Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans for a hope and a future."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Imposter Beware





Imposter Syndrome.

I've been tossing this around in my head for a while now.

I think it's a pretty accurate sentiment about how I would describe myself.

If you've followed much of my blog you understand that I fight a lot with always understanding my "purpose" or trying to figure out exactly what my life should be since the death of my daughter three years ago.

3 years.

THREE YEARS.

In just a few weeks it will be three years since my little girl took her last earthly breath and transitioned into a world I have yet to encounter.

Three years. Some days it seems so long ago....and yet others it seems as though it could have been just yesterday.

...but I digress.

This imposter syndrome thing....well, to be honest, I've had it most of my life....Well, at least the life where I started to care much about what other people thought about me....

I'm pretty sure it started when I was 5.

I guess that's the first time I remember someone calling me "fat, but nice." Hmmmm.....if I couldn't be pretty then I would be nice....only I didn't always feel so nice....but being nice made people happy....so was I really a nice person? Do you follow me here? This is when I first dealt with "imposter syndrome".


Oh, I've dealt with it a lot over the years. I was labeled smart....but I worried people would find out I really wasn't. I was labeled a dingy blond...but I knew I was smart (maybe)....I just played around to make people laugh (well, most of the time)......I was labeled athletic and strong....only thing is..a lot of the times I just went as hard as I could....I really didn't know what I was doing. I felt like a lot of the opportunities in life afforded to me were only given to me because of who I was - like my family, where I came from....or because I was nice......or maybe it was just good luck or good genes.....I was only pretty because my parents or friends said I was pretty....if you're a girl you're called pretty, right?....but I wasn't like the girls in the magazines..... I wasn't so sure I deserved all (or sometimes any) of the good things people came to expect from or of me.

So you understand this imposter syndrome thing now? It's like you're living your life and you're afraid people will find out who you "really" are - (which you aren't even sure of who that might be) and then your life will be ruined...... and you'll have no friends and you'll lose everything.....and you won't know who to be....or how to act....and you'll write horrible run-on sentences that make your English teacher cringe.....

Evidently, imposter syndrome is something a lot of people feel.....look it up!

Our identities are so hinged on acceptance and success that we're bound to not feel good enough at atleast some point!

I can honestly say there was one time in my life I won the battle against imposter syndrome.

Zeta.

Yep, the hardest days of my life were also some of the happiest. The most unsure moments of my life were defined by a force propelled by something than my own soul.......It took a few weeks...or maybe a few months....but once I 'figured' it out I knew what I was supposed to do and exactly how to do it. I understood pain and mercy, love and grace, and so many other things....I understood that my mission was to be a mother, to pray fervently, and to exude hope beyond a magnitude I had never known. I never once worried about whether or not people believed that I was a mother....or that I prayed....or that I had the highest hopes in my heart.....

Wasn't my job to worry about that....

Didn't have time to worry about it.

Now?

My life has an obvious split point.

Life before Zeta.....and life after Zeta.

That's not to say that everything before or after Zeta is not important....

...but it's how I define a lot of things....

Life after Zeta has been....well...let's say..hmm.... an IMPOSTER SYNDROME NIGHTMARE!@#$%!

Wouldn't it be great if we could always live without feeling like an imposter??? .....like everyday was the most important day ever and could be our last?......living everyday like we know our purpose, our destiny...our meaning in life......

Today, I say to heck with that little voice that says I'm not good enough....not smart enough...not pretty enough...not nice enough..... not ________________ (you fill in the blank enough)......

I'm not an imposter - I was created by God. I'm real, I'm human. I hurt and I've been hurt. I have fears and I have dreams. I forgive and I am forgiven.

God sent His Son to show us we are good enough.....instead of worrying about people finding out you're not really who they think you are - how about focusing on all the wonderful traits God invested in you...

When your focus is on Him there's little time to worry about anything else....

and the bonus?

Well, let's just say --- He made you pretty perfect:)


As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.










Sunday, December 13, 2015

Faith of a Mustard Seed


"This.....this doesn't exist anymore." Stevie angrily told me this one night. There was more to what he was saying than you can even imagine.

