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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.”

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Survival Mode

James 3;17 9 (NLV)

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure.  Then it gives peace. It is gentle and willing to obey. It is full of loving-kindness and of doing good. It has no doubts and does not pretend to be something it is not.”

I was pondering this lately.  How many times do we say, I’m just trying to survive.  Right? Like, honestly, when I had 4 little people all around the same age, my survival was drive-thru McDonalds and Starucks. I at least could buckle them in and they would be in one place.  They can eat their fries and momma gets to drink her coffee. Not gonna lie, sometimes I really wished there was a wine drive thru, haha. In times like that, survival is all you can do. Shoot, many many times, survival is all we’ve got.  BUT, as things change and things around us change and we realize, just maybe, we need to look at things right in the eye balls. This survival mode doesn’t really work anymore. 

Aside from the fact that my kids needed to realize that there was other food besides fries, I needed to step a little more deeper into life head on. I realized I was building habits that weren’t helping me move forward.  Now, to be completely honest, I still haven’t broken the Starbucks habit and quite honestly, it may be worse BUT in my defense, I don’t go as often AND they know my name which we’ve talked about how much I love that soooooo.  Moving on. What I’m trying to say is this. We can get stuck and justify why choices or habits need to stay. Shoot, they could be destroying us inside but we think in order to function each day, they need to stay around. For a long time I had a perfectly sharp knife in my closet hidden. Really?  Really? I’m saying this to myself. Yes, really. It was survival mode, it was a choice/habit/security I just didn’t want to let go off. That bad boy has now left the building. Why? Because I’m on a journey to move forward. To make positive changes. Holding onto things or choices that I learned to survive at the time aren’t helping me now.  

Jesus not being tangible has always been something I’ve struggled with in my journey.  I’ve never questions my faith or belief but shoot, can’t he just come quick and give me a hug? Does He see me and my survival trying to happen? He does, and when you step back and see how far you’ve come, you know He’s real. When you look into your sweet child’s face, or the unreal sunrise, or the laughter you have with a friend, well crap, there He is.  THAT is where I want to strive to sit when it comes to my survival mode. I don’t need a lot of french fries (well…..haha) or a knife, I just need belief, truth, and good ole fashion Jesus. 

“You are not here to just survive, you are meant to thrive!”

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Cut It Loose

Isaiah 43:18 & 19a (NLV)

“Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing.  It will begin now.”

It’s ok to make mistakes.  I, maybe, just maybe, have made like 2 or 3!  Hahaha! Like, in 15 minutes, thank you very much.  It’s funny, though, how we have such a difficult time releasing and letting go of our own mistakes.  Forgiveness towards ourselves means we have to let ourselves off the hook. That’s a bit hard, right? For some reason, we think we deserve to sit in the guilt and shame while others around us can be free of it.  Why? We are just as worthy as everyone else around us to live in complete freedom. It’s not like Jesus walks around like, ummm, a few of you peeps need to carry flaws a little longer than the rest so you can know how much it really hurts.  No and no. He don’t work like that and neither should we. Many times I think we, or at least I, take the emotions that attach to what I’ve done and hang out there for a while. That guilt or shame or unworthiness hangs around my head and starts to sink a little too deep.  It’s in that place, we’ve got to step back and realize, this does not define who I am. Rather, it shapes me because I can learn and grow. The best thing is, there’s new mercy every morning. It’s a new day to start fresh and allow ourselves to move forward instead of backwards into what happened before. 

The past, whether yesterday or 10 years ago, can be a bugger.  It can really seep into that, unforgiveness towards ourselves, place. The past really is THE PAST my friends. We’ve got to learn to leave it there.  It could have been a conversation that took place, or an action that you know you should not have taken, maybe you hurt your kid or someone close, all of it, any of it, needs to be left.  Now, are there times to go and apologize in order to move forward? Well, yes, and I’m pretty sure your own gut will tell you when that’s needed. But I wonder sometimes if we need to give ourselves an apology.  Maybe we used some nasty words against ourselves that we shouldn’t have. Maybe we’ve tortured ourselves a little too much. Maybe we aren’t seeing ourselves through the lens of Christ. The beauty, kindness, depth, and strength that He sees. It’s time we do.  Let today be a fresh day for you. Let forgiveness and freedom wash over you. Stand tall in what you’ve become and who you are becoming because without making a mistake, you wouldn’t know what kind of killer warrior you really are. 

“There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past.  Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.”

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We Make The World Go Round

Genesis 1:31 (NLV)

“God saw all that He made and it was very good.”

