Category Archives: self help

Into the Fog

IMG_6944A

How many of us entered into a new relationship and felt like we were headed into uncharted territory?  Venturing into a place we were unsure of?  It’s like walking into a familiar place but there is a fog which is covering up the usual sight we see, yet, we just keep walking into it.  As we get closer and closer to the what we know to be there it becomes clear and we feel safe, but on the way there we could encounter several bumps and bruises as we lose our way sometimes in the fogginess. New relationships can be very unsafe waters sometimes, especially if we have not dealt with our past issues and pain.

Sometimes we dive head first into a new romance thinking we are healed and ready to just bounce back into love.  Some of us get lucky but for some as we begin to unpack our old baggage into a new relationship we begin to see just how unhealed we really are.  Sometimes relationships can be just cruising along like a well taken care of Mustang.  Smooth and speeding right through the curves and bumpiness of the road unfolding in front of them.  While other times it’s like you are in a rusted out car caught in a hurricane and being torn apart piece by piece until all that’s left is a battered heart.

What I would like to talk about today is intimacy. I want to address the things no one ever talks about.  I want to expose the weapons of the enemy.  I want you to leave refreshed and hopeful not beaten down and empty.

I really don’t know where to begin or even how to convey what I am trying to say but I want to give you a mental picture.  When we are growing up and fantasizing about marriage we often dream of a fairy tale experience.  Everything is always perfect.  There are no screaming matches or rejection or disappointment…just roses and fancy parties the rest of your life.  When it comes to intimacy, here again this is no bed of roses.  Many of us enter into relationships with so much covered up brokenness we don’t even know how to be real with the person we are married to.  Some come to the altar from divorces.  Some couples are together after several failed relationships.  Many couples come from a childhood of sexual abuse or molestation.  Everybody’s story is different yet the result is usually the same.   Running in two different directions avoiding the pain.

Below is a photo I feel represents what we think intimacy should look like.  It’s all beautiful and calm and spectacular in color.  It’s what the fantasy romance looks like.  You can’t see the pain or discomfort.  You can’t see the hurt or the wanting to run away.  You can’t feel the emptiness.  You don’t see the erupting volcano of unforgiveness or rejection.

IMG_4203A

Unless we confront head on those things which are preventing us from having freedom in our relationship we will forever feel like slaves.  We will perform and do things out of obligation rather than love and true intimacy.  We can go back to the beginning of time and see God created us for intimacy.  He created us with relationship in mind.  What happened?  Where is the disconnect? Simple.  Satan has slipped in here and there in our lives and made a mess of things.  A mess which clearly can only be healed by seeking God and being truthful about our feelings.

I was molested when I was 5 years old.  I have gone through counseling.  I have forgiven the person.  I have let go and let go and let go, yet there is still I discomfort I have that just won’t go away.  In the five years I have been married to my current husband there has been a disconnect.  I just couldn’t figure it out.  I tried to understand but nothing was changing.  I felt as if Satan had me pinned down and I couldn’t see what was causing me to feel this way.  It all stayed the same until God in His perfect time showed me a very simple thing.  He showed to me what a real touch was like.  A gentle loving touch.  One that was not uncomfortable and enabled me to feel love.  To experience what love was suppose to feel like.  He showed this to me through my husband simply holding my hand.

In that moment I felt safe.  I felt loved.  I saw a glimpse of the colors of true intimacy.  The fog began to dissipate.

When I shared this revelation to my husband it opened up a whole new world for us to explore.  It was super hard for me to even talk about, however, we invited Jesus into the middle of our intimacy and we are looking forward to what He is going to do in our marriage.  When couples try as hard as they can to please their mates in all aspects of a relationship on their own, often there is no real evidence of anything changing.  Why?  Because the healing we need to have a viable marriage has to come from Jesus.  Only He knows our inner most pain.  Only Jesus knows what steps we need to take.  Only Jesus can take the deepest of pain and heal it.  We often try to fix ourselves or our mates and just make matters worse.

IMG_7262A

As we move forward into this new level of intimacy we are excited that God is going to do a new thing in our marriage.  He will take the dry deserts in our hearts and make them waterways.  Waterways into places of intimacy and grace.  Paths to undiscovered love.  I anticipate great things in this new adventure.  I am expecting doors to the past to close.  I am looking forward to no longer being a slave to this.  I know God has a much better plan to heal me than I could ever come up with.

