Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Struggle For Boundaries

I must confess I have never known a yes I didn't like.

*facepalm*

Lunch?

Yes.

Dinner?

Yes.

Coffee?

Yes.

Volunteer?

Yes.

Meet at dawn? 

Yes.

Give money?

Yes.

Meet?

Yes.

If you ask me a question, I say yes. If you send me a text or an email, leave me a VM....I am a quick response. My go to is to respond quickly, make you happy, and work to find a way to say yes to you.

In the past year, maybe two, I have made strides at using the word 'no' more...or at a minimum, 'get back with me in six months.' Why? Because I have yes'd myself into exhaustion.

The problem is that my yes problem is not the sole culprit; I also have a problem with boundaries. 

By problem, I mean I have none.

By none, I mean none.

I can be whipped into a frenzy by an email or a crisis or simply someone using the phrase "I need you" in a sentence. Your emergency (real or imagined) or lack of planning or crisis or issue is now equally mine. You no longer have to sweat it, I will worry for both of us. Worse are those that simply want company in their state of upheaval. "Join me, won't you, in my emotional hurricane," they say without saying.

"Why yes I will," I respond as if I am in a trance (envision wide, spinning eyes like in a cartoon).

*Ugh*

Yesterday, I heard myself audibly say, "No." I got a "look" in return. I then double-downed with, "I am instituting some boundaries." More "looks."

This is where you go, "So proud of you. High fives. Woo Hoo."

Stop.

I just got the worst night of sleep in weeks.

*Shaking Head Here*

This is the post where I share that implementing change and wisdom into your life and your circles (read that as friends/family/tribe/work/sphere of influence) is HARD. Your people "get" you and by that I mean As. You. Have. Always. Been. They have a vested interest in keeping their world "as is" and so adjusting to your newfound "wisdom" may not be welcomed with a ticker tape parade. 

#thestruggleisreal

Worse (and yes there is a worse) your heart might wilt a little under the looks and resistance you feel from them and so you cave. 

Stop.

Change is hard.

Growth is hard.

Do it anyway.

I woke up (and by woke up I saw the light side of 4:30 a.m.) and wrestled (until the coffee pot finally kicked on) with myself and God and the headache I woke up with about the whys and wherefores of the past 36 hours. Why can't change be easier? Am I doing this all wrong? I have been back from a much needed vacation for a mere 24 hours and I am exhausted. Why is this SO hard...I might have whined like a small child on that last part.


Boundaries are not about saying no. The truth is that they are all about saying yes. To yourself. To the highest and best use of your time, your day, your life. BUT, but before you can get to the sunshine and roses of your best life ever, you have to withstand and survive the reality of teaching those around you that you are no longer their yes man or yes woman. That my friends, is the secret. Surviving the transition. Saying no is EASY. Not caving under the gasps after you utter it is the truly hard part.

We teach people how to treat us. I have believed that for years. That said, we are also teaching people standards of living by how we live our own lives.

That Heather is a go-getter, works all the time, driven, busy, and on and on. That all sounds pretty good. Right?!?! 

Well....

I would rather be known for working hard and playing hard - and even more - knowing the difference.

I am jealous of those that I see fighting for balance and winning. So what is the difference between them and me? They aren't caving when they get pushed back for going against the standard they have set for themselves. It is easy to blame the world, but the world didn't make you agree to work 80 hours a week. The only one in that room was YOU. The world didn't make you open that email on your vacation. Check your phone at 4 a.m. Agree to a 7 a.m. meeting. 

So as I approach this second day back from vacation with a calendar that looks like a toddler vomited on it and email that has still not been touched after a first day back where I went from meeting to meeting from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and then spent the next 2 1/2 hours reviewing proposals in emails from my cell phone, texting about said proposals, and one phone convo at 9 p.m. #forthelove πŸ˜³πŸ™„...I am going to be kind to myself. I am going to use the word no (possibly audibly πŸ˜‚) and ignore the quizzical responses to said nos. I am going to fight  for my balance as hard as I fight for everyone else's. I am going to work to live out what I expound on daily and stop being a GIANT hypocrite. I am going to focus on breathing to the rhythm of the waves (if only in my head). 

We are asking too much of those around us. Period. To correct that, we first have to stop asking too much of ourselves.

Boundaries.

This might just be the toughest lesson I have to learn...yet.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Lessons In Play - #Family

The kids are already teasing me about my sappy end of vacation post(s). Am I THAT obvious?!?! πŸ˜³πŸ™„πŸ˜‚ 

When I was a little girl (4-7 years old), we had an International Scout. After the twins were born, the backseat was full with two car seats and my older sister in the middle, my (biological) parents of course in the front, so my father would pack (Sis has (and exceeded) his packing skills) the back in a semicircle and then place my toys on the inside of the circle, and then make a pallet in the very center. This was the 70s so the fact that I was packed in the middle of luggage in the rear of a tin box with no seatbelt was a-okay (don't say I haven't lived on the wild side). πŸ˜³πŸ™„πŸ˜‚  I was probably born a great traveler, but environment contributed as well so clearly the wanderlust in me runs deep. I still like to be snuggled in like a sardine in a car, plane, boat, hotel room, hostel room, etc. Pack me in and tuck me in; I'm good. 😊 I like adventure and new views, roadside dives, sleeping on the move, and stamps on my passport or shells from a new beach or photos I have taken along the way; whatever "marker" of/for the travel works. I like plans and also freedom from plans; I am a walking conundrum that way. I'm always looking to the next getaway (small or large). Always in prep mode and struggling to BE in the moment or season of my present. 