Cooper, my 9 year old,  came home yesterday, walk in the door, and said, ‘I’m stressed.’  Oh man, this isn’t a good sign and of course deep inside of me I was dying to say, dude, this is just the beginning of stress.  I stepped back and was like, well, that would really put a damper on a good convo I could have, so I refrained. And then I said to myself, you sound like a stinking old person saying something like that.  Now, may I remind you this was all in my head. Many voices do I have conversations with my friends, hahaha. I digress, once again, let me continue. I was like, babe, what happened. Come to find that he was picked at math to answer some questions, he didn’t know any of them, and of course everyone else did.  Math isn’t Cooper thang. Just can’t get it so nothing like getting picked to answer a question on the second day of school. Tears started, then words like, I’m never gonna get it. I just can’t do it. I’m just stupid. UGH!!!!! This reminded me so so so much of me growing up. School was NOT my thang either.  Like at all. I had to work my butt off just to get a C sometimes. Now, I’m sure there were many times I could’ve worked harder but my confidence was already shot and everyone around me assumed I couldn’t get it so I just went with it. I was, and still do, work on the creative side of my brain and that whole other side, yea, I think there may be some bats and spiders hanging from it. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized how special I was with the gifts I had. I felt super stupid up until that point.  You play it off when you are young and go with what people are saying. Play into it ya know? I turned into the funny girl to be around or the one that could sing or play etc. As I look back, it wasn’t truth and that’s what I began to tell Cooper. Just because their are things that others can get easily, and school may be one of them, doesn’t define you as stupid. It doesn’t make you any less than anyone else in this world. I know you can all relate to some degree, right? 

What God has placed inside of you and what drives you today is not on purpose.  We easily assume that something like being smart is the end all in this life. I used to tell people that I may not be book smart but I’m super street smart.  Here’s what I’m trying to say. I stepped back from this convo and considered the world we live in today. Where things are so measured. Smart or Stupid. Good or Bad. Ugly or Beautiful. They don’t get to decide. All these peeps around us, they don’t get a say.  God stepped away from His creation that He made and said, ‘This is good.’ Even the bees, spiders, ants, things that completely annoy us but are needed. It’s all good. There’s a purpose.  

We all of some unique qualities that are completely different from the next person. That doesn’t make one of us better than the next.  Instead, it totally makes this world that He created good. It makes it beautiful. It makes it work. It brings color into this amazing place we live. Now go and be creative, fun, smart…..be You. 

“Being different isn’t a bad thing.  It means you’re brave enough to be yourself.”

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Just a Little Something

Psalm 46:5 (NLV)

“God is in the center of her.  She will not be moved. God will help her when the morning comes.”

This morning, on this fine day, I’m here to tell you that we are all loved. We are all important.  We have a role to play here on this beautiful earth of ours. Jesus created us all so incredibly different for a purpose.  That purpose can only be completed by one person and one person only. That’s you. So many of you, us, have been through some deep doodoo in life to get us where we are today and look, just step back and look. You are standing tall or at least functioning at a normal level ha and killing this life thing.  

As we move into this fall season, we’ve got kids going to school,  starting new jobs, maybe new adventures await us, whatever it may be, we are gonna take it and run.  You are made whole because you are so uniquely made. There is not one person on this earth that can resemble your beauty, courage, strength, and fight.  Friends, we have a Father who is walking, running along side of us screaming…. “You’ve got this!” “I believe in you!” “Keep going!” and that’s exactly what we are all gonna do. 

I need you step back a minute and realize how valuable you are. You are enough! Let go of the fear and worry and allow Christs’ peace to walk with you as we begin another chapter. Go Team (insert fist pump)

“Worthy now.  Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute.”

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We All Do It

Matthew 6:27 (CEB)
“Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?”

Worry.  Does that touch home for you? Does it sit heavy or are you someone who is able to be like, it’s all good.  Things are gonna be fine. If so, can you please share your secret mojo with the rest of us cause that’s not me.  I used to be WAY worse but between medication and a whole lotta prayer, I seem to be on my way to a semi worrier instead of full blown, straight up, she cra cra worrier. 

Kids are beginning to start school again and so this topic totally hits home in our household.  Pretty sure I handed down my anxiety and worry to all children, well maybe not the 9 year old who is still in his own world but definitely the other 3.  We’ve literally walk the schools with their schedules about 1500 times to make sure they know exactly where they are going and what they need to carry and where their locker will be etc. This is even before the actual school walk through ha!  See, totally handed it down. My kids will all need therapy which I’ve fully come to accept. I have 2 high school kids and for the first time I’m like, college is coming. No. You can’t leave me. No one can leave me. I’m cool enough for you to stay around.  Especially my special needs boy. UGH! God’s gonna do big things with that kiddo and totally protect him but this momma’s heart might explode with worry about him being on his own. I’ve been by his side since he was diagnosed and watched him jump through fire to get to where he is today.  Wowza, here I am crying already. Hot Mess people! But then I step back, breath, maybe take a sip of wine, and realize, what good does this do anyone or anything by me worrying. If anything, worrying just makes our insides suffer over and over again while the rest of the world just keeps on trucking along.  It’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of worry and spin until we are at the depths of darkness. Believing nothing but the worst. We need to break away, take a deep breath, and realize where our truth lies. Christ knows every hair on your head, knows every hair on your kiddos head, and he knows our comings and goings before they even happen.  If you think about it, we are worrying about things that have already been taken care of by our great big Father so what the heck are we doing besides getting ulcers and headaches. 

