Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Uncomfortable In My Own Skin

I have only been truly comfortable in my own skin a few times in my life. Yet even as I type that, it feels like a big fat lie.

*Deep Sigh*

The truth is that I am not sure I have EVER been comfortable in my own skin. I have struggled with body image my whole life - I am sure you can guess the cycle - too much baby fat to being too skinny to being too fat, too tall, too plain, too pretty, too sexy, too boyish, too girly....getting my point?

The body stuff didn't stop with my actual skin. Oh no. It was also just a hop, skip, and a jump to criticism to how I dressed and when you grow up without a lot....not having the "right" clothes is as much about not having clothes to not ever learning how to dress yourself - stylishly/appropriately (just keep filling in the blanks).

So....lets just say that I am mortified to own this, but the truth is I have always struggled with body image and dressing said body. Like All. The. Time...up to, and including, this morning.

I have hid this (or tried to) by being overly confident (a lot of bravado there), hiding in clothes, and my personal favorite - wearing the same clothes over and over (after getting positive feedback). Body-wise, there have been a few times since high school that I was in really great shape (physically) and I would undoubtedly sabotage it after a bit of time due to the attention I gained that I couldn't handle (emotionally) OR my body would simply fail me (health issues). *Eye Roll*

So....imagine my utter disbelief and surprise in learning that both of these things are connected....all of it is connected....and just like all of the other shit I have toted around emotionally (and physically), there is a way to work through it and find some healing...maybe complete healing. Of course, I have to deal with said "shit" (which makes me sigh and then laugh because.....c'mon) by doing the work.

Do. The. Work.

Anybody guess how all of this came bubbling up?

Well, it seems I don't breathe well. I have a lot of "acknowledged" anxiety - some previously there and some being revealed via counseling. So...my counselor has been recommending the gym to burn off the anxiety, and I have resisted - for weeks - with excuses. Then, the breathing came up and the suggestion was yoga. These little "subtle" recommendations in counseling (and in a book I am reading ) were not lost upon me....and believe me I have been thinking about it. Like why I was acknowledging both would be helpful....I have enjoyed working out in the past...enjoyed yoga....but there was a block. So....yesterday my counselor informs me that we will not see each other for three weeks due to her vacation and mine.

Say what?!?!?!?!

Without saying a word to her or anyone....I left counseling. Drove straight home. Put my workout clothes on. Drove to the office to send a couple of emails and make a couple of calls. I then went and walked a couple of miles (blew up that damn fitbit) and walked home and did some yoga.


There might have been an "Eat Pray Love yoga mat scene" when I rolled out my yoga mat last night. :)

I then proceeded to sleep like a baby for about nine hours (hello 7 a.m.; goodbye 5:45 a.m.).

Let me say this. I was more clear-headed that three hours of walking and yoga than I have been in I don't know how long. I also cannot remember the last time I slept that long (when not under sheer exhaustion) peacefully.

I did a lot of thinking too...with all of that new head space to dream and plot and plan.....oh and not for nothing, but to talk with God.

Hmmmm....

My God and I walk through the fields together....

One night and three hours don't cure me. I am not naïve. I know that.

I think that is why tonight after walking another couple of miles and then in the middle of yoga....I found myself needing to write. I need to document this next step in the journey of healing. The truth is that I am learning who I am. What I like. What I don't like. What I need. What my body needs. I am also learning how to negotiate my brokenness and find healing.

If you think it is weird to be 45 finding yourself, You. Are. Right.

It. Is.

My latest goal in this journey in counseling is to pinpoint why I am uncomfortable in my own skin and get some healing there....even as I start working my body again - which is the real gift of yoga as it is re-introducing me to my own body - the one that is carrying me around all day.

I want to cry (good tears) typing all of this out. I don't know if I have ever said these words out loud. I haven't even said them in counseling. You can't hide within your own skin (that you are already uncomfortable in) if everyone knows your struggles with it. What would be the point? Maybe I am giving up some of the power it has always had over me with these words. I pray so.

I sent this post-walk/post-yoga selfie to my Sis last night. I needed a cheerleader.
Earlier tonight, I wrote a mini-post (they come out every once and awhile on my social media pages and like here - spontaneous) and I closed it with a line I cannot get out of my own mind...