 

Dear God,  I thank You for loving us just where we are.  I invite you into the wounded parts of our hearts.  I surrender all of the past emotions and pain to You knowing You will take care of it all, I just have to trust You in the process.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Advertisements

Towels in the Washer

caution speed bump

Let me set the scene for this blog:

Busy day at work. Phones ringing.  Orders coming in.  Got behind.  Having company over for dinner.  Need a roasting pan for the chicken.  Go to Walmart.  Husband asked to have money put on our debit card.  Wait in line for 20  minutes.  Get home and prepare chicken.  Won’t be done until 9 pm.  Go to lie down before company comes over.  Husband asks for the laundry to be moved from the washer to the dryer.  GROAN!  Just sat down.  Feet hurt from 5 mile walk from day before.  Contacts are dry.  Slight headache from work day.  HANGRY.  Open lid to washer and find towels in with the regular clothes.

TICKING TIME BOMB EXPLODES AND HUSBAND IS THE NEAREST VICTIM!

How often do the most innocent persons in our lives get the brunt of our bad days?  I am not sure that I have ever gone off on my husband like I did yesterday.  Words I usually do not spew out were flying like missiles aimed directly at him with intent to harm.  I did not care in that moment what I said I was just so angry I let everything I said become like a personal attack on an innocent bystander.  I quickly apologized after I cooled down and it is a good thing my husband knows my heart enough to realize I meant nothing I said in those heated minutes of World War III happening right before his eyes.  I mean today I can at least laugh about it.  The look of bewilderment and surprise on his face was truly priceless, poor guy.

Well that was just a precursor to today’s volcanic eruption.  I got a good night sleep and we even slept in, however, something was still off with me.  I noticed my left shoulder was aching and this usually only means one thing…rejection was trying to rear it’s ugly head.  I had my husband pray over me before we started our day.

Kinda wish I would have just left it alone.

 

After returning home from our morning coffee and a drive before hubby went off to work, I went inside to get my camera and a bite to eat.  I don’t want to get into too many details but you will need a little background story to understand what happened next.  We live with my 86 year old father because he is unable to live alone.  He gets around okay and can still take care of himself but he can’t do laundry and upkeep on the house.  Besides on the occasion when we do leave for a few days he gets fearful and something usually arises.  Anyways, dad is very protective of the refrigerator for some reason (we are guessing fear of some kind)  and things are not to be kept in there for very long and must be put into the smallest container possible.  So for the last 5 years there has been an ongoing frustration with what and how we keep things in the frig.

When I went into the kitchen the first thing dad said from his chair in the living room was “What are you going to do with the chicken from last night?”  I replied with an I don’t know at the moment, perhaps make chicken soup tomorrow.  This response was not what he was hoping for and me having my own agenda for the day already planned out, this simple situation turned into World War IV.  I cringe to even relive the live action warfare which conspired again.  I apparently touched a live wire somewhere in my brain and again here I was spewing words (to my own father) that should never have been released from my mouth.  In anger I took the chicken and threw it in the garbage dumpster outside, grabbed my purse and my camera and left.

I immediately called my husband in tears and frustration.  What was happening to me?  I was a wreck.  Acting out of character.  Using unsavory language at people I loved.  Of course he reminds we prayed for God to come in and heal whatever was causing the pain in my shoulder.  And then he said, “Resentment.  You are dealing with resentments from your past.  And maybe it has something to do with it being Mother’s Day tomorrow.  I don’t know, but let Daddy to heal you.”

So with a heavy heart I started seeking God in what to do.  I took my camera out and visited several of my favorite spots which is how I connect with God the best.  I captured birds, turtles, flowers, geese and their babies and even a muskrat only to discover on my journey that God had me stop and ponder at a tree.  A tree with a strip missing like a fresh wound.  He said this pain was from a fresh wound, yet it was an old pain which had been ripped open by life’s circumstances.

IMG_6695.JPG

He told me to keep walking there was something else He wanted to show me.  On my way back to my car I used the same path so I saw things going back that I had not seen on the first time through.  I stumbled upon this tree which had been abused my woodpeckers.

img_6736-e1526176206220.jpg

God started explaining to me what I was looking at.  On the surface you can clearly see there has been damage and an entry way into the inner most part of the tree.  On closer inspection one could see cobwebs where something else had taken up residency.  Then looking even deeper you would see the wound itself was torn to shreds.  The top hole appears to have no ending, yet there is a light which shines through the darkness of it.

wounds

This is what so many of us deal with day after day.  We get wounded at some point in our lives and people keep attacking it, over and over and over again until we are empty inside.  Then, when we allow God to tend to our brokenness  He shines His light within us and begins to heal that which has hurt us for so long.  The key here is allowing God in.  So many times we want to fix it all on our own.  We don’t want anyone’s help.  We often feel that it was our fault in the first place that we are hurting.  We didn’t do something right.  We were not good enough at some point.  We deserved the abuse.

I am still not quite sure what I am dealing with but I do feel more at peace after spending some time with the Lord today.  I still am trying to process the loss of my mom two months ago today and there is a lot of pain with that wound.  The tape which plays over and over again that “I am not good enough” and “I can’t do anything right” taunts me even when I try to just close my eyes and ignore it.  

