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You Can’t Hold On

The day I tried to commit suicide was a rough day.  Well, obviously ha. It wasn’t super fun.  In the beginning, it was difficult to relive that day. Now I can see how far I’ve come and the things that I’ve learned from it.   God can be funny like that.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to see the light and rock bottom it was.   I totally don’t bring it up to be a downer at all.  There’s just a reality piece that goes along with this.  Obviously things were not unicorns and rainbows.  Keeping the secret of my abuse was eating me alive and causing my cutting to intensify.  You see, I didn’t release anything.  I held things in.  Emotions ate me alive.  It was exhausting. Sound a little familiar?  I mean, maybe you didn’t hit the place I was in but maybe, just maybe there’s this secret place inside where you just stuff everything in.  It’s not good or worth it.  The more you shut the door on your feelings and emotions, the more they fester and the next thing you know, you are in a position you never thought you’d be in.  It could be anxiety, depression, not showering (oh wait, maybe that’s just me :), not getting out of bed, whatever it may be starts to rear its ugly head.  You’ve gotta kill that nasty thing asap.  

I’ve learned a crap load since that day.  I won’t bore you with it all right now.  I’m sure I will at some point but for now I just wanted to hit this one point.  You can’t live in the freedom of the life God intended for you if you don’t release the ugly. It’s difficult to have room to love, to fight, to be creative, to follow your dreams, to live life to the fullest if holding on is what you do.  I know it’s hard and I know it sucks but if it’s not done, you’ll be eaten alive. It will take over and joy will be lost. I still suck at this sometimes.  Whether it be giving the silent treatment to my husband or holding in a hurt that happened years ago.  You see, whether it’s through prayer, a therapist, journaling, talking with a friend, you’ve gotta allow what’s happening inside of you to have a face.  It almost needs to have a purpose.  By allowing it to have a face or a name gives you permission to kick it’s butt. No one person’s pain is like the next and don’t for a second think that you are the only one.  I don’t care how pretty things look on facebook or instagram because everyone, flipping everyone, has pain or hurt.  It’s in that place where you make the decision.  Do you let it eat you alive or do you kick it to the curb.  I can’t get enough of this verse, hence why it’s tattooed on me.  Psalm 46:5, “God is within her, she will not fall!”  A to the men!!! Deep in the insides of your soul, where that pain and agony with whatever it may be is sitting, God is sitting right there with it.  It starts with just acknowledging that it exists and then after that, you release.  The trick is, once you release, you need to let it go.  I’m learning that every day.  There are some days that are harder than others but it’s all about moving forward. 

I totally encourage you to just take a look at where you are today.  We’ve got a great big God that wants to take your pain away.  It’s really up to us.  He is just hanging out waiting for us to reach out.  No matter where you are at you need to remember you are loved more than life itself by your Creator and those around you.  Reach out, release, and try to let it go.  Not in the cliche way that everyone is just like, ‘why can’t you let it go already’ but in a sense of needing peace.  The letting go part is completely for you. 

“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.”

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Where’s the Love?

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Dude, my son and his hair.  I just can’t anymore.  This whole new do with all the hair towards the front of your head and it’s just long and crazy, it’s something. Every morning is just…….it’s just.  I don’t even have words.  I almost always hear, “My hair isn’t working!” Yes well if you’d cut it and get it out of your eyeballs maybe it will then work and look, I don’t know, good?!?! Instead though, being the cool mom I am, I just sit in his frustration trying to give a few pointers but even that gets my head ripped off.  Teenage boy life is just something else. 

Boy do we feel his pain though right?  I was looking in the mirror the other day and was like, man, this getting older thing is rough.  I mean you are always warned but it’s not until you see it with your own eyes that you want to just get everything lifted.  I, of course, started ripping on myself for what my stomach looked like, or my saggy arms, or whatever I thought was proportioned not right. Now after this whole moment, I then proceed to tell myself I will only be eating vegetables for the next week.  You so know what I’m talking about.  It’s like a constant circle.  Total crazy train.  Now I’m not saying that I totally got off the train but I did take a pit stop for a moment.  What would happen if I or we decided to accept the body that we live in right now?  Like what if we decided to LOVE the body we are in right now instead of bashing it every moment we can?  I’m thinking there may be some healing that takes place.  We might be a little more confident and more loving to ourselves.  I used to struggle with the scale big time.  Like was on it 7 to 10 times a day.  If it moved up, I wouldn’t eat and I would have the worst day ever but if it stayed or went down, I had the best day ever.  It controlled me.  It’s the same thing when we constantly bring ourselves down.  Our whole day is shot.  If instead we choose to find good things about ourselves and our bodies, maybe our attitude would change for the better when it comes to us. 

It’s difficult for me some days to grasp the love of Christ.  Just being real. It’s difficult to see myself the way He sees me.  It kind of doesn’t make sense in my brain yet I know it’s truth.  I think we allow the lies to over take the good.  We allow the comparison game to become larger than love.  You don’t have to wear a certain size, have a buff body, a tight butt or non saggy you know what in order to be accepted.  I’ve touched on this subject in the past but it needs to be brought to the surface again. Truly loving yourself and your body means not following other people’s rules.  Truly loving yourself means your happiness comes from within, your happiness comes from above, your happiness is transformed into freedom. 

“Be your own reason to smile.”

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It’s Not Needed

So I was in High School right?  I was wearing super cute overalls because they were in ,which I feel like I should’ve kept to wear now but I digress.  Back to my story.  I went to the bathroom and when I was done, after flushing the toilet, I was clicking my overalls back on and wouldn’t ya know it, one side fell into the toilet.  Yep, that’s right, totally wet.  Now thankfully I had fleshed the toilet first which now I’m very grateful for but then, didn’t give a rip.  All I cared about was that I had to walk out in front of the popular girls with a one wet sided overall.  I tried everything.  Paper towels, the dryer but didn’t have enough time because I had to get back to class, with the popular girls.   Did I mention that the popular girls were in my class?  Yea, rough.  Now just to make this clear, I wasn’t like lower than low on the totem pole of popularity.  I was like right in the middle which again, now I look back and I’m like, it was a perfect place to be but then, heck to the no. You just wanted them to talk to you or just look at you and smile.  Needless to say, I walked out and was teased immediately.  ‘Oh my gosh heather, did you pee on your overalls?’ said the super cool girl while laughing with her other super cool friends.  I swore up and down that I didn’t but it was long gone.  There was no turning back at this point.  Man did I wish I had pink hair and tattoos then.  I would’ve been the coolest ever or the scariest ha!  I held onto this for a while.  It was rough. I couldn’t let it go.  I was mortified and at that age, man, it’s rough when something like that happens.  I did survive but looking back I realize that the feeling of needing approval still lurks around today. 

The reason I couldn’t let it go was only because I wanted their approval and instead of laughing it off with them, I just sank.  I’m sure you’ve all been in this spot before.  Maybe you are struggling with it right now.  Needing the approval of others can really suck the joy out of you.  You actually start living for the other person instead of for yourself.  You start doing things out of your character in order for the other person to recognize you and allow you in.  You’re better than that.  You don’t need anyone’s approval and if that’s the case then you don’t want to be friends with them anyways.  Those who love you are in your life because of who you are not because of what you do.  You don’t need to perform to be worthy of anyone’s attention.  You are worthy because of who you are not what you do, or say, or what others think of you.  There’s a one and only Dad that is the only one you need approval from and the best part, He already does and did before you were even born.  He thinks you’re the freaking bomb.  He is the one that places the right people in your life at just the right time.  Stop looking and forcing relationships that maybe He’s not calling you to have.  Totally preaching to myself here.  Many times we seek the approval of others because we put them on some kind of pedestal which is crap.  We are all on the same pedestal no matter what you do, or how much money you make, or what you look like.  God doesn’t look at anyone that way.  He created each one of us different, yes, but not better than the next.  

I want to encourage you with this. Standing strong in who you are is legit the best place you can be in. And you can do that because you have the looks, you have the awesome personality, you have the gift of listening, you’re an amazing friend, and I could go on and on.  If there are some people that can’t see that, then it’s their loss.  God’s got your back my friend.  He’s not gonna just leave you stranded with no community just remember that the community you want to be in needs to love you for you. 

“An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and validation:  You find it.”

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Stand By Your Truth

Mushrooms.  They’re just wrong on so many levels. You shouldn’t eat them or even look at them.  They are slimy and a fungus and just yuck.  They grow in my grass for goodness sake.  Ok so I know those aren’t the ones people eat but still.  Just no. Now, my husband looks at me like I have four eyes.  He likes them.  Ok fine, like them, but I’ll just never understand.  We are just gonna agree to disagree. 

Where am I going with this.  Sometimes we don’t need to convince everyone on what we feel or where we stand. It’s our truth that we stand upon and not others.  There will be some that disagree with you and that’s ok.  We don’t need to stare them down and convince them of what we feel they should believe or how to even feel.  Maybe I should take this a bit deeper than mushrooms.  I tell my story.  I share my struggles.  I unload ugly thoughts.  In all of that, some believe I should just shut up and move on.  Well, they aren’t the ones who I need to concern myself with.  Pretty sure Jesus would be my ultimate yay or nay of what’s happening in my life or what I’m deciding to do.  It’s also Jesus who calls us to speak truth, to share our wounds, to speak the ugly because someone out there has the same scars and doesn’t want to feel alone.  Now deep inside my flesh of flesh I would have a few words to speak to these lovely people but honestly, why?  Does it make me feel better?  Would it really solve anything besides put a wall between me and others?  We are all created with our own purpose and our own pathway in this life.  Christ has placed upon you and me a calling for what and who we are.  That’s what makes this world turn.  We are all unique, different. It’s a good thing.  If we can learn to listen and just step back a bit to see where the other is coming from, we may actually learn something. My biggest take away from situations like this would be acceptance.  Not just for the other person but also for yourself.  I started this out by saying, you can stand by your truth, you can stand by your experiences which cause you to have feelings that are different than those around you.  We all come from different places in our lives that tend to lean us in different directions. That’s totally cool.  We need to have confidence and self love enough to stand firm.  Not in a judgy, push it on others kind of a way, but in a way that allows you to open your heart to the fact that others have their truth too.  You see, there’s a softness that comes toward yourself and others when there’s acceptance inward. 

The grooviest part of this is we can all agree on one truth.  Jesus Christ as our ultimate Savior, our ultimate Truth, our ultimate Judge, our ultimate Peace.  When you really stand firm in that, everything else just falls into place. 

“Disagreements are unavoidable, but how you handle them can make all the difference.”

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You Are Golden

It creeps in.  Whether we like it or not.  That nasty thing called comparison. I was never the skinniest girl on the block.  I was the one with the booty.  I had curves. Comparison goes even further then surface level though.  She’s a better mom, she has more drive, look at all the ‘likes’ she gets on social media, and I could keep going. Dude, it can mess with your brain and even more, bring you into a super big funk.  We begin to check ourselves.  We begin to think what we are doing or what we look like isn’t good enough,  doesn’t fit the mold of what everyone else is doing.  Is that what we really want though?  I totally get it.  I mean, I see one pair of arms that don’t have flags wagging underneath and I’m like, dude, how do you tone them so perfectly?  I mean , not that I don’t know that working out helps, which i should try sometime but still, you’re head just goes there. 