"This is the work of my life really - getting well, being whole, and living a life with no regrets. I hate everything about it, but this....that inch-by-inch, God is showing me his glory and his deep love for my heart and the healing we are fighting for together."

...I can't say it any better than that.

Amen.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Draft

If you had admin rights to my blog you could pull up a page where all of the posts written since this blog began in 2011 are listed. Those published and those...not. The ones written but not posted have a single word next to them in red...Draft.

I was having breakfast with a friend yesterday and he asked me about the book proposal I am (supposed) to be working on, and I shook my head, wrung my hands, and shifted in my seat. I remain so uncomfortable with even the discussion that I am going to be putting a book idea of mine in someone's hands. It is simply NUTTY. Suddenly I said, you know the real story of my life is found in the drafts on my blog.

There you go he responded without taking a breath, and you have the title.

Ummmm....I was kidding.

Was I?

Yes. I was...but this morning when I opened my blog to write, I suddenly found my eyes scanning the posts page. There is a lot of red listed there....five years worth.

Would I even DARE?!?!?!

I don't know.

I will say this though....just the concept has me thinking about all of things that go unsaid, unwritten in an individual's lifetime. Not just mine, but yours. How many times I have perused the words of Paul and wondered about all the words he didn't write....the things we don't know....my curiosity runs away from me in short order. How about you?

I don't know if I have the guts to write a book proposal and slip it across the table to a real-life publisher. I don't know that even if I do, it will be along the lines of what I have been writing the past five years - whether posted or draft. What I do know is....it might be time to go back and pull up those drafts and dive into the deep waters of things unsaid and wounds not yet healed. I have done a lot of brave work these past three months with a wonderful counselor. I want to be braver still. I am too far in now to turn back....and maybe there is healing in the drafts of my heart....because that is what this blog is to me - the written wringing out of my heart.


What do the drafts in your life say about you?

Are you ready to share?

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Unwinding Home and A Broken Heart

I have written a lot about "Home" over the years. Do a quick search of my blog in the upper left corner (search box) and you have lots of reading material....LOTS.

To say that I have wrestled with home - the concept, the actual, the meaning - over the years would be an understatement.

So...it is no surprise that in my very first EMDR session last week, home got all tangled up in a completely unrelated topic/question we had started the session with....and this week we spent the entire session unwinding the confusion in my heart and head over the past week that the EMDR had triggered....*Deep Sigh*

Home is hard for me.

I have a lot of brokenness tied to it....as a child, as an adult.

I have a lot of confusion wrapped up in just the word.

I want to let go.

I prayed those words over and over like a chant to Jesus, "Lord I want to let go. I want to let go. I want to let go." with the tears streaming down my face.

My heart is grieving.

When I was a little girl, all of five, in Kindergarten....we lived on a farm and although we had a long driveway to the county road, we walked through our field to the dirt road on the other side of it (parallel to our driveway) and caught the bus with the kids that lived on that road...a little cluster of kids of all ages. The grass in the field was taller than me, and our father kept a long path cut in the field for us to walk on. The path connected our house to the bus stop. I walked that path every day of school for three years with my older sister.

I can feel the conflict in my heart between home and moving forward...even now.

What is that????

I have an issue with letting go that precedes the implosion of my family. That is an a-ha. So now we start digging into that....

When I was in Haiti the first time in June 2013, there was an incident when I left the final orphanage (one we had been to three times during the trip) for the final time of the trip. This little boy who had latched onto me the very first visit when I stepped off the bus, had to be pulled off of me. Two grown men on the trip held my physically heaving, sobbing body on the bus as we drove back to Jumecourt (where we were staying that night). Something broke open in me in that interaction, that good-bye....something primal, raw, deep, and indescribable. I searched for a way to explain it, understand it...but words alluded me - then and now. The truth is the interaction shook me and changed me.

Haiti : June 2013
For the first time since that incident, I believe I understand a little of what was happening beneath the surface - both in my heart and in the little boy's heart.

