restaurants. I mean, as a musician, this is where you kind of find your niche for a while ya know? AND…..we all know this is totally my kind of people. Real, down to earth, few too many drinks and we are all singing and dancing…..well…..that began to be an issue for sure. I was still looking to numb anything that came up in my life and let me tell you, well some of you probably already have experienced it yourself, drinking will numb anything that comes your way.  Late nights turned into late drinking turned into coming home late turned into a hot mess. My kids were super little and hello, someone still needed to take care of them the next day. Things quickly escalated and everything blew up. I quickly realized that things needed to change but not without sitting in some serious shame. Oh shame, the name of the game. 

This was a dark time and the dark time made me sit in the guilt and shame for a while. It makes me angry because it’s so not from God.  The devil takes this and runs. Yes, we screw up, everyday, but there are new mercies every morning. His grace covers us every step of the way.  Isaiah 54:10 says, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you…..”  It’s not like we screw up and God’s like, well now we can’t talk to each other for a few days cause I’m super ticked off. God isn’t fickle like humans can be. His love is unconditional. We screw up and when we come and be like, dude, I totally screwed up, he’s like, yea I know, gives us a big hug and moves on. It would be our doing that places the shame and guilt on ourselves.  Yea, so let’s stop doing that. Guilt and shame kill and destroy. It brings on other emotions like fear, anxiety, sadness, emotions that don’t lead us anywhere good. There are times that we need to look into the mirror and say, we did what we did, thinking it’s what was best, and now we move forward. Isn’t it crazy how if a friend would come to you pouring out their soul in regards to a tough past situation, you’d hug and love on them saying it’s ok, but yet that same kindness, you or I don’t show to ourselves.  No, not right. It’s time we treat ourselves with truth. The truth of kindness and love that others and Christ show towards us. 

Another thing, you have the power to make your light at the end of the tunnel.  In this time of my life, it’s what I was looking for. I was allowing others and other things to be the light at the end of my tunnel so to speak. You need to light that baby up yourself. You get to choose what’s going to bring you joy and rejuvenate the inmost depths of your soul or what is going to knock it down.  Don’t allow someone else or something else to light that candle for you. You’ve got the power to shine bright and follow that light to the end. Go get it! 

“Within you is the power to rise above any situation or struggle, and transform into the brightest, strongest version of you EVER!”

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Turn the Page

The chapter needed to end.  The page needed to be turned and quickly. The monster that had taken over my body for so many years had to be destroyed. A few months back I came to a breaking point with my eating disorder. It was destroying me and I had to look it straight in the eyes and tackle it head on.  I knew it was the last piece of the healing puzzle. It was also the piece that the devil was using to hold me down. Being able to see my body as a beautiful image of God is so foreign and, I thought, out of my reach so I just constantly attacked it. Undoing the thoughts that my body was an object, no good, not enough, ugly, and the list goes on from the abuse that never left my mind, seemed like it was beyond my reach. There came a day that I lost it. The control that it had over me came to a quick reality.  The circumstances around me were gonna leave me with choices I didn’t want to make. It was time to end the chapter. 

We’ve all been here too many times right? We know we need to start writing chapter 3 yet we are stuck in chapter 2 because if we let it go, we don’t know what the next page will bring. The unknown is scary.  Crap friends, this past month and a half has been nothing short of…….bring me back to chapter 2 please!! Haha. The freedom only lies on the other side. I have seen that in my own healing time and time again and I’m sure you’ve seen it in your own life. We hold onto what we think we can control and what will serve us in the end.  In reality though, it’s stopping us from moving into another chapter of blessing and healing, the next level of joy and peace. For me, I just don’t want to be a prisoner anymore of things that don’t serve me toward a better future that I’ve worked so darn hard for. I want that for you also. In 2 Peter 1:3a “By His divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life……”   If we rest in Him, like truly give it, He provides everything we need. I want to control everything around me, ha.  Imagine that. When in reality, it ends up hurting me in the end. We end up questioning our worth. We end up questioning our future.

My heart’s desire for you and me is for us to see ourselves as Christ sees us:  Beautiful, intelligent, strong, confident, enough, bad arses (cause he does), and warriors. This is the truth that we are gonna stand in.

Our next chapter will be titled, Look At Me Now!

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.”

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To Better Us

No we don’t need to hold a burning ball to better us. Ha! Although I’m sure we all have a few things we’d like to burn and throw but that’s for another devo. I did come across an article though that really struck a cord with me and I wanted to share some of it with you. Maybe you’ll be like, ok Heather, already been there done that. Just humor me then because there were a few things that I really needed to hear and maybe it will open your eyes too.

As I was scrolling through my feed on fb, I came across an article that intrigued me so I opened it. It’s title had something to do about the choices we make and how it affects our lives. They had simple yet deep steps to really be able to use each day to better ourselves. So here we go.

  1. Let Go of the Past: Blah! This one is always a hard one for me. It’s easy to have it rear it’s ugly head when things are triggered yet I feel like that’s normal for all of us. Instead, how about when it does come up, we acknowledge it and then release it. Not only does this pertain to back in the day but also to like yesterday. Holding onto grudges or things that just happened to us can eat us up inside and destroy our happiness. Like we’ve talked before, the past does not define who we are so why are we holding onto to it.
  2. Don’t Take Things Too Personally: I literally laughed out loud at this one. I take EVERYTHING personally. My assumption is everything and everyone is out to get me. This one really hit home with me and one a really want to work on. A lot of it has to do with our confidence and what we are grounded in. Is it in Jesus or the outside world? We overthink everything, or at least I do, which in turn makes us take things personally. No one is out to get us. Everyone is in the same boat, dealing with their own hardships.
  3. Choose Less over more: I like this one. Declutter baby. In every aspect of your life! Things, people, activities, social media, etc. What serves your soul and what doesn’t? This one has me really and truly thinking. This is a journaler (I don’t think that’s a word but it is now!) Need to make a list and process this one.
  4. Appreciate What You Have: Being grateful. We’ve heard this over and over. The more we live in gratitude for the things we do have, the less we live in negativity. You begin to appreciate the things around you instead of seeing all the things that you wish you had. I want to focus more on the people I love and the opportunities that are before me. It can get so lost when we live in a negative world but we have the power within ourselves to choose thankfulness. God’s really given us some pretty amazing things in our lives.
  5. Stop Worrying About the Future: I don’t know what you are talking about. I never do this. Says no one ever. Ha! I’m just gonna leave this one right here. I’m just gonna be like, you need to give that whole future thing to the Big Guy upstairs. He’s got it. Preaching to myself.
  6. Realize That You Yourself Are Enough: BEST ONE EVER!!!! YOU ARE ENOUGH!!! Look in the mirror today and say that over and over again. Tell that voice inside your head to go home. You are amazing and you/I need to start loving and accepting ourselves for the incredible rockstars we are. And scene.
  7. Be Kind: Not much more to say with this one. If you want people to be kind to you, you’ve gotta be kind to others. No matter if you agree with them or can’t understand where they are coming from or what they stand for, they are still made in Christ’s image, love them and be kind.

Love you guys! Have an awesome day! 🙂

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Grab On

So I may or may not have worked at Ed Debevic’s in downtown Chicago. Ok, I did. After I graduated college, I took my big degree and went to work at a restaurant hahaha. It didn’t last long.  I knew eventually I needed to actually get a real job but it was fun, dancing on tables and stuff. My name was Fu Fu. Pronounced Foo Foo but spelled F-u F-u. Do you get my joke? I thought it was funny. I was young.  Let’s just chalk it up to that. Although it was totally filled with crazy and music, which is totally me, it was still definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. It was a completely different crowd, different surroundings.  I needed to be grounded in who I was and what I stood for. In the end though, I’m so grateful I did it. I’m so grateful I didn’t think twice or live in fear of what I was maybe walking into. 

I have a tendency to hibernate in my four walls when crap hits the fan.  Can you relate? Like instead of stepping out or reaching out, I go inward. I think we have this weird thing inside of us that we assume no one wants our baggage or we are too much too handle. We don’t want to be a burden OR we believe we can handle it all. Such lies! Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and reach to those that love us in the hard times of life. We are not, I repeat, ARE NOT meant to walk this crazy life alone.  God wasn’t like, I plopped all you peeps here on earth and now you just go about your business till I come again. Yea, no. He formed us, created us to build relationships in order to survive the hardships and good times that this life brings.  Proverbs 17:17a “A friend loves at all times.”   We need to remember that.  The people in your life love you right where you are at.  Grab onto that. Even when you don’t take a shower for days, or your face is swollen with tears, or you’re so angry you can’t even speak, they still want to sit in the crap with you.  Get out of your comfort zone and your four walls and text, call, reach out. We aren’t meant to walk this life alone. We are meant to be together, hand in hand, arm in arm, warrior to warrior.  Shields up together my friends. 

“Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make.  You don’t have to go at it alone.”

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Who Cares

I had scars. Deep scars. Scars that would be questioned if I wore short sleeves when I was in the thick of it. I wore long sleeves, obviously, all the time. Pants were needed when the knife hit my leg. I never thought about where I would cut, it just happened and it wasn’t until after the fact that I needed to process through how I’d approach the next day at work or with people.  I had to pull my crap together because what would people think. How would I answer all the questions. How do I explain the depth of the pain inside from holding onto the abuse, the secrets, and so much more. People who didn’t even really know me wanted answers but that’s how people are right? They ask but aren’t ready for the real truth. Usually they just want some gossip. It wasn’t until healing really began that I started to really rock my scars.  My story was powerful and filled with Jesus. The ‘what will they think’ turned into ‘who cares what they think.’ 

How many times has that rolled around in our brains.  What will they think? What will people say? Because of the assumed answer, how many of your dreams, wants, desires have been crushed or forgotten.  Why? Why do we put so much worth in what other people think? It kills our insides and diminishes who we are and how we value our true identity. I am not defined by my scars but I will never EVER regret having each and every one. They tell a story along with each tattoo that sprawls over them. People question my scars, people question my tattoos but in the end, I only care about what Jesus thinks of me.  Am I doing things and speaking my story for His glory? Then that’s what matters. My identity is not defined by others, by my scars, by the abuse, or anything else this world says. Friends, we are not defined by others, our mistakes, our failures, our past, our hardships. Instead, we are defined by how we moved out of our storm and into the arms of our Father. Ephesians 2:10a “For we are HIS workmanship (His own master work, a work of art) created in Christ Jesus…..”  What people think is not your problem.  I know, easier said than done. This is another moment of preaching to myself.  We cannot control what others think or feel but we can control how we react and move forward.  Will we decide to let it crush what God has called us to do and be or will we stand tall and walk right up that mountain. It will always be our choice. Don’t let anyone else have power over your beautiful soul. You are meant to do amazing things, beautiful scars and all. 

