I hope your day was just enjoyable as mine. Here in “confused St. Louis”, it was actually a really nice day. The sun was shining high in the bright blue sky and the unknown future seems doable every day. Although I am in day four of this challenge, I already feel a difference in my thought process. If there is one thing I have learned about this journey called life is that perception of our circumstances determines how we deal and feel about our circumstances. And when we keep my eyes focused on God, we are able to fall into His will and not our own, we are able to be of service to those around us and our loved ones, and we are able to have fun with the days that are gifted to us; knowing that we have a wonderful Heavenly Father and super cool Brother, Jesus who are strapped and prepared to take on my stress. So let’s get with it.
1 Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? Interlude 3 You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for himself. The Lord will answer when I call to him.
4 Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude 5 Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.
6 Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. 7 You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Again, what a great chapter. The author reminds me a lot of myself. It seems, and I could be mistaken, that the author cares a lot about what people are saying about them (v. 2) when they are not around. I struggle with the same problem. When it comes to strangers, I can care less, but when it comes down to people I care about, I care about their perception of me, but the Lord says that His opinion of me is the only one that matters.
Galatians 1:10, NLT: “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
So I love how the authors continues to immediately go into praising God for all He has done. The author is also putting his complete faith into the power of God by trusting the promises that God has made us. That type of father is absolutely wonderful. They type of faith where we are staying in the face of adversity and still believe and trust in the power of God. Amen!
For me, this chapter is a reminder to keep pushing and persevering no matter what people have to say. I am on this journey because God has me on this journey. It is not for anyone to understand, judge, or scale, especially comparing myself to other around me. Thank you God for Your Word. Your power and love is incomprehensible and I’m proud to be the Princess of the Most High King. I thank You, I love You. Amen.
Thank you all for hearing my thoughts today. Please tune in tomorrow for Day 5 of 150 Days of Psalm Challenge. Love you all and please do not forget to pray for one another.
Thank you for joining me on day 3 of the 150 days of Psalms Challenge. Technically, today is day four but yesterday was so busy, I actually forgot about it, so here we are. What matters is that we are here reading Gods Word together. If you are just now joining us, last week I encouraged my readers to read a chapter of Psalm a day and comment below on what God has revealed to us. If you have any questions or would like to message me privately, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s dive in.
1 O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. 2 So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” Interlude[a]
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. 4 I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude
5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.
7 Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! 8 Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people.
Thank you, Father for such a wonderful chapter. This chapter came right on time for me. I love how the author David, at the beginning is asking why are people against him (v. 1) but he goes on praise God for what He has done and what He is going to do. David’s faith in Gods protection and promises is inspiring.
When we praise God in the midst of our struggles, we take the focus off of ourselves and onto God where it belongs. When we do that, we feel peace in the middle of the storm. We are also able to see, understand, and receive all of the blessings that God has in store for us.
I also love how David was like, “and God, slap them so hard you knock teeth from their grill!” 😂 Definitely sounds like one of my prayers.
Thank you Father God for keeping every last one of your promises. Thank you for protecting us against the seen and the unseen. Thank you Father for being willing to slap a few people on my behalf so that I won’t have to. Thank you Jesus for your unconditional love, mercy, and grace. I I pray that You continue to bless everyone in need of all of You. I praise you and lift your name of high. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Thank you friends for reading my thoughts. Please comment below your thoughts on todays chapter. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.
Welcome back to our 150 days of Psalm challenge. To be honest, it was difficult sitting down today. My mind began to plan all of the other things that I needed to get done, but I found my way here with my Bible in hand. So let’s get to it.
1 Why do the nations conspire[a] and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b]; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
I love this chapter. Sometimes I feel that my problems are too big for God, but this chapter clearly states that God is bigger than any circumstance, any foe. I love how the author explains how fierce God comes to our defense when someone or something is threatening us. The Lord also graces us with His love and blessings while punishing the people or circumstance that is trying to destroy us.
Just like He stated in chapter one, anything we ask for, it will be given to us freely (v. 7-9). How wonderful is it that God fights our battles and He promises that we will find peace and blessings with Him? All we have to do is trust so we can see and be prepared for the blessings coming our way. God thank you for your guidance, grace, love, and strength. When we are weak, You are strong Father and we thank You for that. No problem, no illness, no virus, no circumstance is too big for you Father. Thank you Father God for such a wonderful gift.