I am broken. Not unfixable or unhealable.....but....yet....I am broken. I have a broken heart. That boy has/d a broken heart. Something in me....something tied to home....is broken inside of me, broke my heart....and I have to figure out what that was/is...and I have to allow healing in that place, in that memory(ies)...because whatever it was still resides in my heart, is still broken, and is still wreaking havoc in my life. There is fear and loss and heartbreak tied to my heart in relation to home.

....and I am ready to let go.

There is the hope.

The fact that I can say those words....that I can feel those words....that I believe them to be true - I am ready to let go - Amen.

Last night I was reading in Romans and came across this...


What a reminder that hope comes from the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit given to us by God - along with joy and peace. In my study Bible it emphasizes (for good measure I am sure) that hope cannot be "conjured up by man's effort...it is God's gift" - God's gift. How beautiful is that?

There is a healing....healing from fear, wounds, confusion....but you have to face the very things that cause them, that allowed them to fester deep in your spirit...you have to be brave and bold...and you must persevere. Holy Spirit come...

I am dreaming of the "What if" - what if on the other side of this good good work, I feel God's healing in these old places, old wounds? What if I can reconcile home and love and letting go? What if???

Those are good dreams promises to hold onto as I walk through this process of unwinding "home" in my memories...in my heart.

"The greatest mistake one can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." ~ Elbert Hubbard

...time to move into the #nofear zone.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Rock

A few weeks ago I was standing alone in church and they started singing "The Rock Won't Move" and my heart broke right open...right there...standing in the back. I found my knees buckling a bit.

I was undone.

I think my body knew what the rest of me didn't yet...everything under me was about to give way...and 36 hours later it did.

My counselor asked me to read a book "The Body Keeps The Score, Brain, Mind, and Body In The Healing of Trauma" by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., and it had come in while I was away that weekend so Monday night I dug in, fell asleep reading it, and at 4 a.m. I awakened to the worst pain in my throat (as if I was trying to swallow broken glass)....and the odyssey of illness had begun. For a solid week I wrestled daily with one ailment after another. I texted my Sis that I felt like my body was attacking itself on purpose. It was eerie and telling (my counselor threw in that last part when I saw her just one day into it). I didn't care though....all I knew was I felt like HELL, and I had important meeting after important meeting coming up, to do lists as long as my legs; I had no time for this. It mattered not. Every day I got sicker and the ailments odder. By the end of the week I crashed, hard - completely spent trying to hold it all together at work that week. YET....Instead of getting better with some rest over the weekend, I seemed to be getting worse. On top of which, I was developing a bizarre and overwhelming anxiety to the point I felt like my brain was eating itself. I was C R A C K I N G up, I thought to myself....this is it. This is when I finally lose it. I spent most of Sunday sprawled in the sunshine on a quilt (on my deck) trying to breathe and soak up some Vitamin D only to be bedridden again on Monday (only my second sick day in 3 1/2 years), a new ailment, and now whatever this anxiety was - it was now in FULL force. I finally sprawled out on my bed and put ice cold washcloths all over my ENTIRE body. It was INSANE. Even now, I am smiling slightly as I recall the scene (oh if someone had walked in my home that day). By late that Monday afternoon, I could feel some semblance of calm returning to my mind and body.

So....let me tell you....I didn't stroll into my counselor's office the next day for my weekly appointment....I RAN into her office, dropped all my stuff like it was on fire, tossed off my shoes, plunged down on the couch....and VERY excitedly exclaimed that she needed to fix me...this was NOT going to work.

Can you imagine?!?!?! :))))

LOL

I bet you can imagine what she said....

Well, one thing...all of this wasn't going to last....and this was NORMAL when starting to work through old trauma.....and a whole bunch of other really smart stuff.

The funny thing is that sometime during our time, I started breathing normally....and relaxing.

I can't keep crying like this....all. the. time.....at the drop of a hat. - I tried to explain.

You have a lot to grieve. - She responded.

When I left her office that day, I drove in a daze to my new "spot" with my giant Sonic Blast (yup...you guessed it; I got the biggest one they make)...and I sat down in the grass, leaned up against a tree, and I let my mind drift off. I was a little in shock...and after a week of wrestling, illness, and anxiety - slightly exhausted. I also wasn't sure what to do with all of the new information she had given me. I was at a loss.