I used to worry that I’d never survive.  Honestly, that I’d never see all the way through til the end of my life.  That I’d never see what life would have offered me because I’d never be able to get out of the darkness.  But that worry itself was keeping me IN the darkness. Hello Heather! It took me a bit to realize that I was actually making it worse.  Friend, you are an amazing person, mother, friend, co worker, father, teacher, lover, and warrior. He has created you perfect and wants to walk alongside you, holding your hand and telling you, I’ve got this, you just keep on walking. 

“Worrying is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

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Soaring on Strength

Isaiah 40:31

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.”

Strength. Big word. A lot in there. Can I just tell you the strength that my oldest has? Ridiculous. Pretty sure I’ve brought this up before in other devos but here is comes again. The boy has some serious physical strength which is very common in special needs kids.  He has punched holes in walls, shattered an ipad with his own fist, flipped a bicycle rack at school, I mean, don’t mess with Quinn. Ha. Isn’t it interesting that this massive physical strength comes out when he is scared, frustrated, and angry. He has a heart the size of a giant teddy bear.  Ask anyone who knows him. So when this kind of strength comes out, it’s almost like an out of body experience, a numbing thing. He feels HORRIBLE when he realizes what just happened. When he steps away from the situation and comes back to the present, he can’t believe it. This is how I explained to him my cutting when I opened up to my kiddos.  He struggles with emotions but he could relate to the place you come to when you are just numb. Where something comes over you that you can’t control anymore because it’s almost like your existence is altered. Then he got it. 

Where does your strength come from? When I wrestle with this word I realize it could come from a good or bad place, right?  I mean, we assume it’s so important to have strength and be strong, which it is, but are we coming at it from a numbing place?  A place where we are shoving everything down to survive and we think its important to just hold it all together and that’s strength. I don’t believe that’s truth. Yes, there comes a time where some of us don’t have a choice.  We are in situation’s where it calls for it but when strength comes from the right place, when it comes from our soul, from the place where Jesus lives, that strength actually turns into peacefulness. That’s when you know it’s coming from the right place. You see, I think we rely on our own strength so much that we lose sight of what it really means to be strong.  Being strong and having strength actually means to give it all away. It’s about hope. Strength is telling yourself that you are brave enough, worth enough, good enough to fight the good fight. Not by flipping bike racks or taking a knife to your arm but by truly digging internally and touching into the depths of some of the pain AND healing from past experiences that take you to where you are now. 

When it talks about renewing our strength by mounting up with wings of eagles in scripture, that is so so spot on.  Eagles are so incredibly powerful on so many levels yet when they are flying with their strong wings, they are floating with ease.  They become soft, hopeful, peaceful, yet the foundation of that is built on the power of their strength. That is us. That is Christ. Now we just need to put it all together and fly.  

“She was brave and strong and broken all at once.”

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And You Too….

Psalm 55:6 (CEB)

“I say to myself, I wish I had wings like a dove!  I’d fly away and rest!”

You deserve the best too. We all are allowed to desire good things for ourselves. Stop feeling guilty for that! I think many of us want what is best for others and in others but in turn, we push ourselves aside and somehow make it ok to push down our own deep desire or needs.  Nope, not ok. We have worth. We are just as important as our children, husbands, wives, or the man on the street. We allow guilt, which is not of Jesus, to creep into the internal work of our minds and next thing you know, we are pushing aside anything that has to do with us first.  Even if it’s taking a nap, hey, it’s needed at times! 

I’m guilty, in the most unhealthy way, with this.  I almost think I do it because thinking of myself feels scary and like unknown territory. I don’t think I even realized the deep desire I had and needed to have in order to heal to the core from the abuse, cutting, and so much more.  I assumed you just carry the ugly and focus on what’s around you. Well, then we hit this numbing of ourselves and shifting all focus onto others. It’s natural and feels good to do things for others, but when it’s all we focus is on, we sink.  We aren’t really good for anyone because we’ve got nothing left. I know us, because, well, I have a friendship with all of you and you just didn’t know it, ha. We think that we are serving others by constantly putting them first which, do not get me wrong, it is important.  We can’t be all walking around letting people fall into the street or not change our kids diaper and stuff. No bueno. Friend, you are a priority too. Allow that to sink in. Your rockstar worthy self needs to be filled with what drives you and also needs a time of rest. When we don’t give ourselves time, our stress level goes up, we stop taking care of us, maybe we stop going to therapy, or stop exercising, or stop going to coffee with a friend, we aren’t journaling anymore, we are losing sight of Christ, we are just too plain exhausted to even think. Even our sweet Lord needed and CHOSE to have a day of rest and He did that so we could see also, it’s important. We need time to step back and find out what makes our hearts tick too.  Not just everyone else’s. 

