September 19, 2017

DYM: The Wonder Years

I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me

Our minds have the ability to dream about the future and remember the past. 

I’d bet that most of us spend our time thinking about what we could have or should have done differently. We spend countless hours, days, and years replaying events and wondering what would have happened if we made a different choice. We ask ourselves questions like:
  • What if I’d fought harder?
  • What if I’d gone to school when I had the chance?
  • What if I’d asked for more money when I took the job?
  • What if I’d stayed instead of leaving?
  • What if I’d left when it happened the first time?
  • What if I’d chosen a different profession?
  • What if I’d chosen a different mate?
  • What if . . . and the list goes on.

We spend the precious time that we have now running through scenarios that could have, maybe, possibly changed our current situation. We play the blame game. We cry. We get angry. We. Waste. Time. 

I believe the only reason we should reflect on our former decisions is to learn from them. Every choice we’ve made hasn’t been a bad choice, it’s just easier for us to point those out. But what have we learned?

God knows, I could have done better. I could have been smarter. Wiser. But here I am . . . now what? 

Today, I thank God for experience and wisdom. I’m proactive instead of reactive. I weigh my options. I use wisdom. I think about consequences. I ask myself: Is it wise? Will it take me closer to fulfilling my destiny? Will it hurt me or anyone else?

I’ve learned to trust my gut – my instincts. To trust the only voice that matters – that still small voice that reminds me of who I am and whose I am. 

When I listen to that voice, I know that no matter what decision I make it’s all working together for my good. I get excited about my future. I make plans. I consider my options. 

I dream. I plan. I pray. And then, I move. 

September 8, 2017

DYM: The Heart Remembers What the Mind Forgets

If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head

Last night, I reminisced about experiences I hadn’t thought about in over twenty years. Fleeting emotions ran through my Spirit – shame, sadness, anger, disappointment. My shame doesn’t come from the abuse – it comes from all of the wrong choices I made as a result of the abuse. But what was I to do as I matured into a young woman? By the time I was sixteen, I’d been sexually assaulted three times and molested by a babysitter. 

One thing I know for sure is that when you’ve experienced trauma, you find ways to cope. One of my tactics was to compartmentalize the pain. It helped me get through some of the most challenging years of my childhood. 

My innocence was gone. My rose-colored glasses shattered. My Spirit fell asleep. I functioned in a spiritual twilight throughout my high school and college years – partially awake but mostly asleep to the painful memories running through my head.

Bouts of screaming and crying were the norm, as were drug abuse, promiscuity, and suicide attempts. I did almost anything to maintain my sanity. To keep my thoughts at bay. To keep myself from feeling the immense pain that crawled under my skin and strangled my heart. I didn’t sleep well. I didn’t eat much. I wasn’t kind to my body.

But today, I’m fully awake. I know that I could have made different choices but where would they have led me? What would my path be? Would I still live in the love and light that I bask in today? Would I have the same family? The same lifestyle? The same strong beliefs?

I’ll never know and I think that’s the beauty of life. I can’t spend my time thinking about what I could have or should have done because I’ll never know the outcome. I can only focus on where I am and where I’m going.

And so . . . the lesson today is not the lesson I thought I’d be sharing in this post. But nevertheless, here it is – live in the moment. Be present. Decide what you want your life to be and deal with what’s holding you back – now. 

August 28, 2017

DYM: Mercy Me

Dear younger me
Where do I start?

Have you ever heard a song that hit you in the gut like a well-choreographed jab from a seasoned fighter? A song that you can’t stop singing because the lyrics resonate with every part of your life?

Dear Younger Me by MercyMe is one of those songs. The first time I heard it, I had such a visceral reaction that I thought I might have to pull over and steady myself. By the fourth verse I was a sobbing mess and could barely see the road. The line touched a place so deep in my Spirit that I knew God was speaking to me. I still tear up when I hear it.

I bought the song and played it on repeat for weeks. Sometimes for hours a day. Weird, right? I thought so . . . until I realized that those words were opening up some part of me that closed long ago. The entire song was a prayer or was it an answered prayer?

It brought up memories and feelings that I didn’t know I had. It also made me think – what would I tell my younger self if I had the chance? I wrote a long list of lessons learned. But mostly, I thought about you. I considered that other women might benefit from my lessons. And thus, the Dear Younger Me series of the blog. 

I don’t have a plan for what this may look like. But I do have intention. And that is to share my experience with you and hope that God will speak to you as He’s speaking to me. I pray that He opens up places in you that closed long ago. That you’ll have your own a-ha moments, prayers, and tears. I declare that liberty will overtake you and you will be free from bondage and that yokes will be destroyed. 

I don’t know where this series will go but I hope you’ll go with me. There’s so much to tell you. The question is – where do I start?

March 7, 2016

Knee Deep

Hello. It's me. I've been recovering from injuries and not writing the blog, I'm sorry. I hope that you'll see it. I've been dreaming about this entry for weeks and so here it is, please read it. . .