“Our self worth is not determined by others”

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Time to Rewire

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My flippin Christmas tree fell down.  Like, totally fell down. We have like a 12 foot, real tree and the sucker fell.  I couldn’t believe it. I just got done decorating the whole thing and not 2 hours later I’m standing in the kitchen and BAM, to the ground it went.  I was so mad and truth be told, it had just been a long week already so this topped it off. Needless to say, I texted my hubby with some not so beautiful words.  I was like, we aren’t having Christmas, it’s over. Nothing like a bit of drama on my part right? Leading up to this though, there’s been so much negative inside of me.  My thoughts, my feelings have just been…..ick. It’s not like it was my husbands fault that the tree fell but I just exploded negativity because, well, that’s what was hanging out in my brain. He did completely put it back up but we may or may not have had to anchor it into the wall but hey, the bad boy is up and looking nice.

How do you see yourself? This question popped into my lovely mind this morning as I now realize the nasty that I brought. Is there so much negative inside of your mind that you begin to believe it?  I’m seeing that the way we see and feel about ourselves sets the tone for what kind of relationships we end up having. When you look in the mirror, what kind of words come back at you? Ugly, stupid, strange, unworthy, not enough or beautiful, strong, fierce, determined, warrior. When I allow the negative thoughts to continue to roll inside my head, I then carry that with me throughout the day, throughout my life.  The way I end up responding to others and connecting with them totally turns ugly fast. The reality is, what kind of relationship you have with yourself, determines what kind of relationship you will have with others. This is a hard one for me. I’m sure it can be for you as well. We easily believe the lies that are rolling inside of us because they become so strong. We want others to tell us how wonderful we are, or beautiful, or smart, and the list goes on. Here’s the thing though, in a matter of 5 minutes, those awesome compliments will be long gone once one lie rears its ugly head once again.  Totally not saying to not compliment and love on each other but if we determine our worth by what others are saying to us, we are going down a slippery slope. We were created so specifically, so uniquely by God that we need to rest in the fact that we are the bomb. The negativity that stirs around inside your head is nothing but junk from the devil. He knows how to get to us and the only way to kick him in the butt is to start believing the truth. 

It’s time for us to start rewiring our brains. When negativity starts to seep in, hit it straight on with words like, I am enough, I am a fighter, I am a warrior, I am beautiful, I am a Child of God, I am a kick butt son of a gun who will go and do some serious damage with my big bad self in this life. We’ve got this.  Together we can shift our thoughts so that those we love around us will know how much they are loved. 

“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself”

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The Blame Game

Someone tooted in the car.  You just can’t do that. Not with 6 people in it. Yes, that’s right, this devo is starting out with someone tooting and there will be deep thoughts ha. We blamed my oldest cause well, as my middle explained it, it smelled like his. Hahaha.  He, of course, is like, don’t blame me, I didn’t do it. We go on to be like, oh, ok. Next thing you know, my youngest chimes in, ‘he didn’t do it!’ (Enter in smirk face) We all bust out laughing and of course, give him the hard time. 

I don’t blame. I can’t.  There are some days I want too but it does me no good. For a very long period of time, I blamed myself. Shaming myself. Thinking something was wrong with me. I’ve talked about this in another devo but forgiveness happens inside of us so that we can move forward and heal.  It allows what happened to you or to me to move from a prison into a place of freedom. When we continue to blame, we continually bring ourselves back into that prison. It’s hard for me to write this because I’ll be honest, I sure as heck am not perfect at it everyday, but I try. Things get stirred up, people say things, or images get slapped back into my brain and I just want to lose it. In the end though, I get hurt.  It hurts mine and your heart because those that have hurt us, have their own pain to deal with. They have no idea what is happening inside of us. God is a God of mercy and also a God of justice. In Colossians 3;25 it says, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”  I’m not trying to be all harsh and stuff cause Lord knows I’ve done my own crazy not-so-good stuff but with the abuse that was done to me, this brings me peace.  It allows me to forgive and not blame because God oversees justice. It’s not my job. The outcome of horrible situations in your life you can’t change or make go away but you can control how you react and move forward.  Obviously, you need to allow yourself times of anger, sadness, grieving, and the list goes on. I still go through phases of these but for me, knowing that Christ has the ultimate say on what goes down with those who have hurt me or you, is comfort.  

We need to stay in our lane. We need to stay focused on how far we’ve come.  We need to see the beauty that rests around us because of what we’ve already overcome.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. Although I do feel that if women would’ve built it………..ok, I won’t go there! Haha. Surround yourself with the beauty of truth.  God is the ultimate judge and you, you are the ultimate fighter. 

“Blaming puts others in charge of your happiness.”

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Be Real, Be You

“Mom, STOP!” Those silent but deadly words were being spoken to me while I was jamming out to Britney Spears at Bdubs one wonderful day with my kids. Maybe, just maybe, I was moving and grooving to some serious tunes before getting our delicious boneless wings.  This doesn’t surprise them in the least but they do keep trying to tame me down hahaha! Something to do with being embarrassed or something. I ask them to join in but it still hasn’t happened yet. Maybe one day. 

It’s me. It’s authentic. Becoming who we truly are and being grounded in it allows others to gravitate toward us and feel safe. My kids probably question their safety! haha! This, becoming who we truly are, has been a learning process for me.  I’ve always been more of the, let’s just say, outspoken and eccentric one of the group. This wasn’t always accepted with open arms growing up. It made me question if I was suppose to change, be something that I wasn’t.  Doesn’t help that this world puts labels on people, puts us in a box of what we should and shouldn’t be depending on our culture or religion or color or status, or whatever. That’s just a bunch of BS. It gets me a bit fired up.  God created each one of us so incredibly different and unique. No one gets to have a say on what’s right or wrong or who is better than who. Not sure who died and left anyone else king but I’m pretty sure there is just one King that I know of.  Isaiah 64:8 “We are the clay, and You our Potter, And we all are the works of Your hand.”  He doesn’t make crap and He doesn’t make anyone the same.  Stand in who you are. You want to dance? Dance! You need to cry? Cry!  You need to swear sometimes? Let it go! Just maybe give a warning to your kids. Ha! You see where I’m going with this.  Yes, our God is a God of boundaries but He is also a real and true God. He wants to see you be you. The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Here’s the coolest part of my story.  Not a few hours before my Britney dance off did my kids see me balling my eyes out. I had a therapy session that dug deep into the heart of my abuse. They asked if I was ok and I told them what was up.  I was real. We hugged it out, went to eat and then I danced it out because friends, life is too beautiful to hide behind. Life is meant to be authentic, genuine, and alive. Whether it looks messy or all the pieces fit together, it’s real. If we all learned to live in the beauty of it, we will all start dancing to Britney together. 

“Be real…….Be YOU!”

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Credit is Due

 Ladies and gents, this momma had a real rock star moment. Let me just fill you in.  I was so ready, so on it. Another headache was on tap for my 8 year old in the back seat and when I turned around, total pale face.  I knew exactly what that meant. We had been in the car for at least 12 hours at this point and we were so close to being home. You see, my fam road trips everywhere.  With 4 kids, there is no way we are paying for plane tickets anywhere so if they wanted to see somewhere other than the flat lands of Illinois, than welcome to my wonderful SUV for the next 2 days! Hahaha. Any who…..back to my rock star moment. I told him to just lay down for a bit, after giving him some medicine, to see if that helped.  While he tried to rest, I got everything ready. I put about 6 target bags inside of one other and got some freshener spray prepared. After about a ½ hour I hear a moan….. I turn around…….. I see a wide eyed boy…… I put the million target bags under his mouth…….he lets loose….…..I tie it up and whip it out the window (don’t tell the police)……..then spray a bit and BAM…….life resumed as if the rainbow in the sky had never left the building. My other three were so impressed with my skills they were speechless.  SPEECHLESS I tell you. They also couldn’t stop laughing because I threw the puke out the window but what’s a women suppose to do? There were 3 hours left. Ain’t no way I was hanging out in the car with puke. Nope! Nada! Not happening! 

So now you are all like, great story Heather, but is there even a point to it?  Maybe or maybe I just wanted you all to know how incredibly amazing I was. Joking. I really do have a point. When I stepped away from this situation, I was like, dude, I don’t give myself enough credit for what I can do or what I’m able to do or what I’m capable of doing or what I’ve already done, and I guarantee, neither do you. Let’s dig a little deeper than a puke episode. We are stronger than the words or daggers that are thrown at us. We are bigger than any stupid social media post that rile us up.  We are more powerful than the unknown, the loss of a job, depression, anxiety, abuse, and so much more. We HAVE already overcome heartache that has been thrown our way as we’ve walked through life so far, so what makes us think we aren’t capable of plowing through what lies ahead. Here is the kicker, we don’t even have too. It says at the end of John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous, I have overcome the world.”  Our rock star moments exist every freaking day because we have the overcoming power of Jesus Christ living inside of us.  Whether it’s an amazing idea of throwing puke out of a window or having strength to fight through deep rooted pain, we can and we will because of Him. 

You are incredible. Moments that wreck you, empower you.  Moments that throw you into a whirlwind only make you stand taller in your next storm. Rock star status. That’s you! Don’t forget it! 

“Life is not about how you survive the storm.  It’s about how you dance in the rain.”

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Step Out

I had a beautiful, beautiful soul share this with me:

Feel like everything is falling apart, but in reality everything is coming together for your highest good.  You’re being pushed to evolve and get out of your comfort zone so you can live and experience your true greatness.  Welcome change. Trust the process.’

I’m pretty sure I’ve read it a thousand times.  Different words, phrases popping out in different ways, on different days. Welcome change!  That’s a big one for me. I’m sure for some of you too. Change is hard but can be oh so good and freeing. Things can be falling apart around us but are they?  In reality, are they really just piecing together the way they were always meant to be? They were maybe glued together the wrong way in the first place right? We’ve gotta continue to press forward.  Fight. I think of the words at the end of Philippians 3:13 where it says…”but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” As long as we continue to attach ourselves to our past, even to things that happened to us just yesterday or a few minutes ago, we are denying the things that Christ wants for our future.  It’s almost like we are putting our own road blocks up ya know? 

Please understand, I’m like not wanting to write this right now cause then I’ve gotta do what I’m preaching ha ha! It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to step out of our comfort zone.  What does that look like for you, stepping out of your comfort zone? Therapy? Reaching out to friends? Trying something new? Being honest with yourself? Stepping out of your comfort zone usually makes you want to puke at first.  Just saying. But in the end, it’s the most fulfilling and life changing experience. 

True greatness is inside of you.  True greatness is inside of me. God will not let go. He will not let go.  When I hold onto my past, sometimes I get stuck in asking, where were you? Where were you God?  Why? Why did you let him hurt me? Why did you let bad things happen? Why didn’t you save me? And the questions go on and on until my face is swollen with tears. I won’t sit in that though because I know that God was crying with me.  God was hurting with me. There’s evil in this world and we still have flesh and free will. There were wrong choices made and I was the one hurt in the end BUT I NOW HAVE THE VICTORY because of Jesus. You have victory too. Trust the process. Your true greatness awaits.