A. Loss.

I didn't know whether I should be mad at a childhood that had left me with a mess of crap to deal with...mad at myself for letting all of it simmer for all of these years...mad at God...???

....and if I could ever figure out who or what to be mad at...there was also the whole how do I get well while also operating in a life at full throttle...for the love of pete???

....and was there enough Kleenex being produced for all of these dang tears. I mean how much buried grief could one girl hold? No. I am really asking....how much???

I got very silent.

For the next few days...I found myself talking very slowly....reserved....and pulling back from any extra "noise" in my life (social media, texting, news, etc.)....it is like I cocooned myself as best one can while operating a firm with a business partner and 45 employees. Oh and with a week chalk full of some of the most important meetings of our tenure as a company. No. Biggie. *Eye Roll*

As a side note....I have barely eaten in two weeks. I order food, take a few bites, and have to throw it away. Zero appetite. Nothing is appealing.

Until this afternoon....and in an instant I felt hunger...like for a meal. So...what do you do when you have your first true food craving in two weeks? You get a double cheeseburger from Wendy's and fries.....which I did....and I ate nearly the whole thing....and it was DELICIOUS.

Then, I had an overwhelming urge to write. IMMEDIATELY.

The counselor encouraged me to write...even when I didn't want to...because it helps me so much...and I begged off b/c it has been two weeks of gibberish and nonsense. She encouraged me to keep going...and I have tried....

I digress.

So now here I am writing a BOOK. Sorry.

....and then there is this...

I have texted very little with my most intimate tribe as I was a little scared myself at what was happening to me mentally and physically...early Thursday I had sent a text to a friend through HUGE tears, "God is so quiet right now...." and he had been. Terribly quiet. Less than 24 hours later as we stood outside our firm contemplating the biggest win we could have ever imagined and me just QUIET...one of our team said, "Look Heather..." and there it was...

...every bit of 12" in diameter...my God doesn't play ;)


...and then this....


My friend/adopted niece Natali texted me this early this evening from Austin...

....and then while I have been writing, this came....

My friend Zack found texted this to me - found in the creek tonight, he wrote.

If you think I am crying....You. Are. Right.

*Big Tears Streaming Down My Face*

My God loves me...and he didn't send the hearts to me directly....he chose his foot soldiers...his angels...from different walks of my life (none of these three know each other)...and he used them to send me messages from him to me. Touchstones that I am not forgotten...that I am valuable...and maybe even encouragement to keep going....because The Rock Won't Move.

*Deep Sigh*

I promised that I would document my journey through these months of counseling, and I am fighting my own pride to share what has to be some of the hardest and most embarrassing days of my life. I feel unhinged....well because I am.

I think part of the problem is that while I might have understood I needed a little help to sort some stuff out....I had ZERO idea that I was holding in so much. None. Nada. Zip. It is as if I have given myself permission to Let. It. ALL. Hang. Out. (so to speak) and my mind and body are going ALL in...and I am sitting over here wondering what the hell has happened to me. Seriously. I am asking.

...and somewhere over this past two weeks I think I lost hope. Hope that I was going to make it through this with my wits still about me. Hope that God was going to see me through it. I think God knew two weeks ago as I stood in church what I was headed into...dark seas lay just hours away...and he sent me this song...and even as I felt like I was losing it...I have been listening to this and some others given to me...and the music has helped (#musicismylovelanguage) even though I didn't realize it at the time....but the words were already written on my heart...and my heart was not letting go of them...even when maybe my mind was...

....and then when I finally cried out WHERE ARE YOU??? God answered as only he can....and then I am reminded YET again...The. Rock. Won't. Move. Even when I am wrestling and grieving and sick and stressed and traumatized, God. Is. There.

I don't know what tsunami is crashing over you right now, but I do know that going through it alone SUCKS....but even when you are physically alone, there is one who loves you DEEPLY...and he will remind you...in a song, a photo from a friend, something beautiful in nature that speaks deeply to your heart (that might be your love language with God), a sport, a book, words....whatever it is...seek it out, acknowledge it, be grateful, and ALLOW yourself to feel that love.