Again I ask, is that what we really want? You need to be you.  You need to follow your own path.  You need to follow your own super power. Here’s the thing, there is no one else like you and there shouldn’t be so stop trying to be someone else. What you do in this life is just as important as the person you see on the street all pieced together perfectly working on wall street. Gosh, this topic gets me fired up because it has broken me before and I’m sure it’s completely depleted you at some point or another.  When we get wrapped up in the lies of thinking we aren’t as good or as important as the person next to us, we find ourselves trying to be something we aren’t meant to be.  The coolest thing about God is that He made each one of us super unique.  He’s not this big guy upstairs that picks and chooses who’s gonna be taller or richer or more popular than the other.  It’s just not how He works. You are meant to walk this life with the perfect amount of class and charm that you have. You are exquisite. You are perfectly crafted for what is right in front of you today, right now. You are built to walk a life of gold with every ounce of you there is. The girl or guy next to you is the same.  Yes, it looks different and maybe in your eyes even better but guess what, they have struggles too and more than likely, they are looking at you thinking, wow, I want just a little bit of what they have.  

Own your all encompassing coolness my friend.  You are gifted.  Your are called.  You are perfectly unique in this world.  Your body is spot on.  Your mind is entangled with just the right amount of knowledge.  Your soul and spirit are soaring on the perfect path meant just for you.  

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

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This Faith Thing

Breath!  Stay chill! I’m screaming this internally.  Here is the scenario that unfolded.  My lovely child is just lounging on the couch with our puppies.  I’m in the kitchen doing who knows what cause it’s not like I really cook or anything.  I was probably watching Family Feud but I digress. I then hear, “Mom, so you want me to wait to have sex till I’m married, right?” Let’s talk about how Heather wanted to respond with a HELL TO THE YES! But, I played it cool.  “Yes, that would be my heart’s desire for you and my prayer would be you would feel the same.” I went on, “Sex is awesome and it totally connects you on every level not just physically so when you give it to just anyone, you’ve lost a piece of you that was meant to be gifted to your spouse.” Now, really I wanted to be like, yes you are waiting!  I don’t need anyone knocked up or getting some crazy disease ya know what I’m saying but instead I kept it spiritual.  I’ll save that all for next time ha!  I was just really glad I didn’t hear, ‘So you waited then too right mom?’ Hmmmmm…….let’s just say I didn’t do too great in this area.  Thank you Jesus for grace. 

It’s cool to watch the pieces slowly fall into place when it comes to my kids’ faith.  I enjoy the questions because it makes me step back and take a look at my own.  As adults we have questions too and sometimes it blows because there’s no one that can give us a yes or no or really any kind of answer. The questions get harder and scarier.  Instead of a question like my kiddo asked, it starts to turn into questions like why is this happening to me?  Is God really out there?  What direction am I supposed to go?  I think we’ve all been here.  We get weary in our faith.  Sometimes we just want it to be simple ya know? BUT…..maybe we need to see faith more like a super power. Here me out. Having faith is the foundation of trust in Jesus, grace, eternal life, understanding and the list is endless. I love how the Message says it in Hebrews 11:1&2, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” A lot of times it’s not black and white and that drives me crazy. It’s as simple and at the same time as hard as this; we have to decide to trust God. If our faith is going to stand a chance in this life, we have to trust God with all the questions that exist in our hearts. Girls and boys this is not easy but I’d take the promises, the hope of Jesus over anything, any day. 

Where is your faith at? This is a loaded question and not intended to have guilt attached to it in any way. Sometimes we just need to step back and find out where our hearts are really at. What are you questioning?  It’s in these moments that Christ swoops down and saves the day.  

“To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark–That is Faith!”

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Truth Be Told

Dude, it’s time.  This is what I told myself. I held onto the secret for way too long that it was slowly destroying my every being.  The truth will set you free.  Will it…..will it really?  My insides were freaking out. I’m pretty sure my heart was outside of my body but I knew it had to be done.  Confronting the abuse head on was probably one of the scariest most gut wrenching things I have ever done.  On the flip side though, the truth DID set me free.  The aftermath of speaking up was a whirlwind for those involved and wasn’t super awesome but for me, there was a part of me, this dark and dirty piece, this piece that told me I was used goods, those lies were finally released.  

I know I’ve spoken into this in past devos but I need to speak into this in more depth.  We’ve gotta release the ugly inside.  There are lies that fester inside of us that need to be freaking smashed and spit out.  Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard a soft voice inside of you saying, you aren’t good enough, not pretty enough, not worth enough.  SO NOT TRUE! Here’s the thing though, the lies will just keep on twirling in our heads if we don’t speak up.  This could mean a million different things.  I needed to speak up.  I needed to tell my truth. I needed to release the abuse. Maybe there was a situation or a convo that got you thinking you weren’t worth a million bucks.  Maybe something happened to you that you keep replaying over and over in your head and because of it, you’ve lost the joy you once knew.  The more you give the nasty power, the more it has power over you. The more we stay in our heads, the more we keep replaying the corrupted scenarios of lies. My daughter is awesome at this.  Not the replaying of the nasty ha, but of speaking it out.  Truth be told, she just talks a lot in general (and I love her 🙂 but in that, when there are things about her body or situations she is replaying in her mind, or moments that make her upset, she talks about it. She doesn’t hold onto it. This is what I’m talking about.  Jesus can start to repair what was broken if we release the power of it to Him.  The evil one can have a party with it the more we leave the lies right where they are at.  

The reason I bring this up is because I’m constantly needing to relearn this over and over again.  Maybe, just maybe I’m writing this more for myself.  I need to remind myself that the past is out of my hands.  I can’t change it but I can make a new plan.  I can decide to allow Christ to speak into it and change the path. I do have the power through Jesus Christ to start living in the freedom of truth.  You can too.  Whatever was told to you or done to you does not own you.  Here’s some truth.  You are a child of God!  You are amazing! You are full of beauty and life! Stand in this today and everyday.  I’ll do the same. 

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward”

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I Just Can’t

I’m all out of ideas.  Dinner has me like…….done! Anyone out there feeling my pain?  I can’t get one dinner together that each one will like or at least eat.  When I grew up, (yep, i’m going there) you had to eat whatever your momma made you and you liked it or at least faked it. I literally can’t find one dish that all 4 agree on AND if I do find one close, they are sick of it. Now you all aren’t eating…….the end. And now you are like, why heather, why are we talking about dinner plans.  It got me thinking.  I know, everything has me like….hmmmm…..but hear me out. 

Throwing in the towel.  Done and done.  These words sound familiar?  Maybe they played in your mind over and over again. We get to this place where we just can’t anymore. It’s too much.  Life is too much, job is too much, momming (yes it’s a word) is too much, this whole relationship thing is too much, and the list goes on. When you get to this point it’s easy to get stuck in the negative.  It swallows you and the next thing you know, you can’t get out of bed.  The negativity takes over because we start overthinking and evaluating every horrible thing that is happening in life.  We have this complete sense of loss and hopelessness.  So now what?  We are the writers of our story along with the ultimate author, Jesus.  Even though situations happen that we have no control over, we do have control over the way we respond. We need to step back a second and reflect on what’s really important.  Maybe, just maybe through these crazy circumstances, we become stronger.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m not saying that tomorrow all the sudden it’s rainbows and unicorns BUT I am saying that there’s hope. There’s goodness.  There’s goodness in your life that has been hidden behind a dark cloud but it’s there.  We’ve just gotta grab onto it and make it larger than life.  The best part?  Christ is behind that dark cloud.  He’s hanging out waiting for you to grab on.  I’m more of a straight shooter when it comes to telling it like it is. I don’t like fluffy words.   I’m not gonna make use the phrase like, ‘Just give it over to Him and it will be fine.’ I am gonna tell you that the choice is yours and mine. We either grab onto the dark or head straight for the light. 

So if you have any dinner ideas, I’d be happy to hear them ha. In all honesty though, the dinner situation will probably never go away until they are all out of my house but I can decide not to let it tick me off so much.  I can decide to see that I’m so incredibly blessed to have 4 awesome kiddos to make food for.  I know, sounds super cheesy and and you are like, Heather, I know this all already.  Ok, but we  have to choose to actually live in it.  Let’s get out of our heads and open our hearts to the truth.  Ok I’ll tell you what that is. Truth: You are wonderful just the way you are, good dinner or bad. Blessings, goodness is all around us, it’s there I swear. Just grab on and hold tight. 

“Every day is a new beginning.  Take a deep breath, smile, and start again.”

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Where’s the Love?

I was in 5th grade when I had my first kiss!  FIFTH GRADE!  What on earth!  That’s the age of my youngest child right now and he has no clue, like no clue what any of that even means.  I’ve told my kids this and seriously, they are like, mom you are disgusting.  It just adds on to the fact that I also got bad grades in school so their mantra is to not be like mom! LOL!! Back to Heather in 5th grade.  So this young lad was in my life for a year.  That’s right!  I even knew how to do long relationships. I mean, who wouldn’t want me as their role model.  We did everything together. My life revolved around him.  I remember this so vividly. Why do I entertain you with this beautiful piece of my life?  Well because even at this early of an age, my value was placed in someone else’s hands.  Not that it was his fault, it was just where I placed him. 

In my therapy session the other day, we had a lovely and fierce convo on where my value comes from.  It’s a bit jacked up, which I’m sure there’s some of you in the same boat.  Truth be told, I don’t even think we realize how others dictate our emotions until some nasty stuff starts rising up and next thing ya know we are 3 glasses in or a gallon of ice cream is gone. Our relationship with ourselves is the most important relationship we can have outside of Jesus. What we feel, think, believe about ourselves makes or breaks any kind of relationship we have with others. Sometimes we get stuck in our heads, believing the thoughts and feelings, well, really the lies, our minds are telling us.  This world has us playing out scenarios in our heads.  If I’m pretty enough, or talented enough, or liked enough, or have enough stuff, or dating the coolest guy, then I’ll be acceptable to all.  Well that’s just a load of crap.  We are valuable not because of who we are but because of who God is. Here me out.  I know that sounds a bit cheesy but when you are loved unconditionally with all the awkwardness and quirkiness you bring, doesn’t it make you think that maybe we’ve set our value in the wrong hands?  I mean, allowing our value to be rested in Christ takes a lot of pressure off of us.  Think of it this way.  Could you imagine someone asking you, why do you like me?  And you responded with some kind of trait they have.  Next thing you know, they feel like they need to be the best in that all the time.  That’s not how our loving Jesus works.  When we ask Christ why do you love me?  His response is, because you’re my child. BAM! And scene! There’s no restriction or rules.  There’s no list of qualities that you must have.  Gosh darn, how freeing is that?!

Where are you at today? If you step back and really look deep inside, are you at peace?  Are you able to turn off all things around you and realize the true love of just your existence?  Jesus says, “You are precious in my eyes, you are honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4a  Just read that a few times and let it sink in.  You are loved and valued just because you are you. My prayer is that you can own that and rest in that. 

“If you value yourself, you understand that you are a gift to anyone you meet.”