“In the waves of change, we find our direction”

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Here We Go Again

I couldn’t breathe.  I almost woke up my hubby but then I was like, nah, I’m ok.  Because that’s how we roll right? We all don’t ask for help very easily.  I honestly thought maybe it was just an addition to the cold I had. My thought was it was probably heading into my chest and I just needed some medicine.  Let’s fast forward to after the cold went away and the elephant on my chest still remained. I knew exactly what was going on. Crap. Here it is again. Anxiety.  Panic attacks. Ugh. Rough. They are rough friends. Anxiety blows. I truly believe everyone has experienced it on some level. There are a few of us that get kicked in the butt a bit harder.  

When things outside of our control start to feel like they are spiraling, I find that’s when the elephant likes to rear its ugly head.  As I continue to dig deeper into the loss of pieces torn off my soul from the abuse, I realize I’m in this unknown territory, hence the feeling of no control. What does life look like without the hurt? What do I feel about myself? What am I gonna do when I grow up? haha BUT step back friends. Let’s step back a moment. Unknown territory. This could be exciting. When we hit a place where we let go of what’s causing the elephant to exist in our lives, we get to start a new chapter.  Fresh pages. Nothing on them. It’s really not a loss of control but yet a new control. It’s all in our mind set. How we look at our moving forward will determine how our next chapter will look. I know I’ve used this verse before but I really don’t care cause I love it ha! Isaiah 43:19 “Be Alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?  There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Brand new!  New chapter! Fresh start! He’s doing something.  Stupid elephants, tigers, and bears will come out and try to steal your joy but in the end, you will not be defeated.  For your ending is well, never ending because it’s got a Jesus stamp all over it. 

Shifting our mind set is huge.  What are we truly seeing? Fear is a liar. Fear traps us and makes us believe we can’t move forward.  Fear stops us in our tracks so the next chapter of beauty, renewing, joy, can’t be written. Fear can control you.  Don’t let that dirty jerk of a thing even see the light of day in the name of Jesus. You deserve everything Jesus and this beautiful earth has to offer.  Big things are in store for every chapter in your book. Remember, every chapter, each season will look different yet has purpose and can have joy depending on how you read and perceive it. 

“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s junk.”

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Pick It

You need to pick your weeds.  No, you don’t need to pick your nose.  Although, on a side note, do you ever look over while driving to find your spouse halfway up their face and you’re like, did I know this about you before I married you? Hahahaha.  Ok, back to God stuff.  So maybe saying, you need to pull your weeds, would be better.

There are some weeds out there that are actually beautiful.  Like, they have some beautiful flowers that you wouldn’t even expect them to be weeds. They mask themselves pretty well.  Then there are some that you curse at when going to pull them out cause those prickly things get stuck in your fingers. You see where I’m going with this.  There are things in our lives we need to get out. Some may look beautiful on the outside but truth be told, they are killing us deep within. They aren’t allowing us to grow.  They aren’t allowing us to heal. Back in the day, I never said ‘No.’ I filled my life up so much that I couldn’t breathe yet the world saw me. It felt good to be so acknowledged and needed but did it?  It looked great on the outside, but it ended up making me crabby, tired, weary, and leaving my family by the wayside. Not cool in my eyes. Beautiful weeds, they needed to be plucked. The prickly weeds.  The ones that just keep coming back, ha. The ones that you know are hurting you yet you keep allowing them to hang around. Dude, that crap needs to go. Whether it’s a toxic relationship, maybe social media spirals you, those negative thoughts, I mean, we’ve all got them, it’s just a matter of facing them and yanking them out. We’ve chatted, well, I’ve chatted, about all kinds of prickly weeds in my life.  Truth, I may pull them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t try and grow back. It doesn’t mean that when crap hits the fan, I don’t think about cutting sometimes or falling back into victim mode from my past but friend, that’s when you get that weed killer out and you’re like BAM, no way, I’m moving forward, and kill that sucker. 

Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”  I want that.  I want to weed out all the crap so that every seed I have worked so hard to plant grows so strong that those darn weeds can’t even show their ugly heads anymore. I want to be living in the fullness of joy with my Jesus.  Let’s do that. Ready. Set. Break. Oh, and FYI, in case you didn’t know, you are pretty killer. Like, you’ve got this. Warrior status, my friend, warrior status! 

“Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.”

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Just Be Nice

What we say influences people. How we treat them, love on them, look at them, speak to them, can make or break the reality of thoughts that are going through their minds. We are able to build up or shake down those that are in our path and in all honesty,  what we say and how we say it makes a huge difference. The reality is, we never know what’s going on behind the walls of their lives. We have no idea what heartache was walked through before they even came into our paths. 

I’m working through some hard steps in life right now about body image, learning to love my body, finding the beauty again, seeing that at an early age I was an object, my body wasn’t really mine. (More devos on all that goodness to come 🙂 So one of my assignments was to go back and recall all the different times about what I felt towards my body and write it, whether good or bad.  I had one pop up in my head which I couldn’t believe how much it affected me and stuck with me. I was a cheerleader in high school for a few years. Yes, I know, crazy, but hey, when you are goofy and loud who wouldn’t want you on their team! Anyhow, we were all getting our uniforms and the one girl told the coach, ‘She (pointing to me) will need a bigger size.’ As in, the rest of us are small but she’s bigger so………  Holy crap balls! So mean! But I just internalized it and went on my merry way, putting a game face on and continued to just make everyone laugh to mask the pain inside. Do you see what I’m saying though? Like, maybe she was just being super practical. She was right, I did need a bigger size because I wasn’t a -000 (eye roll) but she obviously had no idea all the other yuck that had gone on in the past or what I was carrying inside that would make that comment affect me so deeply. 

Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.”  We have the privilege to be part of someones amazing healing journey.  There are so many times that God places certain people at certain times in our paths to speak just the right words. We’ve all been there. Jesus uses everything around us to say, ‘Yes, keep going, you’ve got this.’ Imagine being able to be used as a tool in a beautiful souls life to say just that. We all walk so many different paths with so many different angles of hardship but in the end, we all want deep down soul healing. What you deeply desire in your heart from others, give out to those around you.  I promise it will come back to you. God don’t play games. Word! He knows what you need at just the right time. Be kind, love, be a light in someones life and don’t tell anyone they need a bigger size, I’m just say’n hahaha

“There will always be a reason why you meet people.  Either you need to change your life, or you’re the one that’ll change theirs.”

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Truth

This was sent to me by a beautiful friend. Such truth. Read it over and over. Cling onto it. Let it sink in. Allow it to become what keeps you going today and then go kick some serious butt.

God is Bigger Than

  • YOUR PAST
  • YOUR DEPRESSION
  • YOUR PAIN
  • YOUR HATE
  • YOUR ANGER
  • YOUR DOUBT
  • YOUR FEAR
  • YOUR SHAME
  • YOUR ANXIETY
  • YOUR SCARS
  • THIS WORLD

“You were made to do hard things, so believe in yourself.”

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No You Didn’t

OMG!   You just saw a text come through and your mind is reeling.  Did they really mean to say that? There was no emoji with it.  Does that mean they are mad? They only responded ‘ok’. There are always a few people that stir you up right? Texting can always be the worst anyways.  You never really can grasp what anyone truly feels through it which leads you to believe the worst. Let me go back to the line I just wrote though. There are always a few people that stir you up RIGHT?  Hmmmm. Why do you allow that to happen? Obviously, we all do it and it’s so human, but we also need to step back and protect our hearts, our souls. 

My daughter got her haircut a few years ago.  I will never forget it. She came home so upset. One of her, so called friends, looked at her on the bus with her new haircut and said, ‘I need to turn around.  I can’t even look at your hair!’ WHAT?!!?!?!? Dude, don’t make this mama bear whip out her tattoos and make me come at ya. McKenna, my daughter, has such a sweet soul and all she could think of was how to make it right and what she did wrong.  Because getting a cute haircut was wrong? I can’t even. When she got home, she texted this friend, asking why she would say that AND continue to talk about her at school. Of course, she denied all of it. At first I was like, give me the phone and I’ll text her but then I cooled off,  put my big girl pants on, and had an honest convo with my girl. I told her that sometimes we just need to distance ourselves from people who just aren’t feeding our souls. Some are so broken and are dealing with their own pain, which is the only way they know how to treat others. It’s easier to hurt others then to build them up.  With people like that, you need to love from a distance. 

You see where I’m going with this.  It’s ok to take care of our heart and soul first. It’s also ok that there are seasons in our lives we can handle a lot and sometimes we can’t handle much. Your beauty, your worth does not get to be defined by a comment from another, or a look from someone, or a conversation that went south. Sometimes this world can leave us feeling kicked and beaten down, questioning our value but Christ stands up letting us know we are worth more than gold.  Psalm 19:10 “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”  

Yep, easier said than done, totally get it. Baby steps.  I tell myself that every day. The next time you feel a tinge in your heart over something that hits your gut hard, remember to take a deep breath and smile, yes smile.  Take back the power that is yours to have. This chapter of your life does not have to be defined by others but instead set in place by you and the one that created you. 

“Know your worth, then add tax.”

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Yes We Can

Ok, let’s try that again. We are allowed a redo. We are allowed to restart.  We are allowed to try something new. We are allowed to search for what we truly desire outside of the fact that we keep running into closed windows or bricks walls. Joy is ours to have and happiness is in the making. I had a beautiful time in therapy the other day.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, ya’ll need to hit up a therapist. It’s so good for the soul. There’s a reason Jesus puts these wonderful people on earth. We discussed our frustration over people just saying ‘be positive’ or ‘just let it go’ as in how easy that would be. Shoot.  If that were the case, we’d live in a world where everyone only pooped flowers and hugged all the time. Can I get an Amen? It’s just not that simple. 

Here’s what I’m learning. I’m digging into some hard stuff right now.  I’m in the middle of some serious yuck, to put it nicely. Ha. I’m sure as the weeks move forward, I’ll share more and more but right now, this is where I’m moving towards. Choices need to be made each moment, like each second. We each have a need, a longing in our hearts to reach peace, acceptance within ourselves, a deep desire for love, a want for change out of circumstances that keep bringing us back into darkness. We need to fight against what we know. We need to fight against what makes us comfortable.  We need to fight against the ‘I give up’ mentality and see ourselves worthy of what our hearts desire. We need to be brave enough and courageous enough to chase the positive in our lives. As I plow through this time in my life, I remember what my son told me months ago. When I had opened up to my kids about all the cutting, suicide attempt, sexual abuse etc, he said, ‘but you’re good now mom, right?’ I remember thinking, I am because I chose to be by the grace of God. I have to keep choosing that and so do you. 

Sweet friends, this world can make us out to be believe that we won’t make it or worse yet, that this is just how it’s gonna be till we croak.  Yea, no. That’s not truth and I’m not gonna sit here and believe it. We are gonna live life to the fullest. We are gonna fight for beauty and love in our lives toward ourselves, others, and our Jesus. With God’s help, we have the power to choose. We will fail at times, maybe a lot, but we pick back up and try again because you know why, we all deserve it. 

Psalm 30:2 “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.”