In conclusion, don’t you wish sometimes that life came with warning signs so we would know when to brace ourselves?  Speed Bump.  Road Impassable.  Water May Go Over Road.  Bridge Might be Icy.  Dead End.  No Outlet. Watch for Emergency Vehicles.  Do Not Enter.  One Way.  Caution Pedestrians.  Road Construction Next 20 Miles.  Railroad Crossing.  Yield.  Stop.  Frequent High Wind.  Narrow Bridge.  Pavement Ends.  Deer Crossing.  If only life could send us signs along the way we could prepare ourselves for what is coming up next.  We could be on guard for any mishap which may happen along life’s journey.  Sometimes things just come out of nowhere and we are blindsided, that is where God needs to come in and redirect our steps.  We need to trust Him enough to know the road ahead of us and let Him send the Holy Spirit to give us the warning signs to keep us on track.

Dear God, Be near me today and expose that which You want to heal in me.  Teach me to trust You with littlest of things to the great big ordeals.  I thank You for healing me from my deepest wounds.  I trust you with them.  Shine Your light on my innermost being so that I may be lead in the right direction.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Stuck in an Insanity Pattern

John 13:34-35  

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

31934848_10213681057679434_4597186986225172480_n

This morning I did my usual ritual as sad as it may be…woke up, checked Facebook and Timehop…two things for some reason I do everyday.  It’s like a trap I am stuck in of looking at the here and now updates and then checking on the past just to see if anything has really changed.  What did I discover today?  A pattern.  A cycle of insanity.  A never ending loop.  A story of start and restart which has been going on for years.  It seems like every year about this time I begin to get serious about my weight, for like a month, then it’s over until spring of the following year.  What is wrong with me?  Why can I not stick to a regiment and follow it through?

Well, I have a few ideas:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Winter in Michigan (haha)
  • The change does not come quickly enough
  • I CANNOT give up ice cream for the whole summer
  • I am too hard on myself
  • I do not see the worth in it
  • It’s too much discipline

I am sure there are a billion other  reasons I could come up with but I don’t want to bore you with the details. Let’s just say it’s been a struggle.  I am over 200 pounds right now and have been for awhile.  My husband and I just had a discussion in the car the other day about this subject and he asked me one startling question:

“If this was how you were to look for the rest of your life would you be happy?”

Nope!  That was my answer and I can barely type this blog through the tears right now.  Why would I not be happy?  God created me this way.  He loves me why can’t I?  I have changed my eating habits drastically in the last two years.  I have been soda free for over a year.  I drink one cup of decaf coffee in the morning (used to drink pots of regular) and the rest of the day I only drink water.  I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I am not much of a snacker unless you count my handful of peanut butter M&M’s.  I mainly eat veggies and chicken, not a fan of red meat.  I have done slimfast in the morning and at lunch for a few months now with no real change.  I have pushed myself to just get 8,000 steps in a day and get 3 days of 15 minutes of exercise.  I have done all I know to do with no results.  I know this has to be a life change and I also know that counting calories is not something I will do for the rest of my life.

I do struggle with my thyroid which my medication just recently changed.  I had a partial hysterectomy and removal of a pound and half fibroid and lost 7 pounds in a week.  So medically speaking there have been some struggles, however,  I know I need to get more active.  Yet somewhere inside my very soul I hear a voice speaking to me, “But I love you just the way you are.  You are beautiful no matter what size you are.  You don’t need to stress yourself out about this.  Just rest in Me.”  Wow!  How can you ignore the sweetest voice of love speaking to you?

The picture posted with this blog is me just plain.  No makeup.  Hair just combed.  No angled shot to make me look thinner.  Just me.  Just the way God created me.  Now, why do I not love her?  Why can I not accept her just as she is?  Why do I spend several minutes a day putting make up on and fixing my hair just right?  Why do I not love the image in the mirror like God does?

Now I will admit part of the make up, hair and clothes is how I am wired.  God walked me through a healing in this area about a year ago.  I love dressing up and looking my best but the problem lies within me of not ever wanting to go into public without makeup.  I even wear make up to the gym.  There are very few people who have seen me in all my plain glory and I kinda want to keep it that way…but why?

In John chapter 13 Jesus us tells us to love one another as He loves us.  Sounds simple.  However, in order to love one another we first need to learn how to accept and love ourselves.  If we do not begin to love within ourselves what good are we to others who are in the same condition?  Hate breeds hate and loves produces love.  Make sense?  So if I hate the way I am then how can I ever fully love someone else for how they are?