It's so true. This doesn't exist anymore. The smiling faces of a family of five. Mom, Dad, two sweet boys, and a precious baby girl. It doesn't exist anymore.

I wish I could explain to you all the meaning that statement had behind it..... but.....for now, at least..... I can't.

The obvious part is that after May 7, 2013 the family pictured above ceased to exist. That's the day our sweet baby girl took her last breath....laying in my arms.....surrounded by close family and friends.

So much has changed since that day. The picture was actually taken just a few days before God took my sweet baby girl to spend eternity with Him. So much had already changed in our family...Some things changed in ways we didn't want or expect, but so many more things changed for the better.

Over the past few years, I also changed in ways I never wanted or expected. I also changed in ways that I never knew were possible - both good and bad....

I questioned my place with God....and I found peace with Him....

I fell away from Him and held a grudge so large that I didn't even admit it was there....

I chased happiness doing church things and then things that God nor many others would approve of....

I lost the peace....I lost my assurance....or rather, I let it slip away....

It seemed to happen so slowly that I wasn't even aware of what was happening....

Others could see it....some even tried to speak it, but I would hear none of it....

Walking in my house I only wanted to run away....looking at my family I only saw pain and death....I focused on the fact that I wanted to be somewhere else...I didn't know where, but I knew it wasn't here.... I was chasing peace and happiness....

Only, I forgot where that all resides.....

I forgot about the day I fell flat on my face in a hotel room praying for my sweet baby and knowing that I, nor a soul on this earth, could change anything that was happening. I prayed to God in a way I never had before. I didn't make any deals, I didn't ask for healing, I didn't ask for the pain to stop...I didn't even ask for him to save my baby girl or rescue either of us from the pain we were experiencing. I simply prayed for Him to take control.

...and He did...

....in such a BIG way....

...in a way I had only heard was possible.

God calmed my heart. He gave me peace. He took all of my worry away. He assured me that everything happening was only temporary and that He was in control. He assured me it wouldn't last forever, and He gave me the strength to make it through that night....and the next....and all the nights after that.

I hung on to that peace for a very long time. I'm pretty sure that peace sustained me through the day Zeta took her last breath and the days after.

Some time though....at some moment...the questions stirred in my mind again....why was this happening....was I being punished? Wasn't I good enough? Didn't I do everything right that I knew to do? Why then, did my baby die.....

I can look back now and see that I held those questions in my heart.....I was just too afraid to admit it or say it out loud. I was too afraid to feel my own pain. I was afraid of questioning God and losing my peace. I was dumb enough to believe that God could not handle the fiery balls of anger I held in my heart.

...but I know now it was there....I remember following children on facebook and not being able to finish reading some of their stories because they were too familiar. I remember questioning what kind of God would allow so many babies and children and families to suffer.....I remember all of the whys......

Thing is, I never would say "Why me God....Why my baby?"......but I know now that's what I was really wanting to say.....

Instead, I kept my feelings hidden....ha, as if God didn't know what I was thinking.....still, I was so great at hiding the true feelings from myself that I thought I could hide them from everyone else....including God.

What a stupid, human thing to think, huh?

Instead of hurling my angry comments and questions at God I started looking for my own peace.

I tried good things and not so good things. I tried 'God" things and not so Godly things.

I've spent nearly 3 years running from the anger, the grudges....the hate....the questions.....what I did finally realize is that at the same time I was also running from the love...the peace...the joy.

By the time I realized this is what I was doing I fooled myself into believing I was too far gone to ever find that peace again....I told myself this is just how it was going to be...

I'd find myself for a little while....I'd come close to feeling whole again and then I'd run......

I'd start to feel the pain and I would shut down....

I'd start to feel God and there satan would appear....ready to interest me in something that would lead me back away from God.

I'd start to feel God and I would shut Him out.

One thing that has amazed me throughout our journey is God's timing and some of the people He has surrounded me with....

There are people in my life who should have given up long, long ago....