If you could have one day that you had no responsibilities at all, what would you do? What is one thing you could do to add to your day that would be just for you? Take some time and listen.  Listen to what your heart needs, to what your body needs, and to what Jesus is telling your soul.

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”

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Yesterday

Isaiah 41:13 (CEB)

“I am the Lord your God, who grasps your strong hand, who says to you, Don’t fear; I will help you.”

I came across this quote and I’m just chewing on it. “Yesterday is heavy.  Put it down.” Simple yet so so profound. I had it swirl in my brain all day. Actually, I was slightly excited to go to bed so I could wake up the next day just to put the day “down” ha. How many of those do we have that we need to release and walk away from yet we end up carrying with us.  We think about the day over and over again. Maybe how we should’ve done it better, how we hurt so bad that day, how this person treated us, how we ate that piece of cake. Maybe our one yesterday adds up to 100 yesterdays that we need to put down. Ugh! Maybe our yesterday really is years ago that we need to put down. Sometimes, maybe sometimes, we voluntarily carry too much. We know that we can put it down but for a variety of reasons, we choose to let it sit on our backs while we sink to the ground each day. I’m gonna go with, that’s gonna hurt after a while and it’s time. 

If we keep dragging our yesterday’s with us, how are we going to be present for our today or tomorrow. Yesterday is gonna eat away at us, right? This is the crazy part, by not putting it down, it really will only effect us and no one else so why the heck are we still carrying it.  AND we are able to go even a step further, we’ve got a great Big Daddy who will carry all of our yesterday and tomorrow’s till the end of time! Thank goodness cause Lord knows I’m gonna need it. WARNING: Real Time with Heather Follett is coming: There are still times every now and then, that I question if coming out with my sexual abuse about 2 years ago was the right choice.  It flipped relationships upside down like you wouldn’t believe and has made me put so many yesterday’s down that I may have to hand in my punch card. Ha. BUT here’s the kicker, we aren’t meant to carry anyone else’s yesterday or need to decide when they are supposed to put theirs down. That was, and still is, a hard one for me to learn. Speaking my truth was a HUGE and a heavy yesterday that needed to be buried and it’s not my job to set theirs down. We are to learn and grow in our yesterday and today’s in Christ and leave the rest to Him. 

“Yesterday is heavy, put it down.” Let that sink in today. Pray it through. Allow it to be a healing in your heart. Allow it to lighten you, to bring peace inside your soul.

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Stop the Noise

John 8:32 (CEB)

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Seriously people, I have issues.  Maybe you can relate. Like, honestly, tell the noise to get out of my head. Do you feel like sometimes it just runs you over? Things like this, ‘Oh man, that was a stupid answer’ or, ‘You totally should’ve have said that.’ Now you go and write a 10 paragraph text explaining why you are apologizing for something she/he probably doesn’t even remember.  And NOW you fret over the fact that they think you are crazy for even bringing it up. Please Lord tell me I’m not alone in this hahaha. Just give a little ‘Amen.’ while you are reading and I’ll fist pump you in the air.

I recently came to find, after talking with a few friends, that not everyone has this noise happening in their head which just floors me. I can’t remember a day in my life where I didn’t have a critical thought going through at some point about something. It very easily can swallow me up and leave me to feel alone and secluded because I start to believe what it’s telling me. This will surprise so many, I know.  On the outside, I have a very happy go lucky nature which don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a happy go lucky time and that IS me all laughing with you and stuff but internally, there’s a constant war taking place. I’ve really like REALLY had to speak into it and allow Christ to literally scream into it. I’m sure you’ve been there because you’ll have something like this in your head…… ‘I so shouldn’t have cut my hair, so stupid.’ and not two seconds later will someone come up to you and be like….oh, you cut your hair (Insert blank face!) SEE, my head voice was right!  Ha! And we think about it for forever until our hair grows back. Ok, maybe not that long. Probably until the next crazy thought takes over. This all being said, there is hope my friends!! I repeat, there is hope! I’m sure as heck not perfect at it all the time but what I’m trying to do more and more is look at the facts. Set aside the emotions for a second and truly look at the facts. Is what is happening inside my head really truth from God. Does is make me feel peaceful and whole? Or does it make me feel sad, guilty, nasty……If what we are thinking aren’t thoughts that make us want to get up each day and live life to the fullest, then we need to run those suckers to the ground and fast!  

It literally comes down to, what are we going to believe. What are we grounded to. Are we going to define ourselves by truth that will set our hearts free or by lies that will sink us and weigh us down. Our minds are a powerful thing but in the end, we choose where that power sits. 

“Never underestimate the power of God.”

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Are You Watching?

