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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.”

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Been There

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

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

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

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

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Turn the Page

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

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

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

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

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

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To Better Us

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

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

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

Love you guys! Have an awesome day! 🙂

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Grab On

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

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

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

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Who Cares

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

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

“Our self worth is not determined by others”

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Time to Rewire

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

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

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

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

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The Blame Game

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

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

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

“Blaming puts others in charge of your happiness.”

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Be Real, Be You

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

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

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

“Be real…….Be YOU!”

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Credit is Due

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

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

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

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

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Step Out

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

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

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

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

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

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