There are people in my life that I know constantly say, "Ok God, when is she gonna wake up?" "When is she going to stop running?" "When is she going to remember that there are still two precious boys and a loving husband that need her?" When is she going to realize God never left?"

Truth be told, there have times I've even asked myself these same questions.....but I had convinced myself I had grown too far away to have the peace I once felt.....

I don't know if I didn't feel as though I didn't deserve forgiveness or if I was afraid that it wouldn't be given.....wow, what a disgrace to admit....that's saying that Jesus' death on the cross was in vain....what a typical non-believing thing to think....

I've always preached on my faith....I've always known that once you're saved that faith is the impetus that pushes you through....

Unfortunately, (or maybe very fortunately) my faith dwindled to that of the mustard seed....

(At least the mustard seed still existed, eh)

I still had faith that things here are only temporary....and I had faith that one day.... maybe..... I could find the peace I so longingly searched for.....

Notice the questions still laced in that thought? "Maybe" I could find that peace.....


The only thing that has kept me from that peace is myself.....

Only very recently have I fully decided that I'm tired of fighting this battle on my own.....only very recently have I turned back to give my full focus to God....and only very recently have I remembered that although the family pictured above doesn't exist anymore that there is a lot left to fight for....

I realized again that this hard life is only temporary......

I realized that although that family in the picture above doesn't exist anymore that I am still surrounded by two boys and a man that loves me.....

I realize what we have been through and all that is yet to come.

I realize that I've longed for the family pictured above to exist again....That I've been so angry that it was destroyed and torn apart.....I realize we did a lot of things on our own to try to finish destroying it....
Most of all, I realize that the family pictured there is not what I really desire.....The family pictured there is broken and imperfect....a family, that although filled with smiles and love, was also filled with pain and death and brokenness....the family I want is the family God created and put together.

I thought it began with a man and a woman that loved each other and created three precious lives....

I understand now that God created that man and woman with a free will to follow Him....to guide those children in His ways, and to seek eternity with Him....

So, while I'm going to enjoy the time I have left here as a part of this family, I'm also going to bask in the glory of the day we will all be together in eternity. The day when we are no longer broken....when there are no more tears....and no more pain.... when Zeta shows us how to dance with the angels....the day when we are all whole again.

I have no doubt that it will happen....we've all been blessed to experience and accept God's glorious gift of life....

....and I'm thankful for mercy and forgiveness....so much that has been shown to me that I have the ultimate duty and honor of sharing God's love for all of us.

Take it from me....there is nothing too hard for God....there's nothing so big or so horrible that God can't fix....there's nothing that says you can't change your life right now....It doesn't matter if you've never accepted God's gift of Salvation or if you feel like you've messed up a million times....God forgives....God heals....God loves....

God disciplines....but don't all good parents? Isn't that what we do? God loves you more than you can possibly imagine...His love for you is greater than any love you've ever given or received and that's a difficult thing to imagine....

Living for God isn't always the easiest thing to do....but it's definitely the best.

You're gonna mess up...you're gonna be judged.

You're gonna feel pain. You're gonna experience death and brokenness.

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Hope for so much more? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to face the next second of your life believing that there's so much more?




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My voice

I have a voice.

Sometimes I lose my voice.

I think it's been this way most of my life.

There are people who've come to know me during certain times of my life that view me as quiet and reflective. Others, well they have the privilege (or curse) of knowing the open, opinionated, and talkative Angel.

Don't be confused, I always have a lot to say....

Sometimes though, I'm cautious....

Sometimes it's because I'm afraid of judgement. Sometimes,it's just because I realize I don't know enough to speak or defend a certain opinion.

I hate to fail.

That's also been evident in my life. I'm not a perfectionist, but I just choose not to pursue things I don't think I can accomplish....maybe that's just being a coward.

A few years ago, I found my voice again....though I'm not sure it was so much MY voice or a voice I thought needed to be heard for Zeta (and the children and families desperately searching for someone in similar circumstances) or if it was a voice prompted by God's grace and mercy....blind faith and bull-headed determination....

Regardless, I lost that voice.

I can think of a million reasons why.

There's fear....

