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.
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.
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
What a fruitful week this has been. I cannot say that I have been able to accomplish all of the things that I’ve wanted to do, but I can say that I am not easily overwhelmed as I used to be. I am forced to accept things as they are. It’s either that or have a nervous breakdown annndddddd who literally has time for that?!?
Yesterday I would say has been the best day I have had in a very long time. It was just like any other day accept:
God granted me the serenity to accept the things I could not change
Courage to change the things that I could
Wisdom to know the difference
Whew! Thank you Jesus. The kids were fighting, the house was (well, who am I kidding?) IS a mess, and I’m a little behind on homework, me and the kids. But it’s ok. I also found myself giggling at the sounds of my kids arguing with each other over who’s fart smells the worst after eating the easter eggs we painted. Or walking into a room finding Rj dancing like a wild man, Christian cheering him on, and Hannah recording it. It was like….pure bliss. PLUS, I still made time to do the things I wanted to do, not what I had to do.
I started researching how to start my new up and coming podcast! That’s right people! I’m starting a podcast. I’ll keep you up to date on that.
I doodled in my notebook
I attended my online support group
And drum roll please…….I got the kids in bed before 10pm. BOOM! *drops mic*
*Picks mic back up cause Im not done* To sum up, in the words of Ice Cube, “Today was a good day…” And I thank you all and many others for your prayers. God is an awesome God, but prayers definitely make a difference, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
So, why did I title this blog, “When Your Bed Becomes Your Desk”? Well, this is the first time since my separation that I don’t feel so alone in my bed. Since my kids prefer to sleep in their own beds, tonight I am surrounded by the things I enjoy the most: my bible, writing equipment, my kids art work, reading material, and complete silence.
Tonight, while doing my bible study, I came across this scripture:
…he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit
To me, this is God reaffirming that everything will continue to be ok because that was His intent when Jesus died for us. He never promised sunshine and rainbows everyday, but after every storm, the sun shines and the rain….bows (even the wind and waves obey him -Mark 4:41). And yesterday, was my sunshine and rainbows. Without his mercy, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my kids smelly farts and messy tendencies, their flaws overcrowding my flaws because the same love that my Father has for me, I am able to extend to them. The same grace and mercy my Father has for me, Jesus’ overflowing water runneth over to them. And that is the best gift that the Lord can ever give to me during this quarantine.
Thank you for reading my thoughts tonight. It is currently 1:25am and I should really scoot this stuff over and go to sleep. Nah, screw it, I’ll get comfy on the couch and sleep there. Anyway, love you all and please remember to pray for one another.
If you have been keeping up, I’ve kind of been going through it. The past couple of post were written in the middle of night when my mind refuses to turn off and only concentrate on what I am missing. Like I said in my “Do I Have A Future?” https://harotianessentials.org/2020/03/28/do-i-have-a-future/ post, there are many nights that I miss my best friend and companion. It’s funny how no matter what a person has done or said, your mind will always remember the great times that was shared. I believe that my mind kicks into self-preservation mode so I won’t become to overwhelmed by the reality of what has lead to our current circumstance. It definitely doesn’t help that the kids and I live in the same house that we shared and having a constant reminder of our wedding vowels from tattoos that we got together. Lesson learned!
But, I am so tired of whining. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of giving life and attention to something that no longer exist. I love that I am able to get our my feelings in a healthy way, but I also feel like it’s keeping me stuck. I’m ready to move on, move forward, and move directly into Gods purpose for me. This tragedy is suppose to teach me, strengthen me, and direct me to become the Ashley I’ve always wanted to become and more. It reminds me that God says that our faith in Him will allow Him to do more for us than we have ever imagined.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. -Ephesians 3:20
As I’ve been doing some self-reflection and mediating through godly counsel and secular counseling, I have come to understand that the trauma that I faced growing up has carried into my adulthood. Although I am hurt, I fully understand that I played a large part in the dissolution of my marriage. I asked him to repair hurt that only God can heal. I’ve asked him to love me in which God only can. And because he is hurting and broken from his own issues, like the rest of us, he buckled under the pressure. I am not, by all means, excusing his behavior, it’s just God has allowed me to see things from my husbands perspective. It has allowed the forgiveness process to run a little bit more smoothly. I find myself having compassion for him, when sometimes I think I should still be angry.