Isaiah 43:10 (CEB)

“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth;  Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

He’s doing something.  Can you see it or are your eyes blinded by the juggling of life?  Not that we aren’t all juggling some crazy stuff but in that, are we missing what He’s trying to do in our lives?  He is creating masterpieces in you and I but sometimes we are looking on the back side of the canvas. We need to get out of the way and see the beautiful colors He is painting.  We desperately want this amazing art work to come to life that we pray for yet sometimes it’s happening, just not exactly how we think. Our assumption then is he must be busy with someone else and I’ll just keep trucking along till he comes back around to me. Ummmm…..no, that’s not how he works. 

 I could not for the life of me understand what He was doing in the men department. First of all, I picked the cream of the crop, let me tell you. (insert eye roll) Unfortunately though, I had no respect for myself or my body and had no clue….NO CLUE what it meant to stand on my own two feet. What it meant to say ‘NO!’. Because of the abuse, I thought the only way to be loved or to feel love was to give them what they wanted and they used that so it’s definitely what I attracted. Not only could I not see the masterpiece Christ was trying to put together, I couldn’t see the masterpiece right in front of me in the mirror.  I could not value or respect who I was because it was completely demolished at the age of 5. BUT, slowly I kept peeking around the front of the canvas, allowing the colors He was using to penetrate through the stale white from behind. He’s working, even through the midst of pain, or trouble, or questionable circumstances, He’s molding us. When I look back, I never ever would’ve met my husband if I hadn’t gone through the other abusive relationships first. AND I would’ve NEVER understood what real love was either. Each circumstance that happened with each relationship placed me a step closer to my husband. I kicked and screamed along the way at God like you wouldn’t believe.  Pretty sure I punched a hole or two in the canvas too ha but hey, he still painted around the holes. 

The trust thing can be real hard for many of us, I totally get it, but just don’t let go of Him. As crazy and mind blowing as it is, He has His hand on everyone’s paintbrush, all at the same time. It’s kind of why You don’t mess with Jesus, I mean…….He’s got skills. He’s got you, He’s doing something amazing. Don’t let go. Keep peeking around the canvas.  He’s gonna surprise you. 

“How cool is it that the same God who created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.”

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Dark…..but Light

Deuteronomy 31:8 (CEB)

“But the Lord is the one who is marching before you! He is the one who will be with you! He won’t let you down. He won’t abandon you. So don’t be afraid or scared!”

The depths of the darkness could not even be touched by drugs. They tried, but they weren’t getting it right.  Depression is just ugly and so so dark. I know many of you can relate. It comes in many shapes and sizes. Many different colors. Although as each year went on in my life there were levels of healing, there was also this deep inner despair that I couldn’t shake.  It started to form different layers also. Obviously anxiety started to rear its ugly head but there was more. Thoughts in my head wouldn’t stop. Anger. Bad. So bad I would scare my children. They were really little. They would hide behind the curtains (gosh it brings me to tears to write that..ugh).  Yet then the next day, I could freaking be the life of the party. I felt like I was losing my mind. It wasn’t until a long time friend from years ago had stopped by and I lost my you know what. I just completely unloaded. She’s like, dude, you have Bipolar 2. I’m like, what the heck are you talking about. She’s like, look it up, it fits you to a tee. 

Needless to say, my first thought was, it’s not like I’m going to the extreme and jumping off buildings or running the streets with no clothes on. Not that it didn’t sound slightly appealing ha. But that’s kind of what we think of when we think bipolar. Long story short (well not really) I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 years ago and on the right medication and just have been a joy to be around ever since.  Hahaha. 

You are thinking, Heather, why are you telling me all this?  Or maybe not but I’m gonna answer the question anyways. There were many who wanted to speak into what was happening in my life. Whether they felt that God could heal what was happening and I didn’t need medication, or maybe the diagnosis was wrong, or whatever.  Friend, NO ONE should EVER like EVER live in utter darkness and complete isolation of sorrow. Hopelessness IS NOT of Jesus. He is a God of peace, love, joy and he wants that for you, for us. He brings people into our lives, into this world, in order to help us. He wants you to be the best version of you that you can be with or without drugs. I need them, ask my husband! 🙂 Getting help is important.  Finding people to talk to IS important. Reaching out IS important. Shoot, my little black book consists of mainly therapists and shrinks so if you’re in need, let me know! Ha! Don’t think for a second that you aren’t worth it cause you so are! You are a child of the KING! 

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

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My Kind of Peeps

Proverbs 13:20 (CEB)

“Walk with the wise people and become wise; befriend fools and get in trouble.”

Ok, seriously!  There is just something so delightfully wonderful about the fact that I pull up to the Starbucks window and I’m like, “Good Morning!” and they are like, “HEATHER!!! WHAT’S UP!” and totally rattle off my drink.  Then I proceed to the window and talk to them like I’m a total rockstar cause, well, I’m a stay at home mom so I need to feel like I’m totally rockstar to someone! hahaha. You all totally are right there with me and know exactly what I’m talking about.  BUT……I think there’s more to it. I was pulling away from Starbucks one day, feeling really good about myself and all, thinking, shoot, if they really only understood the real Heather, you think they’d still be like, HEATHER, WHAT’S UP? Or more like HEATHER……can you use the back door to get your drink?