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And Then There Was Silence

Silence can feel like death or silence can be freeing.  People can be in your life one moment and then become silent, making you question your worth. Silence of death. Your home becomes silent because all your kids are now in school and you jump for joy. Silence of freedom. Oh wait, maybe that’s just me! Ha! I was a, go ahead be gone now, kind of a mom. Don’t get me wrong, so so so love my kids, but so so so loved them even more when they went to school! 🙂

There was a silence that almost destroyed my heart a few years ago.  Before our sweet pup Ivy came into our lives, we had a sweet girl Mulligan. She was a gift from my boyfriend at that time who became my husband.  My beautiful chocolate lab had been my healthy replacement for my cutting. I was in an uphill climb with my healing and wanted to focus on something healthy. The unconditional love of an animal is irreplaceable.  She went with me everywhere. She was all my kids knew because, well, she was there first. Then my sweet girl needed to go see Jesus. The first day that I took all the kids to school and didn’t come home to a wagging tail at the door, I thought for sure my heart fell out of my chest.  The emptiness was almost loud. Is that possible? I don’t know how else to describe it. That whole day I remember thinking, no person should ever have to feel this. I know each of you at some point have been there, each on their own level of emptiness, each of you experiencing silence from a loss.  Hope seems like it was there yesterday but disappeared the moment you opened your eyes. The truth is, it never left you. It’s in the core of who you are. It clings onto the unfailing love of our Jesus. Psalm 33:22 ‘May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.’   Shoot, Lord knows we don’t always feel it. Sometimes it takes everything just to put two feet on the ground but guess what, that’s two feet full of hope right there. 

Silence, emptiness, pain, crappy days, we can’t make them disappear and if I find a magic way for that to happen, it will be in big letters on my next entry, I promise. In the meantime, we look to our right and to our left.  We realize the hope that sits next to us and around us. We realize that the God that created the beauty of this world walked it and lived the silence and the pain you have or are experiencing. Hope doesn’t always look like fireworks and rainbows.  Sometimes hope is the next breath you take and the sweet smile you see. 

“Hope does not need to silence the rumblings of crisis to be hope.”

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Just a Little Something

I read this. It hit home. I wanted to share it because maybe some of you needed to read it today too.

What Do Boundaries feel like?

** It is not my job to fix others

** It is okay if others get angry

** It is okay to say no

** It is not my job to take responsibility for others

** I don’t have to anticipate the needs of others

** It is my job to make me happy

** Nobody has to agree with me

** I have a right to my own feelings

** I AM ENOUGH

BAM!!! Right? Now you go and have an awesome day friends!

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They Don’t Get To Decide

I don’t believe things happen by accident.  I don’t believe that people come into our lives by accident whether we want them to walk in or not.  Each person or each instance shapes our story and molds who we become. In the end, we decide how we react to it.  

It was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.  I auditioned to tour with a christian singing group around the US and throughout Europe.  Pretty sweet right? At the time, I was dating a hmmmmm……what should we call him……..so many words but shouldn’t speak them, so we shall say, not so nice boy, ha, at the time. BUT, he had me wrapped around his finger. We’d been dating for a few years and there had been abuse there so needless to say, leaving was good for me, just didn’t see it till later. Our group stopped at my church, he came, and she came.  Yep, you know that gut feeling when a friend of yours sits down next to your boyfriend and you just know. I confronted him in the short time I had to see him and total denial. Yea, ok. I believed him because I was completely like that and toured the rest of the summer. Got home. Got dumped. Found out he was cheating on me with her the whole time I was gone. Surprise! Surprise! And why you ask? She gave him what he wanted if you know what I mean. He had to fight me to get a very small amount. I had boundaries. Was I devastated?  For sure, but man, I truly believe that was one of the biggest steps I needed to realize it was time for me to stand up for ME. That wasn’t love. I didn’t deserve what I was in but assumed that love looked like that. I needed a big slap in the face in order to see it. 

I love how this happened to me right after I had this amazing experience with my Jesus, singing all over the place.  You are never prepared to be broken but I knew I could fall back in the arms of my Father. Psalm 91:4 says, ‘He will shelter you with his wings, you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.”  Situations, people, circumstances, they come, and we don’t have a choice.  Many can mess with our heads or lead us to believe we are lost or broken or walking down a wrong path but I’m here to tell you that we decide what that outcome is.  We get to decide how we react to the challenges that we didn’t ask for. Will we allow them to break us or will we rest into the arms of our Creator and be like, dude, you are gonna need to run the show cause this one through me for a loop.  He is all over it. Truth be told, He does a much better job. 

“Don’t get upset with people or situations.  Both are powerless without your reaction.”

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Not Happening Alone

I was sitting next to her with tears streaming down my face.  I couldn’t control what I felt as she played. You could see it written all over her, how it felt to have her hands on those keys, and to think years ago that was me.  I knew exactly what she was feeling and it connected us. I said long ago I’d never teach my own kids piano but obviously God said, yes you will. The connection with us is growing stronger which makes me cry as I sit here. As she played, all I could think was, sweet daughter, I’m so grateful that you don’t carry the anguish I did while playing at your age.  Music can be an escape in the best way possible but torture when it reaches the depths of your soul into the pain of secrets. I’ve gotten to a place where music is freedom, she’s already there. Being the only girl in our family, I connected her with my pain from the past. I’m just gonna be real. I’ve written this before but yesterday it hit again. Every time I saw her, I saw him, I saw the abuse. I felt it.  To think that a few years ago, I could hardly look at her or touch her because of what was done to me as a little girl. It killed my heart more than a thousand swords yet healing came little by little and now I’m sitting by her, connecting with her in the most deepest way, with our soul healer…… music. 

Now to lighten the mood cause I went deep, quickly. I did tell her she needs to practice more.  As I came out of my lala land of connection, I realized she was biffing most of the song. Ha! Amazing what a song can sound like when you are all crying and mushy. 

We are not meant to be the fixers. Although you all may have some amazing super powers, you still can’t fix the gut wrenching hidden deep inside.  Ok, let me rephrase, we can’t fix anything on our own. Guys, when I look back, there’s no way I could’ve reworked my heart towards my daughter by myself. There’s no way I could’ve learned to put the knife down mid way into my skin by myself.  Here’s the thing though. In many of those situations, I wasn’t like super spiritual and all up in Jesus business. Here comes another real moment, cause you love it! There were many of those times I was not even thinking about Him. I was pissed. Mad at Him. Mad because I couldn’t understand why things weren’t better or why my circumstances were crumbling at my feet when everyone else was flying unicorns and eating rainbows. (can you eat rainbows?) I came to realize, Jesus isn’t asking us to come to him all perfect and happy.  He wants us to come always but most importantly when the crap hits the fan. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  He works best when we are crushed because that’s when he pulls you out from the depths and the only thing you can say is, that was Jesus. Honestly, we don’t always see it at the moment.  It’s not like I always walk away being like, and Jesus just saved me. I wish I could and He does, but sometimes my blinders are on. Many, many times, because I’m a little slow, I don’t see what amazing things he has done in my life until I look back. Until I’m sitting at the piano with my daughter. 

He’s working friend. Maybe right now you can’t see it and it seems like you are treading water, alone.  You aren’t alone. What He is gonna do in your life is far beyond what you can imagine so He needs you ready. Jesus is working behind the scenes, you just need to keep walking forward, one step at a time. 

“Sometimes God will bypass what you hope for to give you what you really need.”

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Credit is Due

Picture it, I’m on stage, worshiping, singing my brains out and I totally get lost in worship and lose my place. Like, literally I had to stop singing.  For those of you that don’t know, I sing at church and lead worship. Love it. So great. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in worship and get lost ha.  We have lyrics in the back of the church for us worship peeps to see so we don’t, well, do what I just did. Like honestly, had to hold off singing for like, what felt like 5 minutes of my life, staring blankly at everyone before I could start up again at the second verse.  Back in the day I would’ve lost my poop. Would’ve crazy worried about what everyone thought and if I would do it again. Ok, so I did worry for a bit afterwards what everyone thought but then I quickly came to, ya know what, everyone makes mistakes. Hold the front door, Heather is actually processing through this quickly instead of falling into a dark hole!  There is a God, people! Jesus is real! Haha

But for real, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for actually surviving some serious events in our lives. We also don’t realize how far we have come to get where we are today.  We so quickly jump to the next thing and dismiss the amazing work that we have done to move passed some real gut wrenching pain in our lives. There are many people who already know my story but when there is someone who doesn’t and asks for the rundown of what Jesus has done in my life, I step back and I’m like, wow, God and I have really worked this stuff out.  I know that many of you could say the same thing. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the here and now of what we are sitting in but take a moment to realize how far you’ve actually come. Step back and realize the strength and power you have gained from surviving the depth that you’ve walked through. In Ephesians 3:16 it says, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”  That’s what I’m talking about.  Deep in the gut of ourselves lies this strength and power that only He can give and we choose to grab on and run.  The more and more we hang onto that, the more and more making a mistake on stage doesn’t take over my brain, or making a mistake at work, or hurting someone we love, and the list goes on. We have the strength to look at the ugly in the face and be like, nope, not today. 

Don’t dismiss the moving forward that you have worked so hard for but also, do not beat yourself up for the times you feel like you’ve stepped backwards. Sometimes what we see as a giant mountain that can never be overcome is really just a wave that is going to fall at any moment. 

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”

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Get out of the Way

As I was sitting in the parking lot with my husband, I knew that my whole world was gonna change after this moment. Once I walked through those doors and spoke my truth, nothing was going to be the same again. God had opened the door to stand up for what had happened to me and I knew it was time. In the end, I couldn’t change how people responded or how they felt.  In the end, I had to accept the fact that things will never go back to how it used to be but is that a bad thing?  

I lived in bondage most of my life.  Carrying this dark secret of sexual abuse. I had to play a game of pretend……always. There were times even months I could shove it so far down that my brain would just turn it off, like it never existed, but then their would be one trigger and my world would spin.  I now got to speak what I’ve wanted for so many years and there’s this picture in your mind that everyone will rally around you, loving on you. In the end, not everyone did. I had to accept the fact that things will never go back to how it used to be but guess what, it’s ok!  If we aren’t suppose to live in our past, why are we wishing to bring it back? Things change for a reason. Although if God could just fill us in a little bit when it happens, that would be lovely. There’s always better things to come as we walk through life so if we constantly look behind us to pull those pieces back to the front, we will never see what the true blessings are in front of us. In James 1:17 it says, “Every good, every perfect gift comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.”  Thank goodness!!!  At lease we can lean on one thing that doesn’t change!  Can I get an AMEN! 

No, we can’t go back.  We can’t go back and fix something we’ve done, we can’t go back and sit in the simplicity of life before, we can’t go back to how it used to be instead we can hope in today.  How about instead, we accept where we are today so that it can open up the beauty of what this life has to bring us. Man, things never usually turn out the way you think right? Maybe there’s purpose in that.  God has His finger on all things friend and maybe just maybe, the way you saw it would’ve hurt you in the end. Maybe just maybe, your amazing future is gleaming with excitement and joy, you just need to step to the side and let Him work. 