In order for me to be happy and move forward, I have to begin to grieve what was lost growing up. Some where along the way, I learned that I am only worthy of conditional love, where my self-worth is that of a non-human being. That is not my husbands fault, nor is it his responsibility to fix it. Not only is it Gods responsibility, but He wants to do it. The amazing thing about God is that He knows exactly what I need to heal those broken parts of me so I can move on to something more real and substantial even if I don’t understand it. Which is amazing because my plate is already full.
In order for me to allow God to move in my life to fill my hurt with His love and my brokenness with His grace, I have to move out of my own way. I have to let go of what I thought was perfect for me so He can do what is actually perfect for me. Recently, I have been writing down the benefits that I have experienced since the separation:
I’ve definitely grown closer to God
I pray a lot more
I take my meds more consistently. Before I used to be so distracted by what was being said and done behind my back, it was hard for me to focus on anything else.
I’m allowing God to make me better, not bitter. I am constantly asking God to help me to not only forgive him, but other people that have hurt me.
I have the courage to face my own flaws, such as, codependency, unjust love, and the hurt that I have caused others.
I have stepped into forgiving myself while realizing I am forgiven by the Lord
I am able to concentrate on loving and seeing myself the way God sees me, thus, being able to love my children the way He does
And this is just to name of few. I am excited that God is working within me. Sometimes, yes, the hurt is unbearable, but that’s when we hold onto those promises:
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. -Psalm 94:19
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. -Psalm 40:2
Well, that is all I have for today. Wait, ha! I finally made a short post. In your face self-pity! Anyway, thank you all for reading my thoughts. I love you and please remember to pray for one another.
God provides the core needs of our life for love, acceptance, and significance. There is not a person in the world who is able to give us exactly what we need except God Himself. And we can claim the promise of Philippians 4:19: ‘And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus’. But remember, God will meet your true needs, not necessarily your perceived needs.
-Stephanie Tucker, The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook
I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Years. I haven’t been blogging because there have been unfortunate events happening in my life that I’ve had to work out. I am not sure if I mentioned in my last post (and frankly I’m too lazy to check) but July of last summer, I suffered a devastating loss. I’ve been afraid to talk about it because I guess I still don’t know how to process it and fear of judgment, rejection, and ridicule. Yet, I feel that sharing my experience is something I’m obligated to do.
The stages of grief have been unexpected, torturous, and lonely. Right now, I have good days and bad days. Just when I think I have a handle on the good days, a bad day will come out of the blue to remind me that this agony is far from over. Although this loss was probably for the best, it doesn’t make the hurt, hurt less. It doesn’t make the loss more bearable. And it doesn’t make the good memories go away.
To be honest, I’m really confused. My reaction to this loss is unexpected. At least, I didn’t think I would be this devastated. The event is something I thought would happen but didn’t see it coming. I still had hope for reconciliation and restoration, but it has become clear that I’ve been wearing blinders while living in a fantasy world that I built for myself to avoid pain and heartache. Thinking back, it is how I dealt with trauma from my childhood. I simply stuffed my feelings down, put on a “mask”, and became who I thought people wanted me to be only so that I could feel accepted. So it would only make sense that during this loss, all of those other feelings have bubbled up to the surface all at once.
In this situation, this person had me to believe that they saw past the “mask” and they loved me unconditionally anyway. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to hear those words from someone I loved, no matter if they meant it or not. Looking back, I’m unsure if they meant it. I only know at this point, it doesn’t matter. So, the blinders went on and common sense and logic went out the window.
I was hoping that when I began digging into my past, it would help me not only heal from specific experiences I’ve had throughout life that resulted in feelings of abandonment and rejection, but it would also help me better deal with my present. Yea…not so much. I’ve been wanting to skip the grieving process and get this over with already. I don’t want to feel what I feel. I don’t want to feel unloved and lied to. I don’t want to feel hopeless and worthless. And I don’t want to feel like every bad thing this person ever said about me is right and that I am the cause of such an extreme loss.
While suffering through the stages of grief, I’m finding it extremely difficult to do the simplest of things. Imagine depression 2.0. I’ve had moments of happiness, especially with my kids, but most of my days are spent trying NOT to completely fall apart. I’ve neglect things that I need to do for myself because my home and children come first, and even those things seem impossible at times. Once that’s out of the way, I don’t have the energy to do anything else. For example, I can’t even tell you the last time I washed my hair. Yea, yea, I know, gross, but it’s the truth.
Although people go through this every day, it feels like the end of the world to me. It feels like I’m hanging on by thread without life support. It feels like this person has died versus only walking out of my life. Its obvious something is wrong, so when people ask, I give the generic, “I’m ok”. I mean, what else am I supposed to say? Repeating my sorrow over and over, to me, is invading the curious person’s positive energy, thus making them leave me as well.