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Fresh Start

PEACE OUT 2020!! I’m not a huge resolution person but I do like to see a new year as a fresh start.  That got me to thinking…….I’m gonna be completely real and raw with you right now.  I used to keep a nice, sharp, clean knife in a basket in my closet.  It was a ‘just in case’ type of situation in my head. Like any other stronghold in our life, it always rears its ugly head every now and then.   It’s a battle inside on a regular basis.  I felt that I had to be ready if I needed it.  What?!  When you really think about it, how messed up is that? I can say this cause it’s about myself.  Totally messed up but don’t worry it’s gone now. 

There are things in our lives that we are holding onto that we shouldn’t.  We can’t bring the old in with the new if our desire for a new year is a fresh start. What you hold onto doesn’t have to be a physical thing like mine but maybe anger, fear, hurt, betrayal, and the list can go on.  Sometimes it’s almost more comfortable to hold onto the crap instead of allowing the light to heal and move forward.  I think a lot has to do with our comfort zone. Letting go and stepping away from the strongholds in our lives means letting go of control and stepping outside of what feels comfortable.  Scary! As I walk through some of these pieces in my life that like to come back around now and then, I realized something.  Maybe instead of constantly feeling the pressure of needing to become a better person, we need to see it as letting go of the nasty in order to become who we already were in the first place.  All this heavy that can sit on us or come back up is controlling and masking the beauty of who we were before all the crazy happened.  We need to remember who we were before the world grabbed our hand and ran.  Not only do the situations that we have been through start to control our minds but so does the everyday world around us. In order to have a fresh start, we’ve got to step away from the things that broke us in the first place.  

Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  If there’s anything that can bring us new beginnings and a fresh start this upcoming year, it’s Jesus.  Sometimes I can’t even explain to you the depth of peace He provides inside of me. When I truly allow my mind and soul to be connected to Him, the anxiety is gone, the need to fix things is gone and the freshness of His love just overwhelms me. 2020 is gone!  Can I get an Amen!!!!  2021 is your year!  Allow a fresh start to happen by knowing the beauty of who you’ve always been. Nothing needs to change about you, you just need to shake off the dirty laundry.  

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

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He’s Got The Power

What is happening???  All I want to do is vacuum people!  So……we are in quarantine.  Yep!  The nasty covid hit our family. So now everyone is doing school remote and my hubby is still working from home. Needless to say, I have to be quiet. Dear Lord Jesus in heaven, please bring back the normalcy of life where no one between the hours of 8am and 2pm are present. Don’t get me wrong, love love my family, but I’m pretty sure you are all feeling the depth of my agony right now. 

So how, what, where, and in what way are we supposed to trust God in all of this when the world is going to hell in a hand basket?  Well…..speaking of hell, there’s an enemy that wants us to question.  He wants us to look around and be like, God, where are you and why aren’t you fixing this.  Pretty sure we can all go back to many times in life where we’ve questioned what the heck He is doing.  Whether a loss of a loved one, being abused, battling depression, loss of a job, short of money, and the list goes on.  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve spent some weeks just trying to get out of the funk.  I definitely don’t have all the answers but I do know this.  I can feel myself loving differently.  I can feel a change in the way I approach people. I’m choosing to find good even though I’m losing my marbles being stuck in the house.  I mean, a woman can only clean so much ha. I was processing this and realized I’ve been here before.  Like I said, we all have.  It’s a choice to sit in the defeat or not.  It was a choice for me to either allow the abuse to control me or to move forward in healing. We need to reach back to the times we have seen His faithfulness. We need to remember that He is more powerful than a pandemic.  Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  

Friends, we are gonna make it through this.  I challenge you to find those few things that allow you to keep going. Whether it’s as simple as the sun shining bright, or as beautiful as a phone call with a friend or loved one. Allow yourself to feel worn down and frustrated because it’s real but then tell yourself that there is someone more powerful that’s got this and rest in that. 

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

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Own it

My son, my 13 year old, was bold and confident. The one who is too cool for school.  The one that side hugs me because heaven forbid he actually shows me he can’t live without me.  The one who has good looks but has no idea they are on his body.  The one who gives one word answers.  THIS is the one that stood tall.  I received a text from one of his church leaders.  A text that literally I printed out and will save to pull out when he ticks me off ha!  I was told that he preached! Like in a room full of his buddies, he stood in his faith and spoke out some Jesus loving goodness. I couldn’t decide if I should pass out, question it, or just bawl my eyes.  You know that I totally bawled my eyes out. 

This challenged me. It made me step back and take a look in the mirror.  Am I bold and confident?  Not just in my faith but with every piece of me.  Then my mind kept going.  You know he didn’t sit there and think, what do I look like? Is my house clean before I start speaking?  Did I take a shower first?  Does my butt look too big?  Now, obviously I started plowing through thoughts that would go on in MY head, not his, but quite honestly, are we bold and confident in who we are?  Enough so that we are unapologetic when everything isn’t said perfectly or put together to perfection.  I went one step further in my thought process.   We don’t need to justify everything in our lives.  It’s ok to feel whatever about politics even if the other person strongly disagrees.  It’s ok to have a faith that is solid or one that’s on shaky ground cause you just aren’t sure.  It’s ok that your butt grew over quarantine because well, everyone’s did! 🙂 You see where I am going with this?  I want to live boldly even if I didn’t take a shower for 3 days!  I may smell but I want my head held high in my stink. We don’t need to justify to anyone if you got a massage today or if you decided to take a nap.  We can live boldly and confidently right where we are at.  Psalm 138:3, “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”  We were built to be bold!  Through Jesus, our boldness just can’t be stopped.  He created us all so uniquely and gives us the courage to hang onto that with confidence.  Standing fearless in your circumstances is the ultimate act of boldness. You may be frustrated, angry, depressed, lost but stand and own those feelings. They will never take away the truth and strength of Christ Jesus. Because you feel these emotions does not make you weak but instead shows confidence when you grab onto them and not allow them to destroy you. You are still walking through life, THAT is bold. 

I want to encourage you today to take a look in that mirror and own it.  Every piece of you is the bomb, inside and out.  It doesn’t matter what you weigh, what your hair looks like, how you feel, who you are gonna vote for or where your faith is at.  You be you and stand in it without hesitation. Now walk away from that mirror before you start questioning your outfit! Hahaha! 

“Never fear standing out, being bold, being you, and being phenomenal!”

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Dig It Out

Dude, every day these words would come out of my mouth; “I’m not gonna do it again,” as I throw the sharp object away.  Then a few moments or days later, I would go purchase whatever I needed or turn my apartment upside down to find something to use. This was a never ending flipping crazy train I was on but made total sense at the time. I know you’ve all been there with something in your life. There’s this seeded pain, this ugly standing water that sits in the soul and next thing you know, it’s leaking everywhere.  

Without confidence, we stumble.  Without bravery, the other side will never rise up. I believe that pain keeps rearing its ugly head because we still need to be taught something. For a long time my confidence was lost and my bravery was non-existent because of fear.  Pain was comfort and letting go of it meant….well….I didn’t know, which was why I didn’t want to let go. You get this, I know you all do.  First of all, doing the work to tidy up the insides just seems exhausting, especially right now.  Everything is flipped upside down in our lives and honestly, nothing feels right or solid. BUT, that’s exactly why it’s a pretty perfect time to get grounded and to do some weeding. Second, who really wants to hang on for dear life while the crazy train just keeps spinning faster. When standing on the cross, we know that the other side brings freedom. The uncertainty of what’s going around us causes the unresolved pain deep inside to show its nasty self.  It mimics feelings that we’ve felt before like anxiety, anger, sadness.  We cannot decide to stand on those feelings and wavering pain.  It’s gonna fail us every time.  I truly believe that in this time we are living in, we need to stand in the bravery of the eternal sword.  I told you all to check out Psalm 46.  Hands down my go to.  I have Psalm 46:5 tattooed on me, “God is in the midst of her; she will not be moved; God will help her in the early dawn.”  Your pain from your past or present does not own you.  WHO owns you is what really matters. When Christ lives inside of you, that standing, nasty water turns into solid rock.  You suddenly feel lighter, braver, more confident. 

Hurt can change you friends but it’s your choice to make that a good or bad change. It will keep popping up if you allow it too. I encourage you today to dig.  Dig in and get that nasty crap out.  Forgive where you need to, cry when you need too, and release it.  God’s got you friend.  He really does. 

“Believe in yourself and all that you are.  Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.””

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Relax Man

Stupid Covid!  That’s our saying here at the Follett house.  If anything goes wrong, we just blame it on Covid, ha.  I went for the second time to get tested.  Seriously, they dig your brains out until it oozes out of your eyeballs.  The End. Needless to say, my children are not big fans.  They also had to go a second time and my youngest lost it.  He kept it semi together until that long cotton swab came out.  Dude, a beast came out of him, flaring his arms everywhere, kicking and screaming. I’m like sitting on him, holding his arms down, trying to hold his head.  He totally threw me to the ground, that’s how crazy it got. The nurse was like, “maybe we should just reschedule.”  Now, she was trying to be so calm and sweet to me while I was like, “no way, he’s doing this!” I was losing it and I can be honest with you guys cause I know you’ve all been there.  I told him his consequences would be ridiculous in the nasty tone that moms can get while looking at the nurse informing her I do not beat my children.  I’m totally rolling my eyes at myself right now because looking back, I was the one who was the monster.  The poor kid was scared to death because he already went through it and knows exactly what was gonna happen. Finally, I let it go and he didn’t do the test but I was still fuming. It wasn’t until our ride home that I came to grips with the fact that the anger and frustration had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. 

I’m so angry and frustrated with how this pandemic has flipped our lives upside down. I know that our eyes need to be focused on Christ and the good things that are surrounding us but for the love, there are just days where it doesn’t work like that.  I’m not saying it’s right, just saying it’s real and where I’m at. I will say that the person I saw in myself yesterday was nasty.  I sure didn’t like her. It opened my eyes to the effect that this has had but also, the control it can have over me.  Like, I can’t control what’s happening out in this crazy world, but I can still love, be kind, help others, be grateful.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be all flowery and full of cute bunny rabbits, I’m just saying that when I walked away from that day, I wanted to be better, let go, look at what’s in front of me and what truly matters. My son not getting the test that day was not gonna make or break our lives but what would have a lasting effect is the way I act and react.  Don’t worry, I’m past the guilt because that’s not from Jesus, but I did learn.  Read this, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

I, we, need to stop allowing the world to control us, our feelings, our thoughts.  Our peace isn’t gonna come from anywhere out there. Instead, we redirect our eyeballs to better and peaceful things of Christ and what He’s given us.  Surely there’s something surrounding you that is better than Covid, ha. It’s not like you aren’t gonna have bad days or lose your crap like I did BUT the more we learn how to focus our thoughts, the more we sit in peace. 

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

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There’s Hope

20 years.  I celebrated my 20 year anniversary of the hardest day I’ve ever experienced. I was gonna end it that day and God had bigger plans.  The pills were sprawled across my bed and I downed every single one. I was saved.  I was rescued.  I was heard.  In our house, we call September 2nd my Life Day. Side note, also my husbands birthday! God’s so funny! This past year I told my kids about everything. My abuse, my cutting, my Bipolar 2, and my suicide attempt.  I felt that if the world was hearing my story, my kids needed to know first but they needed to know it through the eyes of healing and not the eyes of darkness.  The first words out of my daughters mouth that day was this, “Mom, if it weren’t for your Life Day, we wouldn’t even be here.”  Truth.  I was given a second chance but even more than that, I found life.  I found truth.  I found what it means to live. 