Isn’t it true though?  I think some of the freedom of having surface peeps or acquaintance peeps in our lives that are hands distance away is that they don’t know everything.  They don’t know the nitty gritty of the depths or the deep corners of our souls because that can get exhausting. I actually think its super freeing to have people like that in our lives. Yes, it’s important to have those closer around us to keep us in check emotionally and can speak into our lives on a deeper level but man, sometimes I just need someone to be like, dude, your tattoo is rad. The End. Right? Jesus had that.  He was surrounded by His disciples constantly and ummmm…..they could be a real handful at times. I think hanging with those on the streets filled Jesus soul. Real people. Down to earth, speak it like it is. Those are my kind of people. Bar people! Yes! I was just with some this past week and come on now. Kind. Compassionate. Loving. I mean, you kind of need to be like, dude, I’ve got 4 kids and married so back up the truck, but then, they really just want someone to listen ya know. They just want us to be Jesus. 

Best part of these wonderful people is they just want to feel loved, even on the surface level. Many of them don’t even have a deep connection with anyone so just your ‘Good Morning!’ or ‘How are you?’ makes them feel like they can keep going for the rest of the day. And guess what, it kind of fills something for you too doesn’t it? Maybe, just maybe, you are planting a little Jesus seed in there without even knowing it. BAM!

“You are somebody’s reason to smile.”

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Dig In

Psalm 147:3 (CEB)

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”

There was a time when I could not look at my daughter. I could hardly even touch her.  It was horrible. Shoot, horrible doesn’t even slightly describe the depth of pain. She was about 5 or 6, the exact age I was sexually abused.  I had no idea what was hitting me. I knew when I looked at her I had so much pain rise up inside of me and obviously not seconds later the most overwhelming amount of guilt because I was her stinking mom, what the heck. Gosh, just writing this, I’m in tears right now.  It was hell. You see, through much therapy and processing, I started to understand that I was seeing myself in her as a little girl but the problem was, I hadn’t gotten to a place where I loved and accepted me as a little girl. I needed to go deep inside and allow myself to love that little girl. I needed to tell her that it was ok that she was so scared.  I needed to tell her that I’m sorry no one saved her and no one was there for her. I needed to tell her that she is so so loved. I needed to do these things because she is still a part of me. Every piece of our lives is a part of our story that we need to make sure has its place. Whether it was hell on earth or the happiest day ever, it makes who we are and it identifies our being.  It creates our future and writes our story. If we don’t fully connect to every chapter we’ve walked through then each character that comes into our life doesn’t get all of us. How can God use us then? How can we really move on or move forward?

Needless to say this took a lot of work, like everything does right? (eye roll) BUT now my relationship with my daughter ,who is 14, is amazeballs. I mean, our personalities are like the sun and the moon but we make work.  Because I learned to have compassion and love towards myself as a little girl but also toward myself as an adult, I was able to soften so much of my heart towards her and also towards all of my kids. There are things back there my friend, isn’t there?  Back in that past of yours, there are things that you may need to allow to come up. Lay it out, cry over it, scream over it, pray over it, pour Jesus over it, and then learn to love and accept it so that it can become a piece of you in a healthy way. And now move on to the next chapter. You’ve got this! 

‘Be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts”

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Press the Restart Button

Isaiah 43:19 (CEB)

“Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.”

There comes a time when you just have to call it.  You can’t constantly live on the crazy train for forever ya know? Whether it’s in a relationship or a stupid habit or anything in life that just annoys you ha, sometimes you’ve gotta step back and say, I’m just gonna restart.  Gosh, there have been so many, like so so many times I have used the phrase ‘crazy train’. I mean, I can get away with it cause I’m literally on the crazy train with mental illness ha. (It’s ok, you can laugh at that. If you know me at all by now, I’m pretty real with all that. I mean, I joke about the fact that all knives in my house are dull. haha) Any who….. We are all on it at some point.  Doing the same crap over and over thinking it will work at some point when really, it’s making it worse. And what’s funny is in the middle of running in circles, we are praying to Jesus to fix it while still running the same track. Seriously, we’re crazy! 

Maybe it’s time we stop and decide to hit the restart button.  Maybe it’s time we shut everything down and reboot. Maybe it’s time to actually lose all the info that we’ve stored up so far thinking that it was gonna help us and start fresh.  Maybe it’s time we look at it with new eyes, The way that we’ve handled situations in the past isn’t working. Maybe the habit that you formed to cope like I did, is only getting worse.  Each day you wake up thinking, I’m gonna kick this today, when an hour later you are in the closet, knife in hand, or at the toilet, or screaming at the ones you love. It’s time to hit the restart button and it’s time to let Jesus hit it for you. It’s scary to let Him come into it cause you don’t know what His track for your train will look like right?  We like the control in our hands cause at least we can see where it’s going. BUT, it hasn’t gone so well so far so…..maybe just maybe it’s time to get off. 