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

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I Ain’t Trash

I was sitting around a big ole table, not knowing what the response was gonna be. It was a few months after I had tried to commit suicide and that truly was my ultimate turning point.  The point where the light of truth was shining so bright that I was sprinting to it. I was offered a job as a music director yet I still needed to spill my guts to a table full of men…..elders.  It was my understanding that some felt maybe I wasn’t ready, or that maybe my baggage was too much. I unloaded. Speaking truth about the cutting, suicide attempt, and all stuff in between. I knew I was ready cause I was saved by Jesus but for those on the outside, it didn’t always look the same. I was questioned.  I was drilled a little. You could tell they really wanted to ask me, ‘so will you fall apart when the crap hits the fan?’ Ha. It’s normal. I got that a lot. People walking on eggshells around me, not knowing if I’d lose it or whip out some knives from my pocket like a ninja or something. In the end, I was hired. But I’m not gonna lie, it left a mark in my heart for sure.

Just to get my story straight, we all have baggage right? Again, it’s amazing how when your scars are visible, somehow you are far more damaged then the person sitting next to you.  Guess what, there’s more to me and you then meets the eye. People want to question or maybe judge based upon what they see yet little do they know the strength that lies within us. At the time of this meeting, my scars were definitely visible and fresh but I wasn’t hiding them anymore because you know why?  Sure you do, Christ lifted me out of the darkness and now those scars are shining lights. Those scars are war wounds of a battle I won and can tell about. Those scars are signs that show I’m not broken anymore because of sexual abuse or pain that is was ruling me inside. Those sitting around the table and many others want to see them as evidence of damaged goods. Nope! Nada! Lies! In Romans 3:10 it says, “There is no righteous person, not even one.”  There is not one person who is better than the next.  There’s not one person who hasn’t had issues, or walked a hard life, or screwed up, that is walking this earth.  Don’t think for a second that what you see on social media or the masks that some put on is truth. We all do it because sometimes it’s easier to hide but our Jesus is the only perfect, righteous, beloved soul.  

There’s so much worth that is happening inside your beautiful self.  Situations like this that have happened to me and I’m sure to you, make us realize how important it is to listen, to understand, to step back and take a minute before we go judging and stuff. We are not damaged goods, but instead we are beautifully written masterpieces that all play to a different beat.  Shoot, I think the broken pieces inside of us show the world just how killer rockstars we are. 

“She is not broken anymore, she is stronger, wiser, and more beautiful than before because God took her broken pieces and made her new again.”

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Well That Stung

Words can be painful.  Gossip blows. Things spoken behind your back are like daggers coming at ya. Man, it makes you think twice about ever doing it to anyone else, doesn’t it?  The sinking, horrible feeling you get when you find out someone said something unkind about you, makes your spirit collapse. 

I just had this happen to me.  I was up tossing and turning about it, not understanding why anyone would say hurtful words about me, especially when it’s someone so close.  I was being there for a friend. They had reached out to me. She’s going through a transition in life and finding which direction this crazy world is taking her. It’s hard. It’s new, scary, exciting, frustrating, and we make mistakes sometimes so i wanted to make sure I was there to listen, to love. Someone close to both of us responded with, “She’s the last person you should be reaching out too!”  Ouch! Now, if you know me, and pretty much all of you who haven’t met me personally know my guts from these devo’s so, you know me and could semi see I’m not a villain, or some crazy lady. Well, I guess some could fight me on that ha. But I am real, and I do allow emotions to be had without guilt and shame.  I’ve spent too much of my life shoving reality down and putting on this mask. I’ve spent too much of my life not being real with what I’ve been through out of guilt and shame so I’m not gonna sit and make anyone do that or feel that. First of all, those two nasty words are not from Jesus and second, they will kill and destroy you if you stay in them.  Ummmm…..so why would I allow someone else to sit in that. Nope. In the end, my heart hurts. I’m absolutely positive you have all been through a situation like this. Someone has judged you behind your back not even knowing the truth, you were talked about, made fun of, or thrown under the bus and you sit there lost, hurt.

I came to Jeremiah 17:7 which says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.”  My/our eyes need to be taken off of what was done to me or said about me and put back where they belong.   Somewhere in my gut of guts I need to trust and believe that God knows what’s going on and that He will take care of it.  I don’t need to get my big ole tatted up muscles out and get all defensive. Instead, I need to give it up to Him and ask him to do His will. Everyone has pain and at times, speaks out of their pain. It’s not ours to carry but His. My hope needs to come from Him, not from false words out of a humans mouth. I/WE need to believe and stand firm on how Christ thinks of us not others. Super crazy hard yet when we get to that place, nothing can hit our souls so deep again.  

“Hope………Sometimes that’s all you have when you have nothing else.  If you have it, you have everything.”

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This Bod

Our bodies are incredible. I missed the memo on that for a long time.  I still struggle with accepting and letting every word sink in but we take it a day at a time. When we look around at social media and this world in general, it’s difficult to see that our bodies are incredible no matter what color, shape, or size. Truth, it pisses me off. It kills any self confidence that we have in ourselves.  Lord knows many of us don’t come equipped with too much so throw us a bone world! Instead we have to constantly see these ads for diets or workout regimens or anything to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, being healthy is important but it’s gonna look different for every individual. 

I ran a 10k a few weeks back.  For some, this may seem like nothing, but for me, it was huge. My goal was to just run the whole thing and not worry about the time etc. Really it was to run the whole thing and not die haha! Well, I did run the whole thing and beat my minute time. I was so proud the rest of that day. I saw my body completely different for at least an hour! I mean, let’s be honest, negativity creeps in pretty darn quick so an hour is good. I’m average. My body is average in shape. Is average ok? Well, I want to tell you yes, cause that is truth but difficult to swallow at times.  I’ve fluctuated a million times in my weight throughout the years. I get sucked into every trend, every diet, every self help whatever. In the end, I just end up feeling worse about myself because at some point I fail. Why you ask? Because I’m not loving who I am, where I am. I’m not grasping the amazing beauty that God has created.  Dude, I’ve birthed four children, ran a 10k, overcome a few things in life, and the list goes on. Maybe, just maybe, this body is pretty ok. Maybe, just maybe, so is yours! 

In Psalm 139:14 it says, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Ummmm….giving thanks to God for my body sure is a hard one. Because of so many deep, dark wounds, an eating disorder crept up on me pretty quickly in life. I couldn’t, and it’s still difficult, to understand how God can see us so unconditionally beautiful.  Like, with no strings attached. He doesn’t say, when your thighs get a little smaller Heather, then my love for you will start flowing. Nope! Why do we look to others to decide our beauty? Why do we allow others to dictate our worth? I think we should be done with that. I’m just say’n. Now, I speak all of this solely because God is constantly stirring me to fully heal in this area.  You might be like, girl, I’m all walking around naked owning the joint! For that, I applaud you and ask you to deliver some of that goodness my way, with clothes on though. 

I don’t care if you are male or female, black or white, big or small, short or tall, you have an incredible body that can do incredible things.  Sometimes it wants donuts and sometimes it wants kale but either way, those things do not define you. We are defined and built from the hands of perfection.  He molded and created us exactly how he wanted. Walk out of your house today like nothing can stop you because the truth is, nothing really can. Own it! 

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

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Take the Gloves Off

Do you find yourself in a constant war?  Like, always fighting for something or against something or maybe just with your children ha! I was pondering this lately. Do you ever think maybe we need to stop fighting against things and start fighting FOR things. I notice myself fighting to be accepted in some situations, or fighting to win in a situation, or fighting to get my point across, or fighting to please everyone, the list can go on for days.  What if we started fighting for good? Like, what if we started fighting for our passions, our dreams? Maybe we just leave the little nonsense fighting for someone else and we focus on fighting for something that is worth it. 

I was really messed up when it came to understand what relationships were supposed to look like.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know real love until my husband game into play. Being sexually abused when I was young just put the wrong message in my head.  I assumed you had to do what they wanted or there was this power they had and I needed to just come under it in order to be loved. It got me in some nasty relationships and then they would walk away in the end. I remember fighting for them, calling them, pleading with them, telling them I’d do whatever if they just came back. I couldn’t grasp I was constantly wanting to fill the void with the messed up love I thought I needed. I came to a place, as the years went on and healing continued, that I was like, what am I doing?  I’m fighting to get abused again over and over. Why? I think we get tangled up in what we assume will be good for us. I got tangled up in what I’ve always known. Sometimes we end up fighting for things that really in the end, will only leave us feeling worse than when we started. So instead I started to fight for me. I started to fight for my healing, my future, the love I wanted, the love I deserved. 

It’s time for us to start fighting for truth, healing, freedom, our future, the great things that God has in store for us instead of fighting the war that darkness wants us to constantly rally around. It’s a matter of shifting your eyes to what you are focusing on. Is your focus on Him, the truth that says, “Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. or is your focus on winning a war alone, making sure your point gets across, trying to fit in?  We fight for the light and with the light. In that, we can’t lose. Abuse can’t touch me anymore because I’m choosing, each day, to fight for the good around me, to take my gloves off and walk away when faced with things that aren’t lighting up my path. You can too. 

“We fight too many battles that don’t matter. If that battle is not between you and your destiny, then it’s a distraction.  You have to learn to let things go.”

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Rejected

So I tried out for American Idol.  I know, crazy right? It was the summer of 2004 and it was the season that Carrie Underwood won.  Yea, puts this is a little more perspective for a sec, ha. Just picture it, a huge stadium, every seat filled with people waiting to audition. I mean, talk about already feeling like this was a bad idea, once I sat down and looked around, I was like, nope, I’m good, let’s go.  So they put you in groups. Each group goes in front of 3 “judges”. Not THE judges, this is only the first step, there’s so many more before being able to hit the real thang. The thing is, they take like, I don’t know, 10 to 15 groups together, in a gymnasium type room. So imagine trying to sing over a hundred people trying to audition at the same time.  Total chaos. I get up to the table, I sing, then I hear, “You have an amazing voice, but it’s not good TV.” I’m sorry, what? If you’ve watched the show back then, you’ll remember that it was them showing all the rejects. The crazy ones who would show up in a spiderman costume (which was in our audition), you had William Hung, you had people with almost no clothes on, yea, I obviously didn’t fit that role.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the ticket to move forward and it stung a bit. Grant it, it was nice for them to acknowledge the fact that I was a good singer but too bad I didn’t have my pink/purple hair and all of my tattoos back then! Shoot, I’d give them good TV!

The rejection from this wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t necessarily because they said no, it was more because I had many people assuming I’d make it through and I needed to go back and tell them all I didn’t. That piece was hard.  It feels like you let not only yourself but them down too. Rejection blows in general. Whether it’s a job you’ve been dying to get, a friend who decides to walk away, a spouse who turns their back, maybe you got fired or sometimes you pour your heart and soul into something or someone and get nothing.  Ok, so here we are, in a funk of rejection, so now what? You start with compassion toward yourself. I know this is hard for us but honestly, you need to allow yourself to have the emotions that are attached to what just happened. Another thing, rejection does not define you. I really wanted American Idol to define me at the time!  I’m not gonna lie. But my life would’ve looked a lot different today if that would’ve happened and is that what I really wanted? Sometimes we just want to feel loved or accepted and that’s what makes rejection hurt so bad. 