Tonight I am feeling the gift of a reprieve. The battle I am in is not over, but for tonight I allowing my heart to be renewed and refreshed by the love of good friends and a God that knows me so intimately. Sometimes a single battle can be won when we simply allow ourselves to be loved.

I want to share a link to the song that saw me through this latest trek...maybe it bring hope and joy into the deepest parts of your heart tonight. You are seen and known and loved. We all are, and that IS the gift...the rock that cannot be undone.

Here is a great version by Second Students - The Rock Won't Move and I am posting the lyrics below...

The Rock Won't Move

By Vertical Church Band
 
When the ground beneath my feet gives way
And I hear the sound of crashing waves
All my world is washing out to sea
I'm hidden safe in the God who never moves
Holding fast to the promise of the truth
That You are holding tighter still to me
 
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
The Rock of our Salvation
 
My hope is in the promise of Your blood
My support within the raging flood
Even in the tempest, I can sing
I'm hidden safe in the God who never moves
Holding fast to the promise of Your truth
That You are holding tighter still to me
 
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
The Rock of our Salvation
 
Woah, woah
Woah, the Rock of our salvation
 
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
The Rock won't move, the Rock won't move
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace

The Rock won't move, the Rock won't move
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
The Rock won't move and His word is strong
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone
 
The Rock of our Salvation
 
Lead me to the Rock
The Rock that is higher
That is greater
The Rock of our Salvation
Lead me to the Rock
The Rock that is Stronger
That is Stronger
The Rock that is Jesus
The Rock that is Jesus
He will never move
He is faithful

****ADDITIONAL NOTE 5/21/2016 : This morning I started reading Christine Caine's new book Unashamed and was blown away when before the book even starts, she references Isaiah 50:7 which to know me is to know my love of Isaiah, so I went and read it (before going forward) and low and behold as I kept reading (note all of Chapter 50 is amazing)...51:1 "....Look to the rock from which you were cut..." with a footnote directing me to 17:10 "...You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress."....and there you go. I don't know how God works in your life....but in mine...he sends confirmations of three like a lamp unto my feet to let me know I am on the right path (a ding ding ding my daughter rest in this for a moment (how I hear God speak to me sometimes ;) )....so I laugh out loud (whenever it happens) and praise God in the moment because Isaiah has taught me over the years that when God SPEAKS to you and answers PRAYERS (i.e., confirmation in this instance) you PRAISE him in the moment in thanks. Thank you Jesus...you are TOO TOO good to me.****

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Heart

I have had some weird issues over the years with my heart. They started in high school. Lots of testing. Useless diagnoses. Life moving on. Flutters (literally) here and there. Always around high stress times. Understandable. Easy to waive away. Last year the chest pains of my teen years came back with a vengeance. I was completing the purge and then there is work - entrepreneurship isn't for the faint of heart (literally) so I excused them away. They did pass once the purge was completed at year-end. Then yesterday...

I thought I would faint. My chest just ballooning inside of me. I was in 90 degree heat for over four hours on the side of the interstate in 5 p.m. traffic - in the middle of yet another work crisis this week. I pushed it away. Especially because I felt such peacefulness - perfectly calm in the middle of a hurricane. I asked God what it was and to give me fair warning if I was about to fall out (laughing a little at me dictating to God.) Then today as I sat down in the dentist chair for a six month cleaning, the same feeling came over me as yesterday. So...I asked God again, "What is this?"

I get back to the office and my business partner motions me into his...a stranger sits across the desk from him...he introduces me, but I barely hear his name...my partner says, "Read Heather that one text and she will know all she needs to know about you." He did, and I did. What transpired afterwards was an hour conversation, the man praying over me and Josh, and a new friendship born. Exactly what we needed today. Exactly. In that prayer, he mentioned verses and things that I have only shared with Sis and Sherri. I was stunned. Stunned.


Yes, Lord.

My heart is not in pain; it is expanding.

Whoa.

I didn't get it. It wasn't all clicking until I was at Sonic after work tonight. Don't judge me. Mama Bear needed an ice cream cone; my people are trying to kill me - death by fill-in-the-blank.

I digress.