How amazing is it that we have a Father that just hangs out waiting for us to just get off the train and run to Him.  He doesn’t shake His head or pull us off like, hey idiot, get off the train already! No! He’s patient, kind, and loves us right where we are at with no judgement whatsoever!  I’m thinking we need to trust him with our trains. What’s it gonna hurt? 

“When you let go you create space for better things to enter you life.”

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What If?

James 4:14 (CEB)

“You don’t really know about tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.”

What if tomorrow wasn’t an option?  How would we live today? How would we treat people?  How would we look at them? Would things matter the same as they do right now? Tough one isn’t it? I was spending time with my close gal pal and after we unloaded about all of our crap in life, she shared a situation that just happened where a loved one she knew was talking with a friend of theirs not 8 hours ago and next thing you know, they found out, they passed away. Well crap, that put everything into perspective. Now listen, I’m not all about guilt.  It’s not like we sat there and were like, well, I guess we should just suck it up and pretend we’ve got no issues. No! What this does is make you take a step back and be like, ok, what’s really important here. 

As I pondered this the rest of the day, I totally kept coming back to this deep emotion I felt years ago. This almost airy yet strong feeling. Like nothing mattered. The flowers looked different.  The world around me was brighter. Grace fell like rain upon every situation. Nothing could touch me or tear at me or hinder me or escape me or knock at me. It was right after I tried to take my life and a second chance was given. Gosh, I wish I could’ve bottled that up and as the years went on, drank a little bit of it as needed.  I totally would’ve shared it with you all, just so you know. I’m nice like that. 

So what do we do with this friends?  You know what we are gonna do? We are gonna live today to it’s complete and utter fullest. We are gonna love deeper.  We are gonna sing louder. We are gonna hug harder (but don’t hurt anyone). We are gonna raise our hands higher in worship.  We are gonna speak kindly about ourselves. We are gonna trust deeper even though it’s scary. We are gonna punch fear in the face as if we wouldn’t have another chance.  We are gonna dance in freedom because you know why? Each day we get a new beginning, we get a new start. That’s a gift. Not everyday will feel like it’s one ha, but we can try and live each day as if it’s our last. 

“Life is a gift, wake up every day and realize that.”

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Anyone?

Psalm 10:1

“Why do you stand so far away, Lord, hiding yourself in troubling times?”

Why didn’t anybody save me?  I was so young and so scared.  How could no one know what was going on? Was I not enough?  Did they know and no one said anything? These were some of the thoughts that constantly went through in my head as a little girl. And if Jesus was real, why wasn’t he stopping this? But the way that we grew up was to keep quiet about things like this.  You kind of, shove it under the rug and it will fix itself. Mistakes and wrong decisions made you feel like an outcast. Although this was not my mistake, I felt like it was all growing up. Like I must have done something wrong. If everyone thinks this person was so great, then it must be me.  Man, it was hell to untangle so much of this yet so so worth it. I’m still untangling but I’m pretty sure that’s where all of us are at with a lot of stuff, right?!  

Am I enough? This is a question I struggled with constantly.  Because I was brought up in a Christian home, I had such a difficult time separating what happened to me and Jesus love. I mean, if this is what love looked like then I want nothing to do with it ya know? I coincided him not saving me with he must not love me and I’m not enough. This thinking is what really led me down an ugly path.  As I move forward, there are a million times I’ve asked him, why the heck are you not pulling me out of this ugly mess? Am I not enough for you? Yes I am and so are you. We are enough. We base our ‘enough’ on feelings instead of standing on truth. Friends, please know that I’m completely and utterly preaching to myself here. Because we believe in a God who is greater than all the ugly and all the pain, we can stand with confidence to say, I AM ENOUGH! We have to fill our minds with the honest truth that is right before us. Whether we truly believe it or not really at the moment, we need to speak it out.  If I chose to stay in my past and in the horrible wreckage, my life would look a lot different today or I wouldn’t be here at all. My ‘enough’ needed to come from a deep rooted place in my soul that was planted by my Jesus. I had and still need to quiet the nasty voices that constantly wreak havoc. Those around us are not meant to make us feel enough. They are not fully capable and we can’t expect it of them. Between you and Christ, that’s where your ‘enough’ sits. The power that is living inside of you is a gift and we need to use that to push aside the idiotic crap that floods our minds. 

I WAS saved.  It didn’t look like I thought it would but in the end, I was saved. I know I’ve touched on this in devos before but gosh darn, we need to keep hearing it!  At least I do! You Are Enough!! We Are Enough! We are worth more than gold! And in the end, our worth is not defined by our mistakes or the mistakes of others but by the unique beauty that radiates out of you.  No one, NO ONE has what you have. Now go kill it out there! 