Thank you all for reading my thoughts today. Please let me know what the Holy Spirit said to you while reading the chapter. I’m definitely interested to know.
Also, my plan is about to expire. I have started a GoFundMe account to renew my plan and keep my domain. If God puts it on your heart to donate, here is the link:
I love you all and please don’t forget to pray for one another.
Today is a glorious day. God woke me up this morning and gave me the grace and courage to blog today. I have been facing writers block. Mainly because I was distracting myself with the ways and stress of the world and not ways of the Word. I can blame mental illness, I can blame stress, or I can blame my circumstances. When the cold hard fact is my behavior lately has been very unbecoming of a princess of the Most High King, but thank you Jesus that we have a Heavenly Father that not only forgives, but shows grace, patience, and understanding while doing it. My mistakes are just that, mistakes. And my past is where it’s suppose to be, in the past…even if it was just a day or two ago. Nonetheless, today is a new day, day one. Day one for better choices. Day one for growing closer to God. Day one to become the woman I’m supposed to be.
Late last night, as I was meditating, God gave me an idea on what to do about our relationship and my writers block. For the next 150 days, I will read and blog about Psalm. It’s called 150 days of Psalms Challenge. I truly believe that the peace and clarity that I seek will be provided in these scriptures. I also believe that my soul will be restored with nothing but the Living Water and not the tainted water of my own personal desires. So, my posts will be short and sweet (let’s be honest, I am known to ramble so I can’t promise anything). I will let you guys knows what Psalm I read and talk about what in the scripture stood out to me and anything else God brings to mind for me to talk about. I’m excited about this journey and I hope you all will join me.
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Wow! I would like to say that I did not read the first chapter before I started typing this blog. God, I love how You make your directions so clear for me to follow because whew, Chile! The Lord knows I can be hardheaded. For me, this chapter verifies how I’ve been feeling about my behavior lately. Last week, I spoke to my mentor about it and she said, “Ashleygirl, you bring the company you keep spirits into your home. Even if they do not come into your home.” Today, that makes even more sense then the day she said it.
Also, my takeaway is, if I delight myself in God’s Word, I would become like “trees planted by streams of water – whatever they do propers”. If you’ve ever seen a tree near a stream of water, you will know how tall and strong they are. They are known to face some of the worst weather conditions and still flourish. Why? Because they are rooted deep in a never ending supply of fresh water. Following the ways of the world has gotten me frustrated, angry, careless, reckless, relentless, and so much more; that sounds like chaff (scaly parts of seeds or flowers/finely chopped straw) blowing away in the wind to me (v. 4); unproductive and unpredictable.
In this chapter, to me, God promises that if I immerse myself in His Word, that everything I do according to His Will will prosper. Hmmm…. 🤔 Ok, God, sounds like a deal to me.
Thank you friends for reading my thoughts and spending this time with me. Let’s do this together. I’m excited to see where we are at the end of the 150 days.
The disease of addiction spreads like a wildfire. It destroys everything and everyone in it’s path; leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. It only takes seconds to destroy life long relationships and memories. And if you’re fortunate, and can take years to rebuild. It doesn’t care if you have children, if you’re a small business owner, a wife, a mother, a child. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor. It doesn’t care about your social status or achievements. It doesn’t care about you or me.
Addiction is the most selfish lover you would ever have. She will take and take from you, only leaving you scraps of satisfaction in the end. Sooner or later, her appetite grows bigger and stronger. Then one day, you wake up and realize she has completely taken over your life. You look around and your friends and family have all disappeared. You go to the ATM to find you are overdrawn by hundreds. You are in complete shambles. Lost. Shaken. Confused.
We can be addicted to anything. We all know this, right? But how much is it taking over your life? How much time do you spend wanting and thinking about one thing? Have we put ourselves or a loved one in jeporedy to obtain this one thing?
The disease of addiction is a powerful. I have seen it in action with my own eyes. If we pay close attention, we will see the disease spread throughout a small space within minutes. The disease of addiction breeds with hate, depression, anxiety, fear, self-loathing, etc. And whenever you have a small group of people, for instance who are experiencing the above emotions, the disease of addiction grows more intense. The desire of wanting to escape from the hell of mental anguish is beyond words. Even the craziest of ideas will sounds like great one if it means we will have release from what we are currently feeling. We are literally in the fire. And it burns ever single moment of every single day.