This is me.


Except...we can change.

I love my family. I adore them (truth be told). Having been born into (and out of) a family that has burst into flames time and time again over mine and my Sis' lifetime, I see our united little family of six as a Phoenix rising from the ashes (of sorts). We aren't as big as the kids want us to be and certainly there are obvious (and less obvious) missing pieces for each of us, but we rise...day after day we RISE up and fight for our little family, for each other. We love hard and fight fair and laugh like hyenas. In some freakishly weird way - we are a (unique/new) blended American family. (I just laughed out loud. πŸ˜‚)

Last year we fought for the time and saved our money and searched multiple spots in search of somewhere we could have a family beach vacation. We had a great time (hence round two this summer), but in some ways we landed there (maybe just me) sliding and crawling and clawing our way to some down time. It was beautiful and perfect, but there was something missing (again maybe just me).

So much has changed this past year, yet three weeks ago, it was a calendar announcement/challenge from my counselor that shook me out of a fog and got me moving again. The more I moved, the more a-has I had...and I realized I wanted more from our vacation this year...I wanted more FROM me FOR my family. I arrived at this vacation rested and ready. Now as we start winding down from it, I am proud to say I gave this time with my family All. I. Had. in the tank (and then some). I played hard, beached hard, slept hard, and gave all. Frankly, I am in awe of ALL of us because I feel like we got 27 hours out of every 24 hour day. It has been AMAZING! ☺️ I have also read and written like my pen was on fire (used up two of them). True rest helped me listen to my spirit again...and my mind - the creative part that never gets to play in my normal life full of leading and decisions and numbers and strategy. I am already plotting how to hold onto that creative energy because I love that part mostest about myself (if I am truly honest). 


To know me well is to know that one of my very favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speech. I re-read it again this past week. As cheesy as it may sound to some, for me showing up at the arena this week has looked like being fully present and all-in with my family at the beach. I believe I did...including the facedown part...literally (beach volleyball found me diving and landing facedown in the sand...A. Lot. πŸ˜‚) and it was AMAZING. Truly. 


In Brene Brown's book "Rising Strong" (which I re-read this past week) she writes that we don't have enough "honest conversation about the hard work that takes us from laying facedown in the arena to rising strong..." and I agree with her. Everyone wants to tell and live the being brave part, but who really wants to share how many mouths of sand, bruises, and foolish-looking moves you have to survive in order to rise? Anybody? The truth is we need more people showing us how to both be brave AND how to feel our way back up. 


This morning a friend and I were texting about an idea we have...we had lunch together a few months back and it sorta flowed out of our mouths. I was scared into silence. Literally. How could we? I? Do this thing? I texted her 36 hours ago and said, "I'm ready." Somewhere between the arena of this week at the beach and a world in pain, I heard God so clearly...this idea isn't necessary or perfect because you two know what you are doing...it is perfect because you don't; others need your willingness to walk out how to stumble through this...feel your way through it. I wept. 

Maybe the world doesn't need more people to be brave as much it needs more of us to be transparent about what being brave looks like on the other side. 

So you were brave and went to Haiti...but what happened when you got back?

So you were brave and started a business...but what happened when you made mistakes, cash got tight, employees acted out, or ideas failed?

So you were brave and put on the workout gear and walked a couple of miles in front of people...but what happened when you got halfway through that first mile? First week?

So you were brave...

...what happened next? What happened when you failed? How did you get up and do it again?

So what did I learn on my summer vacation?

Above all else I learned that the "arena" truly looks like many things...but this past week it looked like a beach vacation with my family where I was active and present...where I played and competed....where I listened and observed - where I didn't die when my Fitbit registered 12,000+/day - where owning my body and my age felt like an afterthought instead of frontal-lobe concern - where I was able to experience my childhood memories as just that, memories. 


Which reminds me...I love to play. I really do. I want the ball. I am a born competitor. I am curious. I am, in many ways, still that girl in the back of the Scout - packed in for the ride - except...for the very, very first time in a long, long time, I remember that young girl's ability to be present and enjoy where she was at and make her own play - even if it was a make-shift playroom on a five hour drive to Memphis to visit relatives. I have missed her.

Now to integrate her into my every day life. 

Counseling starts back up Tuesday. Game on.

Swoosh - just passed a sign - Playground Ahead ❤️☀️


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 naΓ―ve. 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! :)