I have a deep longing inside of me that would love to climb into my mother’s lap so I can cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. The little girl inside of me is screaming out for hugs, kisses, and fresh chocolate chip cookies. It seems silly because I’m a mother myself, but I’ve never had it and I feel at this moment in life, now would be a good time to have it. But it’s just not possible, so I’m trying to look to God, other family members, and my mentor to fulfill whatever is missing from my heart and guidance.
My mind is filled with so many things I should do; pray, worship God, read His Word, pray some more, anoint the house, forgive the people that have hurt me, make amends to the people I have hurt, etc., etc. They say to take one day at a time, but when my heart is hurting so much, I can’t help but think of the future and how I can’t wait for this part to be over. So then, I will automatically begin to think about the steps that I need to take to get there. And then there’s that good old, comparing myself to other people. For example, the other party in this circumstance seems to be unaffected by the last nine months, which breaks my heart even more, but hey, what can you do?.
After a while, I started asking myself, “Why am I the only person that is hurting like this? How can everyone handle this pain but me?” Then, I remember an excerpt that I read out of a book titled, The Christian Codependence Recovery Handbook (we’ll speak more about this another day) by Stephanie Tucker. She says:
One of the secrets we learn in walking with Jesus is that when we give Him control, in our weakness we are strong. Why? Because He has control and He is strong. However, if we are trying to be strong and in control, we are very weak. Every resource we need in life is found in our relationship with God. When we surrender control to Him, we come under His provision and protection.
…. when you feel defeated and tired, giving your life and will over to God can be the most incredible experience of your life.
I hate this season of my life. I feel hogtied to a boulder, but then when I read that paragraph above, I was reminded that I can rest in the knowledge that when I am at my weakest, it is at this point, God can do His best work in me, for me, and around me. Trying to control and manipulate my circumstances will only result in more heartache because I am not under His protection and provision. I leave myself wide open for Satan to fill my mind with negative, defeating thoughts and because I am weak, I easily succumb to them. I chose to surrender because it is in my brokenness that my Abba Father can pull me out of the darkness with my head held high, thus, truly living my life and not just surviving it.
This loss is a make or break moment. I believe we all experience at least one; a life event so unexpected, it shakes us to our very core and the only choices we have are to surrender to God and allow Him to mend our hearts while smothering us with His love and grace OR sitting in it, allowing bitterness, hate, and anger to plant roots deep inside our hearts.
I understand that my above feelings may sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself or that I am stuck in a revolving door of self-loathing and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was, but these are my honest feelings. My insecurities are ruining my life. I know for the fact that my loss isn’t talked about because it has become the social norm, but there are so many people, especially women who are suffering in silences that are in the same boat as I.
I’ve been afraid to share my story, although I know it needs to be told. So, this is me. Here I am. Putting it all out there. My insecurities. My weakness. My vulnaribilities. When we experience trials and tribulations, God always seems to have a breakthrough right around the corner. So, after all my complaining in this post, I would like to tell whoever is experiencing a devastating loss, here are some tips that I have learned in the past nine months to help me wake up to do it all over again until God decides to remove this mountain:
We must give ourselves grace for not “getting over it” when we think you should be over it
We cannot rush the grief process. It is something we must power through with the help of the only true and living God
We should allow ourselves to be vulnerable because God will do His mightiest work and the enemy will have no grounds to try to silence you
If you were betrayed, remember that our God is a God of justice and all things right. He will get justice for the wrong that was done to you. Let Him deal with that person as He sees fit.
If you are feeling any of the feelings I mentioned above, know that it is ok not to be ok.
And finally, find yourself a good support system to face those lonely days and nights. People that will encourage you and listen to you complain when you just can’t hold it any longer. Although I long for my mother’s embrace, I am grateful that I have other support systems that help me get through the days when I feel like I can’t go on any longer.
Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts. Although life seems impossible, I know that it is worth living. Let’s move forward together by supporting each other with prayer and honesty.
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” -James 1:16-18 (MSG)
Do you ever feel overwhelmed at how many things we have to do to keep ourselves emotionally at peace? Forgiveness is definitely one of those choices we have to make to ensure our hearts, minds, and souls are at peace. I wish that forgiveness was something that we would learn how to do once and then it comes easy peasy afterward, like riding a bike. If you don’t know by now, that is not the case. Sometimes forgiveness can be easy, sometimes it can feel like the most impossible task in the world, depending on who hurt you and how they did it.