So, how can we battle this? The disease of addiction is very present and alive. So, how do we fight against it. Because truth be told, everyone is affected by the disease of addiction; wether you are the user or the loved ones of the user or the people, related or unrelated, who are affected by our poor choices. One way to fight the disease of addiction is stop feeding the fire. The addiction feeds the disease. The more we feed it the more it grows and the hunger it gets. Also, surround ourselves with a community of “firefighters”. We may have lost people due to hurt that has been caused, but nows the time to allow God to introduce us to new people. Everyone comes and leaves our lives when they have served their purpose and vice versa. When God brings new people into our lives, they are there for a reason or season.
The disease of addiction doesn’t have to live long if we don’t let it. We can work hard to cut it off at the head so it no longer continues to grow.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Fortunately, God loves us through our addictions, our pain, our struggles. God guides us through the process and the journey. The journey to clean living is not an easy one. It requires honesty and dedication to the truth of God and who we are to Him. The enemy will try to get us to believe that addiction is all we need. That the disease of addiction is incurable and it is a prison that we will never be able to escape from.
It’s not true! Its a lie from the pits of hell. We are already forgiven. We are already saved from the prison of addiction. And we have everything we need to walk in the purpose that God has set for our lives. All is required of us is a little faith because the Bible says that only a little faith can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20).
Thank you so much for reading my thoughts today. I appreciate and love every single one of you. Please remember to pray for one another and a little faith is all you need.
We all can say that 2020 was an interesting year to say the least. So many losses, so many deaths, so much misfortune. But those of us who are aware can also say that 2020 was a year of growth, faith, and self-realization.
In 2020, I was forced to look at me and who I was as a mother, wife, sister, friend, and overall child of God. Only after I realized how my selfishness was interfering with my life and the lives of my children, I was able to submit myself fully to God so that he can release me from the personal bondage I was imprisoned in.
In 2020, I experienced loss, grief, misfortune, physical and mental ailments. But I am proud and grateful to say that each misfortune, loss, and grieving moment, God turned it around for mine and His good.
I lost a husband, but I gained two of the best friends I’ve after had. I never thought our relationships would ever be restored, but God brought them back to me and we are stronger than ever.
I experienced misfortune, but I gained a job. I am a Chronic Care Case Manager for individuals who struggle with substance abuse/mental health disorders at a non-profit stabilization housing agency. And I absolutely love it! I get to share my story with my patients to encourage them to never give up, that God has a plan and there’s proof each day they wake up.
Most significantly, I lost sleep, peace, and joy. And now, I am experiencing peace,joy, love and much more. I am able to face stressful situations with patience and peace because of what the Lord has done for me. It would be foolish of me to stay in the pit that God pulled me out of.
Now, that this is the first day of the new year, to me its just another day. Another day to improve. Another day to grow. Another day to learn. Another day to forgive and move forward. God isn’t limited by time. Neither should we. 2021 didn’t come with a guarantee that it’ll be better than 2020. What it can be is an opportunity, each day we wake up, how to be better for ourselves and better for humanity.
Happy New Year to each and everyone of you. I pray that you all feel Gods eternal peace and joy. I pray you have the courage and strength to walk into what God has in store for you this year with your head held high. I love each of you and please remember to pray for one another.
I have some very exciting news. I have officially launched my YouTube channel called Healing with Harotian to go along with my blog.
I am very excited that God has chosen me and given me the opportunity to share my story in order to help my brothers and sisters. Although I am nervous beyond comprehension, I am confident because I know this is my purpose in life and I LOVE IT!
Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me. It has helped me realize that my talent, passion, and desire to help people is very real and God-given. This is an assignment called on my life that I am no longer willing to ignore because of fear and intimidation from the evils of this world. God is bigger and we are all going to get through this together.
I hope you all enjoy it! Love you all and please remember to pray for one another. God bless.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31
It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.
On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.
As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.
I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.
There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10
Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.
Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.
P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*
Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Some of you have been following my journey since day one. Thank you to my new followers as well. The past three years have been a roller coaster ride. Not the fun kind, but definitely necessary.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried around fear and sadness. It has caused me to make decisions, good and bad, that most people wouldn’t understand.