Mental Illness is real.  It’s painful.  It can range from anxiety, to depression, to bipolar, to sadness, to anger.  Mental Illness, for me, had a face. On the outside, I put a game face on.  I looked put together and happy.  I played the, ‘I’m so funny!’ card and I played a full hand every time.  People were dumbfounded when they knew the truth.  Dumbfounded when they heard what I’ve been through.  Friends, no one’s gonna walk around in this depressive state cause who would accept you.  No one’s gonna hang with the super depressed guy. This, my friends, is why you don’t judge.  This, my friends, is why those that are close to you, you dig.  This, my friends, is why you share the real Jesus.  This, my friends, is why I choose to share my story.  I’ve found my Jesus and you can too. I want you all to go and read Psalm 46.  Whether you are super close to Jesus or just trying to figure out who He is.  Go!  Read this Psalm.  It speaks of His power in our trouble.  The power in the trembles of our hearts.  You can’t not be moved when reading it. I mean, I do have it tattooed on me so I’m pretty sure it’s powerful! 

Everything I speak to you is from truth, from a real place, from a depth in my soul that needs to be shared.  I’m grateful for this platform.  I’m grateful for each of you. I yearn for each of you to understand and feel the love of Jesus like I have in my life.  Nope, life isn’t perfect and I still go through a crap load of crazy but I don’t go at it alone anymore. There’s just something about the goodness of Jesus in my life that allows me to come through the other side.  I didn’t know this love until I was at my lowest point.  Maybe that’s where you are at or maybe you are just at this questioning phase like, is there more out there.  YES!!  THERE IS!!!  I’m being real here cause you guys know I’m not about the bull.  Lean in.  Reach out to Him, to others, to love, to those close to you.  He shows up in crazy ways.  I mean seriously, I shouldn’t be here.  He literally sent someone to grab me and take me to the hospital so I could live.  I was done, but He wasn’t. He’s not done with you either.  

“Don’t lose hope.  When the sun goes down, the stars come out.”

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Turn Down the Volume

“What is happening right now?”  This was my question to our youngest.  He’s waiting to get into zoom for e-learning and has a rice crispy treat in his mouth with a pile of skittles in front of him.  “Seriously though, what are you doing?”  Now please know, there are many days my kids will eat spaghetti or even ice cream for breakfast cause I’m just at that point so I’m not overly surprised this is happening at 7:40 in the morning.  You know what his answer was?  “I’m stress eating!”  WHAT?  How do you even know that exists? What is happening in the world? Then I busted out laughing.  I’m like, dude, I’m totally with you. 

Emotions getting the best of us.  Can I get an Amen!  If we could just stop the noise. I mean I’m listening to all these 5th graders speaking at once, calling the teacher a million times so I can’t imagine what it feels like to try and learn.  I’m gonna let the rice crispy go and maybe even give him another one, ha. Maybe sometimes this is what your brain feels like, even what your heart may be feeling.  So many thoughts and emotions happening that you’re reaching for anything that will make it calm down.  I’m sure we all have nights where we can’t sleep, where we just can’t turn it off. I’ve never been able to sleep well.  I’ve learned to embrace what 3 or 4 in the morning can bring me. Night time has never been easy for me. Back in the day, it brought up a lot of pain from the abuse in the past,  memories flooding my mind.  I needed to turn it off, so lots of journaling began and crying out for peace.  Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   I clung to this verse.  Sometimes there is no perfect answer to what is swirling around so what do you do?  Go to the Prince of Peace.  Look, I so don’t have all the answers.  I know, shocker right? But I do know this, my shoulders don’t feel so heavy, my heart doesn’t feel so lost when I just unload to Jesus. No, he won’t have a magic wand that makes it all disappear but He does promise peace, comfort, strength which I’ll take over trying to figure out how to get that myself, ya know? Everything gets a little quieter when we release everything that’s going on inside. 

Give it a shot.  What’s it gonna hurt?  Take all that mumble jumble and hand it over. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy or deep, just be you. 

“Peace begins from within, if you are not peaceful inside, the world you see will be chaotic. 

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Decide For Yourself

I thought for sure this was it.  I was never gonna get out. It was like this cloud, this wall, this thick piece of yuck over took every aspect of my being.  Every dark word you could think of was sinking deeper into my soul.  Depression, anxiety, manic episodes, anger, fear, and the list just kept going. I’ve spoken of this place before in past devos but one piece wasn’t spoken yet. I questioned God.  I wondered if he even really existed.  Did he really give a crap? But it even went farther, I didn’t want to even try.  I didn’t even want to convince myself that He was worth finding.  As many of you know, I grew up in a Christian home.  Dude, you questioned your faith, you weren’t a Christian. I got so tired of everyone telling me to dig deeper into your faith and pray.  I’m not belittling the amazing power of prayer but come freaking on.  We’ve all been in a place where the last thing you want to hear is let go and let God.  

You guys know the outcome.  I tried taking my life but God had different plans which I will forever know, He wanted to find me.  You see, in these places of questioning, pain, fear, hurt, denial, He waits.  You can never go far enough away.  When I look back on that time, I realize that I was stepping into my own faith.  In this time, I needed to decide my path that fit me. My path included Christ but I thought it looked like my family’s faith or my friend’s faith.  You see, we can’t allow society, friends, parents, loved ones, even enemies decide or choose our own path.  Psalm 16:11 (Message) “Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face.  Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.”  Your way and my way look different but His hand never changes.  My story isn’t your story but His shining face on us is the same. I realized that the reason I didn’t want to try and find Him again was because I was looking for someone else’s Jesus.  Obviously there’s just one Jesus but I was looking for a faith that depicted someone else’s thoughts on who He was in THEIR life and not mine.  He has showed up in crazy ways in my life and crazy ways in yours that look totally different.   That’s OK and actually super good.  Only He knows how you need to be loved, to be heard, to be seen, to be accepted. 

I don’t know where each of you are at.  Some of you may be in a great place with life, with your path, with Jesus and some of you may be in a dark spot, questioning His existence or if He cares.  Hear this, He doesn’t go anywhere and He’s not scared of what you think or feel of Him because what He feels toward you never changes. Unconditional love will always be waiting for you, just be honest with where you are at and let Him meet you there. 

“Life is the most difficult exam.  Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper”

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Ultimate Conqueror

She was from California, my roommate in college.  Drop dead gorgeous and as sweet as could be.  Probably would’ve been a bit easier for me if she was just snotty and mean. Ha. I spent my whole freshman year being asked if she was single and if she’d go on a date with almost every guy on campus.  I’m just gonna say it, it wasn’t easy on my ego. I never felt like I was good enough, pretty enough, sweet enough.  I measured myself up to her on a daily basis.  I’m eating more than her,  I’m laughing too loud, I talk too much, I’m not studying as much.  I definitely started losing my marbles but more than that, I was losing my own value and self identity.  Somehow as the year went on, I fell into the trap of comparison and it wasn’t good. It didn’t help that the freshman 15 or more like 20 for me, happened within the first 3 month. Oops. 

The world we are living in is just crazy.  We are faced with decisions that will really effect us and our families. Can I tell you something though? There’s no right or wrong and there should be no comparison or judgement towards those who choose opposite of you or me. We’ve gotta go back to our core values within ourselves.  That is enough.  You are enough.  When I came back my sophomore year, I held my head high in confidence.  I was tired of allowing others to control what I felt or thought.  In all honesty, our value and ultimate identity is founded in our Jesus. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times but if you really let it sink in, the pressure of living up to someone or something disappears. It’s so easy to let those negative voices come into our heads and the next thing you know, we are believing what they say. Romans 8:37-”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  CONQUERORS!!! I mean, doesn’t that make you want to pull up your big girl pants and be like, ‘shove it world!’ Ok, maybe just me but you can too! Lock yourself into the thinking of who ultimately matters and defines you. It’s not the peeps on Facebook or Instagram, it’s not your neighbor, it’s not your friends, it’s the one true ticket to happy, our super great Big Daddy! 

What comparison do you need to let go of? Is there an area in your life that floods your mind in a negative way? You have the strength of Jesus Christ to defeat those lies and tell them who’s boss.  You are a conqueror! 

“We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.”

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Still Learning

I’m learning a lot about forgiveness. I had forgiven my abuser within myself a few years ago when I knew it was hurting me.  When I had confronted this head on, confronting in person, unloading the truth, I realized I had a whole different level of forgiveness that I needed to work through. Although there was verbal asking for forgiveness, there was also denial of it. I was left lost, confused, in pain, the wound spread wide open with no closure. Now I have a choice.  Do I allow it to kill me inside, holding onto what I felt I needed to control in order to survive like anger , pain, or whatever lingered enough to hold on to, or do I give myself permission to let go. In that letting go, I allow myself to know what happened doesn’t disappear because I forgave, genuinely forgave, but instead put what was done in a healthy place.  You see, forgiveness is for you and me, not necessarily for the other person.  You take control back by forgiving.  You allow the boundary to be run by you, not run by emotions or the other person that hurt you.  

This verse has helped me in my journey with forgiveness.  Numbers 14:18, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgressions, but he will by no means clear the guilty.”  Now, this does not mean He’s gonna go and beat the crap out of whoever hurt us, that’s not how He rolls.  What it does mean is that God will handle those who have wronged us.  It’s not our job.  It’s not our concern.  What I love even more about this verse is that it starts out with the goodness of God. He first and foremost loves and forgives which in turn means we do too.  I truly believe God has taught me that although you have given forgiveness, that doesn’t mean they need or get to have access to your heart and soul. They don’t need to be invited into any space inside of you if it causes pain, hurt, or any other emotion that doesn’t serve you. Again, we need to remember that forgiveness is a beautiful gift from God that He has poured all over us which in turn calls us to forgive others but this doesn’t mean they get to control anymore pieces of you.  Forgiveness allows healing. Everyone’s healing is different and that’s where the power of Jesus comes in.  Through reaching out to Him during the process, He makes it crystal clear how He wants it to roll. Forgiveness is possible.  Time heals deep, deep wounds throughout the process.  Allow yourself time because the depth of your healing and the beauty that comes out of your story will far out way the pain that brought you to that forgiveness. 

“Forgiveness is no longer an option, but a necessity in healing.”

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Just A Little Tweaking

My 13 yr old son came down into the kitchen with a completely new hairdo.  Nope, no haircut involved, just completely styled it different.  He went to bed with it flowing to the side and woke up with it all in front, shaggy style.  Okay, now as we all know, you say nothing…..NOTHING!  This is a teenage boy we are talking about so you just go with it. Mom’s out there, truth right? My husband was in the kitchen, need I say more.  “You got a new style there bud?”  No you didn’t. NO YOU DIDN’T!!! My son just looked at him and was like, “I woke up this way.” Ha!  Now, because I took the correct approach, yes, I’m gonna toot my horn, late in the day we were in the car and my son spoke up. “I thought I’d do my hair a little different and I think I like it,” he says. You could see the confidence it built.  “And so do I,” I respond. “So do I.”