My relationship with my mother has always been fickle to say the least. The hurt that she experienced from childhood to adulthood spilled over into her parenting choices. She did the best she could with what she was given, educationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Yet, she is a great example of what happens when you don’t allow yourself to forgive and move forward from pains that have happened.
(In my blog post, July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing, I speak about bitterness and how when not dealt with, it grows like a weed in your heart and soul, wreaking havoc amongst any blessings and relationships you are trying to have. Please click the link to take a read.)
I truly believed in my heart that the hurt I felt growing up was dealt with and forgiven. That I had truly moved on. That nothing she would say or do in the future would ever bother me again and that the new relationship that we were building outweighed actions from our past together.
I’m here to say, I was sadly mistaken. Recently, she did something that took me back to a space of hurt and betrayal. Let’s just say, my reaction was not that of someone who has forgiven all that has been said and done. When someone would ask me about how my relationship is with my mother, I would tell them, “It’s cool. I expect her to be who she is. She can’t hurt me anymore.” I believe when you accept someone for who they are and expect nothing from them, then the power they have to hurt you is non-existent.
I started seeing a new therapist. For those of you who are in therapy, you know the routine of talking about your past so they can get a good idea of who you are and why you’re that way? Well when talking about my childhood, my therapist asked me if I felt like I needed healing from it. I was so sure when I told her a firm, “No!” But my reaction to my mother’s indiscretion says otherwise.
See, it’s not what she did that is the problem. It’s the expectation that I had that she would be different that is the problem. My reaction says more about my heart then it does about hers. Why? Because she is who is she. I know this. She knows this.
So, why do we expect people to give what they just aren’t capable of giving? We say to ourselves, “Well, a mother should be this way. A sister or brother should be this way.” When in fact, they should be who God made them to be, even if it’s difficult for other people to handle. This is why God says when someone hurts you, look to Him, because is never changes AND He can fix it.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. -2 Peter 3:9
I never want to make the same mistakes my mother did as we all grew up, but that doesn’t mean my kids won’t be hurt by different mistakes I will make with them. I pray my kids will give me grace and understanding, knowing every decision I made, wrong or right, was what I thought was the best decision for our family.
I try to be transparent with my children about the illness’ I struggle with so they can understand when some things aren’t right with me, it’s not because of them, but because of me.
I know I need to show my mother that same grace and understanding, but it’s so fricking hard when her words and actions cut so deep beyond understanding. I mean, in my opinion, she has to know what she’s doing is hurtful and not right. Or maybe she doesn’t. I’m learning some people can only see what’s in front of them, not the ripple effect of their choices beyond said words or actions. Sometimes I can only see what’s in front of me. Only to learn afterward, I hurt someone that I love.
What does God say about forgiveness? He has a policy put in place for us for exact moments such as these. It’s then our responsibility to reach out to him for help to forgive the person that has hurt us.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32
I was told that unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting that other person to die. Not forgiving my mother would be more detrimental to me than it would be for her. Truthfully, I feel should wouldn’t care one way or another because right now, she can only see what I have done to hurt her.
God forgives us when we curse Him, forget about Him, blame Him, which are all things I have done at least once a day for the past couple of months. He’s so faithful and understanding, more than our earthly counterparts can give us.
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. -Romans 9:16
As much as this season in my life is breaking my heart, I know that God is using it to transform me, preparing me for what He has planned for me. And I want His will for me so badly, I can taste it. And if I have to trench through the mud to get there, then it’s time to put my big girl panties back on, stop complaining about what hurts, and be thankful for what doesn’t.
Pain is like an engine light coming on in your car. It’s a warning sign that something needs healing. Listen to it. Pray about it. Push through it. Not by yourself, but with God’s guidance. With your bible in tow and prayers on your lips and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.
Thank you all reading my thoughts today. Thank you, God, for this moment of reflection. Thank you for the energy and will to share this today. I pray it reaches the person(s) who needed to read this and it blesses them and those who struggle with unforgiveness.
This month is dedicated to forgiveness, which is something I know we all struggle with because the enemy likes to use it as a cage to keep us imprisoned, but God says we ALL have the key. Love you all and please remember to pray for one another. Also, pray for me; that God gives me the strength to continue to talk to you all through our blog.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. -Psalm 62:5
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our minds are enslaved to the things that we enjoy. There are so many things that we enjoy that keep us in the very prison we want to escape from. I’ll give you an example.