Three years ago, God started to gut me like a fish, removing all of the remnants of each encounter, each bad decision, each mistake. All of the shame, guilt, fear, sadness, etc. had to come out in order for me to walk in the purpose God has set for me. And that crap hurt! Sometimes still does. He has removed certain people out of my life that I once thought I could never live without. God has helped me forgive those who I thought I would never be able to forgive. He has given me the strength to love those I was determined to hate.
What’s the difference between the Ashley three years ago and the Ashley today? Complete and utter surrender. Understanding that my life is not my own and when I try to control my life and the outcome of certain situations, I get in my own way and fall straight on my face. Ugh! And man, that hurts, too! I ultimately create my own misery.
I used to believe people when they would say, “Life is pain. You just have to deal with it.” That’s not true. I’m going to shame the devil by dropping this fun fact: once we accept Jesus, surrender to God’s will and not our own, life becomes beautiful. Reread that. Everything is possible that once felt impossible. We are able to pour into other people what God is pouring into us. We begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I’m not saying things arent going to be challenging, but I have good news. The more challenges we face, the more opportunity we have to draw closer to Abba Father. The closer we draw to God, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the easier we are able to see our circumstances through our Fathers eyes and not our own, which is awesome because my vision is tore up from the floor up. OK, maybe I shouldn’t bring that phrase back, but I tried. 🤪
The picture above is me in 2018; sick, depressed, 99 pounds soaking wet. I was stressed all of the time. I was trying to do everything in my own strength (which as you can see wasn’t much), including trying to control those around me to fit my agenda on what I thought life was suppose to look like.
The above picture was taken five days ago. I am a healthy 100 and something pounds 😁 and have completely surrendered to the Lord who’s agenda for my life and the lives of my children is so much better than my own.
The road to recovery is not a easy one, nor is it for the faint in heart. Every morning I have to pull up my big girl draws and remind myself that Gods will is better than mine. Surrendering is tough, especially when you’re stubborn, selfish, and arrogant like myself. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ that I get a fresh start each morning to do better than the day before.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I love each and every one of you. Please don’t forget to pray for one another. Remember, we can disagree and still love on each other.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.-2 Corinthians 5:17
It has been a while since I’ve since this bright white screen waiting to be filled with thoughts, dreams, and feelings. So much has happened in my life since my short sabbatical from blogging and I cannot wait to share it with you guys. Quite honestly, it’s going to take a lot of courage to talk about some things, but my words, my experiences need to be shared. For the sake of beautiful people suffering in silence.
But, this what this post is about. I want to dedicate this post specifically for this occasion. **Drum roll please**
As of five minutes ago, I am officially done with school. Yes, that is right. I officially have my Associates degree. I started an accelerated program last year shortly after my husband left. Shortly after I started school, my relationship with my husband began to severely decline. Then Covid-19 happened. And then homeschooling, then lawsuits, divorce, bills, sobriety, I can go on and on. I spent so many days and nights believing that I wasn’t going to make it. I’ve completed many homework assignments in the middle of the night sobbing over heartache and circumstances. I continued to pick up my textbook when I watched my brothers and sisters lose their lives for their beliefs and skin color.
I cant believe it. It is truly a miracle. The odds were stacked against me in every way possible. Yet, God sought me through. He gave me strength. He provided way after way after way. He did this for me. I’m still in awe a bit. My feelings are all over the place.
So I will leave with this: This is only the beginning. I know and see the strength living inside of me now. I have an army of angels behind me every single day, every single moment of every single battle. I can walk in victory trusting God to do what He always promises to do. After the past 13 months I’ve had, nothing can stop me now.
Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Please remember to pray for one another more than ever. I love you all!
This has been quite a year and it is only June. I’m not going to talk about what is happening in the country right now. If you have a television or on social media, then you know what is happening. If you are like me, you’ve probably even gotten into a heated debate or two over your views and opinions.
Instead, I am here to offer a solution or help for the unrest that may be happening in your mind. Before we found out about the sinister death of George Floyd, I began working on a presentation detailing ten mental wellness ideas that could help us get through qauratine. But now because of the unrest happening in our communities, this same list can help you calm your mind and nerves during this time as well.
Please click the link to download your free copy. I pray it helps you.
Please remember to pray for one another. God bless each and every one of you.