Now after all that you are like, great story but I thought this was a devotional.  I’m going somewhere with this I promise.  As I was in the car with him having a conversation, my mind went to this, sometimes we need to twist up just one thing in our lives to see things from a different perspective, maybe even a better one.  The only thing we have right now that’s semi ours to control, outside of a nudge here and there from Jesus, is us. Maybe tweaking things we have a hand on instead of waiting for the world around us to adjust, would spark a new joy or happiness. No joke, it can be as simple as a new hairstyle, maybe you don’t cook ever again and order out (okay maybe that’s just me hehe),  maybe it’s saying a quick prayer before you get out of bed and onto your phone, maybe it’s saying three words to yourself, I am beautiful!  The list can be endless and there’s no right or wrong.  This is completely for you. Right now we are living in a time where it’s crazy on the outside and ground hogs day on the inside. This verse popped into my head while processing this. Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Hands down we need to show this to others……like HANDS DOWN but we also need to show this to ourselves. Do something for you. Maybe those words like gentleness and patience are difficult for you to give towards yourself.  Pretty sure that calls for some tweaking then. Shag up your hair people!  Twist up just a few things in your life and feel the magic happen. 

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

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Let’s Be Crazy Together

I’m back!  Did you miss me? 🙂 Side Note:  What the heck is happening?!?!? Anyone else feel like a crazy person right now?  Just give me a fist pump whether you agree or not.  I need to know that in this land of insanity, I’m not alone.  I think we all do, right?  I mean, my thoughts bounce from, my kids need to go to back to school cause, well, GET OUT! to …….I want them to be safe and worry about sending them. Then I’m like…..our world is falling apart! to…….I believe in a Jesus that is bigger than the crap going on around me. Depending on the day people, who knows what Heather you will get. 

In all honesty, it’s been difficult for me to write.  Doesn’t help that we are living the same day over and over again. I read a quote this morning that really hit me.  “Never put the key to your happiness in somebody else’s pocket.”  Oh Snap!!!! Well chew me up and spit me out because for the love, I’m pretty sure that’s happening in Heatherland. Not only do thoughts spin around with social media, friends, and family in regards to living up to what they need or want, questioning our worth, but now we’ve got a crisis we are living in that straight up leaves us uneasy and not knowing what the next day will hold.  After all that being said, happiness is not the first word that would come to mind.  More like sadness, loss of control, anger, frustration, pure poop! I know for a fact that I’m living in that place.  That I’ve completely allowed my surroundings and others to dictate my feelings and my worth.  I know this because I burned my arm in a straight line while getting a pan out of the oven and not minutes apart, my husband and daughter are questioning the marks.  I’ve been semi living in a pit of doom and obviously more than I realize when I’m questioned about cutting. So what’s our truth.  Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”   Okay!  OKAY!!!  And breath because our worth, our happiness, our help doesn’t come from the outside shenanigans.  We need to be brave enough to let go.  Brave enough to spit in the face of the ugly lies.  Brave enough to know who we are, apart from the world. Our hands are being held by the Almighty.  Let go of the ugly hands that are trying to steal your happiness. 

“Never put the key to your happiness in somebody else’s pocket.”

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Reverse, Reverse

When I stared to own my body back, I was almost lost. When I finally wasn’t drawn to all beautiful sharp objects to release pain, I almost didn’t know where to turn. On one end, things were flipped upside down in an awesome way of healing. On the other end, things were flipped upside down because it’s all I knew.

What we’ve known as life recently has turned and flipped like 15 times. If i’m being honest, I’ve had serious writers block. I’m not even sure what to feel. I do know that the freshman 15 happen even when you are 42. Also, every day is the weekend so……….I know what you’re thinking and no, it’s totally apple juice in my cup starting at noon hahahaha. All kidding aside, it’s unknown and now it’s just all annoying. I mean I get it, don’t get me wrong. We’ve got a monster that we are trying to protect ourselves from and there’s some amazing, rockstar people that are pulling us through but I’m more talking about us ordinary, hanging loose folks over here. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine that this is our life for a long time. You? I’m just being straight. And for me, when crisis hits, I tend to go numb. Hide. Yet what am I hiding from. It’s not like I can really see anyone right now! Ha! Maybe it’s from myself. It’s from the emotions that cause my mind to go in not so fun places. Worry, fear, sadness……..the unknown. I don’t like it because it’s out of my control. Or is it? I learned after cutting had been my life, that I could replace it with positive things to release. This got me thinking, I know crazy but really, the thought of filling the negative with positive is quite mind blowing. Nothing we haven’t heard before but do we follow it? I sure as heck haven’t. I’ve gotten lost in the ‘this blows’ feeling instead of the ‘you’ve got this’ option. We can’t change the circumstances around us but we can change how we react to them. Jesus has been my foundation my whole life but yet I’m not totally acting like it. If I truly believe He’s in control, then I need to let go. I mean for crying out loud, the Main Man has gotten me through sexual abuse, cutting, suicide attempt, and the list just goes on and on. I’m pretty sure He’s gonna walk us all though this. It’s a matter of truly believing it. He’s alive and living in us and we forget constantly to grab on. At least I do. Replacing negative with positive is our challenge today. Even if it’s just one time.

Friends, we are in this together. I know we’ve heard that a million times recently but really, You and I, thick or thin, lost or found, sinking or on cloud nine, we’re in this baby!

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Blah for the Win

Anyone else just feeling completely blah.  Almost like I’m not sure what to feel. I find it difficult to find words lately. As I’m sitting here typing, I’m thinking back to other times when I felt this loveliness (enter eye roll). Unsure. Confused. Lost. I was in junior high.  We had gone on a mission trip with my youth group. When I came home, I had a million bites on my legs. They spread like crazy and we had no idea what they were. A few days later, they started to disappear but then I noticed that different parts of my body would swell up like a balloon at weird times. It was crazy. If I would hold something cold, my hand would swell or if I was outside in the cold, whatever wasn’t covered would swell.  This. Was. Bizarre. We started going to doctors showing them with an ice cube what would happen. I placed the ice cube on my arm and just that little section would swell. No one could figure out what the heck was happening. They all assumed that whatever bug bites I came back with had a reaction inside my body. One weekend I was on a boat tubing with my friend. I got in the boat all wet and the cold air from riding in the boat caused my whole body to swell including my throat.  It was scary. Thankfully it started coming down but I had to stay in bed all day because my feet were so swollen I couldn’t walk. In the end, they finally diagnosed me with Cold Induced Urticaria. I was allergic to the cold. Now isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard. Leave it to me to get something completely foreign. Ha!  

It was such a scary time.  I couldn’t be in air conditioning.  Every piece of me had to be covered in the winter.  It got me out of riding the bus though since I couldn’t wait in the cold.  That was nice. For such a long time I was so confused, unsure, afraid. We had no idea what was happening and no clue what the answer was.  Sound familiar? Kind of like right now. The answers are unclear. The direction of our lives are completely thrown up in the air. A great cause for an emotion called blah, right?  And you know what? It’s ok to feel that. I think we are all in the same boat. Ya know what my thought was back then? I totally was doing something for Jesus and I got a crazy disease.  That was confusing and frustrating but unfortunately there’s a dark side in this world. One that wants to defeat and destroy us. While living in the blah is ok for a time, the hope of Christ has to begin to out way all the ugly. Thankfully my allergy went into remission which I guess happens.  You never know when it can come back but I haven’t seen any signs up until this point which means God is protecting me. He’s doing that today too, for all of us. Although this crazy time is just that, crazy, the protection and hope of Christ is our firm foundation. It’s what we need to keep coming back to when thoughts of confusion and fear come into play. All time fav verse, Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Hang in their sweet friends.  We are in this together. 

“At the end off the day, all you need is hope and strength.  Hope that it will get better and strength to hold on until it does.”

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Seriously, what day is it? Ha! The sun came out, praise Jesus. So maybe I lost it the other day. Tears came. It’s all just so overwhelming. More because of the uncertainty of what’s in front of me. Am I doing enough for my kids? Do they feel safe? And the questions keep going. Kenna and I were doing one of my fav songs together. I love when she plays the ukulele. We messed up a bit in the beginning (you’ll see our smiles) and I wasn’t gonna post it because if my perfectionist issues. Ya know what though, mistakes are gonna happen. There’s no right or wrong in this place that we are all in. Also, McKenna said, use it, look at our smiles and fun together. She’s right. We, I needed to go back to the truth and what’s really important. So today, just today, look at the smiles around you, feel love, and continued say, Gods got this.

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Ya Gotta Have Faith

Faith wouldn’t be real faith if we only believed when things are good. It’s the times where you hung out in the darkness but faith and hope picked you up off the ground, knowing believing was the only thing you had left. I went through many phases in life where I thought believing just couldn’t exist anymore. I’m sure you have too. As you know, I grew up in a household where Jesus was taught but my belief in him became questioned in my mind over and over when the sexual abuse became clearer and clearer. The negativity in regards to who I was or the dirty person I thought I was became louder and louder. That untruth began to defeat the real truth that I was grounded in. Questions began to scream at me, how can I believe when something so horrific was done to me? Why? Why should my faith be stronger?  Do I really have faith? I made a choice. In the end, I made a choice. I could either let it kill me inside and become dead OR I could choose life. I could choose to fight. I could choose to believe. 

As we swirl around in this crazy time we are in right now, where is your mindset at? It’s easy to start heading down a dark alley internally when we are just hanging at home with no place to go.  That’s definitely dangerous for me. It’s now more than ever that we need to look for the good and beautiful truth about ourselves, about life. We are killer men and women! No judgement that we haven’t showered for days or our kids have been wearing the same clothes since last week. (Ha, maybe that’s just me.) In every area in life, we are doing the best we know how. Whether that means through this crazy pandemic or different chapters in our lives. We fight the good fight with a strong, loving Jesus by our side. There will be days that you don’t want to fight anymore. Days where the negativity is laying on thick in your mind.  It’s those days that you take out this verse. Matthew 19:26, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.”  If our feet are planted on solid ground that speaks life into us, we can overcome the circling noise.  We’ve gotta train our minds to be stronger than the negative emotions that want to creep in. 

Here is your truth.  Christ is your foundation.  Not this world, not other people, not things but Christ.  He’s got you, me, and this world. I can’t end this without giving you the real truth, you are a rockstar friend. 

“Fight the good fight of faith.  Not just for the prize at the end of the race, but treasures along the way.”

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Where’s Your Safety?

My daughter is 14.  I’m pretty sure I’m at that phase of life where I’m learning more from her than she is from me.  I woke up this morning and this is what she posted on her Instagram last night. “With what is happening in the world, I’m learning to put my stress and anxiety in the Lord’s hands.  He’s where I feel safe and I know I can trust Him. Life gets hard, there’s bumps in the road, but He has guided me around those bumps, like when the door is locked, there is a window, or a back door.  Just reminding you that He is always there for you, anytime of day.” Drop the Mic. Girl has a point people! 