So what am I going to do to break the cycle I am in?  Nothing but listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said when He left this world He was sending the Comforter and I am calling on Him for wisdom and direction.  I will eat what I feel is right.  I will walk when I feel prompted.  I will live according to God’s plan not mine.  I could try (and have) another diet and exercise program.  I could (and have) read another book on diet and exercise.  I could follow the next fad in diet control.  I could stress myself out in this underlying completion to be thin but I won’t.

My blood pressure is perfect.  My heart is healthy.  My lungs are clear.  My muscles are good.  Medically I am just fine, so here again why am I pushing so hard to get to a size which may not be even possible?  I choose today to just be who I am.  I choose to accept me for who I am.  I choose to listen to the Holy Spirit direction.  I choose to believe I am beautiful.

I choose to believe I am accepted and loved just as I am.

Sure was easy to type those things above, now the true test is walking this out and trusting the Holy Spirit and the plan God has for me.  Who knows, I might make it to a size 10 and weigh 150 pounds by fall, BUT, if I don’t I am going to be okay because I will be found resting in His arms safe, loved and accepted no matter what size it says on the tags of my clothes.

 

Dear Lord,

I have seen the tough spot I am in with this cycle of insanity.  I choose today to take one baby step in the direction of accepting the girl in the mirror just like you do.  Thank You for the work You are about to do in me.  I thank You and praise You for being my healer.  I trust now in Your plan.  Lead me.  Guide me.  Show me. 

In Jesus Name  Amen

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

offenses

Thank you for not noticing I colored my hair.  Thank you for stealing my parking spot.  Thank you for not saying hi at church today.  Thank you for not buying me coffee.  Thank you for forgetting my birthday.  Thank you for not remembering I am allergic to green peppers.  Thank you for ignoring me yesterday at the store.  Thank you for not inviting me to go out to dinner.  Thank you for cutting in front of me.  Thank you for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.  Thank you for not buying me something when you went to the store. Thank you for posting what you did on Facebook.

SHOULD I GO ON?

Offenses are literally EVERYWHERE these days.  As the world grows colder and colder and we are busy building our walls of defense against one another, we are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice it much anymore.  We shrug our shoulders and move on to the next offense which just adds fuel to the fire already blazing on the inside.  We misinterpret things.  We react to situations based on our past hurts.  We are literally destroying our bodies with all this harbored bitterness. Often we take on offenses that really are not even there.

offenses3

So how can we overcome offenses in our lives?  Our women’s Bible study is reading a book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf and just in the first two weeks I have learned a few things. (you can look her up YouTube and watch her amazing videos)  The main thing I want to focus on for the purposes of this blog is good trees verses bad trees.  When we are offended we have two choices:  take the offense and create a black tree or reject it and create a green, healthy one. (see Dr. Caroline Leaf videos for further understanding)  From the moment something offends us we can either choose life or death.  It really does something to the chemical balance in our bodies.

offenses2

Let me give you an example which just happened this morning.  I was driving my husband to work and he simply said to me, “Ya know, you need to slow down.”  Um, What?  I was going 40 and was ready with my defense when he further explained the speed limit had changed to 35 a few blocks back.  As I listened to his explanation I realized I had a choice to make:  Green Tree or Black Tree.  Here are the two scenarios:

  • I take on the offense:  My mind starts racing.  My blood pressure begins to elevate.  So I begin to build my defense case.  I have been driving for 31 years and have had 1, yes one, violation.  Then pride begins to boast in all its glory, my mind tries to dig up ALL of the things I have witnessed while being a passenger to his driving (which the list was very short–he is a great driver).  If I proceed with this avenue I will then become bitter and EVERY time I am driving my husband somewhere I will feel like I am not driving right according to his standards.  I would also open the door to me being critical about his driving as well.  Do you see where the bitterness grows and festers until it’s a BIG ugly black tree?
  • I decide not to be offended:  I choose in that very moment to capture this offense and give it to Jesus.  My blood pressure does not rise.  There is no place for bitterness to grow.  I know that pride will only get me into trouble and possibly a future “told you so”, besides,  growing a green, healthy tree is much simpler in the long run.  Besides I plan on spending the rest of my life riding in the car with my husband and this could have grown into one BIG UGLY black tree.

I am so THANKFUL God is renewing my mind in this area of my life.  Letting offenses fester only leads to a bitter life and possibly damages to my health.  I want to be able to love people and not take on any offenses.  The journey will not be easy, yet I accept the challenge.  I have had several instances this week where I have failed to not take on an offense, but then I remember it is a learning process.  It merely is in slowing down and making the clear choice rather than the one tainted by past hurts.

Dear Lord, I thank You for renewal of minds.  I pray You will help me to keep seeking deeper understanding in this area of my life.  I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and You meet me right where I am at.  Thank  You for healing me and guiding my steps towards greater freedom!  In Jesus Name!  Amen