I’m learning during this season of life the many ways that one could become codependent on our spouses, friends, family members, etc. Being codependent on anything other than God can cause a lot of heartache because people will always disappointment us. Not because we intentionally try to, but because we live in a broken world and no one is perfect. I have disappointed plenty of people and I pray that they all forgive me one day for it. I’ve allowed my own hurt and pain that I’ve experienced in my life to lead me to do things that I have since regretted.
One doesnt wake up codependent. There are traumas in our lives that trick us into believing that we have to depend on others, even unhealthy relationships, to help us get through this life.
One way that we find ourselves becoming codependent is when we aren’t able to heal from our childhood traumas. Hmmm, traumas?! Such as small word with ugly actions behind it. When I think of that word, I think of extreme situations that only “count” as trauma, such as, beatings, rape, molestation, mental, physical, and spiritual abuse. Yet, I have learned there are subtle “traumas” that would cause us to retreat into a codependent lifestyle because we feel we aren’t good enough for the world.
So what do unhealed childhood trauma’s look like:
Are you fearful of rejection and abandonment?
Have you experienced loss of a parent or caregiver?
Do you find yourself over-sharing, over-giving, and/or over-explaining?
Do you consider yourself a people pleaser?
Do you find yourself needing excessive validation?
Do you lack healthy boundaries?
Do you find yourself in and out of toxic relationships?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, like me, then you probably have unresolved childhood traumas. So, our next question is what kind of trauma’s could have occurred in our lives that lead to codependency and tolerance of toxic relationships? This list doesn’t always lead to codependency, but it will give us a good idea on how to acknowledge and begin our healing.
Did you grow up with an emotionally absent, or physically and/or emotionally abusive parents?
Were you bullied or isolated by your peers or family members?
Did you grow up with emotionally and physically abusive peers and/or family members?
Were you often ignored by your parents, family members, or care givers?
Were you often peer pressured into doing inappropriate things?
Were you left alone for long periods of time as a child?
Was there inconsistency in love, care, and affection by your parent or caregiver?
Were you shamed about eating habits? Too much? Too little?
Was there inappropriate sharing of personal details by your parents? (emotional incest)
Did you experience “helicopter parenting” where the child isn’t allowed to differentiate from caregivers/parents?
Now, you may be like me and say “Oh, crap! This is me!” I have not only experienced some of these things in my own childhood, but I have done some of things to my own children. When I came to this realization, it prompted even more forgiveness for my own mother and how I was raised. I believe that although my mother made many mistakes, they weren’t intentional. She did the best that she could with the training that she had, or lack there of. Also, realizing that we could do things to our own children without being consciously aware of them. As parents, we can just try to do better and be better.
The only way we are able to do that, is to heal from what was done to us. This means forgiving those who have hurt us, including ourselves. I remember crying for days when I realized the ways I have hurt my children. Anyone who knows me will tell you I will go to war for my children, no matter who they are. So to realize I was one of those people, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Either way, this reflection is to understand why we are doing the things we are doing so we can repair our hearts and heal from them, not to shame us. I have to admit, because I deal with a lot of shame (that’s the enemies go to when he wants to make me feel really low), it is very easy for me to look at this list and have little to no hope for the future. But then I have to remember the promises of God when it comes to shame and codependency.
God says that when our troubles are too heavy to bear….
You (God) keep track of all my sorrows. You (God) have collected all my tears in your (God) bottle. You (God) have recorded each one in your books.
Psalm 56:8, parenthesis added
How awesome is it to know that not only are we forgiven for our wrong doings, but we are also loved so much that God tends to our wounds and despair? Yes we mess up, but it doesn’t matter to God because He has seen us at our very worse; past, present, and future. Jesus died so that we have a life filled with joy even when things seem lost and overwhelming. Having joy doesn’t mean leading a perfect, stress free life. It simply means that we recognize that we aren’t perfect, but it’s because of our imperfections we are loved and adored by our Lord Jesus Christ, which in turn gives us His perfect peace.
After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!
1 Thessalonians 2:19 NLT
Codependency is not our final story, nor are the trauma’s that happened in our childhood. Once I was told, “pain is weakness leaving the body”. When our eyes are opened to the mistakes that we have made, the pain that we have experienced, and the character defects that need to be fixed, this is our chance to allow God to come in with His mighty power and do His mightiest work within us. He wants nothing but good things for us (Psalm 57:2). So let’s allow Him, shall we?