In John 15:18 it says, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” Wowza, Jesus was hated, rejected, spit on, killed really, biggest rejection ever, so He gets it. I know in this place of rejection it can feel lonely but we are tucked underneath His wing. We may feel like we are alone but really we are alone with Him.  Sometimes we can’t see why He would allow our hearts to sting so bad or why we’ve gotta grow through crappy stuff in general but it’s nice to know He gets it even if we can’t see the goodness yet. Remember, in the end, it’s their loss. They turned their back or said no not realizing the amazing, kick butt person that you are. I think those judges just didn’t know what to do with my amazing self, or at least that’s what I just keep telling myself!  🙂 

“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.”

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Break It Down

Young man with baseball bat in anger breaking wall

Ephesians 2:10a (ASV)

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus..”

So guilty!  I probably have about 1400 walls that need to be shattered on a daily basis.  I feel as though I have gotten 10 times better, so maybe I just have like 1200. You’ve got a few too don’t you?  I think it’s natural for people to feel guarded at times, especially when pain has hit them hard or they’ve gotten smashed and trampled by people once they’ve opened up. 

Talk about guarded, back in the day I felt like I needed to hide everything. Put the face on and go act like things are ok. Would people understand or even grasp what I’m sitting in?  Would they just judge me? It’s hard because many of us grew up learning to put the game face on, act like everything’s ok. For a while, I had a job at my college recruiting. I was deep into cutting and literally had to talk myself into being a different person before walking out that door and then being sure all cuts were covered up. Have you ever been there? (well maybe not exactly there…) Where you’re like, ok, I’m going in! And like superman, you morph into something totally different to hide what’s really happening inside. I assumed that’s what I needed to do. I allowed myself, in so many situations, to be the butt of jokes, to act like the stupid one so people could feel better about themselves, and the list goes on. Super sucky way to live and not meant for any of us. Once I stepped over the hump of the darkest day, I began to completely embrace what made me.  I began to walk tall with what I had been through. I allowed all my scars to show. So much so that one day, I was at Barnes and Noble and the dude behind the counter was like, oh my gosh, did a cat attack you? Ummmmm…..yes, why yes he did (insert eye roll) haha. 

I get that sometimes it’s super scary to be real with where we are at in life. It’s so so so scary to allow others, even Jesus, into that pain. What will they think?  How will they react? Will they judge me or love on me? I’m here to tell you that if you allow even just one of your walls to come down, you will slowly begin to feel your heart lighten. You will allow the real you to start to come through.  I don’t care if the real you has scars all over it, baggage piled 25 miles high, or you haven’t showered in days! Oh wait, that’s me! Hehe. You be you, right where you are at. Don’t start walking out that door until your head is held high and you are ready to tear down some walls. Remember, unconditional love is wrapped around you already because that’s how our awesome Daddy works.  You just need to keep moving forward believing it. 

“We hide behind our walls because we think they protect us, when really all they do is prevent us from touching whatever wonderful freedom lives on the other side.”

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Not What I Was Thinking

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. 

Do you ever wake up and think, this is not what I envisioned my life to be.  Whether it’s having kids in your bed at night, sickness that has plagued you or a loved one, a relationship that has totally gone into left field, depression hit you hard, someone hurt your heart and the list goes on. 

It took a few years before really getting the images from my childhood.  I knew what happened but the depth of what happened and digging into it took years.  As each year went on, it sat so heavy on my soul day after day. I remember sitting in my room in High School, lights turned off, classical music cranked. There was something about listening to classical music that calmed my soul. No words,  just the angst of the music allowed my heart to open up and feel something. It was in these years that I could start to feel the numbness come on. You totally know what I’m talking about. Shut it down. The more I realized the level of realness opening in my mind of the abuse, the more I shut it down. As I went into college, I was extremely good at playing a role. I would be who everyone needed me to be or wanted.  It helped not to have to deal with what was inside. It wasn’t until after college that things got bad. This is when the darkest of dark took over. This is when I was alone in my thoughts and feelings, realizing I’ve never dealt with them head on. This is when I said to myself, this is not what I thought life would look like. 

It’s hard, isn’t it?  You don’t want to feel guilty for this beautiful life that God gave us but let’s be real, sometimes your like, can I trade it in and try something else?  Unfortunately, as many times as we ask Him, He’s gonna be like, yea no. I’m seeing more and more that nothing, like pretty much nothing, turns out the way we planned because guess what, it’s not our plan.  It’s God’s. We aren’t gonna fully get it and that is beyond frustrating right? So then what, we sit in this funk of a life till the pearly gates? No! We believe that he has good things for us. We believe that coming through the storms of life actually bring us a better ending. We believe in the good and the fruit of even just a handful of things that surround us.  Maybe some days we look up and scream….What the heck God? But in those days, those moments, are when we release the bad and realize, we aren’t alone. The beauty of life cannot rest in the circumstances of everything or everyone around us, it has to rest inside of YOU. 

“The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most of every day.”

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Ain’t Gonna Work

1 Peter 3:8

“Finally, all of you be like-minded, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, compassionate toward each other, and humble in spirit.”

How many times are we like, if you’d just do what I say and listen to me, you will be a much better person. Hahaha. In the end, truth is, we can’t change people. It’s hard for us to grasp how people do things or say things and we want to be like, dude, let’s rework this and life will be a breeze.  Will it, though? Everyone loves and lives differently because we’ve all got a story. We can’t assume that how we handle and do things is totally right either. 

I’ve dealt with this on so many levels on both ends.  One end, back in the day, people always wanted to fix me.  Telling me how to handle my pain or how to feel happier, and the list goes on.  I think one of the epic times was when Quinn was first diagnosed with Autism and what people say to you when they don’t know is mind blowing.  I’d try and take him out in public or to the store but once things got overwhelming, he would lose it. Instead of compassion, I had one women be like, you really should just leave. Well crap, let me just tell you ,women, how you should maybe change your attitude and oh so many other things. That’s totally where I was at and honestly, I left a mess.  BUT, once I settled down, I realized, I’m allowing this woman, who has no clue what’s going on and has her own issues, to dictate my emotions. I can’t change her or anyone else who looks at me like I’m a horrible mother or thinks I don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, come on, we’ve all been there. With screaming children, or you just did something that was off the wall, people react and you want to punch them in the face….ha!  Maybe it’s just me! On the other end of this, we realize we also want to fix people. It’s not just their issue but ours too. That’s where we have to step back and be like, I don’t get it, I don’t understand it or you, but I’m going to release the negative that is sitting on me and move forward. It doesn’t do us any good to try and fix it or try to even understand it. Instead, as hard as it is for me to write this cause I’m in situations like this right now, we need to use compassion. 

In the end, God is in control and we aren’t.  In the end, God needs to work on others and not us.  It’s not our job, as much as us controlling people want it to be. The quicker we release and give those people to Jesus, the quicker we get back to what really matters in life.  We can’t control how people react, live life, treat people etc…..we just can’t. We can try all day long but in the end, we don’t know their pain, their story. There’s always more to the actions.  Look at your own life, we all do it. We all hide behind what’s not real some days so we need to remember that others do to.  

Today, be the reason someone feels loved.”

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It’s Time To Fight

John 10:10 (AMP)

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life and have it in abundance.”

Ladies and gents, it’s time we fight.  I’m gonna go a little spiritual on you so just a forewarning. As I step back into so many situations around me, I see the handy work of a despicable schmuck….aka the devil. He reels us in with his evil schemes.  He knows right where to get us too. He messes with our heads in relationships, body image, self confidence, guilt, shame, any negative notion against yourself or those you love……there he is. In this world, we come against evil left and right and we’ve gotta ground our feet in Jesus.  Satan will work any magic he can to get you down, sit you back in your pain, or start to make you believe untruth. He knows your past and present struggle and uses them to lure you away from true love and utter peace.

After I tried to commit suicide and got out of the hospital, I went to my apartment to gather my things because living on my own wasn’t the best thing to do while I heal.  I walked into my place and could feel the darkness. It lingered so heavy I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Those with me felt it also, knowing exactly what was going on. I know that in my darkest times, the devil was reeking of joy. He was ready to pounce once again but little did he know that my Jesus just saved me. 

I speak these words because I need you to know that we have victory!  We’ve got a bigger and better hero in our corner. Whether you are deep in your faith or touching the surface, you scream His name and shmuck face is outta here.  We need to cling on to the goodness of what rests deep in our souls because that is one place that evil CANNOT touch! The depth of where Jesus lives inside of you is so far beyond the reach of the devil.  Here’s the thing though, you’ve gotta stand strong in it cause it’s too darn hard to fall into the lies. Unconditional love and super power strength is what we get when we stand firm on the power of Jesus.  It’s indescribable. I could write all day long about what He’s done for me and the powerful feeling of Him in my corner but you’ve gotta see and feel it for yourself. Shoot, you’ve seen it through my writings. That’s Him!  Sure ain’t me coming up with these words cause sweet Jesus, that would be a mess. 

Friends, you are greater than you know.  You are more powerful than you realize. That pain, that sorrow, that defeat does not own you! It IS NOT where you belong.  You belong in the arms of Jesus, fighting a winning battle. You need to reach out to Him, reach out to those that love you dearly, and speak truth.  In that comes our victory. In that comes your inner warrior! 

“God is up to something or the devil wouldn’t be fighting you this hard.  You’re going to win!”

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It’s Breaking

Psalm 119:114 (MEV)

“You are my hiding place and my shield, I hope in Your word.”

I remember sitting in the parking lot. My heart was pounding in my chest. Too many things had lead up to this point that I knew it was time to speak. Others needed a chance to forgive and fully heal,  I needed the truth to be spoken so that I could live in freedom, but more importantly my soul needed to be completely made whole, healed. Sitting and speaking felt like nails into my heart yet the depths of me was jumping for joy. Sometimes I can’t believe that I held this for 30 some years.  It’s mind-blowing how we can shove things down so far, they almost don’t exist. But then as you go through life, each layer gets thinner and the pain of what happens slowly seeps to the surface. I’ve said this before in past devos, the outcome wasn’t exactly what I expected. I actually feel like the response and the moving forward broke my heart more than the actual speaking of the sexual abuse BUT oddly enough, my soul has been healing on a level that I didn’t even realize it needed too! I think sometimes our world needs to be rocked upside down and our heart needs to break in order for the depth of our souls to really function again. 

How many times have we dated someone and they go breaking our heart but then we knew, we will never let that happen again.  We will be sure to watch out for slime balls and what they look like right? If we don’t experienced the heart wrenching pain, we won’t see the window inside of our souls that needs a little help.  What I’m saying is that sometimes we break, our heart breaks, our world gets knocked upside down, tragedy strikes, truth is not received, loss happens, and we are lost. We bottle it, shove it down, internalize it, hide, whatever our scapegoat is, we do it. What if instead we began to realize that the breaking is what opens the healing. Yes the pain is unbearable and living the experience again does not sound like a walk in the park, obviously it’s not, BUT it’s needed.  Hope is allowed inside of us when we have cracks that need to be repaired surrounding our hearts. Our soul doesn’t fully connect to our Jesus or others if it’s not cleaned out of all the garbage it’s been through. 