Fear of being ridiculed....of harping on my own personal circumstance....fear of inadvertently exposing or exploiting people in my blogs and with my words.....fear of exposing myself....

Yes, that's it....vulnerability....fear of people seeing inside my heart and soul.

Well, that's all good and well when my mind feels clear....when I'm able to rationally process thoughts....when I feel like I'm living to the best of my human ability to live like Christ.

It's completely different when I feel ashamed.....ashamed because I know I've made poor choices....ashamed because I hurt people out of confusion---or worse, selfishness. It's different when I feel like hiding for fear of exposing my own faults.

I've never considered myself a malicious, vengeful or spiteful person. I don't think many people would openly admit to being such.

However, there have been times I've been called out...times someone has taken note of my faults...time when people have gently (and not so gently) pointed out my sins. All of that can make you feel shameful.

I've found, though, that I can feel shame when someone else points it out....but when I realize my own shortcomings and admit where I've fallen that's another level....that's more than embarrassment and shame. That's broken guilt and remorse. there's a desire to run...run far away and hide....hide from people I hurt....from people that think somehow I should do better and be better because of how vocal I've been about my commitment and faith in God....I think above all that, it's a fear of God viewing me differently...a fear that I'm not good enough...

Well, that's probably a pretty big slap in the face to my Lord. I mean He is the God of GRACE and MERCY. He is the definition of FORGIVENESS.....

But you know what happens? Satan convinces me I'm not good enough...that because I'm not good enough I shouldn't have a voice...I shouldn't share my blessings and talk about God's glory...it's just not place...granted, it's not an audible voice from lucifer, himself, telling me this....instead, it's my own thoughts racing in my head...

Those thoughts have been winning....winning way too much.....

What probably started as growing resentment exploded into full blown loss of much logical and rational thinking.

This was very well illustrated in a sermon at church last night. The pastor painted a poignant illustration of the nazis and how twisted their thought processes grew until it reached unfathonable levels of cruelty. The nazis didn't wake up one day and decide they wanted to be monstrous murders. It all began with a seed of them believing their people were better than other people. Sadly, we all know where those seemingly non-threatening thoughts led.

I can see the similar things happening in my own life the past couple of years. I didn't wake up one day and decide to quit speaking about my faith. I didn't plan on making so many of the choices I have....I didn't plan on trying to escape reality or give up being the wife and mother I'd always envisioned and hoped I would be....I didn't plan on shutting out the people closest to me and silently imploding....

....but once it started...once the first person called me out...I fought years of resentment from how I felt certain people had hurt me....I fought a sense of entitlement from feeling like I paid my dues and that no one understood...I fought feelings of inadequacy... Like I had tried to do everything the right way and had nothing to show for it....it often led back to saying....well I tried...but my baby is still gone....

Every single thing that happened or caused me trouble...it all ended with that thought...well I was the best wife and mother I could be for as long as I could remember...I worked even harder as a mother for zeta but that didn't change the outcome. It ultimately ends in me feeling sorry for myself. It might be what some call a crutch or excuse.

I felt guilty. I felt unappreciated for the years I had spent being a wife and mother before zeta. I never wanted to admit that, but it was a slow, ticking time bomb within my soul....it went on so long and so quietly in the background that I never even really acknowledged it.

Until....

Until, I lost my cool...

Until I let my guard down.

Until I bought into all the false beliefs I was silently telling myself.

We all have experiences that change us. Sometimes, it's a loud, instantly life altering moment. A diagnosis...a loss...an unimaginable event that creates pain and sorrow and inexplicable grief....

More often than not...it's the little experiences and how we deal ...or choose not to deal...with those experiences and the impact they have on us.

I've been told more than once that I'm naive...that people don't love and care in the same way that I did...maybe that's true....

I know when I'm dealing with my own shortcomings and fighting myself I also view other people a little more unforgiving and uncaring....

Working in education and having a strong psychology background, I can spew off a myriad of acronyms and labels...you can bet that if you're not acting in a way I think is "normal" I'm scanning my mind for a reason and a label...don't worry, I've come up with a pretty exhaustive list for myself too...