It’s crazy to walk through this experience together and watch the emotions that each person feels. I mean, it’s not like we’ve ever gone through anything like this before so the territory we are walking on is not common. There’s no right or wrong way to feel it or experience it. For myself, I go from what can I clean next to nah, I’ll just sit and binge watch Greys Anatomy. Ha.  I’m starting to debate on asking my kids to just stay in the same clothes for like 2 or 3 days so that laundry doesn’t have to enter my vocabulary each hour of the day. I mean, it’s not like they are getting dirty or anything. Also, pretty sure I’m becoming a ‘yes’ mom. Kid, ‘Mom, can I have a Hershey bar?’ Me, ‘Did you eat a carrot? It totally evens out then. Go for it.” 

Ok, but let’s get back to the deep thoughts by Heather haha. Bottom line, you can never be isolated from Jesus. I know, I know, super cheesy but it’s true right?  I mean, my daughter is preaching it to you right there. Our safety is Him. We are gonna get past this craziness in a few months and begin life as usual and what’s gonna happen?  More storms will come our way. More doors will close where we wanted them to open. Social media won’t be so nice anymore ha and we will feel isolated in other ways. He’s never letting go though.  Many times it’s us that’s loosening our grip onto Him because we are scared, unsure. Now is the time to strengthen that tie. Now is the time in our unusual circumstance to jump into Him. I mean, it’s not like we don’t have extra time on our hands, right? 

Where are you at with Jesus?  Maybe you haven’t cracked open your Bible in years.  Maybe praying to Him feels weird. Maybe you are questioning if he even exists. Maybe just maybe in those places you are, you feel this tug, like there’s more because there is.  Maybe you’ve got a killer relationship happening but this situation in the world has caused fear, loss of belief, and just questioning. It’s so ok. The best part about our Father is he loves it when we come as we are.  You know why? Cause He’s our knight and shining armor that swoops in and saves the day. It gives Him a chance to show off and do His thang. Keep your heart open. He will meet you there. Just spend some time with Him. 

“Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

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We Shall Overcome

So here we go friends.  Not only will I be at least 15 pounds heavier by the end of hibernation but I’ll also realize I was not meant to be a teacher. Ha.  God bless all of you that deal with our children on a regular basis for the sake of education. In all honesty though, this is hard, scary, unsure, uncommon ground, unknown.  I’m not a big fan of any of those words. I was telling my hubby the other day, this really isn’t good for anyone that struggles with mental issues. This is all completely out of our control and no one knows the outcome or what’s next.  Yea, extra drugs may also be needed throughout our close time together. I’ve decided that it’s one thing to choose to walk into the unknown territory but when thrown into it without being asked, it leaves room for fear to creep in ahead of peace. 

I don’t know what these days of crazy brings for you. It could stir up fear but also anger, sadness, frustration. Not that this isn’t totally huge, but the way we react to this situation in our world should be no different then the way we react or want to react when it comes to those hard storms we encounter every day. This seems bigger though, I get it, but at the time, so did losing your loved one, or the loss of your job, or walking through depression, or abuse, and the list goes on.  Here’s the thing, the core of our being exists solely on the peace and hope of Jesus if He’s what we are focusing on and looking toward. I don’t have the answers. I’m frustrated that more than likely I’ll be cancelling my Spring Break trip, I’m angry that this is happening cause it’s cramping my style, but I’m also sad that there are so many that don’t know where to go with those feelings. We’ve got a Jesus that we can cling to, knowing He’s got a plan even if we can’t quite understand it right now. This is a beautiful time to speak truth into so many and especially our rock’n children. This is truth and power right here.  Isaiah 48:13, “My hand founded the earth; my strong hand spread out the heavens.  When I call to them, they all stand up.” Dude, think about that.  His power exists over all things.  This is HIS world not ours. If we keep some of that in check with our minds, the anxiety level of what’s happening goes down a couple notches. 

We’ve got this, friends.  Bags of chips and all! 🙂

“The best part of life is not just surviving but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.”

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He’s Got It

I was behind the stage and I thought for sure I was either gonna pass out or throw up.  I had a big solo and had been practicing for it all week. I was young. My legs were shaking it.  I remember praying my brains out like, God, please just let me make it through and not screw up. It was a big production put on at camp and I was starting to begin to see that performing was what I loved, singing and being on stage was my gift. It was now time to let it all go and give it away.  I had to know that I did my best to get this far and He has got the rest. I stepped on that stage shaking. I can still physically feel everything I felt but I killed it. I mean, not to brag or anything but heck, when you spend that much time preparing and more time flipping out, it’s nice to know it ended well ha. 

John 16:33 says, “I’ve said these things so that you will have peace in me.  In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”   If you haven’t heard, there’s been a few things happening in our world lately.  Unless you are living under a rock, which actually may help you at this point, things have kind of hit the fan. This has really hit my oldest the hardest so far.  He has a germophobe issue in the first place and loves to research and keep up with everything happening in the world. Needless to say, it has brought some high anxiety for him.  Yesterday he wore gloves to school all day. This being said, I’ve looked my kids straight in the eyes and told them, we believe in a HUGE God who has got our back. This doesn’t mean all the bad disappears but it does me he protects, He can give us peace when instead of focusing our eyes solely on the problems around us, we begin to look up.  I’m gonna say the same to you. We’ve all hit scary points in our lives and I think when the world collectively hits scary, crap hits the fan and we aren’t sure what’s up or down. You aren’t walking this alone. We aren’t walking this alone. Yes, we need to do the right precautions and do what’s best for ourselves and each other but remember that the creator of this world is hard at work.  He already knows the outcome. He already knows what tomorrow will bring. I personally would rather put my faith and trust in that then the unknown. Again, this doesn’t minimize what is happening and the truth of what needs to be done but I don’t want to sit in constant fear. In this truth, there can be peace. He has already overcome the world which means that peace lives inside of you.  He has already conquered this! Now good luck and God speed on finding your toilet paper and Clorox wipes! 🙂

The Light of God surrounds me.

The Love of God enfolds me.

The Power of God protects me.

The Presence of God watches over me.

The Mind of God guides me.

The Life of God flows through me.

The Laws of God direct me.

The Power of God abides within me.

The Joy of God uplifts me.

The Strenghth of God renews me.

The Beauty of God inspires me.

Wherever I am, God is!

(Written by James Freeman, a soldier during World War II)

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A Fishy Tale

So here’s a story for ya.  We had a fish. His name was Finnball.  Actually the fish was my youngests but he very quickly forgot it existed and I was the one feeding it. He was a feisty fish but held on for a good two years.  A few weeks ago, he was upside down. His time to be with Jesus had come. Thinking he would never know, I prayed Finnball down the toilet and called it a day. Not smooth. A few days ago, Cooper jumped up on the counter to say ‘Hi’ to his friend and well, things went downhill quick. At first, he tried to play cool.  That lasted for about 30 seconds and then he lost it. He was a mess till he went to bed, praying to Jesus before he fell asleep to tell Finnball he said ‘Hello.’ My heart is now officially ripped out of my body. 

As he was falling asleep next to me with swollen eyes, I began thinking, we are so quick to assume we know how people should or would react to certain situations. Cooper is my super soft heart, emotional kiddo.  I assumed by just taking care of the situation myself, he would never know or it would be easier on him. That definitely wasn’t the case. We all walk this life with so much we’ve already wrestled with or fought through. When you read quotes like, “You never know what someone is going through, be kind,” there’s so much truth to it. The battle that we are fighting each day or that others are walking through is not written all over everyone’s face.  We have a way of reacting or seeing things differently than the person next to us or even our best friend. There’s no right and wrong so there needs to be more grace, more understanding, more kindness. My other kiddos were quick to want to chuckle at him and I shut that down real fast. This hurt his heart when for them, it was just a fish. We need to step back more and maybe even close our mouths before we decide to judge how someone is trying to fight through life.  I know I’ve written about this before but I’m so passionate about it. Battles in life are happening to each individual and for some it might be a fish that died and for others it could be going through a divorce, abuse, depression, loss of a child, a loved one but no words are spoken. Instead they may end up losing it over a comment you said or just the way you looked at them. Pain has a funny way of showing its face at the worst times but if we combat that with compassion, sympathy, and some understanding, we could completely change someone’s life. Ephesians 4:2 says it best, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  Side note, this applies also to your own heart. You’ve fought, you’ve cried, you’ve won, you’ve lost, you’ve endured.  When you have a day, cover yourself with love, compassion, warmth, grace, understanding because that’s what Jesus is doing for you already.  We need to follow in His footsteps. 

Don’t worry, another fish was purchased the following morning. His name is Finny and I’m sure my son will feed it for a few days and then forget he’s even there but you know what?  Compassion and understanding is what we left him with. No, suck it up! or, you did this! No pointing fingers, just trying to show love. Go out today and show love to not only those you make eye contact with but also the one you see in the mirror. 

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”

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Grab On

Is it a bad thing that your kids come home with their report cards, have straight A’s, and say, you wouldn’t know what that feels like mom, would you? Ha.  No, No I wouldn’t. I tell them constantly to not follow in my footsteps when it comes to school. I was the kid who smiled really big at my teacher, batted my eyes, and begged for a C so I wouldn’t get in trouble at home. I’m honest with them and say, I didn’t try very hard.  School didn’t come naturally for me so then I just assumed I couldn’t do it. When I felt defeated, I threw in the towel. I realize now that there were so many other things internally that brought down the confidence in who I was but back then, it seemed like a battle I just couldn’t win and didn’t feel like fighting. 

How often do we get to that point, right? We hit these roadblocks, these challenges, these moments of, that was not supposed to happen, and next thing we know we are throwing in the towel. Waving the white flag sometimes looks a bit easier than facing the ugly head on. There are a million times that I’m like, God, what are you doing? Ok, more like a billion times and maybe it’s more like, God, why would you have that happen?  The picture that He sees and the picture that I see don’t seem to measure up on a regular basis. In Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Boo!  I know this is truth and I know His ways are better than mine but there are just days.  There are days when it’s just hard to see what He’s doing. I know you’ve been there or you are there.  It can be hard to lean on Him, to trust Him, to realize He truly does have our best interest in mind. He sees things we don’t.  He knows the future that will better us and we don’t. I’m realizing it’s a matter of getting to a complete surrender place. That surrender comes deep inside our souls because dear lord, our minds like to play games and tell us a different story some days. The heaviness that we end up feeling with the overwhelming situations in life is because we let go of His hand. When we loosen our grip, we step into the fear, into the unknown, into our own way of solving things. Pretty sure we’ve all seen what happens when we start playing god. 

Just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t a complete failure throughout my whole educational career. By the time I hit college, which is crazy that I even made it in but we won’t go there, I let go of everyone else’s expectations, including my own. I dug down and started to find the truth that Christ planted inside of me. Instead of always trying to fix everything myself, I started letting go and passing it over to Him. I started to believe. We need to believe that good things are meant to be in our lives.  Sometimes we get stuck in thinking bad will always be around the corner. It’s just not how God works. You are meant to do amazing and beautiful things, filled with a life of love and joy. Just give him your hand. He will guide you through the unknown. 

“When you let go, something magical happens, you give God room to work.”

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There Are Days

There are times when I get flashbacks so bad that it stops me in my tracks. I’ll be at the store, driving my car, cleaning the house ,and I’m frozen. The pain rushes back through my body and I physically can’t move. The faces of my kids, my bedroom, all these triggers that my eyes see what happened again have a tendency to spiral my thoughts in a million different directions. For a moment I’m back there.  My safety is gone. My innocence is lost. A piece of me is stolen. Inside I’m screaming for help and no one hears me. 

