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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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!”

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.”