I am sitting there and a man comes up to my window. He needs gas for his truck. I have cash (I never have cash), and I offer him some. He says, "Even more than money, can you pray for me?" I reply, "Yes sir, I can and will pray for you."

Since Austin, I am having encounters every few days with someone out of sorts, homeless, etc. who needs a little help, a meal for their child, gas money, prayer, and I have what they need when they ask.

Now....for someone that a) never carries cash, yet has had it on me when I have needed it every time; b) is awkward and uncomfortable in strange situations esp. when I have no control...Ummm....this is ALL outside of my comfort zone...norm.

Yet....it keeps happening.

I prayed this little prayer to God about breaking my heart for what breaks his and then giving me the dreams of my heart...and oh my gosh...I think he is doing it.

I literally just LOL'd.


So I am not saying I am the Grinch, but lets be honest...we all have walls up between us and them, us and things, us and fear, us and fill-in-the-blank....I am no different. I have stuff that makes me shrink back from living and being Jesus in my everyday life with everyday people just like you and me.

When the stranger (now friend) from this morning was praying over us he suddenly said, "Whoa Heather I feel that you have a wall and a divorce (all three of us opened our eyes and looked up)." I said, I am not getting a divorce; never been married. He replied, divorce doesn't just mean marriage.

#idiot

Definition of divorce CLICK HERE.

He continued praying....and when he did he suddenly compared my "divorce" to a transition onto eagle's wings, Isaiah 40:31 - where I have been planted (Isaiah 40) since March 26, 2016.

Ummmm....

This is where I start grinning.

Big.

Restoration.

Sometimes healing looks a lot like growth.

My heart is healing from the inside out via counseling, and in the process God is preparing it...growing it....for more.

That...leaves me breathless.

This has been a tough week. Work challenges. I have been sick for three days now (as if my body is purging itself from the inside out - head, lungs, and now scar tissue that has built up in my foot from a surgery that was 16 years ago (you cannot make this up). Through all of this, I have felt perfect peace. I mean, I am stressed, but at peace in it. The world and the enemy keep dumping on my lap, and in one swoop, I am placing it at the foot of the cross. If you can visualize that, do. There is a single fluid motion that is occurring because I am not even letting the junk rest on my lap before I am scooping it up. As I do it, I can hear one of two songs in my head....

 
 
If the enemy thinks he is going to get me to sway, he is sadly mistaken. Sadly.

I am already in the midst of my seven times around the wall. Step-by-step, inch-by-inch....I'm doing this.

I am already laughing....celebrating the end before it even gets here.

I always wondered what the Israelites were feeling and thinking as they walked around that wall. I mean, I am sure the emotions varied. Today...I know there were those who in their heart had already claimed the victory and they were laughing....joyously. I get it. I am there with them in spirit.


"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," - Hebrews 12:1
 

There is healing. There is hope. There is restoration.

Once was broken. Once was desolate. Once was dead.

Healing. Hope. Restoration.

Jesus, thank you for coming for my heart. It wasn't dead, but it was dying and so much smaller than it should be...stretch it and me into whatever places and situations you see fit. I am uncomfortable and awkward and outside of my air cover, but I am trusting in you to make the way clear and provide for me what I need when I need it - in the big ways - just as you have been providing for others through me in the small ways. I love you. In fact, I don't know that I have felt this flutter in my heart for you and your ways since that little girl skipped through the church bus at the age of 4 pasting those smiley faces everywhere. How sad that I always gave the locale the credit for that joy...when it had been you that had placed that in my heart then. I pray I never again misplace the joy you are restoring in my heart....but let me give it away in the bucketfuls to all those that need it...*Deep Sigh* and Amen.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Promise

There is nothing more special than the gift of a promise...especially when that promise is made by God to  you. When he speaks to the deepest parts of your heart and soul and says, "This is what I want to do with YOU."

*Big Tears*

Last summer God gave me this promise (hint: it involves a train)...I didn't speak of it to anyone until a fateful call with a friend while I was criss-crossing the state on business...she described to me this theory on 'What If' she was reading about, and I verbally exploded on her of this dream/conversation I had experienced with God a few weeks prior. It was a FATEFUL conversation because it felt like confirmation that what I had KNOWN in my heart was true - God had made me a promise....and though I didn't know when or where or how it would come true, it was nonetheless real and personal...to me.....to God and I.