Ummm…so that’s depressing, you say.  Ha, I’m not gonna leave you there in my yucky place, don’t worry.  We’ve all got a piece of our souls that got hurt, that were torn out, that were so gut wrenching that we think we aren’t gonna live another day.  It’s in these moments that I feel as if we all should be allowed to move to a beach far far away, right? We all wish, but instead we’ve gotta fight through.  For a long time I hung out in this feeling, I’m not a gonna lie. It was easier to just sit in this pain then claw my way out but I learned and I’m still learning that I’m bigger than the pain.  I’m more powerful than what happened to me. If we stay in the agony we feel, it will disable us and not allow any movement to move forward with our lives. I literally visualize me placing all of that which is inside of me at the time in my hand and literally throwing it, whipping it across the earth.  Maybe I’m throwing it into the arms of Jesus because in all honesty, I just can’t carry it anymore. 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is enough for you, because my power is made perfect in weakness.”  We will not be defeated in our painful situations or with what has inhaled our hearts with hurt. The pain that you feel is inevitable but suffering in it is an option. You decide. Jesus is there to pick us up when we have days where walking out of the house seems like torture. Jesus is there to take the heaviness in our hearts and fling is across the earth.  You just gotta give Him a chance. You just gotta let Him in. 

Yes, we need to feel our pain.  We need to find the truth behind why it hangs out there but let it change you.  You are so brave in waking up each day and conquering the thoughts and feelings that could swallow you up. Change isn’t black and white.  Change doesn’t happen overnight. (Hey, I just rhymed ha!) The journey is slow and scary at times but so worth it. 

“I have no power to control the weather.  But I can bring an umbrella.”

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Seriously Though, Stay In It

There’s value to your lane. Stay in it.  Her body is not supposed to be your body.  That job was not meant for you. That friendship built outside of you wasn’t meant for you because there’s another bff coming in your lane.  That perfect life portrayed on social media has its flaws you know nothing about. Stay in your lane. Here’s the thing, when we start jumping ship and flying into the next lane we are gonna hit some serious traffic and potholes. We aren’t meant to drive in someone else’s lane. Your beautiful life was shaped just for you.  The job that you are sitting in wondering why you are even there has a purpose. The unending piles of laundry we are forever folding has a purpose, or does it? hahaha. You get where I’m going with this. 

 Man, it’s so easy to compare and think what it would be like if I could just have so and so’s life or so and so’s body or so and so’s job or fill in the blank. We miss out on what’s sitting right in front of us if we are constantly looking into the lane next to us.  It’s never gonna happen. It’s not meant for us so why do we keep drooling over it? At some point, looking straight ahead and allowing our minds and hearts to focus on us, the good that resides around us, needs to be it. Period. Yes, we’ve all got some serious flaws, rough relationships, scars for days, living paycheck by paycheck, kids screaming but look ahead in your lane. What’s there?  What have you accomplished? Look at how far you have come and what you have achieved. You are perfectly created and beautifully made. Your lane consists of intimate details that only you can conquer and follow through on. Your dreams and your desires are only found and met in your lane. Your Jesus is walking with you in your lane. He can’t meet us where we need to be met if we are all swimming in another lane and flying somewhere else, ya know what I’m saying? Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  We’ve gotta delight in Him all over the place while walking confidently beside him in our lane.  He knows what you need, what you desire, what your heart is longing for and he desperately wants to give it to you but He can’t if you aren’t standing on the sidewalk with your name on it. 

Don’t miss out on what you’ve got going for you because you’re too focused on what’s not meant to be yours.  My lane consists of pink hair, lots of tattoos, scars for days and the list goes on but that’s me, not you. You might be deathly afraid of needles and pink hair makes you want to puke.  I’m ok with that, I think ha! Honestly though, You are made perfectly flawed just for your perfectly flawed lane. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t need our perfect Jesus. Now go get your drive on. 

“You can only run your own race.  Stay in your lane. Don’t look at what others are doing.  Those that look back in the race usually fall off.”

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Time to Get Out

I love closets.  I know, you’re like, what?  But hear me out. I think we’ve all been there and used the closet as an escape. There’s something safe about being enclosed. Well, I guess you might not enjoy it as much if your closet is a hot mess but each to his own ha. No one could touch me there or so I thought. I’ve cried in there, journaled in there, escaped screaming children in there, cut in there. It’s a place where, for some reason, it just feels like no one can see you. It’s a place where I feel or often felt like the world outside stood still for a second while I tried to pull everything together.  The closet wasn’t going to tell everyone I lost it, or I couldn’t get my crap together, or that I was failing and fearful. 

In the end, I eventually needed to come out. I needed to face that fear or that failure head on. The closet is ok to get lost in for a time but eventually when we step out, what we are running from is still there. My cutting escaped the four walls of a closet and kept getting worse, fear and sadness still met me when I opened the door. Here’s what I’m learning my sweet friends.  Yes, we need to meet those ugly emotions head on but also, coming out gives the opportunity to grab happiness and joy instead of sitting there waiting for it to come to us. We need to open the door and allow it all to pour out. We need to allow the ugly to come to the surface so that we make room for the good that’s waiting on the other side. What brought you into that closet does not define you. What brought you into that closet doesn’t have to control you.  What brought you into that closet needs to be crushed by the hand of Jesus. He gives us this promise, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has a passed away.” Revelation 21:4.  There’s nothing too dirty or ugly or smelly that God can’t completely wipe away or give to goodwill. You’re precious heart is held in His hands daily.  Every second of every day He sees you and walks beside you. It doesn’t matter if you are hiding in the closet or screaming from the roof tops, He’s there. 

How long have you been sitting in the closet beating yourself up?  How long have you been hiding in there thinking that everything around you will disappear?  I so get it, like so get it BUT the sooner you step out, the sooner you step into grace. You will be surprised that you aren’t alone in where you hide or sit. We’ve all been there, so together lets walk out and seek our truth.  Let’s all step out together with our shields up and fight. 

“There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.”

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Embrace What Is

Change. Sometimes you just want to flip it off, right?  Maybe it’s just me. It can break you. It can spin your brain into a million different places until you land on what’s really the right direction. There can be change in circumstances, relationships, your body (hello 42!), your emotions each moment, and the list goes on. Sometimes we are the cause of the change and sometimes change happens without us even being asked. It can cause your whole life to transform in a blink of an eye for better or worse.  There are times where you can control which direction it goes and times that your hands are tied. 

Consistency has not been common in my life. People have broken my heart in two, unexpected crossroads has made me question which direction life is really taking me. My sweet daughter came home from school the other day and you know what she said to me? “Mom, we were talking about eating disorders in health class today.  Actually, we’ve been talking about almost everything you’ve dealt with in health class. You really lived a rough life.” Sweet baby girl. Guess what, I know each of you have had a rough go too. I don’t say that to make anyone feel sorry for me. Truth, it actually empowered me. Here’s the thing, change normally doesn’t have a pretty face on it in the beginning. We question why, what’s happening, what do I do with this.  Then we go, we embrace it because, I mean, we don’t really have a choice, and we change with it. Life has taken so many unexpected turns in my life, especially these past couple years that I’m almost surprised I take a shower ha! Can I tell you something though? I think God protects us in the change. There are things we don’t see. There are conversations and situations that He can only witness and protect us from.  Many times we think that our road is paved out and we are walking all confidently but little do we know there’s a massive fire crossing over the path. Psalm 121:7&8 gives us this promise, “The Lord will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life.  The Lord will protect you on your journeys–whether going or coming–from now until forever from now.”  Sometimes change happens because remaining on that path will cause pain that will almost destroy us. He knows that before we can even see it.

I shut down.  That’s what I do with change.  I think I’m protecting myself when really I’m delaying the blessings that God has in store for me in the change. What’s happening in your life right now?  Are you in the middle of change? Is change on the horizon? You are brave and courageous my sweet friend. Together we need to build off the new instead of fighting to get the old back. We need to jump into the new chapter with some new dance shoes on, embracing the possibilities of what could come. 

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.”

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A Time for Everything

16. My son just turned 16. The son who was spinning on the floor when he was 1. We thought it was just funny and cute but little did we know that he would have an uphill climb when diagnosed at 3 with autism. The things I’ve learned from him have not only helped me learn to look at myself with more grace but more importantly, to look at life with humility and joy. I will say I had my definite mommy bawl moments on his bday because seriously? 16? How does this happen? I know everyone talks about time flying and enjoy each stage but man, it hit hard that day.  It made me step back and look at the time we’ve had so far. I only have a few more years with him and, from what he says, he’ll be moving to France. Yep, that’s right, welcome to the world of a genius. He will be able to do anything he wants and right now, as he moves forward with French classes, he’s in love with it. This child is gonna make a difference in the world and I can’t wait to see it. 

Time. I step back and I ponder on how precious time is. Not only from a standpoint of children growing up or life flashing before our eyes but from a standpoint of healing, walking through the trenches of life. We can’t forget the important moments where we need to allow ourselves time. We are too quick to put our game faces on and plow through life like nothing is hitting us when in reality, we are only making time move faster without breathing.  Time for my son is incredibly precious. He has a routine that helps him stay calm. He chooses to move in such a way that makes sure he is ok, that he is level. He doesn’t rush. He doesn’t allow life to swallow him whole. I love Ecclesiastes 3. It talks about a time for everything. God gets it. There are 2 verses in there that I love. Verse 4, “a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing.  Verse 6, “a time for searching and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for throwing away.”  Do you see what I’m saying?  There is a time for us to cry and allow ourselves the pain that we experience. There is a time for us to mourn what could have been or pieces of our life that just aren’t going the way we thought.  There’s a time to search for what is around the corner. There’s time to let go of the heaviness that has weighed us down for so long. There’s a time to cry yourself to sleep but also a time to wake in laughter and love. Allowing ourselves to have the time needed in each season of our lives is so important. We want to dismiss the ugly instead of looking at it head on. Time can heal.  Time can allow the space needed to renew our minds and souls. Time can be for us and not against us if we sit back and allow it to move along side of us. When we fight against the time needed to heal, we are only hurting ourselves. I encourage you to allow yourself to sit back today and take time. Take time to journal, pray, talk with a friend, cry, love harder, hug it out, laugh till you are crying but no matter what you do, allow it to be authentic and real.  Allow yourself to be. Allow yourself to feel. In the end, time will tell you when to move forward and when to stop. 

“Healing is an art.  It takes time. It takes practice. It takes love.”

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Seriously?

I pulled out the email again.  Probably super stupid on my part and not even really sure why I saved it.  Maybe it’s because I can’t believe it exists or maybe because I just can’t let it go. I won’t go into all the detail but there’s one line that I’ve struggled to release, “I’ve supported you in all your bad decisions.”  This was referring to my cutting, attempted suicide, etc. It’s who wrote this email that just messes with my head the most. Maybe I reread it because I want to believe that the words on the page aren’t real, that if I read it again it will say something different. Referring to my struggles as bad decisions is like saying when you swerve out of the way of something in your car, you are making a bad decision.  Yes, would swerving just for kicks get you in trouble, probably, but swerving to survive from getting hurt or hurting others would not account for a bad decision. 