The heart breaks, sometimes a lot, ha. Things don’t turn out the way you thought or shoot, it takes forever to get to the end of the pain and heartbreak and you want to just be like, done. You can’t, we can’t, there’s so much greatest waiting for us in the end. Sometimes I see Jesus up there screaming in a low voice, “Let’s go girl!” While pumping His fist in the air like he’s at a football game. What?  You don’t have that image? 🙂 He knows heartache, he’s lived heartache, and he knows that the only way to true peace, hope, and healing in the soul is through Him. Dig deep and allow your heart to feel so that your soul heal. 

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

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It’s You

Philippians 4:13 (MEV)

“I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me.”

Sharp objects were constantly taking out of my apartment.  The whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing was where everyone was going with it.  Maybe if it just wasn’t around or visible, she wouldn’t want to hurt herself. I wish that was the case, but no.  I mean, it was a bit deeper my friends, which I think everyone understood but doing something tangibly at least felt like they were doing something, right?  I saw that after the fact but at the time I was like, seriously?! Because honestly, there’s a store around the corner and pretty sure they sell knives or any other sharp object. I….I needed to want to not have sharp objects around.  I needed to want to not hurt myself anymore. I needed to WANT to get better and I was the only one who could decide that. Now, I took the hard road in which I had to hit all the way to the bottom, almost death, in order to decide and see that healing was possible but hey, at least I got there! Ha! In the end though, I couldn’t depend on everyone else to fix what they couldn’t ever fix.  Let me tell you, boy did I want someone too though. Someone please just make this all go away.  

Isn’t that the case?  We sometimes look everywhere or towards everyone else to help what really only we can help. I still struggle with this today.  I still look on the outward to fill the inward. I still have a tendency to define where my healing is at by my circumstances or how the world is treating me that day. It’s a rough way to keep going though.  When I was at my darkest, it was so hard for me to see that it was me that needed to want to get better. Of course, leaning on others is definitely important, but in the end, who is it for? In the end, who is the one that will eventually scream out to God and say, ‘I’m done!’……’Please Help Me!’  It’s us my friends. You may be in a really difficult time right now, wanting to throw in the towel or maybe you are in a place where Jesus has brought you through that dark spot. You looked deep inside and connected with the light. On either side of these circumstances you may be in, I’m gonna tell you now that there’s a depth of strength inside of you that will grow if you just tap into it. Jesus has talked about how we have the same power that raised Him from the grave inside of us!  WHAT?! I mean, sit on that for a sec. That’s powerful, so powerful! We’ve gotta dig into that and jump ship from the crap around. I know it’s not easy, heck, sitting in the yuck feels familiar and sometimes comforting cause it’s all you’ve ever known BUT there’s more for you. There was more for me and I had no idea! I’m so grateful I touched the depths of that strength and just kept going. You can too. You’ve got this! One day at a time, little by little, you will stand tall. 

“Deep inside of you is more strength than you’ve ever known.”

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Don’t Stop Believing

Mark 9:23 (MEV)

“Jesus replied, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Before my daughter started High School this year, we walked through her schedule like a billion times (I know some of you can relate). Of course, it took a bit to get the locker open but when we did, we had accessories to put in. One of the days we walked through, it was just my daughter, my middle son, and me.  Kenna hung all of her goodies in her locker and Reilly, my son, was like, hold up, I need to write something. “You’ve got this! BELIEVE!” -Reilly your bro 8/15/19. I almost died. I ALMOST DIED. My heart was about to explode and tears were heading down stream but obviously I had to keep my cool. I was in a high school.  I mean, come on people. You step into one and next thing you know you are right back in it, mentally, emotionally, all of it. So instead I was like, yea, woohoo, yea, what he said, fist pumping in the air and trying to be cool. Didn’t work, but I tried. Ha. Reilly said, ‘you’ve gotta keep this up all four years.’ Now just peel me off the floor. McKenna was obviously loving it and was like, well of course. 

Do you believe?  In your gut of guts, do you believe?  Do you believe it’s gonna be ok? Do you believe that the hardship will turn to strength and blessing?  Can you walk the hallways of your life believing? I found it so interesting that Reilly put BELIEVE after ‘You’ve got this!’ He knows my daughter so well.  She will put this ‘I’m ok’ thing up all the time when deep down believing is the last thing she’s able to do. I know you are right there with her because some days, so am I. Believing is the last thing I feel like doing and throwing in the towel may be there first.  My kids have asked a few times since telling my whole story to them, how are you ok? How did you get through all of that? How did you not cut anymore or not be upset about the abuse etc? I was like, ummm, you’ve seen me upset still. I was real and honest with them. I’m not always ok.  I have days where it’s still hard BUT I slowly began to realize there’s been this strength inside of me all along and I just needed to believe and stand in it. 

We aren’t always ok friends.  It’s ok to not be ok but it’s not ok to stop believing.  Sorry not sorry. Christ is standing next to you like, stop carrying this alone. Believing that you’ve got strength to carry on is one thing, but to believe you’ve got strength through Jesus is a whole other beast to be reckoned with. When my daughter goes back to look at this sign when she’s not ok, the pain or hardship won’t disappear, but somewhere inside, she’ll pull strength to keep going. Not because she has too, but because she knows she is loved and she CHOSE to believe. Believe me when I say, you are so loved even when your not ok. Reach down and pull up that belief. It may be buried but it’s there.

“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.”

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Not Anymore

I Chronicles 16:11

“Trust the Lord and his mighty power. Worship him always.”

We went to my mother in laws 75th birthday party the other day. She had a table of precious ladies from their building where they live.  I mean, the kind of ladies that if you went up and sang in front of church, completely bombed it, they’d be like sweetie, that was the most beautiful Jesus sound I have ever heard.  Completely precious. They were sitting around the table by my MIL while opening gifts and telling me how much they loved me. Now, I’m sure my lovely MIL has only told the good things about me but hey, I’ll take it. Ha. They just kept going, making me feel like I was it! They were so sweet and literally wanted to take my youngest home with them.  Well, I mean, he does have the best dimples in town so………

When I was on my way home, I started thinking about how I would completely hang with them for the rest of my life.  No need for reality, just some ladies hanging out, drinking coffee, doing their thang, telling me how great I am. Then my brain kept going, of course, how many times do we end up staying at a table where we aren’t wanted. Many times it’s because we desperately want to be or we are desperately seeking their approval some how.  How many times do we sit at a table and know that they are gonna talk about us as soon as we leave. Not the uplifting, you’re amazing, she’s so great, kind of talking but the kind you know they are saying some nasty something about something behind your back. Not any more. Let’s decide together that we aren’t gonna sit at a table where we aren’t wanted or where we know when we get up, they are gonna talk ugly. We can’t change people.  I know, big news here, but it’s true. We can’t change what people think or feel or what kind of nasty thoughts are happening in their heads but WE can take charge of our own situation and not put ourselves there. So often we are trying to see the good in others or the fact that maybe this time around they will see what they are doing. Friend, that’s awesome and you should see the goodness in everyone but we can’t be conformed or be wrecked by the outcome of what they decide. We can love and accept but it needs to happen inside of us first in order to love and accept what happens around us. Sometimes we are just constantly seeking approval from others or those we think are important.  When we turn that off and look up at the approval of Jesus, you don’t even need to question it anymore. Like, approval happened before you were even born when it comes to Him. 

You, we deserve more than any words spoken after we get up from the table.  Your value rests in the beauty of your soul and no one can take that away from you.  Christ has called you His beloved child and when you are in a situation where you don’t feel loved like that, you run, and you run fast.  No one gets to take your value away, they can’t, not when it’s given by a King. 

“Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of you.  God never told you to impress people; only to love them.”

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I Don’t Think That’s You

Psalm 139:14 (CEV)

“I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me.”

I’m not meant to be on a sports team, just so you know. Ask my kids. I can encourage and scream like you know what from the side lines but actually on a field….yea no.  I’m not sporty. I can run, or dance because I’ve got rhythm, but when I’m suppose to do things with a ball and stuff, it’s where it stops. I tried when I was younger. I went to a private school so really when you tried out for things, you made it.  Whether you ended up sitting on the bench the whole time or not. It’s called acceptance through your not so good sporty self. I encompassed that. Pretty sure they had t shirts for us folk in the back that had numbers like 1 ½ , 2 ½, haha

I think sometimes we all try and be something we aren’t. Feeling like maybe we are supposed to be this or that because of the people around us or what others have said. I’ve had jobs where I’m like, what was I thinking.  Who am I kidding, just having a job in general I’m like, what am I thinking. Hahaha. Being something we aren’t gets us into trouble, quickly. I truly believe we all have different and unique purposes for this life that God has created and once we step out of that, it gets hairy. I tried for a bit to be a working mom outside of the home.  Oh heck to the no. I have NO CLUE how you wonderful moms do it. I know some of you have no choice and some of you need it in order to get away from the craziness of the home but I literally turned more crazy, if that’s possible. It’s ok though. Embracing and understanding what we can and can’t do or what we can and can’t handle allows freedom to walk in our own life.  We then don’t feel like we need to do it all because we aren’t supposed to. Being something that we aren’t will only cause us bitterness and frustration. It’s easy to assume we need to be something we aren’t because…well….’everybody’s doing it.’ Ha. Maybe having our own opinion or doing our own thing sets us apart from many. Well, so what? I just had someone definitely have their own opinion and say to me, ‘I don’t really like tattoos on people at all, but they look ok on you.’ Ummmmm……(enter thinking face) but he has his thoughts and I totally rock tattoos so we are good. If you saw what he looked like and he tried tats, we both would be like, I don’t think that fits you fine sir. 

To me, this is more than a, ‘you are unique and special’, moment.  Don’t get me wrong, you know I think you all are, BUT this is more of a, ‘you are not her/him so stop it’, moment. Be you. Figure out what that is and be it, rock it, work it, sort it out, and kill it. You will tick people off by how you think or act or feel or talk sometimes.  People may question you because you love Jesus. People may look at you funny cause you have pink hair, oh wait, that’s me! Hehe. Dude, Jesus loves it. He LOVES it. He’s so proud of what He created. He’s so so so proud of you. Rise and shine friends because it’s time to own this day! 

“Fearlessly be yourself”

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Sometimes You’re in the Way

Proverbs 4:25 (AMP)

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.”

Sometimes it’s us. Sometimes, maybe sometimes, we are the ones stopping ourselves from moving forward. I’ve been taking a deeper and more honest look lately. I love how this verse says, ‘let your eyes look directly ahead.’  Yea, I’m pretty sure my eyes look all over the flipping place. Whether it’s looking at the negative instead of positive, looking at the ‘good enough’s’ from society around us, looking way behind at the never ending list of ‘what was I thinking.’ But what’s right in front of us, what happens when we look directly ahead, it’s called hope.  It’s called a future where we get to decide what it looks like while keeping our eyes up above. When we are looking all around, we have a tendency to just keep doing the same thing over and over, thinking maybe it will work this time, or fix it this time, or make it go away this time. Dude, we’ve gotta stop that crazy. 