This is going to be a short post, but I needed to share this truth bomb (to me) this morning because that same friend and I were talking by phone yesterday and I was dumping truth bomb after truth bomb on them (#bless) as I unwound (I am wound pretty tight right now.) verbally with them about everything from counseling to work to kids growing up too fast to discussions around lack of sleep to God and his promises......and in that conversation we discussed the specific promise God had given me last year and how in the world he was going to pull that off (because we humans just love to question and doubt God #facepalm)....and I said the prophetic words..."Well, I am simply asking God to open doors and close doors and make it so very clear to me that I am on the right path because I believe in God and the promise I heard last year....and I just need to be faithful."

So....fast forward to a professional e-mail and a more personal e-mail hitting my inbox yesterday...and then this hitting my eyes this morning....


...AFTER waking up to some text messages that left me slack-jawed.

Let me tell you something.

Be faithful in your trust in God with the promises he has given you.

He just loves to SHOW OUT and answer you in the strangest ways and strangest times with exactly what you need (that you didn't know you needed) to respond to the question - is this real? will you close the wrong doors and open the right ones?

...and then you have to ask yourself....Am I brave? Am I willing to be brave?

Because that is the deal....God can open the doors and close the doors....but are you willing to cross the thresholds????

Am I?

I feel the Holy Spirit in my bedroom this morning so clearly that I swear if I close my eyes and reach out my hand....I can feel her.

*I just did that. My fingers tingled.*

I am at this strange crossroads of confessing all and inviting deep healing into my soul while also jumping off the high dive.

It is exhilarating and terrifying.

I need a good, long, deep, soul-wrenching cry.

There is a LOT of emotion going on inside of me these days.

Also, if this is what 45 feels like. I wish I had always been this age. :))))

Let this post encourage you today....God is in the roses and the thorns....he is a God of promises - healing those broken and giving you the ones you never dared dream. He needs us to be brave though....

The Israelites wandered for 40 years because when they were called up, they shrunk. They didn't have faith. When God called them up again with the craziest of requests....march around seven times....yada yada yada....What were they thinking??? Here we go again? Were there doubters among them??

I have this feeling they felt a little like they were in purgatory - they couldn't back - where? to Egypt? keep wandering around the wilderness? They felt unsure of moving forward - the strongest military in the world was on the other side of a wall. Ummm.....

So they had to choose. Fear or Faith.

Am I going to have faith that God's word is what it is....and keep walking in faith through and to it?

OR

Am I going to stand here and wander....aimlessly?

Counseling is my wall.

My deep and old pain and shame is my "world's fiercest military."

On the other side is everything God has ever promised me.

Am I brave?

Hold on...we are about to find out...

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Fight for Peace


I was getting ready for a day at the ballpark and reading an article (multitasking is who I am) online when it hit me. I am wound tight because I haven't MADE the time to write in weeks. I have been so busy living and surviving life that I haven't MADE the space to download; the truth is writing is the most selfish thing I do because it relaxes me and helps me process. When you are single, I think writing can become like the partner you don't have - at least for this girl.

The past several weeks have been FULL. Trying to manage a growing firm is more than a full-time job, and I am overwhelmed - hourly - by it. In addition, weekly counseling sessions are unearthing things long-since buried, and I am NOT enjoying the process - though I still wholeheartedly agree this is the Best. Thing. I. Have. Ever. Done. For. Myself. Plus, there is this amazing family with tons of changing and growing and events and doors opening and doors closing that is happening....and if you think I am going to miss a thing, you don't really know me. So...I have ALL the BEST excuses, but the fact remains...I haven't written, and I am slowly losing my mind a little because of it.

I just realized that I am fighting for peace.

In.

My.

Life.

...and to do that...

I.

Must.

Go.

War.

....with the enemy. my past. my secrets. my sin. my shame. everything that shackles my soul and holds me back from living a full life.

Key word.

LIFE.

So...here is me admitting that I am at war.

Every.

Single.

Day.