Thank you all for reading my thoughts. A lot of the information I received, was from this awesome psychologist that I follow on social media. You can find Ginger Dean, who specializes in recovery after toxic/abusive relationships, on Facebook and Instagram @lovingmeafterwe. She has helped me tremendously set healthy boundaries with the people in my life that I have had toxic relationships with. Although I am a continued work in progress, it is helpful to be surrounded by a community of people that know exactly what we are going through and specialists that can help us along the way. Please love yourselves and remember to pray for one another.
Today I would like to talk about something that I have been dealing with. Something that has recently come to my attention. It all started after my husband and I first separated. I was so confused as to why I was so devastated. Like I said before, I knew that it was coming. I could feel it. He was becoming more distant from our family each day. So when he left, I was genuinely surprised that I had the reaction that I had. It felt like all of the negative feelings that I’ve ever felt in my entire my life came flooding out. I mean, it makes sense. When I would experience trauma in my life, I learned at a early age to ignore it. I would numb them with something or somebody.
For months after our seperation, I felt frustrated because I couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I think it is normal to feel upset when our marriages become rocky and troubled, but there was something very abnormal about my reaction. I’ll talk about what I went through in a seperate post. Now I can say that I am in a healthier place. I find myself toggling between acceptance and depression. I miss my husband very much, but I have come to the realization that I cannot control nor manipulate this situation to fit my own feelings or agenda. How did I come to this conclusion, you ask?
Well, have you ever heard of codependency? Codependency is “a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as ‘relationship addiction’ because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive” according to Mental Health America.
I remember when my husband and I started marriage counseling last year, our Pastor brought up that we both may be struggling with codependency. I immediately dismissed it. It was hard for me to admit that this may be something that I could be struggling with. Quite honestly, I think I ignored it because I felt like I was already dealing with so much, I couldn’t add one more thing to my plate of messed-upness. “I’m not codependent on nobody” I told myself, yet, I sought validation from my husband about how I looked, how my cooked, how talented I was, and how I was as a mother. I felt so low about myself for so long, I wanted, no, I needed my husband to make me feel like I was enough. And when he didn’t, I believed the lies that came from the world that said I had to look, act, and be a certain way to be accepted.
How do we know that we may be struggling with codependency?
Codependency Character Traits
An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
An extreme need for approval and recognition
A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
A compelling need to control others
Lack of trust in self and/or others
Fear of being abandoned or alone
Difficulty identifying feelings
Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
Problems with intimacy/boundaries
Difficulty making decisions
When I first read this list, I couldn’t believe it. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and relieved. I’ve always known that I was different, that my struggle with my emotions was different from those around me. I would always wonder why people handled circumstances and situations in a healthier fashion than I did. If someone hurt me, I would always find some extreme, over the top way to hurt them back instead of crying and overeating ice cream like normal person.
The more research I did on what codependency is and how it can effect our lives, it was undeniable. This is why I felt so devastated. I made my husband my everything, so when he walked out the door, it felt like he literally took a piece of me with him. Being someones everything can be very exhausting. Thinking about it, I feel bad for him. I can see how he felt like he was trapped in a corner, while at the same time expecting things from me, his wife, to give him that I wasn’t able to give. When dealing with codependency, it is a tricky monster that must be stopped, but we must be very careful how we approach it.
God has given me the ability to take responsibility for why my marriage fell apart. I remember saying to him, “why are you doing this to me? what about everything we’ve been through? what about everything I’ve done for you?” God showed me that this was selfish thinking, or as a good friend would call it, “stinking thinking”. When we love someone, there shouldn’t be any expectation from that person. Love comes from God because God is Love. A very wise person told me that the love in our hearts weren’t put there to stay. Jesus said:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22 : 37-39
I tried to hold onto my husband so tightly so he could continue to give me the validation I desperately needed. It’s normal to want to feel validated and wanted, but what isnt normal is looking to people for that validation because Jesus is the only One that can fill it. He is the only One that can make us feel whole.
