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! :)