So...the level of exhaustion I feel on a daily basis was compounded the moment I crossed the threshold that first day of counseling. This past week, my counselor said, I think the hardest thing you have ever done was come to counseling that first day. I gave her the strangest look, but days later as I sit here cross-legged on my Sis' bed...I get it. Completely.

My tired is tired.

It isn't about stopping. I never have the urge to do that.

I just can't believe that I have waited all of these years to do this GOOD work on myself. I also wish I could go away to an island and knock it all out in solitude with my counselor because trying to walk through my life WHILE also working through 44 years and one week worth of pure CRAP is overwhelming....and yes I am whining...and yes I too am over myself. ;)

So why share and who the heck cares?!?!

Well....all of us are fighting for peace one way or another. We are all fighting to be known or fighting to hide - or both. We are all fighting to make it through the next hour or day or week. Our fighting often looks like us railing against the social media angst of the day, but the truth is that the real battle is in our spirit....our soul....our heart...and because it is too painful or embarrassing to discuss that battle....we rail against da'man (so to speak).

So...what would happen if we all just owned our battles? For one day we just admitted....I am weak, tired, overwhelmed, struggling, scared, broken, angry, and any number of other battles that each and every one of us struggles with every single day of our lives???

What if?

I am neither proud nor ashamed that I am 44 years old and in weekly counseling because I find the pain I have hidden away for every bit of 40 years too much to bear alone anymore. There are things about me, my life, my struggles, my shame that not one single solitary person on the entire earth knows about...not even my Sis. I have wrapped things and circumstances and people and pain up in tiny boxes and lined them up on a pretty shelf since I was a little girl. I believed a whole host of lies about them and me. I have fought them out in solitude. That solitude is slowly killing me. I can't do it anymore.

The saddest part about all of this?

I am not alone.

We are broken people in a broken world and we all slam up against one another every day ill-equipped to help ourselves or those around us.

I don't want to be that person anymore.

I want to be a helper.

I want to let God help me.

I want to then show others God so they will let him help them.

...because the biggest lie I ever believed was that it was ALL my fault...my responsibility...on my shoulders to FIX me (or even others). I have tried to be God for far too long in my life.

There is no peace in trying to be God.

None.

So...here I go into another day where I secretly wish I could go hide away in my Sis' prayer closet and cry, sleep, pray, or simply zone out....BUT there is this thing called LIFE awaiting me and the call from that is stronger....even on these days. So I fight again today against the memories that overwhelm me after the most brutal counseling session yet...and I choose LIFE.

You know why we can't find peace....because war is easier.

I am fighting for peace to come to the deepest parts of me...I am trusting that God can and will heal that with which I am mustering up the strength to be brave and face. I am fighting to own and accept my story. To be able to put words to what I have lived, survived...endured. I am fighting through the unpacking of each and every single box lined up on those shelves. One at a time. Some of them I am ripping open like a toddler at Christmas. Others I am sneaking up on like they are a bomb...is this the one that is going to be "live" and do me in? (I secretly ask myself.).

I am fighting to be brave.

I want to encourage others to be their own brave. Whatever that looks like.

If we want peace, we have to find it first within ourselves.

This morning I was reading an old post that was discussing the amazingness of Luke 22:31-32
 
31 And the Lord said,[a] “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Let me tell you....it spoke to the deepest parts of my heart this morning...Jon Acuff's post focused on the comma - that beautiful pause between "...returned to Me..." and "...strengthen your brethren." I mean...WOW!

I feel like I am swimming in the comma right now.

...maybe drowning.

I know that God can use anything...anybody. I am not excited about the possibility of him using the worst of me to help others. I hardly think Peter was either.

Maybe that is part of our problem...my problem.

There is beauty and restoration in peace, but humility?

I am uncomfortable.

Just writing that, I am wickedly uncomfortable.

*Deep Sigh*

Oh to have the fortitude of Peter. We laugh at his passion and failings and zeal...but who of us could overcome the denial of Jesus...to lead others to freedom?

The fight for peace is not a pretty story. I so wish it were. I am wrestling my way through it like a cat in a bathtub.

...or a Peter swimming to Jesus on shore.

...because I love Jesus...and breakfast....and restoration.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

I am counting on that Jesus.

Counting on it.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)