“You are worth finding, worth knowing, worth loving. You and all your one million layers.”

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Not Their Job

I Peter 2:9 (CEB)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession.  You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.”

We can’t always depend on others to build us up.  We can’t hang on every word that is spoken in order for us to be better people.  Do you remember growing up and if a boy or girl would say something nice to you, that was it, you could die and go to heaven cause life was good. It’s so natural and we all do it.  We want to feel that acceptance and love. It’s not wrong but it can get a little scary. The problem is, what if those peeps around us tell us something not kind or a little more abrupt, then what?  We kind of spiral downwards. Maybe they are speaking some truth in a situation but maybe they are also speaking out of their own pain. Then we get tangled in the belief of what they said and it just gets nasty. 

We are all human and we all do it. Many times we try and have good intentions to go with our words but unfortunately we live in reality where the perfect words that can speak into our lives can and should only come from Jesus. I think we all go through periods in our lives when our self esteem can just be shot.  What we think of ourselves is just not pretty so we end up trying to get fed from others. The actions and the words from around become our safe zone. But one wrong slip up from the outside and we are caught in the belief of what they said. When we believe in a Father who fearfully and wonderfully designed us, we get to block out what’s around us. I’m gonna get real a sec (surprise, surprise), there was a time a few years back where I starved myself.  Probably ate about 5 pretzels a day and a few vegetables. Wouldn’t even drink water because it would make the scale move. People around me had no idea, obviously, of what was really going on so they were trying to be nice. Telling me how amazing I looked because of all the weight I lost. I LOVED it yet it pushed me farther and farther. I thrived off of all those words because I wanted to feel loved. My body was stolen from me when I was so young that as I continued to grow up, I didn’t know how to love me. I depended on others to fill that. Not good. I say all of this because we have a beautiful and lovely Daddy who needs to fill our souls and hearts with all the amazing words that really describe who we are. Ultimately, no one else should matter and truth be told, that can be incredibly freeing! 

You are exceptional and not because I think so but because Christ thinks so. Who you are and what you do in this life makes a difference no matter who is speaking at you.  Know that He made you so uniquely that really no one can speak into the depths of your soul like He can. Spend time with Him today. Let Him fill you with the truth. You kick some serious you-know-what.  I promise that’s what He’s gonna say (wink, wink)

“You are beautiful I know because I made you! -God”

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You Feel Me?

Matthew 11:28

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest.”

Picture it…..Spring Break, millions of people, water park, 4 kids, the end! I’m gonna be real here too, hubby and I already are in a not so awesome spot in life so let’s just add that to this amazing trip that’s about to go down. Bottom line, we got there on day 1 and left on day 2. The plan was to stay 3 days but that wasn’t happening.  Words went down, feelings were hurt, it affected our kids in a way they didn’t realize, and I was just done. We packed up from the resort and were out but everyone was hungry so we stopped at a restaurant before hitting the road. I was pretty hurt and sat in silence. This time around I just couldn’t put a game face on for them. Even it I did, they would see through it. Needless to say, when mom is silent, everyone is silent (eye roll here). The waitress even said how we all looked really down and tired. Ugh! 

Finally my daughter asked, are you guys ok? I was like, nope, not ok. We openly talked through it as a family and were able to drive home with no awkward silence ha!  You’ve totally been there right? 

I bring this story up because there are many of us that are the feelers of the room. I’m one of them and my daughter is too.  You can walk into a room or situation and know exactly who is having a bad day, what group is totally too cool for school, who is feeling super depressed, and just overall heaviness or lightness that is in the air. The tendency though, being a feeler, is to take on everyone’s emotions.  We feel like we need to fix or help all the bad mojo that’s floating in the room. Nope. Not our job. I’m giving you permission to stand in the room with a big tent around you. You may be the ‘go to’ person for everyone which is beautiful. It means your heart and soul are comforting and you allow peace to flow through you, BUT, you need to make sure that peace is still connected to you and therefore you enjoy it as well. Don’t allow it to be sucked dry and next thing you know you are left with the heavy weight of others. This is the reason we have a great big God.  We can love and listen but we don’t need to carry. We need to release it so that the heaviness for you and them is completely handed over to Christ. We think that fixing for others is a good thing….well…..not so much. One, it enables them and they will be back for more. Two, we can’t play God. It just isn’t our role. 

Now, don’t be going around with your fingers in your ear saying, ‘lalalala’, ignoring life around you.  Ha! We are called to have empathy for one another and deep compassion. Those around us, for the most part, are not asking us to take on their pain, they just want someone to listen. I’m constantly teaching my daughter this as she continues to build relationships. Sit with them, listen, pray, love, and then release it. 

“I may not be able to solve all of your problems, but I promise you won’t have to face them alone.”