Well, it's been a few months and there's so much going on. As you may have read in another post, I've been training in Krav Maga for the past year or so. Last November, I tested for my orange belt. Got it! But, at what cost?

I tore my rib cage and blew out my knee. Now before you start thinking, she's s a bad ass (I am), let me explain.

I injured my knee about nine years ago and I've received treatment on and off during that time. As I progressed in my training the pain grew worse but I just popped an ibuprofen, drank some pineapple juice and kept it moving. I also wore a wrap and a brace to prevent further injury.

As fate would have it, both my brace and my wrap flew off (literally) during my orange belt test. I didn't want to lose points for stopping nor did I want to hear my instructor yelling at me, so I kept going. Because that's what I do . . . I get hurt, I suck it up and I keep moving. It's not right but it's me. I'm flawed.

Fast forward to a month later and the pain was worsening. I wasn't able to walk without holding on to something so I finally went to see a doctor. He reviewed my scans and asked me a few questions: Are you tired of this? Are you finally in enough pain that you're ready to let me go in and clean this up?

A week later, exactly six days before Christmas, I had surgery. It was a mess. They found more than they anticipated but I'd already given Doc permission to fix what he found, short of a total knee replacement. I cancelled my plans to travel home and I scooted down the stairs on my behind Christmas morning. I started physical therapy exactly two days after the surgery. It hurt . . . really hurt.

So, here I am eleven weeks later. I've gone from barely being able to walk with two crutches, to moving along with one, to walking with a cane. That's progress! I'm not exactly thrilled with the length of my recovery but I know it's necessary.

About eight weeks into therapy, I decided that I'd try to walk without my crutch. I had a pretty bad limp but I wanted to show my therapy team that I didn't need them anymore. And then my lead therapist said these words: You're not strong enough to walk on your own yet. You're still limping. If you don't take the time to heal you'll be limping the rest of your life.. You're actually teaching yourself how to walk with a limp.

Whoa. Selah. Long selah. . . I can't get it out of my head.

I realized that I'm knee deep in my own pain and by refusing to take the time to heal, I could quite possibly end up walking with a limp the rest of my life.

What are you knee deep in right now? Is it difficult to walk upright? Difficult to move in the right direction? Do you feel stuck even though you think you've been dealing with it? Have you given yourself the grace to take the necessary time to heal?

I've prevailed in spiritual wars and won battles in my mind. So . . . I've decided to do the work of healing with my knee. Therapy? Bring it on. More cortisone shots. Yes, please. Temporary pain for long-term healing. I have faith that it will happen.

I know that God wants me to be whole in every area of my life. When I began this journey many years ago, He told me that I would be whole, lacking nothing. He said that He would give me peace in every area of my life. I believe Him. I just didn't expect to have to walk through the muck and mire of my "keep it moving" life. All those things that I'd sucked up were buried, waiting for me to deal with them. The work isn't easy but I'm free.

I'm praying for a full recovery in Jesus' name.

"Count it all joy, my [sisters],when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing," James 1:2-4 ESV.

September 23, 2015

Caught Up in the Moment

As I read the posts of the women in one of my private Facebook groups, I found myself wanting to reach out to each of them to tell them that their lives aren't over. Each women had a story of sexual abuse: rape, incest, molestation. And so many of them are still hurting two, five, twenty, fifty years later.

As I prayed for these women and the right words to say, God answered and said, "Tell them, don't get caught up in the moment."

Reading my sisters' stories hurt me but the major difference is that I'm no longer caught up in that moment. At some point in my journey, I realized that one moment or even a series of moments should not and do not have the power to frame every other moment in my life.

There are moments in our lives that we wish we could forget. Moments we wish never happened. Moments that we replay over and over again. The problem is that we become comfortable with those thoughts -- we begin to think about them on purpose, and that's where we leave the present -- the moment that is happening right now.

You are not what someone did to you. You are not in THAT moment any longer. YOU ARE HERE. YOU ARE HERE. YOU ARE HERE.

The experience didn't kill you. The person who tried to break you lost! You are more POWERFUL than you realize. You can decide how you want to live each day.

The next time you think about the abuse, the pain, the sadness, I challenge you to replace those thoughts with other moments that bring you joy. Focus on loving yourself. Focus on living for this day, this hour, this minute, this second.

Try getting caught up in THIS moment. The moment when you realize that you're still here. You're still standing. You still have a chance to live your best life.

I pray that you choose to get caught up in a moment of love.

Dear God,
I pray that Your hand touches the person reading this to comfort them in this moment. Bind the spirits of depression, sadness, sickness, defeat, and hate.

Please release peace, love, health, and resilience in their lives. Bless them with strength. Remind them that You have plans for them. That you will not harm them but give them hope and a future.

Father, release healing in this moment, in Jesus' name. Amen.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds," (Psalm 147:3).

 Take a moment. . .