See, once I figured out I wasn't normal either I decided there are only two labels that matter....SAVED or LOST. Everything else is pretty irrelevant in the big picture.

Life isn't fair. There's always going to be someone or something to drag you down. The choice is up to you as in how you let it change you. Will you lay down and let it overcome you or will you stand up and fight?

I love a feel good sermon or inspirational message as much as the next person...

Unfortunately, life is not a feel good fairy tale...life is full of challenges, drama, hatred, lies, and heartache....

The flip side of all that is there's a price that was paid a very long time ago....

It was paid on a cross full of Perceived shame, defeat, and loss....it prevailed with grace, mercy, love, life and forgiveness.

I put my faith in that.

Life is gonna knock me down again, I have no doubt. There are gonna be times I fail, and times I succumb to what the fallen one wants....

Just like tonight...I skipped the last night of revival....because I felt dizzy...nauseous...maybe I was scared....scared of breaking down and letting go...scared of saying yes to what God is telling me to do...

Turns out I still couldn't hide. I spent that time in reflection and again contemplating my purpose....

I still don't know the definitive answer. I don't know what's in store for me...I don't know when I'll fail again...I don't know when I'll feel like running and trying to hide...but for now...for now, I'm sure I have a voice.

I'm sure it's in my calling to continue to expose my own raw thoughts and emotions in order to glorify Him.

I might fail tomorrow or next week....but I'm hanging my faith on the cross that stood to offer a path to save me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reality bites, but you don't have to suck lemons

"You started running right after the funeral."

A friend recently told me this....and he wasn't talking about my new found love/hate relationship with the SPORT of running.

He was talking, in fact, about my tendency to RUN from REALITY.

I became an instant pro.

..the champion of escape...

Nearly every time I start a post like this I think, well here I go again....everybody is saying, "Why can't she just get over herself. Move on."

I've been guilty of it myself. I see other people post these poor 'why me' statuses for weeks, months, or years after they've lost a loved one. I think, "Wow, they sure are having a difficult time." or "Wow, she sure is full of a lot of anger."

I don't post things for sympathy....as a matter of fact, if I posted every time I had a feeling I'd have little time for anything else. I feel most compelled to post when I feel the tug to do so.....almost like someone quietly whispering in my ear to get my feelings out in the open. Sometimes it's therapeutic. Sometimes it's enlightening, and sometimes it's down right scary. I never know exactly what is going to come out.

...now, back to running....

"You started running right after they buried her. You ran straight into the church looking for something and when that didn't seem to work out, you started running everywhere else." These are pretty accurate assumptions. The first year or so after Zeta died I ran to God and that turned into running to CHURCH and running to all the GOOD things and good people I could find. God saved me when I was young, he saved me during Zeta's life and he saved me after Zeta's death. I knew he would save me then too.

Thing is, I thought I was doing ok. Heck, I WAS doing ok.....so I guess I slipped.

I got overwhelmed with commitments. I became overwhelmed with living in a glass house. I became overwhelmed...period.

It all caught up with me.

I'm pretty sure that's the devil at work.

The more I became overwhelmed the more I wanted to find somewhere else to run. The more I wanted to run, the more TRAPPED I felt.

My house became my prison. Before I could even get in the door, the memories of Zeta's last year alive- spent at home, in her make-shift ICU room- would haunt me...and I'd just stand there...motionless. People who were close to me during Zeta's life and death unknowingly became haunted obstacles. They had done nothing wrong....however, they didn't always know how to respond or what to say, and I certainly didn't know what to tell them to do....So I just started to avoid them. Not always on purpose....sometimes I would hide away and try to stay to myself because I didn't want other people to see the pain...other times I would distance myself because I basically forgot how to communicate...or sometimes I just DIDN'T WANT TO COMMUNICATE....and still other times I wanted to disappear and forget that the outside world existed. I wanted to forget that I had a daughter who was born sick.... a daughter that fought to live every day.... a daughter that is now gone.....I wanted to forget the pain and I wanted to forget anything or anyone that knew anything of that existence.

Not such a nice thing, huh?