There are things in our life, decisions that we make, things that we do that others aren’t gonna understand or agree with. In the end, we can’t expect them too.  I don’t expect anyone to fully grasp the things that I have walked through and I will never see or feel or understand what all of you have walked through BUT we can never decide that we will judge or tear down others because of it. There’s a reason that Jesus died on the cross and rose again for us.  He provides freedom and grace in our lives. By deciding to point fingers and assume wrong thoughts, we are then not walking in the light that Jesus has provided for us. Instead we are spewing out darkness into someone’s life that could actually make or break their next step. What does this mean for those of us who have had it happen?  I read this quote the other day and can’t stop chewing on it, “You cannot heal in the same place that you were harmed.” We cannot continuously surround ourselves with a toxic environment and expect to walk out feeling like a million bucks. We’ve gotta separate ourselves from those who have hurt us, put boundaries around the pieces of our past that keep coming around.  We can’t learn to love ourselves, rebuild our future, walk in healing, revive our souls if we are constantly putting ourselves back in a toxic environment.  Psalm 4:8 says “I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, Lord, let me live in safety.”  You guessed it, He is our safe place. 

Stuff like this gets me fired up inside, I ain’t gonna lie. This email came out after the truth of the sexual abuse I held onto for 30 some years came out.  Even after that, the understanding of what I walked through was not shown by this individual. We are called to love others and show the love of Jesus to others through our words, action, etc.  I’ve made it a point in my life to really show that moving forward. I encourage you to do the same. If you are on the side with arrows coming your way, know that your truth and worth are not founded in false words or negative thoughts.  You are deeply, deeply loved. You are a warrior. You are a beautiful child of Jesus, loved unconditionally. Rockstar status, each and every one of you. 

“Your environment determines what kind of life you’re going to live, what kind of people you’ll attract, and what kind of expectations and standards you’ll set for yourself and others.”

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Real Communication

“Ok, so we had a soft lock down.”  Not the text a mother feels like getting on a regular basis but it was the rest of it that made my heart at peace.  “We were about to take a quiz and I prayed like I usually do before it and also prayed for us to be safe, then they called the lock down off.”  Bam. Powerful.  

Childlike faith. Simple. Prayerful. I think sometimes we make faith complicated especially prayer. I vividly remember when I was a little girl in the middle of the abuse, staring at my holly hobbie walls, just saying his name in my head, Jesus, Jesus. I didn’t know any big words to put together or use to make everything disappear but I did know that speaking his name would bring me to a place of light in the darkness. You don’t need to be reading the Bible every other minute or even fully grasp who Christ is to pray to Him.  You don’t need these big words or extravagant phrases to be heard. Heck, I think he loves when we are raw and vulnerable. I’ve touched on this before but it’s so important, be real with Him. I’ve had moments when I’ve screamed out to Him in so much anger, not understanding why He put me in situations or had me walk through hell and back. I’ve had moments where I’ve cried and couldn’t say a word. Jeremiah 29:12 says, ‘Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and I will listen to you.”  He hears you no matter where your heart is at. He hears you no matter if you have this crazy awesome relationship with Him or you are just trying to figure out if He really exists.  He hears you in the car, the shower, the toilet, wherever. 

Sometimes showing my kids prayer and the power of prayer is all I got. Between my potty mouth, anger spouts and the lists goes on ha, I’m not sure if I’ve got much else going for me. They get it though. You know why?  It’s nothing I’ve done. It’s the connection they feel when they use it. Suddenly they don’t feel alone, afraid, sad, nervous. Their childlike faith is honest, truthful, real, trusting. We need to learn from them. The honest truth of prayer is what allows us to keep living in hope. Open your heart to Him. Let Him see all of you.  Let Him hear all of you. You won’t feel so alone. Your weakness becomes His strength. 

“Sometimes all it takes is just one prayer to change everything”

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Bring on the Dumpster

The phone rang and it was my daughter. She was upset. She was at church for high school group and things went wrong. She was leading worship and the lyrics got screwed up which totally threw her off. She felt she did horrible.  I reassured her by telling her the time I was leading the whole church, the words were up on the screen and I totally lost my place. I had to stand there for what felt like a year before I found my place and kept going. We all have our times when we screw up but she wasn’t done. She then went into how her day was just hard.  Friends got together without her, she was overwhelmed in general, and the list just kept going. That’s when I knew everything was just crashing all at once for her. “You are loved!”, I told her. I couldn’t fix the heartache that she was feeling in the bathroom that night but man did I know exactly where she was coming from and sometimes there aren’t enough words to undo the bad days.  I was so grateful she called me. She felt safe. There may have been a few more face time calls from the bathroom before she made her way out and faced the world again. 

She wanted to beat herself up.  She wasn’t a good enough worship leader, or friend, or student.  The girl just felt defeated. Been there? Being enough in the moment, exactly where we are at, is something we don’t always allow. Bad days can become bad weeks and the next thing we know, we are in a bathroom bawling our eyes out trying to figure out how we got there. We have these set expectations on ourselves, higher expectations that many times are beyond our reach. We expect ourselves to suck it up and keep on moving when in fact we will continue to hit ourselves against a wall if we don’t start bringing down this perfection piece we are constantly reaching for. There are pieces in our lives whether physical or emotional that we need to say goodbye to. We become so fixated on our imperfections that we send ourselves into a spiral of anxiety, fear, and micromanaging the world around us. Maybe just maybe if we allow ourselves to let go of the handle bars, we will be able to keep pedaling and live freely. 

Friends, as I’m writing I’m totally listing all the things that need to go in the garbage. Someone better get a dumpster to my house cause dear Lord in heaven, I’ve got a few things I need to say goodbye too in order to not find myself back in a stall again, ya know what I’m saying? Ephesians 4:22 & 23 says, “You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all it’s bad habits.  Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.” I have no idea what Jesus is talking about here.  I have no bad habits!! Joking! (Insert eye roll) There are things in your life, my life, that aren’t working. Maybe we need to set up more boundaries, maybe we need to let go of the perfectly cleaned house so we can have time to ourselves, maybe just maybe we need to stop the negative, nasty thoughts constantly rolling around in our heads of defeat and replace them with kindness, love, words of affirmation (whether you believe it or not).  If your desire is to move forward, to not end up in the bathroom (other than to do your business, sorry, I had too ha), then learn to say goodbye to what’s not working so that you can open up a world of new possibilities that are yet to be yours. 

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

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What’s in Your Bucket

I went upstairs after everyone went to school and entered my oldest room. I stopped and had to make sure I was in the right room for a sec because his bed was made.  That hasn’t happened in 15 years. Okay, not that he could make it when he was born but you can feel my shock factor. I didn’t say anything because lord knows I didn’t want to jinx it but, what? The next morning he was like, “I’m gonna make my bed now.” I totally acted all cool like it didn’t even phase me and was like, “Awesome, thanks.” He says, “You do so much around here I feel like I can at least clean up my room a bit and make my bed before I head to school.” I wasn’t sure if there was like a, this is what I want, coming or he genuinely was for real.  I was at a loss for words which doesn’t happen often until I was like, “So can you share this with the rest of the household? That would be great.” hahaha Truth be told I gave him big hug and told him how thankful I was. I couldn’t believe how much it meant to me until I stepped back later that day and thought about it. I was validated. I was recognized. I was seen. It filled my bucket. 

Not to sound crazy cheesy but why not, what’s in your bucket?  What do you fill it with? How do you fill it? This is a conversation I had recently with my therapist which really got me thinking. Is there positive coming in there or is it top heavy with negative? I’ve been in a funk lately, we all go through our moments, and in those times I just can’t always seem to put my finger on why.  Although winters in Chicago sure don’t help but there was more. Aside from the usual working through the deep, hard stuff in my life, I seem to have just hit a blah place. I realized though that I’m filling so much of my bucket with negative and literally dumping it in there that there’s no room for intentionally putting positive in. Here’s the kicker, most of the time you don’t even realize the effect it’s having on you until it’s too late. Your bucket is literally sinking and you are going down with it. We need to purposely choose what goes in. So what is it for you? Family, time with friends, time with God, music, time with you fur babies (as I sit and cuddle mine now), journaling, whatever brings you glimpses of joy and peace, do it. It’s a no brainer but I’ll say it anyway, there’s no room for negative if you’ve already intentionally put goodness in that bad boy.                           

Proverbs 17:22, “A Cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Okay? I mean, the description is spot on. When we are crushed and weighed down by nasty, we are physically and emotionally dried up and have nothing left. Yuck. A cheerful heart, friends, is what we are aiming for.  All Quinn did was make is bed out of an act of kindness, but now it’s my turn to take that and dump it in. I need to allow that recognition, that validation, that kindness to seep into my bones so that darkness can’t win. So today, go out and find that goodness, that positive, that ‘thing’ that fills you. No sinking allowed on my watch.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you.”

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Peace Out

We had a tree in our backyard.  I remember loving to escape to it. There were only a few branches that you could really hang out on so once you got your spot, you needed to stay put. Many thoughts, tears, internal conversations happened while up there. The one constant thought when making my way up was, you’re totally gonna feel me on this one, what if I was a bird. I could fly anywhere I wanted at any time. Then your mind would wander into, where would those places be?  Now, as an adult, let’s talk about how that place would be a beach…..the end. Can I get an Amen?! 

Escaping…..seems easier than facing the reality of life sometimes. Everyone has their way of doing it. Numbing it, ignoring it, laughing it off, whatever it may be, we all do it AND we all know deep down, it isn’t helping us. There’s no way to move forward into what Christ has in store if we are constantly shoving down the very thing he’s trying to heal. Strong men and women are made by the storms that they walk through, not by dodging the lightning or thunder that comes with them.  The hard conversations that needs to be had, the tears that need to be shed, the band aids that need to be ripped off, the honest truth that needs to be faced head on, blows. I’m just being real. It sucks at first BUT the outcome far outweighs the heaviness that first needs to be walked through. How can we ever hit that place of seeing true beauty in everything when we are sitting in pure ugh. There was a piece of me that honestly didn’t want to allow anyone into my cutting. It was my numbing, my escape, it was MINE!  If I allowed the truth to come out, people would help me overcome it and maybe I wasn’t ready. Sounds crazy I know but I’m pretty sure you can relate on some level. What is it that holds you back from living a full life that God has created you to live? What are you holding onto? I love this and had someone share it with me when I was going through some tough times, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12.  

It’s not the trial that our eyes need to stay focused on, it’s who’s walking along side of us in that trial.  It’s then that our eyes don’t stay fixated on the darkness but instead the light that the future holds. None of this is easy friends.  I’m preaching to myself like always. I’m awesome at shutting down and numbing any and all situations but I’m learning that doing it, lets the darkness win.  I’m so not in the mood for that to happen so change needs to take place. Who’s with me? 

“We don’t develop courage by being happy everyday.  We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

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Break It Down

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

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

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

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

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Time to Say Goodbye

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

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

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

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Swinging It Through

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

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

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

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

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Time to Get Out

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

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

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

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

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New Year

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

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

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

2020 here we come.  Let’s do this. 

“Happy New Year!”

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And I’m Done

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

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

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

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

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Pull Me Through

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

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

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

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

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It’s Christmas Time

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

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

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

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Your Move

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

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

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

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