Unbeknownst to me, I needed my husband to leave in order to draw closer and depend on God more to help find myself again. All I wanted was understanding and now I feel like I have it. It’s like when you have a car and the engine light is on but you don’t know what is wrong. Now I know whats wrong. Now I’m able to concentrate on myself and do what I need to do to get healthy for my kids and I. They need me to be healthy and strong so I can guide them through the rough patches in their lives. The Lord is generously peeling back the onions of my life, while helping me tackle everything that has been keeping me in bondage for decades. Oh, boy, it’s painful, but I am determined to allow God to strengthen me so I can continue to stand firm during the war raging in the spirit realm over my soul.
For the past couple of months, although it has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do in my life thus far, I have been able to genuinely love and forgive my husband. At one point, I never though I would be able to do that. I’m able to think of him without feeling a stabbing pain in my chest. I’m able to listen to love songs and not feel bitter and abandoned. I able to talk to him when needed like a civilized person and not feel hate, sadness, or dis-contempt. And it is AWESOME!
When I began this journey of healing, I was afraid. Healing means we have to face what we need healing from. And when we are used to dodging those bullets, it frightening to know that we must face them. Although it is a painful process, it is so worth it. I am able to have a relationship with my husband that’s not filled with dysfunction all while giving him the space he needs to seek God without my interference. Only God can save both him and I. Our identity, love and affirmation must come from Him alone. The only thing that God would like for me to do for my husband is continue to choose to love him everyday and pray for him. And I’m thankful because that is all I have in me to do.
If you find that you struggle with codependency, there are so many resources that can help you. Just like any 12-step program, the first step is to admit that our lives have become unmanageable and that we need a Higher Power or God to help us get back on track. They offer online Zoom support groups if you would like to hear how other people are dealing with it in their lives. Just go to http://www.coda.com. It has helped me tremendously.
Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for reading my thoughts. Remember you are not alone. Please email me if you want to talk or have questions. God bless each and every one of you and please remember to pray for one another.
Yesterday was my husbands and I wedding anniversary. At first, it wasn’t on my mind because my kids and I were so busy getting acclimated to the new online school systems that were assigned to them. That in it self was enough work to keep my brain occupied from any feelings, let alone bad ones. We could have had a hurricane come through our neighborhood and I wouldn’t have noticed, we were so busy.
Anyway, after everything cooled down and I looked down at my phone, it hit me: April 20, 2020. “WOW! It’s our anniversary.” I’m unable to say what I felt because so many emotions began flooding in. The other day, I blogged about allowing yourself to feel your emotions in order to move past them, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t allow myself to feel everything that was happening in my heart. It was too overwhelming. So, I sat down and wrote what was on my mind. I honestly don’t think it makes any sense, but I would like to share it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I will look back at this day, at this moment, and then, it will make sense. But for now, here it it.
Do you think about me? I think about you. I’m reminded by my ring finger that is tattooed. I’m reminded when our son tells a joke, One that you would’ve said in order to soak, Up the stress and discomfort that weighed on our chest, When life became a utter mess. Thank you for being apart of all of our great memories, That good, the bad, and the ugly. I will never forget the joy that you brought, During some of our most darkest days apart. But I no longer can focus on what we used to have, Yet instead I have to focus on my relationship with God. It’s time to bid ado for now, Maybe in the future we can say a proper goodbye, Without the anger, accusation and nastiness that used to come along with it, Because there used to be a time where this would’ve never been the case. I have to give my heart to Jesus now, He’s the only one that can help me so I will take a bow, From all that I thought was right, pure, and loving, And focus on my real true love, Hint: I’m His Beloved.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. Please remember to pray for one another. Love you all!
“When you pass through the waters, I (God) will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” -Isaiah 43:2
Today it is hard to write about this stage because I don’t find myself in this space right, although it very possible I will find myself at this stage again; anger! In the last blog post https://harotianessentials.org/2020/04/07/shock-and-denial/, I stated that during the stages of grief, it is not a one and done situation. We may find ourselves going back and forth between stages. I’ve spent many sleepless, teary nights wondering why I feel angry when I thought I had accepted my situation. When we find ourselves in a devastating, life altering circumstances, we have two choice that we can make; we could allow ourselves to feel the emotions or we could stuff them.
Accepting Our Emotions
When we accept our emotions, yes it sucks. It really sucks. I really, really sucks, but there is an upside. Accepting our emotions means letting go the thought that we can control how we feel. Feelings aren’t bad. Feelings can’t hurt us. But feelings can lead us to do harmful things, such as, abuse our loved ones, become or feed our unhealthy addictions, or allowing ourselves to fall into deeper depression.