For quite a while I continued running.... I've made choices that have hurt my family, my friends, and myself....

In some ways I quietly tried to disappear into the background and go away.

In other ways I tried kind of self-medicating and fighting all sorts of addictions and poor choices.....In some ways I screamed out loud for help....but I refused help from anyone that loved me or tried to help me. This, in turn, led to some poor choices by people that cared about me.....and a cycle began.

Short of drugs, I pretty much managed to make a mess of my life. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, if I had had access to drugs or anything else to destroy my life I would have done it and I'm pretty sure I would not be living today....The only thing that had a remote impact in my life during this time was my two boys. I can't deny that I haven't been the greatest mother, but on some days they were the only reason I got out of bed and the only reason I didn't pack my bags and move out of my house to hide and rot away in a cave far, far away somewhere.

There's a point in life for some people where you hit rock bottom.....

....a point at which you know you're either gonna get up and move on or you're just gonna lay down and die....because there is no other alternative..........

I felt like I reached that point one night all alone in a hotel room, in Augusta, while my baby fought her life in the hospital nearby....I knew that I couldn't stand another second .....that I was going to lose my mind or it was gonna get better....at that point doctors couldn't promise anything....I fell at the end of the bed and wept and begged for God's mercy. I cried out to Him and told Him I was through and I could no longer stand on my own......

...and He was there.....

He is the only way that I ever left that hotel room....and he is the only way that I made it through the rest of Zeta's life and to this very day....

There have been days that have been almost unbearable....some before that day....even before zeta was born...other days have happened since then....

As a matter of fact, there's no denying there have been a lot of hard days since May 7, 2013 - the day Zeta died in my arms.....

One of those days just happened recently.....

You see, it's been going well lately. I feel like I've had my head on straight. I'm back in my devotions and bible more like I should be... and I've been trying to build some relationships that have nearly been destroyed....It's wonderful and scary all at the same time. Wonderful for obvious reasons....scary because I have a tendency to over-analyze and wonder if I'm too far gone or not worthy of getting back to being the me i want to be....to standing strong in my testimony and sharing all the wonderful things God has done for me.....scary, because sometimes the feeling hits me....scary, because I never want to run (from life) again.....Those thoughts would consume me....

This particular day, I woke up struggling with all the what ifs.....what if life were different, what if I never get past this...what if everyone I've hurt hates me...what if I caused Zeta to die...what if I don't ever feel normal again....what if...what if....what if.....I was pretty sure I didn't want to run....but because that's all I've pretty much done for so long I didn't know exactly what to do....so I hid....and I cried....and I cried some more. I stood there alone.... crying....feeling hopeless, lonely, and ashamed. I knew I should pray. I was scared to pray. It felt kind of pretentious....pretty much because I kept replaying everything I had done wrong in my head....pretentious, because I could feel some of the anger and resentment arising from experiencing the loss of a child.....pretentious because I needed to prove I was bigger and stronger...and because things had been going pretty well....

After some time, the emotions got to me. I felt myself start to panic. Anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack knows what I'm talking about. It's not just something you snap out of....I knew I had to do something...less someone would walk in and find me acting like a hysterical person and wonder if I had really lost my mind....

I prayed.

I began to calm.

I continued to pray.

The anger led to silent tears. The panic disappeared. Sadness set in.

I prayed more....

I texted my husband and 2 of my strongest prayer warriors. The request was pretty simple....pray.

....and it happened....

the doubt began to fade....I could actually pray...with meaning...understanding....acceptance....forgiveness...the resentment and anger were no longer there....

.....what replaced it was grace and mercy....

Actually, what happened was I remembered and accepted the grace and mercy that had been given to me so long ago....

You see, God is always there....

There is no magic wand....life isn't always a fairy tale...

Hard times are gonna come....Pain is going to happen.....

BUT

God is there.

It's up to us to accept it.



James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

Jude 1:22 And have mercy on those who doubt;

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Life changes

It's been a long time.

There's always a reason.

It's late, my computer is broken, I have to cook, I have to run, I'm tired....and the list goes on and on....

Maybe the real reason is that I'm afraid....