You know the hit television show, Game of Thrones, right? Well, I am such a huge fan, my family and I named our cat after one of the popular characters, Khaleesi. Needless to say, I love everything about the show. From the dramatic sword fights with blood spewing everywhere to the sexy, nude love scenes. I’ve been like an addict checking YouTube for updates, predictions, and new trailors for the upcoming, last season of the show.
But, God revealed to me that this show is very unhealthy for my spirit. Last season, I remember feelings “not right” immediately after I watched a episode. I was restless, unable to sleep. And once I feel asleep, my dreams were weird and eerie.
Bondage is like a prison cell and the deception of the enemy is the darkness. God is telling us to trust the light in front of it and follow it (Jesus). God is providing one light for each step at a time, but we have to put on foot forward. Sometimes he’ll even light up 2 lights in front of us for encourage. But ultimately, our goal is to walk through the prison doors, which have already been opened by the blood of the lamb. We just have to follow the light of Jesus as a guide to make sure we’re following the right directions.
Me watching Game of Thrones keeps me in the darkness. The violent and sex scene keeps in my mind in a warped prison which in turn penetrats my heart. It’s breaking my heart to know that I cannot watch my favorite television show. But guess what? I can sleep at night. I can rest knowing that I am pleasing my heavenly Father and He is rewarding me for acknowledging my weakness and staying away from it. He loves that I am renewing my mind in His word and not in the ways of the world.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. -Romans 12:2
In the long run, it’s helping me relate to my family, friends, and even myself. I am able to love and find comfort in hard times and not become angry or discouraged when things get tough. What does that have to do with a television show? Well, if I’m constantly watching violent behavior, then I will eventually begin to emulate violent behavior when I am faced with my own challenges. But…if I fill my mind with God’s love and grace, then that is the kind of behavior I will emulate when I am faced with my own challenges. See the difference?
Thank you guys for reading my thoughts today. I pray you guys are having a good day. Please remember to pray for one another.
Over the weekend, my family and I took family photos. It was only afterward I began to realize how much time has passed by since the last time we took them. We went through the normal hustle and bustle of making sure that everyone’s hair was properly in place, clothes were neatly ironed, and everyone was in high spirits to smile when the camera flashed.
While waiting for the photographer, I reflected back on how many times we’ve gone through this same process. Ultimately, it was the same process. Being a mom, I was in control of almost everything; hairstyles, outfits, poses, etc.
Now in 2019, this time was different. Now, the kids are older so they can make their own decisions. I can honestly say, that was the most difficult part for me; letting go of control.
For most of our kid’s lives, parents are in control of most of what our kids do (for their safety of course). What they eat. What they drink. What they wear (because it always looks so cute). What time they go to bed. Who their friends are. Even the kind of toys they play with. Where they go. But as they get older, those decisions become less about what we want and more about what they want.
Letting go of control is hard. My oldest will be thirteen this year and I’m afraid for her every day. I’ve made so many decisions for her, I’m afraid that she will have a hard time making the right decisions for herself. She is growing up in a world that is influenced by what everyone else is doing. She has unlimited access to information at her fingertips. She is book smart, but not street smart and that fear of her being taken advantage of is overwhelming at times.
I talk to God about this all of the time. He knows that I struggle with letting go and trusting Him with her completely. Like any other parent, I don’t want my kids to struggle. But I also have to remember that they to have to go through the fire to be refined and forged in order to become who God wants them to be. I’m also afraid that I won’t be able to handle whatever they go through in life. Selfish, right? I know, but it’s how I feel.
One day, they’ll get their heart broken if it hasn’t happened already. One day they’ll face a challenge and have no idea how to handle it. I pray that through my dedication to the Lord, they will follow suit and want to grow closer to him as well. I’m afraid that some of my decisions have damaged them for good. I’m afraid that some of my poor decisions have scarred them life. But I rest in the knowledge that God knows how to fix it. So although I’m afraid, I trust that God will see us through as a family and remove that fear. For it says in His Word:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7
God has been so good to me, to us. He has gotten us through some pretty rough times. He has proven to us over and over again that He will not leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). My kids may not see it, but one day they will.
The point that I am trying to make today is that I can no longer control my children. WE can no longer control our children. If we do, we will push them further away. I want my kids to spread their wings while keeping a close eye on them; watch them without them knowing I’m watching. 🙂
Right now, I am preparing my kids for the world. Teaching them the love that Christ Jesus has for us and being as honest as I can about the questions they have for this life. The rest is in God’s hand because He loves them way more than I ever could (and that says a lot because the love that I have for my kids is unconditional). So can you imagine how much He loves them?