When I was first diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder I, I didn’t accept it. When I felt those highs and lows, I covered them up with destructive behaviors which played a part in the dissolution of my first marriage (probably my second), loss of great friendships, loss of family relationships, and my inability to hold a job for longer than six months. Some of those losses haunt me til this very day, yet they are learning experiences, contribute to my growth, and has helped me to forgive myself.
Now that I am trying to accept and deal with my emotions, especially anger since that is my go-to, I am able to reach out for support, go to counseling, and find other ways to deal with my emotional discomfort before I make other terrible decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I still make horrible decisions when I am emotional, they’re just not as damaging or consistent as they used to be. I’m able to step back and look at the situation from the perspective of my support system and do what is right for my family and my recovery journey.
God gave us emotions for a reason. We live in a broken, painful world so God knew before the world was created what we would be up against. Throughout the Bible, He gives us comfort by not only validating our feelings, but by also giving us comfort and ways to deal with them. Whats so awesome about God is that no matter the emotion we express, good or bad, He will forgive us and help us cope.
When we accept our emotions, we are able to open our hearts to Jesus and allow him to heal our wounds, all the while relinquishing that right that we feel like we have to hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness. And trust me! Holding onto to unforgiveness and bitterness is the worst because it is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. It controls our lives, how we treat ourselves and other people.
During this stage of grief, I find myself angry with a lot. I am angry with myself for not seeing this coming. I am angry that I’m in this position at 34 years old when I saw my life being so different. I am angry because a lot of times I feel lonely and depressed. And I am angry that I can’t control that I’m angry, but…..
I can control where I place that anger, in the hands of Jesus. He is the only person who knows my true feelings, where those feelings are coming from, and how to deal with them. Most importantly, he will comfort me and heal my wounds. There are so many days and nights that I would cry and imagine myself sitting in the lap of my heavenly Father. I know that He is with me, holding me, comforting me, making sure that I make it through this season. EVERY SINGLE TIME I cry out for Him, Gods presence is so real and I ALWAYS feel better and have hope at the end of my tears. What a mighty God we serve. His peace and love is everlasting, meaning it never ends. His peace and love never fails, meaning it always works. His peace and love is living inside of us, meaning we can access it whenever, wherever we want.
Stuffing Our Feelings
When we stuff our feelings, we are more prone to participating in destructive behaviors.; drug addictions, promiscuity, overeating, decline in mental and physical health, etc. Holding onto unforgiveness and bitterness is one of the most damaging things we can do to our mind, body, and souls.
I always tell my kids that forgiving someone is not about the person that wronged you, but about allowing yourself to move on and continue to view the world the way Jesus does. Trust me, it’s hard and it takes a lot of prayer, but it’s so worth it. You experience so much peace from it. Not human peace because that would be impossible. The peace I’m speaking of is biblical peace: when the storm is all around us, when everything is going wrong, but we can still be thankful and sing songs of praise to our God because we know that it’ll work out for our good. Amen.
So, what does God say about anger:
“Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.”
Psalm 37 : 8
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15 : 1
“Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge.”
Ecclesiastes 7 : 9
Now, how does God help us with anger:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 6-7
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.
Philippians 4: 8
Ultimately, it is OK to be angry during our grieving process, but it is very important that we do not hold on to it. Give it to God because we weren’t made to take on such a burden. I find myself angry a lot, but since I have been in recovery, I no longer find myself angry for a long time.
My “anger routine” is get angry, soak in it and feel sorry for myself, realize I’m being silly, pray my forgiveness prayer, get frustrated because I feel like its not working, call my mentor so she can give words of encouragement, cry, laugh, reread my forgiveness prayer, feel better, and move forward. Sometimes the process is shorter, sometimes its longer, but in the end I must tell you, it is all worth it. And I’ve found that I become less angry at things and people that I used to become angry at, at the drop of a hat. It’s really working! Who knew? *I say sarcastically*
Anyway, thank you for reading my thoughts. I pray that I was able to encourage you if you are dealing with anger right now. I promise, with God in your corner, you will make it through. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you want to vent or talk. God bless you and please remember to pray for one another.