A few years back one of our kiddos had a real anger issue.  Straight up mean. Made me cry mean. On top of this, I understood where he was coming from.  He bottles things and then explodes. He also is my mini me and before I was diagnosed correctly and found the right meds, he saw some real scary stuff come from me.  I had moments that I turned into a monster and they experienced it so many times so he’d give it back. He didn’t know any better. It’s what he saw. We would do everything to discipline it out of him. Send him to his room, big, stern, LOUD talks with him, (if you know what I mean), take things away.  Finally one day it was bad, we took him by the shirt and dragged him to his room, he got up and was like ‘What?!’ He could have cared less. All the sudden I was like, we’ve gotta come at this with a totally different angle. We just keep doing the same thing and it’s not working. I started telling him how amazing he was, how his heart is so caring, how when he acts like that it really hurts my heart cause I know it’s not who he is. I told him, I know there’s more pain inside of you then anger. That’s when things started to change. He bawled one day saying, ‘I don’t know why I’m like this and I want to change.’ And he did, and we helped him.

I say all of this because it is so so true in our own lives.  Friends, we can’t keep getting in our own way and doing the same things over and over again.  It’s not working. Sometimes change has to happen whether we want to come out of our comfort or not. In that though, we’ve gotta be gentle, filled with grace, and compassionate with ourselves in order to turn the corner. Like with my son, we’ve gotta get to that place where we want to get off the crazy train. As parents, we saw that what we were doing wasn’t working, we had to change our approach. You know where I’m going with this.  Sometimes I think Jesus is up there like, any day now Heather. Just shift a few gears and you’ve got this. I’m hearing ya now Lord! Loud and clear! 🙂 

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

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Everyone Has A Closet

Isaiah 41:13

“For I am the Lord your God Who holds your right hand, and Who says to you, ‘Do not be afraid, I will help you.”

Guess what, no one has all their crap together.  No one. I’m reminding myself of this as we speak and thought maybe you’d like to hear it too. Somewhere in everyone’s life is a trail of yuck. Also, all people have a Monica closet (you totally know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever watched Friends.)  Whether it’s external or internal, there’s hardship and dirty laundry somewhere. Many of us grew up with the idea that we have to look like we’ve got it all together. Don’t let people see the sad face or the dirty house or ……the list goes on and on.  And now, we’ve got social media that helps us live that perceived life. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in the past but if so, it’s worth speaking it again. Quinn, my oldest, is hardly ever, like ever on social media. He thinks its stupid (he has a point). When he is, it’s on Instagram.  He says, ‘It should only be used for informational purposes. It shouldn’t be used for personal endeavors.’ He kills me! Seriously, the literal and honest nature of who he is can be so refreshing. So He will put up images of our vaca or a monument of some sort and describe it on Instagram. If we could all just me more like Quinn.  We would definitely kill it in the smarts department. 

Back in reality though, the struggle is real. Feeling like the world around you is a perfectly fit puzzle while you have missing pieces can feel down right lonely. It’s just not truth. In every person, whether close to you or someone you just meet, there is a struggle they are experiencing. Maybe with hopes and dreams that disappeared, a failing marriage, a job that was lost, depression, anxiety, the list goes on and on. We all feel the need to keep it together or don’t let it show cause I’m sure she or he doesn’t have that issue. In this present world, we carefully construct images to post or a status update that everyone will like and write something perfect that hides any pain to be seen.  How much do you want to bet that if you let out, even a bit of your struggle, they would be like, oh my gosh, I’m so with you! Now there are a handful that might look at you crazy, but those we just let Jesus love on ha! I’ve been looked at as a loony before, far too often that I have to be like, oh, so you didn’t want to get that close to me? Hahaha! 

Here’s what I’m trying to give you on this fine day. When you walk out of your four walls at some point, stand tall in the fact that everyone has a ‘thang’.  EVERYONE! There are different experiences and suffering at different times for each person but make no mistake, it’s there, in every human. Thank you Jesus we’ve got him, who is perfect, that we can be like, what does that whole, living in perfect peace feel like?  Next thing you know, he sprinkles a little of this and a little of that and Whammo, you feel loved and full of His peace. Ok, maybe it’s not that magical, but you get what I’m saying. Grab onto Him. Just shoot Him what you got so as you step out, He’s holding your hand. 

“Everyone has a story.  There’s a reason why they are the way  they are.”

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Stand Tall

Philippians 1:6 (NLV)

“I am sure that God who began the good work in you will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again.”

Funny story, as you date, obviously you ask when their birthday is or at least it comes up at some point.  So of course when my hubby and I were dating he told me his birthday was September 2nd. Huh! Kind of funny because the day that Jesus saved me from trying to take my life was September 2nd.  Isn’t that crazy? Actually it’s super God. He works like that. 

I celebrated 19 years this year.  As I reflect on it, I realize all the amazing and beautiful things I would’ve missed out on but it’s so much more than that. I step back and see the healing that’s taken place.  I have a tendency to constantly look at the work that still needs to be done instead of celebrating the pieces that were literally laying in shambles and now are whole. Hitting the end is real. I felt it, I lived it, I tried it, and thankfully I didn’t succeed. There’s no denying the fact that the depths of pain we can feel can bring us to the point of death.  Maybe some can touch it and are able to run the other way but many out there are not able too. In that depth of darkness is where Christ sits. I know it’s crazy but man, He truly loves nothing more than to meet us where we are at. To sit with us where hell lives inside. It’s there that His ray of truth sets us free. It’s there where we meet light against the darkness. Those dark days made me stronger, or maybe that strength was always inside of me, I just needed to go through hell and back to realize it was there, that He was always there. 

It’s easy to see all the things we need to fix around us or inside of us, isn’t it?  It’s like when you clean the floor and after you are done all you can see is the one hairball from your dog you left in the corner, not the miles of clean floor you just did. We have all come so far in our journey and obviously, we are still going. Just remember that healing and growth in our lives can happen in the least expected place and sometimes in the darkness of them. Allow yourself to see the goodness and the healing that has already happened in your life. That crap we still need to fix ain’t going anywhere ha! But thankfully, neither is Jesus, so instead, stand tall on what you have accomplished, the little pieces that you’ve worked your butt of to move forward from, the constant war inside of you that you keep winning. Warrior status is in all of you, own it like a rockstar!  

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”

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The Safe Zone

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLV)

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear.  He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of good mind.”

I’ve always wanted to be a background singer.  Crazy right? Everyone’s like, didn’t you want to try and become famous or something?  Notice I used past tense, evidently I’m too old for a full blown Britney Spears moment! Ha. The answer to that question though is not really.  I’ve sang/played all my life and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being onstage. I mean, who doesn’t like it all about you? Kidding, not kidding! Ok, but seriously, I don’t think I ever saw it as a tool to go make it big. As we’ve disgusted in other devos, it was more of a healer to me. It’s almost like God gave it to me in order to survive the walk through the abuse alone, the depth of depression and cutting, any hardships that came around. It’s why I gravitated toward using it for Him.  Why I decided to become a music director coming out of college. Well, after I worked at Ed Debevics in downtown Chicago. Yep, you heard me straight. Remember that place? Dancing on tables and being rude and stuff? Good Times! 

Being in the background is safe.  I think that’s what I came too. Stepping out and trying to push through people, attitudes, rejection, all of it made me want to crawl in a corner. Some people thrive off of and get revved up to go kick some serious butt and show peeps up when they are shot down.  Nope, not me. I’m like, ok cool, no worries, I’m out. So then I stepped away and took this into every day life. Safe. We stay there a lot don’t we? I do. Stepping out of the box puts me into unknown territory which makes me shake. Not right though. It’s important to step out of ‘safe’ sometimes. Try new things, maybe look at something from a different angle. If we stay in the safe zone, we don’t get to experience change or growth. There could be something we are missing when we stay in our box.  Meeting new people, getting a new job, starting a new relationship, healing an old one. If we stay in the safe zone, we will continue to ride the crazy train. Unless your safe zone has no issues which hey, fantastic! But even if you are living your best life ever there, don’t you ever wonder what you could experience it outside of it? Sometimes it’s a matter of just thinking differently on something. Sometimes it’s accepting someone that is completely different from you yet could teach you to look at life differently…….maybe better.

Jesus never played it safe.  He hung out with hookers, walked where he wanted, preached where he wanted.  Nothing stopped him because God had his back. He didn’t need to live in the safe zone when He was constantly looking up to know where to go. Shoot, if He can do it, we can do it! 

“Step so far out of your comfort zone that you forget how to get back.”

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Space is Needed

Isaiah 30:15b(NLV)

“Your strength will come by being quiet and by trusting.”

Distance.  Remember when you would have a boyfriend or girlfriend and they would  be like, I think we just need a little time apart. Maybe then we can come back together and it will be better. Yea, ok.  Or really you are just breaking up with me in a more gentler form, or so you think. Dirty Dog.(Insert eye roll please) Distance. 

 It is needed sometimes.  We’ve all been there. Whether in a relationship, in a conversation, for a few hours, a week, maybe years. There are times to my kids I’ll be like, you just ticked me off, now you need to get out of my face for a few. Can I get a ‘Right?!’  In that distance though, what are we seeking and how are we learning. What is Christ teaching us and what is His/our desire in it? Do we expect miracles that just aren’t obtainable? Are we open to our heart being able to change? Sometimes it’s meant to teach us to shut our mouths or maybe that distance is for the other person. In the end, I’m learning that it’s ok.  God does stuff in the distance. I think when we entangle ourselves in a situation too much, we ruin it. Ha. We end up seeing things only through our eyes. With so much truth coming out from my past and some not understanding or accepting or whatever, there ended up being a lot of distance. Some I didn’t choose to be there yet you know what I’m noticing? I’m growing stronger inside of me. It’s allowing me, or maybe making me, have some serious confidence in myself and who I am in Christ.  The distance allows us to loosen the rope, to realize that it’s not ours to control. It really never was. Now, this does not give you/us permission to go and hide from the world in a far far away place. Although it does sound super lovely doesn’t it? But it does give you permission, in your heart, to accept the distance. Allow it to exist. 

 We do need to be careful though that we ourselves aren’t distancing others because of fear or whatever other nasty thing that’s growing in our hearts. It’s easy to just shut down, ha, I’m typing this and I’m like, ya think Heather?  So me….on so so many levels. I always, like always, have to ask myself, am I doing this to hide or do I really need the distance? Friends, it’s all just another step in healing. Another place where Christ wants to get us to and hang out with us a little more. Sometimes He purposely creates distance so that we will listen to Him.  So that we will go to HIM instead of everyone or everything else. Shoot! I may need to reread this one a few times. He’s totally kicking me in the butt this morning with this one. Ha! 

“Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.”