He pulled me from the pits of hell. So what more could He do for them?
Father, I am choosing and committing right now to trust you with my children. You love them unconditionally and will do what is in their best interest. Father, you see the whole picture, not just what’s in front of You, like us mere mortals. Thank You, Father, for Your grace, love, mercy, and the gift of righteousness that will save them from the enemies lies. I love You with all of my mind, heart, and soul. Amen.
Here is our family photo from this weekend
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8
I’ve been through some pretty difficult challenges in life, but one challenge that outweighs the rest of them all is parenting 👶🏽👶🏽👶🏽. There, I said it. Parenting is by far the most difficult task that has been assigned to me. Now before you judge me, just think about why people say “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well, what would it take to raise three or four or ten?
Being a stay at mom requires patience, diligence, Gods love (not human), and being able to multitask at any given moment. You have to be able to hold your composer when you want to yell and scream 🗣and throw a tantrum yourself when your kid wants to act a darn fool out in public. You have moms faking it for social media trying to make it look so easy, but it’s not. I think moms try so desperately to make it look easy because they don’t want to be judged by society. If we were to admit that sometimes we think about running away and never looking back, society would “clutch their pearls” and gasp for air in awe, like, “how dare she? 👀 Children are the most precious things in the world. I would never think such a thing.” Yea, well, most people who think that have never had to stop a three-year-old from throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store almost every time they went shopping or better yet, never had children of their own.
Yes, children are precious and I would give my life for mine, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes I’m not tempted to rip their heads off every once in a while for the frustrating, nail-biting, angering things that they do as children.
I knew this one lady. She was the epidemy of a perfect mother. She was patient and kind to her children. She even made baby food from real fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I don’t even have the energy to make real vegetables and fruits for dinner for my whole family. Anyway, her house was always nice and clean and her children were so well behaved. Until….I found out that she and her six children were all taking over the recommended dose of Adderall (a drug to treat ADHD). No wonder she had the energy to get things done! Everybody in the family was drugged up. My only point being is everything isn’t always what it seems. And she was heavily addicted to drugs to help her raise her family.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes! Kids can drive you to drugs and alcohol if you’re not too careful. People like to assume that loving your kids will make you make the right decisions for them. Love will make you become patient and kind. Love will conquer all the feelings of fear and frustration that comes along with parenting. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Only Gods love for us can do those things. We need support and guidance from other moms who have been down the same road. We need a shoulder to cry on when those days come when we just want to run. We need help!
I judge myself all of the time as a parent. I want to do this right and that right. I want to make them happy, but discipline them so they become responsible adults. I want to love them unconditionally, but also let them know that I am not their friend, but their mom. Lately, I feel like I’ve been screwing up on all of it. I’ve allowed other people to get into my head to fuel those feelings of insecurities and inadequacy. My love for them just never feels like enough because of the things that I struggle with within me. I’m a bad mother…so I thought.
Then I have to remember. Who made me? God did. Who made my children? God did (with a little hanky panky). Who gave me my specific children? God did. Who trusts me with them? God does. Gods opinion of me is the only one that matter and if someone’s else’s opinion of me doesn’t match Gods opinion of me, then that is their problem, not mine. I’m learning to parent everyday that I wake up. I know what God says about me, therefore I know what He says about them.
He says I’m more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. And I know there is nothing that one one can ever say to me that can separate me from His love. And He says the same things about you and your children.
God also says in His word that children are a gift and that He is will get us through everything that we go through, including raising children. So I want to tell you that if you are a parent and you are feeling overwhelmed, please know that you are not alone. I’m sure you are doing the best you can with what you have. Of course, if you feel yourself getting angry to the point where you want to beat or shake your kid(s), please seek help. Go see your pediatrician and they should provide help for you. Otherwise, look in your area to see where the nearest emergency nursery is. It’s an organization that provides free childcare for parents who need a couple of hours to themselves to clear their heads.
This parenting thing is hard work and it definitely didn’t come with an instructional manual. I don’t care how many baby books you’ve read, each child is different so something that worked for one child may not work for your child.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray if you are having a rough day, that God shines His light brighter than usually during your moment of darkness. I pray you are able to sit at His feet, even if you have a screaming toddler sitting at yours. I pray that you are able to see your children as God sees you, worth more than all of the riches in heaven and on earth. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another, especially us parents ☝🏽🙂
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11