Maybe I'm afraid because every time I post a blog I leave a piece of me exposed.

Maybe I'm afraid because I'm afraid of what I will say....

Maybe I'm afraid because I listened in church when the preacher said "God wants you hot for Him or cold to Him....there's no in between."

Revelation 3
1“To the angels of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Maybe I'm afraid because I just read a text I needed to read today....
I just don't do well with pity parties. I tend to distance myself from them...Which is what I've done with you somewhat already.. Sorry, but it's the truth. I won't tolerate you dragging me down. I want you around me and as my friend, but, not like you are now. I will help you try to overcome things but when you don't help yourself, I'm done.

Some people may see that as an offensive message, but I know exactly what they were saying and I believe and accept it whole-heartedly.....because I know that negativity breeds negativity....I think that's part of how I came to where I am right now....

Maybe I'm afraid because I've managed to distance the most important people in my life and have actually kind of forgotten what it was like to really function and be Angel Brabham.

Angel wasn't glamorous, or rich, or beautiful, or famous.....Angel wasn't all that.....

......however, Angel wasn't all this either.....

At one time, Angel had a caring, humble heart.....family was the most important part of life......at one time, Angel knew what true peace and happiness was.....

For the past year and a half "finding Angel" has been very difficult.....what happened?

Who knows?

....and does it even really matter?

A lot of people give me a free pass.....or at least expected, maybe even predicted, that I would someday break.... I lost a child....after watching her fight so live for 3 hard years.....

That doesn't give me a pass....if anything that taught me what life SHOULD be, the things that DO matter, the PEOPLE that do matter....that God deserves my ALL...

....and for the first year or so after Zeta died it did.....

.....then something changed....

I don't know what....I don't know why....

I do know I don't like it.....

I do know I fought it....then I gave in to it.....and tried to fight it again.....

I tried to fight it again....read that I.....I tried to fight it.....

That's very likely why I'm still here....fighting....

I can't do it by myself.

I'm worn, exhausted, hurt, embarrassed. At times I feel alone and forsaken. All from things I've brought upon myself and the desire to run from reality....to escape pain....maybe not even that....maybe just not to feel at all.....

I've found myself giving up......

Giving up on things I wanted for myself, for my family, for my life.....

.....maybe not completely giving up in the eye and the mind of the people on the outside looking in....

...But in my eyes....I know that I have been who I should be in the eyes of God and I haven't given my heart and used my gifts in the way they were intended.....I know that I've held on to the negativity.... breeding negativity....I've shut out the light....I've been lukewarm.....I was doing ok and that was good enough....

.....or so I thought....

Ok is not good enough.....sitting around just waiting for something to happen.....running from reality....fighting the power of feeling emotions....those are all the things that cause us to sink.....

Shutting God out....trying to fool yourself (and everybody around you) that you're doing just fine....those things hold the anchor to the concrete block holding you down......

I need God....I need the positivity....I need forgiveness...I need love....I need understanding..... Maybe those are things I've been afraid to admit because I was mad and then I was just numb.....

I don't need pity....I don't need negativity....I don't need judgement.... I don't need a free pass.....

I need to put God back on top so all the other will fall into place....I don't remember that it was necessarily easier....I just remember my heart breaking less and feeling happier with who I was and where I stood in life....I remember making the connections of how I saw God intricately working...even when I wasn't really looking for it....I remember the peace.....

I've struggled with that too much lately.

It's time to take responsibility for myself, to forgive myself, to turn it all over to Him and let God have control again.....





Monday, June 8, 2015

To all my children....the ones born to me and the ones parents entrust to me (and anyone else that might need to hear this).....

Life is hard. We're all living proof of that. We all experience pain....our journeys may be different, but pain is pain and pain is real...

Don't downplay the reality of your pain just because someone else may not understand....its your pain....and if it hurts its real....oh so real....

That doesn't mean that's all there is though.....

God never promised easy....in fact, since the beginning of time we've pretty much been guaranteed pain would be an emotion we would experience.

However, we've also been promised so much more than that...if we choose to accept it.

We're promised salvation through Jesus Christ and eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

This doesn't mean that we get to just sit back and wait to die or grieve endlessly for all we do not have and all we do not understand.

It means we are given a responsibility. The responsibility to love God, love ourselves, and love others....

We do that by being real. Sometimes it means being uncomfortable and very often it means being vulnerable. When we get to the point when we can be honest with our selves and honest with others we are able to be a light in the world.

We're able to tap into the peace only God can give.

We do this by acknowledging our hurts, our tears, and our pain....only, the tricky part is that we're careful not to get stuck there.

Instead, we allow others to be a blessing to us and in turn, we are able to become a blessing to others. Don't steal someone else's blessing by refuting their help or kind words....instead, marvel in the gift of love and friendship and pay it forward to someone else....

By accepting our pain and acknowledging it we are able to see the pain of others....we are able to offer love to someone else in need.

Pain is real.

....but so is joy.....and so is peace....

Part of it is just accepting the fact that we do get to experience happiness...along with all the ups and downs of the roller coaster of life we are able to move on....

In fact, it's our obligation to keep moving. To honor Him....to experience our blessings...and to bless others...

There's no such thing as hopelessness...God is light...God is love....God is Hope.

Friday, May 8, 2015

lost

Know what it's like to be lost?

I'm talking about feeling like you lost your best friend.....

Maybe even worse than that.....like you're knocking on a door and nobody lets you in......

It might even be as bad as feeling like you're watching yourself make all the wrong choices, but yet you can't stop... like nothing will be worth it until you see your life crumble into little pieces.....

I'm pretty sure none of us actively seek out life in this way....

No one actually wishes to be lost.....


Yet, all too often we find ourselves this way.....

We find ourselves searching.....

We're not even quite sure what it is that we're searching for...... but we are certain something is missing.....

Today, I found myself searching.....

I recognize this feeling all too well..... I am looking for something.....I don't know exactly what it is....It's a venture between wanting to scream or do all the things I know I shouldn't do....all the things that are wrong....all the things that society thinks is wrong. .....the things that I think are wrong.....

Sometimes, we find that the things we think we want are all wrong......

Sometimes, we aren't even sure of the exactly what it is that we really want......

Sometimes we just feel stuck.....like life isn't fair,....like somehow we missed out on something.....

I think that's the devil screaming at us.....

We feel like we were passed over....like life didn't give us a fair shot, ...

In actuality, sometimes life really isn't fair.....

We go out searching for all the wrong things....

We try to fill that void with all the things - except the one thing that truly can fill it....

When are we gonna stop and see what's really real?

When are we gonna see that God is truly the only answer?

There was a time I could answer this with no doubt.

A time that I would tell you, without a doubt that God was the one reason I existed. The only reason I survived......

...but life tries to tell me otherwise.....

like maybe I can make it on my own.....

or even maybe that I can make things bearable by covering the pain.....

Yet, in the back of my mind, I remember that feeling of peace...true peace....

The peace that comes from knowing the one Savior and God.....

There is nothing like that peace.

When we humble ourselves and surrender our being to Him we are able to experience that peace....

However, when we keep trying to take control we find that very difficult..... we fool ourselves into thinking that we're in control.....We believe that it's all ok.....

Somehow we try to rely on our own being....

What a foolish choice,...

....because it is then that we are lost.....

jumping from place to place....looking for attention....trying to fill that void in our lives.....

Without Him, we are nothing...;. Without Him we surely fail.....

Only we are too self-absorbed to see this sometimes.....and even at times that we know this, we still turn away in shame.....

He knows our hearts, he knows our pleas, He knows our weaknesses......

I struggle everyday....

I'm ashamed to say I don't pray in the way that I used too....

Yet, I know I am saved and I ask for His forgiveness.....

Any life lived should not be in vanity.,,.....

I watched my daughter live to die.....it should not be in vain....

How much more so do you think God thinks of the life he sent in Christ Jesus to bear our sins and die so that we may have ever lasting life..

Life is not fair.

That doesn't mean we give up.

That doesn't mean we lay down and die.

Jesus did that for us already.

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